Open Thread

The EIA has released their Petroleum Supply Monthly with September production numbers for states and total US. It was pretty much a non event. So I am just releasing this post as an open thread.

Petroleum Supply Monthly

The Petroleum Supply Monthly has US production down 20,000 bpd in September. The EIA’s Monthly Energy Review which came out a few days ago with data through October, has US Production down 195,000 bpd in September and down 7,000 bpd in October.

The Petroleum Supply Monthly showed very little change for most state’s production. The largest change was North Dakota, down 24,000 bpd in September but we covered that a few days ago.

US they have US production down 20,000 barrels per day in September.

The below was in my email box. No link available.

November 30, 2015

EIA expands monthly reporting of crude oil production with new data by API gravity

New data released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that for the first nine months of 2015, the majority of crude oil produced in the Lower 48 states was light oil. As categorized by API gravity, a measure of the density of oil, the largest share of production was in the 40.1 to 45 degree API gravity range (see chart).

Productin by API Gravity

The new data come from the recently-expanded EIA-914 survey which tabulates production from oil and natural gas well operators. EIA surveys operators for their production in 15 individual states and the federal offshore Gulf of Mexico. Production from the remaining producing states is collected in an other states category. The results are published in the Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production Report.

Aggregated production volumes for the Lower 48 states are reported for 10 API gravity categories that range from less than 20 degrees, to more than 55 degrees along with an unknown or not reported category. For individual states, four category breakouts of production by API gravity are provided: less than or equal to 30 degrees, 30.1-40 degrees, 40.1-50 degrees, and greater than 50 degrees.

“These new data on API gravity will give energy analysts a better handle on a variety of issues related to U.S. crude oil production, such as refinery inputs and utilization, crude oil trade, and regional crude oil pricing,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. “Knowing more about the quality of domestic crude oil production can help oil markets operate more efficiently.”

Slightly more than half of Lower 48 production during the nine months of 2015 had an API gravity above 40 degrees. Production increases over the past several years in the Bakken, Permian Basin, and Eagle Ford formations accounted for almost all of crude oil production growth in the United States, and consist of light crude oil from low-permeability (tight) formations.

Crude oil streams vary throughout the Lower 48 states. For example, production in California, North Dakota, and Texas has significantly different characteristics. Most of California’s oil is heavy, with more than 90% having an API gravity of 30 degrees or less. Oil produced in North Dakota tends to be light—more than 90% of production has an API gravity of 40.1 to 50 degrees. Texas has a broader distribution of crude oil quality, with most production ranging from medium gravity oils to light oils.

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575 Responses to Open Thread

  1. Rune Likvern says:

    I just posted an update on Bakken(ND) LTO developments based upon NDIC data as per Sep 15.

    • IanH says:

      Rune, I get error 404 when I try to read the full posting, can only see the first part.

    • shallow sand says:

      Rune. Finally was able to read your post. Thank you for sharing it.

      Although there are many variables to consider, I take it that your general opinion is that re fracks are not as economic in the Williston Basin for Bakken and TFS wells as new wells are (not that either make much sense at this time)?

      • Rune Likvern says:

        Shallow, thanks!
        “was able to read the post”, was this due to time constraints on your end or accessibility to the post?
        The accessibility problem has been reported solved by people who had similar experiences like IanH.

        I asked around for costs for refracks and held that up with what extra (oil, actually it is likely a combination of added and accelerated extraction) the refracks yielded and found a few wells that likely made it worth, while oil prices were around $100/b.

        The companies are likely doing their evaluations and I do not expect much of this for the near future (or as long oil prices remain “low”).

        • shallow sand says:

          Rune. I received via email but also just accessed here, no problems.

          Just been busy.

    • gwalke says:

      Excellent as ever, Rune. It always makes me feel I’m on the right track when my results are close to your own.

    • Enno Peters says:

      Rune, thanks for the great article.

      Question: So in your estimation, companies in the Bakken spend $24 billion more than the cash from operations during the last years to come to the current level of production. Suppose they would stop drilling (I know, not very realistically..), and try to maximize their free cash flows until their wells run into the economic limit and they are plugged. Do you have a very rough estimation of how much remaining oil, and consequently how much free cash flow (based on strip prices) you think they can recover? Will it be more or less than the $24 billion?

      This could answer the question whether in theory they will be able to show a net nominal profit, or loss.

      In my own estimation, they may recover about 1.5 to 2 billion barrels of oil from current wells. Depending on the strip prices, and the increase in operational expenses as the wells age (as Shallow as pointed out), they still may be able to recover those funds. It would not make the whole operation profitable, but at least most funds from creditors would be saved (unlike probably those of investors whose holdings more depend on the profitability).

      • Rune Likvern says:

        Enno, thanks.
        Using the assumptions you describe I arrive at the same amount of oil recovered as yourself, so let us put this at 2 billion barrels.
        And as you point out there is a plethora of dynamics that comes into play in such a scenario.
        So roughly the total amount ($24B) is likely to be nominally recovered, there is however a wide range of the quality of the acreage for the companies operating in Bakken. Returns will suffer.

        Another way to look at this is to look at figure 04 in my post, where the nominal net back of the average well by vintage is shown. The average well is on a trajectory to recover its costs in nominal terms. The 20015 vintage will struggle.

        • By 20015 our descendants will be powered by tiny dilithium crystal batteries.

          • Rune Likvern says:

            Fernando, thanks (LOL).

            [I am going to revise “The Sleeping Beauty”.]
            I’m busy in my end upgrading most of my soft and hardware to Windows 10 (yes, that includes the phone …Microsofts (former Nokia) phones IMVHO is some steps ahead (key phrase “synchronization between PC and phone”) and retails (in Norway) about 20% of their competitors.

