265 Responses to Open Thread Non-Petroleum- August 28, 2016

  1. Oldfarmermac says:

    Does any body have links to articles about the expiration of patents in the wind and solar power industries which might be contributing to the falling costs of wind and solar power?

    • Ulenspiegel says:

      I do not think that the expiration of patents is crucial for the price reduction:

      Offshore wind is very young and sees high reduction of prices, the streamlined production and installation is the driving force.

      In case of onshore wind we see all three or four years a new generAtion of turbines with new features and lower prices, I do not see where the expiration of old patents helps.

  2. hightrekker23 says:

    What No New Particles Means for Physics

    Contrary to the current meme, we really haven’t advanced much in many fields.
    (compared to 1875-1955, we are standing still)

    • Ulenspiegel says:

      Yes, however this field does not really affect our daily life despite beeing interesting, other more boring fields do. 🙂

    • Javier says:

      A very important article, hightrekker23

      While great scientific advances continue taking place in some fields, in many it appears that nearly all the low hanging fruit has been picked, and despite a huge number of scientists and resources being poured, progress is slowing down. The question is if all that investment is not paying out, what will happen when scientists come asking for more? I seriously doubt that a bigger collider will be constructed, for example.

      • Nathanael says:

        It’s always about moving into new fields. That’s what my father always told me. Don’t work in a played out field… move on to a field which is just getting going.

        Materials science is still making great discoveries. And biology, oh my god! We’ve barely scratched the surface.

  3. Hickory says:

    This is kind of from out in left field (or a field in Dakota). But thought I’d share this idea.
    There is a petition drive to change Custer and Black Hills Nat’l Forest to ‘Sitting Bull Nat’l Forest’.
    Its got over 15,000 signatures, including mine.
    I think its the right thing to do. A little bit of historic justice.

    Here is the petition to share with others if you like it.

    • R Walter says:

      There are more than enough Native American words in America being used already for landmass, water bodies and other places.

      Manhattan Island















      North and South Dakota




      Lake Erie

      Lake Ontario

      Lake Michigan







      What more do you want? Eggs in your beer?


      • Fred Magyar says:

        How could you possibly leave out Miami and the Miami river…

        • R Walter says:

          I left out Miami because it is too far south. The Florida Seminoles is better! har!

          Forgot Tecumseh, Pocahontas, and Chief Pontiac too. Just too many to count.

          I guess I should have mentioned Hiram Revels, the first African/Native American to serve in the US Senate. A Republican, so he doesn’t really count. 😁

      • Nathanael says:

        It’s more about *not* naming things for people known for committing massacres. I think nobody really has a problem with the “Black Hills” but “Custer” is a seriously problematic name to put on the national forest.

  4. aws. says:

    Electric vehicles – It’s not just about the car

    By Michael Liebreich, Chairman of the Advisory Board and Angus McCrone, Chief Editor Bloomberg New Energy Finance
    August 22, 2016

    One of the key characteristics of complex systems, such as the world’s energy and transport sectors, is that when they change it tends not to be a linear process. They flip from one state to another in a way strongly analogous to a phase change in material science. We have written about this before, for instance here and here.

    A second important characteristic of this type of economic phase change is that when one major sector flips, the results rip through the whole economy and can have impacts on the societal scale.

    • aws. says:

      Should have copied the next paragraph…

      We are seeing this effect in the electricity system right now. The rapid uptake of renewable generation in the power system, unstoppable now because of cost reductions in wind and solar, has not simply rendered a certain proportion of conventional generation uneconomic. It has fundamentally changed the way power markets work, making new investment in other sources all but impossible; it has changed the control paradigm for the grid from base-load-and-peak to forecast-and-balance; it has altered flows of investment throughout the power system and its technology providers; it is forcing through an accelerated digitisation of all electrical equipment. It is even changing the way buildings are designed, the training needed by the construction trades, and the way infrastructure is financed.

    • Nathanael says:

      Very important piece for those looking to understand the future of oil demand and the deployment of capital.

  5. aws. says:

    Climate Change: A Parisian Tale of Triumph and Tragedy

    Time: Wednesday August 31, 10.00-12.00 (Doors open at 9.30)
    Venue: Hambergssalen, Villavägen 16, Uppsala.

    On the occasion of his arrival to Uppsala, incoming Zenström Visiting Professor Kevin Anderson will hold the 2nd Uppsala University Lecture in Climate Change Leadership:


    The Paris Agreement was heralded by many as a triumph of international diplomacy, delivering an unprecedented covenant amongst world leaders to take action to hold “the increase in … temperature to well below 2°C … and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. But whilst the euphoric elite of climate change whooped with joy and clinked champagne glasses with high-carbon celebrities, movie stars and politicians – there was increasing unease amongst climate change’s foot soldiers and scientists that beyond the important headlines the Agreement had sown the seeds of its own demise.

    With a focus on energy, this presentation will outline the successes and failures of the Paris process – offering not only an alternative take on the Agreement, but also sketching out a suite of opportunities that could yet deliver a sustainable and prosperous future. It will conclude by arguing that the real challenge now facing contemporary society, is to acknowledge that our abject failure to mitigate emissions has transformed climate change into an issue of profound and rapid ‘system change’. Only when we are sufficiently humble to concede this, will we be equipped to begin shaping our post-carbon paradigm.

    • GoneFishing says:

      I don’t think it will matter a hill of beans what we do from this point on, warming is proceeding at least 20 times faster than natural warming events in the past. Even with a massive global effort now, it will take at 20 to 30 years to dramatically change carbon output. By then the northern regions will have far less snow and ice, absorbing much more radiation than before. Orbital forcings in the northern hemisphere are now on the rise after 11,000 years of reduction. It will be thousands of years before the CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, so that forcing will not go away quickly.
      Of course we can make the warming worse, but stopping it is a whole other story.
      Besides which we do not have a unified world government that can act unilaterally. The countries without much CO2 production want the money from the rich industrial nations that could be used to push transistion away from high carbon output.

      • aws. says:

        Quite likely true. It will be a question of how catastrophic a climate “we” will be willing to accept.

        I liken it to a ship who’s crew suddenly realizes that the ship might be taking on too much water. The crew will do everything at that point to keep the ship from sinking; and if it can’t the effort will at least buy time to find a safe place to launch the life boats.

        We are far out at sea, and still don’t realize that we are taking on too much water.

        • Doug Leighton says:

          Isn’t it now the (paid?) shill (A.K.A. biologist/authority) appears to give us a lecture on alarmism, cherry picking, and pointing out your (our) shallow knowledge base?

          • George Kaplan says:

            I think prolonged cognitive dissonance may have melted his (planet sized?) brain

          • Javier says:

            Enjoy your alarmism. You will be proven wrong by science. Global warming is not accelerating despite claims of faster warming than in 1000 years, so all those dire predictions will not come to pass.

            But you can continue your “The end is nigh” chanting. Reasonable arguments are always ignored by the prophets of doom.

            The worst that could happen is that global warming is substituted eventually by global cooling. Then we would be in for a lot of hurt.

            • Fred Magyar says:

              The worst that could happen is that global warming is substituted eventually by global cooling. Then we would be in for a lot of hurt.

              Right! Can’t wait to play ice hockey on the Miami river…

              • Javier says:

                Eventually doesn’t mean that we are going to see it. Paleoclimatology teaches us that all warming phases are followed by cooling phases and all cooling phases by warming phases. It also tells us that a human life is very short in terms of global changes.

                • Nathanael says:

                  Short? So is human existence as a species, unfortunately. To the cephalopods, who have survived multiple cycles and multiple mass extinctions, the upcoming global warming extinction and, a few million years later, the global cooling cycle, are no problem.

                  Humans will probably go extinct, though. Unless we’re careful and stop, then reverse, global warming ASAP.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    To the cephalopods, who have survived multiple cycles and multiple mass extinctions, the upcoming global warming extinction and, a few million years later, the global cooling cycle, are no problem.

                    That is an assumption I would NOT bet on at all! The marine ecosystems are in serious trouble right now and cephalopods are probably going to have to adapt at much faster rates than in any past era if they are to survive.

                    I’m not saying that there is zero chance that some cephalopods will survive somewhere but the entire web of life on which they depend is being severely undermined by human activities everywhere around the planet. We humans are the primary cause of the sixth mass extinction that is currently underway! The main problem is the rate of change which is very difficult for most organisms to keep up with in terms of evolutionary adaptability.

                    My bet is that the oceans of the future will be populated more by giant cnidarians such as stomolophus nomurai… and lots of species of anaerobic bacteria in what we today call dead zones, well they aren’t really dead, they are just completely inhospitable to higher forms of life.


                  • Javier says:

                    We went over this discussion some time ago here, Fred:

                    and here:

                    With the data in the hand you cannot say that we are undergoing a Sixth Mass Extinction. We have no idea what the extinction rate is now, and we have even less idea what the extinction rate was before.

                    Most extinctions of birds and mammals took place during the exploration age up to the 1960s because they were island species that fell mainly to invasive species. Once those very sensitive species are gone, the extinction rate has gone down, not up. Current extinction rate for birds and mammals is at 0.2 species/year. Hardly alarming.

                    And as I demonstrated, fish species that have gone extinct according to IUCN are almost all fresh water species.

                    There is ZERO evidence that global warming is causing a mass extinction.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    Javier, for a biologist you sure seem not to know much about biodiversity and what is happening to it. We have lot’s of data that tell us what the base rate extinction rate is or was in past eras and what it is today.

                    I could post links to plenty of peer reviewed papers but instead I will post a link to one of ASU’s Great Debates:

                    Great Debate: Extinctions – Tragedy to Opportunity

                    Hope more than a few people watch it and form their own educated opinions about this issue. If someone wishes to take it further then by all means read some of the published peer reviewed papers by the scientists participating in this discussion.

        • aws. says:

          Sorry Doug, I seem to be missing some context.

          To be clear, we need to be doing everything we can now to avert catastrophic climate change. That said, most people I know, environmentalists among them, are completely unaware of how big a task the energy transition is. They are oblivious to the existing energy infrastructure.

          • Doug Leighton says:

            Heh man I’m not disagreeing with you thought your sentence: “It will be a question of how catastrophic a climate “we” will be willing to accept,” is a head scratcher. How much cancer are we willing to accept? No matter, press on man. I enjoy your posts.

            • aws. says:

              Because of the time lag between emissions and the impacts of those emissions I kind of think of “catastrophic” as a continuum. The developed world because of wealth, geography and generally northern latitude will have the luxury of observing the roll out of catastrophic climate change on the developing world. From these observations, I assume the developed world will decide at some point that something should be done.

              Of course most of the accumulated emissions will have come from the developed world. As usual, the worlds poor will be/are screwed. Some of them already are climate refugees. (see Syria)

              • GoneFishing says:

                There is some disagreement as to whether the northern latitudes will experience the most change in temperature or the equatorial regions. If one lives in a marginal area (desert, high heat and/or humidity) then any change hotter will be a major problem. Regions near the boundary of permafrost will also get severe and fast changes. Agriculture in marginal regions will suffer from both drought or floods.

                “Warming is ultimately projected for all parts of the nation during this century. In the next few decades, this warming will be roughly 2°F to 4°F in most areas. By the end of the century, U.S. warming is projected to correspond closely to the level of global emissions: roughly 3°F to 5°F under lower emissions scenarios (B1 or RCP 4.5) involving substantial reductions in emissions, and 5°F to 10°F for higher emissions scenarios (A2 or RCP 8.5) that assume continued increases in emissions; the largest temperature increases are projected for the upper Midwest and Alaska. ”


                “That Canadian region in the northeast part of the continent is likely to experience the biggest change over the winter months, with temperatures estimated to rise an average of about 6 degrees Celsius (10.7 degrees Fahrenheit) – possibly because ice reflects less energy away from the Earth’s surface as it melts. Hudson Bay summers, on the other hand, are estimated to experience only an increase of about 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.1 degrees Fahrenheit).

                According to the researchers’ statistical analysis, the Midwest and Great Lakes regions will experience a rise in temperature of about 2.8 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit), regardless of season. The Rocky Mountains region shows greater projected increases in the summer (about 3.5 degrees Celsius, or 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit) than in the winter (about 2.3 degrees Celsius, or 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit).”


                And concerning the tropics:

                It would be nice if there was a good place to be for this, but no one can be sure. As far as I am concerned, obvious changes are appearing across many latitudes already. Another degree or two will stress many regions.

                • aws. says:

                  I don’t disagree. Some places will manage better for longer. Perhaps some of the places I think could be more resilient will turn out to have a unexpected climate juiced weather event that sends that region quickly into decline.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Gone Fishing,

                  The RCP 6.0 and RCP 8.5 scenarios are highly unrealistic and should be ignored. RCP4.5 is about as high as emissions are likely to be, if proper policy is implemented (fast transition to higher efficiency vehicles and non fossil fuel power generation through high taxes on fossil fuels) we could limit total carbon emissions (from 1765 to 2500) to under 900 Pg of carbon (multiply by 3.667 for CO2 emissions). This is likely to keep us close to the 2 C limit, but lower is better. The sooner that fossil fuels peak and prices rise, the faster the transition is likely to be.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    Dennis, what is your limiting factor for fossil fuel production? Is the estimated amount that may be recovered with current technology?

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Gonefishing,

                    Peak fossil fuels causes the price of fossil fuels to rise and they eventually get replaced with cheaper alternatives. The RCP4.5 scenario roughly matches my medium scenarios for fossil fuel, my “high scenarios” are roughly between RCP4.5 and RCP6.0 (carbon emissions of 1650 Pg C from 1765 to 2250 for all sources of carbon).

                    RCP8.5 requires about 5000 Pg of carbon emissions, economically recoverable fossil fuels would result in no more than 1700 Pg of carbon emissions by 2250, including estimates of land use change, and cement production.

                    Basically peak fossil fuels and RCP8.5 are logically inconsistent, and even RCP6.0 requires a pretty cornucopian stance on fossil fuels (RCP6.0 has total carbon emissions of 2170 Pg of Carbon about 500 Pg higher than what is likely to be recovered).

