Jean Laherrere’s Bakken Update

Jean Laherrere sent me the below charts the other day. I had planned on posting them with more Bakken data. But my schedule has been busy so I am posting them alone.

Jean’s interpretation for ND is as follows
Bakken ultimate = 3 Gb
Non Bakken ultimate = 2.2 Gb
ND ultimate 5.2 Gb
Detail
Quite symmetrical like the EIA drilling productivity data, but in contrary to EIA/AEO2015 with a peak in 2020
  
It will be interesting to see the evolution in the next few months

Jean 1

The Hubbert Linearization puts the Bakken about half way to the end.

Jean 2

The rest of North Dakota, less the Bakken, is just about finished.

Jean 3

With this chart Jean puts North Dakota production right at the peak.

Jean 4

This is a 20 year time scale of the 90 year time scale chart above it.

Jean 5

Total shale production including the Permian which has almost half conventional production.

Last post I linked to John Mauldin’s column and also a link to James Howard Kunstler’s take on Mauldin’s post. Well here is Art Berman’s take on Mauldin’s column:

John Mauldin Defends The Faith, Fails Economics 101

John Mauldin defends the faith of what he calls the “fracking gospel” but fails Economics 101.

In his recent post “Riding the Energy Wave to the Future”, he claims that oil prices are falling because the cost of producing tight oil is cheaper than most conventional oil.

But oil is $40 per barrel and falling because it is being devalued by global market forces that have little to do with tight oil at this point.

Mauldin’s evidence that producers are making money at $40 oil?

“I have friends,” he says, “here in Dallas who are raising money for wells that can do better than break even at $40 per barrel.”

I have friends at oil companies here in Houston who assure me that they are losing their shirts at $40 per barrel.

There is a lot more of Art’s opinion along with charts. Be sure to check it out.

And on another subject. The following is Chapter 4 of Tumbling Tide, Amazon.com link below. I thought it interesting as it differs considerably from the opinions of some of the posters on this list. I hope we can get some comments on the probability of alternative energy replacing fossil fuels.

The words below are not mine but those of the author, Peter Goodchild. But I do agree with him.

Tumbling Tide: Population, Petroleum, and Systemic Collapse

Chapter 4: Alternative Energy

Alternative sources of energy will never be very useful for several reasons, but mainly because of a problem of “net energy”: the amount of energy output is not sufficiently greater than the amount of energy input (Gever, Kaufmann, & Skole, 1991). With the problematic exception of uranium, alternative sources ultimately don’t have enough “bang” to replace the 30 billion barrels of oil we use annually—or even to replace more than the tiniest fraction of that amount.

At the same time, alternative forms of energy are so dependent on the very petroleum that they are intended to replace that the use of them is largely self-defeating and irrational. Petroleum is required to produce, process, and transport almost any other form of energy; a coal mine is not operated by coal-powered equipment. It takes “oil energy” to make “alternative energy.” Alternative energy, in other words, is always riding on the back of a vast fossil-fuel civilization.

The use of unconventional oil (shale deposits, tar sands, heavy oil) poses several problems besides that of net energy. Large quantities of natural gas and water are needed to process the oil from these unconventional sources. The pollution problems are considerable, and it is not certain how much environmental damage the human race is willing to endure. With unconventional oil we are, almost literally, scraping the bottom of the barrel.

More exotic forms of alternative energy are plagued with even greater problems (Youngquist, 2000, October). Fuel cells cannot be made practical because such devices require hydrogen obtained by the use of fossil fuels (coal or natural gas), if we exclude designs that will never escape the realm of science fiction; if fuel cells ever became popular, the fossil fuels they require would be consumed even faster than they are now.

Biomass energy (from corn or wood, for example) requires impossibly large amounts of land and still results in insufficient quantities of net energy, perhaps even negative quantities. Wind and geothermal power are only effective in certain areas and for certain purposes. Hydroelectric dams are reaching their practical limits. Nuclear power will soon be suffering from a lack of fuel and is already creating serious environmental dangers
The current favorite for alternative energy is solar power, but it has no practicality on a large scale. There is a great deal of solar energy reaching the Earth, but it is too diffused to be of much value. A good analogy to that diffusiveness, and in fact a somewhat related problem, is that metals have been of use to humankind only because they were found in concentrated deposits.

Proponents of solar energy must therefore close their eyes to all questions of scale. The world’s deserts have an area of 36 million square kilometers, and the solar energy they receive annually is 300,000 exajoules (EJ), which is a typical 11 percent electrical-conversion rate would result in 33,000 EJ (Kines, 2006). Annual global energy consumption in 2005 was approximately 500 EJ. To meet the world’s present energy needs by using thermal solar power, then, we would need an array (or an equivalent number of smaller ones) with a size of 500/33,000 x 36 million square kilometers, which is about 550,000 square kilometers—a machine the size of France. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials—a self-defeating process. Solar power will therefore do little to solve the world’s energy problems.

The quest for alternative sources of energy is not merely illusory; it is actually harmful. By daydreaming of a noiseless and odorless utopia of windmills and solar panels, we are reducing the effectiveness of whatever serious information is now being published. When news articles claim that there are simply painless solutions to the oil crisis, the reader’s response in not awareness but drowsiness. We are rapidly heading toward the greatest disaster in history, but we are indulging in escapist fantasies. All talk of alternative energy is just a way of evading the real issue: that the Industrial Age is over.

Petroleum, unfortunately, is the perfect fuel and nothing else ever comes close. The problem with the various flying pigs of alternative energy (as in “when pigs can fly”) is not that we have to wait for scientists to perfect the technology the problem is that the pig idea is not a good one in the first place. To maintain an industrial civilization, it’s either oil or nothing.

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936 Responses to Jean Laherrere’s Bakken Update

  1. HR says:

    Ron
    The environmentalists heads will explode over this one. But you are right.
    Cheers

    • cytochrome C says:

      “Sacred cows make the best hamburger.”
      — Abbie Hoffman

      • Fred Magyar says:

        LOL!

        Perhaps we’ll just have to make due with manna from heaven…

        Look, over there! A really really dark cloud and an infernal buzzing, OMG! it is a gigantic swarm of locusts, we are doomed they will eat all our crops!

        When Life Gives You Locusts, Make Locust Pizza!

        http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/04/when-life-gives-you-locusts-make-locust-pizza.html

        Yeah, I’ve heard all the arguments about why renewables will never work… and I agree that they won’t support BAU. My postition is that the BAU is why renewables aren’t working and that is NOT a problem with renewables, it’s a problem with BAU.

        Kinda like there was no way that heavier than air machines could ever fly, then along come those two ignorant bicycle mechanics and WTF?! Disruption and a totally new paradigm…

        Renewables work perfectly well for those that are willing to learn how to live with them. What isn’t working anymore is the old world made of oil!

        • Kinda like there was no way that heavier than air machines could ever fly, then along come those two ignorant bicycle mechanics and WTF?! Disruption and a totally new paradigm…

          Fred, I would have thought that a man of your intelligence would realize that is not a valid argument. Far from it. You could make the same argument about every pie in the sky scheme that has ever come down the pike. You could make the same argument about every free energy machine ever dreamed up.

          A few years ago everyone and their brother though the “flying car” would be in everyone’s driveway by the turn of the century. Here is the argument:

          Tom: Flying cars are the wave of the future.

          Bill: Nonsense, there will never be flying cars, too impractical, too expensive and too many economic problems.

          Tom: Yeah, that’s what they told those two bicycle mechanics who invented the first flying machine.

          But Fred, every time someone brings up doubts about renewables being able to replace fossil fuels at least a dozen people post something to the effect: “Yeah that what they said about cars replacing horses, oil replacing wood or some other bullshit argument.

          That is not an argument!Well, that is unless you include every invention or idea that did not work, like the flying car, or free energy machine, or solving the population problem by migrating to other planets, or…..

          • Fred Magyar says:

            Hey Ron I was just trying to make a point that disruption of old paradigms does indeed happen. I could have used lot’s of other examples.

            Otherwise I do mostly agree with you and I’m not overly optimistic about our prospects. The only thing I’m 100% sure about is that the old paradigm isn’t working now and it sure as hell ain’t going to keep anything going down the road.

            If we have any chance at all it will be with the so called alternatives. May or may not happen but we’ll find out, probably sooner than later.

            • gwalke says:

              It’s important to note that plenty of previous ‘BAU’s had to die before the current one existed. Ending BAU doesn’t (necessarily) mean apocalypse. Really, it’s all contained in that last sentence: “to maintain an industrial civilisation, it’s oil or nothing.” You might also say (talking loosely) “to maintain an agrarian feudal society, it’s oxen or nothing.”

              • Fred Magyar says:

                Really, it’s all contained in that last sentence: “to maintain an industrial civilisation, it’s oil or nothing.”

                looks like it’s nothing solar after all. At least that’s the latest from those hippie, watermelon types, over at the Wall Street Journal.

                http://www.wsj.com/articles/next-texas-energy-boom-solar-1440149400

                By RUSSELL GOLD
                Aug. 21, 2015 5:30 a.m. ET
                432 COMMENTS

                FORT STOCKTON, Texas—A new energy boom is taking shape in the oil fields of west Texas, but it’s not what you think. It’s solar.

                Solar power has gotten so cheap to produce—and so competitively priced in the electricity market—that it is taking hold even in a state that, unlike California, doesn’t offer incentives to utilities to buy or build sun-powered generation.

                Look ma, no incentives and we’re still going with solar because it is cheaper!

        • Boomer II says:

          Yeah, I’ve heard all the arguments about why renewables will never work… and I agree that they won’t support BAU. My postition is that the BAU is why renewables aren’t working and that is NOT a problem with renewables, it’s a problem with BAU.

          A great way to phrase it.

        • TechGuy says:

          Fred Wrote:
          “I agree that they won’t support BAU. My postition is that the BAU is why renewables aren’t working and that is NOT a problem with renewables, it’s a problem with BAU.”

          The problem is that about 4 billion people depend on BAU. When BAU ends, there will be an enourmous amount of very unhappy campers. These angry people will demand gov’t fix it, and gov’t will oblige by making war and taking resources from lands beyond thier borders by force. We haven’t peak yet, and world is deep in war (hot, civil wars in the middle east) and new cold wars in Asia, Russia, etc.

          Fred also wrote:
          “Renewables work perfectly well for those that are willing to learn how to live with them.”
          For the few that can afford them. There are hundreds of millions in the US alone who can’t afford them. They live in dense urban regions and survive on gov’t subsidies for housing and food. 50 Million Americans are on food subsidies and this number grows by a few million each year. Well over 100M americans are dependant on gov’t subsidies if you include retirees, gov’t workers, etc.

          To complicate matters, the world is dead broke, buried under a mountain of debt, aging populations and unfunded liabilities. This will not end well, and hasn’t been going “well” for several decades. The world survives on ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policy) which is morphing into NIRP (Negative Interest Rate Policy). Once oil production begins it permanent decline it will become increasing difficult to prop up the system. After that, is when you see the next round of neo-Hitlers rise up promising the masses better days in return for less freedom and liberty.

    • Techsan says:

      This “power station the size of France” nonsense is an argument against solar power that I usually hear from fossil fuel proponents.

      In fact, solar PV to power your entire house to American standards, with air conditioning, plus two electric cars, will fit comfortably on the roof of your house.

      I have it on the roof of my house, thoroughly instrumented, and it works.

      • How much battery storage capacity did you install?

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Fernando,

          Why don’t you use some of that high intelligence of yours and do a little research of your own, heck you could even google it! Here’s a typical system that will more than cover most people’s needs. The technology is tried and true!

          http://sunelec.com/pv-systems/hybrid-systems/6KW-Hybrid-System.html

          20 Sonali PV Module 300W – Polycrystalline – ETL to UL1703
          2 XW-MPPT60-150 UL/CSA/CE Charge Controller
          2 Midnight Solar MNPV6 Combiner box
          10 MNEPV15 – 15 Amp 150VDC Single Pole DIN
          10 MC4 Male to MC4 Female 10 AWG PV Wire, 600V, 100′
          2 The MidNite Solar 115V Surge Protector Device
          (MNSPD) is a Type 1 device per UL1449 rev3.
          4 Xantrex AB 5628 160V 60 amp DC Breaker
          1 XW6848-120/240-60 Grid-Tie – Inverter/Charger –
          6800 Watts – 120/240 Vac
          1 Conext XW+ Power Distribution Panel
          1 System Control Panel for SW & XW
          1 XW System Configuration Tool
          24 6 Volt deep cycle – 230 Amp Battery
          2 5 foot battery/inverter cable 4/0
          21 1 foot battery cable 4/0
          4 3 Foot battery Cable 4/0

        • Techsan says:

          I have 12 KWH of batteries (think of the equivalent of 12 large car batteries) in a configuration a lot like the one described by Fred. The batteries cost about $3K and should last around 10 years, or $25 per month. Mostly the batteries are used only in case of a power failure. I sell excess power to the utility ( I have surplus power at the time of peak demand in mid-afternoon, which is good for the utility) and get power back from the grid at night (when there is excess wind power, again good for the utility).

          • travelin_rn says:

            Do you drive an electric vehicle or bike as your primary transportation? I would love to have solar panels on my roof and do what you are doing for electricity genereration.

            • Techsan says:

              Yes. I have a Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. I also ride a bike (usually a road bike) a couple of days per week. I also have electric bikes (Tidalforce M750X), which I highly recommend. The electric bike gets the energy equivalent of over 1000 miles per gallon of gas.

              For the cost of 3 years’ gasoline, you can buy solar panels to power an electric car for the same number of miles per year for the rest of your life. One solar panel (a few hundred dollars) will power an electric bike.

          • I take it you are connected to the grid. In that case your example is irrelevant. How many batteries do you need if you were to be fully independent in December and January?

            • Fred Magyar says:

              Fernando, even to be fully off grid doesn’t mean a ton of batteries, It isn’t hard to figure out how many you need to do what you are asking. There are plenty of on line calculators.
              here’s an example of a fully off grid system!

              7380 Watt Off-Grid System

              Dollars Per Watt = $1.94/Watt

              QUANTITY DESCRIPTION UNIT PRICE AMOUNT
              18 SUN-HE 435W 278.40 $5,011.00
              32 Sun 230 Batteries 89.00 $2,848.00
              24 1 Foot Battery Cable 2/0 7.00 $168.00
              9 MC4 50′ 40.00 $360.00
              2 Midnite Classic 200 575.00 $1,050.00
              2 VFX 3648 1800.00 $3,600.00
              2 BC5 2/0 Inverter Cables 35.00 $70.00
              1 MNDC 250 175.00 $175.00
              1 MATE3 400.00 $400.00
              1 HUB10 Communication Device 300.00 $300.00
              1 FW-CCB2 50.00 $50.00
              1 FWPV-12 160.00 $160.00
              1 FW-MB3 (mounting bracket for MATE3) 40.00 $40.00
              9 Fuses and Holders 13.00 $117.00

              Total $14,349.00

              FYI, the battery banks are not as big deal as you seem to think they are. In a home it’s OK if they are a little bit bulky and heavy. They really do work!

              • Im more concerned with system performance in December and January. I don’t think a disconnected solar system makes any sense at all, and your emphasis on the shopping list tells me you are just a solar power sales agent.

          • Nick G says:

            It’s an interesting question, but irrelevant to the question of systemic grid costs.

            Yes, I know, other people brought up household battery systems, but they’re just illustrative, not directly useful for an analysis of the grid.

      • TechGuy says:

        Techsan,
        “In fact, solar PV to power your entire house to American standards, with air conditioning, plus two electric cars, will fit comfortably on the roof of your house.”

        Average American household uses about 30Kwh. Not all americans live in a home with a white pickett fence. The majority of americans live in rented apartments, multifamily homes or condos. I would like to see a high rise apartment run off just PVs installed on roof top.
        Few factories and commercial business could run off solar. Without factories and business, there are no jobs. The majority of western jobs are dependent of low cost fossil fuels (Not just electricity, but Agraculture, industrial, manufacturing, transportation, etc).

        • Techsan says:

          I think running off PV is much more feasible than you seem to think.

          Apartments use a lot less energy than houses, since they share walls and eliminate that energy loss; that is why New York has some of the lowest per capita energy consumption in the country. High rises can have solar on walls, not just roof.

          Factories and warehouses have lots of flat roof space, and in California many of them are putting solar on it. And then there is parking: what an incredible waste of space! Put solar carports over the parking spaces, and that can re-charge EV’s as well as power the factory. One parking space has space for 2 KW of PV.

        • Ed says:

          TechGuy. I like all your comments but could you be more careful. You meant 30 kWh per day. This figure is just for electricity in the home. Electric cars use considerably more energy depending on the miles driven.

          The average American uses between 200 and 250 kWh/day. This figure includes everything including the energy embedded in your gadgets like phones, computers etc.

          1kWh/day is enough energy to run a 40W light bulb all day.

          Anyone wanting to quantify energy usage, the best book without doubt (available free online) is http://www.withouthotair.com

          • Techsan says:

            http://www.eia.gov/electricity says that US electricity generation in June 2015 was 361,698 thousand MWh, which works out to 37.8 KWh per person per day.

            That is a lot less than the number you quote, which presumably includes lots of fossil fuels, much of it used for wasteful and unnecessary purposes.

            This amount (37.8 KWh/day) can be generated by 10 KW of solar (less in areas with good sun) occupying 60 square meters (650 square feet) of area per person. Not an undoable amount. An electric car takes about 2 KW of panels for 32 miles/day of driving.

            • Bob Nickson says:

              To put a visual context to that 2kW’s of panels, here is a 2.4kW array superimposed over an F150.

              The area needed to power an electric car is basically less than the roof area needed to cover it.

            • Nick G says:

              Probably only about half of that electrical consumption is residential. The rest would be industrial/commercial/government/etc.

            • Ed says:

              That sounds just about right for electricity generation. The figure of 200 to 250 kWh/day of energy usage per person that I quoted included everything. ie car and air travel, heating and cooking, manufacturing and transporting stuff, military etc.

            • I guess we can close hospitals and street lights at 6 pm in winter time.

              • Nick G says:

                Sure, if you were planning to run your grid without wind power, hydro, nuclear, biomass, storage, or synthetic fuels of any kind.

                Sheesh.

  2. cytochrome C says:

    “The marriage of reason & nightmare which has dominated the 20th century has given birth to an ever more ambiguous world. Across the communications landscape move the specters of sinister technologies & the dreams that money can buy.

    Thermonuclear weapons systems & soft drink commercials coexist in an overlit realm ruled by advertising & pseudoevents, science & pornography…[culminating] in the most terrifying casualty of the century: the death of affect…”

    — J.G. Ballard

  3. Don Wharton says:

    Oh Geez! Some dingbat computes that we will need an area much less than one half of one percent of the world’s land mass and some people imagine that this is a problem? Puleeeze!

    Yes, yes we will need do a bit of research and engineering. But we certainly do not need to scare ourselves with the absurd fantasy that “To maintain an industrial civilization, it’s either oil or nothing.”

    • No, all you must do is dream up something better than oil. Dream on!

      • Brian Rose says:

        Really don’t alternatives have to expand at equal rate to the decline of net energy of oil?

        In 100 years there will still be 20 mbpd pumped. There will also be nuclear, geothermal, nat gas, hydro, and tidal.

        It’s not about replacing oil in 10 years. It is about matching the net energy decline with a combo of efficiency and increasing renewable capacity.

        No one here thinks the path will be full of rainbows and butterflys. To this day I’m amazed the financial system didn’t collapse and stop a transition then and there in 2008.

        The biggest increases in efficiency will likely be through poverty. Billions of people being prices out of the market. Not all at once, but in a trendline marked by punctuated events the public will refer to as recessions, wage stagnation, inflation, work force participation, car ownership rates, etc.

        I think “The Long Descent” is prescient in how it frames our psychology. We envision the future as this rapid process. Then we live it over decades and the magnitude of events is diluted by how dullingly, boringly LONG it takes for trends to play out on the macro level.

        My guess is the next 20 years will look a bit like the last 20. People get ever more crunched. Energy intense lifestyles become harder to maintain. Severe economic crises erupt to bring the next leg down in average living standards.

        But at the same time, solar WILL continue to get cheaper. EVs WILL grow in popularity. Autonomous taxi services WILL exist that eliminate the very concept of car ownership – which means we need not replace 1 billion ICEs with 1 billion EVs due to changes in utilization. 1 billion ICEs can be replaced by 100 million EVs, which changes the entire equation.

        It will be the best of times, it will be the worst of times. It will be the Summer of… Well you get the point: doom will unfold in many ways, but transition will progress as well. Both perspectives are correct together; both are also patently false if they’re used to deny the reality of the other.

        • Boomer II says:

          The biggest increases in efficiency will likely be through poverty. Billions of people being prices out of the market. Not all at once, but in a trendline marked by punctuated events the public will refer to as recessions, wage stagnation, inflation, work force participation, car ownership rates, etc.

          I totally agree. Now some might argue that it doesn’t have to be this way, but the trends I see have us headed toward even more income inequality. Rather than finding ways to include more people in the wealth, we are finding ways to enrich a few at the expense of the rest.

          That’s a big reason why I find concern about alternative energy affecting lifestyles to be misplaced. The lifestyles are being affected already, through economic forces.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Boomer,

            The story is relatively simple.

            Why has income inequality become worse? In the US, it was the Reagan revolution that started it. The conservatives were able to reverse much of what was accomplished during the Great Depression by reducing tax rates of the wealthy. Though it could be argued that various tax shelters had been eroding tax rates on the very wealthy long before 1980.

            When another Great Depression arrives hopefully the crisis will result in tax rates being raised on the wealthy and an elimination of all tax shelters. A very simple progressive tax code could be enacted with all income (including interest, capital gains, and dividends) treated equally, along with an estate tax of 50% on all inherited wealth over one million US dollars (2015$) adjusted for inflation over time. Also the income tax deduction for mortgage interest would not include second homes and would be limited to $60,000 (2015$) adjusted for inflation over time.
            Maybe tax rates could remain about where they are with a new tax bracket above $750,000(2015$) taxed at 50% and the other changes above.

            If we see Great Depression 2 by 2030, we might see such legislation by 2035, over time the income distribution might revert to something like 1960 in the US, not perfect, but better than today.

            • MarbleZeppelin says:

              The US has the largest GDP of any country and it is just barely second in the world in manufacturing. However, the corporations that use everything here only pay 10 percent of the federal income tax and they now have citizen privileges. Citizens get taxed on their gross income, corporations only on their “profits”. We need to raise the taxes on corporations not the private citizen. The corporations have too many loopholes and tax subsidies, while the citizens pay for all the infrastructure they use as well as put up with their pollution, traffic and land take-overs. The corporations are getting way too much of a free ride.

              Back in the 1950’s they paid over 25 % of the income tax. Now they pay about 10 percent. Payroll taxes have grown considerably since the 1950’s.
              Since 1980, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, inflation-adjusted gross domestic product has risen 149%, while inflation-adjusted corporate tax receipts were 84.5% higher in fiscal 2014 than in 1980. So the tax rate on big corporations is decreasing with time.
              Funny how with a GDP of almost 17 trillion corporate income taxes are on the order of 300 billion (less than 2 percent).

              Is this what is meant by a kinder and gentler nation? Kinder and gentler to the big money corps.

              • Glenn Stehle says:

                Here’s a graph from a congressional study, “PRESENT LAW AND HISTORICAL OVERVIEW “OF THE FEDERAL TAX SYSTEM,” which helps illustrate what you are talking about.

                http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/legislation/upload/x-1-11.pdf

                So how much of US’s dysfunctional political and economic system is caused by peak oil, and how much by other factors?

                Would the US’s political and economic system be dysfunctional, even in the absence of peak oil?

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              Dennis Coyne says:

              The story is relatively simple.

              Why has income inequality become worse? In the US, it was the Reagan revolution that started it. The conservatives were able to reverse much of what was accomplished during the Great Depression by reducing tax rates of the wealthy. Though it could be argued that various tax shelters had been eroding tax rates on the very wealthy long before 1980.

              Well I’m not sure how simple the story is, but if I were to have to pick a particular watershed moment when the United States decided to take the road to perdition, I would say it came before Reagan’s presidency.

              Even though the graph below partially bears out what you say, I would put the time when the transformation from productive capitalism to finance capitalism began in serious during the administration of Nixon. As Nixon joked: “We’re all Keynesians now.” Keynes would have rolled over in his grave at Nixon’s debauchery of his economic philosophy.

              Since Nixon, every successive president, regardless of which side of the aisle he came from, has followed in Nixon’s footsteps. It was, after all, Carter who appointed Volcker as Fed chair. It was, after all, Carter who crafted the Carter Doctrine which fully militarized US energy policy. It was, after all, Carter who signed the presidential finding to help the Mujahideen, which made him the first president to use Islamic fundamentalism against the Soviets. ( Talk about a decision with some serious blowback!)

              Financial capitalism is like a cancer which slowly grows until it finally devours and kills its host.

              In the United States, this cancer has been slowly growing since 1971.

              • Glenn Stehle says:

                Congress enacted an income tax in October 1913 as part of the Revenue Act of 1913, levying a 1% tax on net personal incomes above $3,000, with a 6% surtax on incomes above $500,000. By 1918, the top rate of the income tax was increased to 77% (on income over $1,000,000, equivalent of 15,300,000 in 2012 dollars[20]) to finance World War I. The top marginal tax rate was reduced to 58% in 1922, to 25% in 1925 and finally to 24% in 1929. In 1932 the top marginal tax rate was increased to 63% during the Great Depression and steadily increased, reaching 94% (on all income over $200,000, equivalent of 2,500,000 in 2012 dollars[22])in 1945.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_history_of_the_United_States

              • Allowing a bunch of illegal aliens into the country sure didn’t help. They cause labor oversupply in the lower end of the wage scale. This is the reason why Bush Jr allowed so many illegals to come in.

                • Glenn Stehle says:

                  The labor unions seem to have a very different set of ideas and priorities than Donald Trump does. They are interested in protecting the rights of all working people, regardless of their immigration status.

                  Here’s what the AFL-CIO has to say about immigration on their webpage:

                  For far too long, our broken immigration system has allowed employers to drive down wages and working conditions in our country. The brunt of the impact has been born by immigrant workers, who face the highest rates of wage theft, sexual harassment, and death and injury on the job. But our entire workforce suffers when we allow standards to erode as millions of workers struggle to support their families without the status to assert their rights.

                  Fixing our broken system in a way that is consistent with labor’s framework for comprehensive immigration reform will remain a core priority of the AFL-CIO, despite disgraceful setbacks in federal legislative efforts.

                  In the meantime, the president has clear legal authority to grant temporary relief to a broad class of workers, and we applaud his recent executive actions that will allow millions of people to live and work without fear. This is an important step toward rational and humane enforcement of our immigration laws, and will help prevent employers from using the threat of deportation as a weapon to keep workers from asserting their rights or enforcing standards on the job.

                  AFL-CIO Says No to Racism and Scapegoating of Immigrants

                  AFL-CIO opposes enforcement-only strategies that criminalize immigrant workers and their families and instead will continue to call for comprehensive reform legislation, as well as measures at the local, state and federal level that strengthen due process protections for all workers, regardless of immigration status.

                  http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Immigration

                  • This shows the AFL CIO is run by the mafia, I guess. A labor leader looking for what’s good for workers will oppose the free flow of illegals.

                    It’s also interesting to see how commies tend to favor illegals. I guess they want them to become citizens, get the vote, and help them screw the country because they’ll tend to be poor, ignorant,many buy the bullshit about income redistribution.

                  • Nick G says:

                    A labor leader looking for what’s good for workers will oppose the free flow of illegals.

                    Read it more carefully. They didn’t say anything supporting the “free flow of illegals”.

              • wharf rat says:

                “if I were to have to pick a particular watershed moment when the United States decided to take the road to perdition, I would say it came before Reagan’s presidency.”

                Yeah; it happened the day I turned 29. I’m not sure we made a decision to go down the road, since it was thrust upon us.

                In response to American aid to Israel, on October 16, 1973, OPEC raised the posted price of oil by 70%, to $5.11 a barrel.[13] The following day, oil ministers agreed to the embargo, a cut in production by five percent from September’s output and to continue to cut production in five percent increments until their economic and political objectives were met.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis

                Here’s where we did make The Decision..

                “Your President Jimmy Carter was the first politician to promote an industrial revolution with renewables,” Fell said when we met in his Berlin office in April. “I looked to the USA in the 1970s. There was wind power in California and solar power on the White House. I thought, ‘Oh, this is wonderful! Why can’t we have this in Germany?'”

                For a time, the United States led the world in developing renewable energy. At one point the Carter administration’s Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) made the dream of a renewable energy economy so real that it set off alarms in the oil-rich countries of the Middle East.

                “The big powers are seriously trying to find alternatives to oil by seeking to draw energy from the sun,” Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Yamani warned his colleagues. “We hope to God they will not succeed quickly because our position in that case will be painful.”

                Four years later, Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan. The new administration considered SERI a prime example of what it derided as “solar socialism.” The budget of the world’s leading solar institute was slashed and before long it was back to (oil) business as usual.

                As Fell tells it: “Reagan said, ‘Go away with this shit of renewables.’ And that was that.”
                http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-23/can-the-u-s-create-its-own-german-style-energy-revolution-.html

                • ezrydermike says:

                  I had dreams of Golden, CO, but by the time I finished my undergraduate studies, 1982, that dream had to change. Talk about forks in the road.

                • Nick G says:

                  I have heard that that the California Republicans that recruited Reagan in 1964 had a lot of oil money backing them, but I haven’t seen evidence (I haven’t really looked). Of course, he did choose an oil guy as his VP.

                  Seen any??

                  • T. G. Neason says:

                    “I have heard that that the California Republicans that recruited Reagan in 1964 had a lot of oil money backing them, but I haven’t seen evidence (I haven’t really looked). Of course, he did choose an oil guy as his VP.”

                    Bullshit!

                    I send people to this site for enlightment!

                    They read comments such as this and say why bother.

                    You lose, I lose, l every body loses.

                    Stick to your irrational obsession with EV transportation

                  • Nick G says:

                    I can’t help it if conservatives are turned off by some ideas.

                    There’s no question that Reagan was recruited by an organized group of people. Reagan was an ex-actor and General Electric public relations guy – he didn’t come to the 1964 Republican convention by accident.

                    If you have strong ideas about the type of people who recruited Reagan, provide evidence for them.

        • Paulo says:

          Brian Rose,

          Best comment and post I have read in a long time. Thanks.

          Mind you, an economic maelstrom makes it all moot. If how we trade and exchange becomes more chaotic and corrupt all bets are off.

          It may be Human Nature that destroys BAU, not Nature (limits), itself.

          regards

          • It may be Human Nature that destroys BAU, not Nature (limits), itself.

            That statement is a little nebulous. Human nature is part of nature. It is human nature to multiply our numbers to the limit of our existence. Our brain power has given us such an advantage over other species that we are literally wiping them from the face of the earth.

            We are a plague species. We are wiping out all other species. We are destroying the earth natural ecosystem. It is all a natural process. It is all part of nature.

            • Nick G says:

              It is human nature to multiply our numbers to the limit of our existence.

              Ron, we’ve been through this. Humans are not multiplying to the limits of our existence. Fertility rates in most of the world are below the replacement rate, and rates are plummeting in almost all of the rest.

              Now, you can still argue that we raised our population above the level that’s sustainable before we started to reduce fertility, but that’s a whole different argument.

              Humanity is indeed smart enough to stop population growth – that’s very, very clear.

              • Humans have already multiplied to the limit of their existence. 7.3 billion is way, way above what the earth can sustain long term. And the population has not stopped growing.

                Population in the world is currently (as of 2015-2016) growing at a rate of around 1.13% per year. The average population change is currently estimated at around 80 million per year. Annual growth rate reached its peak in the late 1960s, when it was at 2% and above.

                Humanity was not smart enough to stop population growth in time to prevent ecological collapse. It has already started and is way past the point of no return. It is detailed here:

                http://www.desdemonadespair.net/

                • Nick G says:

                  Ron,

                  You gotta be more specific. A collection of articles about problems in the world doesn’t tell us much.

                  I certainly agree that Climate Change is a very serious problem. But.. guaranteed (or even likely) to cause the collapse of civilization? I don’t see evidence for that.

                  • wiseindian says:

                    That’s my problem with the ‘everything will collapse’ meme. It’s so generic it’s useless, the devil is in the details.

                  • Alexander Ac says:

                    Hi Nick,

                    its actually first time I hear that people are smart enough “not” to multiply in order to avoid collapse in the future 🙂

                    Fertiliztion rates in Western countries is falling for objective purposes. High debt loads, increasing stress from the future, unability to keep current living standards, etc., all signs of limits to growth.

                    And, as Ron points, population is still rising at a terrible rate, though not at a ultra-terrible rate as decades ago.

                    Now, “collapse” is a too generous word, but hint of how it will progress are all around us (is Europe migrant crisis not good example?) See also e.g. this:

                    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/society-will-collapse-by-2040-due-to-catastrophic-food-shortages-says-study-10336406.html

                    Alex

                  • Nick G says:

                    its actually first time I hear that people are smart enough “not” to multiply in order to avoid collapse in the future 🙂

                    That’s not the question that we’re debating. The classic malthusian argument is that humans multiply until they’re stopped by environmental limits (usually rising deathrates due to food limits).

                    That’s not what happened. The people in OECD countries, and elsewhere, that are consciously choosing to reduce their fertility, are not doing it because of poverty. And death rates are falling.

                    Fertiliztion rates in Western countries is falling for objective purposes. High debt loads, increasing stress from the future, unability to keep current living standards, etc., all signs of limits to growth.

                    Women everywhere are better fed, better educated, and have careers that they like better than child rearing. They just don’t like having big families.

                    The only places where fertility hasn’t dropped like a rock are those where women are forced to stay in the home and have children.

              • FalloutMonkey says:

                Just because fertility rates are decreasing in some parts of the world for a limited amount of time does not mean that we won’t multiply to the limit in the long run. Population dynamics are complex, hardly predictable over an extended period of time, and upward shifts in birth rates can occur very quickly. E.g. the population numbers of France hovered around the 40 mio. mark for about five decades, before a massive baby boom set in after WWII.

                Furthermore, what is currently happening in the industrialised world, that the reproduction rate is falling below replacement levels, is an aberration in the history of mankind and it is to be assumed that it will eventually be corrected, because the genetic wiring of all species forces them to produce overshoot to compensate the unavoidable losses caused by predators, diseases, natural disasters, and your occasional cataclysmic event.

                Anyway, the decrease in the fertility rate is actually a red herring when it comes to sustainability, as it is quite irrelevant if the 80 mio. more mouths we have to feed every year are the result of a fertility rate of 5, or 2.5. The resources necessary to keep them alive are the same either way. Also it is not to be expected that the trend of the last few decades will extend indefinitely into the future and global fertility rate will eventually fall below 2. As a matter of fact it seems to be bottoming out already at around 2.5 and that still amounts to an increase in population numbers.

                Humanity is indeed smart enough to stop population growth – that’s very, very clear.

                Your statement sounds as if “humanity” has consciously decided to stop reproducing over the replacement rate, which isn’t the case at all. The only country where such a deliberate decision in favour of population control was made and that was able to enforce it against the will of its citizens was China, and instead of patting it on the head for such a wise decision it was severely criticised by the so-called “civilised” world for restricting the freedom of its people. In all other instances the falling birth rates were merely a side-effect of some very specific and historically unique circumstances, all of which are swiftly reversible. To make matters worse, in many countries where birth rates are getting near or below replacement levels governments are desparately trying to encourage their flock to multiply. So, your claim that humanity is smart enough to stop population growth is pure humbug.

                • Nick G says:

                  See my comment just above.

                  Talk to women around the world. They’re not going back to the bad old days, when they were baby factories.

                  • FalloutMonkey says:

                    Cultures are not fixed entities, they change over time, and history is abound with examples of liberal societies being replaced with more conservative ones, and the other way round. Also, education and women’s rights are not irreversible.

                    The people in OECD countries, and elsewhere, that are consciously choosing to reduce their fertility, are not doing it because of poverty.

                    This is far from the truth. At least in the country I live children are a significant risk for poverty and women decide against them, because of their financial burden and out of fear they could significantly hamper their career. The time when a single income was enough to afford a decent life for a family is over for a large part of the population, so what they are facing is the choice of career or children, and many simply choose the former over the latter. It is to be seen what would happen, if women ceased to have a career to pursue due to a lack of available jobs.

                    Fear of an overpopulated world, on the other hand, certainly doesn’t play much of a role in this, so if population growth is stalling in some parts of the world, it is not due to our cleverness, or the result of a deliberate decision by humanity as a whole, no, it’s just happening thanks to some temporary reasons that are influencing people on an individual level.

                    Furthermore, the fact that population is not growing as much in OECD countries is not that relevant in a globalised world. The only thing that matters is what is going on in the entirety of the system, and there human population is still growing at a grotesque speed.

                    Talk to women around the world. They’re not going back to the bad old days, when they were baby factories.

                    Just because it may seem so today, doesn’t mean it will stay that way tomorrow. No species can escape its most fundamental genetic programming forever, not even the smart monkey.

                  • Nick G says:

                    education and women’s rights are not irreversible.

                    Them’s fightin’ words!

                    women decide against them…out of fear they could significantly hamper their career.

                    Nuff’ said.

                    The time when a single income was enough to afford a decent life for a family is over for a large part of the population,

                    Single incomes haven’t fallen over the last 60 years. Family incomes have risen sharply, and the overall household workload of career and child-raising hasn’t risen.

                    Instead, expectations have risen, and career has taken greater priority over children.

                    Fear of an overpopulated world, on the other hand, certainly doesn’t play much of a role in this

                    Sure. People just aren’t making children, especially more than two children, a priority.

                    The only thing that matters is what is going on in the entirety of the system, and there human population is still growing at a grotesque speed.

                    No. OVerall global growth is slowing down, and is substantially lower than before. Fertility rates are plummeting almost everywhere. The exceptions are those that force women to bear children.

                    No species can escape its most fundamental genetic programming forever

                    That’s an assumption, and given how low child bearing has become as a priority for all women who have a choice, obviously an incorrect one.

                    Of course, that leaves a question about men’s genetic programming in places like Saudi Arabia. Well, we have a nice test case in Iran, next door. They’re Muslim, and pretty similar genetically to Saudi’s, but their fertility has plunged, due to a different cultural history.

                  • FalloutMonkey says:

                    Them’s fightin’ words!

                    Why? You want to contest that? Do you really think women’s rights can only develop in one direction?

                    Nuff’ said.

                    Deliberately or not, I suppose you are misunderstanding what I am trying to say here. For women children are often a liability when they are trying to get and keep a (decent) job, so many of them do not decide against producing offspring, because they don’t want any, but because of an unfavourable work environment. Also, being a single mother is a major poverty risk, so who would decide to have multiple children under the given circumstances?

                    overall household workload of career and child-raising hasn’t risen.

                    Then why is the reconciliation of work and family life such a major issue in many countries?

                    Sure. People just aren’t making children, especially more than two children, a priority.

                    Yes, but that has little to do with humanity being smart and stopping population growth, but a lot with children being seen as a detriment.

                    OVerall global growth is slowing down, and is substantially lower than before.

                    So what? Are you of the opinion this trend will go on forever? If so, why? As I said, fertility rates are already bottoming out and can quickly soar as soon as a few underlying factors change and make childbearing more “attractive.” Also, a population growth of 80 mio. people every year is not insane to you?

                    That’s an assumption, and given how low child bearing has become as a priority for all women who have a choice, obviously an incorrect one.

                    Yes, I suppose it’s absolutely logical to ignore humanities history of several hundred thousand years and assume that the last 60 years have set the precedent for the remainder of its existence. I hope it did not elude you that from a historical point of view we are living the exception and not the rule.

                    Of course, that leaves a question about men’s genetic programming in places like Saudi Arabia.

                    Why would that be of any interest? Variations on an individual level aside, humans around the globe don’t differ in any way on such a basic genetical level. The production of overshoot is an evolutionary necessity, so it must be engrained in the genetic code of every species, if they don’t want to face swift extinction. Yes, this can be handled more leniently during extended periods of stability and affluence (why put too much energy in reproduction if your offspring has a very high chance of survival), and cultural influences can temporarily counter biological forces, but all the good times eventually end and all cultures eventually collapse, and that is when biology takes over again.

                    Well, we have a nice test case in Iran, next door. They’re Muslim, and pretty similar genetically to Saudi’s, but their fertility has plunged, due to a different cultural history.

                    And that proves exactly what? I never denied that culture can have an influence on people’s behaviour, only that this will last forever. Also Iran is really not the best example when it comes to stopping population growth.

                    Population of Iran
                    Amnesty decries Iran draft law to boost population

                  • Nick G says:

                    Them’s fightin’ words! – Why? You want to contest that?

                    I know a lot of women who’d fight to the death to avoid going back to those dark ages.

                    For women children are often a liability when they are trying to get and keep a (decent) job

                    Yes. It’s a matter of priorities, and those have shifted.

                    being a single mother is a major poverty risk, so who would decide to have multiple children under the given circumstances?

                    Yes, once you get off the farm kids are an economic liability. That seems unlikely to change.

                    why is the reconciliation of work and family life such a major issue in many countries?

                    Expectations have risen. 100 years ago no one expected women to even attempt to “have it all”.

                    that has little to do with humanity being smart and stopping population growth,

                    I’m not arguing that humanity had a cosmic epiphany about ZPG. I’m arguing that billions of individuals have decided that they wanted fewer kids.

                    Are you of the opinion this trend will go on forever?

                    Of course. There’s no sign of women going back to the dark ages. It’s the other direction: they’re getting more education and freedom.

                    fertility rates are already bottoming out

                    Not really. Maybe in places in Japan, where the fertility rate is 1.3. But not in developing countries like India.

                    assume that the last 60 years have set the precedent for the remainder of its existence.

                    Yes, with a little luck, contraceptives will be produced the remainder of humanity’s existence.

                    The production of overshoot is an evolutionary necessity

                    No. Sex is a basic drive, caused by evolutionary necessity. Large families…not so much.

                    all cultures eventually collapse, and that is when biology takes over again.

                    Yowza. Yes, I suppose if we get to Mad Max, we might need more kids to replace people who get run over.

                  • FalloutMonkey says:

                    I know a lot of women who’d fight to the death to avoid going back to those dark ages.

                    And there are enough men who’d be willing to fulfill their death wish, if they refused to take up a subordinate role, so this is really a moot argument. You could as well say, there are a lot of people who’d fight to the death to avoid going into to slavery, but that does not mean the end of slavery, it just means that a lot of people would die if slavery made a return.

                    But that is beside the point, what I want to say here is that societies change and with them people’s role in it. In today’s western society women are needed to facilitate economic growth, but should that change they will be among the first to drop out of the workforce and eventually will be pushed back into more traditional roles.

                    Yes. It’s a matter of priorities, and those have shifted.

                    My point here is that you have flat out denied that poverty plays a role in people’s refusal to have kids, and that’s just wrong.

                    Yes, once you get off the farm kids are an economic liability. That seems unlikely to change.

                    Because urbanisation is a one way street and a reversal of that process is in the realm of the unthinkable? Cities are resource hogs, they will not survive in an increasingly resource-contrained world.

                    Expectations have risen.

                    No doubt, they did. But so did necessary expenditures and the demands of the employment market.

                    100 years ago no one expected women to even attempt to “have it all”.

                    That could as well be said about men, because “having it all” was reserved for a rather small part of the population back then, whereas a significant portion lived under quite destitute conditions. On the other hand, 50 years ago no one expected a married woman to go to work, because everybody assumed that a man’s salary should suffice to properly feed his family.

                    I’m not arguing that humanity had a cosmic epiphany about ZPG.

                    I never talked about “a cosmic epiphany.” But I am sorry if I misunderstood your statement that “Humanity is indeed smart enough to stop population growth” to mean that humanity consciously decided to stop population growth after evaluating the facts and coming to the conclusion that breeding uncontrollably is a bad idea, instead of your intended meaning that a number of individuals has found children to be an annoyance in their pursuit of happiness.

                    Of course. There’s no sign of women going back to the dark ages. It’s the other direction: they’re getting more education and freedom.

                    As if the lack of signs today would be any indication for developments decades in the future. In 1980 few would’ve expected the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union to break apart, on June 27, 1914 few would’ve thought that a major war was imminent in Europe, in 2000 there were absolutely no signs for the Arab Spring, or the rise of ISIL, on the morning of April 14, 1912 nobody considered it likely that the Titanic would sink. You see, history is full of surprises, and the only thing it teaches us is that nothing lasts forever, and that is true especially for massive deviations from the natural order.

                    So, thinking that women’s rights can only develop in one direction is like believing that in democracies participation and influence of the people can only increase – it’s completely foolish.

                    Not really.

                    Yeah, not really.

                    Yes, with a little luck, contraceptives will be produced the remainder of humanity’s existence.

                    And Rome will never fall to the barbarians.

                    No. Sex is a basic drive, caused by evolutionary necessity. Large families…not so much.

                    So, you think that a species not reproducing beyond replacement levels is capable of surviving for an extended period of time? Large families are a necessity for survival, because under normal circumstances most offspring dies before reaching adulthood and life is dangerous even for grown ups with death waiting in many forms. There are very few species who can afford a slow reproduction cycle, but even they have to produce more progeny than necessary to replace deaths, because a calamity can strike any time.

                    Yes, I suppose if we get to Mad Max, we might need more kids to replace people who get run over.

                    Who’s talking about “needing more kids?” Not me for sure. But hey, in a Mad Max scenario education and contraception will certainly still be readily available for women to decide how many children they want. Anyway, your strawman aside, throughout history there was a large number of cultures and civilisations that waxed and waned and then went the way of the Dodo. On the other hand there were very few that lasted forever. Actually, I don’t know of any at all, because “forever” is such a long time and hasn’t ended yet. So, your assumption that the current state will be the blueprint for the next, what, hundreds?, thousands of years? is quite presumptuous- especially in the light of the multitude of crises that are already looming on the horizon.

                  • Nick G says:

                    In today’s western society women are needed to facilitate economic growth, but should that change they will be among the first to drop out of the workforce and eventually will be pushed back into more traditional roles.

                    Women could leave the home in large part because refrigerators, freezers, microwaves and stoves reduced food preparation time; washers & dryers reduced clothes washing time; vacuum cleaners reduced cleaning times, etc.

                    Do you expect those to go away?

                    you have flat out denied that poverty plays a role in people’s refusal to have kids, and that’s just wrong.

                    Has poverty gotten worse in the last 60 years? No.

                    Has the risk of falling into poverty gotten worse in the last 60 years? No.

                    Cities are resource hogs, they will not survive in an increasingly resource-contrained world.

                    Cities are far more energy and resource efficient than rural life. They will expand in an increasingly resource-contrained world. Assuming, of course, that we will be living in an an increasingly resource-contrained world: we certainly will have fewer fossil fuels, but that’s not the same thing.

                    t so did necessary expenditures and the demands of the employment market.

                    No. Houses got bigger, cars got faster. You can still live on a 1950’s income, if you’re willing to live a 1950’s lifestyle. Expectations rose.

                    nothing lasts forever, and that is true especially for massive deviations from the natural order.

                    The “natural order”? What the heck is that??

                    not really.

                    I see a slowdown in the decline, but not a “bottoming out”.

                    And Rome will never fall to the barbarians.

                    Rome was an agricultural Ponzi scheme, as agricultural empires always were: when the underlying economic growth rate is .01% per year, an empire can only grow temporarily by stealing from it’s always expanding borders… and then collapse.

                    a species not reproducing beyond replacement levels is capable of surviving for an extended period of time?

                    Yes.

                    a calamity can strike any time.

                    Yes, an asteroid could strike, or methane releases could create a catastrophic positive feedback to climate change.

                    But, I don’t really think we need more than 7B humans in order to have a buffer/reserve in case of calamities. Seriously??

                    throughout history there was a large number of cultures and civilisations that waxed and waned and then went the way of the Dodo. On the other hand there were very few that lasted forever.

                    Of course. Almost all of them didn’t die – they were murdered, by their neighbors. And, of course, we could have another nuclear war – see my comment about calamities above.

              • ngass says:

                ” Fertility rates in most of the world are below the replacement rate….”
                MOST should be read as SOME or FEW. Why then are the United Nations forecasting a population of 9 Billion in 2050?
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projections_of_population_growth

                • old farmer mac says:

                  Population can continue to grow with per woman birth rates below replacement level for two or three generations maybe even longer.

                  EVENTUALLY a birth rate below replacement level starts reducing the population.

                  It’s simple as dirt. You and your spouse have a couple of kids and another mated pair of humans have a couple more kids and your four kids get together and make some MORE kids-BEFORE ANYBODY DIES of old age.

                  Even if you have two daughters who have only ONE child each the population still grows BY TWO until such time as SOMEBODY croaks.

                  That would most likely be YOU , gramps.

                  Getting over this demographic hump is going to take a couple of generations or so, depending on how long the old folks live and at what age the girls have children and precisely how many LESS than about 2.2 on AVERAGE they have.

                  The ”point two” extra kids are necessary to hold population steady long term because a few people for one reason or another never have kids. Some die too young , some are strictly DC , the ones in jail seldom get laid, some people are sterile, etc.

                  • Nick G says:

                    That’s a very good explanation. One small point:

                    The ”point two” extra kids are necessary to hold population steady long term because a few people for one reason or another never have kids

                    The fertility rate is calculated for people of child bearing age. The “point two” accounts for losses of those children who die before they get to that age, and can start reproducing.

            • Stephen Hren says:

              Ron, it’s true that we are destroying the world… BUT, it’s also true that we are conscious of the fact that we are destroying the world and simultaneously trying to do something about it. This is an important, and impressive, distinction. The creation and evolution of life all but ensures that a species would eventually come on the scene with the intelligence and dexterity to manipulate the entire world to its own end. We happen to be that species. Will we wipe out all of life on the planet? Sounds difficult if not impossible, probably not. Will we not kill off anything? Oops, way too late for that….

              Sooo, the answer is somewhere in the middle. There is no perfect dystopia just like there’s no perfect utopia. There won’t just be a loud COLLAPSE and then millennia upon millennia of chronically depressed PTSD humans walking around eating cockroaches and sand fleas after the big die-off. Just as there won’t be ceaseless business as usual with a smooth transition to renewables. Yelling “Collapse is around the corner and there’s nothing we can do about it!” is so 2005. It’s utterly unproductive and smacks of hubris (Finally! someone who can accurately predict the future!) Even if five billion people die next month from some mutated Ebola-MERS super pig flu, we’ll still have to figure this mother fucker out. At some point, by definition, we will get to a sustainable society. What it will look like depends on choices and actions we make now – how we live our lives, what we eat, where we live, who we give our money to, what we do for spiritual fulfillment, what we teach our children.

              • Ron, it’s true that we are destroying the world… BUT, it’s also true that we are conscious of the fact that we are destroying the world and simultaneously trying to do something about it.

                No, that is simply not true. You and I are conscious of the fact that we are destroying but you and I are not the vast majority humanity and we are doing nothing to stop the destruction. Nick, for instance, don’t believe a damn word of it. Perhaps 95% of the people haven’t a clue as to what we are doing to the world. Oh they hear it on the news and occasionally read about it in magazines, but they still don’t see a problem.

                But at least you are on the right track. When the world reaches one half to one billion people, we will have a sustainable solution.

                • Nick G says:

                  hmmm. Have you read my comment above?

                  Starting with: Ron,

                  I agree that humanity is destroying a great deal of our environment. It’s a tragedy, and a great loss. It will cause us many problems, and creates serious risks….

                  and ending with:

                  … the idea that collapse is unavoidable has the effect, even if it’s unintentional, of shilling for the oil and FF industries. Why buy an EV if we’re going to hell in a handbasket? Why try to protect wildlife habitat if humanity is going to kill all wildlife eventually anyway?

                • Stephen Hren says:

                  Humans are a collaborative, cooperative species – even the mechanisms of war require this. We are also a contradictory species, capable of progressing in one arena while retrograding in another. We have fucked up – and given enough of a damn to correct ourselves. If we hadn’t consciously acted as a species to correct our previous mistakes, there would be no ospreys or bald eagles or any river life east of the Mississippi, or any ozone layer, to name a few small examples.

                  Two decades ago organic local food, electric vehicles, and solar electricity were regarded as laughable hippie jokes. Last year, 1/3 of new electric generating capacity in the US came from solar, mainstream EVs far more efficient than any ICE car are readily available for sale, and organic and local foods are a multi-billion $ foundation of our economy.