  2. VK says:

    So much for decoupling…

    “A paper published earlier this year in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences proposes that even the relative decoupling we claim to have achieved is an artefact of false accounting. It points out that governments and economists have measured our impacts in a way that seems irrational.

    Here’s how the false accounting works. It takes the raw materials we extract in our own countries, adds them to our imports of stuff from other countries, then subtracts our exports, to end up with something called “domestic material consumption”. But by measuring only the products shifted from one nation to another, rather than the raw materials needed to create those products, it greatly underestimates the total use of resources by the rich nations.

    For instance, if ores are mined and processed at home, these raw materials, as well as the machinery and infrastructure used to make finished metal, are included in the domestic material consumption accounts. But if we buy a metal product from abroad, only the weight of the metal is counted. So as mining and manufacturing shift from countries such as the UK and the US to countries like China and India, the rich nations appear to be using fewer resources. A more rational measure, called the material footprint, includes all the raw materials an economy uses, wherever they happen to be extracted. When these are taken into account, the apparent improvements in efficiency disappear.”

    • BC says:

      VK, precisely. The US has been in a net-exergetic deficit in debt-money-based terms per capita since the mid- to late 1960s to mid-1970s to mid-1980s, having compensated by increasing to an unprecedented level to date debt to wages and GDP.

      Moreover, the BEA-determined industry requirement costs as the basis of estimated gross and real value-added output (what we refer to as GDP), adjusted for our net-exergetic deficit in debt-money terms, the US has been in recession/”slow-motion depression” since Q4 2000-Q1 2001, and the world since 2005-08.

      Senior BEA, BLS, Commerce, White House economic advisors, CIA, NSA, military intelligence, and Pentagon planners all know this in varying degrees as it relates to their imperatives and prerogatives.

      However, the mass public and most political leaders are utterly unaware, or in the case of the latter, have no incentive to know or to share with the public what they know because they will not be able to raise a nickel thereafter for reelection if they do share.

      And so it goes . . .

    • Thanks VK, I suspected as much.

      He told me that he and his colleagues had conducted a similar analysis, in this case of the UK’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, “and we find a similar pattern”. One of his papers reveals that while the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions officially fell by 194m tonnes between 1990 and 2012, this apparent reduction is more than cancelled out by the CO2 we commission through buying stuff from abroad. This rose by 280m tonnes in the same period.

      GDP is about as decoupled from energy about as much as a dog’s tail is decoupled from his ass.

      • Jimmy says:

        I’m with Ron on this one. If for example GDP units are produced at a ratio of 1:1 for every unit of energy consumed then a graph representing this trend could perhaps have 2 superimposed lines. If efficiency gains then begin to create 2 units of GDP for every unit of energy consumed then the 2 lines on the graph will diverge. There is no decoupling. Only a divergence due to more units of GDP produced per unit of energy consumed. When somebody can create units of GDP and consume no energy at all then we will have decoupling. Coupling and decoupling are all or none terms/states of being. You’re either coupled or your decoupled. Any arguments to the contrary are pedantic and uninformed.

        • Thanks Jimmy, with all the Pollyannas on this site I need all the support I can get.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Jimmy,

          Look up the meaning of decouple it is reduce or eliminate the effect of one part of a circuit on another. In this context the appropriate meaning is reduce.

          Doesn’t really matter, nobody thinks that energy inputs can be eliminated, that would be absurd.

          • old hermit says:


            Rather than try to write a lengthy post into why you are having trouble with most of us not understanding why you want to use the word ” decouple ” instead of something else. I will suggest you find a Dictionary that was printed prior to 1985, you will discover your definition for ” decouple ” will not be in it. Plus I have a ” Thesaurus ” printed in 1989 and that definition is not in it either.

            the old hermit

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              HI old hermit

              I was not the one to bring up the term.

              Don’t really care either way.

              I don’t expect energy efficiency to save the world, but it probably won’t hurt.

              • not clever says:

                The point as I’ve been following Ron’s argument is that energy efficiency has been increasing the whole time oil has been used, so there should be no reason to expect that continued increasing energy efficiency in the future to offset decreasing oil supplies, unless you can make a realistic argument that the energy efficiency increases of the future will be dramatically larger than the energy efficiency increases of the past. More likely in my estimation is that energy efficiency increases would be smaller in the future because motors and such are closer to thermodynamic efficiency limits now than they were in the past.

                Rather than expecting energy efficiency increases to solve our dilemma, like a magic pill or something, I would expect modified cultural behavior to be a more productive well to draw from. That is, extensive carpooling, reduced travel, reduced consumption of consumer goods, having fewer babies, smaller houses, more home gardens, ect… All more difficult pills to swallow for the developed world as a whole, and most likely not going to happen at the necessary scale until dire circumstances force the issue…at which point the “depression” / “collapse” debate can really begin…

                • Arceus says:

                  “Rather than expecting energy efficiency increases to solve our dilemma, like a magic pill or something, I would expect modified cultural behavior to be more productive…”

                  Yes, well that’s not the way the political system works. You see, your idea fails because no money changes hands at all. All it requires is personal effort. With no re-distribution of wealth to the upper tiers of society and the political and financial elites, it gets no traction. That, plus it requires effort. A morbidly obese, consumer-oriented society lecturing the world on moderation … can’t really see it. Better just to throw money at the problem and have everyone put the latest and greatest huge black box on their house every few years.

                  • Arceus says:

                    And hey, we can zip around in the latest TESLA in order to prove to our friends how environmentally friendly we are. And our McMansion will, of course, have the most up to date PowerWall when it comes out. New solar powered air conditioner, new wind powered in-ground pool and jacuzzi, even a massive solar-powered battery wall to power our fleet of eco-friendly drones.