                    Realistic projections that account for the limited amount of fossil fuels will focus on RCP4.5.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    OK Dennis, I take your medium scenario as the low scenario.
                    It’s not just CO2, there are several other major players in the GHG lineup. Also, as things warm, water vapor increases in the atmosphere and albedo changes occur in snowy, icy regions.
                    I also do not discount our future ability to extract fossil fuels may increase. Also the whole environmental/green/renewable movement could stall or fail in the future depending upon economic and political conditions. That would stall or reverse the reduction in fossil fuel output.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Gonefishing,

                    So you are in the minority of folks here on fossil fuels, most believe my “medium” scenarios are far too optimistic and that even my “low” scenarios are unreasonable. If you think the “high” scenario is the most likely case, then there is cause for concern, but I doubt actual fossil fuel recovered will be that high because prices will be very high and I doubt there is that much that can be recovered profitably. I think most of the technological progress in fossil fuel extraction is behind us, there are no magic bullets.

                    There are many different models, but of the CMIP5 models, the GISS-E2H model gives the most accurate global temperature rise over the 1900-1999 period based on Berkeley Earth.


                    NASA’s “GISS-E2-H” model appears to replicate overall warming best, …

                    The GISS E2H model has an ECS of about 2.7 C.

                    There are many models some with higher ECS and some with lower, but if 2.7 C is approximately correct, we may stay close to 2 C above pre-industrial.

                    Most Green house gases do not remain in the atmosphere as long as CO2 so the focus should be on CO2.


                    The message I get from those piecharts is that we should focus on carbon dioxide, not methane.

                    On Albedo, warming in the North could potentially lead to more snowfall in winter due to higher humidity so it is not clear that albedo will be affected greatly. This effect is included in the Global climate models.

                    Note that even RCP4.5 has unreasonably high carbon emissions of 2172 Pg C from 1765 to 2250. I modified the scenario so that carbon emissions are only 1164 Pg from 1765 to 2100 which is consistent with my medium scenario and fossil fuel emissions falling to zero after 2100, all other greenhouse gases similar to RCP4.5 scenario. Note that pre-industrial temperature from 11,000 BP to 1700 CE is close to the 1880-2009 average temperature based on Marcott et al.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    Then why did the IEA make this statement.
                    “The International Energy Agency released its annual flagship publication today, the World Energy Outlook. The IEA made an historic statement in the executive summary.

                    It said, “No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal”, the internationally recognized limit to average global warming in order to prevent catastrophic climate change.”

                    Let me rephrase that. Over two-thirds of today’s proven reserves of fossil fuels need to still be in the ground in 2050 in order to prevent catastrophic levels of climate change.

                    Your dreams of proper policy and heavy Arctic snowfall are just that.
                    You do realize that to have heavy snow would mean a large increase in water vapor in a fairly dry environment, heavily increasing the GHG effect for the region.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Gonefishing,

                    The proven reserves are likely to be overestimated and I am basing my estimate for climate change on the models developed by climate scientists such as Gavin Schmidt (GISS Models) and reasonable (“medium”) estimates of fossil fuel URR (which many people at peak oil barrel believe are absurdly optimistic.)

                    The IEA is often wrong, maybe as often as me 🙂 We don’t really know what the best climate model is, but the one I presented matches the instrumental temperature record fairly well.

                    Some research suggests 1000 Pg of Carbon emissions gives us about a 50/50 chance of staying below 2 C. We have emitted about 590 Pg of Carbon from 1765 to 2015, a lot of proved reserves will need to remain in the ground and higher prices due to peak fossil fuels, as well as an economic crisis which is likely to result around 2030 will lead to the necessary action.



                  • GoneFishing says:

                    But Dennis, you have said many times that reserves grow. What happened with that?

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Gone fishing,

                    I have said that reserves have grown in the past, this does not necessarily mean that they will grow at a similar rate in the future. The growth in reserves is needed to accomplish the “medium” scenario, which peaks for all fossil fuels in 2025 (oil in 2022, coal in 2024, natural gas in 2035).

                    My overall expectation is that to remain under 1000 Pg of carbon emissions, fossil fuel prices will rise and there will be a transition to EVs, wind, solar, hydro, geothermal. and nuclear power by 2065 and that very little emissions from fossil fuels after that point (maybe a little in airplanes ships, and on the farm but some of that can be replaced by biofuels and other alternatives from 2065 to 2100).
                    We will also have a better idea by that time how accurate current climate models are, if it looks likely that ECS is higher we may move more quickly, if the reverse is true we might choose to move more slowly.

                    I believe it is better to assume the worst and move as quickly as possible, just as an engineer might build a bridge 2 times (or possibly 3, I am not a civil engineer) stronger than needed for the average load, I would assume ECS is 4 C rather than 2 C (if 3 C is the best estimate for ECS). Such assumptions lead to accusations of alarmism by some, but I don’t really go in for name calling, I would call it sensible.

          • Javier says:

            “To be clear, we need to be doing everything we can now to avert catastrophic climate change.”

            What we have to do to avert catastrophic climate change is nothing. It is completely out of our hands. If it was going to happen as predicted by some alarmists it would happen regardless of policies. But it is not going to happen. It is very exaggerated. If we wanted to decarbonize the energy production then we should be going strongly nuclear as China is doing. But Germany clearly does not believe in the dangers of CO2 as it is reducing its nuclear energy, and not its coal energy, and thus actually increasing its CO2 emissions. So at least for Germany, nuclear energy looks a lot more dangerous than climate change.

            • Nick G says:

              at least for Germany, nuclear energy looks a lot more dangerous than climate change.

              That appears to be true.

              Germany clearly does not believe in the dangers of CO2

              That doesn’t follow. Just because Germany hates nuclear more than fossil fuel, doesn’t mean Germany doesn’t hate fossil fuel.

              Javier, if you say things like that that are either dishonest, very careless, or deeply out of touch with the reality of the subject (or a combination), you’re going to lose credibility. And, if you lose credibility, what’s the point of spending time posting??

              • Javier says:

                Your opinion is noted, but I stay by my opinion. If you are a responsible government like I am sure the German government strives to be, and on one hand you have nuclear energy that has never caused the death of a German citizen and has gone for 25 years without a serious incident, and on the other hand you have catastrophic anthropogenic warming that is going to put everybody at risk by 2100 according to some scientists and cost trillions in damages. If you believed those scientists would it be responsible to increase your emissions by shutting down nuclear energy?

                Actions speak a lot more loudly than words. Germany doesn’t care too much about emissions and plans to continue relying on coal and gas for the foreseeable future.

                • Nathanael says:

                  Merkel is actively subsidizing coal plants, and they’re now imposing taxes on solar and restrictions on building wind turbines.

                  “Bought and paid for” is the best term for that government. I would never call them “responsible”.

                  • Javier says:

                    “Bought and paid for” sounds very unlikely for a coalition government in Germany. An alternative explanation is that they have good information on the lack of danger from global warming and they are taking rational decisions given the democratic desire by Germans to phase out nuclear energy at a really inconvenient time.

                  • Synapsid says:

                    Javier, Nathanael,

                    Look into the reasons the German government switched to subsidizing the coal industry after trying to close it down.

                    Look also into the terms of the subsidizing–how long the subsidies are to last and what their purpose is.

                  • Ulenspiegel says:

                    “Merkel is actively subsidizing coal plants”

                    But you obviously do not understand what this means for the coal power plants when they are transferred into a strategic reserve.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            Hey aws, you sure got a good dose of context now, eh? 🙂

        • GoneFishing says:

          “Captain, she’s going to blow if I keep pushing the engines like this”
          “Scotty, keep pushing them as hard as you can! We need everything you’ve got.”
          So then the engines blew.

          Power trumps knowledge. Warnings are ignored to pursue goals.
          Problem is that Earthship One is not replaceable. We are though.

  6. GoneFishing says:

    China and the Electric Vehicle
    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/48ee2de6-0c25-11e6-9456-444ab5211a2f.html#ixzz4IjoRzcXV

    “China is aiming to become the world’s leading electric vehicle market, and with sales quadrupling to more than 247,000 last year — far outpacing the 115,000 sold in the US — those ambitions look on track.

    But carmakers and analysts say there is a long road ahead before fully electrified vehicles become the most attractive means of reducing motor emissions, even in the heavily subsidized Chinese market.”


    • Nathanael says:

      ICE Carmakers have a bias. Of course they’re going to say that full-electric cars aren’t attractive. They’re wrong.

  7. The Wet One says:

    Is Ron Patterson gone from this site? Has he finally flown the coop?

    Inquiring minds would like to know.


    • Oldfarmermac says:

      I am not sure but I believe Ron is very busy looking after his wife, who is not in good health, and of course on top of that he is pretty old himself.

      He is still posting occasionally but not for the last week or two.

      I will send him a personal email later today.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Ron has told me he will no longer post and has not given a reason. He has also told me in the past he needs to spend a fair amount of time caring for his wife who has been in poor health. I have assumed that he no longer had time to post, it is the reason he turned the blog over to me.

        • Oldfarmermac says:

          I heard from Ron by return email. He is ok personally but his wife is taking up most of his time.

          You don’t have a lot left over after looking after your spouse when you are pushing eighty like Ron.

          He has my utmost respect for hanging in there and taking care of her.

          Too many people are dying of loneliness and broken hearts in nursing homes- people who would be happy in their own homes.

          • Old Todd says:

            You and I are close to the same age – my wife and I are a couple of years from 80 (which we find unbelievable!). Yea, we do feel our age; no more of those 12 hour days for me. 🙂

            All I can do is wish that your own health stands up to provide care. I’ve only had that necessity a few years ago when my wife had ankle replacement surgery and was pretty much bed-bound for a month.

            Prayers for both of you.


        • The Wet One says:

          I see. Thanks for the reply.

          Ron Patterson has my good wishes, my admiration and my respect.

  8. Oldfarmermac says:

    Volkswagen is making some big promises when it comes to building lots of electric cars a few years down the road.


    • Nick G says:

      The company is saying that the on-sale target date for this e-Golf is 2025.

      2025?? They’re still not serious.

      That’s the remarkable thing about Tesla. The big car companies could squash Tesla like a bug, if they took EVs seriously. But, they’re afraid of cannabilizing their ICE cars.

      That’s the reason for Tesla’s existence: to push the whole industry in the right direction. And…as long as the industry resists the transition, the bigger and more successful Tesla will become.

      The day the big car companies get serious about EVs, Tesla is doomed. But one way or the other, Elon Musk’s vision of an electric future for cars will be realized. The only question is: will it be the current elephants learning to dance, or will it be the upstart who takes over?

      • GoneFishing says:

        Henry Ford did not make his company big by developing luxury cars, he developed a good practical and tough car with a decent price. Then he used automation to continually reduce the price. It went from an original $950 all the way down to $280 19 years later. What he lost in profit margin he gained in mass consumption.
        The lower prices allowed a lot more people to enter the market.
        EV’s will have to do the same thing if they want to take market share. The battery has to increase it’s charge density, reduce it’s weight and be about half the cost it is today.
        Going to take some doing, but it is still early in the game.

        • Nick G says:

          That comment about Ford is true, but…misleading.

          What the car market needed in 1909 was price and cost reductions. The early car market consisted only of luxury cars, so the Model T was a dramatic improvement (though the car itself was quite low quality – it was just good enough to succeed).

          That’s no longer the case. The very cheapest cars don’t sell well: a Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris or Chevy Spark sell in much lower numbers than the mid range cars like the Altima or Camry. The Honda Insight was low priced and routinely achieved 70MPG, and it was a dismal sales failure.

          The Nissan Leaf is just about the very cheapest car on the road to buy AND own, according to Edmunds.com TCO – if oil prices rise, it will again be much cheaper than any ICE. That hasn’t helped that much. It’s being beaten by Tesla, at 3x the price.

          Right now the car market needs innovation and improvement: electrification (and autonomous driving).

          Tesla recognized that EVs have an advantage at the high end of the market: very high performance ICE’s are very, very expensive to build, due to their monstrous complexity and low volumes. But…very high performance electric motors are not much more expensive than small ones, due to their simplicity. Furthermore, very large batteries are a twofer: they give longer range AND much higher power for acceleration, something that luxury car owners live and die for.

          So, Tesla is following the same path that other car improvements have followed since WWII: automatic transmission, auto braking, ESC all started with luxury cars – luxury owners paid for them, and the economies of scale that eventually brought them to the general market.

          At the same time, Tesla is changing the image of EVs from econo-boxes to prestige high performance vehicles. That’s very important – fundamentally EVs are better than ICEs, and Tesla is telling that story to the world. Old-line car companies don’t get that. They don’t WANT to get that…

          • GoneFishing says:

            The above comment is quite misleading. all the world best selling cars are at the low end of the pricing, Model T, Volkswagen Beetle and Toyota Corolla (40 million).
            The most profitable American light vehicles are pick-up trucks. Luxury cars and pick-ups are good profit makers but do not stimulate mass purchasing. As far as Tesla goes, 100,000 cars in three years is not even denting the number of cars on the road. The S is selling about 14,000 a quarter now – not a world changer.
            As far as the Leaf goes, 979 in the US in May 2016.
            Does not look like a mass mover to me.
            The Model T sold over 16 million in 19 years, back when there were a lot fewer drivers and roads.
            Right now plug-ins are selling at 624,000 a year and 40 percent of those are hybrids. Compare that to a rate of 70 million cars and 24 million pickups per year.
            Sure luxury cars can sell well, to a select group. The fact is that the Model T started out selling at about 3/4 of a year’s average salary and ended up selling for 1/5 of a year’s salary. So let’s take 1/2 of a year’s salary as the price point for a low cost car. That is about $26,000 now.
            A Toyota Camry is in that range as well as Chevy Malibu and Ford Escape.
            The Ford Focus was the 2013 best seller worldwide. The 2016 has been selling new for about $18,000 near me.