                  If we were doing “nothing” we would be dead already. I would go read The Road by Cormac McCarthy on endless loop and acquiesce to your preternatural prescience. I am only arguing for what I feel is the most reasonable position: that the future is unwritten, and how we act today determines what the future will be.

            • Rob says:

              Current Issue > vol. 112 no. 31 > John R. Schramski, 9511–9517, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1508353112

              Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind
              John R. Schramskia,1, David K. Gattiea, and James H. Brownb,1

              This article frames the entirety of our problems which are legion. Our domination of the biosphere is the main problem; peak oil, climate change, environmental degradation are all outgrowths of
              rapid depletion of stored energy (coal, oil, biomass) which pushes Earth toward equilibrium with outer space.

              https://collapseofindustrialcivilization.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/pnas-2015-schramski-1508353112.pdf links to copy of the whole article.

        • Glenn Stehle says:

          Brian Rose said:

          The biggest increases in efficiency will likely be through poverty. Billions of people being prices out of the market.

          So is a worker having to abandon his private automobile, being forced to take public transport to his job, “poverty”?

          Or is the use of grain in the manufacture of fuel, so that same worker can continue driving his private automobile to work, while at the same time starving other people in much need of nourishment, a “poverty” of thought?

          Personally, I don’t think much of your gospel of efficiency and market fundamentalism, nor that they should trump matters of morality and spiritual well-being.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90ZL9Zj8P9M

          • Nick G says:

            It’s worth keeping in mind that the recent increases in food prices were in large part due to the US reversing it’s policy of keeping food prices artificially low with subsidies.

            This drove many farmers out of business in developing countries, which was a bad thing.

            • TechGuy says:

              Nick Wrote:
              “It’s worth keeping in mind that the recent increases in food prices were in large part due to the US reversing it’s policy of keeping food prices artificially low with subsidies.This drove many farmers out of business in developing countries, which was a bad thing.”

              Completely wrong. For decades the West dumped food below cost in the developing world, which drove the local farmers out of business, unable to complete with free or near free food. Then when the West start using its excess agra. to make biofuels it had double edge sword effect: One Western nations exported less crops, and instead converted into biofuels for domestic consumption. Developing world farmers also started growing biofuel crops to sell to the West with higher margins and grew less food for their own populations.

              Ending of Western Food dumping will create more farmers in the developed world as they can then sell food at a profit in their homeland.

          • Brian Rose says:

            Glenn,

            I think that people being economically priced out of the market will be an important factor in efficiency, but that does not mean that I condone it.

            Are markets immoral?

            The question itself is just as unanswerable as “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

            Markets are not moral; they are also not immoral. Markets value goods. That is it.

            Is gravity moral?

            You cannot say gravity IS moral, so… then gravity must be immoral?

            No, it is neither!

            Humans can enact policies that will impact markets, and that DOES have moral implications, but markets themselves are not moral or immoral; they are simply a system of valuing the price of goods.

            If we really want to ask unanswerable questions like:

            “Why would a star choose to go supernova if it would eliminate life in nearby solar systems?”

            “Is it immoral that pandas bearing twins will always kill one through negligence?”

            Or

            “What is the morality of a market?”

            Then sure, we can speculate, but it must be explicitly stated that the lines of questioning are nebulous and unanswerable.

            We can implement policies that will impact markets, and that does involve morality. Policies are moral because they impact the marketplace. Markets themselves, though, are not moral or immoral; just as gravity, or infanticide among various species is not moral or immoral.

            It is not the markets fault that CO2 emissions are not priced into cost. Markets are valuing what it has to value. Policy can affect markets; vehicle design can impact efficiency; planting a mango tree in Minnesota can affect its growth.

            Don’t blame the mango tree for dying when you planted it in Minnesota. Don’t blame the laws of fluid dynamics for giving your vehicle lower MPG. And don’t blame markets for pricing people into poverty.

            Want a mango tree to grow? Plant it in a sub-tropical climate.

            Want markets to create higher living standards? Legislate policies that will affect that, but don’t blame a volcano for erupting and destroying homes.

            A volcano, a market, a panda, gravity, fluid dynamics, it is all the same in terms of “morality”.

            Implement policies that create effects, but don’t blame a volcano for erupting or a panda for abandoning a 2nd child.

            Blaming a volcano is a distraction from discussing what policies we can implement to prevent damage.

            Blaming a panda for not realizing its species is endangered is a distraction from finding a way for both cubs to survive.

            And blaming a market for pricing people out of well being is a distraction from discussing what policy initiatives could reduce that inevitability.

        • MarbleZeppelin says:

          Just was looking over my handy dandy table of energy use for various modes of passenger transport. Values are btu/passenger-mile
          Motor coach 749
          commuter rail 1608
          van pool 1354
          car pool 2 person 2091
          car pool 46 mpg 2 person 1239
          car pool EV 2 person 597
          light rail 1146
          intercity rail 2091
          transit bus 4245
          ferry boat 10987

          So it looks like a ride share EV beats them all with only two people on board.

        • TechGuy says:

          Brian wrote:
          “Really don’t alternatives have to expand at equal rate to the decline of net energy of oil? In 100 years there will still be 20 mbpd pumped. There will also be nuclear, geothermal, nat gas, hydro, and tidal.”

          Nuclear will be done well before 100 years. Its getting phased out as too costly, and too risky. The US is retiring about 2 Nuke plants per year and building replacements about one new plant per ~20 years (the US has two new plants under construction, each expected to take about 10 years to complete, and its been 30 years since any new construction has begun]. The West is now relying on consumption of fuel stock piles to keep existing plants fueled. The best Uranium mines have bee depleted or nearing depletion. Uranium mining is extremely toxic and has become frowned upon by the greens. Germany is getting rid of them, and nuclear power in the EU is declining. I fear that as the global economy slips into a deep depression, that utilities will be forced to keep problem Nuke plants operating in an unsafe manner as maintain costs rise and “corner cutting” on maintenance becomes the norm. What happens in a weak/depressed economy when a meltdown occurs? What happens when millions of people are forced to flee a meltdown? Most utility companies in the US lack the funding to fully decommission retired reactors.

          The US has a extend and pray policy when it comes to its aging reactors, as US utility operators lack the funds to decommission reactors, and rely on operating the plants to pay for maintenance. At some point as maintenance cost rise and revenues fall short, either the utility goes bust and dumps the mess on the gov’t or they start corner cutting on maintenance. The US also lacks the trained workforce for nuclear power as most of the workers are boomers that have entered retirement age. Few younger Americans choose to work in the industry (began after the 1979 TMI). This is also true with utility workers in general Not just in the nuclear power industry.

          Nat Gas has the same problems as Oil production. Its has the same depletion problems and won’t last. The US also isn’t replacing coal plants with NatGas plants as few utilities are willing to commit the capital, since the realize that cost for NatGas is likely going to soar. The US will be shutting down 95 Coal fired plants this year ~20 GW and nothing is being built to replace it. Expect electricity prices to rise substantially a few years. The US will see further job losses as electricity intensive production moves operations overseas, further excerbating unemployement.

          At some point the global economy will breach a tipping point. Its already buried in debt and already in a slo-mo collapse. Unemployment continues to rise in the West, and the West is getting flooded with refugees from the poorer nations where the economies of refugees originated from have collapsed [Middle East, Africa, Latin Americas] This sudden influx of poor, no skill, uneducated refugees is going to put an ever increasing burden that accelerates the slo-mo western collapse. Once the tipping point is breached collapse will occur at a much faster pace.

          • sunnnv says:

            “The US also isn’t replacing coal plants with NatGas plants …”

            Ummm, headline of March 10, 2014 EIA Today In Energy:

            Scheduled 2015 capacity additions mostly wind and natural gas; retirements mostly coal

            http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=20292

            “In 2015, electric generating companies expect to add more than 20 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale generating capacity to the power grid. The additions are dominated by wind (9.8 GW), natural gas (6.3 GW), and solar (2.2 GW), which combine to make up 91% of total additions. Because different types of generating capacity have very different utilization rates, with nuclear plants and natural gas combined-cycle generators having utilization factors three to five times those of wind and solar generators, capacity measures alone do not directly show how much generation is actually provided by new capacity of each type. Nearly 16 GW of generating capacity is expected to retire in 2015, 81% of which (12.9 GW) is coal-fired generation.”

            “The US will be shutting down 95 Coal fired plants this year ~20 GW and nothing is being built to replace it.”

            Last I checked, 6.3 GW of natural gas was a little bigger than “nothing”.
            And even the total of 16GW of retirements is smaller than your ~20 GW. (20 GW is the additions this year).

            • TechGuy says:

              NamePlate Wind installs does not equal Coal baseload decommissioning. At the very best a Wind Turbine has a power factor of about 30%. In most cases its significantly less. The same is true of PV installs, but less.

              EIA is also looking at proposed NatGas installs. June or May issue of Power Engineering Magazine stated that a lot of the NatGas installs have been delayed or are just in proposals, and not a “actual plant”. The Texas NatGas installs are “stablizing” plants for the Wind farms.

              The EIA also lists a gain of 1 GW of nuclear power, yet there is no new plants coming online this year. TVA Watts bar “may” perform a startup test in December, put will likely take 6 months or more before it can go operational. There should be a loss, since Vermont shutdown a Nuke plant in January which appears to be “missing” from the report. I suspect that this is EIA propaganda trying to paint a rosier picture than it really is. Notice all of the additions happen in December, and all of the other months are close to be flat for additional installations.

      • Nick G says:

        Let’s keep this simple. At the moment we’re talking about oil, not all fossil fuels right??

        EVs are better than oil-fueled ICEs. Faster, safer, cleaner, cheaper.

        Better in every way.

        • I don’t know if that is true or not Nick. But if it is true then EVs will replace all oil fueled ICEs in short order. EV sales will soar and ICE sales will nosedive.

          Is that happening?

          • Nick G says:

            Well, most people seem to like their cell phones. Young people are mostly dropping their land lines. They find that better and cheaper. But, are landlines going away in general? Not quickly.

            Change doesn’t happen quickly, especially if it doesn’t have to. But, it can if that’s needed.

            In this group we agree that faster change will probably be needed pretty soon, right?

            • Patrick R says:

              We are not going to use cars like we do now. A huge part of the answer is the already begun end of the private vehicle, however powered, as the entire basis of society.

              We are moving to a world where we share them, and, as Nick keeps patiently explaining, these will be EVs. Take private ICE vehicles out of the equation and the transition is clearly doable.

              Vehicle autonomy combined with ridershare, and urban Transit and Active modes will hugely reduce this vast an inefficient burden on civilisation.

              McKinsey picks an 80% reduction in vehicle numbers. This or anything near it is a huge change. And likely. I recommend more energy into thinking what can change rather than insisting that nothing must.

              • Boomer II says:

                If you can get transportation nearly on demand and if per trip charges aren’t too expensive, there’s not so much reason to own a vehicle. In fact, if you can get door-to-destination service, you eliminate the need to park. The wealthy in cities have often preferred being driven to a location than doing it themselves.

                People are commuting from San Francisco to Silicon Valley in private buses. They get to work and/or socialize rather than staring at the road.

                If flexibility, convenience, and cost tip in favor of not owning a vehicle, I think we’ll see a lot more people going that direction.

                Leasing changed people’s minds about car ownership. Many decided it was better to rent than own. So the next step might be to use on a per trip basis than to own or rent.

                • Patrick R says:

                  The world doesn’t move on by old men choosing to change. It moves on by them getting replaced by younger people with different preferences. So it goes. Every generation disagrees with its parents. And ain’t no one gonna drive like we do. Period. The cities are leading the way, y’all out in the patch are probably missing it, but it’s happening and it’s going to be massive.

                  I can conceive of a longtime low oil price based on ever weakening demand, falling investment, lower supply,, ad infinitum. Like most here I just assumed that global development and higher population must mean higher oil price as supply becomes tighter and expensive. Not so sure now. Or perhaps the safer bet is a volatile ride of swipes and troughs, with each spike helping to shift more away form a gas guzzling pattern. To a spatial shift, to EVs, high mileage ICE….

                  • Boomer II says:

                    The world doesn’t move on by old men choosing to change.

                    Yes, a lot of the GOP’s politics appeal to a demographic that will die in the next 20-30 years. And economics are going to dictate energy policy. And the Silicon Valley billionaires support different businesses than the auto, oil, and coal wealthy. So change is coming.

                    But I do think it will continue to be politically nasty and crazy as the older voters get stirred up and want to blame someone for the changes they see rather than understanding the economics underlying the changes.

                  • Nick G says:

                    The world doesn’t move on by old men choosing to change.

                    Look around: how many 60 year olds are using cell phones that were invented long after they were “young”?

                  • Boomer II says:

                    Look around: how many 60 year olds are using cell phones that were invented long after they were “young”?

                    Yes, older people do adopt modern technologies. I took “The world doesn’t move on by old men choosing to change” comment to mean that as a whole new technologies are introduced and adopted first by younger folks who don’t have a history and a vested interest in current technologies.

                    In some fields (e.g., music, television, film, Internet startups) age discrimination will hamper anyone past a certain age from pitching a new technology and being taken seriously.

        • TechGuy says:

          Nick Wrote:
          “EVs are better than oil-fueled ICEs. Faster, safer, cleaner, cheaper.’

          except every EV car is powered by mostly fossil fuels: Coal and NatGas, which a smalll amount of Nuclear (also running into depletion issues) and some hydro and renewables.

          Nobody is buying EVs, EV sales have collapsed in 2015, and I suspect that half of the EV models will disappear from the market because of weak sales.

    • Petro says:

      …”Yes, yes we will need do a bit of research and engineering”…

      Oh dear,
      I have the perfect answer to what you and the “windmill/Tesla/Gigafactory” crowd really needs…, but that is for another time.

      Be well,

      Petro

      • ChiefEngineer says:

        I have enough room on my roof to produce twice the energy I need for my home and transportation at a cheaper price than my current situation. I’m just waiting for a medium size EV crossover.

        Most here missed the importance of the Tesla’s future storage plan. EV’s are the only way forward to save a habitable plant. We’re already evolving to get there. Just don’t tell the Republicans. They might have to sacrifice their children’s asthma and they wouldn’t listen anyway !

        California is leading the country forward

        *******
        If in 15 years, you think that we will only need 10 million barrels/day, then I guess most of the posts on this board are pointless and get out now while the getting is good.

        “Ron Patterson says: 08/20/2015 at 7:58 am

        If in 15 years you think that we will need only 10 million barrels a day then you are a goddamn fool.”
        ******

        15 years is within a life cycle time frame of almost all vehicles. The reason it can’t get done is because of Goddamn Fools getting in the way with self interest and the biggest two have the last name of “Koch”.

        10 MBD by 2030 should be our minimum goal, if we don’t get there until 2035. We still did the right thing by trying. Besides the conservatives want to stop Iran from getting money for terrorism. They should do it for Israel. Now that’s a joke! Republicans only care about themselves.

        • There seems to be or have been a failure of communications in respect to this ten million barrels a day need in fifteen years.

          I believe Ron was thinking in terms of world wide. The original author MAY have meant USA only but my impression is that he meant world wide.

          If world wide was meant, I agree with Ron. Totally.

          Ron would not in my estimation call anybody a goddamned fool for proposing that perhaps or maybe the USA ALONE could get by with ten million barrels a day fifteen years from now. It would be quite a stretch but between more efficient vehicles, life style changes, more mass transit,peak oil bringing on high gasoline prices, hard times, etc, ten million barrels a day domestic consumption in the USA is not out of the question.

          We don’t even need UBER to get people together in their cars.

          All we need is a phone app that is dirt cheap and a few changes in insurance laws and other regulations. With smart phones it IS possible to be ALMOST PERFECTLY SAFE getting into a strangers car, or allowing one into your car.

          The odds of becoming the FIRST victim of a robber or psychopathic murderer must be pretty close to zero.

          Pass a law that says any income earned by accepting payment from a passenger is tax free and ride sharing would take off like a rocket. Or allow anybody who wants to operate a bus on a single dedicated route to do so on a twice a day basis. This would enable the bus owner to pick up people in his neighborhood and drop them off at work – near his own place of employment of course- and take them home again in the afternoon. In lots of cases there are enough people living within a few blocks who work at a single government agency or factory or mall to fill up a large bus easily or alternatively, several large passenger vans.

          Pass a law that a big employer such as Walmart be required to schedule part time help so as to enable employees who want to car pool to work identical schedules.

          Pass a law that anybody driving a car who hits a bicycle in a bike lane loses his drivers license for ten years – first offense.

          Put ALL the police and judicial manpower devoted to locking up people for smoking pot to work making the roads safe and pleasant for bicyclists and pedestrians.

          Do away with zoning that makes it very hard to impossible to have walkable neighborhoods.

          Pass a law that gives a TAX write-off to poor people who buy an electric bicycle,while making the dealer and manufacturer guarantee parts and service and give a decent warranty in order for their bicycles to qualify.

          Make the installation of qualified domestic solar hot water systems fully tax deductible during the year installed.

          Ditto extra insulation, triple glazed windows, insulated doors etc.

          SHIT HAPPENS.

          Sometimes good shit happens.

          • The world uses about 90 million barrels per day of total liquids. The world uses about 78 million barrels per day of crude + condensate. Anyone is a goddamn fool if they think we can, harmlessly, get that down to 10 million barrels per day in 15 years.

            When I am talking about such things I am always talking about the entire world unless I specifically state “USA only”.

            Of course we could get the world down to 15 million barrels per day if that is all we had. But billions of people would perish in the process.

            • ChiefEngineer says:

              Obama Calls Opponents ‘Crazies’ In Fundraiser Speech. Back from vacation, Obama is feeling “a little feisty.”

              Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this month that “I will do everything I can to stop” Obama’s efforts.

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-calls-opponents-crazies-in-fundraiser-speech_55dc29f4e4b08cd3359d2b4b?kvcommref=mostpopular

              We would be lucky if the world got down to 10 MBD within 40 to 50 years. The first thing that needs to be done is point the ship in the right direction.

              Thanks Ron

              • Maybe the Illuminati lost control of the Obama unit. It seems to be malfunctioning, it was designed to be a mystic transformer, close Guantanamo, get troops out of Iraq and give us World Peace.

                • Javier says:

                  These days our leaders don’t live up to expectations. Tsipras was also supposed to kick the Troika out of Greece and reject the hated financial rescues.

                  A simple mandate, yet he managed to f**k it up and actually get worse rescue conditions after bowing to their masters and in the way do untold economic damage through a two weeks bank closure.

                  Surprisingly he seems poised for re-election. The Greeks must want more.

                  • I like Tsipras now that he’s a neoliberal. Greece really needs reforms, his communistoid populist crap was going to force the eu to kick them out.

                  • Glenn Stehle says:

                    Fernando,

                    Well one good thing about you is that one never has to guess what your position is.

                    For you, it’s 100% neoliberalism, 100% of the time.

                    However, there’s one glaring contradiction in your thinking which always puzzles me, and that is that you consistently fail to see the link between neoliberalism and US militarisim.

                    Neoliberalism and US militarism go together like Thelma and Louise. Neoliberalism, once the populace figures out what it is all about, is never implemented or sustained by democratic means. It is always imposed by means of coercion. At first this coercion might be financial and economic, but state violence, or the threat of state violence, is never far behind, and is always lurking in the background.

                  • There’s no link between neoliberalism and militarism. One of the biggest militarists in USA politics is Hillary Clinton. Militarists seem to be in bed with the Israel lobby and the rednecks who think it’s just fine to have U.S. soldiers get their legs blown off “fighting for Iraqi democracy”. Don’t. Get. Me. Going.

                  • Brian Rose says:

                    Javier,

                    Tsipras’ utter failure may end up being a great strength for Greece.

                    His failed efforts took Greece to the very brink of leaving the Euro. No elected official could go any further in their “negotiations” without leaving the Euro.

                    Greeks do not want to leave the Euro under any circumstance, especially after getting a mild whiff of what Euro exit would look like during the capital controls.

                    Tsipras took Greece to the brink, and it failed. Greeks know this.

                    Over 50 Syriza members have left and joined an opposition party. No one can claim that Tsipras could have tried harder or used more extreme tactics. Greeks now know that it is austerity through policy reform, or harsher austerity through leaving the Euro.

                    My best guess is that Tsipras will win the new election only in the sense that Syriza gets more votes than any other party. He will then form a coalition with PASOK and New Democracy.

                    That coalition will be strong enough and large enough to enact the necessary reforms.

                    It is a bland hypothesis, but also the most likely. Anti-Euro parties will not win, and the establishment parties will not win. Syriza, even though it failed miserably in its objective, is the most anti-austerity, pro-Euro party they can vote for.

            • Jim Baerg says:

              This crowd, focused as it is on the oil industry, usually can’t see beyond the oil paradigm. The argument for today is whether renewables can replace oil and save the world. That is, in my opinion, an absurd argument, a straw man. Let’s recognize first, that we Westerners use/waste obscene amounts of fossil fuels and should do something about that first. In my opinion, we could reduce our use of fossil fuels by 90% through conservation and efficiency, save money in the process, and be better off for it. Then we can talk about Renewable Energy.
              I know that is true for buildings, which is my expertise; its also probably true for most of transportation and much of manufacturing. In my case, I reduced my utility bills by 65% by spending less than $6k on conservation and drive an inexpensive 50 mpg car. And I’m just getting started.
              That said, I totally agree with the comments on population, and am inclined to believe that the transition away from FF will be bumpy and protracted. One vexing question is whether we can reduce consumerism to a reasonable level and still maintain some kind of operable economic system.

              • Your opinion is really funny. Where did you get the 90 %?

              • Don Wharton says:

                Finally someone who agrees that we should be targeting the 90% increase in efficiency. I appreciate that understanding. However, we need to proceed with renewable energy at full speed. I agree with Ron that there is near zero chance that humanity will be rational in any global way. Beyond that, the obvious speed with which renewable energy costs are declining will give us a much needed option when energy starts to get a bit scarce. The costs will not continue their decline if there is no robust market to motivate the engineers, managers, and others in the market.

          • dh says:

            oldfarmermac, I disagree. I think America is headed to breakdown and civil war, and I put zero, absolutely zero, faith in the ability of America to negotiate this collapse.

            I’m willing to stake my entire life on this, and nothing can convince me to believe in the system anymore. If you want to do it, go ahead.

            • DH you may be right- dead right. I probably won’t live long enough to see the shit really hit the fan given I am already getting on but you might.

              OTOH I intend to do what I can to survive myself and help a few chosen others survive if the worst comes to the worst.

              I have not claimed that the USA (and CANADA ) WILL pull thru. I do think we yankees have a fairly decent shot though. It’s a darwinian world and we have big teeth and big claws and a hogs share of the remaining endowment of natural resources. We have a big enough population to maintain an industrial civilization on our own and we have the most easily defensible really large piece of territory in the whole world given that Canada is our bosom buddy.

              The big teeth and claws will enable us to seize a lot of resources from other less fortunate countries.

              Success is NOT guaranteed but we do seem to have a good shot at pulling thru the coming resources and environmental collapse.

              How we will fare long term, assuming we make it more or less whole thru the bottleneck,and for a generation or two beyond that, is anybody’s guess.

              • Javier says:

                You have enough guns to kill each other several times up. There’s a good chance that you will do just that. 😉

                • Well, if I go that way death by gunfire is in my estimation preferable to slow starvation and death from exposure.

                  It IS a darwinian world. I don’t especially LIKE it but it’s still a fact.

                  Individuals will never kill very many in comparison to organized armies.

                  I have never argued that even a hypothetical Fortress North America WILL pull thru the coming bottleneck.

                  I do maintain that we Yankees and Canadians and a handful of other countries DO have a good shot at surviving peak oil and peak natural resources in general more or less whole in terms of population and territory etc.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    OFM wrote:
                    “I have never argued that even a hypothetical Fortress North America WILL pull thru the coming bottleneck.”

                    Unfortunately no “Fortress” can defend against ICBM and Nuclear armed subs. If Nuclear war does do America in, its own population will as 300M angry americans go in a rampage.

                    Ever notice, not one industrial gov’t never discusses fossil fuel depletion with the Public? Do you suppose they have something to hide?

              • Glenn Stehle says:

                °°°Old farmer mac said:

                It’s a darwinian world and we have big teeth and big claws and a hogs share of the remaining endowment of natural resources.

                We have “a hogs share of the remaining endowment of natural resources”?

                I think that if you will take look at a map of the world’s remaining conventional (read cheap to produce) oil and gas reserves, you will see that the majority are located in the Middle East and Russia, not in the Americas.

                °°°Old farmer mac said:

                The big teeth and claws will enable us to seize a lot of resources from other less fortunate countries.

                Well that’s certainly what the amoral realists and neocons think. And even more so, it’s certainly a great strategy for the finance sector and the national security-industrial complex (both its domestic and foreign manifestations).

                But 36 years after the US militarized its energy policy, how’s that working out for rank and file Americans?

                • Nick G says:

                  the world’s remaining conventional (read cheap to produce) oil and gas reserves… the majority are located in the Middle East and Russia

                  But, the US has more than enough for it’s needs, and far more sun and wind than it will ever need.

                  FWIW, I agree with you about US foreign policy: it’s been an expensive failure. We’d have been far better off reducing our oil consumption, rather than pursuing oil wars.

                • We have a hogs share and THEN SOME of ALL kinds of natural resources taken as a whole. If we get our shit together we have ENOUGH oil to last us, by rationing it, if we cannot import oil, until we can transition away from oil.

                  If coal to liquids cost three times as much as conventional oil, we can still MAKE IT using less oil per capita thru conservation and greater efficiency and new tech and lifestyle changes.

                  As far as moral preening goes , I am a darwinist although I was raised as a turn the cheek peaceable Baptist. So far as I am concerned , people who do not recognize that the world operates on darwinian principles are, to put it gently as possible, utterly naive. Childish.

                  This does not mean we can’t cooperate. Cooperation between kin and allies (political cultural ethnic geographic etc ) is part and parcel of darwinian behaviors.

                  Our military machine has kept oil flowing our way since we started needing to import it, although admittedly at very high cost. I expect it will continue to do so so long as oil is to be had or until we no longer need the oil.

                  Do you really think people such as Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi or the people leading ISIS are our friends or would be our friends even if we had never set foot in Sand Country?

                  The MIC will also keep resources such as South American lithium flowing our way unless preening moralists manage to get in control of our foreign policy to the point that lithium goes to Asia.

                  Speaking as a realist I would far rather have it, meaning our MIC, than be without it, although it COULD stand a severe pruning imo.

                  REALISTS understand that LOTS of other countries get by with FAR smaller military spending of their own because they shelter under our own military umbrella.

                  I like yak yak better than fight fight but yak yak only works so long as the OTHER fella thinks you CAN fight.

                  I am a rank and file American with a piddly income but by means of good management of that income I live VERY well indeed.

                  The town nearest me was gutted industrially when big biz moved the textile and furniture industries overseas but the stores are still full and the roads are still jammed around here. Property prices NEVER stopped going up here they just slowed down.

                  But then we were not much a part of the bubble economy.

                  Things are not as good as they used to be but compared to the rest of the world things are still just FINE for the most part here in the USA.

                  • Nick is probably right that we would be better off if we had focused on reducing our oil consumption .

                    But there is no way to be SURE of that. If we had stayed home for the last three quarters of a century , the world would most definitely be a far different place.

                    But it might be a WORSE place. As empires go, UNCLE SAM is a gentle master.

                    I doubt there will ever be a time when some country (or alliances of countries) is not running the world mostly for its own benefit.

                    Yak yak is much better than fight fight but yak yak only works so long as the OTHER fella believes you CAN fight.

                    Our MIC could stand a severe pruning but I would NOT want to be without it.

                  • Nick G says:

                    Mac,

                    It’s not a choice between our current foreign policy and “staying home”.

                    Much of our foreign policy has been enormously counter productive. Take, for example, our overthrow of democracy in Iran. The result was the 1979 reversal, and alienation of a country that would have been a natural ally.

                    Now they want nukes, and who can blame them? The US invaded them in 1954, then invaded their neighbor on one side, then a few years later their neighbor on the other side.

                    Who wouldn’t want a nuclear defense after all of that?

                    And, that’s just one example.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            My model (medium scenario) suggests about 50 Mb/d in 2050, 25 Mb/d in 2100 and 10 Mb/d in 2150. This assumes the oil demand will be there at prices that enable output at a profit, if that assumption proves false, output will be lower. There is certainly the possibility that oil cannot be produced profitable at oil prices that would allow World income to support sufficient demand, it is also possible that as oil prices rise and the cost of substitutes decreases less oil will be consumed at any given level of World income. It is impossible to predict how this will play out as there are too many poorly constrained variables.

            • Patrick R says:

              50 mbd in 2050 does not mean the end of the world. It simply means this, and it’s coming: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/sustainability/full_speed_ahead_how_the_driverless_car_could_transform_cities

              The oil problem is in large part a driving problem. This is just beginning to be addressed on multiple fronts: a spatial change; urbanisation, EVs, AVs, renewables; both distributed and the grid. Welcome to the future electric, renewable, urban, and clean. Agriculture uses a small fraction of oil compared to suburbanites driving their SUVs to pick up a couple lattes. But even much of that will be electrified.

              Clearly demand needs to alter, and a tightening of supply is part of the way to achieve that. This binary BAU or death meme is not supported by any study of history, all the world is is change, and it is happening already. The trend is what is telling. And we are on a long trend of lower oil intensity per capita, this will continue. We are already heading post oil. Without famine, except in the usual places for local reasons.

              Some places are already hell in handcart, ’twas ever thus, but also it is rarely synchronous across the world; Syria is burning, Vermont is not.
              Frankly it’s exciting. But I wouldn’t want to be long on the oil industry; that’s already last century’s story. We’re just in the long shadow of that and starting to see the next sunrise. We are changing the energetic basis of our society. Clumsily, as ever.
              The key thing is, as ever, the question of timing. I think Kunstler is right, but too impatient over the end of the oil/burbs age. Everything takes longer and the unsupportable stays up for surprising lengths…

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi PatrickR,

                Nice comment. I agree that a slow decline in oil output (2% per year or less for C+C output) will make the transition more manageable. There will undoubtedly be unforeseen problems, but I believe they will be overcome.

                Getting less developed parts of the World a higher share of World income is an important part of achieving the demographic transition to declining population (as in Korea, Taiwan, and Japan) with total fertility rates at 1.75 births per woman or less. Hopefully we will get the World rate to 2 births per woman by 2055 and to 1.75 births per woman by 2100 and continue to decline from there to 1.5 births per woman by 2150.

                Chart below is from

                http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol28/39/

              • Nick G says:

                urbanisation, EVs, AVs,

                I like living in a big city. I like electric rail. I look forward to AVs.

                But…it’s important to keep in mind that those things take a while, and require some imagination on the part of the reader. EVs are here, they work, and they’re more than good enough. So, it may be a bit of a distraction to emphasize urbanization and AVs: they’re great, but they’re not necessary.

                • Patrick R says:

                  Well my point is it’s a mix, and it’s already underway. I’m exactly same as you, own a increasingly parked old car, use transit ( newly electrified rail running on 80% renewable grid where that suits) and a bike (the most energy efficient technology) and walking. Would/will get an EV when the math works, but maybe the car share system will get good enough so my old Volvo is the last I’ll own. I doubt my kids will own cars. But they’ll use them driven or otherwise.

                  My main point is that we will not be rebuilding the current world with an EV for every current ICE. This whole dynamic is changing. I figure few on this forum get that being out in F150 land.

                  There is a daft inefficiency to car ownership that has been concealed behind easy to find oil and relatively small populations of car ownership globally. The things are parked 96% of the time. We are going to unlock this waste and use it. Cars are too damned handy to leave them idle and space and energy too valuable to not use more productively.

                • lezurk says:

                  Has it ever occurred to you Nick that big cities are parasitic and incredibly inefficient? They do not produce their own food and are totally dependent on the hinterland for their survival. If there is a better example of the unsustainability of modern society than urban infrastructure, I can’t see it. In a collapse situation they will be death traps. When the just in time supplies stop, that’s all she wrote. I count my blessings every day I no longer live in such a place.

              • MarbleZeppelin says:

                I agree that the new EV’s and hybrids reduce the need for oil products as fuel. However, I do not agree that autonomous vehicle on-call taxis will reduce energy usage. In fact it will increase energy use in most cases.

                I also do not see how the individual car autonomous vehicle will solve the commuter rush hour problem. Unless they get business to cooperate with staggered starts across several hours, which I doubt, they will not have enough vehicles to move all those people at once. If they did, then most of those vehicles would sit around waiting for the next rush hour.
                How are they going to deal with the very large demand change with time of day and still not have many vehicles?

                Anyone come across a detailed study of this showing how these problems would be solved?

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Marblezepplin,

                  In theory AVs can travel more efficiently so traffic flow will be better. The AVs can communicate with each other and allow cars to get in the appropriate lanes on the highway to allow cars to enter and exit the highway with a minimum of traffic flow disruption. Humans do this very poorly, tending to drive in the left lane until the last possible moment and then moving across 3 or 4 lanes at the last minute. In slow traffic, humans switch lanes too much and just slow the flow of traffic. AVs can travel closer together safely and there will be fewer accidents, also carpooling could be encouraged by taxing single occupant vehicles during peak traffic hours.

                  With modern technology arranging car pools would be relatively easy with AVs.

                  • MarbleZeppelin says:

                    Still, they have to travel several times further than a private car would have to get the same trips done, so the small gains in efficiency from robotic control would be greatly overwhelmed.
                    Plus, how do they solve the surge problem in rush hour without having a lot of extra vehicles that sit around most of the rest of the day?
                    AV is a great idea, I just can’t see how some of the claims about reducing vehicle number can come about or how they will not increase energy usage vs an identical private car of the same type.

                  • Nick G says:

                    I suppose AVs could go off and charge themselves, thus reducing the need for charging stations.

                    OTOH, I worry that people would have their AV take them to work or errands, and then save on parking by having them cruise endlessly, thus using more energy and creating congestion. Perhaps a solution would be traffic tickets for cruising AVs?

                  • Nick G says:

                    they have to travel several times further than a private car would have to get the same trips done

                    I’m not clear on what you mean.

                  • MarbleZeppelin says:

                    Nick, it’s probably better that you run your own simulations. I did simulations involving two or three passengers originating from different points and needing to run multiple errands. In the cases I used they had to go to three different locations, independent of each other.
                    I had a local AV servicing them, picking up dropping off, running to the next client, dropping him off, etc.
                    On one of the simulations, due to timing another AV had to be called in to service the third client. The distances really added up with all that back and forth.
                    So the idea that one vehicle can serve several people is correct, mostly, but the distance traveled to accomplish this is several times the distance traveled if they had their own vehicles.
                    Also the idea that the amount of traffic will be greatly reduced may not be fully valid either. A private car is on the road for a trip then sits. A taxi AV is on the road most of the time thus the actual traffic density might still be fairly high.

                  • Toolpush says:

                    Zepp,

                    I didn’t see this thread until now, but I was trying to make the same point down thread.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Marble Zepplin,

                    The simulation would change with larger numbers because the AV would generally be close to the next ride after a drop off with larger numbers. A simulation with low numbers would not be representative.

                    Not all cars are used to commute to the city during rush hour, typically there is a second or third car that sits in a garage or driveway or parking lot in the suburbs.

                    The issue is the transition from ice vehicles to EVs, if AVs allow fewer vehicles then the transition to mostly EVs that are AVs can happen more quickly. It will be a long time to transition to all EVs replacing all ICE personal transportation so the comparison of all EV private transport to all EV AV transport is not really a fair comparison.

                    In addition the model where people pay for each ride in an AV may tend to reduce the amount of wasteful energy spending on transport because all costs would be included on a per ride basis (except possibly externalities if they are not taxed properly). Vehicle ownership tends to hide the per trip cost of travel so that excess trips are the result.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            Tks, OFM your post just made my day. I’m about to venture forth into the wilds of Sao Paulo’s concrete jungle, wish me luck!

        • thrig says:

          Hoof, what a whiff of Manifest Destiny. Inevitable, only if not for you meddling kidsKoch brothers. This air brings to mind a delightful quote from the history of progress:

          “The supersonics are coming−as surely as tomorrow. You will be flying one version or another by 1980 and be trying to remember what the great debate was all about.” — Najeeb Halaby

          How about that. Meanwhile, a different view paints your glorious California less, um, charmingly. Something about a town talking about stopping the train to keep “those people” out, and uncomfortable questions about the gap between private tax revenue versus the expenses required to maintain all that stroad they’ve built versus the viable core city versus all the money being sprawled out in the fringes.

          http://granolashotgun.com/2015/03/17/urban-triage/

          Why not skimp on the (inevitable!) reboot of the marketplace failure that is the electric car, and instead engineer cities for walking and bicycling? In the meantime, note that road slaughter rates are up, so any prayers for the rise of self-moving cars to sit in should perhaps be made with increased urgency. Or, you know, there are proven solutions that could be implemented right now to cut that slaughter rate down. Road diet, anyone?

          • Nick G says:

            Why not skimp on the (inevitable!) reboot of the marketplace failure that is the electric car, and instead engineer cities for walking and bicycling?

            A couple of thoughts.

            1st, why not do both? EVs are better than ICEs. Use ICEs until the trains, bikes and paths are ready?

            2nd: not everyone can bike or walk. Bikes and feet are great for those who are not disabled in some way, but I suspect you’d be astonished at the statistics on how many are disabled in some way (and no, it’s not their fault, and no, exercise won’t necessarily help). They still need powered vehicles.

        • MarbleZeppelin says:

          Bravo ChiefEngineer, very well stated.

    • Jimmy says:

      “A bit”. Is that what you call that.

    • Jon Snow says:

      Are these the same people who try to minimize the ecological footprint of humanity by snidely stating that all the World’s people can stand side by side on Zanzibar or some other small-area locale?

      They know nothing…

  4. While I try never to forget the GREAT SAGE YOGI’s words ,”Predicting is hard, ‘specially the future” , I will go so far as to say this guy Goodchild is full of shit up to his nose- even though we might not succeed in transitioning to a renewables based economy.

    If we don’t it will be because we didn’t make the necessary collective effort rather than because it CAN’T be done.

    The energy returned on energy invested of modern renewables is high and getting higher all the time. The quotes in the short excerpt given are a decade or more out of date. In that time the cost of solar and wind power have both fallen by a substantial amount. I have not checked actual numbers but solar costs have dropped probably by an order of magnitude within the last decade alone. Wind power has probably fallen by a factor of three.

    I have checked with four reputable physicists , a couple of them familiar to regulars here, and all four of them assure me privately that they believe a renewable economy IS POSSIBLE – but none of the four are willing to predict we will manage a successful transition.

    While oil is justifiably called the lifeblood of industrial civilization, we most definitely COULD have an industrial civilization based on coal. If oil had not displaced coal starting at the turn of the twentieth century we would still have an industrial civilization. It would in a lot of ways be as good or better than the one we have NOW.

    We would still have trains and they would go almost everywhere big trucks go today except for the last four or five miles. Trains went all over the place in MERRY OLDE ENGLAND in the days of Sherlock Holmes – on schedule , just like subways do in major cities even today.

    That last four or five miles could easily be managed with electrically driven trucks- and battery tech would probably be WAY ahead of the current state of the art. I could still get to town OFTEN ENOUGH from my place in the boonies by using a biofuel vehicle ONCE every couple of weeks rather than an oil fueled vehicle every couple of days.

    As a matter of FACT a LEAF charged with free sunlight would make the trip twice or maybe even three times on ONE charge. I could easily afford a solar system big enough to charge a LEAF one or twice a week and as another matter of FACT the only reason I don’t have it already is that the COST of such a system is falling so fast I am better off delaying the purchase for a couple more years.

    (I don’t have a LEAF or a VOLT because there are not yet any on the market in my price class. Ten years from now I will be able to get one ten years old for peanuts. Working on my own vehicles SAVES me the equivalent of doctor and lawyer money on an hourly basis. I display MY status to the people who are important to me via the ownership of my farm and other real property rather than my car. )

    We would have a European landscape here in the USA – people living closer together.

    Air travel would be nearly non existent, most likely, but air travel and air freight are luxuries rather than necessities. Some liquid fuel would be available- it can be manufactured from coal or from biomass.

    The argument that it would take a solar farm the size of France to supply the world with electricity at the current consumption level might or might not be in the ball park.

    BUT if we were to devote the energy and hard resources and effort we put into mining coal and drilling for oil and building autos we could no doubt build a BIG ENOUGH solar farm ( in total) to giterdone- because conservation and efficiency are super potent tools when it comes to managing energy problems.

    We could live just FINE on considerably less than half and probably a quarter or less of the energy we currently use per capita in the west. Life would be different but you never miss what you never experienced.

    In European villages kids run to the bakery a few hundred yards away and fetch hot bread – bread that is baked from FLOUR that is delivered to the bakery in LARGE quantities. NO throwaway plastic wrappers are needed. No trees need to be harvested or oil used to manufacture these non existent bread wrappers. And heating up the one neighborhood giant oven uses a lot less energy than heating an oven in every house in the neighborhood.

    IF we Yankees were to put the money we put in just ONE unnecessary car per household – buying just one LESS automobile per household per decade – we could put that money into making our houses so much more energy efficient that the price of renewable electricity would be no problem at all.

    Thirty thousand bucks extra put into a new house – or upgrading an older one – is potentially enough to get to or near net zero energy status in lots of cases.

    The price of food would have to go up quite a bit WHOLESALE if we were to produce it using biofuels on the farm- but the retail cost of food would still be manageable for most people. A typical western diet would cost maybe ten percent more at retail. This could be easily off set by eating down the energy ladder a bit- less beef and more chicken- chicken is FAR less energy intensive and beans are far less energy intensive than chicken.

    I don’t have a copy of this book and would not even bother to read it if I did, except maybe to write a review of it. I could rip it up , in the words of my long departed country woman Mom , ” Like a chicken on a (dry) cow turd”.

    Everything I have learned in the last ten years of close study of energy issues indicates that a renewables based economy IS possible.

    Whether we naked apes are capable of getting together and acting cooperatively in a timely fashion to achieve a transition to renewables before we run critically and catastrophically short of oil in particular and fossil fuels in general – and before we fuck up the environment beyond hope – is a DIFFERENT QUESTION ALTOGETHER.

    CAN’T and WON’T are not the same thing at all.

    I expect a general collapse of business as usual not because such a collapse is ORDAINED by physical laws but rather because I do not expect us to collectively get our shit together and do what COULD be done within the framework of physical laws, the laws of chemistry , physics, biology, etc.

    As ALAN from Big Easy at the old TOD used to point out, railroad tunnels dug well over a century ago are just as useful today as they ever were. I have furniture that has never been in boxes , never been in a store, never had a dime spent on advertising it- locally made – that will last hundreds of years. Nice thick solid oak and chestnut. Fastened with pegs and brass screws. Our house is a basic mid twentieth century farm house , masonry construction, metal roof. There is no reason it will not last for centuries if well cared for, barring fire.

    If I were God, a washing machine would last fifty years – simply because I would decree that each and every one be sold with a comprehensive repair and trouble shooting manual and parts availability guaranteed for the full fifty years. Incidentally the refrigerator my long dead maternal grandfather bought my grandmother right after WWII is STILL running. The ONLY repair it has ever needed was a new thermostat.

    Physical law does NOT mandate a throw away economy.

    And even though my family and community are ” heart of the Bible Belt” – the lifetime birth rate of the last two generations is below replacement level and is apparently still falling. Nobody anticipated such a development fifty years ago or even forty years ago…. excepting perhaps a few visionaries such as the people running the old Zero Population Growth organization.

    This ramble as usual could be better organized . I just stuck more stuff in as it occurred to me rereading it a couple of times.

    I will do a better job if anybody offers to pay me. I will even go away if somebody pays me to do so, lol.

    Incidentally I want to thank everybody who responds to my comments.Additional insights are priceless. Constructive criticism of any sort is beyond price. What I learn here is going into a book of my own.

    Any regular here who wants a hard copy- if I ever finish it – and if any hard copies are ever printed – will be provided one free for the asking but the odds are high that I will not find a publisher and will wind up publishing it free online.

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      The only reason not to have enough or more than enough energy from solar and wind power is that we did not try. Instead we wasted our time and energy doing the same things that got us into this fix in the first place, a sign of untreated insanity.

      • ChiefEngineer says:

        Exactly ! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

        We need a CO2 tax

    • Greenbub says:

      “Old Farmer Mac Holds Forth on Diverse and Important Subjects” -With color photographs of his family furniture!

      • I will laugh with you while pointing out that this furniture was made by a barely literate self trained relative during his down time in winter when conditions were too rough for logging and his farm work was caught up. It is already two and three generations old and I have been offered enough for JUST ONE piece to fill up the house with throw away particle board and plastic furniture which MIGHT last ten years if handled like rotten eggs.

        How long will YOUR furniture last? Do you expect it to APPRECIATE in value?

        The REAL issue is SUSTAINABILITY.

        TRULY durable goods last for generations.

        If Ron is not opposed I will post a picture or two. But pics that do justice consume a LOT of bandwidth. Post an emial address , with some extra spaces , easily deciphered, and I will send you some pictures.

        • Greenbub says:

          I was really poking fun at myself for being overly interested in your furniture. I don’t think there is much in the way of chestnut furniture anymore and I’m not surprised it’s worth money. My email includes my name, so in the interest of privacy I prefer not to include it here (don’t want people to see it on the list of Bilderberg attendees).

        • ChiefEngineer says:

          How long will YOUR furniture last?

          Too long for a modern life style, that’s why I recycle

          • MarbleZeppelin says:

            The latest medical evidence shows that sitting a lot is very unhealthy. So maybe furniture should disintegrate and leave us all standing around.

            Problem with sitting or lying on the floor is the dogs get all over you. Maybe I will let the dogs use the furniture instead. 🙂

        • Phil Harris says:

          OFM
          Hang on to these paragraphs for your book.
          If nothing else a version could go on the back cover.
          best
          Phil

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      Old Farmer,
      It looks like you are right about the cost of ICE so far. I bought a used SUV for my wife, 30,000 miles or so, 4 cylinder, 5 speed manual a number of years ago. Now there are over 180,000 miles on it. I calculated the cost per mile with fuel, maintenance and repair included at about 20 cents. I do a some of my own repairs but leave the big stuff like clutches to the mechanics.

      I just calculated the cost of leasing a Nissan Leaf for three years, no maintenance and using the local grid to charge it. Comes to a cost of 33 cents per mile. Better than most new ICE’s but not world shaking low. That was for 12000 miles per year. At 6000 miles per year it goes up to 61 cents per mile. That assumes you actually get 80 miles to the charge, which during winter will not be true and charge costs will be higher. So fixed costs are extremely important in a vehicle that is highly efficient and on lease. Just sitting there doing nothing, a leased Nissan Leaf is costing the equivalent of $282 a month because you have to pony up $3000 cash up front.

      Now if you use that $3000 to buy a used car, do most of your own repairs or find somebody to do them on the cheap or for trade, the used car costs the equivalent of about $111 per month if it lasts three years and possibly about $83 per month if it lasts for five, not including fuel . I gave $1000 for maintenance for the first three and another $1000 for maintenance for the next two years.
      With fuel, that will depend upon how much it is used and the price, but at $3 a gallon and 12000 miles a year the cost will be about 24 cents per mile for a three year term at 24 mpg.
      For a five year term, it will cost 21 cents per mile at 12000 miles per year. For a five year term, 6000 miles per year, the cost per mile almost doubles to 40 cents per mile.

      No insurance costs were included because they are so variable, but insuring the new Nissan will be more expensive than insuring an old car. No licensing or registration costs were used either.

      The downside of the old used car is the maintenance problems and downtime not on the road along with the fact that if something big comes along like a dead trans or engine you might want to have a spare few thousand around to get the next car . Overall it will save money, just make sure you replace the brake lines before they go. And you may be able to get some money back selling it, which makes the next buy easier or pays for some fuel.

      So old used cars or trucks can be much cheaper, at least until the cost of fuel skyrockets. They certainly are a lot less expensive to let sit around and purchase. They are sensitive to fuel costs.

      I used cost per mile since unless you need a large lawn ornament the car is supposed to move people/things over a distance.

      • Nick G says:

        Yeah, I have a 12 year old ICE. I only drive 800 miles per year (I commute on electric trains, and rent Volts occasionally). Eventually I’ll get an EV of some sort, but who knows – it may take 15 years for my old car to die. My last car lasted 20 years, then got hit by a falling tree (really!).

        It’s far cheaper to have an old, properly maintained vehicle.

      • Boomer II says:

        I just recently got rid of an old ICE car. I wanted to keep it longer because I wasn’t driving it much and it was cheaper than buying anything else (especially factoring in fees and insurance). But it had gotten to the point maintenance was expensive to make sure it was reliable, even for infrequent use. I reluctantly got rid of it and bought something newer, smaller, and more fuel efficient.

        I would have gotten an EV, but I don’t have access to any place to charge it on a nightly basis (it sits in a parking lot without chargers). I looked into hybrids, but decided against those, too, because I don’t anticipate driving enough to benefit from the gas savings.

        I think the cheapest option for me is not to have a car, and I can foresee doing that.

        The next cheapest option right now is to have an old car that I don’t drive much, but doesn’t need repairs. I don’t want to buy an old car for fear it will immediately need work. I usually keep newish cars until they become old and then get rid of them when maintenance gets expensive.

        Beyond that are other options, but the less I drive, the more money I save in general. So for people like me, eliminating car ownership altogether is the way to go. Yes, it will be more expensive per trip. But it will eliminate insurance, fees, maintenance, and so on.

        • old farmer mac says:

          “I don’t want to buy an old car for fear it will immediately need work. I usually keep newish cars until they become old and then get rid of them when maintenance gets expensive.”

          ANY body interested in DIRT CHEAP auto ownership can take this advice direct to the bank. It comes from an old gear head born with a lot of ”tight as the bark on a tree” Scots blood.

          IF you want to save a shitload of money on a car that you can keep a long time:

          First off read up on which ones are the most dependable and easily repaired. You will run into a lot of surprises such as finding that FOUR cylinder Toyotas are rated bullet proof by gear heads in the know where as older SIX cylinder Toyotas are rated as JUNK.

          Be SURE to avoid unpopular models regardless of reputation. A given needed new part for a popular model will generally cost a third what it costs for an unpopular model. Beyond that the ones that are popular are well known to mechanics and thus usually faster and easier to repair.

          Then find a car for sale by an elderly owner who bought it new, one ten to fifteen years old, that has been meticulously maintained and mostly kept in a carport or garage. If the owner bought it two or three years old that is OK too.

          Take somebody with you who WORKS ON CARS when you track down a likely candidate. Some old farts are very skillful liars. The car may appear to be fine but ready to croak. I have run upon a substantial number of skillful old liars when looking at cars.

          Depending on how many miles you plan on driving annually, you should most likely buy a car with no more than one hundred fifty thousand miles on it. There are plenty of older ones around with under a hundred if you LOOK for them.

          A hundred thousand miles of forty miles a day of freeway commuting puts less wear and tear on a car than twenty thousand miles of stop and go city driving.All REAL gear heads are aware of this fact.People often lie about how they have used their cars.

          Investigate the owners personal life by asking a few leading questions, as subtly as possible.

          Nice part of town you live in MR Seller, where do most folks who live around here work? Oh yeah, my wife knows somebody who has worked there for thirty years . How long did you work there?

          A car with a ”salvage” title might be a disaster or a world class bargain. If you think you may have found a bargain, have it checked out by a BODY MAN, a mechanic who SPECIALIZES in repairing WRECKS.

          A LOT of cars are declared ”totaled” even though they can be properly repaired at a reasonable cost using salvaged parts or in a shop out in the boonies where the self employed owner pays no rent no advertising no secretary etc.

          The classic best find is a HAIL damaged car totaled for that reason. Fixing one with a couple of hundred hail pecks PERFECTLY, so as to satisfy the owner takes FOREVER. It is apt to be totaled by an adjuster although it will still run just the same as one without a single ding. Doing a PASSABLE job and slapping on a coat of paint takes a couple of days.

          REMEMBER – the doors and hood and headlights and every undamaged part of your two day old car with a hundred miles on the odometer are sold as USED parts if you wreck it beyond repair.

          Parts that do NOT MOVE NEVER wear out although they sometimes rust out. An aftermarket headlight for our BUICK can be had for sixty five bucks. The dealer wants three hundred. An insurance policy may specify original equipment, local law may specify original equipment. A USED original equipment body part will last the life of a car. Generally speaking so will a cheap after market body part although the fit and finish may be noticeably inferior.

          NEVER buy a car from a person who has owned it for only a short time unless you are A GEARHEAD or have a gear head buddy guru. SOMETHING probably smells, the only question is WHAT.