                • Bob Nickson says:

                  Electric motors are far more efficient than combustion engines.

                  There are substantial efficiency gains available by substituting motors where we now use engines, where possible.

                  • Arceus says:

                    I’m sure you are right about the mechanics. My point is that the TESLA, the car and the company, should not be considered an eco-friendly operation. It’s fast and flashy and pretty much an impulse buy for the wealthy, eco-aware consumer who already has a few cars. Moreover, if it’s powered from the electric grid (doesn’t run by itself) that means it is likely 65% powered by carbon (natural gas and coal). Some critics say electric cars are no cleaner than ICE – powered cars. Looks nice though and I think Musk did a good job creating his niche.

                  • Bob Nickson says:

                    Arceus, Musk’s perspective is that it is self evident that we must transition to sustainable energy. He wants to accelerate the transition as much as possible, and believes that faster we do it, the better off we will be.

                    His end goal with Tesla Motors is affordable mass market EV cars. The luxury segment is a pathway to that goal, not the end game. He also recognizes that Tesla is a very tiny company and that his goals will not be realized by Tesla alone. He is putting pressure on large manufacturers by demonstrating what is possible; i.e. EV’s can be fast, efficient, long range, fast charging, high performance, sexy, powered entirely by renewable energy, and he is working hard to add affordable to the list.

                    As for EV’s being dirty because the grid is dirty, that’s an argument for cleaning up the grid, not an argument against electric cars.

                    Even with today’s grid mix, electric cars are better from an emissions standpoint than ICE cars. The Union of Concerned Scientists created this handy tool which you can use to determine how much cleaner an EV is for your specific location:


                    Musk gave a speech and Q&A at Sorbonne in Paris for COP21 that elucidates his perspectives quit well. I think it may have already been linked to by someone else, but here it is again:


                    Q & A:

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Not Clever,

                  Energy efficiency will simply be a part of the solution. Over much of the history of oil and gas, the relative price of this energy has been decreasing, so there was little incentive to use fuel efficiently.

                  When the real price of oil increases, people use it more efficiently and over the long term move to other kinds of energy.

                  So there will be two effects, more efficient use of fossil fuels and substitution of other forms of energy for fossil fuels. In addition population will peak in 2060+/-10 years and then decline, this will reduce the energy required by human society. Once the World population falls to 1 billion, the planet can recover. World real oil price in 2014 US$ from 1861 to 2014 in chart below. The real oil price has been mostly under $30/b from 1901 to 1973 (1918[$31/b], and 1920[$36/b] are the only exceptions). All prices in 2014 US$.

                  • Over much of the history of oil and gas, the relative price of this energy has been decreasing, so there was little incentive to use fuel efficiently.

                    Dennis, you just pulled that right out of your posterior. There has always been a push for energy efficiency. In my lifetime I have saw farm equipment go from one mules to one row tractors and two pan plows. Now tractors carry so many rows I cannot count them and up to sixteen or more pan plows. Every year, all through the cheap oil era, farm equipment just kept getting more efficient.

                    The same can be said for all industry. Airlines carry more passengers as planes just kept getting bigger. Fuel efficiency has always been at the top of every manufactures priority list. To say that they paid little attention to fuel efficiency is just preposterous.

                  • Nick G says:

                    There has always been a push for energy efficiency.

                    Sure. But it hasn’t been the top priority.

                    In my lifetime I have saw farm equipment go from one mules to one row tractors and two pan plows. Now tractors carry so many rows I cannot count them and up to sixteen or more pan plows. Every year, all through the cheap oil era, farm equipment just kept getting more efficient.

                    That’s not fuel efficiency, that’s just overall effectiveness.

                    Fuel efficiency has always been at the top of every manufactures priority list. To say that they paid little attention to fuel efficiency is just preposterous.

                    Ron, that’s just not true. You are, in fact, pulling that idea out of your nether regions. Ask any aviation expert: fuel efficiency became a much, much higher priority in the last 10 years.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    Businesses try to reduce costs, all the things you are talking about are labor productivity savings so you get more output with fewer workers. That in a sense is labor efficiency, when something is a low cost input into a process, less attention is paid to finding ways to save on the costs of using that input. Oil has mostly been a very low cost input from 1910 to 1973, so using oil efficiently was low on the priority list. Do you remember what cars were like before 1980?

                    What changed? The price of oil.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi VK,

      The problem is solved by looking at World output and World primary energy use.

      Energy intensity for the World has improved, though during the Chinese rapid expansion from 2000-2010, the progress stopped for a decade as energy was not used very efficiently in China over that period, since 2010 the progress has continued. Energy intensity is energy per unit of GDP produced.
      Chart below for 1965 to 2014 using World Bank(from FRED), UN, and BP data.

      Left vertical axis is in metric tons of oil equivalent (toe) per millions of 2005$ of real GDP (M2005$).

      • Javier says:

        Hi Dennis,

        That graph shows several things mixed that have co-evolved independently, so not many conclusions can be extracted.

        -It reflects improvements in energy usage, meaning we are able to extract more economic yield per unit of energy. This is the only real efficiency improvement.

        -It reflects increase in debt, that is reflected in GDP but does not use energy. If I borrow money GDP increases yet no energy is used.

        -It reflects increase in tertiary economy at the expense of primary and secondary economies. We pay more for services and less for resources and goods.

        We don’t know the contribution of each to that graph (at least I don’t), but given the magnitudes involved I would guess that the real efficiency improvement is small. This is supported by how the graph reacts to recessions (not the Chinese expansion as you claim), indicating that the main factor is economic, not energetic.