            For EV;s to take over they are going to have to compete in sales price to something like the Camry. Or wait for oil to go away.

            • Nick G says:

              all the world best selling cars are at the low end of the pricing

              Not at the moment. Mid-priced cars dominate. The very lowest priced cars have low sales, and the average sale price in the US is $33k.

              As far as Tesla goes, 100,000 cars in three years is not even denting the number of cars on the road.

              It’s hurting the sales of it’s luxury competitors, and Tesla is still growing 50% per year. That’s why the luxury makers are starting to respond with their own models. If they don’t Tesla will eat their market, and then start moving downwards in price, threatening their existence.

              And….that’s the point. They wouldn’t be moving on EVs otherwise.

              As far as the Leaf goes, 979 in the US in May 2016. Does not look like a mass mover to me.

              Exactly. The Leaf is cheap…and it’s not selling.

              Cheap isn’t the answer. Better is the answer. Affordable is also necessary, of course, but that is indeed coming. That’s Tesla’s whole plan: start with luxury, develop economies of scale, and move downwards in price.

              • GoneFishing says:

                “no at the moment” – Ok, lets talk about a narrow slice of time instead of historical long term, where this started.

                The Leaf is not cheap, 2016 model starts at $29,000. It’s the range that is killing it as is lack of charging points. It should do better with the big battery, but needs more charging infrastructure.

                For those interested in the latest winners (Corolla at the top again and Ford Focus fourth)

                I do not think Tesla will go lower in price, not for years.
                Unless Tesla comes up with a $25,000, 400 mile range sedan, then it will take off. But that would mean new battery technology and I don’t see it coming from Tesla.
                But one never knows, the Laptop car will only run so far.

                • Oldfarmermac says:

                  Hi GF,

                  Do you see this new battery tech, cheap and four hundred miles, coming from ANY body?

                  I do realize that there are numerous companies, some of them industrial behemoths, working on battery tech.

                  There is no reason to believe such a battery is not possible, and no reason, as far as I can see, to believe it IS, but I think the odds are fairly good that a cheap four hundred mile battery will eventually be available.

                  Now TESLA has at least one of those industrial behemoths already in a partnership in the world’s biggest battery factory.

                  My opinion, which is only my opinion, is that TESLA has as good a shot at battery breakthru’s as any other company.

                  But the odds are that some other company will beat TESLA to the finish line. That’s just basic probability.

                  • HVACman says:

                    I wish I were as optimistic about Tesla as you, OFM. Sober analysis suggests that Tesla may pull a financial/organizational hamstring mid-course and never make it to the finish line, if there even is such thing as a “finish” line in the EV industry.

                    The following article isn’t from some EV-bashing site but written by the staff of one of the major EV-specific news forums.


                  • GoneFishing says:

                    Can anyone explain the Tesla Model 3 front end, it’s blunt as if there is an ICE engine in it. Why so non-aerodynamic?

                  • Nathanael says:

                    The Tesla Model 3 nose is aerodynamic. Your intutions about aerodynamics are… wrong. It’s a hard field.

                • Nick G says:

                  The Leaf is not cheap, 2016 model starts at $29,000.

                  That’s below the average new car price.

                  More importantly, we’re talking Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

                  Have you looked at TCO on Edmunds.com? Compare the Leaf with Corolla, Camry (the best selling US model after the Ford 150, if memory serves) and Nissan Versa (the Versa has the very cheapest MSRP).

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    We are not talking total cost of ownership, you are. I was talking cost to purchase.

                    I have heard stories where the Leaf is quite inexpensive after incentives. However, have you added in the expense of adding a charger to the house and the costs of owning or leasing a second car because of low range (especially in winter).

                    The range is too low at this point for practical use, except for a few who go only short distances. If one does not use a car much, where is the savings?

                    I am pro electric car, but they have to meet reality.

                  • HuntingtonBeach says:

                    Hi Fish, I agree with you that EV’s aren’t ready to go main stream. But, when 200 mile range EV’s like the Bolt hit the market. That going to put to rest some of our concerns.

                    I think most people won’t need a 220 volt charger with 200 mile range EV’s. A 110 charger should be able to add 50 to 60 miles of range every night. That should work for the 30 to 35 mile one way commuter. Also, a 280 mile drive from LA to Vegas becomes feasible with one stop for about a 45 minutes charge.

                    I expect range and battery cost not to be an issue by 2025.

                  • islandboy says:

                    “But, when 200 mile range EV’s like the Bolt hit the market.”

                    Production Intent Chevrolet Bolt Spotted, Arrival Timeline Re-Confirmed

                    A blue “production intent” Chevrolet Bolt (see image) was spotted by Richard Truett of Automotive News outside of the Detroit area this past weekend.

                    Truett reports that a laptop was connected to this Bolt and that an engineer confirmed to him that this was indeed a “production intent” vehicle, which means that all the parts, trim, fit, finishes, etc. are correct and that production is now right around the corner.

                    I’d guess another three months at the most before people will be able to get their hands on one of these. Will be interesting to see how well they sell.

                  • Nick G says:

                    We are not talking total cost of ownership

                    Well, jeez, why not? What’s the point, otherwise?

                    The range is too low at this point for practical use

                    Well, duh. But that’s not cost, that’s a specific utility problem, which at this point keeps pure EVs as a relatively niche market. I’ve always thought plug-in hybrids were more widely useful, at the moment.

                    As batteries improve, plug-in hybrids get better, and oil becomes more obviously expensive, this will change.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Gonefishing,

                  In this case I think Nick has it right.

                  If your point is that 70k cars are not going to sell well, I agree.

                  The top selling cars


                  The average selling price is about $33k


                  The Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt are expected to cost around 35k similar to the average selling price in the US.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    After looking at that list of top sellers, I don’t see your point.
                    No one buys the average, it’s just a number. People buy cars. The SUV/pickup crowd are not going to jump on the EV bandwagon.
                    The Camry/Corolla/Focus crowd might want one, would need a huge incentive to get the price down. However, they can buy a lower cost car that fits all their needs, has no range problems or charge point problems, so the EV is caught in no-man’s land right now.

                  • HuntingtonBeach says:

                    Most buyers of “The Camry/Corolla/Focus crowd” finance their vehicles. An extra $5000 on a 5 year loan is less than $100 per month. Off set by lower energy costs and maintenance. EV’s aren’t that far out of line.

                    Hybrids or plug-in Hybrids today are a better fit for SUV’s and Crossover’s.

                    “EV is caught in no-man’s land right now.”

                    I see every McDonald’s having charging parking spots in the future. I take a Big Mac, Fry’s, Coke and a 20 minute McCharge please.

                  • Nick G says:

                    The SUV/pickup crowd are not going to jump on the EV bandwagon.

                    Well, car makers have to make electric SUVs (like Tesla’s Model X) and pickups. EVs have to develop a wide range of choices, just like ICEs.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    H. Beach
                    “I see every McDonald’s having charging parking spots in the future. I take a Big Mac, Fry’s, Coke and a 20 minute McCharge please.” Love it, great crystal ball you got there.
                    Don’t get me wrong, I am totally pro EV. However the current offerings are not taking the world by storm, especially in the US where one might expect it. Not yet. Things have to change before the masses grab onto the EV ride.
                    Right now it doesn’t cost me any more to run my 4 banger ICE than to run an EV, and it’s paid for long ago (no loan).
                    I have talked to a number of other people (some spend a lot on cars) and they are not really willing to take the plunge. Too many disadvantages yet and too limiting.
                    I checked the charge points and they are primarily around high density city areas, and not even in all cities.

                  • islandboy says:

                    “However the current offerings are not taking the world by storm, especially in the US where one might expect it.”

                    Why might one expect it, especially in the US considering:
                    1) Low fuel prices
                    2) Long travel distances, lots of urban sprawl in a geographically large country
                    3) Strong cultural biases towards bigger is better
                    4) Strong global warming denial sentiment in some quarters
                    5) Entrenched automobile-centric traditions leading to a certain perception of what a car should be.

                    I’m sure there’s more that could be added to that list but there are places outside the US where these constraints do not apply. I urge you to spend a little time at insideevs.com and look at some of the reports of sales outside the US. IIRC, one in four new cars sold in Norway has a plug. Sales growth is decent in France. th UK and the Netherlands. Germany just started offering significant incentives for the purchases of EVs a couple of months ago but Germans have somewhat similar pro ICE biases to Americans.

                    China is the big kahuna.

                    EV Sales Doubled In China For July To 36,000, 207,000 Sold So Far

                    We are getting very accustomed to New Energy Vehicle sales (another way to say plug-in electric vehicles) in China doubling every month…and July was no exception.

                    For July 36,000 were sold, which is 98% more than year ago.

                    Nearly three fourths of that total again falls to all-electric vehicles (BEVs) at 26,000 sold, while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) hit the 10,000 mark for the second month in a row.

                    With 10,000 NEVs sold on its own (and excluding bus and trucks sales), BYD alone takes more about 30% of the market.

                    Speaking of BYD;

                    BYD Shows Big Money To Be Made Making EVs – Profit Up 400%

                    Leading EV manufacturer of plug-in vehicles for China…and the world, BYD (it isn’t even a close race at home or globally) is now collecting the first fruits of its mass production strategy to bet heavy on electric vehicles.

                    In the first half of 2016, sales of conventional BYD cars decreased by over 8%. But that didn’t stop the company from achieving its highest growth of revenues among independent carmakers in China – thanks to a more than 100% gain in plug-in sales over the same time.

                    When it comes to EV adoption, I’ve said before, it looks like China’s gonna be ground zero!

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Gone fishing,

                    The average price of electricity in the US is about 11 cents per kWhr, for an average EV that is equivalent to about $1.65/gal for gasoline.

                    Let’s assume by 2018 gasoline is at least $3.30/gal on average.

                    In that case the average US consumer would save $5000 over the life of the car vs a gasoline vehicle like a Prius. My guess is that gasoline will become more expensive than $3.30/gal over time. Right now, you are correct that EVs don’t make sense for most people as far as saving money, in the future as costs of batteries are reduced and gasoline prices continue to increase it will make economic sense.

            • Nathanael says:

              ” The fact is that the Model T started out selling at about 3/4 of a year’s average salary and ended up selling for 1/5 of a year’s salary”

              Average salary now $52000, you say? Hmm, what’s 3/4 of that? $39000?

              What’s the starting price of the Tesla Model 3, you didn’t ask? $35,000.

        • Nathanael says:

          Look up the Ford Quadricycle, Model A (original), B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, and S.

          In short, Ford built his company by developing and selling luxury cars. It’s pretty much the only way to pay for the R&D. Once he’d sold enough high-end cars to pay for the development, he was able to produce the Model T.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Yep, they sold 500 of those Model K’s then went to the T. The early luxury car productions were small in number but did fund his venture. Ford then remembered the lessons learned from his buddy Edison about automated production methods back in the 1880’s. That is when the automotive world changed.

            Btu now even with automation, the prices are high. The Tesla cars are not custom built cars, they are mass produced cars. The inherent technology has to change to bring the prices down.

            That Quadricycle was powered four wheel bicycle. Cute.

        • me says:

          Tesla is following the typical Silicon Valley playbook of targeting early adopters first before moving to a wider market.

          I am sure Musk has read “Crossing the Chasm”.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        My own personal opinion is that the TESLA brand is now established, and will survive and thrive simply because so many people are fans of the brand. Think about Apple computers.

        I owned one, and it was a great computer, but it didn’t take out the trash or do the dishes.I went back to a pc because almost every last person I know uses a pc. No problem ever getting a word of advice about a pc problem, and while my pc may be clunky, it gets the job done, reliably and cheaply.

        But even though Mac computers don’t REALLY do anything better, for the typical everyday user, the folks who use them are FANATICS, and perfectly willing to pay two or three times, or even more, money for comparable features and performance.

        My opinion is that TESLA has already established a similar brand presence, and that therefore TESLA will succeed long term as a car company, no matter what the other manufacturers do.

        • GoneFishing says:

          Those Teslas are too expensive. I will stick with my Rolls Canardly.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            This is a really great read about a guy pushing his Tesla pretty hard. It includes cost of ownership compared to other high end vehicles.

            How I Used & Abused My Tesla — What a Tesla looks like after 100,000 Miles, a 48 State Road trip, 500 Uber Rides, 20 Rentals & 2 AirBnB sleepovers.

            Check it out!

            • GoneFishing says:

              Fun story, thanks Fred. I hang around characters a lot, this guy fits the bill.
              World’s Fastest Hotel, what a hoot.
              Not sure I would want to pay over $10,000 a year for a car, but he made it work somehow. Expensive tires, expensive repairs. I wonder why he had the drive train and battery replaced at $65,000. My caution flags went up on that one.
              Maybe they had some glitches to work out that the software could not cure.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                Good points, not sure why he had the drive train and battery replaced either and I might ask him that question.

                Though both of those items were replaced free of charge by Tesla despite the fact that he purchased the car used. My guess is that some of the earlier Teslas had some manufacturing defects that were later corrected.

                He says his Uber customer’s were often surprised when he told them his car was four years old, so if my math is correct that means it was manufactured circa 2012?

                For a Tesla, that is a really old vehicle and if I understand correctly they have made some major upgrades in their software and technology since then.

                In any case, I happen to have been intimately acquainted with the maintenance and repairs of a 2012 Mercedes Benz S-Class sedan, (a new one starts at about 100K) and it belongs to a good friend of mine. The cost to own of the Tesla in this article is significantly less than the Mercedes…

                BTW, given what I know, even if I could afford one, I wouldn’t buy one of those either.

                • Nathanael says:

                  There were a *lot* of extremely subtle design defects in the original Tesla powertrain. They’ve worked out the bugs, it appears — the most recent revision, from late 2015, is revision “Q” while the first was revision “A”. The “Q” revision doesn’t seem to have the same problems (there were at least four known failure modes in the “A” revision).

                  And there was one design defect in the battery pack (not the battery itself, but the main circuit breaker), also fixed now.