          An owner heading to jail for non payment of child support etc , or one giving up driving due to health problems, may sell you a super deal but VERIFY the circumstances.

          Buying from somebody in a HURRY to sell can be a super duper technique. I know of a few cases in which an owner sold a car CHEAP in order to get together cash to make a house payment and credit card bills on time and thus preserve a pristine credit rating. Shit happens even to tight assed accountants. But be careful!

          Keep up the routine maintenance such as changing the oil and antifreeze and replacement of the serpentine belt etc and your ” NEW” car will VERY likely give you many years of ALMOST trouble free service.

          Be sure to drive it at least once a month long enough for it to get properly heated up if you can. Lots of short trips on a cold engine one after another may lead to trouble.

          This is the shortest possible short course in buying a bargain car and driving it for years-a car that CAN’T depreciate much and won’t cost you much in taxes or comprehensive insurance coverage etc.

          The reason I know a lot about this stuff is that I am a rolling stone who has worked in the industry. I still dabble in it to pass the time, cruising craigslist and the local swap and sell papers etc and buy and sell occasionally. I sell to ONLY to people who know me personally. They do me favors in return for finding bargains for them.

    • Nick G says:

      four reputable physicists …none of the four are willing to predict we will manage a successful transition.

      That’s smart of them – they know their limitations. They’re not economists, or practical engineers. To answer your question about the practical problems of actually implementing a successful transition would mean going way, way beyond their professional expertise.

      Physicists who venture into areas like this often get things badly wrong, in part because they don’t realize their limitations, and make a lot of bad assumptions.

  5. Jon Kutz says:

    Our known universe is only about 25% of what is believed to be the total universe. If my memory is correct 50% of our universe is believed to be made up of “Dark Matter” and the remaining 25% is made up of “Dark Energy”. One major breakthrough could lead to almost unlimited energy? Being able to tap into “Dark Energy” (what ever it is?) would be far better than wood, oil, coal, nuclear, solar, and wind all rolled together.
    But, that one major breakthrough is not something that one should base all your future plans on. We do need to make our plans based upon the technology that exists today while keeping the possibility of NEW technology making major changes in the future.
    When coal started replacing wood for fuel, I am sure the major wood suppliers thought coal would never overtake wood. and then oil replaced coal. We do need to keep our minds open to the possibility of new technologies replacing our present ones. And we will never know which new ones will replace the old ones until it starts to happen.

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      Dark matter is the term for the missing mass that supposedly sits out at the edges of galaxies causing them to have a different velocity profile than expected. Dark energy is the term for the unexplained phenomenon that leads astronomers to interpret red shifts as the universe accelerating in expansion, a negative force that makes the universe steadily increase in expansion.
      Just interpretations of data, no one knows what they are or if they are matter or energy.

      Remember that the only thing we can do is look into the past, so the further out we look the further back we look. No one can see how the universe looks now or what it is doing.
      From Wikipedia:
      “Again on a mass–energy equivalence basis, the density of dark energy (6.91 × 10−27 kg/m3) is very low, much less than the density of ordinary matter or dark matter within galaxies. However, it comes to dominate the mass–energy of the universe because it is uniform across space.”

      The story goes that dark energy interacts with space itself and dark matter does not interact with ordinary matter except in a strange gravitational way.

      So if you want a lot of energy, fusion or matter-antimatter collisions are the ways to go. If you want to collect energy, solar energy is the optimum.

    • Brian Rose says:

      Even better, 96% of our universe is “dark energy”.

      On the other hand, dark energy could very well turn out to be an illusion created by our current models of physics. A unified theory could either explain what dark energy is, or, and I think this is more likely, eliminate dark energy all together.

      The universe is expanding faster than predicted by our current understanding of physics. “Dark energy” is the placeholder for the difference between our observations and our mathematical models of physics.

      Maybe 96% of our universe is made of completely undetectable stuff. Or, maybe, we simply lack a unified theory, and a unified theory would eliminate the existence of dark energy by explaining expansion through other means.

      Much like how the idea of concentric circles was used to explain retrograde motion. It worked to explain observations just as dark energy explains expansion. Then, a more accurate model came about that explained retrograde motion without the obtuse need for concentric circles of revolution.

      To me, dark energy is as real as the idea of concentric circles to explain retrograde planetary motion. It’s ‘s perfectly good explanation of observations given our current knowledge of physics. However, a unified theory would make dark energy an artifact of the model, not a piece of reality.

      • cytochrome C says:

        Iff CERN doesn’t confirm Supersymmetry and its “partner particles” (which haven’t shown up where they should), we are in a new ball game.
        Dark Matter will be one of the possible casualties.

      • Jimmy says:

        Doesn’t take long for you guys to change the conversation. Relevance? I swear there’s a gang of trolls who only come here to obfuscate the discussion. I don’t go to astrophysics websites and go on about peak oil. What gives with you guys?

        • Maureen Spivack says:

          It’s probably because, astrologically, we just passed through a Venusian sidereal period while the Uranus-Pluto square had its last exact square thereby bringing to the surface issues of power, control, transformation, change and a general highlighting or focusing on collective problems. You can do some astrological research on this if you want.

          • You can do some astrological research on this if you want.

            I don’t want to. And please place a smiley face after such sarcastic comments, else some people might think you are really that stupid.

          • Maureen, the astrological charts were changed when Pluto was demoted to a Kuiper Belt dwarf planet. This delayed the square for 3480 years until we get an alignment of Taurus with Uranus. 😊

      • MarbleZeppelin says:

        I have to agree with Brian, dark matter and dark energy could just turn out to be a misinterpretation of observational data. So I would not rely on them as possible sources of energy. Although it would be nice understand what space really is so we can have things like anti-gravity and FTL transport.

        The big question now is why is there not a lot of anti-matter in the universe. Possibly the formation of this universe favored matter slightly over anti-matter and normal matter is what is left after the annihilation event. There may be anti-matter universes where basic nuclear parameters favored the formation of anti-matter over matter. Probably not a good place for us to visit.

      • Doug Leighton says:

        Brian, when you say: Even better, 96% of our universe is “dark energy” that’s not correct. For one thing the proper number is more like 70%. But, yes, dark energy (vacuum energy, Planck energy) may be a mirage. It’s not an axiom that one can only measure energy differences, it’s a consequence of what energy actually means – in the absence of gravity. In a vacuum (in the absence of gravity), the expectation value of the Hamiltonian (the operator corresponding to the total energy of the system) is ambiguous, owing to the uncertainty principle and can be consistently defined to vanish. What this means, operationally, is the degrees of freedom that carry this ‘zero point energy’ don’t do any work, on average (on any apparatus) which is what the vanishing of the expectation value means. What IS measurable is ‘the specific heat” which is what energy fluctuations describe and mean.

      • Jef says:

        Brian – The world never stopped burning wood, we burn more today than ever, some European countries use wood for electricity generation.

        The world never stopped burning coal, we burn more now than ever. coal energy is increasing every year.

        We will never stop using any of these energy sources until they are gone or we are gone.

        There is absolutely no future scenario where “renewables” replaces all of that PERIOD!

        • Nick G says:

          Actually, the US has plenty of coal, but is still choosing to burn less and less of it each year.

          China actually made it’s coal consumption stop growing last year. It’s not a serious decline yet, but…even the current pause in growth wasn’t expected for quite some time.

        • Bob Nickson says:

          Well, we have mostly stopped burning whales.

    • When coal started replacing wood for fuel, I am sure the major wood suppliers thought coal would never overtake wood.

      Jon, wood is a renewable. Once we got all our energy from renewables. One time in the future we again get all our energy from renewables. When that happens we will be able to support about the same population on renewables as we did before the era of fossil fuel.

      One major breakthrough could lead to almost unlimited energy? Being able to tap into “Dark Energy” (what ever it is?) would be far better than wood, oil, coal, nuclear, solar, and wind all rolled together.

      That is about the dumbest goddamn thing I have read on this blog since I started it two years ago.

      • Brian Rose says:

        Not to mention the evolution of coal use didn’t START as a replacement for wood (or peat, which WAS the fuel it eventually replaced).

        No one burning wood said coal would replace it because coal didn’t compete with wood. It was the depletion of peat that left coal as a better substitute.

        For anyone curious about how technologies evolved the documentary series “Connections with James Burke” is truly amazing. My favorite doc series of all time if that’s worth anything.

      • Nick G says:

        Ron, It’s time to think more carefully about technology.

        One time in the future we again get all our energy from renewables. When that happens we will be able to support about the same population on renewables as we did before the era of fossil fuel.

        This is very unrealistic. The Romans didn’t use coal, because they didn’t know how to – they didn’t have the technology.

        Britons in the year 1800 didn’t use solar electricity because they didn’t have the technology.

        We have the technology now for cheap solar and wind power! (not to mention nuclear, hydro, etc).

        • I really don’t know why the Romans didn’t use coal extensively but I am pretty sure it is not because they lacked the technology. Fire is pretty simple when you get right down to it.

          Coal is easily obtained from outcroppings in lots of places and in such locations is actually easier to gather than wood. The Greeks knew it was useful in working metals 300 or so BCE and that coal was easily found and collected in some parts of present day Italy.

          People do things for strange reasons – and refrain from doing other things for even stranger reasons sometimes.

          The Romans … well they did a lot of great things but mostly they seem to have been almost totally hidebound in terms of adopting any new technology outside the military field.

          Plentiful slave labor may have blinded them to the possibility they could get things done easier and faster using new techniques.

          • Nick G says:

            Mac, “technology” is a broad term that I used to include all of the knowledge necessary to make use of something.

            It includes the uses to which something can be put; the resources that are available: and the techniques to make use of it.

            Near the end of the Roman empire Romans were desperately in need of fuel. Wood was scarce and there were several competing uses for it besides combustion.

            If they had understood what coal could be used for; how much of it there was; where it was; and how to use it; it seems pretty clear that they would have jumped on the opportunity!

            • They would have had to mine coal in Spain, Germany, Poland, etc. I don’t think Italy has too much coal.

              • Nick G says:

                Yeah, they might have had to import it from the imperial provinces, like lions for coliseum.

                OTOH, this is just an example. You could substitute the English Isles in the Roman era.

                • Yeah, but they didn’t burn lions to keep warm. Plus I think the lions lasted a bit. The idea was to have the lions eat people (it isn’t as exciting when people win).

                  Maybe the best solution was to move the capital to Madrid. If they had done that and hung on to England then everybody would speak Spanish. Yey.

  6. Boomer II says:

    The quest for alternative sources of energy is not merely illusory; it is actually harmful. … To maintain an industrial civilization, it’s either oil or nothing.

    The problem with this is that is an ultimate doom scenario and therefore the author seems to be suggesting that we should just accept that everything will stop when the oil runs out.

    But there are two problems with the author’s thoughts:

    1. Renewables WILL be used because they are an alternative to other energy sources. We’re not going to NOT use all available energy sources if they are there. We already have renewable energy. We’re not going to take those down. And we continue to add more. We’re not going to take those down, either.

    2. Who says we have to maintain an industrial civilization to survive? We will accept lower energy activities if those are what we have to work with.

    • Doug Leighton says:

      Or, we could just tap into all that Dark Energy.

    • Javier says:

      therefore the author seems to be suggesting…

      there are two problems with the author’s thoughts…

      I have already noticed that you like to discuss about your interpretation of what people think or what they seem to be suggesting, instead of what they actually say, as if you really could know what is inside their mind. That gets you into moot arguments. Peter Childgood DOES NOT SAY that:

      1. Renewables WILL NOT be used.

      2. In this chapter he does not say anything about survival, but only about maintenance of the industrial civilization.

      By setting out a straw argument (time after time) you never get to discuss what Peter Childgood (or anybody) actually says.

      • Boomer II says:

        I quoted him. I interpret what he says.

        Here’s more of what he says.

        We are rapidly heading toward the greatest disaster in history, but we are indulging in escapist fantasies. All talk of alternative energy is just a way of evading the real issue: that the Industrial Age is over.

        I don’t get what your point is.

        • Boomer II says:

          In other words, I am correctly interpreting him thinking we are heading toward disaster. Should I not be assuming that disaster = threat to survival?

          And he says we shouldn’t be using alternative energy because it is “harmful.” Actually he says the quest for alternative energy is “harmful.” Those words seem to be saying that if it is up to him we’ll stop all of that right now. And you think this doesn’t mean he believes renewable energy developments should stop?

          • Nick G says:

            Which means that really, he’s acting as a shill for fossil fuel industries.

            He may not mean to, but…he is.

  7. Watcher says:

    60some penny bounce in Asia. Futs bouncing 2%. China not.

  8. shallow sand says:

    Berman is spot on again.

  9. islandboy says:

    Being a self confessed techno-optimist of sorts I’ll bite but before I do, here are some news stories that will support some of the arguments I will be putting forward

    Australia: ACT government aims for 100% renewable energy by 2025

    The target was unveiled by ACT chief minister Andrew Barr at the ACT Labor Party conference on Saturday. The ACT already had a 90 per cent renewable energy target by 2020, but decided to go the “whole hog” by 2025 to show leadership in the climate and clean energy debate that has been lacking at the federal level.

    “Canberra can and should be a beacon for everyone who realises the world must act decisively now to stave off a future of catastrophic climate change,” Barr told the conference on Saturday.

    The ACT is able to do this because it has no domestic fossil fuel industry – apart from federal lobbyists – within its territory, therefore little organised resistance to wind and solar projects.

    France doubles the size of its large-scale PV solicitation to 800 MW

    France’s Ministry of Energy, Ecology and Sustainable Development (MEDDE) says that 2 GW of bids were filed for only 200 MW of capacity, and further that the prices being offered had fallen for the first time to a level comparable with wind generation.

    More than 2 GW-AC of solar PV under construction in Chile

    “Market growth in 2015 is coming from a range of sources, with solar projects competitive in the merchant electricity market, in the bilateral contract market with commercial consumers, and in the government’s tender processes,” notes James.

    James expects Chile’s market to decline in 2016, citing “broader electricity market conditions.” However, he also expects solar to feature prominently in government auctions.

    According to CER, new renewable energy capacity may already be bringing down costs. The agency’s report finds a decline both annually and month-over-month in costs on both the SIC and Northern Grid (SING).

    California hits a new utility-scale solar peak output of 6.39 GW-AC

    On June 7th, California’s grid operator (ISO) reported that the state had hit a new record for solar PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) generation, at 6.160 GW-AC. A little over a month later, a new peak was set on July 13th, 1 MW shy of 6.3 GW-AC.

    A new record was set two days after that, and throughout July and August records have been falling like dominoes. As the latest, California ISO reports that the state’s PV and CSP plants reached a peak output of 6.391 GW-AC at 12:54 PM local time on Thursday August 20th.

    However, California ISO does not report the output of customer-sited “behind-the-meter” PV plants, including the state’s rooftop residential and commercial solar. GTM Research estimates that in the first quarter of 2015 these comprised 3.2 GW-AC of capacity. While real-world output never reaches total capacity, this could theoretically put peak solar output near 50% higher.

    Obama announces new support for clean energy

    I’ll stop there. If any body’s interested there’s lots more at PV Magazine. There’s another site I get news from everyday, SolarServer that typically puts out five or more stories a day.

    • Toolpush says:

      Just a note on the ACT commitment to 100% renewable energy. It seems in all the enthusiasm from politicians at least to go renewable for “all” energy, only seems to include electrical energy. In Oz at least, our politicians don’t seem to realize that transport also uses energy? All the carbon tax, renewable support CO2 reduction talk or action has only ever been about electricity and never transport.

      The electricity that the ACT is planning on buying and producing, is mainly from Victoria and South Australia, though there are a few wind turbines in the Canberra area.The ACT itself which, sits half way between the Snowy Mountain Hydro electric scheme, and the Hunter Valley coal mine and power generators will be well taken care of in case of any power fluctuation

      If I was a cynic, I would suggest the politicians were scared to mess with the price of transport fuels as like in the US, the talk of a price increase of petrol/gasoline is the touchstone for political suicide.

      PS. A year or two ago I was involved in survey. 10 people, 2 hours, discussing energy. To start, we were asked to write down the 3 top concerns we had about daily living. 3 people wrote price of fuel too high. I of course, wrote the opposite! This was a survey paid by the government of the time, and the following day, the treasurer made an announcement, concerning a couple of our more colourful mining personalities, that had become the main focus of our little survey.
      Obviously many of these group surveys took place around the country that day, but I learnt that day, that politicians do not open there mouth, until they have know what they can get away with, and the price of liquid fuels in an untouchable.

      Maybe, I have answered my own

    • More support of the sort islandboy posted:

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-future-of-sewage-is-power-and-profits/

      This sewage treatment city plant is already energy neutral and if this new tech works out they will have phosphorus and other stuff to sell.

      I did not realize until now just how fast the sewage treatment industry is progressing.

      • Mac, let me show you a trick:

        Scientific American has a very radical editorial compass. This goes back to its owner, Nature Publications, which has been oriented into a radical political tool by a new extreme left “science editor”. This led SciAm to make a deal with a climate business limited liability company which publishes ,”Climatewire”. All these articles you read in Sciam with the Climatewire authorship are pre-canned by that outfit.

        This links is a recorded radio interview with the Climatewire chief: http://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/to-the-point/climate-change-is-the-us-fiddling-while-it-burns#seg-climate-change-is-the-us-fiddling-while-it-burns

        The owner of Climatewire is EE Publshing, based in Washington DC, created in 1998 by Kevin Braun and Michael Witt:

        http://www.eenews.net/eep/learn_more/

        This outfit seems to be oriented towards political lobbying in the centers of power in DC. Their link to SciAm sure gives them a good pat on the back. But most of what they write is Pom Pom girl material.

        • cytochrome C says:

          Nature is the primer publisher of scientific papers (Science and Cell being a few of the others), and has a position of equanimity, or it would not be credible in the scientific establishment.
          Scientific American is a lay publication, for public consumption.

          (one can easily tell the difference– one advertises gene sequencing technology, the other automobiles.)

          If anything, they stray toward more conservative political correctness.

          • Hi Fernando,

            The big question is in the end whether this German city is already processing sewage using energy obtained from the sewage itself to run the plant.

            Bias or no – and I recognize that the bias you point out DOES exist to some extent- I think the article gets it right in respect to this basic fact.

            Extracting phosphorus and other necessary raw materials from the burnt sludge at a PROFIT does appear to be a real possibility.

            I can say with confidence that the remaining endowment of high grade phosphorus rock is diminishing fast and that using lesser quality ore means the price of phosphorus is NECESSARILY going to go UP within the easily foreseeable future.

            Business as usual is a dead man walking, the fast depletion of oil and numerous other non renewable resources guarantee this outcome.

            But a new generation business as usual is in the process of being born. It may not survive but we are going to give it the old school try because otherwise we go crash and burn and go back to the preindustrial era sooner or later.

            • Mac, the article is bullshit. But you have to dig deep into it, and parse the words, check the facts, and have enough engineering background. When you read a Climatewire piece ask me about it, most of what they have is useless.

              • Unfortunately in this case I cannot easily dig into it since I do not speak German and a quick search turned up very little in English.

                I DO understand that a hell of a lot of the content of the MSM is sharply slanted in one direction or anther for various reasons.

                I also understand that fossil fuels in general and oil in particular deplete over time at an ever increasing rate.

                If you have a solution better than renewables lets hear it.

                Incidentally I am in favor of building a new generation of safer and hopefully cheaper nukes but I don’t think we will succeed in building enough nukes to enable us to get by without plenty of renewables as well.

                • A better solution than burning concentrated shit for energy? Wood.

                  Start from basic principles. Concentrated feces is mostly digested and poorly digested food, mixed with water. Are we in agreement thus far?

                  So do you think that makes better fuel than ground up WET sawdust? And how efficient us it to burn WET sawdust?

                  The whole article is concentrated bullshit. But these guys are pretty good at tossing misleading titles and sub headers with some science, which in the end is mostly intended to serve like a drug. Makes you feel good, I suppose.

                  • You get rid of the major part of the organic matter by means of anaerobic digestion capturing the methane and burning the methane onsite to power the sewage treatment plant.

                    You clean up the water and send it out for reuse.

                    IF the remaining sludge is CLEAN ENOUGH it can be used effectively and economically as fertilizer.

                    If it contains to many problem contaminants such as heavy metals you have two basic choices. You either landfill it or you burn it.

                    My understanding is that it now seems likely that we can now actually burn the dry remaining sludge and in the process of burning it recover some or most of the metals and phosphorus for sale.

                    While it is not clear whether this is actually profitable at this time, it APPEARS to be cheaper than landfilling the dry sludge.

                    Time will tell.

                  • And how do they dry the remaining sludge? Solar power?

                  • old farmer mac says:

                    Actually human fees is RICH source of organic matter and since it CANNOT just be dumped into a river without killing a lot of people downstream you HAVE to treat it- except in the third world where killing people downstream is still considered acceptable.

                    Anaerobic digestion DOES yield enough methane to run the plant and dry the remaining sludge, or nearly enough.

                    The sludge HAS to be dried sufficiently to use it as a fertilizer, due to the expense and difficulty of hauling it wet, to either a farm or a landfill.

                    So – In the end the question is not whether damp or moderately wet sludge is a good fuel , but whether it can be burnt to get rid of it and HOPEFULLY recover some useful minerals at LESS cost than landfilling it.

                    There are some garbage incinerators , or used to be, in this country that were used to burn wet household garbage by spraying some diesel fuel on the garbage as it goes thru the furnace on a moving bed , a wide metallic chain link belt running around rollers at each end.

                    The energy gained is or was minimal but the EXPENSE expense of landfilling the garbage thus avoided was substantial- enough to make burning sopping wet garbage a profitable undertaking.

                    I believe these incinerators have been mostly shut down due to emissions regulations, getting them to burn clean enough is a tough nut.

                    Sawdust wet or dry is a valuable commodity and has numerous uses including burning it as a fuel if only moderately wet.

                    Ya blow it into a boiler furnace with a big fan with a forced draft on the firebox and once lit she burns just fine – although less efficiently if it is wet of course.

                    There are boilers of this sort in the last local l furniture factory still in production and my last paid job was looking after them on Saturdays and Sundays. It was a very simple job, took only a couple of days to learn it.

                    You are STUCK with sewage sludge, you MUST get rid of it. You are never stuck with sawdust, wet or dry. We loaded any excess into trucks that hauled it to a nearby factory that manufactures a sort of wood substitute called pressboard or hard board out of it.

                    The only time the sawdust was wet was when the fire suppression system went off. That happened quite often and sometimes the wet sawdust would plug up the feed pipes which meant I had to get out of my office chair and clear the pipes.

                    It NOW appears that burning any unsalable sludge MIGHT be more economical than landfilling it.

                    I really do not KNOW.

                    But so far as I can tell, neither do you.

                    Looking after the boilers was a gravy part time job,mostly all I had to do was watch the instruments and read a novel and the papers. Nobody around except one coworker, the rules required two of us. Not even half enough work to keep one of us busy.

    • A quote from that gushy “California hits..” article:

      “In a 2013 document, California non-profit Clean Coalition showed how a variety of solutions, including importing and exporting power, demand response and energy storage could mitigate the need to ramp quickly. The study found that these solutions would be particularly effective when deployed together to “flatten” the back of the duck.”

      Based on what I’ve read, these Clean Coalition type non profits are very biased, and issue propaganda to satisfy solar groupie demands. This tends to make me highly skeptical of the article contents.

      Now let’s turn to their gushy items:

      Importing and exporting power: not feasible if surrounding states install their own solar power systems.

      Demand response: means cutting the power to customers whenever there’s cloudy weather, a dust storm, etc. I assume they wouldn’t dare cut power at night.

      Energy storage: incredibly expensive using today’s technology.

      To be honest, it is reasonable to read this junk in a site called “pv magazine”. What’s not reasonable is to expect this propaganda to sway educated people with some engineering background.

      http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/california-hits-a-new-utility-scale-solar-peak-output-of-639-gw-ac_100020703/#ixzz3jpWbxGyc

      • islandboy says:

        Fernando, I am glad you have chosen to state the obvious, in that a publication called PV magazine would be pushing PV, pretty much in the same way that a publication called say, Oil & Gas Journal would be inclined to report positive developments in the field of oil and gas and be highly skeptical of renewables.

        Having said that here are some stories from one of my other “solar news” sources:

        Canadian Solar launches 320 W PV module

        Furthermore, this new power class gives solar PV installers and project developers the ability to reduce their overall balance of system costs for small commercial, large commercial, distributed generation, and utility-scale projects.

        GILDEMEISTER installs first CellCube Vanadium-Redox-Flow storage systems for solar, wind power in Czech Republic

        The other energy storage project was installed for the South Bohemian Science and Technology Park, located in Budweis, about 100 kilometers south of Prague. The Park is located on the campus of the University of South Bohemia and serves as entrepreneurial innovation center.

        The Vanadium-Redox-Flow storage system CellCube FB 30-130 installed, works in combination with a 76 kWp PV system. The storage system, with a power output of up to 30 kW and a storage capacity of 130 kWh, is used in order to increase the self-consumption level of the building, but also as safeguard in case of blackouts.

        New solar power policy: India increases 2022 target to 100 GW

        The Government of India has revised the National Solar Mission (NSM) target of grid connected solar power projects from 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2022 to 100 GW by 2022. This was stated by Sh. Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Bicameral-Parliament, on August 13th, 2015.

        According to the Minister a revised National Solar Mission is under implementation.

        I omitted the following story when posting the articles from PV Magazine:

        Indonesia: Tax incentives for renewable energy

        The government will be providing incentives, such as import-tax reductions, in order to attract more investors to develop renewable energy projects in Indonesia. The announcement was made by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister, Said Sudirman, according to “The Jakarta Post.”

        Despite the fact the reduction of import taxes will bring in a smaller income, Said sees the longer-term benefits. He commented, “In the long term, we will see added value in the sector.” Since 2004, Indonesia has become a net oil importer due to rising production costs and consumption, among others, spurring the transition towards renewable energy.

        Said has outlined that Indonesia needs IDR402 trillion (US$28.6bn) in investment over a five-year period, to tap renewable energy potential and generate 8,750 MW of electricity. This will be 25% of the current total electricity generation.

        Now back to SolarServer:

        EnergyTrend: Solar PV production capacity expansions in H2, 2015 will affect markets next year

        Since European and U.S. campaigns against Chinese PV imports mainly target cells and modules, large and vertically integrated manufacturers have included these products in their overseas expansion plans.

        Moreover, India has stood out as a rising PV markets with many manufacturers scrambling to establish a production base inside the country. As large PV companies increase their overseas activities (i.e. investing in new plants, relocating production bases, working with local companies in foreign countries), they also undermine China’s dominance in the global PV production.

        Petroleum Development Oman, GlassPoint Solar to build 1 GW CSP plant for solar enhanced oil recovery

        Petroleum Development Oman (PDO, Muscat), the largest producer of oil and gas in Oman, and GlassPoint Solar (Fremont, CA, US), the leader in solar enhanced oil recovery (EOR), on July 8th, 2015 announced plans to build one of the world’s largest solar thermal power plants.

        Miraah (meaning mirror in Arabic) will be a 1,021 megawatt (MW) concentrating solar power (CSP) facility in South Oman, harnessing the sun’s rays to produce steam. The steam will be used in thermal EOR to extract heavy and viscous oil at the Amal oilfield.

        Note to Ron: if anybody finds my posting of these stories annoying, just let me know and I will cease and desist but, for today, I think they are relevant as responses to the Peter Goodchild piece.

        The point of all these stories is that they highlight some trends:

        Continuing improvements in conversion efficiencies and reductions in cost.

        Expanding plans by governments for adoption’

        The commencement of the use of renewables in the areas of mining and oil and gas extraction.

        I sense that a revolution is starting and stand by belief that every day that some semblance of BAU is maintained and catastrophic collapse is averted brings modern civilisation closer to the day when a lack of petroleum will not be a problem. Now I will not go as far as Tony Seba and boldly predict that in less than fifteen years the transition will be so far advanced that Peak Oil will have been a non event. I see a lot of things that can throw a spanner in the works between now and then.

        Just to preempt the likely response from Fernando that, renewables are not financially sound, the LTO fiasco has not been financially sound either. Billions (trillions?) of dollars has been pissed away on LTO and when the smoke clears there won’t be an awful lot to show for it. If that money had been pissed away on efficiency improvements, oil free transit and renewables instead, we would have lasting things to show for it and/or at least have learned from the experience but, we’ll never know.

        • I read the Oil and Gas Journal. They don’t get into articles writing gushingly about oil and gas. The solar power industry is going balls out to get subsidies in the power generation sector. There are billions of dollars for them to grab. So of course it’s natural for them to lay on the bullshit. It’s similar to the ethanol industry.

          • Boomer II says:

            The solar power industry is going balls out to get subsidies in the power generation sector. There are billions of dollars for them to grab. So of course it’s natural for them to lay on the bullshit.

            At least you are recognizing that solar is about dollars, not about communism.

            That’s what I keep trying to point out. It’s about new capitalists against old capitalists.

            Do I think the Silicon Valley guys are more ethical than the old industry types? No. But I think they are amassing enough money to influence policies. And I currently prefer the new energy guys to the old energy guys for several reasons:

            1. As fossil fuels decline, I think we need new types of energy use, generation, and distribution.

            2. I think solar is less environmentally damaging that coal mining and burning. I don’t think there is any energy use without problems, but I see solar as less of a problem.

            3. I don’t want to see more oil wars.

            4. I think solar is less likely to lead to monopolistic practices. I prefer distributed generation and widely available energy resources to those which are controlled by just a few players.

            • Talking about communists, I got a bit more detail about what’s going on in western Venezuela. A few days ago the Venezuelan regime closed the border with Colombia. At the time I reported two Army officers and a sergeant were killed. But it turns out they are in critical condition.

              The three guys were shot after an Army patrol stopped an SUV with two Venezuela national guardsmen, and tried to search their vehicle. They refused claiming the vehicle contents could only be searched by state prosecutors. So the state prosecutor was brought to the scene and found the vehicle carried a load of cocaine, 3 million $ US and hundreds of millions of Venezuelan bolivars (market rate 730 per $).

              So it goes like this: this sector along the border is used by the Army (Soles Cartel, whose godfather is the president of the National Assembly). The national guard has the rights to smuggle cocaine from Colombia and ship gasoline further north (I have the videos showing how the smuggling works, filmed by hidden cameras).

              The army patrol seems to have been protecting its turf, took the national guards shipment, and the national guard retaliated by having the three army guys shot. Seems like the Venezuelan military is controlled by drug cartels, with assigned territories, and now they started sort of a gang war in western Venezuela.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                Seems like the Venezuelan military is controlled by drug cartels, with assigned territories, and now they started sort of a gang war in western Venezuela.

                Hey, look on the bright side, at least they aren’t controlled by communists! 🙂

      • wharf rat says:

        “Based on what I’ve read, these Clean Coalition type non profits are very biased,”

        Based on what I’ve read, so are you.

  10. Hickory says:

    I understand that solar needs fossil fuel energy to get built out , and maintained, but that is OK. Its a good use for fossil fuel, and I believe that over the next 20 yrs solar will in fact “earn” that fossil fuel input.
    In sunny areas it is beginning to snowball in deployment. And that is a great thing.
    Here is a link to a new google mapping product that allows you to estimate the solar potential of a property. Only a small zone is now “live”, but they are on a fast rollout of this product.
    The link shows you a typical house in the SF bay area.

    https://www.google.com/get/sunroof#a=112%20Stanley%20St%2C%20Redwood%20City%2C%20CA&b=125&f=lease&np=18&p=1&sh=1

    It is pretty amazing that you could own a Chevy volt that is primarily fueled by panels on your roof (if you live in a sunny area and don’t have to drive too far each day). Miraculous in fact. Now if we could just get some rain here in California.

    • ChiefEngineer says:

      I would guess that most the fossil fuels to build out solar is in the transportation needed in the worker chain from production to installation. California will prove the naysayers wrong and lead the country forward.

      One can’t drive down the road in SoCal now and not see solar panels. We are already living the future with a booming cleaner economy and a balanced budget.

      I’d rather be a solar installation installer than a coal miner

  11. Greenbub says:

    LOST DECADE AGAIN?

    “I just cannot understand how this low price can sustained investment in high-cost oil areas, someone somewhere must be losing his shirt,” former OPEC secretary-general Ali Jaidah told a closed conference in 1988.

    From this article:
    http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/oil-market-loses-faith-in-saudi-arabias-oil-strategy-as-another-lost-decade-looms

  12. islandboy says:

    Okay, so now I’ll start addressing Mr. Peter Goodchild’s argument’s. First his implication that mining is dependent on oil is put into question by the following article:

    Renewable Energy and Chilean Mines: A Market Overview

    For a relatively new and untested renewable energy market, Chile has a remarkable number of strengths. The country has incredibly attractive solar resources, according to Joel Link, vice president of development and global head of mining development for SolarReserve.

    “The Atacama Desert, in northern Chile, has arguably the world’s strongest solar resource,” he says, noting that this area also happens to be home to the lion’s share of the country’s mining activities.

    So, in Chile the mining industry is a major driver of adoption of renewable energy. Both Abengoa, the developer of the Solana CSP plant in Arizona and Solar Reserve the developer of the Crescent Dunes project in Nevada have projects in the pipeline in Chile where the thermal storage component has proven valuable. Development of CSP in the US seems to have stalled in the US as declining PV costs have put the squeeze on CSP as the storage capabilities are not as appealing at the moment. My take is that the circumstances in Chile are making renewables a competitive option for the mining industry as pointed out in the linked article;e, allowing Chile to show the way in the use of renewables in mining, Maybe someday Chilean mines will begin to out compete mines in other places based on their use of renewables and forces mines in other countries to look at renewable energy options.

    The Tesla Gigafactory will also challenge the notion that fossil fuels are needed for the manufacture of renewable technology in that the target is for the factory to be powered by renewable energy. Sure, oil is being used in the construction of the factory but, who can say for certain that in ten or twenty years time it will not be possible to build such a factory with far less fossil fuel inputs?

    Next I will take on the argument about the diffuse nature of renewables and their supposed inability to scale. In a comment by Shallow Sand, under the previous Ron post, he pointed out that “There are over 500,000 stripper wells producing in the US.” Further down in the same comment he states, “I think US strippers produce somewhere between 700K-1.1 million bopd.” I find it odd that some people think that running 500,000 stripper wells, that produce an average of between 1.4 to 2.2 bopd is fine. No problems with scale or being diffuse there! On the other hand some of these same people have a problem with 500,000, 10 kW, distributed, grid tied solar PV plants because, solar energy is too diffuse and it doesn’t scale well, never mind the fact that it is often used at the point of generation and at any rate doesn’t need a truck to be taken to where it will be used. I wonder how long it will be before the tables turn and electricity from renewable sources is used to run the pumps at the stripper wells because, it’s the least expensive way to pump? That would be ironic, the oil industry depending on renewables to be able to extract oil!

    Finally, I’ve got a question for the oil field guys. When a well is plugged and abandoned, how much steel is left in the ground? I assume that even if it is technically possible, the cost of pulling the well casing out of the hole wouldn’t be worth it. I’m just thinking along the lines that all the materials used to manufacture a PV module are always above the ground and can be reused/recycled. Maybe at some point in the future there will be an industry recycling old PV modules by using the frame and glass but, replacing the solar cells with newer, more efficient ones. If oil well casings are just left in the ground , that tells me that the steel aint worth too much despite the fact that it is a non-renewable resource.

    For all the oil field guys, I appreciate and respect the work you do and think it is a travesty how this stupid money has fueled this LTO fiasco. The whole debacle has not only messed up the lives of a lot of good hard working people, it has lulled a lot of people into thinking that renewable energy and EVs are a waste of time and money because, hey! Peak Oil is a myth! America is the new Saudi Arabia!

    • That Tesla gigafactory comment is really funny. 😆

    • shallow sand says:

      I do not get into many discussions or arguments about renewable energy because I am not well educated about it. However, I do read some, not all, of the posts. I try to keep on top of it, in part, because I want to get rid of oil investments if they are becoming obsolete. That day may come, but I think it is a ways off. But I try very hard to keep an open mind, because not keeping an open mind can get you into a lot of trouble.

      The reason I do not want to see strippers plugged until they are flat out of oil or gas is because first, they are already there. Not taking up additional space. Second, they tend to have a small foot print compared to the shale. Very small pad, smaller pumping units, smaller tank battery, mostly dead oil so usually lower methane emissions. Lastly, they are trypically owned by individuals or small businesses and I think that is something that should be encouraged.

      I would also note I have seen solar panels at oil wells and tank batteries, presumably to power instrumentation. If solar panels will do the job cheaper than buying electricity from the co-op, I’m for it. What would it take to generate 800 KWH, which is what one typical well uses per month and which costs about $120.00 per month at present?

      • Nick G says:

        The best application for a solar powered pump is to replace diesel. If you’ve already got electric service set up, and you’ve got reasonably priced grid power, that’s going to be tough for PV to beat.

        It can be done, but it depends on cheap installation, and the economics get very tough if you try to replace 100% of the grid power.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        What would it take to generate 800 KWH, which is what one typical well uses per month and which costs about $120.00 per month at present?

        An idealized 1 kilowatt system would make roughly 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity for every hour it is in the sun.

        lets say you have six good hours of sunlight per day.
        1 kW solar electric system x 6 sun hours/day = 6 kilowatt hours/day of electricity.

        6 kilowatt hours/day x 30 days/month (average) = 180 kWh/month of electricity from a 1 kW system. (x 12 = 2,160 kWh/year). Of course in the real world you have inefficiencies, wiring, inverter losses. etc… so your performance would only be at about 80% efficiency, so 1 kW solar electric system would, in reality, produce ~1700 kWh/year.)

        So if your requirements are 800 KWh a month you need a at least a 4.5 KW system.
        Which would run you roughly $8000.00 up front costs assuming there are no rebates or tax credits available to you. I assume you would at least qualify for a 30% federal rebate so your out of pocket cost should be around $5600.00

        Right now you are spending $120.00 a month to power your equipment x 12 = $1440.00 a year so your payback should be a little less than 4 years.

        But as we all know the world is probably going to end before then so it might not be worth it for you 🙂

      • islandboy says:

        What will it take in terms of dollars or equipment?

        It depends on a lot of factors.
        Does your state mandate Net Meetering?
        What is your utility’s (the co-op) stand on you feeding power back to the grid?
        Do your pumps run 24/7or can you “rest” the well overnight?
        Are your wells in clusters where one solar installation could feed two or more wells?
        What is the solar resource in your location (Seattle worst, south west best)?
        What state and Federal rebates if any, will the installation qualify for?

        Here is a page from a vendor showing prices for grid tied systems with three different types of inverters, off grid systems and grid tied systems with battery backup. The systems are sized by the amount of kWh produced, based on an average of 5 sun hours per day, with prices being for materials only. Prices do not include soft costs, which vary from state to state. Generally, simple grid tied systems are least costly with grid tied systems with battery backup being the most costly.

        Honestly speaking, the US has fairly low electricity prices on average so in many cases solar is not cost competitive yet. If/when module prices drop by another 50% and inverter costs come down but, most importantly if soft costs can come down in tandem with other costs, the situation could change rather abruptly. If fuel prices spike that will also change the equation dramatically.

        Solar PV is not rocket science and I’m sure you could make short work of the economics of it with a fair understanding of the different types of inverters available. Batteries are a whole other matter right now since, as has been mentioned around here before, there is a lot happening in the battery space.

        Sorry I couldn’t be more specific but, I would need a lot more information to come up with a decent answer.

        • shallow sand says:

          Thanks for the comments. I realize there are a lot of variables, and I assume the cost of solar for that application is not competitive yet. I’m in the Mid-Continent where there is quite a bit of sun in the summer and fall, and fairly long summer days, but a lot more cloudy in winter and spring, with short days in winter.

          A few wells are on time clocks, my example is one that runs continuously. Some leases have one well, such as my example. The range is from there up to over 20. Injection pumps run on electricity also.

          A lot of your questions I do not know the answers to. Would this application qualify for government subsidies?

          Always have to keep an open mind and look for ways to do stuff better. Hope you consider my points on keeping existing shallow, small footprint wells going. Some are still producing after over 100 years. Granted, they don’t make a great deal but they don’t take up much space or disrupt much. They just keep pumping away, minding their own business, providing income to individuals and small businesses.

          • islandboy says:

            Shallow, fortunately some people at North Carolina State University figured out that, with the huge range of incentives and subsidies available in different states, an on-line tool might help. Hence they developed the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency®. That should help anybody figure out what is available at their location.

            You should also be able to get pretty detalied information about the size of the solar resource from NREL. I have not explored the NREL resources in depth since they only cover the US in any detail, not much help to me.

            NREL also provides on on-line tool called PVWatts that you can play around with to, get some idea of project yields in your location.

      • It’s cheaper to buy electricity. But see if you can get a contract to limit your purchases to off peak hours, then put your wells on clock. I wouldn’t clock the water injection pumps because the wells will sand up if you start messing around with the well pressures.

        Solar panels won’t do you much good at this time, in a few years if costs went down you could look into it.

  13. sunnnv says:

    re 11% conversion efficiency of PV

    Based on a 2006 reference?
    Geez dude – 9 years is an eternity in PV land.

    http://solar-panels-review.toptenreviews.com/

    These range from 16 down to 14.4 % module conversion efficiency at standard test conditions.

    One can get much higher module efficiencies than these cheapest modules,
    besides Sunpower (21.5%), and Panasonic (nee Sanyo) (19.4%)
    there are others pushing into the 20 % module efficiency space.

    Even derating for inverter efficiency and temperature effects, nobody but some thin film is down at 11% these days.

    • islandboy says:

      SolarWorld AG sets new world record for PERC solar cell efficiency

      The CalLab of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems has confirmed that the manufacturer surpassed its own record by reaching a new height of 21.7 percent in its solar cell efficiency. The cells, based on crystalline p-type silicon wafers, were manufactured using industrial production processes. This means that they can be quickly placed into mass production, the company emphasizes.

      SolarWorld plans to offer modules with 300 watt and more featuring this technology beginning this fall.

  14. BC says:

    Gents, some points of possible interest from McKinsey’s “Weekly Oil and Gas Update”:

    . . . US shale drilling dayrates fall to near rig operating costs: Industry analysts at Oilpro are reporting that spot market shale rig dayrates in August 2015 reached USD 16K/day (based on Rig Data analysis, industry estimates and company presentations). In late 2014, the same high-spec, high-horsepower onshore rigs with automated moving systems were commanding USD 20-25k/day. Estimated cash operating costs for these rigs is around USD 10-13K, leaving little margin for onshore drilling companies that are trying to keep rigs active in the oil price downturn.

    First tar sands mine opening in the US: The first US oil sands mine is set to start operations in Book Cliffs, Utah. Canada-based US Oil Sands Inc. invested approximately USD 100 million throughout the last decade to get the project finalized. Aside from acquiring land and permits, the company invested in developing a brand new method for separating out the bitumen from oil sand. The patented process utilizes a citrus-based bio-solvent and completely eliminates the need for tailing ponds. The operator aims for the first oil at the end of this year.

    http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/08/22/1st-u-s-tar-sands-mine-set-to-open-for-business-in-utah/#35087101=0

    By the company’s own estimate, it will make little to nothing at crude oil’s current price of $48 per barrel, down from a peak of $147 in 2008. As of Tuesday, U.S. Oil Sands stock was trading at just 12 cents.

    Great timing.

  15. ChiefEngineer says:

    That whole “Chapter 4: Alternative Energy” is the same BS Gail Tavenberg peddles.

    Don’t tell me $3K of solar panels that can power a car for 25 years is more than 1/10th resource use of the oil needed for the same time period and that doesn’t count the cost of CO2 damage.

    Burning fossil fuels kills

    • Tverberg has a brand to support. I don’t know what she really thinks but I met her once and was not at all impressed. She stuck to her canned presentation like a kid that has memorized a part in the school play.

      Once you establish yourself in this fashion, you have a following and seldom ever do you change your presentation for something radically different. That’s betraying your followers. Hers are true believers of a certain sort.

      People such as yours truly will never have a following of that sort because being more interested in the truth than a following I actually point out possibilities and change my mind as necessary to accommodate new evidence.

      As an undergrad I was a true believer that over population would result in massive famine well before the end of the last century. I thought like just about everybody else who gave a hoot one way or the other that population growth would be MUCH faster and that food production would increase SLOWER than proved to be the case.

      My own ”hot young blossom” ( courtesy of Twain) came from a large farm family but made it clear SHE would never have over two kids. It never occurred to me back in those long gone days that a couple of generations later most of the women in the world would have made the same decision.

      I still believe we are in for a very hard crash due to overpopulation, environmental degradation and non renewable resource depletion.

      BUT if that change in attitude among women had come about a mere TWENTY YEARS sooner- well, who knows? The population would probably peak twenty years sooner at a much reduced total. Outright collapse might be avoided.

      We simply do not KNOW what might come to pass.

      I talk occasionally to a biochem phd who teaches some courses – including a couple I took myself. He does research into emerging agricultural pests and diseases. His personal estimate is that there is a ten percent chance per decade of a new fast moving fatal disease emerging that will kill people by the millions.

      Ebola could have been that disease but it turned out to be transmitted almost entirely or entirely by contact via body fluids. The next one might be transmitted via the air and sneezing. Such a disease if it incubates slowly and thus gets a big start before it can be quarantined could wipe out a major city or even a country almost as effectively as an atom bomb.

      There are truck drivers spreading STD’s from one end of Africa to the other. Prostitutes and truckers are a potential atom bomb when it comes to population.

      I know a couple of women personally who are sterile as the result of getting infected , I forget with WHICH disease in particular , as teenagers.

      If I could get to Bill Gates I would advocate he give away a substantial sum ( in local terms) to any woman who would be willing to have a long term birth control device implanted, with the money to be used to start a small business or on some education. Lesser amounts for men but a similar deal.

      After a few years other local folks would notice the higher living standards of participants and be ready to sign up in droves.

      Maybe just bombing third world slums with dirt cheap mini televisions with built in solar panels and battery – plus orbiting a satellite with the RIGHT soap operas – would be enough to reduce birth rates in such places by a substantial margin within a decade.

      Televised soap operas seem to have been THE most important single element in fast declining birth rates among Brazilian women over the last couple of decades.

      Hopefully Fred Maygar being on the ground there and knowing lots of locals will have something to say about the root causes of this lucky demographic earthquake.

      • cytochrome C says:

        I too find Tverberg quite naive.
        I put up a opposition (Oil Drum days) when she was being “hosted” by Chevron to view their Ecuador operations, and be a mouth piece for their loss of the law case over pollution.
        It worked, and the article as scrapped.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Hopefully Fred Maygar being on the ground there and knowing lots of locals will have something to say about the root causes of this lucky demographic earthquake.

        Yep, there is hard data available supporting the claim that Brazilian Soap Operas have indeed helped reduce population growth in Brazil. If I’m not mistaken Brazil has been successful in exporting its Soaps to other South and Latin American countries. I don’t have any data on whether or not the other countries that are watching theses Soaps are also experiencing reductions in population growth. I don’t have a link handy at the moment but will do some digging later.

    • Watcher says:

      One hopes to arrange to kill the right people.

  16. Ronald Walter says:

    The amount of oil that will eventually be extracted from the Williston Basin will exceed 15,000,000,000 barrels.

    Henry Ford’s wife drove a battery-powered electric car. She liked it better. Electric cars are for rich women. Pickup trucks don’t have batteries fueling electric drives at the hubs; when you need pulling power, fuel sourced from biooil or fossils must be there to get the job done. End of story.

    You could take one wheel off of a Model T and use the car as a drive belt. Take out a spark plug and you had an air compressor.

    Steam engines were used to elevate grain long before electricity came along. If you want to elevate grain for sixteen hours each day during harvest with a 660 volt feed to the 195 foot tall grain house, it’ll be much better to use electricity generated using a fossil fuel at a power plant or have a hydro-electric plant at the foot of a big dam deliver the electricity. It will be much more efficient than having steam power at each elevator.

    The cost will be much less than having wind turbines all over the place and a solar farm that can do the job maybe twelve hours per day. Batteries won’t cut the mustard, a 325 horsepower diesel engine can, if it needs peanut oil for fuel because you can’t obtain any oil, you can grow peanuts to power your combine and tractors along with your diesel engine in your VW Rabbit.

    The world can go on without oil from the ground and the industrial base doesn’t have to be sacrificed. Oil can be grown for farms even if it all goes to hell in a hurry.

    Coal will still be there and the plants on the planet need CO2 every single freaking day, at least 295 ppm so they don’t suffer.

    Environmentalists want to see not only humans suffer but also the entire plant kingdom. har

  17. shallow sand says:

    Any chance of an OPEC cut 12/4?

    Is this why XOM is still running rigs in US shale basins?

    I hope to heck XOM knows something. Right now seems they are throwing away a lot of $$.

    We are still holding off, other than shutting off 3 that have been losers all year and that we just sold tanks off of.

    Imagine drilling a shale oil well in Bakken last fall and completing it in December. What an absolutely economic disaster that has been.

    What is the status of PXD $500 million office building in Midland?

    Had a great time with family yesterday evening. That is what really helps in times like these. Makes you realize you will be ok no matter what happens.

    • John S says:

      Shallow,

      PXD’s new office is a very pretty building. Chevron and Oxy are also building new offices on the west side of town. EOG just announced plans to tear down its parking garage to build another building next to it current office. Concho is also adding to building.

      Thing are great here in Midland! We can make plenty of money at sub $40/bbl! (as long as the bankers cooperate)

    • Watcher says:

      No. You won’t. None will.

  18. Jeffrey J. Brown says:

    Following is an essay, which I sent to some industry acquaintances, that I put together from a couple of my POB comments:

    Regarding oil prices, I may be one of the worst prognosticators around, especially when it comes to demand side analysis. My primary contribution has been as an amateur supply side analyst, especially in regard to net exports.

    In any case, earlier this year I thought that we had hit the monthly low in Brent prices for the current oil price decline ($48 monthly average in January, 2015), and I thought we were more or less following an upward price trajectory, from the 1/15 low, similar to the price recovery following the 12/08 monthly oil price low ($40 for Brent).

    However, a key difference between the 2008/2009 price decline and subsequent recovery and the 2014/2015 decline is that Saudi Arabia cut production from 2008 to 2009 while they increased production from 2014 to 2015.

    But for what it’s worth (perhaps not much), I think that this is a tremendous buying opportunity, in regard to oil and gas investments.  I don’t have any idea what Warren Buffet is doing right now, but I would not be surprised to learn that he is aggressively investing in oil and gas.  

    The bottom line for me is that depletion marches on. 

    A few years ago, ExxonMobil put the decline from existing oil wells at about 4% to 6% per year. A recent WSJ article noted that analysts are currently putting the decline from existing oil wells at 5% to 8% per year (in my opinion, the 8% number is more realistic). At 8%/year, globally we need about 6.5 MMBPD of new Crude + Condensate (C+C) production every single year, just to offset declines from existing wells, or we need about 65 MMBPD of new C+C production over the next 10 years, just to offset declines from existing wells. This is equivalent to putting on line the productive equivalent of the peak production rate of about thirty-three (33) North Slopes of Alaska over the next 10 years.

    It appears quite likely that global crude oil production (45 and lower API gravity crude oil) has been more or less flat to down since 2005, as annual Brent crude oil prices doubled from $55 in 2005 to $110 for 2011 to 2013 inclusive (remaining at $99 in 2014)–while global natural gas production and associated liquids, condensate and NGL, have (so far) continued to increase.

    Following are links to charts showing normalized production values for OPEC 12 countries and global data. The gas, natural gas liquids (NGL) and crude + condensate (C+C) values are for 2002 to 2014 (except for gas, which is through 2013, EIA data in all cases).  Both data charts show similar increases for gas, NGL and C+C from 2002 to 2005, with inflection points in both cases for C+C in 2005.   My premise is that condensate production, in both cases, accounts for virtually all of the post-2005 increase in C+C production. 

    Global Gas, NGL and C+C:
    http://i1095.photobucket.com/albums/i475/westexas/Global%20Gas%20NGL%20C%20amp%20C_zpskb5bxu6d.jpg

    OPEC 12 Gas, NGL and C+C:
    http://i1095.photobucket.com/albums/i475/westexas/OPEC%20Gas%20NGL%20C%20amp%20C_zpsox3lqdkj.jpg

    Currently, we only have crude oil only data for the OPEC 12 countries and for Texas (note that what the EIA calls “Crude oil” is actually C+C).  