        Now we know that debt has a limit, and once debt saturation is reached the economy, and specially the tertiary sector would be very badly affected. If that happens we might very well see that graph turn around and energy intensity increase.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Javier,

          GDP only increases if your money is spent on goods or services. It is output of goods and services. On a World level the debts and liabilities balance, so if I save my money and lend it to you, I spend less and you spend more. You should review your economics. At a World level, the debt has no effect, assuming we don’t have ant interstellar debts. There was a World recession from 2000 to 2010? I hadn’t heard about that.

          Yes services might have increased, if that is what people want to spend their money on, then the share of services in the economy will increase. I don’t have figures on the “non-service economy”. Part of this increase reflects women entering the labor pool in greater numbers, some of the work cleaning the house or taking care of the garden are now part of GDP when before they were taken care of by the family. We may not have good data for the World on this effect.

          • Javier says:


            I think I do understand. If I go to the bank and ask for a 200,000 $ mortgage loan, that money is created from thin air, and when I go and pay for the house, GDP jumps by 200,000 $, so yes, increasing debt increases GDP as soon as the debt money is used. Since no oil was used to create the money, it counts as a reduction in oil intensity. Of course if I return the money to the bank the operation is reversed (they do keep the interests), but since on average debt is always expanding, except during crisis periods, oil intensity is always decreasing, except during crisis periods. Debt that is used to buy stocks or companies or to extract oil from the ground is the same.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Javier,

              The point is that you purchased a $200,000 house. That house was not created from thin air, not my house anyway. 🙂

              It is not the debt, it is building a house that creates the GDP.

              • Rune Likvern says:

                So what comes first; The debt that allows for building the house, or first building the house and then creating the debt?

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Rune,

                  In most cases the debt will come first if the home is purchased with financing. It is possible to build a home using savings, in which case there would be no debt.

                  So the debt is not a requirement for GDP, just creating a new house, car, or other good or service.

                  Would GDP be lower if there were no debt, of course!

                  As long as debt grows at reasonable rates (similar to GDP growth at full employment), when there is a recession debt will initially grow faster than GDP and then will slow down until GDP growth catches up and surpasses the debt rate of growth.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Rune,

                  I am curious. Do you think what Javier is saying is correct? Energy intensity has decreased because Debt to GDP ratios have increased? I am pretty sure Javier is not right, but you are very knowledgeable about economics. Perhaps you can explain it to me, if I am mistaken.

                  If all GDP was created with no debt (all of it was based on savings and income with no new borrowing) in year 1. And in year 2 50% of income was borrowed from banks to create the same level of GDP, would that mean in year 2 we have 150% of the first year because of the debt?

                  I don’t think so, but I may be missing something.

                  • Nick G says:


                    Javier’s suggestion about debt is not correct. Really, really not correct. Debt is just accounting for various kinds of ownership and obligations. If this were the old Soviet Union, construction would happen based on a central plan, and there would be no debt at all, but there would still be GDP.

                    Let’s say there two houses on an island, and 2 residents, 1 in each house. One owns both houses, the other rents from the 1st. Then the renter borrows from the owner, and buys the house he/she lives in. Their monthly payment was rent, now it’s a mortgage payment. The renter is now leveraged.

                    But, has anything “real” changed? No. Same amount of wealth, same amount of income, with different kinds of ownership, and different obligations (the renter now has to fix his own roof!).

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Javier,

              You should read up on national income accounting. Debt does not really come into play, and more or less debt says absolutely nothing about the energy intensity of GDP. The chart I created is primary energy in metric tons of oil equivalent divided by real GDP in millions of 2005$. Debt plays no role.

              Try the following link for a detailed introduction to national income accounting:


              • Javier says:


                I still disagree. It is well known that the increase in debt has a positive effect on GDP, while the total outstanding debt can become a drag on GDP if too high. It is difficult to sustain that debt plays no role in GDP in light of the evidence.

                For example China has had a phenomenal rate of growth accompanied by the highest rate of debt growth that the world has seen.

                I think it is easy to understand.
                Country A finances everything with savings and profits without increasing debt and sees an increase in GDP of 2%.
                Country B finances half of the goods and services with an increase in debt and sees an increase in GDP of 2%.
                Both countries use the same oil so both report the same oil intensity.
                However country B has brought half of the wealth used to increase the GDP from the future without bringing any future oil. That wealth will have to be repaid eventually, detracting from future GDP but at that point no oil will be recovered.

                So in reality country B is reporting half of its real oil intensity. With present wealth it would have grown GDP by only 1% yet it has spent the same amount of oil than A.

                Net effect is that debt reduces oil intensity when it is created and it increases oil intensity when it is payed. We have not seen that yet because we have not paid any debt yet. Debt is always increasing.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Javier,

                  Many problems with your example.

                  First we need the GDP level of countries A and B, not just their growth rate. If we only talk about the incremental increases in GDP and energy use for each country it makes a little more sense.

                  So in reality country B is reporting half of its real oil intensity. With present wealth it would have grown GDP by only 1% yet it has spent the same amount of oil than A.

                  What you say above is incorrect.
                  For simplicity I will assume if output grows by 2%, that energy use also grows by 2%, I will further assume each country has the same GDP, we will say it is $100 million before the 2% growth in your example.

                  If country B does not take on any debt and its GDP grows by 1%, then its energy use will also grow by 1%(not by 2%) as the energy use is proportional to GDP. So the energy intensity would remain the same. There is no reason for it to change, it depends on technology and the structural features of the economy (proportion of agriculture, manufacturing, and services).

                  Another basic fact of economics is that the loans taken out by a business are to take advantage of a business opportunity and they will tend to lead to higher growth, so your example is flawed.