              • HVACman says:

                I think the statistics for Tesla’s Model S has been about 30% of all vehicles have had their drive unit replaced at least once. (motor/transmission/power inverter)

                Because they have relatively few service centers, much of the service is done via a mobile service truck that carries limited parts inventory and tools. They end up replacing entire drive units even if it is just a bad bearing or circuit board.

                Packs are the same way. One key component fails – swap out the pack.

                • Oldfarmermac says:

                  I am not following the TESLA repair story closely, because there really isn’t a lot of detailed info out there when it comes to the actual repairs being made on older S drive trains.

                  But so far as I can tell, HVAC man is right, the sop is to just pull the motor and single speed gear box and stick another one in the hole. Tesla has done a REALLY superb job in engineering the car so that this is hardly any trouble at all,it’s quick and easy.

                  The questionable motors and gearboxes seem to have been returned to service centers for bench work. I have heard there were lubrication problems due to a flaw in the all new design which have been corrected in newer motors and gear boxes. The old motors and gear boxes may or may not have been repaired and sent back out as replacements.

                  Working on newer conventional cars is getting to be a night mare in terms of access to components that fail quite frequently. On a really old car such as the ones typically built in the sixties, I could replace a starter, alternator, water pump, or rocker arm gasket in a hour, two at the most. Sometimes the repair would take only fifteen or twenty minutes actual working time.

                  Sometimes it takes three or four hours to do the same job on a new car, or even longer.

                  Electric motors and single speed gear reductions are about as close to bullet proof as any thing ever sold, unless there is a design flaw.

                  My personal opinion is that the motor and drive line in a Tesla S ( once any flaw is fixed) ought to last more or less indefinitely. A million miles is not at all out of the question.

                  The battery is the big question mark. Nobody who knows is saying how much batteries are going to cost ten years down the road. This might be because nobody actually knows, lol.

                  And just because the price of manufacturing batteries falls by half, assuming this comes about, this does not mean Tesla or any other vehicle manufacturer is necessarily going to supply replacement batteries at a low price.

                  There is a very real possibility that generic batteries will never be available. If the cards fall this way, you will pay whatever the manufacturer thinks the traffic will bear for a replacement battery.

                  If generics do become available, it will take YEARS for the industry to settle on standards that will make it possible for them to be fitted into various models and compatible with the various computer systems, etc.

                  Low potential sales volume will probably mean there will be few or no aftermarket batteries for older electric cars.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    The GM EV1 had a 0.165 kWh/mile efficiency. The 26.4 kWh battery gave a range of 160 miles. That was a NiMh pack.
                    Why can’t they come out with something like that today? A slightly bigger battery and it would still be less expensive. It had a coefficient of drag of 0.19 which is very low.

                  • islandboy says:

                    IIRC the fix for the drive train problem is a 50 cent shim. At any rate, it is much better for the customer when they quicly replace the whole drive unit and have the defective ones repaired at a central location set up specifically to fix that specific problem. It would seem that the Tesla warranty issues so far, have not been a huge drag on their finances. In addition, Tesla could be using these issues as a learning experience, as to how to design and build more reliable cars.

                    If the cars that are being sold now turn out to have significantly less warranty issues, that is probably what is happening.

                    Incidentally, has there ever been an eight year, unlimited mileage warranty on an ICE drive train? Didn’t think so.

                  • Nathanael says:

                    Lubrication problems are one of the three problems which Tesla has admitted to with the original powertrain. There was also a tiny shim which was the wrong size. And a cord which wasn’t attached right and was bumping into things with vibrations.

                  • Nick G says:

                    Technically, i think it was the EV2 that had NiMh. It was built in very, very small numbers.

                    There are two factors to wind resistance: CoD, and cross section. The EV1/2 were 2 seaters with a small cross section. Plus, they were a little funny looking…

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    The car may very well be a dead end.
                    So might as well talk fondly and supportive about it while it lasts.

                    Go, car, go.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    Caelan, our whole civilization is a dead end, however I do appreciate the pun about the car being a dead end.

                  • me says:

                    No more Jiffy Lube, no more transmission shops, no more pumps and gaskets… It’s a brave new world.

  9. Oldfarmermac says:

    Things are getting tense indeed in Venezuela.

    The end game is probably getting close.


    The leftish leaning media in this country ought to be too ashamed to show its face when it comes to covering Venezuela. What is published by NPR, etc, reads almost as if it were published by the Maduro regime.

    If Maduro were a right winger, the coverage would be excellent, and nobody would hesitate to draw conclusions about WHY things are so wrong.

    • Nathanael says:

      Bluntly, things are wrong because everyone in Venezuela is lead-poisoned from massive amounts of leaded gasoline, which they still had until 2005. (Including Maduro, but also including anyone who might be likely to replace him.) They had exceptionally high lead content in their gasoline until 1988 and didn’t have unleaded at *all* until 1999.

      The only Venezuelans who aren’t brain-damaged from this are those *born* in 2006 or later. Though those born in 2000 or later would have some improvement as unleaded was phased in.

      The first Venezuelans to have a lot less brain damage will turn 18 in 2024. Oy, they’re in for trouble for years to come… (And boy will the kids think their parents are stupid. And they’ll be right.)

      Those who are over the age of 28 right now are severely brain-damaged from the very high levels of lead in the gasoline before 1988. (With the exception of those who are so old that they were born before there were very many cars in Venezuela.)

      Other countries which had lead in their gasoline until *very* recently? Algeria, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen… notice anything aobut their political situations?

  10. aws. says:

    There is no hope. 🙂

    Massive cruise ship brings new era of Arctic tourism to Cambridge Bay

    By Chris Brown, CBC News Posted: Aug 29, 2016

    Not an ice floe was in sight as a warming climate and a huge cruise ship combined to usher in a new era of mass tourism in Canada’s Arctic.

    After a stop at the community of Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., the 280-metre long Crystal Serenity entered the fabled but dangerous Northwest Passage Sunday and arrived at the hamlet of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut on Monday morning.

    It is the largest vessel to ever attempt to go through the passage, the cruise ship company says.

    • GoneFishing says:

      People pay to go to places like that? I can’t say the town or scenery are attractive.

      I know the Russians and Norwegians have been doing Arctic tours for years with ice breakers. How disappointing when they can’t get out and walk at the pole, too wet and slushy.

    • Javier says:

      What the article doesn’t say is that the cruise is being escorted by an icebreaker:

      Icebreaker Chartered to Escort Crystal’s Northwest Passage Cruise

      “Crystal Serenity will be escorted by the ICE 05 classed icebreaker Ernest Shackleton (equipped to navigate through ice-covered waters) through the Northwest Passage.”

      I guess they don’t think that the ice is going to disappear. Icebreakers have been doing both passages with merchants for decades, so this could have been done at any time. Somehow the icebreaker information spoils the narrative of the global warming story I guess.

      There is still hope. 🙂

      • Aws. says:

        The story was on heavy rotation on CBC radio the other day. One passenger from Texas remarked that she was disappointed to have not seen much ice.

        • Javier says:

          Well they just have to go where the ice is. There’s 5 million square kilometers of over 15% ice in the Arctic this summer. The ice this summer appears to be more towards the Russian side. A polar expedition trying to do the Eastern Passage since late July has found a lot of ice and has experienced delays due to too much ice.

        • GoneFishing says:

          A very dangerous venture, sending a non-reinforced single hull ship with 1700 passengers into ice areas. The Arctic region is not prepared for that sort of rescue operation. It’s not all sunny calm days up there.
          Greed overwhelms sense again.

    • Bob Nickson says:

      Wow. Respect.

      I had never heard of Akon. When I followed your link I assumed Akon was some energy company, not a successful entertainer raised in extreme poverty in Senegal who just wanted to bring electricity to his rural African grandmother’s house.

      Amazing story. Well worth the time.

      Thanks for that link Mac.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        We Come As Friends

        Electricity in some contexts may be like crack cocaine.

        ‘The first hit is free…’

        • GoneFishing says:

          Have you broken your addiction yet?

          COLD TURKEY

          • It’s one mean-ass addiction, Gonzo.
            Once you get it, you power stuff with it that you also get addicted to, and so on… until you can’t tell your ass from your elbow and think that Elon Musk is God, and Tesla, his chariot and ‘yours’ (cuz u crave 1).

            So, here, Africans; let us share with you in one of our main addictions: Electricity. We’ll even throw in some Third-Worldesque counterpart of a Nissan Leaf-Blower (and of course, solar panel for the mud hut).

            Feel (if you’re not too strung out) our Western capitalist cronies’ technofingers slowly encompassing your balls.

            Bye-bye community, bye-bye culture, bye-bye ecosphere…

            • GoneFishing says:

              Just pull the plug Caele Baby, just pull the plug. Reach over there by the wall and pull the plug. Let the batteries run down. Be free.
              Then go take the message to Africa, stand up there and tell them just how they should live. How it feels to be free of the “MAN”.

              • “Modern industrial society is composed of a triad of fossil fuels, metals, and electricity. The three are intricately connected. Electricity, for example, can be generated on a global scale only with fossil fuels… Of the three members of the triad, electricity is the most fragile, and its failure will serve as an early warning of trouble with the other two. [Duncan (a), (b)]…

                But the interconnections among fossil fuels, metals, and electricity are innumerable. As each of the three members of the triad threatens to break down, we are looking at a society that is far more primitive than the one to which we have been accustomed.

                Without fossil fuels, the most that is possible is a pre-industrial infrastructure, although one must still ignore the fact that the pre-industrial world did not fall from the sky as a prefabricated structure but took uncountable generations of human ingenuity to develop. The pre-industrial world also did not include feeding 7 billion people. For both reasons, we cannot suddenly step back into Jane Austen’s day, when the population was a mere billion. The next problem is that a pre-industrial blacksmith was adept at making horseshoes, but not at making or repairing solar-energy systems; those who expect to conquer the future with space-age technology will have to pray that nothing goes wrong with toys that were invented at a time of abundant petroleum and the machinery that went with it.” ~ Peter Goodchild

                See also, ‘Olduvai Theory’.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                Please do not feed little Cael! If you do, he will consume oodles of electricity using technology such as a computer and the internet to tell us all what hypocrites we all are to use electricity and technology, that can’t be generated in any other way, except with fossil fuels! See his idiotic comment below.
                Thank you!

                • GoneFishing says:

                  You read that stuff????

                • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                  Seems to me that, in order to generate electricity entirely outside of fossil fuels, you also need to manufacture and maintain, etc., all electricity-generating components without fossil fuels– hydro, nuclear, photovoltaic solar panels, etc..

                  This also includes cleanup, like the ‘spent’ stuff lying around; the kicked cans down the road.

                  Technology, like science, or any other human endeavor for that matter, doesn’t exist in some sort of (operational/value/subjective/etc.) vacuum, and so it helps heaps to pay attention to context and to people such as myself trying to illustrate it.

                  Africans and anyone else will do, and have done, more than fine without technoreligiosity, which you know where you can shove with petroleum jelly.

  11. GoneFishing says:

    Is a bicycle faster than a Ferrari?

  12. Caelan MacIntyre says:
  13. R Walter says:

    China has probably been buying oil at reduced prices since the collapse of the oil price.

    A good assessment and analysis of where China is heading. Oil is no doubt of huge importance.


    Click on China’s Economic Prospects

    Is China destined to become the predominant world power? Is the U.S. in decline and destined to continue in decline? These themes have become increasingly popular.

    Because of its shear size, China will achieve massive economic power under any kind of market capitalist system.

    The projections as to the extent of China’s growth, however, depend crucially on further economic liberalization that at present seems to have stalled and in some vital respects has recently been thrown into reverse.

    We have heard these themes several times before during the last century.

    During the 1930s, the democracies were viewed as decadent and it was the Axis powers that were the wave of the future.

    During the 1960s and 1970s, socialism was the wave of the future. The influence of the Soviet Union was displacing that of the decadent democracies and expanding remarkably throughout Africa and Latin America.

    In the 1980s, the economic systems of Japan and Germany directed by government industrial policy were widely expected to leave the U.S. economy in the dust.

    No matter how often their expectations are disappointed, those asserting the inevitable decline of the United States never tire of finding new reasons for their expectations.

    China, however, will, indeed, continue to increase in economic power for some time to come as it continues to leave the constraints of socialism behind. Because of its shear size, it will achieve massive economic power under any kind of market capitalist system. The projections as to the extent of China’s growth, however, depend crucially on further economic liberalization that at present seems to have stalled and in some vital respects has recently been thrown into reverse. China’s rulers are not ten feet tall.

    • Nathanael says:

      Stupid US triumphalism. China is *already* the dominant economic power and the US has *already* declined. And “economic liberalization” is entirely discredited. These people really need to look at the present rather than viewing things through 1950s lenses.

      • GoneFishing says:

        Really, why don’t you look at the GDP numbers before jumping to conclusions? Then look at the per capita GDP and tell me about economic power.

        • Nathanael says:

          GDP is a messed-up number which is highly distorted by the “estimates” of “value created” by the financial business. For countries which are heavily “financialized” with large banking sectors, it’s become very misleading.

          I prefer to look at industrial production. Hard numbers. Manufacturing. Railcar loadings. Etc.

          The US is still fairly impressive by international standards, but we’re very clearly behind China.

  14. GoneFishing says:

    US petroleum and petroleum products rail car loadings have been falling all year.
    Better graph I hope.

  15. GoneFishing says:

    US rail car loadings of coal are still low, but showing steep rise in last few months.

  16. Doug Leighton says:


    “The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist…

    This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat.

    But Nasa said that records of temperature that go back far further, taken via analysis of ice cores and sediments, suggest that the warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium…”


    • Doug Leighton says:

      Schmidt is the highest-profile scientist to effectively write-off the 1.5C target, which was adopted at December’s UN summit after heavy lobbying from island nations that risk being inundated by rising seas if temperatures exceed this level. Recent research found that just five more years of carbon dioxide emissions at current levels will virtually wipe out any chance of restraining temperatures to a 1.5C increase and avoid runaway climate change.