    Also following is a link to OPEC 12 implied condensate (EIA C+C less OPEC crude) and OPEC crude only from 2005 to 2014 (OPEC data prior to 2005 was for a different set of exporters than post-2005). Obviously, data quality is an issue, and the boundary between actual crude and condensate is sometimes fuzzy. In any case, we have to deal with the data that we have.

    OPEC 12 Crude and Implied Condensate:
    http://i1095.photobucket.com/albums/i475/westexas/OPEC%20Crude%20and%20Condensate_zps12rfrqos.jpg

    As of 2014, OPEC and the US accounted for 53% of global C+C production (41 MMBPD out of 78 MMBPD). Implied OPEC condensate production increased by 1.2 MMBPD from 2005 to 2014 (1.2 to 2.4). The EIA estimates that US condensate production increased by about 1.0 MMBPD from 2011 to 2014. I’m estimating that US condensate production may have increased by around 1.2 MMBPD or so from 2005 to 2014. Based on the foregoing, increased condensate production by OPEC and the US may have accounted for about 60% (about 2.4 MMBPD) of the 4 MMBPD increase in global C+C production from 2005 to 2014.  

    Combining the US and OPEC estimates, the US + OPEC ratio of condensate to C+C production may have increased from about 4.6% in 2005 to about 10% in 2014.  If this rate of increase in the global condensate to C+C ratio is indicative of total global data, it implies that actual global crude oil production (45 and lower API gravity) was approximately flat from 2005 to 2014, at about 70 MMBPD.  

    In other words, the available data seem quite supportive of my premise that actual global crude oil production (45 API and lower gravity crude oil) effectively  peaked in 2005, while global natural gas production and associated liquids, condensate and NGL, have (so far) continued to increase. 

    If it took trillions of dollars of upstream capex to keep us on an “Undulating Plateau” in actual global crude oil production, what happens to crude production given the large and ongoing cutbacks in global upstream capex?

    And given the huge rate of decline in existing US gas production (probably on the order of about 24%/year from existing wells), it’s possible that we might see substantially higher North American gas prices this winter, given the decline in US drilling.

    Furthermore, through 2013 we have seen a post-2005 decline in what I define as Global Net Exports of oil (GNE, the combined net exports from the Top 33 net exporters in 2005), which is a pattern that appears to have continued in 2014.   GNE fell from 46 MMBPD in 2005 to 43 MMBPD in 2013 (total petroleum liquids + other liquids).   The volume of GNE available to importers other than China & India fell from 41 MMBPD in 2005 to 34 MMBPD in 2013.  

    Here are the mathematical facts of life regarding net exports:

    Given an ongoing, and inevitable, decline in production in the net oil exporting countries, unless the exporting countries cut their liquids consumption at the same rate as, or at a faster rate than, the rate of decline in production, the resulting rate of decline in net exports will exceed the rate of decline in production and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time. 

    In addition, while we are currently seeing signs of weak demand in China, given an ongoing, and inevitable, decline in GNE, unless China & India cut their net oil imports at the same rate as, or at a rate faster than, the rate of decline in GNE, the rate of decline in the volume of GNE available to importers other than China & India will exceed the rate of decline in GNE, and the rate of decline in the volume of GNE available to importers other than China & India will accelerate with time.  

    For example, from 2005 to 2013 the rate of decline in the volume of GNE available to importers other than China & India (2.3%/year) was almost three times the observed rate of decline in GNE from 2005 to 2013 (0.8%/year).  

    And a massively under-appreciated aspect of what I call “Net Export Math” is that the rate of depletion in the remaining cumulative volume of net oil exports, after a net export peak, tends to be enormous.  Saudi Arabia is showing a year over year increase in production and net exports, but based on available annual data through 2014, Saudi Arabia’s net exports fell from 9.5 MMBPD in 2005 to 8.4 MMBPD in 2014 (total petroleum liquids + other liquids), and I estimate that  Saudi Arabia may have already shipped close to half of their total post-2005 supply of cumulative net exports of oil.

     

    • JB’s reasoning is ironclad and copper bottomed imo , so long as the depletion rate of legacy oil is in the four to eight percent range.

      Barring a really nasty and lasting case of the economic flu, world wide, I just can’t see any reason oil will not go up to previous or higher price levels within the next year or two- unless there are a LOT of big new projects in the pipeline already close to completion that can offset two to four million barrels a day of lost legacy production.

      Does anybody have a list of such possible new projects nearing completion?

      I do firmly believe in efficiency of oil use improving fast but NOT THAT FAST.

      • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

        A continuing clarification.

        The depletion rate is the rate that we consume remaining recoverable reserves, and remaining recoverable reserves are always depleting, i.e., it’s a one way street. But production can increase, stay flat or decline, and an increase in production correlates to an increase in the depletion rate. The quoted WSJ number refers to the estimated rate of decline in production from existing wells globally, i.e., 5% to 8% per year, or about 4 MMBPD to 6.5 MMBPD per year at current production levels (C+C).

        The most compelling example I can cite of the enormous difference between rates of change in production, versus depletion, is the Six Country Case History*. From 1995 to 1999, their combined production increased by 2%, but over the same four year period they had already shipped 54% of their total cumulative volume of post-1995 net exports (CNE). In regard to Saudi Arabia, by definition it’s not whether they have depleted their remaining volume of post-2005 CNE, it’s only a question of by how much.

        *Major net exporters that hit or approached zero net exports from 1980 to 2010, excluding China

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Glen,

        Remember that it doesn’t have to be big projects. As long as new wells continue to be drilled in an attempt to satisfy oil demand, then the World decline rate(legacy decline plus production from newly drilled wells) will be about 2% or less. If oil efficiency does not increase enough then oil prices will rise and income and oil demand will fall, high oil prices will tend to increase the rate that oil efficiency improves and the rate that oil is replaced by substitutes (public transportation, car pooling, hybrids, high efficiency ICE, and EVs and rail freight replacing long haul trucking, eventually rail will be electrified when it is economic to do so. High oil prices will be a big part of the solution, once the decline becomes evident only a severe recession will cause oil price to fall. At some point as the substitution really gets rolling, oil prices may fall due to lack of oil demand, I doubt we will see that before 2050 (and that is probably too optimistic 2070 might be more reasonable).

        • old farmer mac says:

          I’m with you all the way as far as your reasoning goes, DENNIS.

          The big questions in my mind are one, whether we can adapt as fast as oil declines; and two whether for some reason such as a hot war the actual availability of oil might decrease VERY sharply very quickly.

          IF oil supplies decline at only two percent a year I believe we can hold our own without peak oil being THE primary risk to OLD MAN BUSINESS AS USUAL staggering along for a while yet, maybe for two or three or even four more decades.

          A very sharp and sudden decline in oil availability could wreck bau beyond repair. Old Man BAU is not as healthy as he once was and he’s getting older and sicker from one year to the next.

          But such a sharp decline in availability, if it can be reversed before it destroys the bau economy , would serve as THE ultimate Pearl Harbor wake up brick upside our collective head.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Glen,

            I agree that an “oil crisis” due to a major war in the middle east would cause a spike in oil prices and might be the kick in the pants needed to really get working on a transition away from oil.

            The problem is that this would be seen as temporary. A gradual realization that oil output will no longer increase will be even more effective because people might realize that coal and natural gas will soon follow (by 2030) and that the long term trend for real fossil fuel prices will be higher in constant dollars (inflation adjusted). At that point the transition to alternative forms of energy will move much more quickly.

      • Over the next two years? Deep water, heavy oil, Iraq, Iran could pile on 2 mmbopd. But the legacy decline will depend on prices.

        I’m also starting to see that cost reduction potential was as I had guessed, and this in turn puts a hell of a squeeze on service companies. If prices stay below $80 it will be because service companies are trashing and threading trying to avoid going under.

    • Paulo says:

      Mr Brown

      I have also (and many others) thought about this low cycle being a great time to dip into more investments, but……. In another time and place, maybe; when 2+2=4 and banks lent out responsibly based on deposits, and when all investment was not so blatantly rigged for a few insiders. Then, you add in HFT and Govt. meddling, the quality of our formal leadership, commulative debt and I soon began to realize it would best to stay with what I know. That would be, compadres, no debt, land, personal food production, heat, good windows and insulation, water + guns and ammo. Dependable family. Health. Plus, solid and encouraging community relationships. If I lived in a city I would pattern the approach like Allan from Big Easy used to describe: walkable neighbourhood, local suppliers, transit and rail travel, plus personal things as mentioned above.

      Remember this one? “If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.

      Now, money has been goosey loosed upon us to the point of negetive rates and this sucker is still going down. Like a top it is starting to wobble. Investment requires confidence in BAU, or the courage and risk gene to go short. I have neither.

      regards

    • Mike says:

      Thank you, Jeffery; everyone interesting in the dynamics of worldwide peak oil production owes you a great deal of appreciation. You are a great asset to this blog; I read and re-read everything you post.

      I am eating Fritos and bean dip for lunch today but believe, thank you, someday very soon I will be able afford to go to Whataburger again.

      God Bless Texas.

      Mike

  19. Change of subject .

    Talk about CLASSIC English understatement!!!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/hungary/11822841/Europe-risks-becoming-rescue-boat-that-sinks-beneath-the-weight-of-those-clinging-onto-it.html

    If I were on the scene I would not be able to turn these migrants away without focusing hard on the poor people already in dire need of assistance in my own country- and probably not even then when some little kid extended his or her arms to me.

    This is NOT going to end well.

    Fences are being built already.

    Guns will likely be used within the easily foreseeable future.

    Hard core nationalists are going to start winning control of national governments.

    I do not believe peak oil is the primary or even one of the top three or four primary causes of these troubles AT THIS TIME. Oil is still plentiful if expensive.

    But peak oil will be moving up on the list of primary causes of such troubles in the near future.

    • The illegal migrant wave is driven mostly by the Syrian war and europe’s cozy welcoming attitude. The interesting issue is the way this policy gets people killed on the way by the thousands, we get dangerous, uneducated, crime prone and diseased illegals, and eventually there will be the mother of backlashes. Around here we get a mix of Arabs and African males from Sierra Leone, Senegal, etc. one of the Arabs was the guy taken down by the USA marines in France. The Spanish police is using a huge amount of resources keeping an eye on these types, and they neglect the mafias from Rumania, Russia, etc. This illegal alien issue is starting to piss people off big time.

  20. Some forecasters believe the current el nino is going to be a whopper.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-32704506

  21. Dennis Coyne says:

    Hi All,

    A Hubbert Linearization is not a great way to predict future output as it often underestimates the URR.

    If we use annual Bakken data through the end of 2014, the HL will depend on the years used. I show three different HLs for 2009-2014, 2010-2014, and 2012-2014 with URR of 5.5Gb, 4.8 Gb, and 3.6 Gb respectively.

    The USGS April 2013 Bakken assessment estimated Bakken/Three Forks undiscovered resources at 5.8 Gb. The EIA has proven reserves at about 3.2 Gb at the end of 2012 for the Bakken/Three Forks. Proved plus probable reserves would be higher by about 50% so about 4.8Gb at the end of 2012, and about 0.6 Gb had been produced through the end of 2012 for a total TRR of 11 Gb. The USGS F95 estimate (5% chance that resources will be less than this) is about 2 Gb lower than the mean (F50) estimate, so the expectation is that at least 9 Gb of technically recoverable resources(TRR) could be recovered in the Bakken/Three Forks of North Dakota. The economically recoverable resources(ERR) will depend on oil prices, but are likely to be at least 7 Gb based on the analysis of David Hughes in “Drilling Deeper”.

    The Hubbert Linearization underestimates North Dakota Bakken/Three Forks output by at least 2 Gb (for the 2010-2014 HL estimate of 4.8 Gb).

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Edit: The oil prices shown on the chart are incorrect, what I say in the text is correct, ignore oil prices on the chart, corrected chart in comment below.

      If we assume the USGS Mean estimate of 11 Gb for a technically recoverable resource is correct and that oil prices rise as shown in the chart below (right axis) with 130 new wells per month added from July 2015 to Dec 2037 (45,000 wells total) we get the chart below.

      Economic assumptions:
      – Well cost $8.5 million now and rises starting in Jan 2016 to $9.7 million (constant 2015$) by Aug 2020 (3%/year)
      -OPEX $6/b initially and rises at a 12% annual rate for individual wells as they age
      -other costs $6/b
      -transport cost $14/b
      -annual nominal discount rate 18% (assumes 3% inflation)
      -taxes and royalties 26.5% of wellhead revenue
      -all of the costs above in constant 2015$
      -oil prices as shown on the chart $63/b in Jan 2016, annual rate of increase 19.6%, $148/b Oct 2020 and fixed at that price after that date

      ERR is 11 Gb, output is 1130 kb/d in 2023.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        My apologies for the mistake on the previous chart (ignore the oil price).

        Correct chart below, real oil price rises to $148/b (2015$) in 2020, not $130/b as shown in chart above. The oil price scenario could be too high, if so output would be lower, I don’t know future oil prices.

        • Watcher says:

          How come you don’t have charts showing the accuracy of your oil price call a few months ago? Should be easy to draw.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Watcher,

            Yes I got the price wrong, along with Jeffrey Brown and Steven Kopits.

            The EIA also has gotten oil prices wrong. Nobody knows future oil prices so every scenario created is likely to be wrong. If oil prices are about what is in my scenario, the scenario may be close.

            I do not remember anyone except Maugeri calling for lower oil prices 12 months ago and Maugeri was calling for $65/b long term, so his estimate was too high in the short term.

            I thought prices would be above $75/b by the end of 2015, possibly by late September.

            Here is an early prediction for the Bakken from August 2013.

            Also see the post from Sept 2013.

            http://oilpeakclimate.blogspot.com/2013/09/update-to-north-dakota-bakken-three.html

            • Dennis, Eyeballing the curve, it looks like you nailed the kb/day production value within 10% ! Well done

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Thanks WHT,

                Problem is that for one correct chart there are many more incorrect scenarios. This was just a lucky guess, no more no less.

                The key unknown is the rate that new wells will be completed in the future which depends in large measure on oil prices, we do not know the future oil price, but we can guess.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Note that in both the scenarios above I also assume the average Bakken well profile is 290 kb of oil (no gas or NGL is included) and I further assume the wells get shut in at 15 b/d after 15 years, so the scenario is quite conservative.

          At lower oil prices which rise from $70/b in Jan 2016 to $124/b in Oct 2020 (12.7%/year) and remain at that level until 2044 (end of my scenario), we get lower output. The economically recoverable resources decrease to 8.5 Gb and only 32,000 wells are drilled, economic assumptions except oil price remain the same.

          • Watcher says:

            No.

            You got the price wrong. That’s a period there. See it?

            All spam you produce derived from it? Also wrong. That’s another period.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Correct. Future output depends on the oil price. Future oil price is unknown. The BS that you provide is also just speculation minus the charts, period.

          • David Archibald says:

            Dennis, thanks for your work and thanks for sharing. The question from here is, perhaps, that quality of those 45,000 well locations and how many have been drilled to date. Due you have any thoughts on that?

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi David Archibald,

              Thanks.

              Note that the last scenario only has about 32,000 wells drilled.
              The 45,000 well estimate comes from a fairly old paper by James Mason (2012), the NDIC also has estimated 45,000 to 50,000 wells. David Hughes analysis suggests about 32,000 wells and a URR of about 7 Gb. So the 45,000 well scenario may be too optimistic, but with high oil prices it matches the USGS mean estimate for TRR (which could be too optimistic, I don’t have enough information to make a sound judgment

    • Jean replies to Dennis:

      If we use annual Bakken data through the end of 2014, the HL will depend on the years used. I show three different HLs for 2009-2014, 2010-2014, and 2012-2014 with URR of 5.5Gb, 4.8 Gb, and 3.6 Gb respectively.

      The USGS April 2013 Bakken assessment estimated Bakken/Three Forks undiscovered resources at 5.8 Gb. The EIA has proven reserves at about 3.2 Gb at the end of 2012 for the Bakken/Three Forks. Proved plus probable reserves would be higher by about 50% so about 4.8Gb at the end of 2012, and about 0.6 Gb had been produced through the end of 2012 for a total TRR of 11 Gb. The USGS F95 estimate (5% chance that resources will be less than this) is about 2 Gb lower than the mean (F50) estimate, so the expectation is that at least 9 Gb of technically recoverable resources(TRR) could be recovered in the Bakken/Three Forks of North Dakota. The economically recoverable resources(ERR) will depend on oil prices, but are likely to be at least 7 Gb based on the analysis of David Hughes in “Drilling Deeper”.

      The Hubbert Linearization underestimates North Dakota Bakken/Three Forks output by at least 2 Gb (for the 2010-2014 HL estimate of 4.8 Gb).

      Dennis claims about the unreliability of Hubbert linearization without giving any proof of his statement

      In my paper-Laherrere J.H. 2015 « Some examples of oil and gas production linear extrapolation to estimate ultimate » http://aspofrance.viabloga.com/files/JL_Hubbertlineraization24May.pdf
      I did show many examples of strengths and weakness of Hubbert linearization (rarely used by Hubbert), but for coal ultimates in France & Belgium (fig 13) Hubbert linearization was far better than the reserves estimate by the WEC

      It is likely that it will be the same with Bakken and the reserves estimate

      Extrapolating linearly on few points (maxi 5 points) to get an ultimate is indeed unreliable as done by Dennis

      My estimate for Bakken is based on 44 points!

      best estimate
      jean

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Jean,

        Using monthly data does not give a more reliable estimate, the 44 monthly points, are less than 4 years of data, not enough for a reliable HL estimate. On an annual basis the annual production divided by cumulative production is about 30% in 2014, In general when the annual output is such a high proportion of cumulative output the HL estimate will be unreliable.

        • Mike says:

          Dennis, you of all people know how I feel about modeling the future based on what if’s. I don’t know why y’all do it, really. Modeling the URR of a resource play like the Bakken, in the world of economic turmoil we live in, is absurd. If I had the time, and the inclination, I could come up with 44 points why you can’t, period.

          So yours is just as good as the next guys, particularly if it’s not as much.

          Mike

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Mike,

            My point is that the HL method will not be reliable at this early stage of Bakken development (this is really a new stage that began in 2005-2008).

            I have added many of the suggestions of you and Shallow sands to my Bakken model. Discount rate (equivalent to IRR) used for the discounted cash flow analysis is 18% in nominal terms (15% real rate of return), wells assumed to be shut in at 15 b/d (reducing the EUR to 290 kb for the average well) to account for rising GOR and well life is only 15 years. OPEX starts at $6/b at the start of a new well’s output and is assumed to rise by 12% per year (in real or constant dollars) so by the end of the well’s life at 15 years OPEX is $33/b.

            The big problem is that future oil prices are unknown. Surely if oil prices remain at current levels output will fall in the LTO plays, on that point we probably agree.

            I also agree it will be difficult to ramp output back up quickly, but eventually oil prices will rise enough to make this happen, my guess is that $80/b will be high enough to get the ball rolling and maybe it will take 2 or 3 years to ramp back up to previous completion rates or we may only get to 50 or 75% of the previous rates of completion (# of new wells per month).

            Anyway, does a 3 Gb URR for the Bakken/Three Forks of North Dakota seem reasonable? It pretty much requires that no new wells are completed in the ND Bakken/Three Forks after June 2015, seems unlikely to me.

            • The discounted rate of return for sch a large volume is likely to be closer to 8 to 10 %. Meaning the return for the whole kibosh won’t exceed 10 %. I noticed there’s a tendency to use very high rates of return. But the oil industry doesn’t achieve those returns.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Fernando,

                Is that a real rate of return or nominal? Generally the long term rate of inflation is assumed at about 3% per year.
                So the question is: Should I use a real rate of return of 6% or 9%?

                I believe Rune Likvern usually uses a 7% annual real (constant dollar) discount rate in his baseline analyses.

                • Rune’s number sounds fine. I think we need to clarify: a high pv rate is used on individual projects to cover for risk. But when you are dealing with a global sum of thousands of projects that rate has to come down (because you use the average results).

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Thanks Fernando.

                    I will use a real annual discount rate of 7% in my models in the future based on your advice.

                    As the sweet spots get fully drilled I expect the average new well EUR to decrease as less productive areas are developed.

                    At a rate of 2000 wells completed per year, I would guess that the rate of decrease will be about 10% per year (higher if wells are completed at a faster rate and lower if the completion rate is lower).

                    Does that guess sound reasonable for the ND Bakken/Three Forks? What range is plausible, I can vary this from 1%/year to 90% per year (5 to 20% seems reasonable to someone with no oilfield experience like myself).

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          As an illustration of the HL at a high annual production divided by cumulative production(%aP/CP), I did an HL for the US lower 48 from 1907 to 1945 with %aP/CP from 5% to 10%, URR=70 Gb, the current HL from 1950-2007 has a
          %aP/CP of under 1% and points to a URR of 230 Gb, about 3 times higher than the earlier HL. This is what I mean when I say the Bakken HL will give unreliable results because it is too soon to use the method. The %aP/CP should be less than 5% at the high end of the cumulative production.

          Note that in Jean Laherrere’s chart the vertical axis is mislabelled as %aP/CP when it should be %mP/CP, where mP is monthly oil output.

          The chart below has cumulative output in thousands of barrels on the horizontal axis and %aP/CP on the vertical axis.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            If we go back to the 1860 to 1900 period of US C+C history we can see what kind of results we get when annual production (aP) is above 10% of cumulative output (CP). This was true from 1859 to 1882 in the US. I chose 1864 to 1888 for a Hubbert Linearization as this set of points seemed to fall along a line. So in 1889 we might have thought the URR of the US would be about 0.6 Gb based on an HL analysis. This would have been roughly 400 times too low.

            Note that I am not suggesting that our current HL estimate for the Bakken is 400 times too low, only that it is likely to be lower than the eventual URR.

            Another consideration is that about 9450 wells have been completed in the ND Bakken/Three Forks since Dec 2007. The average well has a EUR of about 300 kb. Simple arithmetic suggests with no wells drilled after June 2015 the URR would be 2.9 Gb, note that the 300 kb EUR estimate is very conservative, a more likely value is 340 kb which would give us a URR of 3.3 Gb.  If another 20,000 wells are drilled over the next 10 years the wells drilled would only need an average EUR of 185 kb to reach David Hughes estimate of 7 Gb (Hughes most likely estimate has about 32,000 wells drilled, 22,500 after June 2015).

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Jean,

          I tried an HL using monthly data using Jan 2009 to June 2015 data for Bakken/Three Forks oil output in North Dakota from the NDIC. This suggests a URR of 3.7 Gb, but I note that at an annual output of roughly 30% of cumulative output the HL will only give us the minimum URR we can expect. The shape of the %P/CP will be a hyperbola and the URR suggested by an HL will increase with time just as it did for the US lower 48.

          • Jean replies to Dennis

            Dennis reply on my comments forgets about the example from coal in France that I quoted.
            He was right only about my mistake of calling aP/CP% what is mP/CP% but if the legend is wrong the graph is right.
            His graph on US production 1907-1945 HL is incomplete and does not mean much.
            It is obvious that extrapolation has to be done on the last linear trend and the many graphs I show like for Yates oil field (fig 62) have several linear trends.
            Dennis should show all US production data from 1859 to 2014.
            On the complete plot, you can pick your choice for extrapolation towards zero which gives the ultimate.

            The longest linear trend is 1958-2008 towards an ultimate of 230 Gb, but the present LTO bump disturbs the plot and the ultimate could be from a range of 260 to 300 Gb (or even less).

            My US forecast shows an two ultimates of 260 & 300 Gb both with a peak at 3.2 Gb, which is far from AEO 2015 with a peak at 3.9 Gb and from WEO 2014 with a peak at 4.5 Gb.

            Hubbert linearization is not the perfect way to estimate ultimate, but it is better than the estimate of LTO reserves based on the amount of oil generated from the source rock using an hypothetic recovery ratio.
            LTO accumulation is assumed to be a continuous accumulation without any water contact, as it is in a conventional field.
            LTO production comes from sweet spots, but it is difficult to outline sweets spots .

            Jean

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Jean,

              We agree that the US lower 48 (before the recent LTO output increase in 2007 or 2008) points to a URR of 230 Gb, with LTO added this might increase to some degree, but the HL does not inform that analysis.

              The point is that in the case of the Bakken/Three Forks the %aP/CP is about 30% for July 2014 to June 2015 (most recent 12 months of data). The HL will not give a reliable URR estimate unless the %aP/CP is much lower. For the US lower48 the %aP/CP at the peak in 1970 was about 3% and even in this case the HL estimate was too low (about 210 GB), though it was pretty close (230 Gb for 1950 to 2007).

              On the coal estimate for France and Belgium, it is clear that if the HL had been used too early when %aP/CP was above 3.5% an incorrect URR would have resulted (2 Gt instead of 7 Gt).

              I guess we will just have to disagree on the Bakken URR estimate.

              Sometimes the HL method gives a fairly good estimate of the URR, in the case of the North Dakota Bakken/Three Forks Hubbert Linearization is not very useful.

              A better estimate can be found in the work of David Hughes in Drilling Deeper

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Jean,

              I notice in your paper that all reliable coal URR estimates are based on %aP/CP data that is 4% or less. Do you have any examples where %aP/CP (percent annual production divided by cumulative production) of 30% or more lead to a reliable URR estimate?

              Also in your paper you compare the USGS estimate from 2008 with the 2013 estimate and claim that the 2008 estimate is more likely to be correct. That is doubtful.

              At the end of 2012 there were about 3.2 Gb of 1P reserves in the North Dakota Bakken/Three Forks. Proved plus probable reserves would be higher, I will assume by 40% (in the UK North Sea 2P reserves are about 1.7 times higher than 1P reserves on average). So we will estimate Bakken/Three Forks 2P reserves at 4.5 Gb at the end of 2012 (which is conservative). Cumulative production at the end of 2012 for the North Dakota Bakken/Three Forks (ND Bak/TF) was about 0.6 Gb, so CP+2P reserves was 5 Gb.

              The USGS 2013 Bak/TF assessment has a F50 estimate of 3.6 Gb for the Bakken only (3,4 Gb for TF) with 79% of this in the ND Bakken (2.8 Gb). The F95 estimate for the TF was 1.6 Gb with 1.3 Gb (79%) in the ND TF.

              So for the ND Bakken/TF we have a TRR of at least 9 Gb. This is found by adding 5Gb of CP+2P, 2.8 Gb undiscovered ND Bakken TRR, and 1.3 Gb (at minimum) ND Three Forks undiscovered TRR.

              At the end of 2013 ND Bakken proved reserves were about 5 Gb, 2P reserves likely about 7 Gb (5*1.4) and cumulative production about 0.86 Gb for a total of roughly 8 Gb, if there are no new discoveries and no reserve growth after Dec 2013.

              You also claim in your paper(p.16) that David Hughes estimates 5 Gb for the Bakken and that his estimate includes Montana. A careful reading of his paper shows that he expects very little of this output to be from Montana (about 1 Gb or less). His “Realistic” case is about 7 Gb (6.8 Gb to 7.6 Gb).

              From Drilling Deeper p. 60:

              The drilling rate scenarios in this case have the following results:

              1. MOST LIKELY RATE scenario: Peak production occurs in 2015 at 1.19 MMbbl/d. Drilling continues until 2030, and total oil recovery by 2040 is 6.8 billion barrels.

              2. EXPANDED RATE scenario: Peak production occurs in 2016 at 1.41 MMbbl/d. Drilling continues until 2026, and total oil recovery by 2040 is 7.1 billion barrels.

              3. FASTEST RATE scenario: Peak production occurs in 2016 at 1.72 MMbbl/d. Drilling continues until 2021, and total oil recovery by 2040 is 7.6 billion barrels. In this scenario, production would be considerably lower after 2024 than in the “Most Likely Rate” scenario.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Jean,

        Have you read David Hughes analysis? It can be downloaded at the link below:

        http://www.postcarbon.org/publications/drillingdeeper/

        Hughes estimate for the Bakken/Three Forks is 7 Gb, with the possibility (under more optimistic assumptions) of 9 Gb.

        Hughes analysis seems pretty sound and the USGS analysis also seems reasonable (11 Gb), the mean of these two would be about 9 Gb. A lot depends on future oil prices, but I expect these will rise eventually.

  22. Resilience picked up an article about Cuba and Latin American from a little known magazine.

    Here is an excerpt.

    xxxx

    But for Latin Americans, the Cuba embargo evokes a visceral living memory of the United States’ destructive interventionism in the region. Decades of U.S. military intervention followed the Cuban Revolution of 1959, aiming to prevent Communist regimes elsewhere. In the process, the U.S. helped overthrow democratically elected governments and install military dictatorships in Guatemala (1954), Brazil (1964), and Chile (1973); supported military repression in El Salvador (1980) and rebel groups in Nicaragua (1981-1987); invaded the Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1983), and Panama (1989); and operated the U.S. Army School of the Americas (1946-present), which trained many Latin American military leaders who went on to become human rights violators in their home countries.

    In short, though the focus has since shifted from fighting Communism to fighting drugs—and, to some extent, to fighting terrorism—the idea that the U.S. policy toward Cuba was instituted, and has been maintained, because of an American commitment to democracy in the region is not seen as credible in Latin American eyes. The pattern is now so established that U.S. involvement is suspected in every disturbance, as was the case with the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela and the 2009 coup in Honduras.

    The embargo is even more specifically entangled in the U.S. pattern of economic, not just military, intervention to the south—though the two are often not all that separated. (For instance, the first major U.S.-backed coup in the region, that of Guatemala in 1954, was largely motivated by the impact of labor reforms on the profits of the United Fruit Company.) The populist governments of the new left rose to power across the region in reaction against the “Washington Consensus” neoliberal policies of the 1990s, which they characterize as an imposition by a U.S.-controlled International Monetary Fund on Latin America. Though the United States can not be reasonably blamed for every economic crisis in Latin American history, the country’s domineering past has given it a lasting reputation for manipulation.

    Though many Latin Americans would be of a mind with most Americans in their opinions of Raúl and Fidel Castro’s leadership, they also associate these histories of military and economic intervention with the United States in interpreting the Cuba dispute. As such, U.S. policy there is rarely seen as either concerned with or effective on human rights, but rather as part of its longstanding pattern of wielding the “big stick” to quash resistance, no matter the effect on its poorer and weaker neighbors. The American punishment of Cuba has only contributed to the island’s image as a heroic nation standing up against an imperialist behemoth, which has ultimately distracted from the human rights violations committed under the Castros’ leadership.

    xxxx

    Sounds a hell of a lot more like Noam Chomsky than Newt Gingrich does it not?

    Most people who read a lot would readily accept that this excerpt was lifted from Mother Jones or Rolling Stone rather than from a conservative publication.

    There is a hell of a big difference between a real conservative and a run of the mill republican.

    • Jon Snow says:

      Thank you for posting that excerpt, Mac.

      It is a fine summary of some of many inconvenient truths we Americans do not care to talk about.

      And from Newt no less.

      You likely won’t see a treatise such as this in many currently-published school textbooks written and approved by the Manifest Destiny America the shining city on the hill where it is always morning again-Love-it-or-Leave it crowd.

      We cannot hope to be better World citizens if we bury our head in the sand and chant ‘USA, USA’.

      Understanding the full context of our history in order to strive to do better is being a Patriot.

      • old farmer mac says:

        Jon I AM sorry but NEWT is not the author. I just used his name as being representative of typical republicans although he IS much smarter that most of them.

        BUT the article WAS published ORIGINALLY in The AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE – a publication for people with some actual education and working brains.

        REAL conservatives often find it necessary to align themselves with republicans for political purposes but they ARE NOT republicans of the sort common these days.

        A real conservative for instance believes in being fiscally responsible. The current republican party does not. Nor does the democratic party for that matter, not really.

        Tea Party types are as often as not dingalings but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

        • Appeasement of dictators and human rights abusers is current idea du jour within the American elites. I think they worried about the Muslim uprising in Syria and Iraq, don’t want hassles in other regions coming from communists.

          Here’s an interesting comment about appeasement written by Daniel, a Venezuelan blogger. My response to his comment is underneath.

          http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com.es/2015/08/santos-obama-foreign-fiasco-castro.html

          • Boomer II says:

            Appeasement of dictators and human rights abusers is current idea du jour within the American elites. I think they worried about the Muslim uprising in Syria and Iraq, don’t want hassles in other regions coming from communists.

            I think it has more to do with the realization that it’s a war we can’t win.

            We got bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s smart not to get bogged down there again.

            In fact, have we ever had a workable Mideast plan? Had we not gotten involved with oil there, would we be trying to fix anything there? We’ve certainly been more hands off in Africa, even though there are plenty of human rights issues there.

            WWII was pretty clear cut in resolved in surrenders and occupation. Modern foreign policy and warfare has been far more problematic.

  23. Watcher says:

    BTW solar panel people . . . the better the locale the worse the . . . wait for it . . . decline rate.

    They die. 1% a year in the sunniest of places. Less in very cold places (absent snow damage). Put ’em in space and use gallium arsenide instead of silicon, much faster.

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      Watcher, 1 percent per year loss means that it takes 70 years to get to 49% of original power output. and no maintenance other than cutting the grass if there is any.

      • Watcher says:

        Oh that’s 1% just from UV. Bird crap, etched dust, blowing tree limbs, all additional destruction.

      • Ya can graze sheep or cows on the grass and both are good eating. A cow can reach her head thru a barbed wire fence two feet to get at good grass on the far side. Or use rabbits. Rabbits LOVE grass especially tender young grass mixed with clover.

        Problem solved.

    • sunnnv says:

      “1% decline…” got a reference?
      BTW – it’s module “degradation”, not decline.

      Looking at 1751 actual crystalline silicon systems, even including pre 2000 systems,
      average degradation rate 0.7%.
      http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/51664.pdf

      Thin film is crap, but anyone with actual knowledge and skill in chemistry could have figured that out.

      1% is typical warranty number – i.e. conservative.

      Premium modules are more like 0.25% per year.
      http://us.sunpower.com/sites/sunpower/files/media-library/white-papers/wp-sunpower-module-degradation-rate.pdf

      Why do you propose GaAs cells in space? Do you own stock in Umicore or somebody like that?
      “much faster” ????
      GaAs wafers at university wafer: 4″ are $119 each/qty 10.
      solar silicon wafers are 5″ or 6″ square (mono- or multi-) or mono pseudo-square (meaning they started out as a 8 or 9″ diameter boule) and cost somewhere between $1 and $2-something in large quantity from an industrial supplier.
      University wafer will sell 5″ monocrystalline silicon solar wafers at $1.50 each in qty 400.

      Unless you go with multijunction cells, the GaAs efficiencies will not be much higher than premium silicon. GaAs band gap = 1.4 eV, Si 1.1 eV.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shockley–Queisser_limit
      And if you do use multijunction cells, do you know how expensive MOCVD is?

      And how “cheap” will it be to launch this space PV?
      And how much efficiency loss is in the power transmission?
      And once they’re in space, you do realize they’re now exposed to even more UV, and a new hazard, high energy particles?
      see section 4.3 in:
      http://ssl.mit.edu/files/website/theses/PhD-2015-LohmeyerWhitney.pdf

    • Jon Snow says:

      Watcher, you are great at telling one side of a story to hype your Worldview.

      So…after 70 years the PV cells that degraded 1% per year are producing 49% of the power they produced when new.

      Oh, and people have to get off their asses and clean them regularly and replace some inverters and so forth.

      Lions and tigers and bears…oh my!

      And what, pray tell, will a coal-fired or nuclear power plant produce after 70 years…and at what cost in fuels and plant maintenance?

      Let us compare the pollution emitted by the PV vs. the coal or nuke plants. Yes, go ahead and size the PV to the same capacity as the nuke or coal plant…and size it with more capacity and batteries to account for indeterminacy as well. And include the environmental impacts of building the PV vs the coal or nuke.

      Factor in the probabilities of catastrophic failures, particularly in nuke plants.

      Which architecture is more resilient against terrorist attack..the centralized plants or the many equivalent-power scattered PV arrays?

      The centralized plants win hands-down on base-load BAU power provision…but I got news for you…BAU isn’t going to be what is used to be.

  24. Nick G says:

    I think this discussion highlights a basic problem with Limits to Growth analysis: much of it is based on out of date information. For instance, look at this quote:

    Alternative sources of energy will never be very useful for several reasons, but mainly because of a problem of “net energy”: the amount of energy output is not sufficiently greater than the amount of energy input (Gever, Kaufmann, & Skole, 1991).

    This is from 1991!!!!

    Solar panels cost about $50 per peak watt in 1991, and now they cost 50 cents!!

    Wind turbines were around 20kW, if memory serves, and now they’re testing 7MW turbines! (Cost comes down in a strong inverse relationship with size).

    Thinking that renewables wouldn’t work, back in 1980 or 1990, was understandable. Not really consistent with a sensible understanding of how new tech is developed, but…understandable.

    It’s just completely unrealistic, now.

    • Boomer II says:

      My feeling is that renewables will work. Through a combination of scaling up renewables and scaling down how we use energy.

      As fossil fuels become more scarce and more expensive, we will use more renewables. Life will change because of them. Those changes could be good or bad depending on your vested interests, but we use them now and we will continue to use them. It’s like saying that if we can’t have 2000 calories a day we’ll refuse to eat anything. If we’re hungry, we’ll eat what we have available.

      • AND the skinnier we get , up to a certain point at least, the FEWER calories we need per day.

        Between dropping population and dropping down the food ladder a bit or a lot if necessary, an adequate food supply is not apt to be a really big problem once we get over the demographic hump.

        We are not likely to be air freighting fresh fruits and veggies but otoh with a little luck we can ship them north to south on fast trains. A hundred mph non stop refrigerated express freight could make it from Brazil to the US in plenty of time to deliver fruits and vegetables in excellent condition.

        Trains can go a hell of a lot faster than a hundred mph but thats fast enough for just about any REALLY important business. A hundred mph train requires nothing in the way of exotic engineering. All it needs is a well laid out track in good condition. And good crossing barriers. REALLY good ones.

        • Nick G says:

          the skinnier we get , up to a certain point at least, the FEWER calories we need per day.

          And, the healthier we get, down to diminishing returns at about 75% of our “set-point” weight.

        • islandboy says:

          All it needs is a well laid out track in good condition. And good crossing barriers. REALLY good ones.

          Actually the French solve this problem using grade separation, no crossings, you either go over or under. You really don’t want any sort of crossings on a high speed rail line in the same way you don’t have roads crossing interstate highways. I think you’ll find that all high speed rail lines all over the world are grade separated.

          The French TGV network has an exceptional safety record of no fatalities since it started operations in 1981. The world record for conventional wheeled manned passenger trains is held by a specially tuned TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse), 357.2 mph. on a section of the existing TGV tracks.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            That might be kph rather than MPH.

            Correction: No I am wrong. It is indeed 357 miles per hour or 575 kilometers per hour.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV_world_speed_record

          • old farmer mac says:

            Grade separation it OUGHT to be.

            Maybe as time passes we can go that route here in the USA.

            But we don’t REALLY need trains that run REALLY fast. We can reorganize our affairs to cut out the need for so much basically UNNECESSARY travel- and WE WILL, eventually.

            When I was studying the works of the old Soviet era dissidents one passage stuck in my mind even unto today. He was a slave laborer on a canal and watched loads of logs- identical to look at them- traveling both ways on the canal.

            In a rational world people just don’t have much NEED to run back and forth a hundred or two hundred miles or more on a regular basis. Jobs can move to where the people are if people cannot move where the jobs are.

            • Don Wharton says:

              Transportation can consume minimal energy if it is designed with that goal in mind. Recently a metro rail project was rejected in northern Virginia. There was a public hearing about pursuing an alternative Jpod system that would be financed with private money and be powered with solar panels installed over the monorail system.
              https://www.arlnow.com/2015/08/25/columbia-pike-residents-to-discuss-monorail-like-transit-system/

              Frankly I think there is little chance that they can pull this off as promised. However, I am also confident that someone will be able to make the idea work at some point in the future. It is just that the technology will need to go through the growing pains and the first efforts will find that the costs and problems are well in excess of what they imagine. That is just the nature of complex technology.

    • islandboy says:

      I guess it depends on whether you include hydro in “alternative sources of energy” (obviously not!). Hydroelectricity smelts aluminum. When I posted a story about Solar City hosting a “topping off” ceremony for what is to be the largest PV module manufacturing facility in this hemisphere when it begins operation next year, someone highlighted the location, Buffalo, New York. It is quite likely that the energy that runs that factory will largely be hydro electricity from the Niagara facilities.

      It will be interesting to see if it is really impossible that most of the energy that goes into the manufacture of renewables can come from renewables, in which case, the net energy will be far more useful than the unharnessed renewable energy would have been.

    • Strummer says:

      Nick G: “Solar panels cost about $50 per peak watt in 1991, and now they cost 50 cents!!”

      Yes, and oil cost about $110 a year ago, and now it costs $40 per barrel. Woould you use the same argument for oil, and if not, why not?

      • Nick G says:

        I was talking about the fundamental cost of solar panel production, not it’s market price.

        Market prices for solar panels have bounced around a fair amount in the last few years, while the fundamental costs have fallen very consistently and fast.

        Market prices of anything can bounce around, but in the long round they’re controlled by the fundamental costs.

        • Strummer says:

          “Market prices of anything can bounce around, but in the long round they’re controlled by the fundamental costs.”

          But isn’t “costs” just a label for the market prices of the inputs? How can you determine a true cost of anything, in an environment where the market prices of many inputs (most importantly oil) are completely arbitrary, as they appear to be now?

          • Nick G says:

            I understand your point, but as a practical matter – it’s not quite that hard.

            For instance, I think there’s a general consensus on this blog that the fundamental cost of producing new oil has risen, and is well above the current market price.

            Similarly, I think there’s a general consensus that supports what I said above about solar prices. There was a period of scarcity several years ago that supported PV prices well above cost – it was a “Wiley E. Coyote hanging above the canyon” moment where prices stayed high for a while. During that period production expanded. Then the market stalled a little bit, and the surplus of production over demand caused prices to fall sharply, to somewhat below production cost, and many producers went bankrupt. At the moment prices are about right or maybe a touch low relative to production costs, AFAIK – some producers are doing ok, while others are struggling.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Just look at average costs over the last few years for important inputs to determine “true” costs of production, these are always estimates.

            When a business plans for the future they have expected future costs for the inputs to their production process, businesses cannot sell their product at prices below the cost of production over the long term, occasionally they may sell below cost when the market is over supplied, this cannot continue for very long.

    • Bob Nickson says:

      Goodchild also asks for a joule for joule substitution of fossil energy with renewable energy. Yet according to http://sundaya.com/energy/ “[an] electric car consumes 0.5 MJ (Mega = 106 Joule) of electricity per km, and [a] combustion engine car consumes 5 MJ of fuel per km.”

      Similarly, Goodchild seemingly fails to consider the rejected energy inherent to thermal power plants, which I believe is about 60%. Solar and wind power does not have these losses.

      We don’t need a joule for joule substitution.

      We know how to build net energy positive buildings. It is scaleable. The total cost of ownership can be lower than current standard practices deliver.

      As others have stated, repeatedly, the roof of a house is sufficient area to provide 100% of the energy needed to heat it, cool it, provide for the electric needs of the occupants, and power electric cars. We can do it now, with the technology we already have. It saves money!

      But, it’s all just impossible, right?

    • Javier says:

      The more renewables you add, the more expensive your electric energy becomes. This experiment has already been done, so why people insist on the opposite?

      We have a double problem:

      1. A cheap energy problem. Energy is becoming more and more expensive to produce in real costs terms. Adding renewables makes this problem worse, not better.

      2. A liquid energy crisis for transportation. As peak oil approaches we do not have a way of adapting our 1.2 billion vehicles. Substituting them for EVs is unrealistic. Getting a similarly cheap liquid fuel is not possible. Renewables do nothing to solve this problem as they produce electricity.

      So why some people think that renewables are a solution is a mystery to me. Of course they think that things are going to be different in the near future. Renewables are going to be much cheaper, EVs are going to be much cheaper, batteries are going to be much better. So despite those things not being a solution now they believe they are going to be a solution later. But we need solutions now, not faith in a better future. For that we have religion already. Without having workable solutions now we wont transition to that better future when solutions are supposed to be available.

      • Boomer II says:

        Without having workable solutions now we wont transition to that better future when solutions are supposed to be available.

        I think most of us are open to solution ideas. I certainly am.

        • Javier says:

          What we face is not a problem but a predicament.

          “The difference is that a problem calls for a solution; the only question is whether one can be found and made to work, and once this is done, the problem is solved. A predicament, by contrast, has no solution. Faced with a predicament, people come up with responses. Those responses may succeed, they may fail, or they may fall somewhere in between, but none of them “solves” the predicament, in the sense that none of them makes it go away.”
          The Archdruid Report. Problems and Predicaments

          Just choose your preferred response and apply it. You might get lucky.

          • Boomer II says:

            So you think mankind is headed toward permanent decline because oil will run out?

            • Javier says:

              Not only oil. We are running out of everything. We are on a finite planet that cannot sustain unlimited growth. We are reaching the limits to growth. Peak oil is going to precipitate a thousand peaks in the following decades. There is no way to cope with that.

              Given unchecked growth collapse is always inevitable. Why now? Because of our explosive growth for the last 150 years. We have brought this onto ourselves by accelerating its coming instead of delaying it by prudent use of resources and controlled growth.

              It is so evident that only through the huge human capability for self-deceit have we been able to ignore it despite numerous early warnings.

              • Boomer II says:

                We have brought this onto ourselves by accelerating its coming instead of delaying it by prudent use of resources and controlled growth.

                I think most people here agree with you. I think if we all stick with discussions like this and not even bother with the climate stuff, we won’t get sidetracked into topics which don’t really influence, good or bad, the challenges we face.

                That’s why I don’t talk about the climate stuff to any degree. It’s down the road, but we have more immediate challenges.

            • Mankind is headed toward permanent decline because oil will run our, and because natural gas will run out, and because coal will run out, and because aquifers are going dry, and because top soil wash away or be blown away or just depleted from over use, and because deserts will expand, and because all the forest will be cut down, and because the planet will get warmer, and because the ocean fisheries are gone, and because most species will go extinct, and because the air is getting polluted, and because rivers, lakes and inland seas are drying up, and because…. well I could write a book but I hope you get the idea.

              • Nick G says:

                Ron,

                You really should write a book. That would require you to get real detail for each of those points, and I think you’d discover that things aren’t as simple as they seem.

                You can have scarcity in the midst of plenty, and you can have “enough” even when things are tight.

                It’s all about good stewardship of what you’ve got – that’s more important than a simple inventory of resources.

                You gotta see the whole picture, AND look at the details. You have to quantify things, look at the historical trends, and put things into the proper context.

                For instance..water. Water is badly mismanaged around the world. Just like Nigeria, which has plenty of oil, but still has fuel shortages, lots of places are facing water shortages not because of fundamental limits, but because of bad resource management.

                • Good god, are you saying these things are not happening. You are the one who should write a book, you would be shocked if you really studied the situation humanity has put the earth in. But you obviously have not done that.

                  It’s all about good stewardship of what you’ve got – that’s more important than a simple inventory of resources.

                  Pure bullshit! We are destroying what we have got. Do you have any idea of the state of the world’s oceans and ocean fisheries? Obviously not!

                  We are not stewards of anything. Who made us stewards? We are simply destroying the earth. If you do not believe that then you are woefully uninformed.

                  • Nick G says:

                    Ron,

                    I agree that humanity is destroying a great deal of our environment. It’s a tragedy, and a great loss. It will cause us many problems, and creates serious risks.

                    But….collapse of civilization??

                    No. Those two things simply haven’t been connected together in the way you suggest.

                    For instance, water. It’s a big problem, but it’s solvable with proper management.

                    Fisheries? Yes, many species have been fished out. Some may never recover. But, does that threaten humanity or industrial civilization??

                    Are there significant risks to Climate Change, extinguishing many species, and harming basic ecosystems like the ocean? Yes. Who knows what the consequences might be, and we should be working very very hard to avoid them.

                    But, can we conclude that collapse of civilization is likely? No, I don’t see the evidence for that.

                    And, in fact, the idea that collapse is unavoidable has the effect, even if it’s unintentional, of shilling for the oil and FF industries. Why buy an EV if we’re going to hell in a handbasket? Why try to protect wildlife habitat if humanity is going to kill all wildlife eventually anyway?

                • Jimmy says:

                  Are you in junior high school? You’re like my idealistic young nephew who argues pure bullshit an the only thing he’s got to back up his statement is his values. You’ve obviously never been to a part of the world where people miss meals on a frequent basis. You can have “enough” when things are tight lol yeah you can starve to death too and die of thirst. You get some adolescent loop logic in your head and there’s no telling where you’ll take this conversation. Pure BS mostly.

              • Boomer II says:

                Yes, I know your thinking. I was just trying to understand Javier’s position.

              • Nick G says:

                This is weird. I’m trying to copy some text about water, and it keeps not posting. hhmm.. I’ll try again with a portion:

                “Most water problems are readily addressed with innovation,” said David G. Victor of the University of California, San Diego. “Getting the water price right to signal scarcity is crucially important.”

                The signals today are way off. Water is far too cheap across most American cities and towns. But what’s worse is the way the United States quenches the thirst of farmers, who account for 80 percent of the nation’s water consumption and for whom water costs virtually nothing.”

          • Nick G says:

            You’re getting your information from someone who’s strongest technical qualification is being…a druid??

            • old farmer mac says:

              Nick if you do not understand that John Michael Greer is an awesomely intelligent man it is because you have not read his work.

              I assure you his work is EXTENSIVE and nuanced in a way that makes my long comments here look like twitter content.

              He does not talk any bullshit.

              ANYBODY can be made to look like a fool by taking some small portion of what he says out of context. Greer is often quoted out of context.

              Greer does believe in a long slow economic decline for many reasons. I tend to agree with him myself although I also believe there is a SMALL chance we might escape this decline.

              He recognizes the potential of renewables etc but as a student of history and humanity his judgement is that this ” sucker” meaning our current business as usual life IS going down- slowly but without a doubt going down.

              I have had the pleasure of a couple of evenings with him one on one and he is one of the three most intelligent and perceptive people I have ever met. I have an solid broad based scientific education and have read thousands of serious books,seldom less than one a week at for a lifetime, often two in a week, in many various fields, but his knowledge of the broad tapestry of history and human affairs DWARFS my own.

              When he talks about druid magic he is talking in a way analogous to a renewables fan talking about the ” magic” of solar panels. No magic of the supernatural sort is involved in his thinking.

              The druid label is his personal branding device. He is a DEEP thinker. So were the druids. Druidry in reality is hard to define but one good definition is that it is a philosophical framework which can be used to understand reality in a way similar to the way a mannequin can be used to understand clothing.

              Hang the clothing on a mannequin and your APPRECIATION of the clothing is enhanced compared to looking at it on a hanger.

              • Nick G says:

                Mac,

                I don’t doubt his intelligence. I’ve read some of his writing, and had some conversations with him online.

                I doubt his technical knowledge. I see no sign of any deep understanding of energy tech in general, and renewables in particular.

                That means he can’t build a realistic theory of the future that’s based on energy limits.

                If you’ve seen a serious technical discussion of energy tech in his writings, please point me to it.

      • Nick G says:

        EVs are a solution right now.

        It doesn’t take that long to replace ICEs with EVs. 50% of vehicle miles are driven by cars less than 6 years old. That’s because new cars are driven more than old cars.

        Countries with lots of renewables tend to have more expensive power because…they tax it more heavily, to encourage efficiency.

        • Mike says:

          You’ve been preaching this EV stuff to us like the 2nd coming and you don’t even own one. Good grief. If its better than sliced bread trade in your clunker (the oil industry won’t miss you a millisecond) and get you one. In other words, practice what you preach.

          • Nick G says:

            Why own one, when I have a nice chauffeured one every day (the electric train)?

            I actually am practicing what I preach. Anyone who’s really into lifecycle pollution/CO2 emissions analysis will tell you that it makes no sense to manufacture a new EV, when you have a perfectly good existing ICE that you use…almost not at all.

            800 miles per year? Sheesh.

            • Boomer II says:

              Anyone who’s really into lifecycle pollution/CO2 emissions analysis will tell you that it makes no sense to manufacture a new EV, when you have a perfectly good existing ICE that you use…almost not at all.

              That’s my philosophy. The most fuel efficient vehicle is one you don’t drive.

            • It would cost fifty cents a mile just to keep legally mandated liability insurance on a car here if I drove it only eight hundred miles a year.

              We have a perfectly good very nice land yacht Buick rotting down in the yard because it was ” Momma’s car”. My ancient Daddy will not allow it sold. I can’t justify insurance and tags on it because we used it so infrequently.