                  If countries A and B are of similar size and similar levels of development (twins as it were), then if country A and country B both shunned any borrowing they will both grow at the same rate, say 2% and have the same energy intensity (energy use also grows by 2%). Let’s now assume both countries are the same except that country A’s culture is such that they think debt is bad, but country B does not have the same aversion to debt.
                  Country B borrows at 2% interest to take advantage of an investment opportunity which will have a rate of return of 4%, so country B grows faster than country A at 3% and its energy use also grows at 3% (energy intensity remains the same). The extra income earned is used to pay back the debt and the individual businesses come out ahead earning a net profit of 2% after paying back the interest. This is how rational businesses operate, they borrow money to make money.

                  • Javier says:


                    I also have lots of problems with your example, so let’s take a step back to look at the big picture.

                    That an increase on debt increases GDP is not in doubt. It is not only supported by evidence, but the basis for an entire economic theory that supports fighting recessions with debt-based stimulus.

                    So the question is if an increase in debt increases also GDP without oil consumption as to reduce oil-intensity. The answer is a resounding yes. Financial services are proportional to debt increase. Net interest expenses in the financial sector are seen as production and value added and are added to GDP. Any service charged by financial companies also increases GDP, and none of this economic activities uses oil, and very little energy.

                    I believe that a significant part of oil intensity reduction has come from the financialization of the economy linked to debt-increase, and therefore oil intensity is a fake measure of oil decoupling. If you look at energy-intensity you see the same phenomenon as with oil. It seems that we are decoupling from energy because we are moving towards a fake economy based on financial instruments. Finanzialization also appears linked to raising inequality as it effect is to increase the wealth only of owners of financial instruments.

                    I do not doubt that some oil and energy efficiency is real, after all it is a process that has been going on forever since the first oven was built to cook. But I seriously doubt that it is a process significant enough to solve an energy deficit problem which is what peak oil is going to bring. And to me oil intensity is a fake measure of increases in oil efficiency, that I do not doubt are real but much overstated.

                    Gail Tverberg has a lot more to say about decoupling GDP growth from energy growth in her article at TOD for anybody interested in the matter:


                  • Javier says:

                    Or to put it more clearly:

                    These two things are related. And decoupling is largely a myth.

                    In blue US energy intensity inverted

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Yes the financial sector has increased to a small degree from 4% of GDP to 8% based on the chart you posted (which is only for the United States rather than the World).

                    This has probably increased to some degree (more or less than the US is unknown) at the World level as well. This might explain a very small slice of the decrease in energy intensity, but I doubt it accounts for most of the change.

                    I agree with you that changes in the structure of the World economy (higher proportion of services) has probably decreased energy intensity, but I doubt that accounts for all of the change. The bottom line is that the World economic system is becoming more service oriented with services accounting for a larger share of GDP. At some point, services may reach some maximum level, in percentage terms, beyond which they cannot go. I don’t know where that level is, debt levels will also reach some maximum level (in percentage terms) beyond which they cannot rise (maybe total debt of 300% to 350% of GDP at a World level as a potential maximum).

                    When those points are reached growth may be limited by how much more efficiently we can use energy and how quickly we can ramp up alternative energy as fossil fuel output declines. There is much that is unknown about the future.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Note that you keep talking about oil, the chart shows primary energy (all forms of energy used by the economic system.)

                    Can you explain why country B in your example uses the same amount of energy whether it grows at 1% or 2%. One would expect that the energy use would be proportional to GDP, as that is what the World data shows.

                  • Javier says:


                    That is not what I said or meant. Country B by increasing GDP 1% through an increase in debt is in essence bringing GDP from the future to the present. That borrowed GDP is using present energy.

                    The financial sector has increased from 2% to 8%, a 4x increase. This is not small peanuts. Specially considering that only a minor part of the financial transactions are considered towards GDP. Probably only Luxembourg and perhaps Switzerland and other banking paradises have a bigger share.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    You said:

                    So in reality country B is reporting half of its real oil intensity. With present wealth it would have grown GDP by only 1% yet it has spent the same amount of oil than A.

                    You say above without the borrowing country B would grow by 1% (why does it grow less than country A?) but it uses the same amount of oil as country A, why if it grows more slowly?

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Look closely at your chart in 1970 (when energy intensity started to decline) it was 4% and the most recent points on the chart are about 8.4%. I used the data from your chart (even though it is for the US rather than the World) and did an exponential trend from 1970 to 2010 for 4% to 8% and then extended to 2014 (8.5%) for financial GDP of World economy (probably not correct, but this is an illustration). Then I found the Energy intensity of the non-financial sector by assuming the financial sector has zero energy inputs (I expect they are low, this is an approximation). The Non-Financial Energy intensity is in the chart below.

                    Finally, Aggregate Demand is increased when there is more debt, but consider the Aggregate supply of goods produced to meet that demand. Whether the aggregate demand is because of private or public debt or not does not change the amount of energy needed to produce the supply of goods and services, it only changes how much demand there will be for those goods and services. I really cannot make it any simpler than that. Oh one more thing, do you think the energy needed to build a car (total energy embodied in all processes used to create the car and its components) changes if someone pays cash for the car vs financing the car?

                  • Javier says:


                    You found the trivial answer that if you deduct from GDP financial contribution + financial increase, you deduct ≈10% from energy intensity.

                    But you also showed that energy intensity is a fake measurement for increased energy efficiency.

                    The question to me is not to reach a correct measurement of energy intensity that reflects only increased energy efficiency, because I do not know enough economy for that. I don’t know how many factors are contaminating that measurement and by how much. Expansion of financial economy is only one. Expansion of tertiary sector is another.