    • Javier says:

      Yet global warming is not accelerating and still very much within 20th century average, despite very low emissions prior to 1950. I guess they have to find new angles to keep alarmism high when temperatures go down after El Niño and Arctic sea ice fails one more year to set a new record low. It is a well organized PR campaign.

      • Javier says:

        Compare this graph of human CO2 emissions…

      • Javier says:

        …with this graph of global warming rates from Met Office.

        The disconnect is evident. The impact of emissions on global warming rates is undetectable. So all that talk about Earth warming at an unprecedented pace in 1000 years refers also to natural warming prior to 1950. I guess Gavin Schmidt forgot to tell that.

        • Javier says:

          By the way, the official explanation for why despite global warming going essentially at the same rate in the first half and the second half of the 20th century human emissions are responsible for all (and more) global warming is that natural warming was in charge up to 1950, when it turned into natural cooling, and since then anthropogenic warming is doing all the lifting against natural cooling. Talk about “ad hoc” explanations.

          • Doug Leighton says:

            You might want to translate that long paragraph into English. Actually no, don’t. It would probably be even more confusing.

            • Javier says:

              If you need it simpler I’ll write it simpler.

              Warming rate for 1900-1949 is essentially the same as for 1950-1999.

              For 1900-1949 emissions were low and warming was essentially natural. For 1950-1999 emissions were high, so warming has to be anthropogenic. Therefore conveniently since 1950 coincidental with the increase in emissions, natural warming turned into natural cooling and since then all warming comes from anthropogenic emissions that compensate the natural cooling and also cause all the observed warming, so actually anthropogenic emissions are responsible for more than 100% of the observed warming.

              So for the entire theory to hold true we have to believe that at the same time we started seriously emitting, Nature decided to go from warming to cooling. If natural warming has continued everything falls apart.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                LOL! Now that’s what I call simple!

                “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

                W.C. Fields

                • Javier says:

                  So perhaps you can point to me where in the rate of warming can we see the effect of the increase in CO2 emissions. The data suggests that it has little effect.

                  I think that is far more important that talking about me.

                  Also I have destroyed with that graph from Met Office NASA’s Gavin Schmidt argument of unprecedented rate of warming. The first half of the 20th century is a precedent.

                • GoneFishing says:

                  Is this for real? Sounds like a case of OCD.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Javier,

                The models do a fair job and no they are not all the same the ECS varies from 2 to 4 for most of the models.

                If we look at 65 year periods to eliminate the hypothetical 65 year cycle. We do indeed see a difference. It is not as large as the change in atmospheric carbon dioxide so natural variability is a major factor needed to explain the difference.
                Most of this difference is explained by AMO. ENSO, and aerosols.

                Scientists look for plausible explanations for what is observed and the warming of the ocean is the obvious explanation for why air temperatures have not risen more.

                Changes in ocean circulation can result in more or less heat flowing into or out of the ocean. The physical models do a fairly good job of reproducing this.

                You had suggested at one point that including AMO in a simple model would make sense. I tried this in the CSALT model (call it CSALTA maybe) and found that L (length of day) and T (for total solar irradiance) could be dropped without changing much (T stat for each variable was less than 2.) So we are left with a CSAA (natural log of atmospheric carbon dioxide, SOI, aerosols, and AMO) “model”. R squared is 0.924 for a regression on data from 1880 to 2005. Output in chart below.

                • Javier says:

                  Dennis, you are very big in models, I am not. Models are just a tool to see if we understand something, but they don’t know anything that the programmers ignore and they contain all the mistakes and false assumptions that the programmers make.

                  That they reproduce the past is just a pre-condition. This is done by playing with the adjustments until the desired result is obtained.

                  The real test is when they are left to run multiple times from present condition and the result is recorded, and then compared afterwards once enough time has past. When that has been done with climate models, like in CMIP5, the result clearly indicates that we don’t understand climate well enough to make predictions that have any value. Yet some climatologists continue talking about what is going to happen by 2100 as if they had a crystal ball.

                  The danger of playing too much with models is that you will believe that what they tell you is actually related to the real world.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Your assumption that the modellers just adjust parameters to get the desired result is false. If that were the case all the models would yield the same result, which is not true.

                    Using the MAGICC model (based on Global models from 2005) there are clearly large differences between models.

                    In fact the GISS-ER model (ECS of 2.26 C) has too low a temperature trend from 1880 to 2015 relative to BEST land ocean data.

                    Some contend that lower ECS gives better estimates, this demonstrates that is not the case.

                  • Javier says:


                    Of course they do it. It is acceptable. No model gets published or accepted unless it reproduces past conditions. That is a prerequisite. Every model gets its own set of conditions by choosing acceptable values for all the variables that combine into reproducing the past. Otherwise the model doesn’t cut it.

                    Actually models are always shown as anomaly temperature because very few if any of them get the correct temperature of the world, and they turn into spaghetti if represented as temperature. But that they don’t get the right temperature of the planet, even in the past! is considered acceptable. Otherwise it gets too difficult and they wouldn’t have many models to show.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Temperature is always relative to something, absolute zero or the freezing/melting point of water. You are not correct that the models reproduce the past in the same way, there are large differences between models.

                    Your claim that the just adjust thing to reproduce past temperatures is patently false.

                    The fact is that the models with low ECS doe not reproduce past temperatures very well and the models with higher ECS, between 2.8 and 3.7 do much better at reproducing historical temperatures.

                  • Javier says:

                    Dennis, I think you need to read a little more about models.

                    You can start with this article:

                    Hourdin, Frederic, et al. “The art and science of climate model tuning.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 2016 (2016).

                    I am sure you will find it illuminating. For example in chapter 6 it says:

                    6. Tuning to 20th century warming ?

                    The reality of this paradigm is questioned by findings of Kiehl (2007) who discovered the existence of an anti-correlation between total radiative forcing and climate sensitivity in CMIP3 models: High sensitivity models were found to have a smaller total forcing and low sensitivity models a larger forcing, yielding less cross-ensemble variation of historical warming than otherwise to be expected. Even if alternate explanations have been proposed and even if the results were not so straightforward for CMIP5 (cf. Forster et al. 2013), it could suggest that some models may have been inadvertently or intentionally tuned to the 20th century warming.

                    It is clear that what I describe is closer to the reality than what you describe, so it is patently not false.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    I have read the article already, there are many choices made in constructing a global climate model.

                    The uncertainty due to clouds and aerosols lead to different forcing estimates and climate sensitivities for various modelling groups.

                    Chart below shows 7 different CMIP3 models and BEST LO 5 year average, with trendlines for lowest and highest of the 7 models. The trendline for the BEST annual data has a slope of 0.73 C per century over the 1880 to 2013 period.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Javier,

                Also note that the CSAA model that I presented is a simple regression on data from 1880 to 2005, I did not “adjust” anything.

                The excel file can be found at the link below


                This model clearly lacks the sophistication of GCMs, it simply illustrates the obvious correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide, aerosols, ENSO, and the AMO. I tried the PDO as well and it was not statistically significant relative to these other four factors.

                On the ECS being closer to 2 C rather than 4 C, Ishowed how a model with low ECS (2.26 C) looks. A model which matches that average of 19 AOGCMs from CMIP3 (ECS=2.88 C) is shown below and is compared with BEST LO data, it also underestimates the temperature trend from 1880 to 2015 relative to the data.

                • Javier says:

                  Dennis, you don’t need to adjust it, but if it did not fit you would not use it or show it, so that is another type of a posteriori adjustment. That model has been “improved” until it fitted. As I said let it run 20 years into the future. Show the result and then wait 10 years to see how it is doing. Huge chance that it will quickly diverge.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Yes we could wait and wait and wait until we had a perfect model before doing anything.

                    The models from 2005 (CMIP3) look very good 10 years on, the more recent models (CMIP5) also look fine.


                    See figure 9 at the link above, it is clear that the average CMIP5 model also underestimates the overall temperature trend from 1875 to 2005.

                  • Javier says:

                    “The models from 2005 (CMIP3) look very good 10 years on, the more recent models (CMIP5) also look fine.”

                    I have posted peer reviewed scientific articles that say that they don’t. For example in Fyfe et al., 2016 Making sense of the early-2000s warming slowdown. Nature Climate Change, 6(3), pp.224-228:

                    “In summary, climate models did not (on average) reproduce the observed temperature trend over the early twenty- first century, in spite of the continued increase in anthropogenic forcing.”

                    So it is your opinion and Berkeley Earth web page versus Fyfe, J.C., Meehl, G.A., England, M.H., Mann, M.E., Santer, B.D., Flato, G.M., Hawkins, E., Gillett, N.P., Xie, S.P., Kosaka, Y. and Swart, N.C.

                    I’ll go with the scientists.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    And I will go with what the data and models show as well as other peer reviewed papers.

                    The paper you cite takes a look at a very narrow slice of time to examine (15 years tells us very little).

                    For example we have


                    We conclude that use of the latest
                    information on external influences on the
                    climate system and adjusting for internal
                    variability associated with ENSO can almost
                    completely reconcile the trends in global
                    mean surface temperature in CMIP5 models.

                    I will go with different scientists.
                    and observations.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    The paper I cite is citation #32 in the Fyfe at al paper.

                    The problem with the CMIP5 simulations is in part the mismatch between assumptions of what would happen from 2005 to 2015 (emissions, aerosols, and other forcings as well as natural variability) and the actual forcing over that period. Internal variability was also a factor as noted in both Fyfe and Schmidt (2014).

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    On the model being “adjusted”, the 19 global climate models from CMIP3 have not been “adjusted” since 2005.

                    Your claim that the models run too “hot” is not borne out by evidence from the temperature record from 1880 to 2015 when compared with these models. In fact the overall temperature trend of the models underestimates the temperature trend.

                    Maybe that is why you don’t like models, they seem to disagree with you 🙂

        • Nathanael says:

          Ocean measurements on that graph are missing the deep ocean, which actually turns out to matter.

          • Javier says:

            Oh yes, I forgot that for some people the warming is hiding in the oceans and will come back to the surface to haunt us by an unknown mechanism in an unknown future. They also like to measure that warming in ExaJoules and compare it to Hiroshima bombs, because if they use degrees Celsius or Kelvin they would not scare anybody, because we are talking about changes of 0.01°C/decade, that frankly raise the issue of measurement errors.

            And in any case the ocean is incredibly cold, probably because we are 2.6 million years into an ice age. The average temperature of Earth’s oceans is 3.9°C. If the ocean turn over were to increase we would be in a serious cooling problem.

            So no, warming of the deep ocean actually turns out to not matter at all.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Javier,

              The warming ocean will release carbon dioxide because as is well known solubility of carbon dioxide decreases with increasing temperature. Pretty obvious to most people.

              • Doug Leighton says:


              • Javier says:


                What is not so obvious to most people is that the release of CO2 by oceans depends on the partial pressures of CO2 in the atmosphere and the ocean, so if atmospheric CO2 is high enough or increasing fast enough a warming ocean will not release CO2. So why do you think that in the real world our warming oceans are a net sink for CO2 instead of a source?

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Javier,

                  Yes that is pretty obvious. Do you think the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere will rise forever?

                  What would happen if the pressure remained constant while the ocean continued to warm due to the excess radiative forcing of carbon dioxide at say 500 ppm?

                  Do you see the problem now? It is pretty clear to people who know a little physics and chemistry.

                  • Javier says:


                    I don’t think that partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere will rise forever. I believe like you do that we are headed for 500 ppm but not much more than that.

                    “What would happen if the pressure remained constant while the ocean continued to warm”

                    I don’t think that the ocean is going to continue warming forever either. But at present rate of warming of about 0.01°C/decade even with the atmosphere stabilized at 500 ppm the ocean would continue to be a net sink of CO2 for almost a century at least until the anthropogenic pulse of CO2 was down to about 30% or so.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    No you are wrong there, the excess emissions are what is driving the CO2 into the oceans, when the emissions stop the ocean will become a source rather than a sink. and the more the ocean warms the more CO2 will move into the atmosphere. This is the reason that the carbon dioxide levels will take so long to subside.

                    If ECS is 2.9 C, 500 ppm of CO2 leads to 2.5 C of warming, if we take pre-industrial as close to the 1960-1990 average temperature (Holocene 1600 CE to 11,000 BP average). That may be cause for problems, 450 ppm would be far better for the planet. If it cools as you fear (though unlikely for 30,000 years or more) we can burn more fuels later. 🙂

                  • Dennis,
                    Javier just opens his mouth and all this spew comes out. He hasn’t a clue on how vapor pressure works. He just makes up all these plausible-sounding “just-so” stories that he thinks readers will be gullible enough to fall for.

                    To him it doesn’t matter because his agenda is to create FUD.

                  • HuntingtonBeach says:

                    Your totally correct Web

                    I have to admit I learned the hard way. But now I have my eyes trained to skip his comments. Others will also learn not to feed the animals.

                  • Javier says:

                    No Dennis, The oceans will stop being a sink for CO2 when the partial pressures equilibrate, not when the emissions stop. I suppose it can be calculated when that would happen, but it is clear that it would be years after emissions have stopped or reached very low values and the oceans have continued being a sink while the atmospheric levels descend and oceanic levels rise. I made a rough estimate that may be wrong, but my answer is more correct than yours.

                  • HuntingtonBeach says:

                    Living With a Climate Skeptic


                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Yes you are correct that if an equilibrium were reached, there would be no net carbon sequestered in the ocean.

                    The point you fail to see is that reduced emissions will lead to a lower partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere unless the rate that CO2 is sequestered is reduced, so a greater fraction of CO2 emissions will remain in the atmosphere, in addition the ocean continues to warm due to excess carbon in the atmosphere and the increased water vapor due to higher air temperatures, before long as emissions approach zero, the ocean becomes a source rather than a sink. This is all very well known.