          • Nick G says:

            Actually, I like trains, bikes and walking better.

            But…EVs are much faster to ramp up as an industry, and there will always be a place for small powered vehicles. Of course, if Uber and Zipcar have their way, personal ownership will become a lot less common.

            • Boomer II says:

              I think Tesla is a worthwhile experiment, no matter what happens with the company. He’s selling a different image of EVs. As I mentioned, linking a product to macho has always been a marketing strategy, especially with vehicles and guns.

              Perhaps we’ll have some folks saying “You’ll have to pry my Tesla for my dead body.” 🙂

              Or “Real guys drive Teslas.”

          • HVACman says:

            Well, I DO own an EV – or at least the world’s most successful PHEV, a Chevy Volt. And it actually IS better than sliced bread. I have not changed my driving habits one iota from when I traded in my 16 mpg Yukon 3 years ago. I just charge off my washer’s 115 volt outlet, have zero access to any public chargers, and drive all over rural northern California – to the coast, through 115 degree heat, through below-zero winter weather in the Cascades… and get a measly 94 miles per gallon. With very doable technology – no more sophisticated than most other 2015 vehicles, at a relatively affordable first-cost. Really, just change the drive-train paradigm from a complex mechanical transmission to a simpler electrified one and add 16 kWh of battery, and regular Joe gets about 100 mpg. In a couple of months, with the debut of the Gen 2 Volt, regular Joe will get about 150 mpg. That’s a game-changer, and I ain’t blowin’ hypothetical smoke. It’s 36K miles worth of mostly smokeless real driving on real roads.

            Electrified automotive drive trains are a transportation game changer. They solve a lot of ongoing technical automotive issues that do not relate to emissions or GW or PO. There are reasons every major auto manufacturer are quietly pouring billions into electrified drive train research and development, and isn’t CARB or the Dem’s driving the investment. Their engineers see something big. It really might be the 2nd coming, from an automotive sense.

            • Greenbub says:

              That sounds like a great vehicle, but how to replace the 1.2 billion cars people are driving right now?

              • Greenbub,

                Have you ever noticed that cars just plain and simple last from ten to twenty years as a rule?

                We are not barring war or other calamity run out of oil overnight. The price of it will go up as time passes and the price of electric vehicles – compared to ice only vehicles – will come down.

                The ONLY reason I am not driving a VOLT rather than an elderly ESCORT is that there ARE NO ELDERLY VOLTS to be had.This will change within ten years – but most likely I will have to give up driving in about the same time frame.

                • HVACman says:

                  re: “there ARE NO ELDERLY VOLTS to be had”

                  I guess “elderly” is a relative term, especially when used by “Old Farmer Mac”:) The oldest 2011 Volt made is almost 5 years old now. A friend of mine just picked up a used 2012 Volt with about 50K miles for $14K. Definitely priced as a typical “used” 4-year-old-compact sedan – not a big price premium for being a PHEV – and the battery, power electronics, and electric motors are still under their 8-year/100K mile warranty.

                  • I can most likely drive the ESCORT for ten years including ALL expenses except gasoline for ten thousand bucks , five thousand miles a year.

                    I am getting an excellent return on my money investing it in improvements on the farm- assuming small farm prices don’t crash of course.

                    I have always had a car since reaching adulthood but all of them together probably cost me less than twenty thousand bucks purchase money.

                    Working on my own cars ( and trucks)saves me the equivalent of eighty to a hundred bucks an hour in avoided repairs and depreciation.That’s doctor and lawyer money. In the last three or four years I have paid for safety inspections, tire rotation and balance as part of the tire purchase price, and a front end alignment. Thats it for labor.

        • Javier says:

          Countries with lots of renewables tend to have more expensive power because…they tax it more heavily, to encourage efficiency.

          That relationship does not hold. Look on this graph for the cases of Spain, Belgium, Ireland, and Greece, all 4 countries are between the 10 European countries with more watts/capita of installed renewable capacity, yet they are all below average in terms of electricity taxes.

          http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Electricity_prices_for_household_consumers,_second_half_2014_%28%C2%B9%29_%28EUR_per_kWh%29_YB15.png

          Actually the rule appears to be that the more expensive the price of energy the higher the part is going to taxes (seems logical) with the curious exceptions of some countries that have higher than average energy prices and lower than average taxes. Most of them have higher than average energy per capita coming from renewal sources.

          So no. It is not due to taxes except in the case of Germany and Denmark. These two countries do tax energy very heavily. They can afford it because their energy cost is low. In the case of Germany we know their dirty little secret. A lot of their energy is coming from burning really cheap coal.

        • Jimmy says:

          Solution to what, driving around Vegas looking at show homes? For all this talk about sustainability I sometimes wonder what it is you’re planning on sustaining?

      • “A cheap energy problem. Energy is becoming more and more expensive to produce in real costs terms. Adding renewables makes this problem worse, not better.”

        In the short term this MIGHT be true, but correlation is not causation. Germany has freed herself of the necessity of importing ungodly amounts of EXPENSIVE fossil fuels for the next thirty or forty years by building out the domestic German renewables base. They have also collected enormous amounts of money in taxes paid back into the system by the renewables industry itself. They earn foreign exchange by exporting renewables services and goods.

        WHY DON’T you tell us how much YOU think gas and oil will cost ten twenty thirty years down the road? You mention the approach of peak oil in your next few lines.

        “2. A liquid energy crisis for transportation. As peak oil approaches we do not have a way of adapting our 1.2 billion vehicles. Substituting them for EVs is unrealistic. Getting a similarly cheap liquid fuel is not possible. Renewables do nothing to solve this problem as they produce electricity.”

        We do NOT have to replace our existing fleet of oil powered vehicles at an extraordinarily fast pace. The worst of the gas hogs are long gone already and the ones built as far back as the nineties are going to the scrap yards fast. Newer ones will get ever better mileage and we are not – barring BAD luck- going to run out of oil abruptly. We probably have ten or fifteen years to manage the the larger part of the fleet transition without too much worry about peak oil.

        It seems VERY reasonable to me to believe that electric vehicle production will be a SUBSTANTIAL percentage of total vehicle production within fifteen years. The FASTER oil prices rise, up to the point the price of oil strangles the economy, the FASTER we will switch to pure electric and plug in hybrid vehicles.

        A VOLT or LEAF or similar vehicle in every tenth driveway a few years down the road will be the norm. Once people get used to them, plugins and plug in hybrids are going to get to be very popular very fast.

        You might not have noticed but the Chevy Volt has the highest ownership satisfaction of any Chevy ever sold. I wish I could justify owning one myself but I drive very little these days and my old car will last me another ten years most likely.

        I can’t see any reason to think there will not be ample oil – barring war etc- to run essential freight and agricultural machinery for the easily foreseeable future.

        Lets not forget that you can deliver one truck load of potatoes or ten truck loads of potato chips, the amount of food is the same.

        We can if necessary produce enough biofuels to run production agriculture without running up the RETAIL price of food beyond reach except for the very poorest people.

        Peak oil in and of itself is not NECESSARILY going to break our economic backs, unless we mismanage our affairs to an even greater extent than usual.

        Peak resources in general, now that’s a tough nut sure enough.

        Most people never give the possibility any thought, but ships and even trains could run on coal again. The bigger ships get , the less power they need per ton of displacement, and the less the problem of space for the power plant. Steam tech has no doubt advanced quite a bit since oil displaced coal as ship fuel.

        • Javier says:

          OK, let’s talk about Germany Energiewende. It’s so expensive that probably one of the richest countries in the world can’t afford it. You should really look into its economic problems. Traditional producers of electricity are almost broke, because they have to maintain capacity while they don’t get to sell electricity as often as before. Who pays to maintain a capacity that is not used? Obviously the consumer and the taxpayer. The electricity in Germany is one of the most expensive in OECD. Despite that, they will have to pour billions into their grid infrastructure. No wonder that the speed of renewal energy incorporation has been slowing for years. On top of that they depend on all their neighbours to adsorb surplus production when it is windy and sunny. Poland, France and Central European countries are already complaining that it is leading to blackouts to absorb that surplus. How is every country going to go that way? To compensate for all those costs Germany is one of the countries that generates more electricity from coal, and not any coal, cheap lignite stuff that is the most contaminating and CO2 producing coal. It’s the 8th producer of coal in the World, yet it imports a lot of col from the US.

          If you try to transplant Energiewende to a less rich country you would get it broke in no time. Spain’s experience with renewables was a very expensive one.

          I have no idea how much oil and gas will cost in the future, because I have no idea of how much demand there will be. If we are all very poor there could be very little demand. Do you know how much demand was there in Spain for cars in 1905? Very little really.

          Regarding replacing the fleet, the question is that 85% of oil is used in transportation currently. Private cars and trucks are the main consumers. When peak oil takes place private cars will drive less and will sell less, and transportation prices will go up so less goods will be transported and less distance. This will take place from the first moment and progressively more. EVs are less than 1% and transitions take decades. 15 years after peak oil perhaps EVs constitute a significant proportion of new vehicles, but in good part that will be due to a lot less vehicles being built.

          The price of oil might not strangle the economy. We had peak cheap oil in 2005 and since then most of the economic problems have been related to that. The world economy is quite chocked and that is part of the reason of low oil prices. Demand has not been able to grow sufficiently since 2012.

          Ample oil for whom? Peak exports took place already and Saudi Arabia is expected to stop being an exporter in about a decade due to his strong internal demand growth. There could not be any oil at all for lots of countries and their food production could suffer from that. Ample areas of the world could see widespread famine and disease while the population number adjusts in a horrible manner.

          If you run food production on biofuels you will
          a) increase its price significantly
          b) run into problems for dedicating land, water and food to produce energy if you already have problems feeding your population.

          Peak oil is likely to destroy our economic backs. All our economy is a lever to use energy to produce goods and services. As the cost of the energy increases the lever becomes shorter. The economy only works if it grows. Economic growth is necessary to justify investment, lending and interests. If the amount of energy going into the economy diminishes instead of growing, the economy dies right away, as investing or lending or interest rates have no sense at all. There is no hope of a return on capital from an economy that does not grow, but contracts.

          I am convinced the world will see again commercial shipping by sail. That has always been a good use for renewal energy.

          • ezrydermike says:

            Recent Facts about Photovoltaics in Germany

            Last update: May 19, 2015

            Compiled by
            Dr. Harry Wirth
            Division Director Photovoltaic Modules, Systems and Reliability
            Fraunhofer ISE

            https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/publications/veroeffentlichungen-pdf-dateien-en/studien-und-konzeptpapiere/recent-facts-about-photovoltaics-in-germany.pdf

            • Javier says:

              This is the only fact that is important (see graph).

              The transition to renewal sources is not proceeding adequately.

              If it is not happening, why do people think that it is going to happen? Wishful thinking? This reminds me of a certain kind of climate scientists that are always thinking about what they think is going to happen instead of looking at what is happening.

          • ”OK, let’s talk about Germany Energiewende. It’s so expensive that probably one of the richest countries in the world can’t afford it.”

            Germany is doing as well or better than just about any country in Europe and obviously CAN afford it. You deliberately forget the upsides such as avoided future purchases of imported fuel, employment, taxes back from the investment, foreign exchange benefits etc.

            ”You should really look into its economic problems. Traditional producers of electricity are almost broke, because they have to maintain capacity while they don’t get to sell electricity as often as before. Who pays to maintain a capacity that is not used? Obviously the consumer and the taxpayer.”

            Any intellectually honest and impartial observer will take note of the fact that traditional producers of electricity are in a bad spot. This is not however a problem that cannot be easily remedied in principle. The problem arises from MISMANAGEMENT of the entire industry which by its very nature needs to operate somewhat along the lines of a monopoly. The owners of the conventional power generation capacity SHOULD be paid enough to maintain and operate it as necessary.

            When the politics are straightened out they will be. UNTIL then , so far as I am concerned, tough shit to them- they wanted their cake, to make guaranteed profits forever. Sometimes things change and old industries become obsolete. Every dime I have ever invested is and always has been at risk.

            ”The electricity in Germany is one of the most expensive in OECD.”

            ”Despite that, they will have to pour billions into their grid infrastructure.”

            Ah, but somehow Germans keep on working and turning out new stuff to export. I wonder why they can do that if electricity is REALLY unaffordable in Germany. Furthermore energy taxes are high in Germany. So are social welfare expenditures. Electricity is much cheaper where I live – but medical care is MUCH more expensive. Germans generally have a pretty good standard of living and as fossil fuels get to be more expensive they will gradually enjoy a HIGHER standard of living , compared to other countries that must import fuel, because the Germans will need to import LESS to generate the same level of economic activity.

            I believe just about every country in the world is looking at having to spend mega bucks on upgrading and expanding its grid. Germans have some issues to deal with involving their best wind sites being well away from their major electricity markets and getting power lines built between the two due to the usual expected nimby faction. The lines WILL eventually get built.

            So for that matter will long distance lines get built to move power inside the USA from locations where it can be best generated to places where it can be best used.

            We spent megabucks on highways. We spent megabucks on rail roads. We spent megabucks on water and sewer infrastructure.We HAVE spent megabucks on electrical infrastructure. We WILL spend MORE megabucks on electrical infrastructure because we WILL be relying more on electricity and less on gasoline and diesel fuel as time passes.

            ” No wonder that the speed of renewal energy incorporation has been slowing for years. ”

            The expansion of renewables has been pretty fast and it is generally the case that major transitions in the way any industry operates take a long time. The transition continues in Germany and all over the world. Get used to it.

            ”On top of that they depend on all their neighbours to adsorb surplus production when it is windy and sunny. Poland, France and Central European countries are already complaining that it is leading to blackouts to absorb that surplus. How is every country going to go that way? ”

            If necessary the surplus can simply be DUMPED. The rest of Europe depends on Germany to keep the wheels of Europe turning. The rest of Europe is going to be looking at unaffordable and worse UNAVAILABLE fossil fuels within the foreseeable future. This is a political problem rather than an engineering problem. The lot of them are NECESSARILY going to have to get together and solve it- they cannot rely on oil and gas too much longer.

            ”To compensate for all those costs Germany is one of the countries that generates more electricity from coal, and not any coal, cheap lignite stuff that is the most contaminating and CO2 producing coal. It’s the 8th producer of coal in the World, yet it imports a lot of col from the US.”

            Germans are not perfect and do some stupid things, such as shutting down their nuclear industry. They are doing MORE than any other country to GET AWAY from burning that NASTY coal.

            ”If you try to transplant Energiewende to a less rich country you would get it broke in no time. Spain’s experience with renewables was a very expensive one.”

            Spain went overboard on subsidies without a doubt. But now that Spain is about busted and unable to afford very much imported fuel, the renewables are still there and still generating and WILL BE STILL GENERATING FOR A LONG TIME- twenty to fifty years at LEAST.

            ”I have no idea how much oil and gas will cost in the future, because I have no idea of how much demand there will be. If we are all very poor there could be very little demand. Do you know how much demand was there in Spain for cars in 1905? Very little really.”

            I suppose you meant 2005 but that is a trivial typo. If we DON’T build renewables now while we still have the capacity to do so we sure as hell will not build them AFTER fossil fuels become unaffordable due to depletion- and THEN we WILL FOR SURE BE VERY POOR.

            ”Regarding replacing the fleet, the question is that 85% of oil is used in transportation currently. Private cars and trucks are the main consumers. When peak oil takes place private cars will drive less and will sell less, and transportation prices will go up so less goods will be transported and less distance. This will take place from the first moment and progressively more. EVs are less than 1% and transitions take decades. 15 years after peak oil perhaps EVs constitute a significant proportion of new vehicles, but in good part that will be due to a lot less vehicles being built.”

            In general terms you are probably correct. But the transition to plug in and plug in hybrid vehicles does NOT require a major change in the auto industry at all. It will require a MAJOR ramping up of battery manufacturing capacity. Cars are already computerized and installing batteries and electric motors rather than a conventional drive train is basically a trivial change over.

            The ramp up in battery production seems to be well underway already and given the LONGER TERM outlook for oil and gas – both dim to dismal over the longer run, we agree on that- there is still plenty of capital available to build out the battery industry fast. There is plenty of capital looking for a home. My bet is that plenty of it will find a home in the battery industry. The other supporting industries are easily able to accommodate a ramp up in electric vehicles. Electric motors are trivially simple compared to ice’s and the auto companies can easily build their own. Cars are already chock full of computers.

            ONE percent fully electric cars on the road translates to roughly one percent less oil burnt in personal cars. Such cars will help IMMENSELY to depress oil consumption given that as oil becomes more expensive they will preferentially be driven MORE in comparison to older ice only cars. The capacity to build twice as many annually is already in place. Oil is apt to go up sharply and stay up, within the next few years, barring the world economy being chronically bedridden. Now that the driving public is finally getting acquainted with electrics they will sell fast once gasoline spikes up again. People are creatures of habit and still reluctant to take a chance on a new car that might not work out but that situation is changing noticeably from day to day.

            EVEN if a bed ridden economy is the case, there will be tens of millions of people who can afford an electric, and who will buy as many as can be built using current capacity, because electrics plug in or plug in hybrid ARE cheaper NEW than conventional cars ALREADY – on a long term basis. So far these tens of millions are holding back due to a lack of familiarity with electric vehicles.

            This advantage will grow with rising oil prices.

            ”The price of oil might not strangle the economy. We had peak cheap oil in 2005 and since then most of the economic problems have been related to that. The world economy is quite chocked and that is part of the reason of low oil prices. Demand has not been able to grow sufficiently since 2012.”

            Then the price of oil MIGHT and imo for damned sure WILL strangle the economy EVENTUALLY unless we get moving on reducing oil consumption.

            ”Ample oil for whom? Peak exports took place already and Saudi Arabia is expected to stop being an exporter in about a decade due to his strong internal demand growth. There could not be any oil at all for lots of countries and their food production could suffer from that. Ample areas of the world could see widespread famine and disease while the population number adjusts in a horrible manner.”

            The consumption of any commodity that is truly critical and truly in really short supply is generally regulated, more or less effectively,EVENTUALLY, by governments world wide. The availability of OIL itself is not apt to be one of the more important factors limiting food production since oil can be preferentially diverted to this use. I am not going to take time to write a book about it here but OIL is WAY down the list of problems when it comes to agriculture in general terms. We farmers must have it in substantial quantities but so long as it is available at all it will find its way to us.

            ”If you run food production on biofuels you will
            a) increase its price significantly
            b) run into problems for dedicating land, water and food to produce energy if you already have problems feeding your population.”

            Biofuels are at least an order of magnitude cheaper than draft animals. You argue that oil is critical and expensive and may well become so expensive as to result in widespread economic troubles. I argue that such troubles are GAURANTEED.

            Given that my machinery is produced using mostly coal fired electricity, so long as I can get the machinery I can for a rough estimate produce food using farm produced biofuels for maybe another ten to twenty percent total out the gate costs, this also assuming I will still have access to fertilizers as usual. Nitrates are manufactured out of natural gas and phosphate ores are depleting fast. Long term this means big problems.

            Since apples sell for thirty cents wholesale and six times that retail, retail prices need not go up a WHOLE LOT. Most farm products cost anywhere from two up to ten times as much at retail as at wholesale at the farm gate.

            Except for the very poor, we can eat better and cheaper too by dropping down the ladder a couple of rungs and eating less beef and pork etc. The very poor in a lot of places ARE going to die hard no matter what, we are already deep into overshoot. Oil is PART of it but even if oil were to sell for ten bucks a barrel constant money from here on out we would STILL be deep into overshoot.

            ”Peak oil is likely to destroy our economic backs.”

            There is a VERY real possibility you are dead on.

            BUT you want to just fucking give up and go quietly into the night?

            I beg everybody’s pardon EXCEPT yours for this language but GIVING UP IS UTTERLY STUPID.

            I do not KNOW for SURE that we can sustain an industrial civilization by transitioning to renewables.

            I do know the potential is there.

            I DO know that we are going back to a time when life was a hell of a lot harder and shorter than it is today unless we put our hearts into the fight.

            ”All our economy is a lever to use energy to produce goods and services. As the cost of the energy increases the lever becomes shorter. The economy only works if it grows. Economic growth is necessary to justify investment, lending and interests. If the amount of energy going into the economy diminishes instead of growing, the economy dies right away, as investing or lending or interest rates have no sense at all. There is no hope of a return on capital from an economy that does not grow, but contracts.”

            How about some PROOF that energy supplies cannot GROW based on renewables? You DON’T have any. The argument that there can be no return on capital in a steady state or even shrinking economy has never been proven. I have earned a substantial return on capital by investing in efficiency and conservation myself, even as my own economic activities wind down.

            The return can come in the form of a better quality of life. I invested in new windows and more insulation and now I work less paying for heat and ac.

            ”I am convinced the world will see again commercial shipping by sail. That has always been a good use for renewal energy.”

            Well now, I am GLAD to hear you are not TOTALLY blind to the possibilities. Computer controlled kite sails seem to have the potential to profitably reduce fuel consumption out in open blue waters.

            Sails of the traditional sort may come into widespread use again , eventually, given that ships do not necessarily have to sail FAST to make a profit. A slow ship with low enough operating costs can be profitable and sail technology is evolving like all other technologies.

            • Javier says:

              OFM we agree on certain things and disagree on others.

              First of all take a look at the graph I posted just above your previous comment. The transition to renewables is not doing well in Europe. Since 2011 every year there is less investment, not more. This is due to the problems I have outlined:
              -More expensive
              -Leads to widespread incompatibilities with current system once it reaches a certain level.

              Given enough time and money those problems can at least be partially solved. The intermittence is always going to be a problem. But we don’t know if we have the required time and money (I think not). Clearly this is an unanticipated spanner in the works that many people are choosing to ignore.

              I agree with you in that we have to develop renewable energy even if now it doesn’t make economic sense. Most governments seem to be of the same opinion. They are wasting money and resources increasing renewable energy only to get a more expensive electricity, but without that energy the impact of fossil fuels shortages are much worse. Where else are we going to get the energy? Well, nuclear of course. We are at a point where any danger from nuclear energy is much smaller than the danger of not having enough energy. But most countries are not increasing nuclear, but the opposite.

              So strike one for renewables for going nowhere and strike two for nuclear going in reverse. Strike three is for most of the world being unable to afford neither one nor the other.

              Therefore where I disagree with many folks here is with the fairy tale that renewables and technology are going to save us. We are not going to be saved. Collapse at this point is inevitable. According to my estimates somewhere around 2030, but these coming 15 years are going to be hell.

              We have wasted four decades since we were warned. This plane is going down and now it is time to try to reduce the impact and prepare for what will come afterwards.

              The most important task would be to build resilience by localizing everything. Localize food production, energy, jobs, water and electricity distribution, so every part can function as independently as possible. It is not being done and it is not going to be done. We are living a dream in which fight against climate change is our most important task, and where renewables, electric vehicles and technology will make sure we have a bright future. When we wake up from that dream it is going to be a nightmare.

              • islandboy says:

                Hey Javi’, how’s this for an idea? What if climate change is being used as a sort of proxy for Peak Oil? Suppose some dude thought that the chances of climate change being responded to in a rational way were greater than Peak Oil being responded to likewise. Suppose they thought that since Peak Oil is unpredictable, people might respond more to climate change as an impetus to reduce oil consumption and switch to alternatives. Suppose the decision has been taken at the level of the leadership of nations, to stay away from the unmentionable (Peak Oil) and make climate change the focus of the PR machines.

                It is not too far fetched since the measures needed to mitigate global warming and those needed to respond to the peaking of world oil production share common elements. The problem is that responses to both issues involve action that is inimical to the interests of some very rich and powerful vested interests (the FF industries). If it is the case that decision has been taken to use global warming to spur action to prepare for Peak Oil, all you skeptics are doing is sabotaging the PR effort and playing into the hands of the vested interests, who don’t want anything done to slow down their gravy train. Have you ever considered that?

                • Javier says:

                  Yes, I already thought of that, Islandboy. And we are not the first ones to think of that. In the days of TOD some people were already entertaining the idea that the war on CO2 was a proxy war on peak oil.

                  It is impossible to say. I am not too fond of conspiracy theories. In any way I think that most people here that believe in an impending peak oil would agree that it is more important to tell people about it so they can prepare as best as they can.

                  Scaring people to death about a coming climate catastrophe so they will agree to policies to protect them from peak oil goes against every democratic principle.

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              Old farmer mac said:

              Any intellectually honest and impartial observer will take note of the fact that traditional producers of electricity are in a bad spot. This is not however a problem that cannot be easily remedied in principle. The problem arises from MISMANAGEMENT of the entire industry which by its very nature needs to operate somewhat along the lines of a monopoly….

              ….so far as I am concerned, tough shit to them- they wanted their cake, to make guaranteed profits forever. Sometimes things change and old industries become obsolete.

              But the traditional production of electricity has not become obsolete.

              What has happened is that the traditional producers of electricity are forced, by the long arm of the law, to purchase renewable energy when the sun is shining and when the wind is blowing. But that isn’t 100% of the time.

              So what happens when the sun is not shining and the wind not blowing?

              Well then the traditional electricity producers become the producers and providers of last resort. All the infrastructre and all the investment to provide electricity during these times when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, times which may not be of great duration, is still necessary.

              And I hate to break it to you, but power plants don’t start up with the flick of a switch.

              So unless you can persuade those who, with their renewables, go off-grid when the sun’s shining, to not go on-grid when the sun’s not shinining, then the problem is a little bit more prickly than what you describe.

              • Arceus says:

                So the “traditional electricity producers” now become the new “swing producers.”

              • Nick G says:

                the traditional producers of electricity are forced, by the long arm of the law, to purchase renewable energy when the sun is shining and when the wind is blowing.

                That’s a bit of the problem. The larger problem is that Europe doesn’t have capacity payments, like most of the US. And, as Mac points out, traditional producers did very well with the old system for a long time: they made large profits when daytime prices peaked.

                unless you can persuade those who, with their renewables, go off-grid when the sun’s shining, to not go on-grid when the sun’s not shinining

                That’s called Demand Side Management (or Demand Response), and it works very, very well. It’s cheap and effective.

                DSM isn’t the whole answer, of course, but it’s a big part.

                • Glenn Stehle says:

                  Demand Side Management.

                  Is that what Jimmy Carter tried in his Crisis of Confidence speech? That was before he did a 180 and militarized US energy policy and appointed Paul Volcker as Fed Chair.

                  So what did Carter’s six-point program he layed out in his Crisis of Confidence speech consist of?

                  1) Reduce oil imports by one-half, establishing quotas capping the amount of oil coming into the country,

                  2) Launch a national effort to develop alternative energy sources,

                  3) Establish a federal agency to “cut through the red tape, the delays, and the endless roadblocks to completing key energy projects,”

                  4) Mandate to reduce amount of oil used for power generation, and

                  5) Summon Americans to conserve: “to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel.”

                  And how did that play in Peoria?

                  • Nick G says:

                    Is that what Jimmy Carter tried in his Crisis of Confidence speech?

                    Nope. Industrial/Commercial customers have done DSM for a very long time – it’s also called Load Shedding. It’s a fairly simple system in which they sign up for discounts in return for being eligible for cutbacks in power supply (with notice!).

                    Have you looked at your electric meter lately? Your utility may be planning to install a smart meter soon. That should allow you to receive some kind of price signal.

                    Reduce oil imports by one-half, establishing quotas capping the amount of oil coming into the country

                    Bad idea. A stiff fuel tax would have worked far better, but Carter wasn’t so clear on the value of price signals.

                    Launch a national effort to develop alternative energy sources

                    That was extremely successful. It helped start PV and wind power research.

                    Mandate to reduce amount of oil used for power generation

                    Also very successful.

              • The legacy producers will just have to squeal and pee and moan and take their licks- for A WHILE.

                But in the end they WILL get paid for what they do in terms of supplying base load and back up power to support renewables.

                This is a political and management problem rather than a scientific or engineering problem.

                Lots of industries go thru unexpected hard times. Some make it. Some don’t. The traditional generating industry will make it because we cannot get along without it.

                Many of my friends got royally screwed , dry, by changes in farm policies involving imports and exports over the years. Some went broke, some survived. The domestic farming industry survived.

                I am now retired and cannot vouch for this example but local guys tell me that they cannot even get enough for their cull apples to pay the freight to the juice house and cannery recently. They attribute this crash in prices to Chinese apple juice. They are probably right. They WILL NOT be bailed out by a regulatory agency.

                The legacy fossil fuel electrical generating industry WILL be bailed out by the various regulatory agencies. EVENTUALLY.

                This is the way the world works.

                Personally I have no sympathy at all for corporations, given that they are a potentially immortal alien ( man made) life form without ANY pretensions to any sort of morality whatsoever except the pure darwinian morality of survival and growth.

                I am not above doing a little moral preening and preaching myself when it suits MY morality. 😉

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              Old farmer mac said:

              Ah, but somehow Germans keep on working and turning out new stuff to export. I wonder why they can do that if electricity is REALLY unaffordable in Germany.

              Becuase of the rate structure. German industry doesn’t pay the enormous cost of Energiewende. Households do.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Glenn,

                It is true almost everywhere that industry pays lower electric rates than households.

                • Glenn Stehle says:

                  Yes, but if you will look at the Euro Area, which I have also highlighted in red, the difference between household electricity rates and industry rates is not nearly as extreme as it is in Germany.

                  Even though German industry pays only 2.4 cents per kwh more than industry Euro-wide does, German households pay a whopping 7.6 cents per kwh more than households Euro-wide do.

                  There really are no free rides.

                  Somebody has to pay for Energiewende, even though it might not be industry.

                  • Nick G says:

                    Have you looked at the level of taxation, and the level of sunk costs from the previous wind & solar buildup?

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Glenn,

                    On a percentage basis, in Germany households pay 95% more than industry, Eurowide it is 73% more for households.

                    Note that for 2013 in the US residential customers pay 79% higher rates than industrial customers.

                    So things are a little worse in Germany and households probably use electricity more efficiently than in places where electricity is cheaper.

                  • Glenn Stehle says:

                    Dennis,

                    In Germany, residential customers pay .297 per KWH. And in France they pay .175 per KWH.

                    Regardless of how you cut it, .175 is still a great deal less than .297.

                  • Glenn Stehle says:

                    Dennis,

                    Also, if German regulators were truly interested in implementing a rate structure designed to reduce residential consumption, it seems they would choose something like Mexico has:

                    (rates in US dollars/kWh)
                    Residential
                    o – 75 kWh per month $0.048
                    75 – 140 kWh per month $0.057
                    140 – 250 kWh per month $0.168
                    250+ kWh per month $0.194

                    Commercial
                    Average rate $0.088

                    Industrial
                    If majority of usage is during peak times $0.071
                    If majority of usage is during non-peak times $0.049

                    Such a rate structure doesn’t punish poor households. It throws them a lifeline, while at the same time punishing afluent households with high electricy usage.

                    Of course such a rate structure requires a very different type of values — normative values — which are anathema to the values dictated by the market which have come to dominate decision-making in the Occident.

                  • Glenn Stehle says:

                    Dennis,

                    Also in Germany the largest industrial users are exempt from paying the cross-subsidies to renewables, putting the entire burden on smaller industrial users and households.

                    The renewable energy surcharge levied on German households and businesses has nearly tripled since 2010 and now…amount to about €24 billion a year, according to Germany’s economics ministry….

                    About 2,000 of Germany’s heavy industrial users—including BASF and SGL—are largely exempt from paying the surcharge until at least 2017.
                    http://www.wsj.com/articles/germanys-expensive-gamble-on-renewable-energy-1409106602

                    The average industrial rates reported by Eurostate don’t tell the whole story.

                  • Nick G says:

                    Glenn,

                    Yes, Germany doesn’t charge industrial/commercial customers properly, for both power and fuel.

                    They’re afraid of losing competitive advantage. That’s an argument for higher taxes for all countries. That’s one of the basic principles of market regulation: you need standards to prevent a competitive “race to the bottom”.

                  • Nick G says:

                    German regulators were truly interested in implementing a rate structure designed to reduce residential consumption, it seems they would choose something like Mexico has.

                    That would be good. Also, California has similarly tiered rates, which have worked quite well.

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              Old farmer mac said:

              Germans generally have a pretty good standard of living and as fossil fuels get to be more expensive they will gradually enjoy a HIGHER standard of living , compared to other countries that must import fuel….

              I wouldn’t count on it.

              The standard of living of the rank and file German worker has suffered under Germany’s export-driven economy.

              John Miller gives a little of the history of how German workers have fared since the German oligarchy decided to switch to an export-driven economic regime:

              Following the adoption of the euro, Germany instituted a set of “labormarket flexibility” policies intended to further improve its international competitiveness. Known as the “Agenda 2010 Reforms,” the new policies reduced pensions, cut medical benefits, and slashed the duration of unemployment benefits from nearly three years to just one. They made it easier to fire workers, while encouraging the creation of parttime and short-term jobs. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that, from the mid-1990s to 2008, the incomes of the poorest 30% of Germans actually declined in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. Germany’s repressive labor policies kept a lid on wage growth. In every year from 2000 through the onset of the financial crisis in 2009, German compensation per employee increased more slowly than the eurozone average, and less even than in the United States.

              During the 1990s, German workers’ real (inflation-adjusted) wages rose along with productivity gains, meaning that employers could pay the higher wages without facing higher labor costs per unit of output. After 1999, wage gains no longer kept pace with productivity, and the gap between the two widened. As wages stagnated, inequality worsened, and poverty rates rose. Total labor compensation (wages and benefits) fell from 61% of GDP in 2001 to just 55% of GDP in 2007, its lowest level in five decades.

              http://triplecrisis.com/german-wage-repression-getting-to-the-roots-of-the-eurozone-crisis/

              • old farmer mac says:

                ”The standard of living of the rank and file German worker has suffered under Germany’s export-driven economy.”

                Tell me .

                When did Germany last have an economy that was NOT based mainly on EXPORTS which necessarily imply imports as well?

                Germany has a lot of problems, like country these days.

                JUST MAYBE some of Germany’s problems might be the result of reuniting the country.

                Just MAYBE some of those problems might be the result of the country having to IMPORT fossil fuels in order to EXPORT machinery and services to OTHER countries dependent on ever more expensive depleting fossil fuels.

                JUST MAYBE Germany’s troubles are more the result of not building out renewables FAST ENOUGH and her CUSTOMERS not building out renewables FAST ENOUGH.

        • Glenn Stehle says:

          Old farmer mac said:

          Germany has freed herself of the necessity of importing ungodly amounts of EXPENSIVE fossil fuels for the next thirty or forty years by building out the domestic German renewables base.

          Nah.

          Germany’s 2014 coal imports hit all-time high of 56.2 mil mt
          London (Platts)–20 Mar 2015 909 am EDT/1309 GMT

          German hard coal imports reached an all-time record high of 56.2 million mt in 2014, up 6.2% on the year, according to statistics released by the German Coal Importers Association (VDKi) Thursday.

          Thermal coal imports into Germany increased by about 5% on the year to 41.9 million mt, while coking coal imports jumped 15% year on year to 11.7 million mt.

          Imports of coke declined by about 6% to 2.4 million mt.

          Russia was the largest shipper of thermal coal to Germany last year, delivering 13.7 million mt, up from 13.1 million mt the previous year.
          http://www.platts.com/latest-news/coal/london/germanys-2014-coal-imports-hit-all-time-high-26044121

          • Nick G says:

            Reducing coal imports was not their highest priority. Their highest priority was eliminating nuclear.

            You can argue with their priorities, but you can’t argue that they’re a pure test case for renewables replacing coal.

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              Well it’s pretty clear that both Germany and China believe renewables have a future. They’re both heavily invested in them, and are clearly looking forward to the day when Saudi Arabia reaches peak oil. When that happens, they must believe that the days of cheap oil will be over.

              It will be a whole new game then, and I suspect that that marginal barrel of oil will cost a good deal more than $100 to produce.

              At that future date, it seems like both Germany and China have made the calculation that renewables will be competitive pricewise with oil. They want to the world leaders in the renewable energy industry.

              It would also seem that they believe that future date is not too far away.

          • So- You are extremely good at answering a challenge with a misleading answer. HOW much MORE coal and gas would Germany be importing EVERYTHING ELSE HELD EQUAL but no renewables investment ?

            Renewables after allowing for the shuttering of German nukes are gradually producing a LARGER share of total consumption. This share is going to CONTINUE to grow and every solar panel and wind turbine in Germany will REDUCE consumption of coal and gas for as long as it lasts. That is an average of at least twenty years for wind turbines and thirty or forty years for solar panels.

            We do not know how much such imported coal and gas will cost in future years but I have not yet run across anybody, except a few nut case optimists, who think fossil fuels will get cheaper as time passes.

            I just bought a new heat pump. My total heating and air conditioning cost FOR NOW went thru the roof for this present fiscal year. If I had financed them my cost would have been HIGHER for the next few years as I made the payments. But in the long run these heat pumps will prove to be good investments.

            So will the German investment in renewables. It is damned near unheard of to find investments so lucrative they pay out initial costs in a year or less.

            German electricity WILL BE CHEAPER over the long run DUE TO investment in renewables.

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              Old farmer mac said:

              German electricity WILL BE CHEAPER over the long run DUE TO investment in renewables.

              I see no evidence of that.

              What I see evidence of is that German electricity WILL BE MORE EXPENSIVE over the long run DUE TO THE DEPLETION OF FOSSIL FUELS (or them being taken off the table due to environmental concerns), and that renewables stand a good chance of becoming price competitive in this new high-priced electricity environment.

              • Nick G says:

                What is the value of guaranteeing your energy supply? Germany is importing coal and natural gas. It’s building a domestic power supply that can’t be interrupted.

                Apparently Germany doesn’t want to import cheap solar power from Morocco…

                • Glenn Stehle says:

                  This harkens back to the long-running feud between Ricardo and Malthus, no?

                  You seem to be taking the side of Malthus.

                  Malthus represented the landed aristocracy, which didn’t want to allow the import of cheap grain from France, since this would undercut grain prices and the rents that the landowners realized from their land. Malthus argued that to allow such imports damaged domestic grain production, which posed a threat to the national security of England in the event of conflict with France.

                  Ricardo, on the other hand, represented the rising industrial class. It needed cheap grain to feed its workers, so favored unrestricted grain importation. Ricardo argued for free trade, and against quotas or tariffs on grain imports, against protectionism.

              • old farmer mac says:

                GS I congratulate you on being as slippery as a greased pig but I have EVENTUALLY caught every pig I ever chased.

                Only an IDIOT would argue that fossil fuel depletion will not increase the cost of electricity in the future, or at least in the near term to middle future.

                RENEWABLES REDUCE THE NEED TO PAY FOR FOSSIL FUELS .

                Therefore Germany will have to IMPORT and PAY for SUBSTANTIALLY LESS fossil fuel having a substantial renewables base.

                The more renewables the Germans build and the more expensive depleting ff becomes, the greater the advantage to them in every important respect.

                I THINK you are smarter than your arguments.

                Somehow I am beginning to doubt that you are smart enough to understand that those of us who understand renewables and ff depletion are smart enough to understand that they are BULLSHIT arguments.

                OTHERWISE, if you are smart enough to know you are losing in the eyes of any body who is seriously listening:

                I hereby find it appropriate to dub thee SIR FF MouthPiece.

                You insist on focusing entirely on the present without ever even considering that as fossil fuels deplete every kilowatt hour of renewables generation will become MORE and MORE valuable.

                • Glenn Stehle says:

                  Pace the Green Utopian hard-liners, but one doesn’t have to be a Positivist to believe that renewables could become cost competitive with oil and gas once we’re looking at peak oil in the rearview mirror.

                  As to the dreams of a land of milk and honey — always in the future of course — where energy is cheap and plentiful and environmental destruction minimal, these are nothing but a revival of Judeo-Christian millenarianism.

                  For those interested in the present, however, renewables show no sign of being cost-competitive with fossil fuels. It is no accident that the two poster children of the Green Utopians — Germany and Denmark — have the highest residential electricity rates in Europe (see chart below from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Electricity_prices_for_household_consumers,_second_half_2014_(%C2%B9)_(EUR_per_kWh)_YB15.png ).

                  Whether the people of these countries deem the benefits of renewables to outweigh the costs is another question. But to argue that the present cost to provide renewable electricity is lower than the present cost to provide fossil fuel electricity is a lie.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    For those interested in the present, however, renewables show no sign of being cost-competitive with fossil fuels.

                    That is incorrect! Of course you have to do whole cost accounting which very few of those who denigrate alternatives are willing to do because it goes against their ideologies and world view.

                    Did you see my comment about the IMF’s numbers regarding the cost of fossil Fuels, were talking about 5.3 trillion dollars in subsidies…

                    Here is the link from the WSJ.
                    http://www.wsj.com/articles/imf-estimates-trillions-in-hidden-fossil-fuel-costs-1431958586

                    Now unless you are going to tell me that the IMF and the WSJ have suddenly gone green or communist you are going to have to accept that there must be a modicum of truth to those numbers. And if that’s the case then the cost of the alternatives start looking a heck of a lot better. Yes, they are already competitive and within I short time I think they will be significantly cheaper.

                  • Nick G says:

                    But, have you subtracted legacy (“sunk cost”) solar build out costs, and taxes??

                    No, it’s not appropriate to include much of the ongoing payments for the solar buildout, because it was explicitly intended to subsidize the achievement of economies of scale.

                    It was an large gift to the rest of the world, and it shouldn’t be included in future cost/benefit analyses.

                  • Glenn Stehle says:

                    Fred,

                    You gotta love these IMF and Wall Street Journal types who believe they can put a dollar value on everything.

                    The price or market theory of value is of course one of the abiding faiths of neoclassical economists. Robert E. Goodin points out that economists presume that if we can compensate people we can do “anything” to them.

                    I think at some point it is necessary to draw a line between what is economic and what are sacred, non-negotiable moral commitments. The conflation of the two creates a great deal of confusion, which could possibly be what the IMF and Wall Street Journal types have in mind.

                    If, for instance, one believes global warming is an exestential crisis, as I do, then how does one put a price on the extermination of the human race?

                    How does one put a value on the beauty of the earth and the fullness thereof?

                    Instrumental rationality fails to capture the depth and the breadth of human existence.

                  • Nick G says:

                    Glenn,

                    You’re going cause whiplash in readers, with the dramatic switch between “renewables are too expensive” to “renewables fulfill a sacred trust”.

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              Old farmer mac said:

              I just bought a new heat pump. My total heating and air conditioning cost FOR NOW went thru the roof for this present fiscal year…. But in the long run these heat pumps will prove to be good investments.

              So will the German investment in renewables. It is damned near unheard of to find investments so lucrative they pay out initial costs in a year or less.

              Since when does CAPEX get expensed?

              • old farmer mac says:

                Slippery ain’t cha?

                You know , and everybody actually THINKING , knows that those heat pumps had to be PAID FOR UPFRONT whereas the BENEFITS of owning them are only to be had spread out over the life of them.

                Accounting conventions are useful tools but they are NOT relevant to this argument. MY actual business position would be GREATLY improved in the very short term, meaning this year and the next few years if I had NOT bought them. More money on hand more cash flow.

                I bought them for the FUTURE rather than TODAY.

                You insist on discussing renewables in terms of TODAY and ONLY today.

                I am currently stuck in the house playing nurse and have plenty of time to take your arguments apart like a chicken ripping up a dry cow patty. I am not finding much of any substance within your cow patties.

                How about serving up a few more? I am BORED. Beyond that I am fine tuning my own arguments for the book I am working on. This blog is my current primary research library since it is handy, free and fun.

                Some members have contributed substantially to my own understanding of our current reality and what we might or might not do to keep the wheels turning.

                You are very conveniently listing all the bullshit smoke and mirror anti renewable arguments for me and providing me with the opportunity to pick them apart at my leisure. This current effort will pay big dividends later as I get farther along composing actual chapters and sub headings.

                THANK You!

      • Bob Nickson says:

        Italicized quotes are Javier’s

        The more renewables you add, the more expensive your electric energy becomes.

        Expensive electricity is still less expensive for transportation than cheap petrol.

        2. A liquid energy crisis for transportation. As peak oil approaches we do not have a way of adapting our 1.2 billion vehicles. Substituting them for EVs is unrealistic.

        We won’t adapt our existing vehicles. Could you explain why substituting EV’s is unrealistic? The vehicle fleet has a turnover rate. I believe it is 15 years. Every EV purchased instead of an ICE is one less car that burns petrol.

        So why some people think that renewables are a solution is a mystery to me.

        Why you fail to see the potential is a mystery to some of us.

        So despite those things not being a solution now they believe they are going to be a solution later.

        They are a solution now. Why simply dismiss the experience and opinion of those who are already affordably driving their cars on power they’ve harvested from their own rooftops.

        Net energy positive buildings: Not a solution?
        PV powered EV’s: Not a solution?

        Why are they not?

        • Javier says:

          Could you explain why substituting EV’s is unrealistic?

          We didn’t do it when we were rich and had plenty of oil for the economy to keep growing. We are not going to do it when we are going to be much poorer and not going to have enough oil for the economy to grow. Unemployed people don’t buy EVs. People on minimum wages don’t buy EVs.

          Why you fail to see the potential is a mystery to some of us.

          Potential is not enough. EVs have been around since 1890s and they have always had potential. Once they even had 1/3 of market share. Now they are not even 1% and not growing nearly fast enough to make a dent in the market in 50 years. At current oil prices they are probably going to grow slower, not faster. That is reality. By the time we need ICEs replaced we wont be able to replace them.

          Why simply dismiss the experience and opinion of those who are already affordably driving their cars on power they’ve harvested from their own rooftops.

          Because that is a solution for a small part of a middle-high income segment population of a very rich country. You are losing perspective on what the world really is and how the problems of the world spread around.

          Net energy positive buildings: Not a solution?

          No. We know how to build earthquake resistant constructions for many decades. The immense majority of buildings in earthquake prone areas of the world are not earthquake resistant, as every earthquake demonstrates.

          PV powered EV’s: Not a solution?

          No. Only a few people in the world can afford that and of those only a few will get them.

          • Nick G says:

            We didn’t do it before because 1) change was blocked by legacy industries, and 2) the need wasn’t obvious.

            Those industries are losing the fight, and the need is becoming more obvious.

            We are not going to do it when we are going to be much poorer and not going to have enough oil for the economy to grow.

            Not true. Automation of farming (via tractors) accelerated in the Great Depression. The economic pressure only accelerated the transition.

        • wimbi says:

          PROGRESS REPORT ON LOWER CARBON LIVING.
          This is a progress report on my continuing effort to reduce use of fossil fuels in my own home-what worked and what didn’t.

          The executive summary is easy- all of it worked! But before I go on, I have to point out that my situation is, by sheer luck, no virtue on my part, near ideal, so I cannot expect the average person to have the same entirely positive results I have seen.

          We have an deal site, up on a ridge with a clear view of the whole southern horizon, lots of hardwood forest all around, scattering the ground with fuel galore, fairly good old house easily modified, and no nearby neighbors to express dismay at the sight of my widget-making antics.

          And, maybe most important, I think of all this as recreation, nothing like a chore-instead, fun. I, like most people, am willing to spend on recreation.

          Since our long range target was to run everything on our solar panels, we knew that we had first of all to greatly lower our energy usage from the average of the usual american home. We started off with a fairly large solar array, which I happened to find at a bargain price and installed mostly myself.

          After that, the most cost-beneficial early move was to insulate our already fairly good house to get a much lower heating/cooling load. Didn’t cost much, was quick, and highly effective.

          (A suggested rule of thumb here, spend as much on insulation each year as you do on heating and cooling, so each passing year you spend less and less until the amount is trivial and you can stop thinking about it.)

          Next, hot water. It is surprising how much energy the average household spends on hot water, either electric or gas. It turned out that for us it was quite easy to reduce our hot water fuel requirement to zero with just a little attention. We insulated our conventional gas water tank much more, then put in a very simple solar pre-heater, almost nothing but a coil of pipe on the roof, and then an electric heat pump- a small box that sits by the side of the water tank and turns on when its thermostat demands.

          The water heat pump has a timer on it, which I set to be on from noon to 4pm each day, since solar electricity is usually most available at that time. The end result was what we wanted- plenty of hot water, and no fossil fuels used to get it- and not much extra effort or money.

          Space heating also turned out to be easy after insulation greatly cut our heat leakage. We have always used a wood stove, since we like to look at the fire, and we have an abundance of firewood. But for added convenience, I also installed a modern high efficiency space heat pump, which takes very little additional electricity to keep the house comfortable winter and summer.

          These new space heat pumps are not only very efficient but they are also nearly completely silent, both the inside and the outside units. And they are wonderfully simple to control to any desired condition by use of a small remote controller. All in all, a quite marvelous improvement over the best of what was around even a few years ago.

          And last but by no means least, we got an all-electric car, which does almost all our car chores on solar energy alone. This car, a Nissan Leaf, has the lowest 5 year operating cost of any car sold in the US, and used ones are selling at remarkably low prices, since they are too new to have built up any public awareness of their numerous real merits. And also, since like all electric vehicles, they are improving very rapidly, people tend to wait for the next year version, which in this case, is rumored to have a significantly longer range at no additional cost.

          In our case, when we happen to need longer range, we can immediately get our old gasoline car back from our granddaughter. We have spent only $20 in the last two years for “fuel”.

          So, summarizing, we have found it has been easy, and for me, fun, to get our house almost entirely off any use of fossil fuels, and with results that for us at least, are far more, not less, comfortable and all-around satisfactory.

          Closing note. I often hear the argument that my solar and energy saving gadgets took fossil fuels to make, and therefor I am deluding myself by thinking that by using solar I have reduced my carbon burden on my grandkid’s world.

          Yes indeed, since everything we do right now uses fossil fuels, making my solar things did too. And my neighbor’s things he bought to do the same? They, it happens, needed MORE fossil fuels to make than mine did, and kept using ever more of it to do for him what mine did with NO additional fossil fuels.

          The life cycle carbon footprint of solar devices is far lower than that of conventional ones needing fossil fuels to operate.

          • old farmer mac says:

            HI Wimbi,

            ANOTHER THING that blows me away is how the electric naysayers never acknowledge that just about every last one of the tens of millions of multi car households in almost every single case could use an electric ALMOST every day without any problems whatsoever.

            How many times do you HAVE to go a long way out of your expected way for the day without warning? ONCE in three four five years maybe?

            On days you might need to go a LONG way without running the electric home to fetch the conventional car you almost ALWAY have some warning. So – you just drive the conventional car that day.

            BEYOND that- eliminating lots of short trips and commuter miles on the gasoline buggy means it will reliably last probably TWICE as long AT LEAST.

            Add THAT potential savings to what you save on day to day expenses with a LEAF and the LEAF looks like a bases loaded HOME RUN- if you are a typical suburbanite with two or more cars in the household.

      • Glenn Stehle says:

        Javier says:

        The more renewables you add, the more expensive your electric energy becomes. This experiment has already been done, so why people insist on the opposite?

        Denial? Wishful thinking? Procrastination? Avoidance? Mental laziness? Projection? Scapegoating? Rationalization? Compartmentalized thinking?

        When people encounter demands to change their views of the world, they will sometimes go to great lengths to hold onto their old outlooks even if in the process, they distort reality.

        No one has said it better than Elizabeth Kolbert in her review of Naomi Klein’s latest book:

        To draw on Klein paraphrasing Al Gore, here’s my inconvenient truth: when you tell people what it would actually take to radically reduce carbon emissions, they turn away. They don’t want to give up air travel or air conditioning or HDTV or trips to the mall or the family car or the myriad other things that go along with consuming 5,000 or 8,000 or 12,000 watts. All the major environmental groups know this, which is why they maintain, contrary to the requirements of a 2,000-watt society, that climate change can be tackled with minimal disruption to “the American way of life.” And Klein, you have to assume, knows it too. The irony of her book is that she ends up exactly where the “warmists” do, telling a fable she hopes will do some good.

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/dec/04/can-climate-change-cure-capitalism/

        • Nick G says:

          There is a faction of the right wing that is aggressively selling the idea that dealing with climate change requires drastic changes to our lives. They claim that environmentalists are using climate change as subterfuge to install socialism.

          I believe I read that Naomi Klein attended one of these meetings of the heartland Institute (or somesuch), and believed them! Since then she’s been repeating this idea that dealing with climate change requires dramatic changes to our economic structure. This is a terrible mistake.

          The fact is that EV’s can eliminate transportation CO2 omissions almost completely. Renewables can replace coal and natural gas, and do it as cheaply.

          Don’t believe the propaganda…

          • ezrydermike says:

            you are way off here.

            dealing with peak fossil fuels and climate change mitigation is going to require huge changes including the current model of capitalism.