                    Perhaps I am wrong about the effect of debt on energy intensity. I’ll have to think more about it. But I am right in that energy intensity is not a measure of increased energy efficiency. You have just demonstrated that you cannot tell me how much of that decreased energy intensity corresponds to increased energy efficiency and how much corresponds to other changes in the economy and in GDP. Could be that 90% of the last graph or could be much less. You don’t know.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Yes that is correct, the measure is imperfect because the economy changes over time.

                    If we had a chart like you presented for the World (rather than just the US) for the percentage of GDP for the financial sector we could eliminate that, there is the problem that we don’t know how much energy is used in the financial and service sectors. I agree with your assessment that it is less than other sectors, but I am unsure of the degree.

                    Note that energy intensity is not a fake measure of anything. I never claimed it measured changes in energy efficiency only, though you seem to think I have made such a claim.

                    I presented it to show that for the World Energy intensity has decreased, I agree with the criticism that it does not reflect efficiency only, I would not have expected that it would be due to efficiency improvements only.

                    I did not invent this measure, I agree it is imperfect.

        • Rune Likvern says:


          Bank of England has a different take on this;

          ” This article explains how the majority of money in the modern economy is created by commercial banks making loans.

          Money creation in practice differs from some popular misconceptions — banks do not act simply as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’ central bank money to create new loans and deposits.”

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Rune,

            Yes that is correct. The banks create money by lending and borrowers destroy money as they pay back their loans. The money supply is controlled by the Central Bank buying and selling bonds.

            The debt is only a problem if it grows too quickly. If the rate of debt growth slows or the rate of GDP growth increases there will not be a problem. There are differing views on how much debt is too much.

            For public debt there is:



            • Rune Likvern says:

              Did you read the document from Bank of England?

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Rune,

                Yes I did. Under normal circumstances the supply of money is primarily influenced by the interest rate that is paid by commercial banks for money borrowed from the central bank. When the economy is in a severe recession and this interest rate falls to the “effective lower bound” (about 0.5%), the central bank loses its ability to increase the supply of money through lower interest rates.

                Under these circumstances the central bank will buy assets (government bonds) to increase the money supply, it does not sell assets to reduce the money supply, it simply raises the interest rate it charges the commercial banks.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Rune,

            Thanks for that link, it is a nice review of how central banks influence the supply of money by setting the interest rate which banks must pay on money borrowed from the central bank, which feeds through to interest rates throughout the economy and affects saving and borrowing through market interest rates set by banks.

            I would encourage Javier to read that link as it addresses many misconceptions about money.

      • Glenn Stehle says:


        You are comparing apples to oranges.

        GDP is determined using a price, or market, theory of value.

        So you are comparing a value determined using a market theory of value to a value determined using an intrinsic theory of value — the toe of energy.

        If you want to compare apples to apples, then you have to compare GDP to the market value of the energy used.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Glenn,

          If we are concerned the energy constraints will limit real GDP, then the amount of energy consumed per unit of GDP produced is very relevant in my view.

          It is not a comparison, it is a measure of energy intensity and how it has changed over time. See

          I have simply charted the World Energy Intensity from 1965 to 2014.

          • Glenn Stehle says:

            Well again, Dennis, a valid comparison is one which compares dollars and cents to dollars and cents, not dollars and cents to toe.

            There was a time (1970 to 2010) when the EIA published the total amount spent in the United States on energy. I have plotted the ratio of total spent on energy to total nominal GDP for those years. This is a true measure of “energy intensity,” as it compares apples to apples, and does not omit the price of energy as your graph does.

            I have added YOY growth in real GDP (calculated using constant 2009 dollars).

            I don’t want to draw too many conclusions from the graph, but it paints a far bleaker picture than your graph does. When energy intensity goes over .08 — as it did in 1974 and 2008 — then the economy began having convulsions.

            The period from 1983 to 2006 is what is known as “the Great Moderation.” It is also a period of low and generally declining energy intensity. When energy intensity began increasing again, as it did in 1999, surpassing .08 in 2006, then this marked the end of the Great Moderation. Is this mere coincidence?

            Botton line: In my opinion not only is the quantity of energy (measured in toe) important to the performance of the economy, but the price of that energy is also important.

            Using your graph, which makes no allowance for the price of energy, it is easy to see how you have come to believe that the economy is decoupling from energy.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Glenn,

              It is not a comparison of money spent, energy intensity is defined as energy consumed per unit of output (measured in dollars) as there are many different goods and services and their monetary value is measured in constant dollars.

              The difficulty with using price is that there are many different forms of energy (oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuels) which are included in the “primary energy” category. Note that your chart shows only one country not the world. I would present a chart for the World if I had it, I am using the data I have for primary energy divided by real GDP. I think it is useful because it is energy contraints we are concerned about, currently some forms of energy (fossil fuels especially) have very low prices so in monetary terms money spent on Energy divided by real GDP would be quite low.

              Energy prices are quite volatile so I like the Energy intensity measure better as it shows energy needed to produce a unit of GDP, which has in fact declined since 1970 by about 30%(or an average annual decrease of about 0.8% per year).

              • Glenn Stehle says:


                I suppose price doesn’t matter as long as one can get somebody else to pick up the tab.

                For instance, we can compare a new $40,000 Chevy Bolt ev to a new $20,000 Honda HRV. There’s no way the Bolt can compete on price. But if you can get somebody else to pick up the tab for the Bolt? Well then, no sweat!

                As part of its COP21 coverage, CBS did a puff piece on their Evening News last night about how EVs are sweeping Norway.


                They interviewed one fellow who said he “had done the math” and will be able to drive his new EV “for free.”