            • Fred Magyar says:

              And in any case the ocean is incredibly cold, probably because we are 2.6 million years into an ice age. The average temperature of Earth’s oceans is 3.9°C.

              Yup that’s why we are having a hurricane in Florida this morning.

              BTW the average IQ of humans is 100 therefore Einstein didn’t exist and he could never have worked out the theory of general relativity..

              • GoneFishing says:

                Must be a case of cold fusion providing the energy, it couldn’t be surface warming.

            • wharf rat says:

              “Oh yes, I forgot that for some people the warming is hiding in the oceans and will come back to the surface to haunt us by an unknown mechanism in an unknown future.”

              Actually, that just happened, in an event called El Nino. Did you sleep thru it?

        • Steve in CO says:

          This figure is from a 2013 study, with data going through 2010. So, basically obsolete.

          Also, you and/or your fellow travellers have heavily cropped and edited the figure to highlight the trend over the anomaly. You can’t actually source this figure to the Met Office, they did not publish this. It is dishonest of you to pass it off this way.

          Here’s a link to the original study:


        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Javier,

          The rate of warming over the 20th century was unprecedented at about 0.7 C per century relative to the previous 11,350 years where the highest rate of warming was about one tenth the rate at 0.068 C per century from 10770 BP to 10670 BP (using the RegEM estimate from Marcott et al). The wiggles make for nice charts though 🙂

          The chart below adjusts the BEST Land Ocean data to an average of 0 C for the 1961-1990 period so that it is comparable to Marcott et al, the Marcott estimate does not match well with the instrument record around 1840 (or 110 BP) probably due to proxies dropping out for more recent periods (from 10 BP to 270 BP the uncertainty is higher). Note that the RegEM average temperature from 270 BP to 11,290 BP is -0.07C relative to the 1961-1990 average temperature.

          Horizontal scale is years before the present (BP) where present is defined as 1950, vertical scale is temperature in Celsius where 0 C is the 1961-1990 average temperature.

  17. GoneFishing says:

    Inland waterways are used to move about 22 percent of domestic petroleum and products.


  18. Oldfarmermac says:

    The economic signs are not so good these days.

    I am wondering if the next long anticipated down turn will be arriving within the next few months.

    Any opinions will be appreciated.

    • Javier says:

      I was quite worried from early 2015 and thought the chances of a crisis in the 2015-16 period were quite high. Luckily I was wrong. Perhaps the drop in oil prices has helped stabilize the economy, but leading indicators are going up at the moment.

      The global economy is still not in a very good shape, and commodity countries like Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, and Australia are in a tough spot due to low prices, but still it looks like a global crisis in the next 6 months to 1 year is highly unlikely.

      I like to follow this place for weekly updates to leading indicators in the US economy. I think that for as long as they are going up, you can relax.
      The last graph is the most telling to me. If the 4-week moving average gets below 0%, then it is time to worry.

      As Petro no doubt would agree, I think that the crash in oil prices and commodities took place at the right time, and has bought us a little more time, because the next global crisis could very well be devastating to the economic system given the post-normal situation we entered after the Global Financial Crisis.

    • Nathanael says:

      Oldfarmermac: I do not expect a significant economic downturn in the next few years.

      We are lucky enough to be at the beginning of a huge technology-driven boom: the boom related to the restructuring of our energy system. There is a boom in jobs building, transporting, installing, and maintaining solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, heat pumps, electric cars, etc. This will last for years, just like the “Internet boom” did and just like the “electricity boom” in the late 19th century did. Eventually it will peter out. However, it’s a strong enough economic force that even total economic mismanagement by governments will probably be unable to induce recession for quite a few years.

  19. GoneFishing says:

    Another shipping company sinks into receivership.

    “The Port of Virginia announced Wednesday that effective immediately its terminals will no longer accept any inbound cargo from Hanjin Shipping Co., following the company’s filing for receivership.”


  20. GoneFishing says:

    NOAA Merged Land Ocean Global Surface Temperature Analysis (NOAAGlobalTemp)


  21. GoneFishing says:

    Global Warming’s Great Hiatus Gets Another Debunking

    The long-debated hiatus or pause in global warming, championed by climate denialists who tried to claim it proved scientists’ projections on climate change are inaccurate or overblown, probably did not happen at all.

    A new study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that the world’s warming never really stalled during the last 15 years—it was just masked by incomplete data records that have been improved and expanded in recent years.


    • Javier says:

      “The long-debated hiatus or pause in global warming, championed by climate denialists who tried to claim it proved scientists’ projections on climate change are inaccurate or overblown, probably did not happen at all.”

      We have already been over this GoneFishing. The pause has not been championed by climate denialists but by the foremost known climate scientists like Kevin Trenberth, Michael Mann, Ben Santer, and many more that nobody dares to accuse of climate denialism.

      Here is again the proof from scientific publications to see if by repetition it starts to sink in you:

      Focus: Recent slowdown in global warming. A collection of over 30 articles on the pause from the Nature publishing group.

      Has there been a hiatus? K. Trenberth 2015 Science 14 Vol. 349 no. 6249 pp. 691-692. Kevin Trenberth defends in this 2015 article the reality of the hiatus. “The increasing gap between model expectations and observed temperatures provides further grounds for concluding that there has been a hiatus.”

      Making sense of the early-2000s warming slowdown. J.C. Fyfe et al. 2016. Nature Climate Change 6, 224–228. Mann, Santer et al. defend the reality of the pause despite the adjustments to the sea surface data done by Karl et al. from NOAA

      The scientific consensus from both sides of the debate is still that the pause is real. Your claims that it has been debunked hold no scientific water. Hope this time you get it.

    • Doug Leighton says:

      For those who don’t know, perhaps it’s worth pointing out that mid-century cooling was largely due to a concentration of sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere emitted by industrial activities and eruptions. The rise in sulfate aerosols was largely due to the increase in industrial activities at the end of WWII and the eruption of Mount Agung in ‘63 produced aerosols which cooled the lower atmosphere by about 0.5°C while solar activity leveled off after increasing at the beginning of the century.

      • GoneFishing says:

        Yep. I think the use of catalytic converters on vehicles cleared the air a lot. Coal use never slowed down, yet the temperature keeps going up.

        Funny how we had several eruptions in the 90’s and the 21st century and heating never slowed down.

        • Eulenspiegel says:

          Coal use was cleaned A LOT in middle europe since the 70s (and in US, too) – from just burning the stuff to more and more complicated filters to hold back sulfate (“Waldsterben”) and other poisons.

          Big area sulfure polution is calculated in in modern clima models. The remaining big sulfure pollution is India and China – if they would clean up their coal, temperature would grind up a few points.

          And solar activity is calculated in, too. You can’t explain the rise with solar activity, we have been even on relative low activity the last years.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Solar activity change is a small factor compared to other radiation forcings.
            The US uses 1 billion tons of coal compared to world use of 8 billion tons per year. China alone was using close to 4 billion tons per year.

        • Doug Leighton says:

          Yes but,

          “During the past decade it has become clear that the long-lived stratospheric clouds produced by volcanic eruptions are composed largely of sulphuric acid aerosols. The amount of sulphur-rich volatiles (for example, SO2, H2S) injected into the stratosphere by an explosive eruption is, therefore, a critical determinant of its atmospheric impact. The small-volume eruptions of Mt Agung in 1963 and El Chichón in 1982 both generated substantial stratospheric aerosol clouds, despite the fact that they erupted ≲0.5 km3 of magma. Comparison of data from direct measurements of stratospheric optical depth, Greenland ice-core acidity, and volcanological studies shows that such relatively small, but sulphur-rich, eruptions can have atmospheric effects equal to or even greater than much larger sulphur-poor eruptions. These small eruptions are probably the most frequent cause of increased stratospheric aerosols.”


          • GoneFishing says:

            Emissions from Volcanos
            “Water vapor (H2O) is the most prevalent volcanic gas, contributing between 50 and 90% by volume, however the contribution to the global H2O inventory is negligible in comparison to the atmospheric concentration. The second important volcanic gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), which ranges from 1 to 40% by volume. Volcanic emissions contribute less than 1% to the total global CO2 emission (Cadle 1980, Gerlach 1991). Anthropogenic annual CO2 emissions are by a factor of 100 higher than total natural degassing of the Earth (Schmincke 1993).
            Sulfur gases contribute typically 2 to 35%/vol of volcanic gas emissions.
            They are the most relevant species concerning the climatic impact of
            volcanic events. The dominant sulfur component is sulfur dioxide (SO2), with yearly emissions ranging from 1.5 to 50 Tg SO2.”


            Compare the volcanic emissions of SO2 to the 100 Tg annual emissions from human activities (mostly coal and oil).

          • Synapsid says:


            All fine.

            I’d like to add that strong cooling from volcanic aerosols is the result if the volcanoes are, roughly, within the Tropics. If memory serves, extra-tropical eruptions, especially those at high latitudes, have less of an effect.

            Broadly speaking, the part of Earth’s surface between the Tropics is a zone of ascending air, and this helps loft aerosols from eruptions there. Poleward is a global zone of descending air; farther poleward we find more ascending air but there’s a good deal less surface area there than between the Tropics so those (tropical) eruptions have a dominant effect.

            Broadly speaking. Time for more port.

      • Javier says:

        For those who don’t know, perhaps it’s worth pointing out that Doug’s explanation is just an hypothesis from several.

        In Kevin Trenberth’s 2015 paper in Science he proposes an alternative explanation based on Pacific Decadal Oscillation cycles. The figure below is from the article linked:
        Has there been a hiatus? K. Trenberth 2015 Science 14 Vol. 349 no. 6249 pp. 691-692.

        In fact the value of aerosol forcing was chosen to explain the cooling and is probably too high. Recent research shows that the accepted value is implausible:

        Stevens, B. (2015). Rethinking the lower bound on aerosol radiative forcing. Journal of Climate, 28(12), 4794-4819.

        “a forcing more negative than −1.0 W m−2 is implausible, as it implies that none of the approximately 0.3-K temperature rise between 1850 and 1950 can be attributed to Northern Hemisphere forcing. The individual terms of the model are interpreted in light of comprehensive modeling, constraints from observations, and physical understanding to provide further support for the less negative (−1.0 W m−2) lower bound. These findings suggest that aerosol radiative forcing is less negative and more certain than is commonly believed.”

  22. Doug Leighton says:

    Oh, what the Hell,

    The following is a question given on a University of Arizona chemistry mid term, and an actual answer turned in by a student.

    The answer by this student was so ‘profound’ that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well. Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

    Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant..

    One student, however, wrote the following:

    First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving, which is unlikely. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

    Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added. This gives two possibilities:

    1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

    2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over..

    So which is it?

    If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, ‘It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,’ and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct…..

    …leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting ‘Oh my God.’


    • Dennis Coyne says:



    • Synapsid says:


      The A+ is deserved.

      As to the argument, there appears to me to be an implicit assumption that souls have mass. What if we reject that assumption?

      • Doug Leighton says:


        Yeah, the soul-mass deal kind of bothered me as well. I’ve always assumed they’re like neutrinos, souls that is. 🙂

        • HVACman says:

          The concept of soul-mass is interesting. The answer is “only some souls, some times”. Only Catholic souls have mass, and then only on Sundays.

          Related to that:

          May I suggest applying a corollary of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle to prove the falsity of religions and their leaders who propound the ability to forecast whether an individual’s soul will end up in Hell or Heaven. The Principle states that we can not both determine the position of a soul (still in the physical universe or in the Hereafter) and determine it’s direction of travel (going to Hell or Heaven). Applying that principle, when people are alive we know the positions of their souls. Therefore, there is no possible way for anyone in the physical universe to predict the direction those souls is heading. This upends all religions and their leaders that claim the ability to do so.

          Hmmm….I wonder if there as a Peak Oil corollary to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Hmm, I think that theory is wrong because the souls that end up in hell are composed of dark energy and dark matter… which BTW makes up most of the universe 🙂

          • GoneFishing says:

            But if the souls are made of dark matter and dark energy, they don’t interact with normal matter and normal electromagnetic energy. How does the heat or cold bother them? It should have no effect.

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              I think we need to ask the Talking Snake about this.
              He is my go to guy when dealing with Bronze Age Fiction.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                He is my go to guy when dealing with Bronze Age Fiction.
                Please be very careful you do not inadvertently disrespect the REAL RAINBOW-SNAKE God! She/He is bisexual and transgendered like all true gods should be…


                Picture of the Australian Fertility God/dess RAINBOW-SNAKE from our Australian mythology image library. Illustration by Chas Saunders.
                Australian Fertility God/dess
                Also known as ALMUDJ, KALSERU
                The Great Creator Serpent
                In charge of Fertility, Growth and Refreshing Rain.

                The RAINBOW-SNAKE is a bit of a mish-mash, with a kangaroo’s head, a crocodile’s tail and a python’s body, all decorated with water lilies and waving tendrils.

                The Snake has many names and comes in male and female form. YINGARNA, the female, is the original Mother of Creation, and her son NGALYOD is the Great Transformer of Land. Family portraits go back 8,000 years, which makes the Rainbow Snake one of the oldest religious symbols. And it’s still going strong today.

                Disclaimer: I happen to be a devout follower of YINGARNA!

                Australian Aboriginal Music: Song with Didgeridoo

                • hightrekker23 says:

                  I think my Snake is the real snake god.
                  And if you don’t convert, you will be terminated

                • Doug Leighton says:

                  I’ll stick with Freyja (love, sex, beauty, fertility and gold) and stay as far away from Australia as possible. Too many oily things creeping around waiting to kill you. NB my petroleum reference 🙂

        • Synapsid says:


          If souls are like neutrinos then the argument holds. Oh dear.

          Time for more…I can’t afford Oban and it’s the only one I like. I’m not a spirits drinker–oh lord I can’t believe I just wrote that in a post on this topic.