            She might be making a mistake and telling people things they don’t want to hear, but that is a different kind of mistake, one similar to Prez Carter.

            • Nick G says:

              dealing with peak fossil fuels and climate change mitigation is going to require huge changes including the current model of capitalism.

              I disagree. Fuel taxes already exist, and increasing them wouldn’t require any significant changes to anything, let alone the current “model of capitalism”. Yet, think what a $5 per gallon tax (rebated back to taxpayers, to make it revenue neutral) would do to fuel consumption – it would reduce it sharply. Not enough? Make it $10 – that would reduce fuel consumption very, very quickly.

              The same logic applies to carbon taxes in general.

              She might be making a mistake and telling people things they don’t want to hear

              Again, my understanding is that she got this idea from right wing strategists. She’s not “making a mistake”, she’s been fooled into taking in a “Trojan horse”!

              • ezrydermike says:

                I’ll make a deal with you Nick. You read the book and I’ll re read it.

                a review

                http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/22/this-changes-everything-review-naomi-klein-john-gray

                • Nick G says:

                  Well, I’ll try.

                  I agree with her that environmental concerns require dramatic change. I also agree that change is being prevented by a small minority.

                  But, the review you provide makes it clear that she hasn’t really thought through this idea that capitalism must be eliminated to fix this problem.

                  Instead, I’d identify the small minority not as “capitalists” but as “fossil fuel owners and workers”.

                  There’s no question that dealing with Climate Change means wreaking havoc with the fossil fuel industries. It’s not surprising that they’re fighting back desperately, buying politicians and spreading misinformation.

          • old farmer mac says:

            ”Don’t believe the propaganda…”

            AND DON’T mistake celebrity status for brains.

            UNDERSTANDING requires the ABILITY TO THINK- which in turn requires the mastery of as many FACTS as opposed to OPINIONS as possible. The ability to distinguish fact – stated or avoided- from opinion is absolutely essential to understanding.

            A transition to renewables IS technically possible. IF we manage it , we will experience considerable pain and deprivation in the process. But if we DON’T , well then ….We will experience many times more pain and deprivation.

            We can keep the lights on and the water and sewer working and food in the fridge using only a rather minor fraction of the total amount of oil in particular and energy in genereal we use TODAY.

            IF we get our asses in gear, we can STRETCH the remaining endowment of oil and other non renewable resources out for at least a few extra decades- time enough to change our energy wasting ways and better perfect and build out renewables and storage of intermittent renewable energy.

            If you care about your kids and grandkids, pray for a series of Pearl Harbor wake up bricks upside our collective head.

            Without these bricks the difficulty of managing a successful transition to renewables on the grand scale will be multiplied by a factor of five or ten. A big enough head start enables even an old fat guy to beat an athlete to the finish line.

            The people who are telling us renewables can’t work are the ones truly in denial and guilty of AVOIDING the FACT that fossil fuels deplete.

            UNDERSTANDING THIS FACT in turn enables us to UNDERSTAND that the renewables naysayers HAVE NO ANSWERS, excepting nukes, except to give up most aspects of modern life and go back to a preindustrial economy.

            I do not KNOW with absolute certainty that we CAN’T build enough nukes to support business as usual.

            I am however EXTREMELY confident that we WON’T build that many.

            The political deck is stacked against it happening and they are too expensive and too slow going up to build very many of them quickly.

            A small wind or solar farm is easily permitted and can be built from scratch within two years .You don’t get the base load steady juice but neither do you need billions of dollars in long term financing and have to wait eight to ten years for first production . A few million will do the trick and you can have hot wires within twenty four months. .

            • islandboy says:

              Actually there’s no technical reason you can’t connect each inverter to the grid as soon as it’s installed. So, if you were building a utility scale solar PV plant using blocks of arrays connected to 100 kW inverters and you installed the requisite wiring before building the arrays, you could theoretically start connecting to the grid with as little as 100 kW and continue in increments of 100 kW. Not many other power sources can be built like that.

              • wimbi says:

                That’s just what I did- connected to grid in 1kW increments, so power company just saw my bill go down a little each month, until it got near zero. Then I decided to come out of the closet and made a formal deal with them to buy back my surplus at very small cost to them.

                After that, I went to a much bigger array which copiously filled all my uses, and in sunny periods, pumped quite a bit of near-free power to the grid.

                Now I am playing around with a storage system which in essence provides solar-compressed air and biomass-derived fuel gas to a small gas turbine-alternator based on a turbocharger.

                This thing has lousy turnaround efficiency but uses free inputs to put out plenty of make-up power when no sun- a real cheap displacement of battery storage.

                I guess there are probably around 100 million people in USA who could easily fund the same if they just reallocated funds they now expend on goofing around to no particular purpose or benefit.

                • Boomer II says:

                  I guess there are probably around 100 million people in USA who could easily fund the same if they just reallocated funds they now expend on goofing around to no particular purpose or benefit.

                  And that’s part of the psychology of the Tesla. Many of us piss away money everyday, even on stuff like Starbuck’s.

                  So if we begin to shift what we decide we get a psychological lift from, we may devote some of that piss-away money to something that makes us feel cool but actually gives us some long-range benefit.

                  By selling a Tesla as an ego boost, Musk gets people moving away from one kind of gratification to another. Just as teens have moved from Nikes to electronics, richer people may move from one status symbol to another.

                  And just as mobile phones went from a niche item to a mass market item, EVs may do the same in time.

                  And we’ve got people in retirement communities who have tricked out golf carts, so they are moving in the EV direction, too.

    • cytochrome C says:

      Nick–
      You are confusing money with energy.
      The cost is not a reflection of EROEI.

      But I find myself using more PV– especially in off the grid rural and wilderness locations.
      And it is a good thing to do with oil, even if the energy return is a bit low (maybe negative, if all externalities are counted).

      • Nick G says:

        Well, sure, financial costs are in general not a substitute for a good net energy analysis. I wasn’t saying that..

        But, a reduction in cost of 100x surely tells us that the PV panels of today are produced very differently from those of 25 years ago, right?

  25. SRSrocco says:

    Nick,

    Renewables chain’t renewable without oil, natural gas and coal. With the price of oil at $38, and probably heading lower, this should do wonders to the Shale Oil Industry… not to mention the Majors.

    The Falling EROI is death upon our system and bringing on renewables won’t solve the problem which is a “Liquid Energy Run System.”

    Even though there many smart people in here, quite a few are saying some pretty stupid things.

    steve

    • Nick G says:

      Hmmm. Liquid run?

      Well, at the moment. But what you’re really worried about is freight, right? You do realize that freight (trucks, water shipping) can double it’s fuel efficiency just by reducing it’s speed, right? (Slowing down can be done overnight, and that cut in fuel consumption can get freight shipping through a temporary transition away from oil.)

      That rail uses about 1/3 as much fuel as trucks?

      That rail can be electrified?

  26. WeekendPeak says:

    I ran across this link +pdf on the size of wind farms vs amount of energy which can be harvested.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/08/18/1408251112.abstract
    and download the pdf.

    If I read it correctly in large wind farm the wind speed at the back of the farm is considerably less (42%) than on the windy side, putting a real limit on how the extraction rate. in a way the wind turbines in the front capture the energy first and there simply is less left for the ones in the back to extract.
    rgds
    WP

    • Nick G says:

      The abstract suggests a limit of about 1 watt per sq meter, if I read it correctly.

      Iowa has about 145B sq meters. That suggests about 145 gigawatts of generation (that’s average, not peak, AFAICT).

      145GW is about 1/3 of US power consumption. That’s not too bad, just from Iowa.

      • WeekendPeak says:

        That’s how I read it too. I ran across the article in a paper which talked about how large scale windfarms are generating less than expected–> most energy is captured in the front, and that prior models didn’t account for this accurately.
        I wonder how, over time, this model will hold up vs actual performance.
        rgds
        WP

  27. shallow sand says:

    Ernst & Young put out an 8 page presentation regarding North American unconventional oil in June, 2014, just 14 months ago.

    I suggest anyone who is interested in just how bad economics are for all North American land based oil and gas production should read it.

    Keep in mind, this is not a publication by an axe grinding type, but by an major accounting firm who likely counts many US public oil companies among their clients.

    There is absolutely no way that costs have come down so much from what Ernst & Young describes in the 8 page report that what is going on today is anything but a catastrophe of epic proportions for the entire US oil industry, but specifically with regard to debt laden shale companies.

    The numbers in the short report align with what I find after reviewing company SEC reports.

    Would appreciate a link.

        • shallow sand says:

          Yes. Thanks to both of you for the link.

          Notice the treadmill language used at a time oil was at $100 WTI.

          Look at the financial metrics used to describe the dreaded “break even”.

          No way the US Industry is able to become “efficient” enough to overcome what is now realized unhedged prices of $10-25 per BOE when $65-100+ is needed.

          I will use an analogy. It costs coca cola 90 cents to make a 20 liter bottle. That is all of the cost. They then find they can only sell a bottle for 25 cents at most. If they put all employees on minimum wage no benefits and force their suppliers and service providers to work at $0.00 profit they can only get the cost for that 20 liter bottle down to 55 cents. That is where the US oil and gas industry is.

          Add in that most of the US shale industry was loaded with unsustainable debt at $100 WTI.

          If the banks and bond issuers/rating agencies follow their guidelines, almost all funds will be cut off and almost all US publicly traded oil and gas companies will be forced into BK by year end, absent an oil price spike.

          Watcher says there will be a bailout. A bailout will only punish the strong at the expense of the weak that are well past the point of saving. The industry is the least popular, I do not see a bailout. The banks were able to off load about all the debt on bondholders and stock holders this spring. The banks are not looking at losing a whole lot, so no bailout is necessary.

          As soon as enough companies die, US oil production will go into free fall. Hard to say what happens then.

          • Mike says:

            Agreed, there will be no “bailout.” In the hearts and minds of most Americans the oil and gas industry is loathed, on many fronts. On POB today they were coming over the walls in full frontal attack. It would be instant political death to throw the LTO industry a rope now. It needs a complete makeover anyway.

            Mearns seems to think reserve re-evaluations end of 3rd quarter will be significant and Russia and the KSA may capitulate.

            http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/OPECs-900-Billion-Mistake.html

            Mike

          • Amatoori says:

            The system of this shale explosion/deplotion or how you look at it is fascinating. American banks lending money to a companies with shady business models or at least some awkward financing. Other US banks/hedge funds (maybe the same ones) shorting the shit out of the companies and the oil resources they are trying to explore. When the bankruptcy is a fact the lenders will sell the assets to another oil company probably at a big discount. And probably financed with another loan.

            I’m not in the industry just a very interested investor in the energy market but the system here is so amazing it’s hard to believe it’s even called a market. API -7.3. Lets see how the market reacts to this or find reasons and headlines to push it down in the gutter even more. Thanks all that contribute to a more valuable insight to what is happening.

            • Mike says:

              It is fascinating, isn’t it? Very much so. I agree with you very much.
              Someday, a long time from now, somebody will have sorted it all out and will have written a book about it. Nobody will read it, unless it is on virtual head cams with I-2P inserts, in penetrating 4D, 3X speed, and they are riding in their auto-drive EV’s to and from the food bank to pick up their green stuff for the week.

              Mike

  28. ezrydermike says:

    a bit dated, 5 yrs old, and very British, but a very useful source of info wrt the renewable discussion. Free on line. I bought a paperback copy a few yrs ago.

    http://www.withouthotair.com/

  29. Ronald Walter says:

    http://m.drinksmixer.com/drink7459.html

    Recipe for a Suffering Bastard, just in case you need a drink.

  30. Watcher says:

    39.xx after the rally was attacked by HFT volume. Big volume last hour. The GS buyback desk may have had the audacity to wait for lower prices.

    I’m a little disappointed in the oil guys. They should be running up a LOT more debt. The last thing you want to be in this environment is timid. If you borrow a bunch and don’t get bailed out and 39 is the number as far as the Russian eye can see, quite a lot of plans for vacation homes are gonna get shelved by executives, to say nothing of an apartment upgrade for their mistresses. Or an outright mistress upgrade.

    They can avoid this by ramping debt MUCH higher. Systemic is the word and the goal. Become a systemic risk. The morning the backstop flows, their stock options will spike.

    • Heinrich Leopold says:

      Watcher,

      In the current environment oil and gas companies simply cannot get debt. Also the banks who finance them have trouble to access the market. Take CMA (Coamerica) which is a major financier to oil and gas companies. The stock is down precipituosly and they have to take care of themselves rather than to give loans to shaky companies.

  31. HR says:

    Heh
    Glad to see that there are a couple of oil guys left in here. Aren’t there some websites where the environmental types can carry on about all the green stuff that run on unicorn farts?
    Anyway, I spoke with the operations manager of a Wyoming outfit today. I just happened to run into him. He painted a dire scenario. Everybody getting laid off, they’re not drilling any new wells just fracking all the previously drilled wells etc. He’s quitting in September and hanging it up. Going back to Arizona.
    I’m not in the fracking side of the house and I don’t know enough about it. Any of you guys know what’s going on in Wyoming? Is it possible that a lot of these guys aren’t drilling new wells at all and just going after what they still can?
    Cheers and keep the faith, it will get better.

    • ezrydermike says:

      minor quibble…

      “And on another subject. The following is Chapter 4 of Tumbling Tide, Amazon.com link below. I thought it interesting as it differs considerably from the opinions of some of the posters on this list. I hope we can get some comments on the probability of alternative energy replacing fossil fuels. “

    • Mike says:

      It was like the Alamo today, man. Some wank said fossil fuels kill.

      Seems to me no fossil fuels are going to kill a lot more people.

      No se in Wyoming; EnCana and COP have been humping away in something called Montenera Field, I don’t know what its called, in Fremont County, out near Lysite.

      Here is what I think: eight years ago a lot of old farts with lots of drilling and completion experience came out of retirement, or quit their real estate jobs, and were lured into the shale business by 2500 dollar per day consulting fees with unlimited expenses. These were guys in their mid 50’s even mid 60’s that were tired of the ups and downs of the business and tired of getting laid off for this reason or that. But the money was too good and they came back. They made the shale industry work; they knew how to drill wells, frac wells, they were the ones that got all the real work done. These kids now days coming out of PE school don’t know which end of 36 to grab. Now those old bastards like me, that can get stuff done, they’re getting laid off again and they won’t be back. They are 10 years older, socked all that money away because they’d seen the cycle before, now they are done, at any price.

      The shale industry thinks it can ramp back up in a few months; I don’t think so. Not the iron and definitely not the know how.

      Mike

      • HR says:

        Oh yeah, I’m feeling the aches and pains myself. I have one of those used to be supermodel wives that sits on my back every night though. It keeps me going. That and aleve.

        We have to hang tough man. Remember, it’s our hard work that pays the taxes so all this “green” energy can be subsidized or given tax credits. Without our dollars they would fold like a coward on the battlefield.

        And if you have the chance, please tell Wall Street to kiss my ass.
        Cheers/HR

      • shallow sand says:

        Mike. Heck of a good point regarding workforce. We have none under forty. Most over fifty. We have tried young guys without success. That is work in field operations, not overly technical.

        What is even more shocking is farmer age. Closing in on 60 average. Barriers to entry are so high only next generation realistically can get in.

        The city dwellers seem to think stuff like food and fuel just appears.

        I am absolutely blown away that the impending collapse of the US oil industry is not getting more attention and/or the severity is being underplayed. MLP’s which operate a ton of USA’s conventional are on death’s door. Conventional natural gas is largely underwater on an operating basis. I bet a large number of 2004-2011 shale oil and gas are likewise under water on an operating basis. Finally, they are up to their eyeballs in debt.

        Man, what a bummer, yet I can see this sucker heading to the 20s WTI short term. It’s a full court press till 12/4 I think.

        • Mike says:

          Yes, Shallow; you are right. People are generally very stupid of where oil comes from and how it became their entitlement.

          And you are absolutely correct, the oil industry will muddle thru it’s problems with inexperience, not the agricultural business. Farming, something dear to my heart, is essentially a lost art form. Somebody today somewhere said something about how farmers don’t have to pay a fair price for water. It was a stupid statement, as though food prices are not high enough already.

          It is very clear to me that all this high idealism about the world we should live in is being made by city folks, by urbanites, who think because they can take a train to work, or not have a car, or can stick a solar panel on their roof and heat their water, so goes the rest of America. I think it is the rest of America that gives these folks the privilege of high idealism.

          Mike

          • You hands on guys need not worry about low oil prices for more than another year or two. The ones of you who have managed your money wisely will pull thru at the personal level ok. I feel for your employees though. We have had two back to back years on the farm where we lost our shirts both years twice but we never owed so much we couldn’t go to town and work it out and survive. That meant forty or so on the farm and another forty in a factory. The factories are gone now so that wouldn’t work anymore.

            You will NEVER hear me talking about oil being unnecessary or evil although I do mention it being nasty and expensive occasionally.

            Twenty gallons of diesel fuel , one smallish tractor and one man gets as much work done on a farm as a dozen horses and six men can do in a day. If that is not a world class bargain I never heard of one -and let’s not forget that when you put that tractor back in the barn – if you even have a barn for it- you don’t have to feed it again until you take it out again.If you need it you can turn on the headlights and run it all night and all the next day too- and the next week after that but then you will need to shut her down for an hour for routine maintenance. LOL

            If there had never been any oil we wouldn’t miss it.We would have a viable coal based economy but it would not likely compare to what we have with oil.

            There is a zero chance oil will go away before anybody in it with gray and white hair retires due to his age.

            But starting sometime within the easily future, there will probably be fewer people in the industry year after year.If the average age of hands on people in oil is as high as you guys say, I guess I ought to retract my argument that tight oil can come back in a big hurry once the price goes up again.

            The age of farmers is not that big a deal because working farmers are already hiring most of the actual work done.If I were a midwestern grain farmer I could easily SUPERVISE the help needed to grow a couple of thousand acres of grain from a wheelchair in an hour or two a day, a month or two out of the year. Learning to OPERATE the machinery doesn’t take very long at all compared to the time it takes to learn other trades.

            Some people will raise hell about all the other things a farmer must do such as plan and buy and sell and keep books etc etc. But all these things are skull work rather than hands on work and when management skills are in short supply , the market takes over. Prices go up and then mistakes and bad moves are offset by the higher prices.

            The newer equipment is mostly so expensive and so complicated that REPAIRS require a dealer and an electronic technician ANYWAY.Tearing into an old machine built back when they were simpler and they were built the same way year after year is one thing. Tearing into a new one that not even the dealer mechanics are REALLY familiar with is another story altogether.

            Just about any nincompoop can learn routine maintenance procedures in a few weeks.

            • MarbleZeppelin says:

              Old Farmers Ode to the tractor:
              “Twenty gallons of diesel fuel , one smallish tractor and one man gets as much work done on a farm as a dozen horses and six men can do in a day. If that is not a world class bargain I never heard of one -and let’s not forget that when you put that tractor back in the barn – if you even have a barn for it- you don’t have to feed it again until you take it out again.If you need it you can turn on the headlights and run it all night and all the next day too- and the next week after that but then you will need to shut her down for an hour for routine maintenance. LOL”

              Almost makes me all misty thinking about that good ole tractor, there to serve us day after day with little trouble.
              Until we realize they don’t make themselves and it took a giant industrial base to mine, transport, refine and build the thing, as well as the fuel it uses. Basically the world had to be screwed and polluted to produce those amazing labor saving devices. All so we could produce more food so we could face overshoot. Thanks tractors, thanks industrial world.

              Just trying to add some realism to the poetic idealistic picture of industrial wonders. I like trains better than tractors anyway.

              • Nick G says:

                y the world had to be screwed and polluted to produce those amazing labor saving devices.

                The tractors of the time could have been electric, or run on ethanol. Electric wouldn’t work so well for seasonal combines, but that’s not really what we’re talking about here.

                The Model T was designed to run on ethanol. Heck, the license plates were often made from soybeans!

              • You would think more highly of tractors if you had ever experienced life on a farm using draft animals and spending your days at hard hand labor.

                I EXPERIENCED the very tail end of the American hand and draft animal farm labor era due to my grand parents simply refusing to just give up the old ways altogether.

                I KNOW how to plow a mule and what it is LIKE to hoe corn from daylight to dark under the southern sun in a river bottom on a day it is ninety plus in the deep shade.

                But they started buying tractors etc back in the thirties and so MOST of the work got done with tractors. The mules and hoes were kept around and in use for old times sake mostly. I still have the plows and hand tools, most of them, in storage. When I look at them I just about cry for the sense of loss of those fine old people while marveling at how tough they were and how hard they worked.

                Incidentally food was a MUCH larger part of the budget back in those days.

                I could operate a tractor before I was physically big enough to manage a mule drawn plow.

                • MarbleZeppelin says:

                  I know how hard it is just to care for horses let alone use them to work. My dad cut ice and laid rail for a living. He was massively strong. Could pick a regular sized guy up in the air with one arm.
                  Not knocking tractors, just giving perspective as to what had to happen in the world just to get a diesel or gasoline driven tractor built. They may seem like simple technology now, but it took a massive industrial base to build them.

          • old farmer mac says:

            Hi Mike , SS,

            I am with you guys all the way when it comes to the idiocy of the folks preening their moralistic feathers at the expense of oil and oil workers. I doubt even one out of then thousand of them would actually want to move even to a tropical island paradise and live without the things oil makes possible.

            It is obvious however that eventually we are going to have to get along with VERY LITTLE oil compared to today simply because it DOES deplete but you guys will be long dead before we run REALLY short- unless the shortage is brought on by a war or political mismanagement.

            Now about farmers and water -I could very easily cry the blues about farmers getting irrigation water for free because I DON’T get any of it myself – never have and NEVER will. The ones who do get it because at one point or another they cut political deals that give it to them. ( I am talking about water moved from place to place by canal and pipelines and stored in reservoirs or taken from free running rivers etc as opposed to ground water under the land a farmer owns or rents just to be clear)

            That goddamned free water has hurt small operators such as yours truly in OTHER communities just as bad as tight oil has hurt YOU.

            The only REAL difference is that it happened gradually and a long time ago. We had no way to complain and no audience to complain TO.

            I don’t give a rats ass about California dry land farmers. Just about every last one of them is a millionaire many times over. If the drought puts them all in bankruptcy court you can bet your last grease gun that every last one of them will have sheltered a few million in assets outside the reach of the courts.

            And local guys around here will be able to get a decent price again for veggies. Too late for me , I’m out to pasture now.

            If the guys getting this water had to pay anything LIKE what it costs in total to make it available to them they would use it FAR more efficiently.A good HALF of it is wasted simply because it IS either free or almost free.

            The LAW is on the side of big agriculture when it comes to irrigation and big ag has PLENTY of money for the very biggest and best connected lawyers, not to mention owning a bunch of key congress critters.

            BUT the people in places such as California outnumber the big farmers by a many millions to one and eventually they WILL get the water – as much of it as they want.

            Hey – that FREE or nearly free government supplied irrigation water is a VERY real part of what makes it possible for big ag to cut into the market for gasoline here in the USA by about seven percent or so via the MOONSHINE INDUSTRY.

            A lot of corn is irrigated. More corn means more moonshine.

            So – government supplied free water is saving you a couple of bucks a week on groceries but it is costing you a hell of a lot more than that it terms of selling YOUR product.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Mike,

        Along the lines of your idea (which is likely correct in my view) that the ramp up (after the ramp down which will be apparent by Dec 2015) will be relatively slow, I created another scenario with a slower ramp up from 80 new wells per month (in the Bakken Three Forks)in Feb 2016 with an increase of 2 wells per month (arbitrarily chosen number) so starting with February 2016 the new wells added each month are 80, 82, 84, … , 126, 128, 130, … , 130 with new wells per month at 130/month until 32,000 total wells are drilled or the wells are no longer profitable.

        The annual discount rate was reduced to 13% from 18% in previous scenarios, OPEX rises by 10% per year (in constant dollars) from $6/b when well starts producing to $25/b at the end of the wells life at 15 b/d in year 15. Oil prices rise from $72/b in Jan 2016 to $119/b in Oct 2020 (11%/year increase) and remain at $119/b until Sept 2042 (when output stops), the last well is completed in Sept 2027 (about 28,000 total wells drilled). URR is about 7 Gb, a little higher than David Hughes estimate, which is about 6 Gb for the ND Bakken/Three Forks.

    • Bob Nickson says:

      To be fair HR, Ron did introduce the renewable energy topic today with his excerpt on alternate energy by Peter Goodchild. Isn’t that a direct invitation to discuss it?

      • HR says:

        Yes, I’ll go for that. But the green thing is by far the dominant topic throughout all the remarks on every different thread and it bores me to tears. All of the green energy is given tax credits so they can sell it or direct taxpayer dollars so they they build it.
        It’s a joke.
        I actually like all of the green energy ideas but these guys put it out there as if it’s flawless and wonderful. It’s neither.
        I had the solar companies come out to my house and give me quotes. Forty thousand dollars. Forty thousand dollars for a system that would allow me the privilege on not paying for electricity during the DAYTIME from my local electricity monopoly. I still have to pay out the ass from this monopoly at night. I live in the desert. It’s hot.
        Their selling point was that I would get a tax credit of 10,12, or 15 thousand dollars. I can’t remember the number. If this is all so fabulous, why do they need this tax credit? Some years I make mountains of money and some years I don’t make squat. So the tax credit wouldn’t help me in years when I’m not gonna make any money and ten or twelve thousand bucks ain’t much on big years.
        Bottom line, the technology should be able to sell itself. And it doesn’t. An eighteen percent efficiency sucks frankly. Not to mention the fact that I have to put those ugly ass panels all over my fancy expensive roof. Plus I’m supposed to clean the damn things as well or their effectiveness gets worse.
        Furthermore, these solar idiots would have gotten a lot farther with me if they would’ve reframed their argument away from the tax credit and told me that if I gave them forty thousand dollars, I would get a ten percent annual return on my investment. Five hundred dollar a month bill, forty k, which makes a lot more sense to me than a tax credit cooked up from some unholy allowance between lobbyists and the Obama regime. Can you say solyndra? I’ll give you a hundred mil for your campaign and you give back four hundred mil of taxpayer dollars to run my company. Kiss my ass.
        And the last time I checked, I don’t see tax credits or tax payer dollars being thrown at conventional oil guys. Oh hell no.
        It’s a joke man.

        • Boomer II says:

          The trend now is to lease solar panels. They install them and you just pay approximately what you are paying to your local utility, but your rates won’t go up.

          • HR says:

            Yeah that’s a joke too. They use a scare tactic that the electric monopolies are going to massively raise rates in the future and you can get around all that with this lease from your friends at KKR or Blackrock. I highly recommend that you read the fine print on that lease.
            It’s a joke. I will probably build a solar system for my house myself. Only because I detest the local monopoly so much. I will engineer and build the system myself for eight or nine thousand bucks and hire an electrician to hook it up. But it ain’t going on my roof, which by the way is the only place the solar companies will put a system.
            Lockheed is going to come through on cold fusion in ten to twenty years. That’s the answer. Until then I’m going to ride the next cycle and escape to the Bahamas. They don’t have a massive welfare state in the Bahamas. People know how to fish.
            Cheers

            • Jimmy says:

              Lol cold fusion. Cry me a river. Since when did conventional oil need tax credits or taxpayer dollars. They’re some of the wealthiest corporations in all history. That tale of woe is some of the richest bullshit I’ve read in a while. Enjoy the Bahamas. No welfare state there. Not too big on hospitals and services for old folks either.

        • SW says:

          Solyndra was a loan to a company that went bankrupt. It was a project that began under the Bush administration. Back then, during the “Solar America Initiative’ the National Labs were commanded to assist venture capitalists and business enterprises in exploiting the technology. It is practically a Republican form of theology. After Obama came in and the economy crashed, those existing channels were used as part of the stimulus effort to get money out into the economy. Projects that were for the most part already in the pipeline. I think the concept of stimulating the economy overshadowed a thoughtful analysis of what was in retrospect a pretty stupid project. The over-all record for that program was good, better than most venture capitalist outfits and I believe actually turned a profit.

          • islandboy says:

            You wanna hear a strange story? I attended my first Intersolar trade show in San Francisco in the summer of 2011, after somebody at a solar PV installation training course I attended the year before, told me that it was the best trade show to visit for solar related stuff. Solyndra had a display at the show and one thing I remember quite vividly is this island boy, looking at the technology on display and thinking to himself,”what an insanely dumb idea”! The core of their technology was to take the cells and form them into tubes, the idea being that they would then be able to harness sunlight coming from all directions, including light that went through the spaces between the tubes and was reflected off the surface behind them (the roof). Wikipedia hints at why it’s such a dumb idea:

            The company claimed the cells themselves convert 12 to 14 percent of sunlight into electricity, an efficiency better than competing CIGS thin-film technologies.[8] However, these efficiencies are for the cells laid flat.[11] The company did not post any numbers about performance when the cells are rolled up. The Solyndra 100/200 spec sheet doesn’t mention the cells or the panel efficiencies directly. However, calculating from the data provided shows the high-end 210 panel has a field efficiency of about 8.5%.[12]

            Of course, the efficiency of the tubes relative to a flat surface would be lower. Solar cells function best in direct sunlight with maximum production occurring when the source of light is perpendicular to the cells. The whole aim of a good solar PV installation is to maximize production at a particular time of the day or the year, depending on the needs of the user or to maximize annual yield. Forming the cells into tubes achieves neither

            At any rate, from PV Magazine: Solyndra misled government to secure $535m loan guarantee, investigation finds.

            A four-year investigation into defunct solar firm Solyndra – a former CIGS and thin film manufacturer that went bankrupt in August 2011 – has concluded this week that the company misled the government in order to secure $535 million in loan guarantees.

            Had I been in charge of approving loans and anybody came before me with Solyndra’s dumb idea, I would have dismissed them forthwith. Anybody notice how nobody has decided to take the technique and run with it?

        • Don Wharton says:

          HR The American solar industry has major problems. The main one is that the soft costs mean that an American rooftop solar installation is almost exactly twice what the same system would cost in Germany. Much of the difference is paying the sales staff which might close only one deal in six. Some of the difference is in permitting which is done in an hour over the web in Germany. Oh, and a good bit of the difference is that American crews don’t organize to get the job done in one day and perhaps they need to run back to the warehouse to get the gear that they forgot to bring. I kid you not. There are formal studies that list exactly that.

          The SunShot Initiative wants us to be able to buy a plug and play system that can be self installed cheaply:
          http://energy.gov/eere/success-stories/articles/plug-and-play-purchase-install-and-connect-residential-solar-power

          They want the costs to be down around $1.50 per peak watt. That would be quite cost effective. Of course, it would be great if there is universal net metering so that the grid can be a virtual battery. Your report saying that you would have to pay grid prices at night implies that you don’t have net metering. If you had net metering you would accumulate credits for your excess production during the day and consume those credits at night.

        • Don Wharton says:

          This is a video showing how a plug and play system is actually installed in 75 minutes:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-mLEfAZ8Ho

          • MarbleZeppelin says:

            Grounding?

            • Fred Magyar says:

              I’m going to guess the grounding is part of the wiring.
              Though I do love the online connection process!!!

              When worked with solar in Florida a few years back this 75 minute install and connection to the grid would have taken many many months of dealing with bureaucratic BS.

              We would need to do 5 different kinds of engineering and electrical plan drawings take them to five different county departments submit the drawings then get approval for the plans. The actual Installation would take a couple weeks then we would wait for the inspectors to come out to do the inspections and more often than not they weren’t even familiar with the electrical codes relating to grid tied solar and they would not approve the installation based on pure ignorance and then it would be a whole nuther process of running around to get all the details straightened out…

              I sure wasn’t like this video. This is what disruption is like!
              We all need to find ways that we can leverage today’s available technology in our own businesses.

              Oh, never mind, I forgot, Solar doesn’t work. Only oil does!
              And please send all replies via carrier pigeon!

              • Don Wharton says:

                Fred, thanks for your recounting of what is wrong with the system in Florida. A major difference between us and Germany rests in the general attitude of the population and the government. In Germany everyone knows that renewable energy is a priority and everything is done to make it work smoothly. The permitting and inspection is a major impediment for much of our country. In the experimental plug and play installation in Massachusetts, it is assumed that the on-line based verification of proper installation will complete all permitting, inspection and registration requirements.

            • Don Wharton says:

              There are no metal frames which reduces the likelihood of lightning strikes. The wires themselves are grounded.

              • MarbleZeppelin says:

                I doubt if the inspectors around here would let that one go since the whole thing is conductive.

            • Longtimber says:

              Fortunately, GROUNDED current carrying conductors on the DC Side is pretty much history on newer gear now in North America. This has been a nightmare unique to North America since often you can’t know if there is a fault or leakage. “Ungrounded” PV systems are much safer since the Controls actually alarms and takes corrective action in case of any “loose” electrons. It’s unfortuanate the proven safe method is called ungrounded but it is what it is. Newer inverters are much cheaper and lighter .. a low freq isolation transformer is not needed. There is no need for a separate DC System ground on newer PV systems … the Normal AC ground is used since there are no DC Grounded conductors. All exposed metal must have the standard EGC ” Equipment Grounding Conductor” for shock protection. An additional direct Array ground may be required in many areas to keep lighting “Outside”. Similar practice with a TV Antenna.

              • Don Wharton says:

                I am presuming that the grounding in the plug and play system does not refer to the current carrying conductors. As you say, any grounding of the current carrying conductors is not recommended. It is reasonable to presume that the cables have a shielding layer that is grounded to prevent any damage from lightning strikes.

        • MarbleZeppelin says:

          You are getting ripped, they are raising the price because there is a subsidy.
          Panels are about $1 a watt so figure it out. Add in the cost of the inverters and other equipment needed then double it. If they are charging more than double the cost, ask them why. You can always order in your own parts and get some local installer to put it up, they may give you a very good price, but don’t pay a huge amount for install fees. It’s a rip-off. The after subsidy price is about what the figure should be to start with.

          • Don Wharton says:

            I’m sorry Marble but I have to disagree. There is no plot to rip off anyone. The overall system is just that inefficient. If you want to order your own parts you had better do your research. The requirements from the local government and utility may be much different than you imagine. I am passionately unhappy with the American solar industry as it stands. In Washington DC there are people who do everything right and then see their bills increase. They get no credit for the power that they are producing. Apparently if they get the right people in the utility billing department they can get the problem fixed. However, it does suggest that there are still excessive glitches in the system. We need a basic assumption from everyone to get rid of all of these absurd problems.

            • MarbleZeppelin says:

              Nevada utilities are trying to charge anyone with solar PV on their roof. Apparently the proposed rules are 1000 pages long so no one knows what they really do or how much the charge is but it could be up to $70 a month just to be connected to the gird, but only for PV owners.
              Here we have a distribution charge to everyone and PV gets a payback on net, no extra fees for PV. The distribution charge is about 4 cents per Kwh.

              Come on Don, the whole system is that way. Cheap clothing and shoes that fall apart quickly, sold to us for 100 percent to 350 percent markup on wholesale. Buy a part for a car, often 100 percent markup, I worked in that area for a while. The manufacturers make some money and takes the responsibility. The importers, distributors and retailers get as much money or more than the people who create and make the stuff. Prices are adjusted to what people will pay.

              • Don Wharton says:

                Marble,

                You are presuming low quality product when you have no evidence that it is of low quality. Most solar modules are of quite good quality. If you read Fred’s excellent post above you would understand the radically excessive number of steps that are often required to do an install. These actions are expensive and with the current system those costs need to be recovered.

                Obviously the utilities will always want to maximize their cash flow from their customers. There is an intrinsic conflict with their customers because they can in principle provide much of their own needs. The people need to push back politically to insure that they have the right to make use of the free energy falling on their property. That battle will continue.

                On action that is highly recommended is for a community to band together and get a group purchase contract. That cuts much of the individual marketing costs out of the cost structure that must be recovered. The other actions that I would like to recommend is to insist on rapid simple permitting and inspection procedures. The very streamlined German system is an example that needs to be emulated.

    • Watcher says:

      Aren’t there some websites where the environmental types can carry on about all the green stuff

      I imagine those sites all have posts about drilling and proppant. That’s why somehow they thought an oil site was where they should be.

      • Don Wharton says:

        The “green stuff” will eventually get so cheep that it will destroy the demand for fossil fuels. The majority of new electrical energy production in the US over the last year has been from renewable sources. That market dynamic should be relevant to everyone who makes their living from fossil fuels or has any concern about how we deal with peak oil.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Yep, someone moved the cheese and it’s time to change and get on with looking for new cheese…

          https://goo.gl/fhUSUp

          Note: Hem, reminds me a lot of a certain type of person…

          • MarbleZeppelin says:

            Darn mice, so that is where my cheese went.

            How long will it take the geniuses to see the handwriting on the wall and realize that most of oil is totally substitutable by “green stuff”?

            • Watcher says:

              Maybe you should persuade China of this.

              First.

              • Don Wharton says:

                China is installing more solar energy than any other country. They have the best sources of inexpensive technology and massive energy needs. They also have a gargantuan pollution problem which is at least partially improved with renewable energy. The implicit savings in the medical bills in terms of reducing harm to people’s lungs make it very worthwhile. They have received the message about renewable energy.

  32. ezrydermike says:

    U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) routinely estimates the technical
    potential of specific renewable electricity generation technologies. These are technology-
    specific estimates of energy generation potential based on renewable resource availability
    and quality, technical system performance, topographic limitations, environmental, and
    land-use constraints only. The estimates do not consider (in most cases) economic or
    market constraints, and therefore do not represent a level of renewable generation that
    might actually be deployed.

    http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/51946.pdf

  33. Harquebus says:

    SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
    Answer: Population reduction and control is the only solution and one way or another, it is going to happen.

    • ChiefEngineer says:

      Human Reproduction (Excess Labor), we’re hardwired for it!

      There’s things that you guess
      And things that you know
      There’s boys that you can trust
      And girls that you don’t
      There’s little things you hide
      And little things that you show
      Sometimes you think you’re gonna get it
      But you don’t and that’s just the way it goes

      I swear I won’t tease you
      Won’t tell you no lies
      I don’t need no bible
      Just look in my eyes
      I’ve waited so long baby
      Now that we’re friends
      Every man’s got his patience
      And here’s where mine ends

      I want your sex
      I want you
      I want your…..sex

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vldh7oQD-a4

      The Root of the Problem

      • Sometimes it takes a little more than a passing acquaintance with the workings of evolution to understand the nuances.

        Evolution does not provide ” brakes” where none have ever been needed.

        We have generally always been at high risk of starvation so we are programmed to eat like pigs when we can. Obesity has never been much of a risk to the reproductive health of a human and even today is not much of a risk to our reproductive health. Obesity maims and kills mostly in the later years.

        So- there is NO REASON to expect us to EVOLVE different eating habits, meaning to eat less and stay trim, given that eating more and getting fat saved us in the past and is NOT preventing us from reproducing today. Fat guys and fat girls have babies just like skinny ones, with hardly any more problems.

        Now IF obesity were to start killing us while we are still at reproductive age, THEN there would be reason to believe that natural selection would start weeding out obese individuals, removing them from the gene pool.

        Sex is partly analogous, partly different. The drive to screw is there not because it is intensely pleasurable ( hopefully ! for both ) but because it leads to kids being born.

        Throughout our history, up until very recently, we lost lots of kids to malnutrition, diseases of many sorts, exposure, violence etc etc. So evolution, blind and impartial, “solves” this problem by programing us to have lots of kids.

        Wanting to get laid is NOT the same thing as WANTING to have more kids.Getting laid USED to result in lots of kids. Evolution arranged things that way.

        Nowadays we have BIRTH CONTROL. FEWER kids mean even more opportunity to screw our hearts out. Getting one or two fed and bathed and in bed or out of the way for a few minutes leaves you rested and in the mood compared to dealing with a house full.

        So long as birth control devices and medicines are more or less affordable and universally available I for one am not much worried about the lifetime average fertility of women going back up again.

        We can screw ourselves silly using RELIABLE birth control that costs many times less than food for just one kid. Three cheers for TECHNOLOGY and the Wonderful Wonderful Market and the ( sort of ) Invincible Invisible Hand!!!!!!!!!!

        I wish I was young enough again!!!!!!!!!!!

        When I came along the girls were MUCH more conservative about casual sex than in recent times. Nowadays they are liberated from the worries of unwanted pregnancies and generally don’t give a damn about the world knowing they have a sex life married or not.

        Barring a take over by a Neanderthal like caste of priests women will never again go back to being baby factories first and foremost imo.

        But getting over the demograhic hump is going to be a literal KILLER of a job.

        OVERSHOOT is going to result in the deaths of a few billion of us.

        SOME of us might and imo probably will pull thru the overshoot bottleneck more or less whole.

        MOST of us WILL NOT.

        • ChiefEngineer says:

          Humans are bumping up against the limits of the planet. We have the tools in our box to navigate overshoot with minimal harsh consequences. We need to stop praying to the gods and take responsibility.

          “I wish I was young enough again!!!!!!!!!!!”

          Here you go Mac, Heather should take 40 years off you DOB for a few minutes and it’s legal:

          https://www.anniesdollhouse.com/meet-heather.html

          Remember:

          There’s little things you hide
          And little things that you show
          Sometimes you think you’re gonna get it
          But you don’t and that’s just the way it goes

          • Chief when I was young I set up house keeping with five different hot blossoms and married two of them. Oh for the good old days!!!

            “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”

            I don’t need no stinking doll, lol.

            I WOULD like to be young enough again that I could set up housekeeping with number six. 😉

            • MarbleZeppelin says:

              Here you go old farmer.
              http://www.farmersonly.com/?src=adwords&campaign=farmer|farmers%20match&gclid=CJ6c-K6gyccCFYIXHwodxJwIeA

              • old farmer mac says:

                DON’T need no stinking website either. Was just over to the nearby community college and hot young blossoms were ALL OVER the place.

                A lot of them SMILED at me, and a couple held doors for me. I guess I reminded them of their grandpas.

                WHAT I need is a WORKING fountain of youth. I can find hot blossoms as easy as falling off a log. 😉

                • MarbleZeppelin says:

                  The mind is willing …

                  The Fountain of Youth was solar activated. The natives got tired of the intermittency since they were often busy during the day so they covered it up for a wigwam development.

                  Search for spurious anomalies in the raw satellite sensor data, the stuff they ignore might be the signal from the Fountain of Youth or something equally magical. Those things have to have some effect on their surroundings.

        • MarbleZeppelin says:

          Although global birth rates are going down, global death rates have also been going down.
          Latest news on the cancer front, new research into actually turning cancer cells back into normal cells is going forward. Why poison them when you can convert them! http://neurosciencenews.com/mirna-cancer-cell-reprogramming-2491/

          As science learns more about the human cell and conquers more diseases, we may see a further decrease in the death rate. So for those concerned about over-population, it will be a little tougher getting the population lower until the food and water runs out.

          • Doug Leighton says:

            True. Seniors make up an increasingly significant portion of the population (adding to medical costs). According to estimates over a quarter of Japan`s population is now over 65 and nearly 13% are over 75.

            On the other hand, we have all those new evolving super-bugs hiding behind the curtains…….waiting……….

            • MarbleZeppelin says:

              It’s not just seniors, cancer is hitting across all the ages now. Seniors are probably the most energy efficient of the groups.

              Super-bugs, we call them two-hitters around here. Got to swat them twice to kill them. 🙂
              We all should not forget the lesson about pesticides. The bugs get resistance and the birds die.
              Bacteria are like that too. We select the resistant strains and they grow to be the dominant population. Too bad antibiotic research is not as well funded as some other areas. Not as much money in it. It’s always a moving target.
              As far as cancer goes, it’s a living nightmare for patient and family and it wrecks the families too. There is a lot of collateral damage to society from cancer.
              The more disease we can eliminate the more energy, materials and heartache we will save. People think that just living is the problem, but it’s crises and disasters that soak up a huge amount of our societal abundance. Disease is a continuous huge crisis across the world. It doesn’t really reduce population much because it’s easy to make replacements. It does lock down people and society into a set of highly energetic actions and industries. It does force a huge amount of highly technical and mostly disposable materials. It diverts huge amounts of capital from other activities.
              We should not be aiming to be a society of health care professionals and support industries, which is where things are headed if solutions are not found.
              Sick and debilitated people cannot think straight, they have a difficult time making decisions and are slowed down. Half the people you see in a day may be on prescription drugs. We need cures not long term drugs that just make hospital visits less frequent.
              People talk about efficiency here, a healthy person can live a lot more efficiently than a sick one.

              The old war tactic was to wound a soldier instead of killing him, because that took out two or more from the fighting and distracted the fighting effort. Well, if we are going into battle against oil depletion, we need as many healthy strong minds and bodies as possible. The sick ones will absorb a lot of the healthy ones and have a hard time aiding the situation or even caring about it.

  34. Ves says:

    Hey Clueless,
    By the end of the last Ron-post I made statement that “Investment in the market is zero sum game, Whoever makes a million there are many others who lose a little bit to make that million”

    You replied: “Bullshit” without offering an argument. Then you asked: “Suppose you bought a house in California (invested in a house) in 1970 that cost $200,000 and today it is worth $2 million. Who lost the 1.8 million?”

    Here is the answer: “Whoever sold you for $200,000 lost $1.8 million.”

    Have a nice day.

    • clueless says:

      The builder (who’s cost to build the house was $180,000) sold it to you for $200,000 and died a year later. He lost $1.8 million?? Such ignorance on display is truly amazing. The argument that you make requires that the entire wealth of the world, was lost by some other people, who now have a negative wealth of the same magnitude. For every Donald Trump worth $10 billion, there is some poor soul who has a negative net worth of $10 billion. Bullshit.

      • Strummer says:

        The total wealth of the world consists of:

        1. resources taken from the environment

        2. added value created by transforming those resources through human labor (either directly, or by using productive capital, but you need to keep in mind that capital was also created through the resources – > labor process)

        And that’s it. After that, it’s just transfers between people, and those transfers are in fact a zero-sum game.

        • SW says:

          Nonsense

          • Strummer says:

            How so? Where exactly do you think additional wealth comes from, apart from the two points that I listed?

            • Boomer II says:

              I think in many cases where someone gets wealthy and no one loses, it’s just speculation and eventually that bubble breaks and someone loses.

            • Watcher says:

              I think it’s clear it comes from central banks.

            • SW says:

              There is no place for the human mind, for genius, for invention in that equation unless you consider that labor, yet I think that the power of inspiration of revolutionary thought far outweighs simple picture you paint. Progress is more of a step function with the steps provided by new ways of doing things.

          • Jon Snow says:

            SW, your reply is nonsense.

            What Strummer said is all their is.

            If you disagree, please tell us your explanation of the factors that wealth consists of.

        • Ves says:

          @Strummer
          Some days it is like talking to the windmills around here 🙂
          Crazy world 🙂

  35. Ronald Walter says:

    Just the bozo on the bus, but… Whoddathunkit? MMM was at 168 and today it is at 137. Might be a wild ride for sometime into the future.

    What the oil stock price plunge has experienced might just be the nascent stage of the broader markets and that means big banks Lehman Enron Bear Stearns Trouble in River City revolting development multiple predicaments just beginning cuz that’s just the way it is dilemma.

    WLL was at 92 dollars, it has been downhill ever since, 14.73 USD today, it is a wild ride for Whiting.

    WCATI is down 75 percent, whoever they are.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/index/wcati/options?countrycode=xx

    The fun is just beginning.

  36. Boomer II says:

    This opinion piece doesn’t tell us anything new. It just sums up why is may be very hard to get everyone on the same page in order to head off some challenges which are likely to come with declining resources.

    The Widening World of Hand-Picked Truths – The New York Times: Viewed from afar, the world seems almost on the brink of conceding that there are no truths, only competing ideologies — narratives fighting narratives. In this epistemological warfare, those with the most power are accused of imposing their version of reality — the “dominant paradigm” — on the rest, leaving the weaker to fight back with formulations of their own. Everything becomes a version.

    In some respects, the marketplace is a good way to solve problems because it seems the least biased. However, we know that the marketplace can be manipulated.

    We also see that governments continue to make decisions that aren’t based on rational marketplace evaluations. War, for example. What we spend on the military industrial complex might be better spent other ways, but if we have influential people lobbying for money to go to war machines rather than to infrastructure, that’s what we get.

    • Boomer II says:

      And we have people who would rather kill and die in the name of religion than to help future generations survive on Earth.

      • MarbleZeppelin says:

        And we have lots of people who would rather have others kill and die for them in the name of greed rather than help the future generations survive on earth. Cannon fodder for money covered in false ideology.

        I think the real message that is being sent to the young is “You are on your own in a screwed up world and we really don’t give a crap about you.”. Of course that was the same message I got when I was young, just more blatantly direct.
        The big advantage the young have it that some genius oddballs have invented a whole plethora of tools and technology to change the direction of the civilization rapidly if applied and the ability to get and spread the information rapidly. I grew up in an information limited world. Now there is no excuse.
        The best message that we can give the younger people now is that the ball is in their hands right now and they have the tools to change things quickly.
        A much better message than the greed or religious jihad.

        • Boomer II says:

          The best message that we can give the younger people now is that the ball is in their hands right now and they have the tools to change things quickly.

          Yes.

          I am old enough that I don’t see myself changing the world anymore. I will continue to vote and support causes I believe in, but the big push needs to come from those younger than myself. At the very least they need to vote. And they need to challenge politicians and news media that pass along misinformation.

          • MarbleZeppelin says:

            They need to start using those Iphones and other thingy’s to bring together meaningful action. We gave them electricity, computers, sophisticated communications, lasers, airplanes, wind turbines, PV, hydroelectric, EV’s, smart polymers, nano-technology, modern medicine and diagnotics, fantastic analytical instruments, satellites, world sensing systems, huge amounts of new knowledge about the world and how it works and doesn’t work, etc, etc. etc. Now it is time they got off their collective rear ends and used some of this stuff to change the world in a new and different, hopefully better way. They have been given all this, the new knowledge and the warnings. Hope they can find the ball, let alone carry it somewhere downfield. There are certainly a lot of people actively trying to block their way.

  37. Ronald Walter says:

    I will remind everyone that believes Republicans are at the root of all of the problems, their selfish motives to blame, and that Ronald Reagan was the outside agitator who started it all, well, you’re all wrong and will be all of the time, every time.

    There was a time when Ronald Reagan was a bespectacled liberal Democrat. He finally wised up after getting a clue or became too rich to be a, God forbid, Democrat, as horrifying that must be.

    Go to YouTube and you can hear Ronald Reagan railing against corporations and complaining about low wages for hardworkng stupid fools like Tennessee Ernie Ford who was born one morning when the sun didn’t shine.

    One fist of iron, the other one steel. If the right don’t get you, then the left one will. You load sixteen ton, what do you get?

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      Most modern day Republicans want business to exist in an uncontrolled environment and the role of government is to protect their money and property as well as extend force into the rest of the world to protect and promote their business. It is basically a platform of money and selfish greed. People are just resources, the world is just a place to be robbed and to hell with the damage as long as it isn’t in their neighborhood. Intolerance is their motto and their hero is Scrooge (before he learned humanity).
      Now in the face of vast predicaments, they adamantly fight any changes to mitigate the predicaments, unless it lines their pockets.
      Reagan was an actor, one can never know when an actor is being honest or just playing the part.
      Trump, anyone?

      • ChiefEngineer says:

        I watched some of Trumps rally yesterday in Iowa. All it is, is a free comedy stand up act for the right wing bible thumpers and a distraction of years of Republican mistakes. The Republicans are imploding. Let the music continue.

        Only Trump can make Jeb look like a shine used car

        • MarbleZeppelin says:

          I have been tempted to watch Trump but was afraid my brain would implode. Some of my friends think he is the answer to our problems. I keep my mouth shut in front of them. But I am curious, maybe if I look on it as entertainment I can survive the experience.
          Lilliput her I come.

          • Boomer II says:

            Trump is not a serious candidate. He’s just using this as an opportunity promote his brand.

            It’s the media’s fault for giving him so much exposure and not bothering to cover more important issues.

            Trump is being Trump. He likes the publicity. But the media doesn’t have play along.

            • Boomer II says:

              Of course, it could be argued that Trump is a plant to show that the GOP has nothing better to offer.

              Trump gets to upstage Fox News.

          • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

            Perhaps crazy time demand crazy candidates, but IMO the most likely explanation for the Trump phenomenon is that he is being paid by Hillary to make the GOP look really bad. Of course, Hillary is beginning to have her own problems.

            • old farmer mac says:

              Trumps chances of winning even the republican nomination are VERY CLOSE to zero. The PARTY hates his guts and the party is NOT going to nominate him.