                So I did a little bit more digging, and sure ‘nuf, it looks like he’s right.

                According to the Wall Street Journal, Norway currently has 54,000 EVs on the road. Last year their owners received $540,000 in various forms of rebates, tax breaks and other perks from the Norwegian state. That’s a cool $10,000 per car per year. So at that clip, it would only take 4 years to recover the cost of a $40,000 EV. And then after that one can enjoy almost free driving, all on the government’s tab.


                But it looks like there’s trouble in paradise. The WSJ says the government give-a-ways are set to end. The day of reckoning is still up in the air, but the latest date for phasing out the government largess is 2020. So the Norwegian government is taking the punch bowl away. The EV crowd, of course, isn’t taking this horrible injustice lying down:

                Christina Bu, secretary-general of the lobbying group Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, said the 25,000-member association has been stalking political parties and government officials to ensure the main incentives remain in place, at least until 2020.

                “If you cut all the incentives overnight, sales will plummet,” she said.

                Weaning buyers from such purchase incentives could add new headwinds to sales of vehicles already undercut by cheap fuel prices in some markets. In the U.S., the state of Georgia halted its $5,000 tax credit on July 1. Electric cars were about 2% of purchases in the state in 2014, estimates Washington-based think tank Keybridge Research LLC. It forecasts a 90% decline, or 8,700 fewer sales annually, as a result of the loss.

                • Glenn Stehle says:


                  Last year their owners received $540 million in various forms of rebates, tax breaks and other perks from the Norwegian state.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Glenn,

                  Do you have the price of primary energy from 1965 to 2014? I would be happy to do the chart you would like, but I don’t know the appropriate price of energy, which has many different forms and prices throughout the World.

                  I agree price matters, as does the amount of energy available to purchase (which is what is in my chart).

            • Nick G says:


              You’re looking at something different.

              The original study in question was asking about whether an economy can grow without increasing it’s inputs of oil, steel, etc.*

              That’s a very different question than whether an economy will be hurt by a sudden increase in the price of a key commodity, like oil. If the price of oil spikes, that can create a shock for the economy (e.g., people wait to see what happens with prices before they buy their next vehicle, and that delay causes a recession), but an increase in prices doesn’t mean energy consumption has gone up.

              * (it can, of course, but that’s separate issue from whether our societies have chosen to do so).

        • Ralph says:

          I am far from convinced that GDP growth is a good way of measuring progress in a society. Let’s take an example from the UK economy. (btw I am not worried about the genders here, I would happily be a house husband if my wife’s earning potential was close to mine).

          Today, nearly 70% of women of working age work. Families need both incomes to meet a reasonable standard of living. As a result, a large majority of UK children grow up in families with both parents working. Many parents end up sending young children to child minders and crèches so that they can work. This employs a lot of people, mostly women. More wealthy families then employ house cleaners and gardeners and handymen etc. to clean, garden and repair their homes that they don’t have time to do themselves. Poorer people do without. This employs a lot more people. All the working women and the people employed by the working women pay taxes which means that people end up working more hours to afford to pay someone else to do these jobs than it would take to do the jobs themselves. Unless your own rate of pay is significantly higher than the people you pay to do the jobs, you would be financially better off doing it yourself. The government and the economists are delighted because tax take and GDP rise. All these extra people in useful employment driving around from low skilled job to to low skilled job, consuming extra resources, especially fossil fuels, when they would be a lot less stressed, more free time and financially better off, just doing all these activities for themselves.

          It is a major mistake to professionalise low skilled domestic work. All it does is free up time for the rich and increases government tax take. Society as a whole is worse off.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Ralph,

            I agree GDP is by no means a perfect measure, just a measure that is available at the World level. There are other measures such as the social progress index, but this is not available at the World level. There is also the United Nations Human Development Index(HDI), but again these measures are not published at the World level (or I couldn’t find it). Actually I found some World data for the HDI from 1980 to 2013. The measure is not perfect see link below for data:

            Discussion of HDI at


            Also from UN document:

            Human Development Index (HDI): A composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development—a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living. See Technical note 1 ( for details on how the HDI is calculated.

            Chart below with World Primary energy (ktoe) divided by World HDI from 1980 to 2013. Based on the HDI, more energy is needed to improve well being and GDP is not a good measure of human welfare.

            There is also an index for HDI that takes account of inequality, but the index (called IHDI) is only available from 2010 to 2013.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              I realized I made a conceptual error in the chart above.

              HDI is similar to a measure of GDP per capita as it is a measure of the well being of the average person. So the proper ratio would be primary energy per capita divided by HDI rather than primary energy divided by HDI, this would make it more comparable to energy intensity (energy in toe/$GDP.)

              energy per cap/GDP per cap=energy/GDP,
              since HDI is similar to GDP per cap (different measures of individual well being), then
              energy per capita/HDI is similar to energy intensity. Chart below. From the human development index perspective energy has not been a big factor (the trend is slightly down but R squared is low from 1980 to 2013, about 0.25.)

  3. BC says:

    Texas (and ND, WY, AK, OK, and LA) technically entered recession in the Apr-Aug period, similar to Mar-Apr 2008, Dec 2000, and Jun-Jul 1990, which coincided with the US economy entering recession.

    This is confirmed by the deep, recession-like contraction in the acceleration of TMS money velocity to private GDP and the broad US equity market entering a bear market during the same period.

    This is occurring with real final sales per capita less household health care spending and the fiscal deficit decelerating to “stall speed” and recessionary rates of the past, implying that the improvement in the fiscal deficit/GDP has peaked, the deficit will increase hereafter, and the Fed will resume QEternity to credit primary dealer banks’ balance sheets with liquidity to finance the fiscal deficit in order to prevent nominal GDP from contracting in 2016-17.