  23. George Kaplan says:

    As a follow up to the Wood Mac item about falling discoveries: “Diamond Offshore sinks as Petrobras terminates contract”


    This is the latest in a long line of deep and ultra deep drilling cancellations this year – ExxonMobil in Nigeria, Maersk with ConocoPhillips, Total and Ocean Rig in the Congo, ExxonMobil again with Transocean in Angola, Ocean Rig again in the Falklands, Petronas, PEMEX cancelled four last year.

    Usually there is a significant penalty and sometimes a legal wrangle as well so cancellation costs can be not much less than keeping the contract going. In higher price environments cancellations for contracts covering single area mean that results have been so disappointing that there is no point continuing. There may still be some of that here still especially given the recent poor success rate in frontier wildcats, but saving costs is probably paramount. These cancellations at minimum are probably adding 3 years into any development cycle for the target areas, assuming the oil companies regain profitability next year and that eventually something would be found.

    Dennis referenced a Jean Laherrere paper above – in there he has a creaming curve for the USA showing the number of new field wildcats for USA which indicates 350,000 wells so far to find 225 Gb and another 350,000 needed to find the next 60 Gb so far undiscovered (i.e. as many as have been drilled in the last 150 years). These new wells will mostly be deep water and cost many times as much (maybe up to $100 million in the GoM, Shell’s in the Arctic cost $4 billion) and take many times as long to drill as the average one in the past. I can’t imagine what sort of price, political and economic environment is required to achieve this, but we certainly don’t have it at the moment. The issue is similar in other producing areas, most of which are mature now.

    • George Kaplan says:

      Wrong thread – my mistake.

    • Nathanael says:

      Thanks for this. It’s good to hear a 3 year delay. Because a 3 year delay is tantamount to permanent cancellation. The economic environment will be much worse for oil producers in 3 years than it is now. There will be 1-2 million electric cars hitting the road every year causing permanent displacement of gasoline demand.

  24. Longtimber says:

    Some oil never makes it downstream. Looks like Exxon pipeline in Mayflower Arkansas a few years back. “The apocalyptic scenes brought back imagery from the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Iraqi military forces torched Kuwaiti oil wells while retreating from advancing coalition forces.”

  25. Doug Leighton says:

    Let’s watch the response to this (most of which I won’t read), 🙂


    Analysts say cuts in emissions will need to increase sixfold if the powerful G20 nations are to meet the climate challenge on reducing greenhouse gases.


    • George Kaplan says:

      Doug – are you referring to “the man you’d least like to be stuck in an elevator with”?

      • Doug Leighton says:

        Indeed I am George. 🙂

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          Who’s that?

          Doug, I wanted to ask you a question about rocks, specifically, granite, incidentally. It shouldn’t take up much more of your time than a simple elevator ride…

          Apparently, people who use stones to make jewelry or whatever put them in a fluid in some kind of spinning container to get them rounded, so I assume stones of varying hardnesses can be rounded out with some friction against each other, yes?

          So what I was wondering was if large granite stones or boulders, say, about the size of large pumpkins could be ground against each other to level them off enough so as to use in an architectural context without the use of mortar. What do you think?

          Incidentally, I once spoke with someone from Peru about those famous mortarless stone structures and they suggested that it could have been some sort of plant– the extract perhaps– that could have dissolved the stone enough to more easily work with. I am not suggesting that, but something maybe wind-powered.

          • Doug Leighton says:

            “so I assume stones of varying hardnesses can be rounded out with some friction against each other, yes?” Not really. Stones polished by tumbling are typically are pre-selected to have similar harnesses and roundness (grit, broken fragments, etc removed first). I suppose the seashore is a pretty good example of a natural tumbler (in places) as you can find nicely rounded (but rarely polished) rock in a few places. I’m no lapidarist but suspect scaling up wouldn’t work owing to mass of large rocks crushing one another. I suppose given my engineering-physics background I could calculate the point at which rock (say granite or basalt) would start to fail (shatter) owing to mass vs impact pressures in a large “tumbler”, or be smart and just look in up in a mining engineer’s handbook, but let’s just go with intuition? That’s mainly how ore is crushed in mining operations after all.

            Re the jigsaw fits in the walls of ancient Peruvian buildings your guess is as good as mine. One theory, I’ve heard too, is “roughly” fit rocks are stacked with some kind of vegetative material that reduces “roughness” over time until they fit together (almost) perfectly. Whatever, it’s unprecedented.

            That’s probably all unsatisfactory but about the best I can do.

            • Doug Leighton says:

              “… put them in a fluid in some kind of spinning container to get them rounded…”

              And, just so you know, the fluid is water and perhaps ‘spinning’ gives the wrong impression. The tumblers I’ve seen in operation were turning at maybe 0.02 to 0.05 rpm.

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              Thanks for the reply, Doug.

              What I was thinking of was not a tumbler at all, but simply using it as an example of how stones are used against each other in a mechanical process to wear them out.

              My idea had to do with some kind of large windmill-powered contraption– essentially a ‘spinning telephone pole’ I guess– that rotated with the wind (or water) and had some boulders in a kind of donut-shaped semi-open-bottomed, height-adjustable basket attached encircling it and with boulders in it, and then some boulders on the ground immediately underneath so that when the whole thing spun, the bottoms of the top boulders in the basket would abrade with the tops of the boulders on the ground underneath so that, presumably, eventually you’d have a level fit between those contact points over a few boulders at once.
              The image attached is overkill, (if interesting nonetheless) but sort of along those lines. There are probably different sorts of old differently-powered rudimentary farm machinery that mill, grind, crush and move water, etc.. Oldfarmermac might know about some of that.

              • scrub puller says:

                Yair . . .

                Caelan MacIntyre.

                I believe the apparatus shown would probably do a fine job on “flattening out” wheat and oats.


              • Oldfarmermac says:

                Hi Caelan,
                Google “mortar free masonry and Peru ” and you will come up with a world of useful info about working stone.

                It would in principle be possible to build such a machine as you pictured, which would flatten rounded stones by abrading them against each other, but I don’t think it would ever turn out enough stone to justify the expense of building it.

                Almost for sure it would be more practical to use stone that fractures with planar faces resulting.

                This is outside my area of expertise , but I do know that many kinds of stone found in many parts of the world will fracture along fault lines in the stone with the resulting surfaces being quite smooth and flat. Such stone is often soft enough to further shape it by hammering with another , harder stone or metal hammer.

                Old stone walls are quite common around here, and they were laid with no more in the way of tools than a string line and a big hammer used to knock off pieces so as to get a better fit. Nobody builds such walls anymore though. Building a fence with purchased posts and wire is many times faster and easier and cheaper all the way around.

                Almost everybody tends to vastly underestimate the quality and quantity of work that can be turned out with even the very simplest of hand tools- in the hands of a man who has spent many long hours mastering them.

                If I had never heard of the game of golf, I would bet my farm and give odds that nobody could hit a little ball with a club and get it in a hole a quarter of a mile away in only four licks, but accomplished golfers do this on a regular basis.

                Anybody with strong arms and good eyesight, etc, could learn to work dry stone, and do a nice job of it, given the necessary determination and the opportunity to work under a journeyman.

                Working ordinary sized pieces, up to what a man can lift, is one thing.

                Getting a nice tight fit on stones that weigh hundreds and even thousands of pounds is obviously something else altogether, especially if the mason is using only hand tools and muscle.

                If anybody knows how this was done in times past , I am all ears.

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  Almost everybody tends to vastly underestimate the quality and quantity of work that can be turned out with even the very simplest of hand tools- in the hands of a man who has spent many long hours mastering them.

                  Hey OFM, if you ever find your self down in my neck of the woods then by all means check out the Coral Castle!


                  It is a truly amazing feat of engineering and construction by one man over three decades.

                  With no outside assistance or large machinery Ed single-handedly built the Coral Castle, carving and sculpting over 1,100 tons of coral rock, as a testimony to his lost love, Agnes.

                  BTW, with only a 4th grade education he was able to do research at his local library and build himself an AC generator to provide himself electricity…

    • Fred Magyar says:

      I’d say that’s alarmist, with a capital A! 🙂

    • GoneFishing says:

      The coal plant pictured being constructed is a unique attempt to produce “clean coal energy”
      “Once operational, the Kemper Project will be a first-of-its-kind electricity plant to employ gasification and carbon capture technologies at this scale”
      “Mississippi Power says that the Kemper Project will allow for the production of cleaner energy through the use of integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and carbon capture technologies, eliminating the majority of emissions normally emitted by a traditional coal plant. Because the activities involved with an IGCC plant involve minimal water consumption, these processes will not harm the water sources of the area.[11] A study conducted by Southern Company states that the Kemper Project “is a large undertaking with high visibility and will help set the stage for future coal-based power generation.”[12] The facility will be a “zero” liquid discharge facility”

      The captured CO2 will be used EOR to increase oil production. So in the end, the facility will put much of the CO2 in the air anyway, just out the tailpipe and through methane emissions.
      This is now up to 6.6 billion to produce 586 MW. Sounds like the IGCC has already been online since 2013 and Southern Company is trying to get the sequestration operational.


      I wonder how much solar and wind power could have been put in place instead of this boondoggle system that just moves the CO2 output elsewhere. From what I recall, coal gasification produces a lot of toxic solids. Wonder where that will go. Possibly they are using high temperature slagging to melt the ash into a glass matrix that supposedly never leaches the captured toxins back into the environment. Never is a long time.
      As far as G20 goes, it is a weak endeavor not really intended to do what is needed. I truly think that the number of concerned people is low in the world. If we were really concerned, having the huge population and resources we now have, there would be legions of trained observers, technicians and scientists spread all across the globe observing and recording our world at all levels. Sensors would be everywhere and we might eventually get a solid picture of what is going on in the world, biologically and physically.
      Instead we have a few teams out in the field, begging for continued funding, getting it if they are lucky. We are dependent upon some satellites peering down from space to give us at least an image of what is going on.
      So in general the world is more concerned about money, politics, war, law enforcement, shopping, the next sporting event, the next movie or TV program than what is going on with the world that supports them and that they come from and are a part of. Few people actually give a shit about the environment (other than if it obviously effects them personally), the earth, the creatures of land, air and ocean. They blithely go on about their activities and are more interested in entertainment than the living world.
      The one thing going for us is that it is very expensive to make coal “clean”.

      And that is the way it is, signing off for now.

      • GoneFishing says:

        BTW, that comes to over 11 dollars per watt. Compare that to less than $2 per watt for solar PV (to be $1 by 2020) or about $2 a watt for large wind turbines.

    • aws. says:

      A Strange Thing Happened in the Stratosphere

      High above Earth’s tropics, a pattern of winds changed recently in a way that scientists had never seen in more than 60 years of consistent measurements.

      This disruption to the wind pattern – called the “quasi-biennial oscillation” – did not have any immediate impact on weather or climate as we experience it on Earth’s surface. But it does raise interesting questions for the NASA scientists who observed it: If a pattern holds for six decades and then suddenly changes, what caused that to happen? Will it happen again? What effects might it have?

  26. Doug Leighton says:


    “In the interests of tackling climate change, science tells us we cannot burn all the oil and gas that remains under the sea. Instead, we need to see a sensible transition away from fossil fuels, harnessing the skills of those currently employed in the sector in clean energy technologies as well as decommissioning….”


  27. scrub puller says:

    Yair . . .

    Thought there may have been a comment or two about the Spacex disaster . . . I just caught it on the news last night but no details.


    • hightrekker23 says:

      We might have to let the Russians help us out again.
      They bailed out the last SpaceX disaster, with a supply to the Space Station.

    • notanoilman says:

      SpaceX, fireworks for every event.


      PS There must be an inspector or two with job security worries.

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:


  28. GoneFishing says:

    Deserts of the world cover one-third of the land mass. They contain little atmospheric water vapor. This makes changes in the other GHG’s even more important since water vapor saturates much of the infrared band. It also leave open the probability that water vapor will increase in these regions as temperature rises, thus increasing their warming even further.

    • Lydia says:

      Why do you keep posting comments using multiple aliases?

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Depends on the browser–

        If I’m on Tor, I’m Duncan.