              IF he runs as an independent he could throw the election to the Dim rats. That and ego appear to be the keys to his circus. So he , being the rat he is himself, may be figuring on making some coin with his political circus- maybe by cutting deals quietly with certain congress critters to get somethings he wants in exchange for taking down his bigtop and then throwing his weight their way.

              I would rather see HRC in office than Trump- and I would rather see Forrest Gump in the WH than Hillary.

              The OBUMBLER is prez today because the dim rats wanted ANYBODY BUT HILLARY so bad they took a chance on well I will not say it for fear of being accused of racism by some of our PC cops.

              Democrats TODAY are DESPERATELY unhappy with Hillary although they are mostly compelled to keep their mouths shut about this obvious fact for reasons of party unity.

              Hopefully they will come up with a candidate who can actually inspire voters and will win- and once in office, one that can actually LEAD.

              HRC in my estimation CANNOT inspire voters across the board, which is the key to winning, unless the repugnants run a convicted child molester.

              Anybody who votes the environment ought to be praying to the Gods of his choice for some charismatic new face to emerge in the so far almost non existent field of democratic candidates.

              HRC is an old style MACHINE POLITICIAN about as deep in the vest pocket of big business and big banking as any republican who is not actually WEARING said vest.

              There is of course a slim chance the republican nomination might go to an outsider with a brain willing to stand up to the entrenched big business interests that control the repugnant party but the odds of that are VERY slim indeed.

              WOE IS US. TIME to rip out some hair and run down to the mall and buy some sackcloth and ashes, some specialty store oughta stock up on these items, they are going to be in great demand before too long.

              • Jimmy says:

                OFM, That’s Trumps plan. Make a mockery of the GOP primary. Run as an independent. Get 1/2 the Right Wing vote and hand victory to Hillary. Mission accomplished. It’s easy to see.

              • Glenn Stehle says:

                Sanders leads Clinton

                There’s been a big shift on the Democratic side since April as well. Bernie Sanders now leads the field in the state with 42% to 35% for Hillary Clinton, 6% for Jim Webb, 4% for Martin O’Malley, 2% for Lincoln Chafee, and 1% for Lawrence Lessig.

                The main story in New Hampshire is how universally popular Sanders has become with the Democratic electorate. 78% see him favorably to only 12% with a negative opinion- that makes him easily the most popular candidate on either side with their party’s voters. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton’s favorability numbers have taken a little bit of a hit- she was at 78/10 with Democratic primary voters in April, but now she’s at a 63/25 spread.

                The ideological divide is actually not that stark on the Democratic side. Sanders is ahead with ‘somewhat liberal’ voters (45/32), ‘very liberal’ ones (46/37), and moderates (40/36) alike. And although there is certainly a gender gap Sanders is ahead with both men (44/30) and women (41/38). But the real big divide we see is along generational lines- Clinton is ahead 51/34 with seniors, but Sanders has a 45/29 advantage with everyone under the age of 65.

                New Hampshire is somewhat a world unto itself in the Democratic race. We’re still finding Clinton well ahead everywhere else. But it’s clear there’s a real race now in the Granite State.

                http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2015/08/ppps-new-new-hampshire-poll-finds-donald-trump-in-the-strongest-position-of-any-poll-weve-done-anywhere-since-he-entered-the.html#more

            • Jimmy says:

              I agree Mr Brown. Trump is a pseudo candidate. A fakes flag. A caricature of Republicanism. Bill and Hillary were at his wedding. He’s a former card carrying member of the Democratic Party. What he is doing is a favour for Hillary. He’s been grooming himself for this role for years so he’s ready to play the part right when she’s ready to win the Democratic Primary. Trump must have a very cynical view of his fellow countrymen if he behaves like this to get the support of the politically Right Wing voters.

          • wharf rat says:

            “Some of my friends think he is the answer to our problems. ”

            So does Rat. We’ll have a much less dysfunctional government after he destroys the GOP.

            The havoc Donald Trump is wreaking on the GOP is astounding
            The Washington Post
            GEORGE F. WILL

            Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency.

            Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-havoc-donald-trump-is-wreaking-on-the-gop-is-astounding-2015-8#ixzz3k1Z23o3G

            • SW says:

              I think Donald Trump is gettering the American electorate.

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              Quinnipiac University released a national poll Thursday showing that while Trump is leading the Republican Party nationally, he is polling poorly with black Americans in the general election.

              The poll found:

              When asked “Would you say that Donald Trump cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?” 92% of black people said no.

              52% of black people said Trump does not have strong leadership qualities.

              73% of black people said Trump is not strong or trustworthy.

              79% of black people said they have an unfavorable view of Trump.

              http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/27/politics/donald-trump-african-american-polls/index.html

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              Three in four Latinos say they have a negative view of Donald Trump, and more than half believe that his comments about Mexican immigrants were racist and inappropriate, according to a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal/ Telemundo poll.

              The poll of 250 Latinos found that 75 percent view the real estate mogul and GOP presidential front-runner unfavorably, with 61 percent saying that their view of him is “very negative.” Just 13 percent of respondents said they have a positive view of Trump.

              http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/poll-75-latinos-have-negative-view-donald-trump-n402621

              • Nick G says:

                I’m very surprised that Latino’s aren’t more negative on Trump than that.

                Perhaps the respondents are underplaying their true feelings…

                • Glenn Stehle says:

                  “The surprising reason why 13 percent of Latinos are still supporting Donald Trump”

                  http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/donald-trump-latino-vote-2016/

                  In spite of Trump’s vitriolic anti-immigrant stance and his record of using undocumented labor, these 13 percent of Latino voters would still vote for him today if given the opportunity.

                  Naturally, one would wonder exactly why any self-respecting Latino in America would buy what Trump is selling. However, their continued support powerfully speaks to the larger culture of assimilation and anti-immigrant sentiment among many U.S. Latinos.

        • cytochrome C says:

          Late stage capitalism was never going to be fun.

          We haven’t a horse in the Senate yet, like Rome, but the day is approaching.

          Possibly, we have finally stopped taking ourselves seriously?

          • ChiefEngineer says:

            Unregulated capitalism is a Game of Thrones and not the panacea the rich would have you believe. A balance of capitalism, socialism and regulations can produce the American Dream for most of the masses. You need to sort though BS in a free society and not let the losers drag you down to their level.

    • cytochrome C says:

      1985 — US: White House confirms Beloved & Respected Comrade Fink Ronald Reagan was an FBI informant (with his own secret number) in Hollywood in the late 1940s while heading the Screen Actors Guild.

      “Thanks for a nation of finks. Thanks for a nation where nobody is allowed to mind their own business.”

      — William S. Burroughs

  38. http://bbj.hu/politics/reuters-as-fence-nears-completion-hungary-considers-reinforcement_103006

    The Hungarian spokesman felt compelled to say that border guards WILL not be authorized to fire on migrants.

    I wonder how long that will last. Should I add a sarc alert? I don’t know.

  39. ezrydermike says:

    Tom Murphy of Do The Math has a post up on his recent EV use. Some interesting numbers and of course, the battery issues.

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2015/08/my-chicken-of-an-ev/

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      Looks like a very efficient car, and not bad for early on in the production of EV’s. Very high kwh/mile and very good mpg on the ICE side. 85% charge capacity after 4 years of good usage is not bad, batteries are getting better. One more way to reduce the depletion of oil, which is the point I hope.

      I am really glad that EV’s are moving along rapidly in all fronts.

      • Watcher says:

        They do move along.
        From the factory to the dealership. That’s where they stay.

        • CaliforniaWinner says:

          EV’s run the streets of a strong clean California economy like bible thumpers to Trump

          Solar Panels, check !
          EV’s, check !
          Strong Job Growth, check !
          Balanced Budget, check !
          Climate Change Acceptance, check !
          Health Reform, check !
          Democrat Governor, check!
          Beautiful Beaches, check !
          Living the California Dream, check !

          How’s that China dirty air and face mask road to cancer thing working out for Watcher ? Better than the short term lead poisoning memory problem I hope.

          Remember, you can always blame it on dyslexia

        • islandboy says:

          If you say so but data from the Argonne National Laboratory says otherwise.

          The point that myself and I think others are trying to make is that the times they are a changin. As of the end of 2014 ninety five percent of the solar power installed worldwide was installed since I became aware of Peak Oil in late 2007, half of that in the last couple of years. The chart below starts in 2010 at zero. They ignored any conversions and left overs from the California ZEV mandates in the nineties. The chart puts cumulative US sales at just under 360 thousand making cumulative EV sales just over one tenth of one percent of the US fleet. Four more doublings and they’re over 1% and four more and they’re over 10%. Remember old Dr. Bartlett and his thing about exponential growth.

          Now I’m not saying that continued exponential growth of renewables and EVs is inevitable, far from it. When I became aware of Peak Oil, I thought TEOTWAWKI would have come and gone by now and we’d be well on our way to the Olduvai Gorge. That hasn’t happened yet and every day that collapse is avoided, brings us closer to the day when renewables and EVs register on the old gas gauge. So while everyone here is focused on one gauge, I try to keep an eye on the other gauge, to see if I can notice when it moves. It hasn’t moved yet but, I’m keeping an eye on it and hoping the world doesn’t fall apart before it does!

          • Watcher says:

            Nissan Leaf sales recent month 1174

            Nissan Leaf sales same month 2014 3019

            That’s the top selling ev.

            Top selling properly fueled vehicle, the Ford F150. Sales July 2015 66288. July 2014 63240.

            So 66X smaller and of course in decline vs F150 growth of about 5%.

            This is all silliness. Your children’s survival depends on killing hundreds of millions of Chinese. Not pretending numbers are different than they are. Best get to work on that.

            • Doug Leighton says:

              Medically it’s called Broken Record EV Syndrome whereby the (imagined) solution to every ailment is an EV. Kind of like God-is-Great though it’s even more irritating, if that’s possible.

            • Nick G says:

              That might have something to do with the current generation of leaf being at it’s end point, while the current generation of F1 50 just came out.

            • Jon Snow says:

              Your megalomaniac obsession with some kind of apocalyptic showdown with the Chinese has grown tiresome…take your meds.

              • Watcher says:

                It need not be Chinese. Find me 800 million others (maybe Indians) with the same consumption growth.

                • old farmer mac says:

                  Watcher has a point. There is room for only ONE super pig at the fossil fuel trough mid term and not much in the trough long term for even one pig.

                  SOMEBODY is going to LOSE OUT fairly SOON.

                  When the contest is between literal pigs the squealing generally escalates to a real fight. I doubt humans are much smarter or better behaved in such a situation.

                  Pigs are smart. The last time we kept some for our own use but mostly for old times sake , we fed them out of a cast iron bathtub. The boss hog would not let any of the others eat until he was sated.

                  After a while he learned to climb in and spread himself out on the feed thus HOGGING it all for himself.He got his nap and his extra feed too.

                  I fixed that by putting some sharp chunks of cinderblock in the tub. He tried but he could not root them over the side and had to give up sleeping in the tub.

                  METHINKS there may be something to be learned from the observation of pigs.

                  • Boomer II says:

                    I think China and the US need each other too much to make war on each other. Plus both are big enough that a war between them would cause severe damage to both.

                    In fact, I don’t see either the US or China needing to launch wars to reduce the world’s population. Economics, lack of resources, disease, internal strife, etc., can do the job without the negative repercussions that launching a WWIII would have.

            • Techsan says:

              >Your children’s survival depends on killing hundreds of millions of Chinese.

              I rather like the Chinese that I know. Don’t want to kill any.

              Instead, I think I’ll buy my children EV’s. I have had two EV’s (leaf and Volt) for several years now, and they are great vehicles.

          • MarbleZeppelin says:

            The analysis was about a hybrid Islandboy. Headed toward 4 million here now in the USA, 10 million worldwide. Pure EV’s are new and changing fast, being held back by lack of public charge points.

            • islandboy says:

              From Tom Murphy’s piece, “and we got a plug-in hybrid vehicle”. So, it definitely falls under the category “Plug-in Sales”. The 4 million hybrids of which you speak are the non plug-in variety like the Toyota Prius and I think there’s a land barge that falls into that category as well, the GM Yukon Hybrid that got a whopping 20 mpg city. Big difference being, the absence of a plug and no real all electric range to speak of.

              Having said that, I read somewhere (probably insideevs.com) that plug-in hybrid and BEV sales are growing faster than hybrid sales did.

            • Heinrich Leopold says:

              MarbleZeppelin,

              I question the reasoning that the lack of charging points does hold off electric vehicles. In London there are many charging points including free parking space, which is incredible attractive. However electric vehicles are dissappearing from the streets of London. In my view the main reason is the unreliability of electric vehicles. Many people got stuck in the traffic with empty batteries, which is extremely embarrassing as the electric vehicle can not be refueled on the street and must be removed from traffic lines.

              • islandboy says:

                However electric vehicles are dissappearing from the streets of London. In my view the main reason is the unreliability of electric vehicles. Many people got stuck in the traffic with empty batteries, which is extremely embarrassing

                Any pictures or news stories or blog posts to back that up? I’m just really curious as to people’s real world experiences with BEVs. The only reports I have seen out of the UK include a staged piece by the BBC’s Top Gear show, in which the one of presenters (Clarkson of course!), waits until he’s almost out of range before investigating where his next nearest charging station is, sort of how you would start looking for a gas station when you’re approaching empty. I would think EVs require a recalibration of how refueling is done in that, you pick your next recharging point as soon as you begin a journey that will test the limits of your range, at least until charging stations become ubiquitous. I can’t imagine that in the early days of gasoline that one would set off on a journey without first establishing that there are the necessary gas stations along the intended route! Forty six seconds of the Top Gear episode at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kIS4J0XUO0

                Next up a review for the Top Gear rival program Fifth Gear by Robert Llewellyn who now has his own video series, Fully Charged devoted to reviewing EVs and in which he has done several episodes trying to give viewers a feel of what it’s like to live with a Nissan Leaf. (Incidentally Llewellyn has recently leased a Tesla to use as his daily driver replacing the Leaf) The following review is a the opposite of the Top Gear piece but not over the top, bearing in mind that Llewellyn is now more or less a full blown EV enthusiast. Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0WNZU3Q_8g

                Finally, probably the most balanced piece of video reporting brought to us by CNET via insideevs.com. To be honest this video show more about the lack of an adequate widespread charging infrastructure in the UK than it does about the shortcomings of the car.

                A Nissan LEAF Struggles With The State Of The UK Charging Infrastructure – Video

                Actually a quick internet search doesn’t validate what you claim and it strikes me as odd since, EVs are most efficient at very slow speed, such as city traffic and use little to no energy when not moving.

                Edit: During my visits to the US I have seen many Nissan Leafs, only one in Miami but, many in San Francisco including one on a commute along the 101, north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The US is where I would be concerned about having only 90 miles of range, not London.

              • MarbleZeppelin says:

                Hi Heinrich. Here is a UK site listing EV registrations by the month. Looks very positive to me. Those anecdotal problems may just be dumb drivers that forget to charge the car or check it’s state of charge. Or the ones that optimistically say, ” Oy, I think I can make it that far.”

                http://www.smmt.co.uk/category/news-registration-evs-afvs/

    • Nick G says:

      That battery is behaving weirdly. Li-ion batteries generally decline in an exponential curve, not a parabolic.

      AFAICT, Tom has a 10 year warranty (he’s in California). If his battery is dying as quickly as he thinks, he’s due for replacement of many of the cells in the battery (apparently Ford replaces them one at a time).

    • Dave P says:

      I am not yet personally convinced that we will see an EV revolution. Gasoline price fluctuations are a short-term killer of long-term planning. Batteries still do, and likely always will, disappoint. I am learning similar lessons on the nickel-iron battery front. We may have to face the fact that gasoline has been the ultimate transportation fuel, and the economists’ picture of universal substitutability may not apply. If EVs can never really outperform gasoline in cost, ease/simplicity, convenience, and robustness—and if they remain expensive to own and maintain, from where will the prosperity derive for us to all have such marvelous toys?

      Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy my EV and my chickens while they last, as a lifestyle choice. The cost per egg or cost per mile certainly do not justify them. So we need be satisfied by other reasons.

      Maybe EVs are not panacea that the assured EV proponents suggest?

      In saying that, perhaps we need to consider what a ‘car’ should be. There must be massive energy savings in smaller, lighter, more streamlined vehicles. Why take 2 ton of metal with you when you could use far far less. The change I’m most looking forward to most is seeing some of the more unconventional (more aerodynamic) body shapes start to arrive on the scene.

      Someone really needs to add some batteries or a 50cc motor to a velomobile shaped vehicle!

      • ChiefEngineer says:

        There is no panacea in life. Life is about compromises. We are on the road to an uninhabitable planet. You just need to come to terms with reasonable sacrifice. We already have affordable solar panels and EV’s. The velomobile thing is conversation of 10 years ago and we know we can do something closer to BAU.

      • Modern cars are actually well streamlined already.

        There is not a WHOLE LOT MORE to be gained in terms of fuel economy except by going electric and or downsizing.

        Considering the sunk investment in suburban and country living ,versus the cost of nice (NONEXISTENT) available housing in the cities, I will not be at all surprised to see very low very narrow lightweight fore and aft oriented two seat automobiles come to dominate the market for commuter cars within a couple of decades. . The engines will probably be bigger than fifty cc’s , my guess is more like three to five hundred. The better ones will have batteries adequate to travel fifty miles or more on battery power alone. The ones without batteries will get a hundred mpg or better if driven at moderate speeds.

        Only a person who has never lived in a nice house with plenty of space inside and out and some privacy could believe people will give up suburban living if giving it up can possibly be avoided.

        Doctors, lawyers and engineers will ride go-carts to work before they eat a quarter million dollar or larger loss on a suburban home and pay twice as much more on top of that loss for a city place with less space and less privacy – unless they are so successful they can AFFORD really nice urban homes.

        Suburbia will live so long as the overall economy continues to function. If we can’t manage our energy problems well enough to commute , we are not likely to survive ANYWAY. Between carpooling, dedicated group owned and operated buses, car sharing , electrified cars, autonomous cars, telecommuting, relocalization of small businesses into residential areas, downsized cars, etc, we ought to be able to cut personal gasoline and diesel fuel consumption by close to ninety percent- over time, not over night.

        WITHOUT giving up any but the farthest flung corners of suburbia.

        There is PLENTY of room in suburbia for things that will be hard to fit into city residences. Things such as GROUND MOUNTED solar panels, insulated gravel pits for thermal storage of any excess renewable electrical generation, hundred or two hundred gallon domestic water heaters that can take full advantage of intermittent wind and solar power, space to park TWO battery powered cars, lol, Sky Daddy alone knows what else.

        Refrigerators with triple thick insulation and a substantial ice reservoir. Such a refrigerator could run on a very small battery for a week. A good sized battery installation, there to take advantage of fuel free wind and solar power when it is available. “COOL ” storage in the form of chilled or frozen water in a tank in the little used basement or any unused room. . That would mean air conditioning could be mostly handled with intermittent wind and solar power. An outside outlet to plug up the electric car. Gray water recycled into a veggie garden or just sprayed on the lawn to avoid the necessity of pumping and treating it an a far away treatment plant. A kitchen big enough to actually ENJOY cooking and big enough to store food bought in bulk. Space enough to get away from the kids or the better half for a few minutes . Room to enjoy a cookout as opposed to eating out sometimes. I could go on all day.

        Now somebody tell me all about the joys of living in a small apartment even in a nice bohemian university district. I used to live in such an apartment. I had to keep my fishing poles in the car, there was no room for them inside. No place to change the oil or sit in a lawn chair and enjoy a beer and a smoke except on the balcony.We had to take our laundry out fer chrissake.

        About the ONLY thing that really turned me on about that place ? I could walk to a a couple of dozen bars and restaurants and ride a bicycle to campus. My BIG APPLE sweet chickadee really liked it of course but she had never known anything else. She introduced me to old friends as “My Sweet Baboon” .

      • MarbleZeppelin says:

        Aerodynamic? You mean like this.

        • old farmer mac says:

          WHO just said ” I will not be at all surprised to see very low very narrow lightweight fore and aft oriented two seat automobiles come to dominate the market for commuter cars within a couple of decades. “?

          The pic appears to be a single seater but the car is most definitely low, narrow , lightweight, and fore and aft oriented if it DOES have two seats.

          I am NOT an aero expert but I doubt this car has a drag coefficient noticeably better than a PRIUS considering the exterior dimensions compared to the useful interior space.

          • MarbleZeppelin says:

            It’s a two seater. Electric version had a range of 120 miles, ICE version had a range of 800 miles on about 5 gallons of fuel. About as aerodynamic as one can get. Market wasn’t ready for the Aptera so it’s gone.
            Jay Leno’s garage tries it out.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrQqCLRXl2w
            Closed down in 2011.
            Would love to see something like this come back. Definitely has visual appeal.

            • old farmer mac says:

              Such cars WILL come back – as soon as gasoline spikes upwards of ten bucks and stays there for a while. Suburbanites will drive them because they won’t have any real choice in the matter.

              Giving up the house is not a viable option.

              I doubt if I could get in or out of that particular car without help.

          • MarbleZeppelin says:

            Yes, it has a much better coefficient of drag than the Prius. Teardrop shapes have far less drag than tapered blocks. About 1/3 the energy needed to run the Tesla or other electrics. 200 mpge versus 89 mpge for the Tesla.

            From Wikipedisa
            The Aptera 2 Series was a two-seat, three-wheeled passenger vehicle. It was planned to be available in both all-electric (2e) and series hybrid (2h) configurations, at prices ranging from mid-twenty to mid-forty thousand dollars.[19] By mid-2008, aerodynamic optimization using simulations and light-weight composite construction yielded a prototype which allegedly consumed only 80 Wh/mi (watt hours per mile) (50 Wh/km) at 55 mph (89 km/h), less than half the energy needed to propel the EV1 or the Tesla.[20] The April 14, 2010 press release revised the design intent vehicle efficiency estimate to about 200 Wh/mi (125 Wh/km), 100-mile (160 km) range from a full 20 kWh battery pack, or around 200 mpg-US (1.2 L/100 km) equivalent.[16] On the hybrid vehicle, it led to projections of 130 miles per US gallon (1.8 L/100 km) on gasoline alone, or 300 mpg-US (0.78 L/100 km) if plugged in every 120 miles (190 km). Since then, the vehicle underwent a series of redesigns, including the addition of side mirrors and expansion of the interior space, however, retaining its three-wheel configuration and its aerodynamic teardrop shape. At the Automotive X-Prize, the entered prototype had a tested efficiency of 200 MPGe.

            • Blaine says:

              The coefficient of drag is only slightly better. What is a lot better is the smaller frontal area, which improves fuel economy without improving the coefficient of drag.

        • Dave P says:

          Yep, that’s exactly the type of design I was thinking about! We need to break out of our ‘mental box’ of what a vehicle has to look like, for most commuters the above would suffice.

  40. Doug Leighton says:

    GLOBAL SEA LEVELS CLIMBED 3 INCHES SINCE 1992, NASA RESEARCH SHOWS

    http://newsdaily.com/2015/08/global-sea-levels-climbed-3-inches-since-1992-nasa-research-shows/

    “Scientists said about one-third of the rise in sea levels is due to the expansion of warmer ocean water, one-third to ice loss from the polar ice sheets and the remaining third to melting mountain glaciers.”

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      An oceanographer I was listening to said the average shoreline has 1 foot rise for every 300 feet. So that would mean 75 feet lost since 1992 on average worldwide.

      As the seas rise, a slow-motion disaster gnaws at America’s shores
      “while government at all levels remains largely unable or unwilling to address the issue, coastal flooding on much of the densely populated Eastern Seaboard has surged in recent years as sea levels have risen.” http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/waters-edge-the-crisis-of-rising-sea-levels/

    • ezrydermike says:

      let’s have some fun with Fernando and Javier…

      Here’s what happens when you try to replicate climate contrarian papers.

      A new paper finds common errors among the 3% of climate papers that reject the global warming consensus.

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/aug/25/heres-what-happens-when-you-try-to-replicate-climate-contrarian-papers

      Abstract

      Among papers stating a position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), 97 % endorse AGW. What is happening with the 2 % of papers that reject AGW? We examine a selection of papers rejecting AGW. An analytical tool has been developed to replicate and test the results and methods used in these studies; our replication reveals a number of methodological flaws, and a pattern of common mistakes emerges that is not visible when looking at single isolated cases. Thus, real-life scientific disputes in some cases can be resolved, and we can learn from mistakes. A common denominator seems to be missing contextual information or ignoring information that does not fit the conclusions, be it other relevant work or related geophysical data. In many cases, shortcomings are due to insufficient model evaluation, leading to results that are not universally valid but rather are an artifact of a particular experimental setup. Other typical weaknesses include false dichotomies, inappropriate statistical methods, or basing conclusions on misconceived or incomplete physics. We also argue that science is never settled and that both mainstream and contrarian papers must be subject to sustained scrutiny. The merit of replication is highlighted and we discuss how the quality of the scientific literature may benefit from replication.

      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00704-015-1597-5

      • Don Wharton says:

        This article makes the false claim that there are 2 to 3% of papers that reject the consensus. It is more like 0.1%. The crappy papers don’t survive the peer review process. And many of them are published in non climate related journals. I saw one of these cherry picking papers published in a mathematics journal. It was quite pathetic. It was one these “the sun did it” papers which ignored the last couple of decades. It is easy to demonstrate anything you might wish if you just militantly ignore all inconvenient data. If you have just mathematicians to do the peer review then there is little chance that there will be competent climate science considered.

      • Javier says:

        Well, now that you bring the issue. Not my fault. I was perfectly happy talking renewables and peak oil.

        That article is like a second part of the failed and already debunked first part that incorrectly found a 97% consensus. It has been around since at least May 2013 when it was sent to Earth System Dynamics and was beaten to death by the reviewers. You can see that here:

        http://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/4/451/2013/esdd-4-451-2013-discussion.html

        In total the paper has been rejected by at least five journals:
        – Climate Research
        – Climatic Change
        – Earth System Dynamics Discussion
        – Nature Climate Change
        – Environmental Research Letters.
        Until finally published by Theoretical and Applied Climatology, which shows that if you insist enough you can get published almost any piece of crap as long as it supports the consensus. This story is told by the first author Rasmus Benestad at Real Climate.

        The most charitable thing that can be said of Lewandosky, Nuccitelli, Cook et al. is that they don’t learn from their mistakes. They are not climatologists. Lewandosky and Nuccitelli are from social sciences and Cook self describes himself as a cartoonist.

        Their first article: Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Cook et al. 2013. Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024, was alredy debunked in the literature by Richard Tol. Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the literature: A re-analysis. 2014. Energy Policy 73, 701–705

        Important guidelines for the investigation of the true climate consensus are:

        – Make sure it’s a direct survey of climate scientists.
        – Make sure that the researchers are actual, qualified professionals.
        – Be wary of researchers who are political activists.
        – In general, do not trust methods that rest on intermediaries or interpreters, like people reviewing the climate science literature. Thus far, such work has been dominated by untrained amateurs motivated by political agendas.
        – Be mindful of the exact questions asked. The wording of a survey is everything.
        – Be cautious about papers published in climate science journals, or really in any journal that is not a survey research journal. The methods (surveys or subjective coding of text) are outside their domains of expertise.

        As I already said, there are better studies published, like that of Verheggen et al. 2014. Scientists’ Views about Attribution of Global Warming. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2014, 48 (16), pp 8963–8971, that show that the true consensus is somewhere around 66%. I’ll post again a graph from their figure 2 showing the result.

        Curiously, John Cook, our cartoonist, is also an author in the Verheggen et al. 2014 article. So let’s see, he first claims that it is 97% in a 2013 article, then he claims is 66% in a 2014 article, and now he goes back to 97% in his 2015 article without any more data. It seems to me that he is sticking to the 97% meme even though he debunked it himself. I am sure many here will do similarly and stick to the 97% even when proven wrong.

      • cytochrome C says:

        Plus, Jav uses discredited data at will:
        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=8

        These guys are the mainstay of his argument against Mann.
        ( McIntyre works in the mining industry, while McKitrick is an economist).

        Obviously wrong.

        • Javier says:

          Not at all wrong. You continue to use the tactics of attacking the man and not his science.

          McIntyre is a retired engineer that worked in mineral exploration for many years and that really has a gift for mathematics and statistics. He was involved in exposing the Bre‑X fraud in Canada several years ago. Bre‑X was a gold mining company promising fat profits on a new proprietary technology for ore deposits in Borneo; McIntyre smelled a rat and demanded the raw data. Bre‑X collapsed shortly after. And McIntyre scored a major hit against NASA’s chief climate alarmist James Hansen, discovering significant errors of overestimation in Hansen’s temperature reconstruction of the 20th century. NASA’s Goddard Institute website publicly thanked McIntyre:

          “We wish to thank Stephen McIntyre for bringing to our attention that this flaw might be present.” NASA GISS August 2007 Updates to Analysis and Effects

          So these guys know very well what they do. The replies by Mann et al. to their criticisms have not settled the issue, and the Commission left very clear that no such conclusions could be extracted from Michael Mann’s “work.”

          And we have lots of evidence that many climate scientists believe that Mann’s reconstruction is wrong, so many as to fill an entire book by Mark Stein and constitute some sort of climate consensus against Michael Mann’s reconstruction:

          3373.txt: Raymond Bradley (a coauthor of Mann’s reconstruction): ” Furthermore, the model output is very much determined by the time series of forcing that is selected, and the model sensitivity which essentially scales the range. Mike only likes these because they seem to match his idea of what went on in the last millennium, whereas he would savage them if they did not. Also–& I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.

          1527.txt: Dendrochronologist Rob Wilson writes: ” There has been criticism by Macintyre of Mann’s sole reliance on RE, and I am now starting to believe the accusations. ”

          4241.txt: Rob Wilson again: ” The whole Macintyre issue got me thinking…I first generated 1000 random time-series in Excel … The reconstructions clearly show a ‘hockey-stick’ trend. I guess this is precisely the phenomenon that Macintyre has been going on about. ”

          2009.txt: Keith Briffa (his data on Yamal tree rings was used in the reconstruction): ” I find myself in the strange position of being very skeptical of the quality of all present reconstructions, yet sounding like a pro greenhouse zealot here! ”

          3994.txt: John Mitchell (Met Office) commenting on draft IPCC report: ” Is the PCA (Principal Component Analysis) approach robust? Are the results statistically significant? It seems to me that in the case of MBH (Mann’s article) the answer in each is no. ”

          0497.txt: Jones to Mann in 1999: ” Keith didn’t mention in his Science piece but both of us think that you’re on very dodgy ground with this long-term decline in temperatures on the 1000 year timescale.

          0562.txt: Simon Tett (Met Office), discussing revising a paper: ” No justification for regional reconstructions rather than what Mann et al did (I don’t think we can say we didn’t do Mann et al because we think it is crap!) “.

          2383.txt: Tim Barnett in 2004: ” maybe someone(s) ought to have another look at Mann’s paper. His statistics were suspect as I remember… ”

          1656.txt: Douglas Maraun (UEA): ” I think, that “our” reaction on the errors found in Mike Mann’s work were not especially honest.

          4133.txt: David Rind (NASA GISS): ” what Mike Mann continually fails to understand, and no amount of references will solve, is that there is practically no reliable tropical data for most of the time period, and without knowing the tropical sensitivity, we have no way of knowing how cold (or warm) the globe actually got. ”

          Mann’s reconstruction is nowadays defended only by Mann himself and by warming activists like yourself that don’t really care about the science. I think is enough to say that IPCC after making Mann’s reconstruction an iconic image of global warming in its 2001 Assessment Report, retired it in the 2007 AR and erased any trace or mention of it in the 2013 AR. So much for settled science that has to be swept under the rug.

  41. islandboy says:

    The August release pf the EIA’s Electric Power Monthly is out with data for June. The PV output curve is flattening, pretty much like it did last year, just at a higher level. Solar Thermal is barely higher than last year but, the newest plant, Solar Reserve’s Crescent Dunes project, was completed late last year and began testing this year. The only news I have been able to find says it “is currently in final commissioning”. It is probably not in the data set yet which would explain the lack of any significant increase in solar thermal output. Source: Table 1.1A

  42. islandboy says:

    Electricity generation was up for June by roughly 12%. The graph below shows the generation as a total by source so, while Nuclear for example was up by a couple of percentage points, coal and NG were up by 20% or more. The increases in coal and NG have pushed everything else down as a percentage of total by source. Hydro was marginally down and non-hydro renewables were down by about 13.5%. Source Electric Power Monthly, Table 1.1

    • Nick G says:

      Whoa!

      Coal generation* year-to-date (through June 2015) has declined by 14.4%!!

      From 2007 to 2015 it’s dropped 33%…

      —————————–

      Regarding renewables:

      Keep in mind that the EIA excludes rooftop (distributed) installations, even if they’re industrial/commercial. That’s significant.

      ————————–

      *Generation is different from consumption. For instance, Germany has replaced old inefficient coal plants with newer better plants, reducing coal consumption for any given level of generation.

  43. I posted Jean’s reply to Dennis earlier. There should have been three charts posted with it. I completely missed them, sorry. They are posted below along with a repost or Jean’s reply.

    Dennis reply on my comments forgets about the example from coal in France that I quoted.
    He was right only about my mistake of calling aP/CP% what is mP/CP% but if the legend is wrong the graph is right.
    His graph on US production 1907-1945 HL is incomplete and does not mean much.
    It is obvious that extrapolation has to be done on the last linear trend and the many graphs I show like for Yates oil field (fig 62) have several linear trends.
    Dennis should show all US production data from 1859 to 2014.
    On the complete plot, you can pick your choice for extrapolation towards zero which gives the ultimate.

    The longest linear trend is 1958-2008 towards an ultimate of 230 Gb, but the present LTO bump disturbs the plot and the ultimate could be from a range of 260 to 300 Gb (or even less).

    My US forecast shows an two ultimates of 260 & 300 Gb both with a peak at 3.2 Gb, which is far from AEO 2015 with a peak at 3.9 Gb and from WEO 2014 with a peak at 4.5 Gb.
    Hubbert linearization is not the perfect way to estimate ultimate, but it is better than the estimate of LTO reserves based on the amount of oil generated from the source rock using an hypothetic recovery ratio.
    LTO accumulation is assumed to be a continuous accumulation without any water contact, as it is in a conventional field.
    LTO production comes from sweet spots, but it is difficult to outline sweets spots .

     photo Jean 6_zpseenexs5w.jpg

     photo Jean 7_zpsz3wcv3wj.jpg

     photo Jean 8_zpsuvv3wx5o.jpg

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Jean,

      The point of my chart is that an HL on the Bakken when the %aP/CP is about 30% in 2014-2015 will likely underestimate the URR. Your chart shows that if the Hubbert Linearizarion is done too early the URR will be underestimated. Proved reserves in the Bakken/Three Forks at the end of 2013 were about 5 Gb, when cumulative production is added we get almost 6 Gb.

      You have often commented how we should focus on 2P reserves rather than proved reserves, 2P reserves are likely to be 7 Gb, with cumulative production added we would have a URR of close to 8 Gb for the north Dakota Bakken/Three Forks.

      Link to North Dakota Crude reserves at the EIA:

      http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=RCRR01SND_1&f=A

  44. shallow sand says:

    As reported by Fuel Fix:

    Ecuador, which is an OPEC member and produces approximately 538,000 bopd disclosed that they are now producing oil at a loss.

    They announced operating expenses of $39 per barrel versus realized crude prices of $30-$36 per barrel.

    So there is half a million underwater on what appears to be an operating basis. Wonder how many more barrels world wide are underwater on an operating basis.

    It would not surprise me if over 1.5 million bopd in US is underwater on an operating basis. Most MLP OPEX per BOE is around $20. Assume 60% oil 40% gas and NGLs. That puts unhedged BOE at around $20-24. After you subtract G&A and severance taxes, you are in the whole. This does not include work overs. Furthermore, there are likely may ND and MT Bakken wells under water. $14,000 OPEX / 450 net barrels for the month is OPEX per bbl of $31.11.

    I think this low price continues until there is a clear sign the money is shut off to the industry. I think it is likely there will be a cut 12/4. SEC reserve report prices will be locked in. $30-$45 oil from now till then will make it tough for companies to rush back in. US production will be falling an will continue to do so till at least summer of 2016.

    • Greenbub says:

      Shallow, why do you think it is likely that there will be a cut on 12/4? The Saudis have a strategy that they might want to stick with, especially if the Iranians make good on their threats to increase oil production “at any cost”. I hope for your sake and the sake of all the other people on this board that are in the business that you are correct, but it doesn’t seem things are tilting that way, yet.

      • shallow sand says:

        I’m just guessing of course. OPEC states are all losing a lot of $$. They don’t have to do this forever, just inflict enough pain to stop US production growth for awhile. It was growing around one million bbl per day year over year. Read Euan Mearns recent post regarding just how much OPEC has lost in $$ terms. Heck, if they just cut to 30 million I bet there would be a significant price increase.

        If US shale producers and Canadian shale and tar sand producers are somehow able to keep production flat or increase production to 12/15, there may not be a cut. However, if we look at 1986, 1998-1999 and 2008-2009 price crashes, a common theme is OPEC didn’t wait much more than a year to cut.

        Actually, I’m ok if the price would stay here the next two months and then creep up to $50 WTI average in November. We will lose a little $$ but maybe the pain will cause both US shale and tar sands to stop spending beyond cash flow and will lead to a cut on 12/4. Going lower from here and/or staying low longer than from July-November will be very painful. Below $40 is extreme given the costs to find and produce.

        I don’t think KSA wants to cause a super spike, so I doubt a cut would be large. Just need to get price back to $75-80 next year.

        Prior to Thanksgiving I predicted $60-65 for a year would stop US shale and Canadian growth. I didn’t think anyone would be dumb enough to say they would ramp back up at $60 when they lose $$ at that level on the whole.

        • Watcher says:

          This is what happens when you print money with no underpinning. It loses meaning.

        • Ves says:

          Shallow,
          Don’t even put hopes on that December meeting. That is like in next century for lots of oil producers. It’s day by day. It’s like boxing where punches are traded but knockout is needed. What I gather it started second round of cuts that are imposed on service companies. And it is all in fees cuts and subsequently in layoffs. This time it looks like 20% cut is magic number to keep some of the smaller companies in hope of staying alive. But if price to go up we need a knockout. We need bankruptcies.

  45. old farmer mac says:

    FOR AMUSEMENT ( and insight)

    WHOAD AH THUNK IT?

    According to a piece up at Yahoo finance , the Ashley Madison site had over twenty million men but almost ZERO real women. IF any of the women WERE real, they probably only signed up out of curiosity and NEVER participated in any exchanges with men.

    It looks as if just about all the women’s accounts are fakes.

    Maybe we should cease to be surprised that men chase after the impossible dream, whether that dream be a no strings attached affair with a desirable woman or an easy fortune in tight oil.

    They say NOBODY ever went broke over estimating the stupidity of the public.

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      Old Farmer, people spend over 100 dollars a month for cable TV. Don’t tell me that isn’t fake. It’s all made up, it’s called entertainment. Freaks and Fake sells like hotcakes. Noisy glowing dots on a screen have made people a bundle. Apparently living in their head is better than reality.

      I know so many people that act as if TV is real and that it is important. Yikes! Don’t get in the way of their favorite programs.

      • old farmer mac says:

        We spend that much on it ourselves for a package deal that includes my internet access. . My ancient Dad turns it on a few times during the day.

        Except for the SuperBowl and Kentucky Derby at an old friends annual parties I have not watched TV since around 1980 or so. I gave mine away and went cold turkey.

        Best thing I have ever done, it was like gaining four hours a day for free.

  46. Patrick R says:

    Up thread Javier claims that renewables are more expensive that FF. well not in my country. Here is an article listing the recent and planed shutdowns of FF thermal plants because they simply cannot compete with renewables:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11422137

    No subsidies, a competitive free market, not even strict emissions controls, no carbon tax, a neoliberal government that has reduced the previous government’s emissions trading scheme to meaninglessness. This is the bare faced open market response. And these plants were all a sunk cost, they’ve just been killed by hydro, geo, and wind (no solar to mention). And there’s no lack of gas or coal. Our state owned coal has just gone bust because no one is buying the stuff…
    The article shows a full 10% of the nation’s output is closing down. We are on the road from 80% renewable to 90%.
    This is a small country with some specific advantages but compared to Europe absolutely no chance to import or export surpluses or cover for ‘dry’ years because of isolation. No batteries of scale, except the hydro, and all the generators with hydro have built wind farms to take advantage of this balancing option.

    But the real point is it that if opex and capex are correctly calculated it is already the case that renewables can outperform FF, (free fuel!). And for the future health of your economy if this is not yet the case in your country you should apply incentives to get this process to scale.

    • New Zealand is a little different isn’t it? Lots of mountains and rain? What fraction of NZ electric energy is solar and wind (in kWh per year)?

  47. Ronald Walter says:

    http://www.bnsf.com/about-bnsf/financial-information/weekly-carload-reports/

    BNSF week 33 of 2015 has approximately 1600 fewer petroleum cars hauled. Also, the report has coal consumption on the increase with about 4500 more carloads in week 33 of 2015 than week 33 of 2014 and approximately 40,000 more year to date.

    Warren Buffett will bawl like a baby if coal use is threatened in any way. The world will end.

    The EPA is blowing smoke like a smokestack at a coal-fired power plant when consumption is increasing.

    A diesel fueled tractor trailer to haul those wind turbine blades to the location is what you have to have and a power plant generating electricity for all of the employees of the industry and related industries. Gotta have it, no other way.

    No electricity and the world goes totally insane. You can get by without using any gas for a day, maybe two, but no electricity and the whole shootin’ match goes up in smoke like Washington State.

    You use gasoline, what, maybe one hour or two each day, the other 22 or 23 hours, you’re using electricity each and every second. When the power goes out, it’s bad, real bad.

    You need everything in post-modern life to make a wind turbine fall apart or maybe burn down after three years of operation.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Warren Buffett will bawl like a baby if coal use is threatened in any way. The world will end.

      If that is true then maybe he like all the people who keep promoting BAU need to be hit upside the head with a couple of new disruptive bricks…

      https://goo.gl/YwWJqY

      Imagine a world where bricks are grown instead of fired: this is the world architect-turn-scientist Ginger Krieg Dosier lives every day. Ginger strives to create an alternate building block that will craft a more sustainable future for the construction industry and in turn help to lower the world’s ecological footprint.

      Not firing bricks should add just a few more nails to the fossil fuel coffin! Especial the use of coal in China.

      • Ronald Walter says:

        Ya, but if the bricks need to be glazed, you’ll still need the kiln.

        How about Murano glass, can’t print glass.

        The plane is going to crash into the mountain.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Sure and I agree with all of the above!

          Where I see things differently is that there are alternative processes available now that could significantly reduce the impact of things like traditional brick making.

          No one is suggesting that this is an all or nothing proposition. Same with all of the other alternatives we talk about on this forum. Quite frankly I have a difficult time understanding the world view of people who argue alternatives won’t work because they can’t fully 100% replace and old or established way of doing something immediately. To me, this kind of framing just comes across being perpetually stuck in a one note Samba from the past!

          I just don’t see the world in pure black and white. There are thousands of shades of grey… and the histogram of options is constantly shifting throughout that spectrum.

          And please spare me the ‘Oh this will never work refrain’, Who knows, maybe we will find that either we don’t really need glazing, there are alternatives to that as well, and if we make substitutions in other areas we might be able to afford using traditional methods for a little glazing here and there.

          All in all it’s just another brick in the wall! 🙂

          As for printing glass, of course you can!
          http://www.gizmag.com/solar-sinter-3d-printer/19046/
          Solar-Sinter 3D printer creates glass objects from sun and sand

          Make sure you don’t let someone else pack your parachute!
          BIG GRIN!

          • Ronald Walter says:

            Forego the glazing and stick with marble and granite.

            Wind charger to battery storage is a viable option and I hope it happens in the future, it needs time and not be an imposition.

            Wind turbines with giant blades are an ecological disaster, from start to finish, and the disaster never stops after they’re finished. They might work for a period of time, but not forever, there is no free lunch. Raptors are being slaughtered, an acceptable collateral damage.

            Photovoltaics do work, passive solar for a heat source does work. Looks like a free lunch, but it’s not.

            The march is on to oil scarcity, never stops.

            • Fred Magyar says:

              The march is on to oil scarcity, never stops.

              And it’s bloody expensive as well!

              http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2015/wp15105.pdf

              IMF: ‘True cost’ of fossil fuels is $5.3 trillion a year

              V. CONCLUSIONS
              Global post-tax energy subsidies—after incorporating the most recent estimates of the environmental damage from energy consumption—are substantially higher than previously estimated. The estimate for 2011—at $4.2 trillion (5.8 percent of global GDP)—is more than double the amount reported by Clements and others (2013). The estimate grows to $4.9 trillion (6.5 percent of global GDP) in 2013 and is projected to remain high at $5.3 trillion (6.5 percent of global GDP) in 2015 despite the large drop in international energy prices. This trend suggests that energy subsidy reform is as urgent as ever, in particular to tackle the un-priced externalities from energy consumption. Low international energy prices provide a window of opportunity for countries to eliminate pre-tax subsidies and raise energy taxes as the public opposition to reform is likely to be somewhat more
              muted.

              Perhaps the IMF has been taken over by Greenies, Hippies, Warmists and Communists… Oh, and BTW, a TRILLION is a pretty darn big number!

              • Boomer II says:

                In essence these have been the discussions here:

                1. You’ve got energy conservation and efficiency.

                2. You’ve got alternative cleaner energy.

                3. You’ve got alternative dirtier energy.

                4. You’ve got nothing.

                Since this is a peak oil forum, pretty much no one has been saying that oil will never run out. And we don’t have too many people here saying coal will save us.

                I don’t buy into the “you’ve got nothing” scenario because I think humans will survive, even if their lifestyles change drastically.

                I think the energy conservation and efficiency is something we should be doing anyway. No need to waste energy.

                The alternative clean energy is something I think we should be pursuing, even some of those experiments don’t work as planned. We’ll learn something in the process.

                I think going back to more dirty energy is a mistake; heavy pollution is not healthy. I’d rather see a simpler lifestyle than to see BAU propped up with unbreathable air and other damages.

              • “after incorporating the most recent estimates of the environmental damage from energy consumption”

                That quote tells me the IMF is full of cow patties.

            • Nick G says:

              wind turbines with giant blades are an ecological disaster,

              Ron, that’s highly unrealistic. The impact of wind turbines on birds and bats is tiny, overall. Sure, you can find a few problems, but seriously?

              If you really care about birds, then start campaigning to eliminate feral and free-range house cats: they kill thousands of times more birds than wind turbines ever will.

          • scrub puller says:

            Yair . . .

            FRED MAGYAR

            A small hi-def camera on the outside and a LED big screen on the inside works well to maintain a shipping containers integrity . . . just a small hole for the wires.

            Cheers.

      • TechGuy says:

        Fred wrote:
        “Not firing bricks should add just a few more nails to the fossil fuel coffin! Especial the use of coal in China.”

        Fred, have you ever heard the phrase: “Don’t count your chickens until the hatch”. Just because someone is researching a replacement Tech does not mean it will become an economic success. Probably only about 1 in 1000 research projects results in successful product.
        Failure examples:
        Fusion, The power source that is “alway” just a short 30 years away
        Fuel cells and th Hydrogen economy
        BioFuels

        I have no doubt that PV and Wind will be added to the “FAIL” list in the not too distant future.

        • Don Wharton says:

          I have no doubt that PV and Wind will be added to the “FAIL” list in the not too distant future.

          No way. They will be the major replacement for fossil fuels. Bulk purchases of PV modules at $0.50 per peak watt is an incredibly low cost. And people are targeting $100 per KWH battery storage. I think they will have that is much less than 10 years.

          • TechGuy says:

            Don Wrote:
            “No way. They will be the major replacement for fossil fuels. Bulk purchases of PV modules at $0.50 per peak watt is an incredibly low cost. And people are targeting $100 per KWH battery storage. I think they will have that is much less than 10 years.”

            I very much doubt PVs will become a major replacement for fossil fuels. They are too expensive, even at $0.50 per watt. With the exception of a few areas, most places in North America receive about 5.5 hours of nameplate output per day (convolution of Solar cycle curve over entire year). During winter months, snow would have to be cleared from panels, and battery tech is still very dismal and very expensive. All batteries still have a limited number of charges before the degrade and eventually fail. All utility scale PV or Wind system are backed by NatGas power plants. There are no multiple Gwh battery system in operation. As discussed the only viable energy storage solution is pumped water storage, but that too has its problems as the majority of water is already allocated (human and agra. consumption). More than 1/3 of US agraculture now is dependent of ground water at least for some periods of the growing season due to lack of sufficient surface fresh water. Also a lot of areas that would be suitable for pumped storage systems are already developed for other uses.

            “If you don’t have a grid, and if you are having to haul in expensive fuel to run generators, then renewable energy can be your cheapest solution.”
            Most people cannot afford off-grid systems. Those that do live off grid usually can only afford tiny systems, and likely use wood or fossil fuels for heating and hot water, and have a backup generator used for overcast days. For the average city dweller living in a high rise building go self-installed solar isn’t a option.

            Will there be people using solar: yes. Most of them are not poor and have steady jobs to afford the cost and/or have an interest in Tech.
            At this time Solar isn’t competitive with the grid, and when the cost of electricity provided by the grid is competitive (as grid costs rise) there will be fewer jobs as the economy declines. Besides a energy crisis, the labor market is declining from the debt bubble, increasing automation (resulting if labor force reductions) and increased outsourcing overseas.

            What I mean by success is to displace fossil fuel consumption by more than 20% of the economy. Enough where it would make a significant impact in the economy. Its very easy to replace a tiny amount of cheap resources with a more complex and expensive system, it gets much harder down the road, just like climbing a mountain. The first few steps up are easy, but become significantly more challenging when you face mountain cliff faces. In my opinion most people look at first steps and assume an easy pace can be maintained until the end. Nothing is ever simple as it seems, especially if you do not grasp all of the technical complexities.

            “No, they won’t because they are already a success. In some places in the world they are currently the best electricity solution.”

            Not really, there are no industrial plants powered by solar or wind. In the grand scheme, there are very few business that have adopted PV system (mostly to get long term tax breaks for high margin businesses). They are not install PV systems because the cost is lower. States that don’t offer rosy incentives have very few “significant sized” PV installations.

            The long term economics trump hype and unrealistic expectations.

            Boomer Wrote:
            “Even 15 years ago, co-op utilities were installing solar in rural ranches because that was cheaper than running electric lines out to them.”

            Not really, I am pretty sure these were all subsidized as experiments by the gov’t, unless the property owner has deep pockets and this is a pet\hobby project for them.

            As fas a nationwide grid tide system, It very unlikely to happen. The grid become unstable when intermittent power system exceed about 7%. To make the Grid able to cope with substantially more intermittent power, Trillions would need to be invested,but the US is dead broke, and will soon be spending enormous amounts of money on promised entitlements as Boomers retire at more than 10,000 per day.

            Already US utilities are seeing revenue declines as people and business cut consumption (conservation). Much higher revenues would be need to increase grid infrastructure investment required. In the US, business and consumers have reacted to higher energy costs with conservation, and will continue to do so rather than invest in PV or other renewable electricity systems.Will there be a few: (which I am sure you will pounce on) yes, but not the majority will go PV.

            • Don Wharton says:

              Tech guy, get a grip man. I heard a radio report yesterday that PV was up 72% year over year. Reality is steamrolling over your wall of ill founded pessimism. I haven’t confirmed that number but it makes for a very excellent exponential growth rate. Germany is already dealing quite well with over 50% renewable energy on given peak days. A good engineering attitude can go a long way toward solving problems at very reasonable cost points. My guess is that California will also do very well as they integrate much higher levels of renewable energy.

        • Boomer II says:

          I have no doubt that PV and Wind will be added to the “FAIL” list in the not too distant future.

          No, they won’t because they are already a success. In some places in the world they are currently the best electricity solution. If you don’t have a grid, and if you are having to haul in expensive fuel to run generators, then renewable energy can be your cheapest solution.

          Even 15 years ago, co-op utilities were installing solar in rural ranches because that was cheaper than running electric lines out to them.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          I have no doubt that PV and Wind will be added to the “FAIL” list in the not too distant future.

          Could be, but here’s my take…

          Don’t hold funerals for your chickens before they actually die!

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      I heard a big Canadian refinery was not accepting Bakken oil anymore, so those carloads are gone. Loss of about 100,000 barrels a day exported. Oil from overseas is apparently cheaper.

      Electricity can be made from solar, wind, hydro, natural gas and nuclear. Coal is not the only way to make electricity. I can even make electricity at home.

  48. AlexS says:

    Optimistic oil price forecast by Rystad Energy:

    A Brent price as low as 50 USD/bbl is not sustainable beyond 2016

    August 27, 2015
    http://www.rystadenergy.com/AboutUs/NewsCenter/PressReleases/a-brent-price-as-low-as-50-usd-bbl-is-not-sustainable-beyond-2016

    Due to a lack of growth in North American shale production and increased decline in mature fields, a Brent price as low as 50 USD/bbl is not sustainable beyond 2016, shows recent oil market research undertaken by Rystad Energy.
    Around ten thousand shale wells would need to be drilled each year in order to keep North American shale production flat. Assuming balanced cash flows, costs would need to be decreased by 20% in 2015 vs 2014 at a price of 50 USD/bbl to drill those wells according to conducted well-by-well breakeven modelling.
    While 70 USD/bbl is likely too high an average price for 2016, it is too low an average price beyond 2017 as the additional effect of non-sanctioning of projects reduces the global supply potential longer term.
    “Our current market view is neutral to bearish in the short-term as we see a production floor at 30 USD/bbl. At such a low price, the supply response in US shale production coupled with already visible drops in infill drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and North Sea will be so severe that the price cannot remain that low for long,” says Nadia Martin, Senior Analyst at Rystad Energy.
    Although the oil market is currently well-supplied and oil stocks remain high, Rystad Energy remains bullish in the longer term, with foreseeable price spikes for Brent already in 2016. The current futures curve is trading too low for marginal producers to hedge their future production.

    Global liquids supply and demand (million bbl/d)

    • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

      It’s curious that the oil price/dollar relationship has changed recently, including today, with oil prices up this morning, and with the dollar, relative to the Euro, also up this morning.

      • Watcher says:

        The big dollar move from last summer established pressure. Not a level correlation.

        And it’s all especially important when all the world is running around trying to determine things like breakeven and fiscal budget pressures. The QE precedent was pretty powerful stuff when it comes to undermining acceptance of and respect for money as a yardstick by which to measure things.

        Seriously, look at how it’s playing. Borrowed money is created money (fractional reserve banking doesn’t require a bank to have all that money on deposit, just up to the bank’s money reserves reqmt) and that’s what’s paying for getting oil out of the ground and doing so at low interest rates. When you can effortlessly create in huge quantities the supposed measure of energy investment for the energy out obtained, clearly it’s not a valid measurement anymore.

      • SAWDUST says:

        US equities have bounced and are currently in the green on the week. Dollar bounced with equity bounce. Anything that is positive for US equities is negative for the Euro and Yen. BOJ and ECB have a lot of interests in keeping US equities from falling as falling US equities puts upward pressure on both the Euro and Yen. Oil looks to have detached itself from currency moves.

        I don’t think we will see the bottom in oil price until somebody’s production comes offline. We have to find the price at which somebody either shuts down or cuts back before we get a bottom in price. We are not there yet.

        With the way it is being financed as long as loans continue to be made and HY bonds are continued to be issued this could go on until they run out of places to drill holes in the ground.

        • SAWDUST says:

          I read 96% of all jobs gained during the so called recovery since 2008 were either directly or indirectly linked to shale oil. If that number is anywhere near accurate shale oil can’t be allowed to go under. So if shale oil production just isn’t going under regardless of price then the question is who’s will?

          Maybe nobody’s production comes offline and we slowly deplete our way to a higher price over time.

      • Heinrich Leopold says:

        Jeffrey,

        My guess is that the USD is treated as a commodity currency. The big underlying trend has been that the high yield bond market collapsed with a lower oil price. Usually the US economy always benefits from a lower oil price, yet not this time.

  49. Dennis wrote:
    Hi Jean,

    Have you read David Hughes analysis? It can be downloaded at the link below:

    http://www.postcarbon.org/publications/drillingdeeper/

    Hughes estimate for the Bakken/Three Forks is 7 Gb, with the possibility (under more optimistic assumptions) of 9 Gb.

    Hughes analysis seems pretty sound and the USGS analysis also seems reasonable (11 Gb), the mean of these two would be about 9 Gb. A lot depends on future oil prices, but I expect these will rise eventually.

    Jean Replies
    of course I have read David good paper few months ago
    his likely forecast is around 7 Gb for Bakken assuming a total number of 32 000 producing wells

    it is a reliable estimate but for me it is not the best way?
    David uses the number of wells to forecast ultimate but ignores to extrapolate the past production

    The highest US oil ultimate was 590 Gb by Zapp USGS 1961 as found in Cleveland et al Energy Journal 01956574 1991 vol 12, issue 2

    Zapp was using also the number of wells as described by David Strahan in his book of 2001
    The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man

    Hubbert argued about Zapp hypothesis as indicated in this USGS 1979 report
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1193/report.pdf
    Resources for the twenty-first century 1979

    It is why I have doubt about David’s slow decline in his likely forecast from 2015 to 2030

    Dennis did you read my 2000 paper about USGS?
    I visited them in September 1998 in Reston and Denver where I presented my views, I was retired but my trip was paid by IEA

    The problem with geologists with USGS and GSC is that they are not involved in exploration, in selecting wildcats in estimating reserves before and after discovery
    In brief most are never drilled a dry hole
    To improve you need to have failures
    When active I am proud to have participated in many dry holes, but also in some giants

    best regards
    jean

     photo Jean 9_zpszm5jbuz8.jpg

     photo Jean 10_zpsjppnpmiv.jpg

     photo Jean 11_zps0fhhihio.jpg

     photo Jean 12_zpsrf9qb2wt.jpg

     photo Jean 13_zpsrfujzi4f.jpg

    • coffeeguyzz says:

      Mr. Patterson

      As per your above chart from Mr. Hughes’ ‘Drilling Deeper’, the parameter is based on ‘three wells per square mile’.
      This gets to the heart of what I was discussing with Dennis several months back in referring to Mr. Hughes’ methodology.
      The section on the Bakken is a quick read and highly recommended, IMHO. The Bakken wells are TWO miles long, as a rule, and ‘per sq. mile’ parameters seem ill- fitted, so to speak.
      Mr. Hughes took a number, 12,000+ sq. miles, multiplied by three (3/sq. mile), knocked off 20% as being ‘undrillable’ (beneath lakes, rivers, parks, etc. … a quick look at the ND DMR Gis map shows the error of that assumption), and concluded with a number of 32,000 probable wells drilled.

      Highly doubtful assumption to many who follow these matters.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Coffeguyz,

        The change from 29,000 to 36,000 wells does not change things very much. The TRR would increase from 7.1 to 7.7 Gb, when the economic assumptions are added, the difference becomes smaller because most of the extra 7000 wells would be low output wells that would not be profitable unless very high oil prices are assumed (over $300/b).

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Jean,

      Could you explain why the EIA’s reported proven reserves for North Dakota are so high?

      There has been about 3 Gb of C+C produced in North Dakota by year end 2014 and proven reserves are about 5.7 Gb for a total of 8.7 Gb. You propose a North Dakota C+C URR of 5.2 Gb.

      In the past you have also argued that we should use 2P reserves rather than proved reserves.

      For North Dakota 2P reserves are likely to be at least 40% higher than proved reserves so
      North Dakota 2 P reserves are 5.7*1.4=8 Gb, when we add cumulative production of 3 Gb we get a URR of 11 Gb for ND C+C if no new discoveries or reserve growth occurs. This corresponds with a North Dakota Bakken Three/Forks URR of about 9 Gb. David Hughes estimate is indeed quite conservative for his “realistic” case.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        In order to get the average Bakken well (EUR=330 kb) to match with a 5 Gb URR for the ND Bakken, the new well EUR must decrease at a 30% annual rate if we assume a gradual increase over 12 months starting in June 2015. It assumed that a total of 27,500 wells are added in this case.

        A spreadsheet can be downloaded at the link below that allows different rates of EUR decrease to be tried along with different rates of well additions and the number of total wells.

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4nArV09d398Y2VnV3E2bDBQc28/view?usp=sharing

        For the chart below I used 0.3 as the maximum annual rate of EUR decrease(30%), 140 new wells, and 36 future months wells are added (after 6/2013) for a total of 11,588 wells. Change cell C12 to 36 in “EUR Decrease” sheet. The TRR is 3.7 Gb and the June 2015 average new well EUR is 320 kb and decreases to 285 kb by May 2016 when the last well is added. I do not think this scenario is realistic, just trying to match a 3 to 4 Gb URR.

      • Jean Laherrere replies:

        Ron
        thanks but some text is missing

        Sorry Jean, I thought I had it all. The below is the missing text:

        It is obvious that Zapp was wrong, David Hughes can be right but he should try another way to estimate Bakken ultimate and how to forecast the decline
        The number of producing wells has peaked in Montana with two peaks one in 2007 (Elm Coulee) and another one now with Elm Coulee North and Northeast
        It is obvious that the decline after the 2007 peak is almost symmetrical despite the increase of wells
        the productivity per well is also symmetrical
        also the graph from USGS 1979

        End of missing text:

        Dennis asks
        Dennis Coyne says:
        08/27/2015 AT 12:13 PM
        Hi Jean,

        Could you explain why the EIA’s reported proven reserves for North Dakota are so high?

        EIA does not estimate reserves they report what they get but select what they want
        you should ask why is EIA reporting high proven reserves?
        the answer is what I said for years:
        <

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Jean,

          Looking at actual output data from the NDIC, which David Hughes and I have done, it is clear that the well profile of the average Bakken/Three Forks well from 2008 to 2014 suggests an EUR of approximately 320 kb over 20 years if we assume the average well is abandoned at 10 b/d.

          Since Dec 2007 about 9700 wells have been added in the ND Bakken/Three Forks and cumulative output was only 55 Mb at that point (0.06 Gb).

          Data from 2013 and 2014 suggests that early output from recent wells has been higher, but we will assume the EUR has remained at previous levels due to faster decline rates in the future. URR would be EUR(0.32 Gb) times number of wells completed (9700 wells) or 9700*0.32= 3.1 Gb.

          The Zapp hypothesis assumes that there are no sweet spots and that the EUR of the average well will remain fixed, Hughes makes no such assumption.
          If he did then he would assume the 21 800 wells added after June 2015 (total of 32000 wells) would add another 7 Gb (21 800*0.32) to the 3.1 Gb from wells already completed for a total of 10.1 Gb for his “realistic” case.

          Clearly he assumes that the average EUR of wells added after June 2015 will be lower because the well productivity (EUR) of the average well will decrease as the sweet spots are fully drilled and less productive areas are drilled.

          Based on his 7 Gb estimate and 21 800 wells drilled after June 2015, about 3.9 Gb of output will result from those wells. The average EUR in his model for those later wells is 3900/21 800=0.178 Mb=178 kb.

          In Hughes low well density scenario (2 wells per square mile) there are only 15,300 new wells added after June 2015 (Total of 25,500 wells) with a URR of 5.7 Gb, with 3.1 Gb coming from wells already drilled. The output added from the additional 15,300 wells is 2.6 Gb, so in this case the average EUR of wells added after June 2015 is 2600/15,300=0.17 Gb=170 kb.

          A URR of 3 Gb for the North Dakota Bakken/Three Forks would imply no more wells are completed after June 2015.

          The symmetric nature of the Montana Bakken was due to an increase in the completion rate and then a decrease in the completion rate.

          Perhaps the same will happen in North Dakota, the future is hard to predict.

          Your estimate for 5 Gb (in your paper) seems much more reasonable than the 3 Gb estimate. Also in your paper there are many instances of output vs time (year) where the graph is far from symmetrical. The decline will depend on geology, technology, and economic factors (primarily the price of oil), the rate of well completion in the future is unknown and so is the future rate of decrease in new well productivity(EUR).

          If total wells drilled are:
          10,200 wells, URR= 3 Gb,
          20,000 wells, URR=6 Gb
          30,000 wells URR= 7 Gb
          40,000 wells URR= 8 Gb.

          This assumes 140 new wells per month are added each month after June 2015 until the total number of wells is reached and that new well EUR starts to decrease in July 2015 and reaches a maximum rate of EUR decrease of 10%/year in June 2016. The new well EUR in June 2015 is 336 kb.

          The scenarios are clearly speculative, we don’t know if 140 new wells per month will be added in the future and we don’t know the future rate of decrease of new well EUR. I do think we can reasonably expect at least a 6 Gb URR for the North Dakota Bakken/Three Forks (David Hughes estimate) and possibly as much as 9 Gb if the USGS mean TRR estimate is correct and oil prices rise to $151/b or higher by 2021 and remain at that level or higher until 2051. The 9 Gb scenario would require a lower maximum EUR annual rate of decrease of 5% (same start date with maximum reached 12 months later in June 2016) and a total of 33,850 wells. Oil prices rise by 19.6%/year starting in Jan 2016 at $65/b (2015$) and level off in Oct 2020 at $151/b (2015$).

          Link to spreadsheet below:

          https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4nArV09d398eXFOSlB1endJWkU/view?usp=sharing

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Jean,

          It seems what you have been saying for many years is that the proven reserves reported by the EIA are too low and that 2P reserves should be reported instead (I agree the F50 estimate would be best). Are you now of the opinion that the proven reserves reported by the EIA are too high?

          In the past you have used this to argue that there is no reserve growth in the US, the apparent reserve growth is an artifact of reporting 1P reserves instead of 2P reserves. What do you think the 2P reserves are at your most recent estimate (maybe from 2010 or so) for the United States (or cumulative discoveries)? I do not have access to the technical data you have used for your estimates.

  50. ezrydermike says:

    I came across this journal today. Looks like it might be a good one to bookmark.

    The Journal of Cleaner Production serves as a transdisciplinary, international forum for the exchange of information and research concepts, policies, and technologies designed to help ensure progress towards making societies and regions more sustainable. It aims to encourage innovation and creativity, new and improved products, and the implementation of new, cleaner structures, systems, processes, products and services. It is also designed to stimulate the development and implementation of prevention oriented governmental policies and educational programmes.

    Cleaner production is a concept that goes beyond simple pollution control. It involves active research and development into new structures, systems, processes, materials and products that are more resource and energy efficient, whilst engaging and empowering people. Such approaches have become necessary for businesses, institutions, governments, and civil society to ensure ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable, consumption.

    http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-cleaner-production

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Cleaner production is a concept that goes beyond simple pollution control. It involves active research and development into new structures, systems, processes, materials and products that are more resource and energy efficient, whilst engaging and empowering people. Such approaches have become necessary for businesses, institutions, governments, and civil society to ensure ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable, consumption.

      I’m certainly in favor of empowering people and by people! Here’s a list of some worthwhile projects that do exactly that:

      http://bfi.org/dymaxion-forum/2015/08/semi-finalists-announced-2015-fuller-challenge

    • Nick G says:

      “This is a glimpse into what we can expect down the line, where we have cars with the performance of supercars and the comfort, convenience and safety features of a luxury car while still being extremely energy efficient,” Jake Fisher, the magazine’s head of automotive testing, said in an interview. “We haven’t seen all those things before.”
      Based on the P85D’s scores, Consumer Reports had to reassess how much to weigh things like acceleration, where the Tesla is as much as twice as quick as other vehicles, Fisher said.
      “Once you start getting so ridiculously fast, so ridiculously energy efficient, it didn’t make sense to go linear on those terms anymore,” he said.”

      Nice.

      This is a good example of how eliminating oil not only is not a sacrifice, it makes things better.

      • So how much did they weigh acceleration? And how did they arrive at energy efficiency? That depends on what was used to charge the batteries.

        • Nick G says:

          Not as much as you’d think. EVs can charge when wind, sun and nuclear are available. Especially a Tesla, which only needs to charge once per week to handle the average driver’s mileage.

  51. islandboy says:

    Did German renewables just peak above 80% of demand?

    On Sunday, a new record level of renewable power was probably posted in Germany. The devil is in the detail, however.

    This week, several reports are in circulation about a probable new record high share of renewable electricity reached for a couple of hours on Sunday at around noon. Before we focus on the incongruent bits, let’s have a look at the data and visualizations.

  52. AlexS says:

    WTI for October delivery up 10.3% percent, to $42.6/bbl. Brent up 9.6%, to $47.3

    • Toolpush says:

      Alex,

      Shallow shut down one lease and threatened more. The market listened and got scared, and up the price went.
      Never under estimate the power of the people that contribute here!

      Smiles.

      • AlexS says:

        We could make big bucks with a help from Shallow

        🙂

        • shallow sand says:

          Funny! Thing is, it was 3, not one, so don’t under sell it.

          To add to the humor, the EIA took notice and the west side of the building reported a 5 bbl per day drop in US production while the east side at the EIA said it was 3.3 bbl per day US drop. Somehow, the IEA decided the result was a 2.2 barrel per day increase due to efficiencies. Bloomberg reported that 3 wells were capped, CNBC said three rigs pumping for oil were removed from the field, and lastly Goldman Sachs doesnt understand why we did it as our half cycle costs reportedly had dropped under $8 per barrel because we hammered the electric co-op into giving us free juice till 2017. LOL. Need humor now and then. Thanks guys!!

  53. AlexS says:

    EIA’s US C+C production estimate for the week ended August 21st: 9337 kb/d, down 11kb/d from previous week and -267 kb/d from the peak in early July.
    The estimated average production for the first 3 weeks of the month: 9360kb/d.
    The EIA’s forecast for August in the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook: 9222 kb/d

    U.S. C+C production: EIA weekly vs. monthly data vs. STEO forecast

    • Enno says:

      Thanks Alex,

      What is surprising in this chart is that it looks as if the weekly data is lagging the monthly data, while you would expect the reverse. It peaks later, and it drops later. Could it be that the weekly data is mostly deduced from inventory data somewhat removed from the source, and therefore actually lags production data, and by the looks of it with several weeks?

      • AlexS says:

        Enno,

        I also think that weekly data is derived from inventory, exports, imports and refinery input data. And historical weekly numbers are never revised.
        Monthly numbers are issued with two-months delay, based on reports by state-level agencies and “fine-tuned” by the EIA experts. These numbers are revised several times in later monthly reports, so they are more accurate.
        The EIA periodically changes its methodology for calculating monthly numbers (particularly adjusting data they get from the Texas RRC). And they also made a one-time adjustment to their weekly data, which explains the jump in May.
        Monthly numbers in the STEO (green) for June, July and August are a forecast.

  54. islandboy says:

    San Diego’s Demand for Solar Energy Skyrockets

    As a result of Assembly Bill 327, passed in 2014, the rules of solar will be changing for future investors of renewable energy in California. There is a maximum capacity of solar that can be installed by property owners under current favorable conditions in each of the state’s investor-owned utility territories, and San Diego Gas and Electric will be the first to hit its cap.

    The billing arrangement that provides solar owners full retail credit for the energy they put on the grid, called net energy metering, is ending. Property owners who install a solar energy system prior to the cap being hit will receive 20-years of grandfathering protections under the current attractive full-retail credit program.

    “We have never seen such a great demand for solar in the eleven years we have been operating in San Diego,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power, whose company far exceeded 2015 projections even in early winter months.

    Industry experts suggest that the cap for net-energy metering will be hit sometime between December of this year and early 2016. In order for property owners to get grandfathered in to current rules, their projects must be installed and energized.

    I dunno. It would be nice if someone with the mathematical modeling skills could come up with some models to predict when all these solar energy installations and EVs might start to make a material difference to oil and/or gas demand. Unfortunately I don’t have the chops for it.

    • Nick G says:

      A fascinating question is: how much diesel (or fuel oil) is used around the world to generate power? I’ve seen estimates of as much as 10% of current overall oil consumption. That includes utilities as well as customer sites. It includes places like KSA, Japan, India, China, Chile, Jamaica, Hawaii, etc., etc.

      And, how much of that will be replaced by solar in the near future? PV is a lot cheaper than fuel, even at today’s oil prices. You can get a very high $ROI by installing PV and retaining your diesel generation for off times and days. Tesla Powerwalls to cover more of the day’s power needs will also pay for themselves in many places around the world, even if not in the US lower 48.

      How much is PV reducing oil consumption??

      • MarbleZeppelin says:

        Every ship, almost every car, truck, bus, aircraft and many railroad locomotives generate their own electric power from oil products. The militaries around the world use portable generation, construction sites use portable generation. These may add up to a significant amount of fuel use, I don’t think anyone has tallied it.

        The world bank produced a list of percentages of electrical power produced by oil, listed by country.
        http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.ELC.PETR.ZS

    • MarbleZeppelin says:

      Solar and wind energy are already having a material effect on the energy system that is why there are now so many political moves pushed by grid power companies to slow or stop the increase of renewable power. They see their profits threatened by efficiency and alternative energy and are fighting back. The “war on coal” slogan says it. Next it will be “the war on the grid”.

      EV’s and hybrids are just the next step in efficiency and alternative power use.
      All of this is the result of knowledge that depletion of fossil fuels is occurring and climate change is driven by fossil fuels.
      At this point, making models of renewable energy growth and of EV/hybrid production is absolutely a waste of time and a meaningless pursuit. It is dependent upon entrenched business attitudes and politics, basically human action at the higher economic and power levels. That means the progress of renewable energy and alternate energy transport is almost completely in the hands of those who have reason to slow or stop it. I say almost because energy depletion and climate change have produced political groups and some real economic problems which drive efficiency and alternate energy forward. Still, the human/greed/corporate/political components are too conflated with the logical progress of these alternatives to produce valid models of their growth.
      Many of us hope for growth and vote with our wallets and actions to promote the growth of these new alternative technologies but the sad fact is, like climate change mitigations, there are many powerful and negative forces aligning against their use instead of integrating them into our systems and society.
      Disruptive technologies facing counter-disruptive businesses and politics.

      • Boomer II says:

        That means the progress of renewable energy and alternate energy transport is almost completely in the hands of those who have reason to slow or stop it.

        At some point, those making money from renewable energy and alternative energy transport will overpower those opposing and things will likely move faster.

        You can see signs. You’ve got Tea Party types hoping to change laws in Florida. You’ve got a Goldwater selling solar in Arizona.

        Silicon Valley tried to get into renewable energy in the past, but some investors have thrown their support at technologies that weren’t going to work, so they have gone back in forth with their investments. I don’t think renewable and alternative technology companies necessarily lend themselves to venture capital support because they are more of a long-haul business. But when companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft can see savings to themselves by finding ways to lower their energy costs, then investments get made, which is happening now.

        I would say that in general distributed power generation lends itself to libertarian politics because it is less likely to be dominated by a few companies and individuals.

    • old farmer mac says:

      Wind is already making a major contribution towards reducing OVERALL fossil fuel demand in the USA, generating about five percent of our electrical energy in combination with solar.

      BUT PARADOXICALLY, wind sometimes actually DECREASES the percentage of gas used in some localities. In Texas for instance , gas has historically been used to a greater extent than wind, but in recent years with the big new wave of wind energy on the Texas grid has actually resulted in coal now being used to a slightly larger extent percentage wise than gas.

      This is because gas is DISPLACED more easily than coal. Gas is thus used LESS. The combined consumption of gas and coal is also less.

      Gas plants are MUCH BETTER suited to load balancing wind and solar generation than coal fired plants.

      I have no way of computing how much gas and coal are being saved annually in the USA due to wind and solar ALREADY but my guess is that we are saving at LEAST eighty percent of that five percent- meaning four percent combined of coal and gas.

      This allows a very generous twenty percent ( one percent of the five saved by wind and solar ) for coal and gas burnt to maintain the necessary additional hot spinning reserve needed due to having a lot of wind and solar on the grid.

      Tracking down the amount of coal and gas saved by having wind and solar power is a tough nut, but with weather forecasting getting better the need for additional hot spinning reserve is gradually declining.

      Any engineer working in electric utility operations or any bean counter in electricity utility management should be able to come up with a good answer in a few minutes but by Sky Daddy none of them are talking publicly so far as I can tell.

      The argument that this additional coal use IN TEXAS results in MORE pollution is BULLSHIT because the DISPLACED gas is still produced and sold – and burnt in OTHER places to generate electricity just the same.

      ANY gas saved by means of wind and solar generation can be used for lots of other purposes such as heating and chemical feedstocks.

      OIL WILL spike sharply up eventually and STAY up barring the world economy being bedridden – or until the time comes when renewables can mostly REPLACE oil.

      That time is a LONG way off , at least three or four decades in the opinion of everybody except the most optimistic of the technocopians.

      Personally I think plug in and plug in hybrid cars will have at least ten percent market share within a decade.

      By then they will be making a significant contribution to reduced oil consumption.

      So far I have not been able to locate a single JUNKED or dirt cheap Prius or Chevy Volt. The only ones taken off the road are the ones badly damaged in accidents. That tells me something. They are going to LAST.

    • Electric vehicles are inconsequential. Electricity generation doesn’t use oil products in the USA. Gas consumption is increasing because it displaces coal. I think the answer at this point is that heavily subsidized roof top solar in San Diego is like a nano contributor to world energy supply.

  55. ngass says:

    There are 487 comments so far and mostly on renewable energy, in particular on PV and EV but also unrelated topics on fertility rates of women, military dictatorships in South America, communism. If there is an occasional comments on oil, people force the topic is back to renewable energy. This is the case for all blogs throughout the year. There are oil experts on this panel but how many experts are there in renewable energies? If there are some why not opening another blog on this topic. If one wants to read about population growth or other topics one can consult wikipedia.

    It is frustrating to scroll though hundreds of comments just to find some on oil.

    • Nick G says:

      Maybe I should let Ron say this, but clearly he wants this blog to include topics such as “renewable energy, in particular on PV and EV but also unrelated topics on fertility rates of women”.

      The comments have been replies to his questions and comments on these topics.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Have you ever bothered to look at the topics this blog addresses right at the top of the page?

      PEAK OIL BARREL

      THE REPORTED DEATH OF PEAK OIL HAS BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED

      HOME
      ENERGY AND HUMAN EVOLUTION
      NON-OPEC CHARTS
      OF FOSSIL FUELS AND HUMAN DESTINY
      OPEC CHARTS
      THE COMPETITIVE EXCLUSION PRINCIPLE
      THE GRAND ILLUSION
      WHAT IS PEAK OIL?
      WORLD CRUDE OIL EXPORTS
      WORLD OIL YEARLY PRODUCTION CHARTS

      I think you could include EVs etc under some of that.

      • MarbleZeppelin says:

        Best to leave this one to Ron. The person is feeling inconvenienced that everything is not as he wants it.

    • HR says:

      Yes, this is an issue. There are only a handful of guys here swapping oil knowledge and you have to scroll through five hundred posts of ev’s going to the moon to find them. I just scroll right thru the environmental stuff. It’s very frustrating and I actually like all the green energy stuff. It is what it is I guess.
      I would imagine that Ron never guessed there would be so many people commenting. The only solution is to have a forum where the environmental people can swap their news links about batteries and the Nissan Leaf and another forum to talk oil.

      • AlexS says:

        “The only solution is to have a forum where the environmental people can swap their news …”

        separate thread “Renewables, EVs, environment, demography, politics, philosophy, etc.”
        It can be renewed each month: “Renewables. .. etc. – September 2015”

        • Guys, I really don’t give a shit. I am growing tired of the whole thing. Nobody seems to understand. The world is going to hell in a hand basket and some people think everything is okay. It is not.

          Go here: http://www.desdemonadespair.net

          If there is an article here about the subject then it is a fit subject for this blog because it is part of what is destroying the earth.

          • Boomer II says:

            The world is going to hell in a hand basket and some people think everything is okay. It is not.

            I don’t think everything is okay. And I think it will become worse. I read all the articles and am aware of various environmental and economic crises around the world. Since most of them are beyond my ability to control, I don’t ruminate upon them daily.

            What does distress me, because I think it only brings more problems, is the political polarization in this country. I think the haters aren’t going to make their lives better. They are only guaranteeing gridlock. Now perhaps that is part of the process: the United States has to fail along with everyone else. And maybe economic failure is a necessary process to let the Earth heal itself, with or without people.

            I suppose that’s what I think. That in the end, Earth with survive, with or without people, until it gets burned up. And when our solar system is gone, other solar systems and galaxies will still exist.

            So in the very grand perspective of the universe, what we do or don’t do here is so small. So I suppose that no matter how bad it gets, I am still optimistic. Something survives, even if it isn’t us.

          • Greenbub says:

            So, do I have to watch my cholesterol?

            • Greenbub says:

              Oil is enjoying a mini-spike right now up almost 2% to $43.4.

            • Boomer II says:

              That reminds me of the early days of AIDS. Assuming they were going to die quickly, some folks with the disease spent freely and maxed out their credit cards. And then didn’t die.

              And I think that’s the question we all have about doom scenarios. If it is a given that everything is going to collapse soon, then why not fiddle while Rome burns? If, however, it’s not going to happen soon or there are still options, then a prudent lifestyle makes more sense.

              I just don’t see anything productive in telling people it’s hopeless unless you believe they still have a chance to make right with God before the end comes.

              • Greenbub says:

                That seems sensible compared to the perfectly healthy people that max out their credit cards.

            • Glenn Stehle says:

              We’ve desacralyzed our rhetoric these days, but the biblical cosmologies have not gone away. They keep reasserting themselves, but in secular form.

              So what we are seeing is that apocalypticism is still very much with us. But on the other hand, so is millenarianism.

              The apocalyptics are not difficult to identify. For instance, there are the atheist apocalyptics, Bertrand Russell’s Free Man’s Worship being a perfect and moving expression of this pessimism. “Brief and powerless is man’s life,” Russell tells us in his gloomy poem. “On him and all his race the slow sure doom sinks pitiless and dark.”

              In Judeo/Christian cosmology, however, night is always followed by day. The apocalypse is followed by God’s thousand-year reign on earth, a veritable earthly paradise. Apocalypticism thus gives way to millenarianism.

              Millenarianism reappeared in its modern, secularized form in what is known as Positivism, or what John Gray has dubbed “the Religion of Humanity.” As he explains:

              The Positivist catechism has three main tenets. First, history is driven by the power of science; growing knowledge and new technology are the ultimate determinants of change in human society. Second, science will enable natural scarcity to be overcome; once that has been achieved, the immemorial evils of poverty and war will be banished forever. Third, progress in science and progress in ethics and politics go together; as scientific knowledge advances and becomes more sytematically organized, human values will increasingly converge.

              And as Gray goes on to explain, “The idea that maximal productivity is the goal of economic life is one of the most pervasive — and pernicious — inheritances of Positivism.”

              Nevertheless, as Gray goes on to conclude, “With all its absurdities, the Religion of Humanity is the prototpye of the secular religions of the twentieth century. Marxism and neo-liberalism embody its central tenet.”

              Thus, unlike some on this thread would have us believe, communism and neo-liberalism are not the opposite of each other, but the mirror image of each other.

              Green Utopianism and Carbon Utopianism are also examples of modern millenarianism.

              In terms of realism, the sophisticated pessimism of Bertrand Russell is preferable to the naive optimsim of the moderns.

              Yet this pessimism is not completely realistic. The world of nature is after all not as inimical to the human enterprise as this view assumes.

              Nevertheless, we are living in a period in which either the optimism of yesterday has given way to despair, or in which some of the less sophisticated try desperately to avoid the abyss of despair by holding to credos which all the facts have disproved.

            • MarbleZeppelin says:

              Why doesn’t anyone ever wander around with a sign saying
              “THE BEGINNING IS AT HAND”?

          • HR says:

            I don’t know about that Ron. I don’t think Lockheed and that company in Redmond Wa are that far off on the fusion thing. The guys in Redmond are promising a working prototype next year. And Lockheed said within five years. We’ll see right? I don’t think Lockheed would make that announcement if there wasn’t some truth in it. I think it was an announcement to the world that a big change is coming.
            And as a benefit, the bond markets should bankrupt the governments over the next couple of years and wake everybody up. It will be fun and quite the business opportunity if you can play it right.
            Cheers

            • old farmer mac says:

              I will bet one thousand to one that there will not be even a working HOT fusion prototype built within five years.

              Now prototype means something different to different people.

              I am not talking about a city block sized apparatus that produces enough power to light up a single light bulb for a few milliseconds and takes a thousand engineers and technicians five more years to get it to run even that long.

              There is a CONSIDERABLE difference between a campfire and an ordinary internal combustion engine. Considering that the invention of the engine had to wait for the invention of metals and metal working techniques good enough to invent the engine, and that a substantial number of materials suitable for use in a WORKING hot fusion reactor have not yet been invented, etc, well…………….

              It may well prove to be impossible to master some of the difficulties involved except maybe at ENORMOUS expense at a VERY small scale.

              Somebody who keeps up with such things can tell us how many engineers and physicist have been working on fusion already for how many years at what total expense. The figure will stagger the imagination.

              I am for the research being continued thought. Spinoffs are likely, almost certain actually. Something good generally results from doing research although it might take a while.

              Miracles are nice but counting on them is naive at best.

              • MarbleZeppelin says:

                Right now it is more important to increase solar PV by 5% efficiency than it is to try and produce fusion. It is more important to work on efficiency and performance of what we have than shoot for some pie-in-the-sky system that might just turn out to be a dud energetically or economically.

                From what I have been reading about the new Chevy Volt, they are hitting improvements on all fronts. The car is lighter, the battery is improved and has less capacity, the ICE engine is more powerful. All this adds up to over 40% more electric range and better mpg. With less of a battery charge and not going to a smaller engine! Apparently the bigger ICE allows improved charging of the battery.
                Now that kind of improvement is not small and is the kind that is needed.
                If all cars were Chevy Volts, there would be no peak oil problem and climate change forcing would go down.
                If most electricity was provided by wind and solar, there would be no problem with fossil fuel depletion and climate change forcing would be highly reduced.
                More importantly it would give time and energy to make a lot of other improvements in business, industry and society as well as technology and agriculture. Time is short now, why not make it longer by making practical changes.
                And for those who moan about the rare earth problem, Chevy is solving that too. Their electric motors now use 75% less rare earth than before. They are switching to a ferrous based magnet and even though the motors are smaller, the car accelerates better on electric than before because they use the motors in a new way. Voila!
                That is the kind of thinking we need now. Maybe keeping GM around was a better idea. (Sorry Ford)

                One of my professors in college had a fusion research program back in the seventies and I know Air Products tried it also. It’s a tricky problem producing and containing enough energy to continue the fusion process, let alone make a reasonable energy surplus for boiling water.
                Eventually it will happen but we do not have time to wait for eventually.
                And I will end with a quote from Winston Churchill.
                “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”

              • cytochrome C says:

                Fusion is a constant like the speed of light—
                Always 20 years away, no matter when you are measuring it from.

            • TechGuy says:

              HR wrote:
              “I don’t think Lockheed and that company in Redmond Wa are that far off on the fusion thing. The guys in Redmond are promising a working prototype next year. And Lockheed said within five years. We’ll see right?’

              Probably not. Fusion has always been the future power source, just perpetually 5, 10, or 30 years into the future. Electrostatic, magnetic and inertia confinement won’t work. Because they require substantially more energy then they will produce. The plasma density created by electrostatic or magnetic confinement is too low to produce useable amounts of energy. Inertia confinement systems are pulse system, which only produce a very brief period of energy. Hydrogen (deuterium or tritium) releases free neutrons. About half of the energy is released in fast neutrons and converting fast neutron into electric directly is virtual impossible. In addition, anything near the reactor would become extremely radioactive because of neutrons. Free neutrons produced by a fusion reactor would be very useful for creating plutonium, by converting fertile U-238 into Pu-239.

      • Boomer II says:

        I’m here for the oil discussions, too.

        The climate change posts I could totally do without primarily because they attract comments from people who drop in just to make political statements. I don’t think they read the forum. They just post canned responses whenever they see the topic anywhere on the web.

        The renewable and EV posts are topics I’m interested in, but I don’t really need to see them here. I can find them elsewhere.

        The future scenarios — a world post-oil — probably are relevant to the topic at hand, but I could do without those here, too.

        (The whole communism/Cuba stuff I can also do without.)

        What makes this forum so valuable is the collection of oil data that is often not posted elsewhere. And if it is, people here spot it and repost it here, so the rest of us don’t have to go searching for it.

        I’m not irritated with the side conversations. I can live with them. But yes, if this forum just stuck to discussing oil data and economics, I’d be quite happy with that.

        • HR says:

          I don’t know man. I’m with Fernando on killing commies. As VF-111 says, Anytime baby!
          But it is very difficult to find the oil posts and that’s why I’m here. Some of these guys are in many different areas from me and have very useful information.
          There has to be thousands of environmentalist blogs and political blogs for goodness sakes. I don’t even bother to register to vote anymore as they are all liars and crooks.
          And watcher, this is for you. I still maintain my call on a bond market blowup in the next year followed by the demise of government as we know it. Pensions going down and many city, county and state governments. Big government default on debt coming up.

          • TechGuy says:

            HR wrote:
            ” I still maintain my call on a bond market blowup in the next year followed by the demise of government as we know it. Pensions going down and many city, county and state governments. Big government default on debt coming up.”

            CB’s (Central Banks) will bailout the bond market. Recall that the crisis of the 2008 occured due to a collapse in the mortage bond market (primary subprime loans). The US equity rout was swashed when the Fed said they are rethinking the sept hike. Another Fed board member, suggested the Fed would begin NIRP if necessary which causes a small spike in commodities today.

            I think we’ll see more of the same instablity resulting in big sell offs (ie 2 to 3% day selloffs) as well as big rallys (ie Wed. 600 pt. rally) as CB statements talk up and down the markets. for the fall perhaps into the end of year. At some points CB’s will collaborate to support the bond markets, either by buying bonds directly or indirectly. This what happened in 2009 to stop the rout. The global economy is clearly in decline as commodity prices have practically crashed this year, so expect more selloffs until it turns around from CB action. It probably will take 9 to 12 months for CB to re-inflate the bubble.

            A fast or faster pace collapse will begin when strategic resources fall into shortages. 2015 is probably going to be global peak Oil year. However its peaking probably wont result a immediate faster pace collapse since a small initial decline is not enough to breach a tipping point. Another strategic resource is fresh water. The US west is gripped by a serious drought and there are other serious droughts worldwide. Debt and liabilities, and aging populations is going to make mitigation untenable.

        • Javier says:

          I am here for the oil too, even if some people won’t accept my word on it. There’s plenty of climate sites that I peruse. I just answer climate posts when I see misinformation and scaremongering being spread around between a lot of people here that know very little about climate change besides the propaganda they get on a daily basis.

          But for the oil stuff I mostly read and don’t comment because there is a lot of people here that know hugely more than I do about that, so I have little to contribute. But that is precisely why I come here, to learn, not to teach.

          I can perfectly do without the climate stuff, as long as I am not reading silly things about how the world is going to end due to global warming or a methane bomb or inundated by a raising sea. I know that is a popular view, but it is wrong.

          But I am with Ron, that all these are important issues that we have to deal with, so I don’t mind a mixed blog, as long as oil makes most of the posts, as it does.

    • islandboy says:

      Guilty as charged but, I did put a note to Ron in one of my posts that if any body complained, I would cease and desist. In my defense, I would like to point out something that is a little different about most of the stuff I posted. First of all it was Ron who said, “I thought it interesting as it differs considerably from the opinions of some of the posters on this list. I hope we can get some comments on the probability of alternative energy replacing fossil fuels. ” So, I posted stories that had some bearing on the “probability of alternative energy replacing fossil fuels”, specifically some that contradicted what was said in the quote that Ron posted.

      One of the things I hoped to convey in my posts was just how fast things are changing and I tried as much as possible to keep my opinions out of it. I might come across as wearing rose tinted glasses but, I assure you I am not. I live on an island that uses the good stuff in this bog’s URL, oil, to generate more than 90% of it’s electricity. I know of only one EV, a Nissan Leaf that was imported by the owner as there are no EVs for sale here. The rail system on this island, the first in the world to be established outside of Europe and North America, has been allowed to deteriorate to the point that the only sections still working are those being used by bauxite mining and alumina refining interests. There is a huge youth unemployment problem here and just today, on the way back into the city from the homestead I inherited from my parents, I had to drive a circuitous route, twice, to get around road blocks set up to protest a lack of water, by youths with too much time on their hands. What will those same youths do if fuel prices skyrocket and they start having a hard time getting food? You think they won’t protest and expect the government to do something about it, just like they expect the government to provide water (without any cost to the public I might add)?

      In this country people have tended to believe that government can do all sorts of things that people living in free market economies do not and unfortunately local politicians have not seen it as suiting their interests to dispel that belief. So when I see unemployed youth blocking the roads it makes me think long and hard about what might happen around here post peak. It makes me think about OFM’s advice “Don’t get suck in Egypt!”. I recently acquired British citizenship by virtue of being born to a British mother so, with a UK passport and a US visa I can visit the US temporarily and I suppose I could live in a lot of Commonwealth countries and most of the EU if I ever have to. If things go south rapidly I might just get stuck in a situation where I have to defend the right to my property against younger and more violent men than myself and might not survive the ordeal. So I live in hope that some of the more dark outcomes discussed on this site do not happen or that, if they do, I will have ample warning to get out of Dodge while I can and find somewhere that I can take refuge.

      Should I be more optimistic? I guess the answer depends on who you ask, Ron or Nick.

      Edit: As a result of my concerns, I follow the post and discussions here about oil production quite closely but, being someone who is trained in electrical engineering and more recently solar PV installation, I mostly keep my mouth shut about oil and listen to the experts.

      • Nick G says:

        Should I be more optimistic? I guess the answer depends on who you ask, Ron or Nick.

        I’m afraid I can’t help you with forecasting the future of Jamaica. I think it’s problems have much more to do with it’s “human resources” than it does with it’s physical resources.

        I’m just baffled that there’s so few EVs and so little solar and wind power…

        • TechGuy says:

          Nick Wrote:
          “I’m just baffled that there’s so few EVs and so little solar and wind power…”

          Must because Jamaicans are so wealthly the can all afford to drive SUVs instead 🙂

  56. coffeeguyzz says:

    Shallow or anyone that follows the financial end of this stuff

    Halcon just announced some type of refinancing to keep their head above water.
    If you all can track it down and decipher it, this deal may be significant for many reasons.
    Best I can figure it, Halcon just borrowed over a billion bucks from a private entity at 13% with payments due in 2020 – 2021 – 2022.
    These guys have some great acreage and highly regarded technical expertise, but they are over extended in the extreme.

    If Halcon can pull this financial rabbit out of its hat, it may be a template for those other companies with respectable assets.

    • shallow sand says:

      Thanks, I will look. That seems like high interest payments on ballpark 3+ billion dollars of debt and around 40K BOEPD.

    • Watcher says:

      http://investors.halconresources.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=929241

      There’s no magic there and no pressure change. They rolled over 2020, 2021, 2022 unsecured paper into 2020, 2021, 2022 3rd lien paper. They reduced the total by half a billion and increased interest rate by 4%, which is a wash.

      Annual interest expense amortized lowers 12 million. That isn’t going to save anyone with 3.5B total debt.

      • HR says:

        So they are just protecting their already invested investment? They don’t want to get their hands dirty and they’re hoping that this deal will eventually pay off and they can recoup their money. Another form of extend and pretend?
        They’re described as a private entity. Does this private entity represent a new agreement or is it the same financiers just tweeking the old agreement?
        And 13% rates in a zirp environment. Maybe they should just max out their credit cards to keep on going. What a joke.

        • old farmer mac says:

          HR My experience is that people who have a lot of their own cash to invest are generally intelligent and well informed. They are also generally willing to gamble after thinking over the odds, if the odds look good.

          ” A fool and his money are soon separated.”

          Depending on just WHAT these investors are buying, or lending on, they MIGHT do very well indeed – if oil shoots up past a hundred bucks.

          MAYBE the ones who are paying attention and lending or buying are betting on oil spiking up as fast as it went down, within the next year or two.

          Of course there are always some fools who have COME INTO money recently, and they will most likely soon be SEPARATED from that money. I know a number of idiots who have inherited smallish fortunes -small fortunes by my standards at least, meaning a couple of million or more.

          Just about every last one of them has a broker managing his money and taking serious commissions out without beating the market average over time. ONE close friend listened to me and bought a house at my urging which within two years was costing him less than his old rented place after the landlord raised the rent fifty bucks. He paid down three grand and now his bread box house is worth about eight times what he paid thirty years ago. OF course I was very much into houses and markets at that time and he bought where I told him to, in a corner of HENRICO county Virginia in a very small development of older houses already surrounded by very nice houses. Most of the others of the little old formerly cheap houses have been demolished in order to make way now for houses selling for three fifty and up. He can gross back his down payment in rent every three months if he wishes.

          His broker has him convinced that he SHOULD NOT buy some farmland I have recommended to him- which already has a nice house on it. Fucking broker is making money on him- the most I ever expect or WANT to get out of him is an occasional steak on the grill. He is now retired and could cover the payment on the farm out of the rent on his suburban house easily, or he could cash out of stocks and bonds and pay cash.

          Personally I believe the stock market is past due for a major correction.

          Most people are UNABLE to think.

          But he still thinks his broker is smarter than I am. His broker has NEVER put him on a big winner. I did it first try.

          But I don’t have all those pretty certificates on the wall, nor a really nice suit either, except just one I use for an occasional funeral.

          • clueless says:

            OFM says: “Personally I believe the stock market is past due for a major correction.”
            But you have disclaimed any knowledge about the stock market. Previously stating that you never were in stocks, except a couple of minor instances when you were an employee. So, how can you have developed a belief system that tells you that a major correction is due?
            You might be right, but certainly it must be just a guess on your part.

            • old farmer mac says:

              It is only a guess or gut feeling of course but I HAVE studied markets and business all my life , INCLUDING the stock markets.

              I figured out very young that study pays MUCH better than plain hard WORK. ( Study to a farm boy is extremely easy work, so easy as to not really be worthy of the name WORK.)

              My study of the stock market lead me to conclude that real estate is a much more reliable and lucrative investment if you are knowledgeable and a skillful hands on manager.

              My decision was always to invest where I had PERSONAL expertise and where I could use real leverage.

              My outsiders opinion is that the stock market is in a bubble.

              AS for my own record as an investor, investing strictly in self managed real estate, nobody I ever met personally has done as well in stocks, investing equal amounts of his OWN money at the same intervals.

              Of course I spent a hell of a LOT of time studying the BIG PICTURE of the entire economy taking into account such factors as inflation, scarcity, population growth, changing life styles, emerging technologies etc etc.

              Anybody who saw Silicon Valley aborning could have bought ANY house there and made a KILLING. A FEW Silicon Valley stocks have gone from peanuts to gold of course – but most of the companies that used to be big names in tech are history now.

              If you had bought a hundred tech stocks at random maybe twenty of them would still be doing ok and maybe one or two would be big winners. The rest are history.

              Now IF I had come from a DIFFERENT background, IF my Daddy had been a banker instead of a farmer and I had majored in finance instead of agriculture, I might be a banker myself.

              But I never had the skill set to have real confidence in picking stocks so I stuck to something I KNEW.

              As it happens I have actually ”loafered” most of my life instead of working in the usual fashion week in and week out year in and year out.

              IF I had stuck with it and worked hard instead of taking my profits and taking off six months or a year at a time, playing around on the farm and at the race track and with the young women in the university district etc, I would be rich- almost for sure.

              I grew up with tools in my hands and having a science heavy degree helped enormously. You can learn one trade right after another in short order after you get good ENOUGH at the first two or three. I took jobs not to earn money but rather looking at them as paid on the job training- my employers being foolish enough to train me to compete with THEM. Generally I stuck around for a few months at most.

              If you can handle basic high school math and have a brain you can learn to wire or plumb a house in ONE week – assuming you have experience with hand tools and have had ONE basic science course dealing with elementary physics.

              You learn to paint by painting. Ditto drywall trim landscaping etc. There is not much to any of these trades if the goal is to be GOOD ENOUGH to do your own work.

              • Nick G says:

                Mac,

                You’ve had a pretty good life, it seems to me. You’ve done well, you have lots of friends and relatives with good connections.

                And yet, you often talk about life as being Darwinian – it seems to me that maybe your personal experience points more to life being cooperative and not zero-sum?

                Certainly life can be very hard. But, maybe, thinking of evolution as being solely competitive is an over-simplification?

                • old farmer mac says:

                  Hi Nick,

                  Cooperation is part and parcel of Darwinian evolution and behavior although folks who have only a minor passing acquaintance with evolutionary theory don’t often realize this fact.

                  In terms of the big biological picture, many species survive and thrive because they cooperate in the sense that they LIVE cooperatively. Ants and bees are the classic examples, most species of ants cannot survive except as part of a COLONY. There are numerous species of solitary bees but still most bees are able to survive only as cooperatively working members of the colony.

                  Men live cooperatively as a general rule but once men become PLENTIFUL ENOUGH in any given locality they start competing with each other.

                  We are now plentiful enough, and technologically advanced enough , that in a very real sense a laborer in North Carolina is is competition with a laborer in China.

                  At some point men cease to cooperate and begin to compete with their neighbors near and far.

                  There is no black and white distinction to be made, there is only a long continuum from nearly all cooperation under some circumstances to nearly all competition under others – when discussing the affairs of men.

                  In terms of the BIG PICTURE, meaning all of nature, it is mostly competition. Colonies of ants cooperate internally but compete externally with other ant colonies and all the other creatures that inhabit potential ant habitat.

                  Men behave much the same way as ant colonies. The membership of particular professions constitutes a sort of colony- lawyers for instance look after lawyers first of all and then their clients and society.Ditto everybody else. People who live behind security gates constitute colonies of people protecting themselves from the people living outside.

                  Darwinian competition rules overall. It always has and I see plenty of reason to believe it always will, almost none to believe otherwise.

                  There is potential for men to cooperate on the grand scale and we do actually do so, in many ways, for instance in having public health regulations and government that prevents us from killing each other ( mostly!!) because we are mad at our wives or husbands or being ”dissed”.

                  But then once this cooperation is established, we as individuals find ourselves competing again within this framework – striving mightily to obtain the best jobs within it and to secure the best positions at the feed trough when the benefits are distributed. Again the continuum.

                  Governments themselves frequently behave as super colonies and engage in competition to the death, as evidenced by the history of war.

                  Continuum all the way.

                  BUT in the end competition is more prevalent overall than cooperation- with the possible exception of our own species.

                  It is pretty obvious we would still be living in very small bands as hunter gatherers unless we had learned to cooperate on a larger scale, on the grand scale.

                  Cooperation of men across the centuries and in countless fields of endeavor has enabled me to play with this flattened out MAGICAL crystal ball and communicate with You- even though all I really know about you is that you are knowledgeable and speak or at least understand written english- you might be a Chinaman living in Argentina for all I know.

                  In a nutshell men cooperate when they are few and compete when they are many. MOSTLY.

                  We are TOO MANY these days.

                  • Glenn Stehle says:

                    It sounds like you’ve been reading Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Their highly reductionist theories, even though dominant in evolutionary thinking during the 1970s to 2000s, are now rapidly falling out of favor within the scientific community.

                    To begin with, cultural evolution can occur much more rapidly than genetic evolution. And behaviors which before were believed to be written in stone in the genes are now being found to be more malleable than what was previously believed.

                    And there seems to have emerged a very small, highy elite, transnational governing class that has solved its collective action problems, enabling it to transcend national, racial and cultural divisions.

                    Could the lower orders of society do the same, and eventually solve their collective action problems?

                    Or will the world fracture again, elites included, along national or some other group lines? (This isn’t the first time, after all, that elites have gotten together and attempted to impose a global order, highly beneficial to their own class interests of course, upon the world.)

                    What role does the revolution in communications play in this? The latest revolution in communications allows those from the lower orders of socity, which have arisen to oppose the global order imposed by the transnational governing class, to effortlessly share information and organizing strategies across national boundaries too. In the past, communications revolutions have invariably spawned political, economic and cultural revolutions.

                    And, as the evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson has noted: “Confront a human group with a novel problem, even one that never existed in the so-called ancestral environment, and its members may well come up with a workable solution.”

                  • Glenn Stehle says:

                    And, as Azar Gat wrote in War in Human Civilization:

                    The idea of a basic aggressive drive, blindly and automatically filling up from itself, was very attractive to the general public, because it appeared to explain seemingly senseless and irrational eruptions of violence and warfare. It came under heavy criticism, however, and was widely rejected by the scientific community. It was pointed out that aggression was a wholly different biological mechanism from the basic drives such as those for food or sex….

                    In the evolutionary calculus, nourishment and sex, for example, are primary biological ends, directly linked, the one to the organism’s existence and the other to reproduction. By contrast, aggression is a means, a tactic — and only one among many — for the achievement of the primary biological ends. As a means, its utilization depends on its usefulness.