        Bankrupt, closed
        Areva’s solar business (CSP) closed — Suffering through a Fukushima-inspired slowdown in reactor sales, Areva exited its concentrated solar power business. Areva’s solar unit consisted of the remains of the acquired startup Ausra.
        HelioVolt (CIGS thin-film PV) closed
        LDK (vertically integrated module builder) filed for bankruptcy
        Masdar PV (a-Si) closed its SunFab-based amorphous silicon PV factory in Germany.
        SolarMax (PV inverters) — Swiss inverter maker SolarMax’s parent firm, Sputnik Engineering, filed for insolvency.
        Sopogy (small-scale CSP) closed
        TEL (a-Si) withdrew from its a-Si solar business —
        Xunlight (a-Si) went bankrupt — Xunlight was adept at winning tax credits and government grants but never commercialized its roll-to-roll a-Si BIPV technology.
        Acquisition, sale
        Emcore’s CPV business — Suncore acquired the remaining interest in Emcore’s CPV business.
        RSI (CdTe PV panels) sold to Chinese strategic —
        Solar Junction (CPV semiconductors) sold to Saudi strategic —
        SAG Solarstrom, a bankrupt PV project developer, was sold to Shunfeng Photovoltaic,
        2009 to 2013 Bankrupt, closed, acquired
        Advent Solar (emitter wrap-through Si) acquired by Applied Materials
        Applied Solar (solar roofing) acquired by Quercus Trust
        OptiSolar (a-Si on a grand scale) — OptiSolar’s utility projects were acquired by First Solar; its manufacturing line was sold to NovaSolar.
        Ready Solar (PV installation) acquired by SunEdison
        Solasta (nano-coaxial solar) closed
        SV Solar (low-concentration PV) closed
        Senergen (depositing silane onto free-form metallurgical-grade Si substrates) closed
        Signet Solar (a-Si) bankrupt
        Sunfilm (a-Si) bankrupt
        Wakonda (GaAs) acquired by Siva
        EPV Solar (a-Si) bankrupt
        Evergreen (drawn Si) bankrupt
        Solyndra (CIGS) bankrupt
        SpectraWatt (c-Si) bankrupt
        Stirling Energy Systems (dish engine) bankrupt
        Ascent Solar (CIGS) acquired by TFG Radiant
        Calyxo (CdTe) acquired by Solar Fields from Q-Cells
        HelioVolt (CIGS) acquired by Korea’s SK Innovation
        National Semiconductor Solar Magic (panel optimizers) exited systems business
        NetCrystal (silicon on flexible substrate) acquired by Solar Semiconductor
        Soliant (CPV) acquired by Emcore
        Abound Solar (CdTe) bankrupt
        AQT (CIGS) closed
        Ampulse (thin silicon) closed
        Arise Technology (PV modules) bankrupt
        Azuray (microinverters) closed
        BP (c-Si panels) exits solar business
        Centrotherm (PV manufacturing equipment) bankrupt and restructured
        CSG (c-Si on glass) closed by Suntech
        Day4 Energy (cell interconnects) delisted from TSX exchange
        ECD (a-Si) bankrupt
        Energy Innovations (CPV) bankrupt
        Flexcell (a-Si roll-roll BIPV) closed
        Gadir Solar (a-Si PV) Spain-based customer of Oerlikon Solar closed
        GlobalWatt (solar) closed
        GreenVolts (CPV) closed
        G24i (DSCs) bankrupt in 2012, re-emerged as G24i Power with new investors
        Hoku (polysilicon) shut down its Idaho polysilicon production facility
        Inventux (a-Si) bankrupt
        Konarka (OSCs) bankrupt
        Odersun (CIGS) bankrupt
        Pramac (a-Si panels built with Oerlikon) insolvent
        Pairan (Germany inverters) insolvent
        Ralos (developer) bankrupt
        REC Wafer (c-Si) bankrupt
        Satcon (BoS) bankrupt
        Schott (c-Si) exits c-Si business
        Schuco (a-Si) shutting down its a-Si business
        Sencera (a-Si) closed
        Siliken (c-Si modules) closed
        Skyline Solar (LCPV) closed
        Siemens (CSP, inverters, BOS) divestment from solar
        Solar Millennium (developer) insolvent
        Solarhybrid (developer) insolvent
        Sovello (Q-Cells, Evergreen, REC JV) bankrupt
        SolarDay (c-Si modules) insolvent
        Solar Power Industries (PV modules) bankrupt
        Soltecture (CIGS BIPV) bankrupt
        Sun Concept (developer) bankrupt
        Oelmaier (Germany inverters) insolvent, bought by agricultural supplier Lehner Agrar
        Q-Cells (c-Si) insolvent, acquired by Hanwha
        Sharp (a-Si) backing away from a-Si, retiring 160 of its 320 megawatts in Japan
        Solibro (CIGS) Q-Cells unit acquired by China’s Hanergy
        Solon (c-Si) acquired by UAE’s Microsol
        Scheuten Solar (BIPV) bankrupt, then acquired by Aikosolar
        Sunways (c-Si, inverters) bought by LDK, restructuring to focus on BIPV and storage
        Array Converter (Module-level power electronics) bankrupt, IP to VC investor
        Avancis (CIGS) discontinuing production
        Bosch (c-Si PV module) exits module business
        Concentrator Optics (CPV) bankrupt
        Cyrium (CPV semiconductors) bankrupt
        Direct Grid (microinverters) closed
        GreenRay (microinverters) closed
        Helios Solar (c-Si modules) bankrupt
        Hoku Solar (silicon) bankrupt
        Honda Soltec (CIGS thin-film modules) closing
        Infinia (Stirling engine CSP) bankrupt
        Nanosolar (CIGS) closed
        Pythagoras Solar (BIPV) closed
        Solarion (CIGS) went bankrupt but restructured and in limited production
        SolFocus (CPV) bankrupt
        Sunsil (module level electronics) closed
        Suntech Wuxi (c-Si) bankrupt
        Tioga (project developer) closed
        Willard & Kelsey (CdTe panels) bankrupt
        ZenithSolar (CHP) bankrupt
        Agile Energy (project developer) acquired by RES Americas
        Bosch (c-Si PV module) acquired by SolarWorld
        Diehl (Germany inverters) division sold to Mutares AG
        Conergy (c-Si module) — Astronergy, a part of China’s Chint Group, acquired Conergy’s PV module group
        GE-Primestar (CdTe technology acquired from PrimeStar) acquired by First Solar
        Global Solar Energy (CIGS) acquired by Hanergy
        Infinia (Stirling engine CSP) assets acquired by Israel’s Qnergy
        MiaSolé (CIGS) acquired by China’s Hanergy
        NuvoSun (CIGS) acquired by Dow
        Suntech Wuxi (c-Si) acquired by Shunfeng Photovoltaic International for $492 million
        Twin Creeks (kerfless Si) IP and other assets acquired by GT Advanced Technology
        Wuerth Solar (installer) business turned over to BayWa
        Wuerth Solar (CIGS line) taken over by Manz
        ZenithSolar (CHP) acquired by Suncore

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:


        • Oldfarmermac says:

          The nature of the beast is that many are born, but relatively few survive.

          The solar INDUSTRY as a whole will continue to grow, although if subsidies are cut back sharply and suddenly, the growth rate will decline by half or more.

          That’s still damned fast growth by any sort of conventional economic measure.

          I am putting off buying a personal pv system for my home and farm from one year to the next because the prices of the components are falling fast enough that I can’t really afford NOT to wait.

          And hopefully by the time I do buy, the installation procedures for the wiring and inverters, etc, will be simplified and standardized to the point I can easily handle the entire installation myself, with a laborer to help me.

          I will be going with a ground mount system and personally fabricated equatorial mounts. I have figured out a way to operate a dozen or more, installed in a straight line using one small motor and gear box to follow the sun on a daily basis. I can change the tilt manually once every couple of months, or as often as I get ambitious enough, changing the tilt on each panel will take a minute or two.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Ok, so what exactly is your point?!

          Nothing lasts forever. Today we have Detroit’s Big Three, but in the early days of the car industry there were thousands of different manufacturers that eventually went broke, merged, collapsed, or disappeared. Here are 10 worth remembering.

          That’s right, thousands of startup companies went out of business yet amazingly there are still massive traffic jams on our roads today.

          Any entrepreneur knows that the vast majority of new businesses fail, that’s just the nature of the beast. Solar companies are the new guys on the block. It doesn’t for a moment mean that solar businesses in general are all destined to failure. As time goes on the economic ecosystem changes, some companies will adapt and prosper others won’t. C’est la vie! Get over it!

          • Synapsid says:


            Get over the loss of Studebaker? That’s cold, Fred, cold! That’s like saying “get over the loss of Nielsen’s Jersey Milk bar.” Every feeling recoils.

            • Fred Magyar says:

              Yo! Synapsid! When I was a kid, my dad actually owned a Studebaker and I got to ride in it, so eat your heart out… 🙂

              • Synapsid says:


                We had Studebakers until I was in high school. Nothing else would do.

  29. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Economics in Darwinist mode – the competitive struggle for existence

    The invisible hand of the market was ideal (and remains ideal) for a sociopathic elite to deny their responsibility to their fellow human beings because it claims to be a way of automatically reconciling self-interested behaviour with optimal economic outcomes. As Kingsley said: ‘I don’t believe they are our fault’.

    It was, and it still is, an argument tailor-made to allow the elite to avoid asking whether appalling suffering and disaster was in any way due to their actions taken in their self-interest. If people starved it was nothing to do with their rental extraction and systems of land tenure that had destroyed the communal arrangements that preceded them. It was nothing to do with their market arrangements.
    It was nothing to do with their speculation driving prices up further. It was nothing to do with their policies which wanted to use tax revenues for status displays or for war adventures to their greater glory. No, one had to obey the invisible hand – and if the inferior people, the little people, the chimpanzees, white or black, starved – then they had called it down on themselves and Nature was now taking them away, as it was bound to. Economics, once a branch of moral philosophy, had become the new theology for money power.

    As I have said, economists had constructed a set of arguments that took attention away from the propertied elite. Many economists would have been well aware that prices and the allocation of resources depends on the prior allocation of rights to the different factors of production – but so what? This insight could be consigned to the small print of economics, not the up-front centre of attention. By a process of enclosure, a land market and a labour market were created simultaneously, since people who could no longer draw from the resources of the commons to support themselves had to sell their ability to work on a labour market. But the duress involved in the enclosures, of being forced to work on the terms of the employers, was not something to theorise about. To give deep consideration to issues of justice and duress would have been to stand in the way of improvement and progress… By attacking the poor law for the support of destitute people, and by the expropriation involved in enclosures, the elite ensured that the poor worked on terms that could be dictated by their employers. … Land is part of the living natural system of the biosphere and ‘labour’ is the lives of people who have been forced to work on terms dictated by the people who own the land and other resources…

    As we have seen, the original roots of the property system, globally and nationally, lie in power, violence and theft.” ~ John Davey

    • Oldfarmermac says:

      Good morning Caelan,

      Have you ever read any of the history of places where property was held in the name of the people by the state?

      A good place to start would be Mao’s China, and Stalin’s Russia.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Good morning, and come on, Glen,

        That’s that false dichotomy fallacy. I’m not advocating Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia either. Go have your coffee. I have to head out, but I’ll be around.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Old Farmer Mac,

        One could imagine a democratically elected government where Marxist principles were instituted, just because it has never existed does not mean it could not in the future.

        Essentially one would be able to own private property, but businesses would need to share profits with their workers and workers would be the owners. There could still be a market economy with little government interference, but there would be a heavily progressive tax system and large estate taxes with few loopholes to create shelters to attempt to keep incomes more equal (think US tax code before 1965).

        I am not suggesting this would be best or is even likely, but there have been capitalist nations where personal rights have been violated very badly. The key is democracy for the political system, how the economic system is organized can be chosen by a nations citizens.

        • Oldfarmermac says:

          Hi Dennis,

          I don’t have any serious argument with anything you have said.

          But every once in a while , I find myself making a sarcastic reply to Caelan,who seldom if ever has anything good to say about private property or businessmen. I like to balance his rants with rants of my own, lol. His heart is no doubt in the right place, I readily grant him that.

          In my opinion the best sort of government that is possible, as a practical matter, is one similar to the ones currently in power in Western Europe and Scandinavia.

          I hope that our own government will evolve in that direction but I am optimistic about this happening over the short term. Longer term…. Maybe.

          The problem with government of all kinds is that it tends to be captured by special interests of one sort or another.

          Sometimes these special interests are big banks, or other predatory giant corporations, or super rich individuals, or coalitions of this sort of organization and people.

          Various entire industries or professions can acquire enormous political and economic power, and shape large portions of societies to the ends desired by their members.

          The medical profession has such power in this country, but it is at high risk of losing it over the next decade or two. Medical professionals tend to be one percenters.

          Another profession that has enormous political power is education, but teachers generally have not been able to cash in on their political power to enrich themselves.

          Big Labor has lost most of it’s political and economic power in this country, compared to past times, but there are still quite a few semi literate guys out there raking in a LOT of dough at union rates. ( At various times I managed to temporarily attach myself to their gravy train, lol, but I never wanted to be a welder or electrician or any other sort of tradesman on a permanent basis. )

          Sometimes the controlling special interest consists of the bureaucrats, employees, apparatchiks, call them what you will, of the government itself. In the old USSR, the only real path to power and material success was thru government.

          Really good government requires a well educated citizenry.

          Unfortunately we are quite a few cards short of a full deck in this respect here in the USA. I was once a teacher, and active in educational politics, and based on my own experience I don’t see any reason to expect any real change any time soon.

          There is a hell of a lot of lip service devoted to improving the nation’s schools, but hardly any real action, and there won’t likely be any action until there is some competition involved.

          You can graduate from an Ivy League university with only one so called “survey” course in one real science.The typical student who takes such a course learns NOTHING at all that penetrates to the space between the ears, which explains why economists, lawyers, accountants, etc, believe so many patently ridiculous things.

          So help me Sky Daddy, I am dead serious. Most of the regulars in this forum have met many such people. The overall ignorance of typical college graduates is simply appalling when you get down to the fundamentals of what actually makes it possible for the economic, political, and cultural world to continue to go around.

          If it’s this bad at the top of the social pyramid……….

          The possession of a high school diploma these days is no guarantee at all that the owner of it can read it or balance a checkbook.

          • Nathanael says:

            You’re absolutely right about the disastrous state of education. I have two reasons to be hopeful:

            1 — childhood lead poisoning is (very slowly) being eliminated. This is giving us fundamentally smarter people in each subsequent generation.
            2 — the Internet makes it relatively easy for these smarter people to educate *themselves* about many subjects — this was previously a very hard and work-intensive process involving lots of time at public libraries. Now, a person who’s smart enough (not lead poisoned) can teach themselves pretty much anything in mathematics from freely available online courses. This is great! It’s a huge, revolutionary change.

            Science is harder because you have to get that lab & field experience, but the Internet is still super helpful. For the kids who weren’t severely lead-poisoned and are therefore able to learn it, that is.

  30. robert wilson says:

    1254 miles of the Rio Grande River form the border between Texas and Mexico. If the wall is completed, will it be built in the middle of the river? If it were built on the US side it would prevent access to the river and would require appropriating private property. I believe that building it on the Mexican side without permission would be an act of war.

  31. GoneFishing says:

    If you have been wondering why it’s tough to get a fully clear day (unless you live in a desert and even then), the earth is a bit cloudy.


    • Fred Magyar says:

      From the link:

      NASA’s Earth Observatory offers a disclaimer, however, about their beautiful new blue map, reminding onlookers that the image represents an average of cloudiness from a “top-down” view of the earth as seen from the Aqua satellite. It does not represent a day-to-day look at the weather on Earth.

      So, if you need to know if it is cloudy where you are, perhaps the best thing to do is step outside and look.

      This is what it looks like where I am at 2:45 PM EST. 🙂

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