    The incipient broad equity bear market will reduce gov’t receipts hereafter, confirming the need for the Fed to resume QEternity to finance the increasing deficit over at least the next 4-6 quarters.

    Under similar conditions as exist today, the Fed raised rates or otherwise restricted banking/financial system reserves/liquidity only three times during its history to date: 1931, 1936-37, and very briefly in 1980; the results thereafter were other than positive, to say the least.

  4. shallow sand says:

    Interesting API gravity information.

    That tends to correlate with the US onshore conventional production declines from 12/14 to 6/15 I posted at the end of the last thread.

    For those who don’t want to go back:

    US onshore conventional production

    12/14 2,665,671 bopd

    6/15 2,447,836 bopd

    Canada conventional onshore production

    12/14 690,149 bopd
    9/15 610,019 bopd

    Most US conventional production is below 40 API, so look for the 40+ API percentage to continue to grow.

    • Longtimber says:

      Anyone seen analysis of US refinery capacity in terms of API and impact on downstream markets? Higher API feedstock must sell at quite a discount along the Gulf Coast. IIRC, We have always swapped Diesel with lighter fuels with Europe. Can this trend continue ?

      • shallow sand says:

        I wonder if those of us selling 30-36 API gravity oil should be getting a better price than 40+ LTO, and as LTO becomes the vast majority, should this improve?

        Or, will refineries retrofit and not want 30-36 API?

        • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

          A missive I sent out to some industry guys (I highlighted an article someone posted a few days ago):

          The winter of our discontent, made glorious summer?

          Since we are once again retesting the 2015 monthly lows in Brent crude oil prices, i.e., $45 currently versus monthly lows, so far, of $47 to $48 earlier this year, and entering what appears to be the “Winter of our discontent” for folks in the Oil Patch, I thought that the following article was compelling for two reasons: (1) The analyst was bearish on oil prices last year, while he is now bullish and (2) It’s at least nice to read about the possibility of a “Glorious summer” next year in regard to oil prices.

          Oil could hit US$130 as U.S. output ‘falls off a cliff’: Analyst

          Emad Mostaque has had a profound change of heart on oil prices. The analyst with London-based consultancy Ecstrat says US$130 per barrel crude could be less than a year away for the European benchmark as lower prices drive demand in both emerging and developed markets, while a weakening stream of capex dollars constrains new exploration and production.

          “What we are seeing is supply is about to roll over dramatically. Demand is continuing to rise,” he said an in interview with BNN.

          Unlike many analysts, he says U.S. shale production is set to decline, and as such won’t provide the necessary stop-gap to supply the increasing appetite in world markets.

          “U.S. production is about to have a Wile E. Coyote moment where it literally falls off a cliff. One-hundred-and-twenty-thousand barrels, maybe even next month, will drop off,” said Mostaque. He says the notion that shale producers can suddenly boost their output as needed is a common misconception.

          The controversial call pushes against bearish sentiment from Wall Street titans like Goldman Sachs. The investment bank’s head of commodities research, Jeff Currie, said last month that he does not see the price of oil breaking above US$50 a barrel in the next year.

          Mostaque was early to bet against oil, forecasting between US$50 and US$70 per barrel last summer. He raised concerns about the commodity’s price stability before oil started its dramatic decline in 2014.

          Now he’s calling prices to rally as four to five million barrels disappear from global markets over the next four to five years, and throwing cold water on many of the scenarios where inventories remain oversupplied long-term.

          Mostaque says the lack of capital means the estimated $30 to $40-billion annual price tag to ramp up Iranian oil most likely isn’t in the cards.

          “What we think is happening right now is we’ve seen mass definancialization of the market, with Brent in particular. All of these massive funds have exited because they lost huge amounts of money,” he said.

          My comments:

          US Crude + Condensate Production Declining at 11%/year

          Note that the EIA shows that US Crude + Condensate (C+C) production fell an annualized rate of about 11%/year from April, 2015 (9.6 million bpd) to October, 2015 (9.1 million bpd). At this rate of decline, US C+C production would be down to about 8 million bpd in late 2016.

          Based on monthly data, it seems likely that US 2015 annual net total liquids imports will be approximately flat to slightly below 2014 levels (net total liquids imports of 5.1 million bpd in 2014), with US net imports almost certainly increasing in 2016, assuming a continued decline in US C+C production.

          Note that US refineries, based on most recent four week running average EIA data, were dependent on net crude oil imports for 42% of the Crude + Condensate processed daily in US refineries.

          I also added my usual comments about crude versus C+C, excerpt follows:

          . . . . the available data seem quite supportive of my premise that actual global crude oil production (45 API and lower gravity crude oil) effectively peaked in 2005, while global natural gas production and associated liquids, condensate and NGL, have (so far) continued to increase. Given the foregoing data, one can’t help but wonder if most, or perhaps virtually all, of the reported year over year build in US and global and C+C inventories consists of condensate. As a case in point, reportedly most of Iran’s floating oil storage consists of condensate.

          To the extent that we have a global inventory “glut,” it probably consists of mostly condensate. For example, a Reuters article earlier this year pointed out that US refiners were increasingly rejecting “foul” blends of condensate and heavy oil (that technically met the API gravity requirements for WTI crude, but that were deficient in distillate yield).

          The bottom line is that if it took trillions of dollars of upstream capex to keep us on a post-2005 “Undulating Plateau” in actual global crude oil production, with (so far) increasing global gas, NGL and condensate production, what happens to actual crude production, i.e., the stuff that corresponds to the oil price indexes, given the large and ongoing cutbacks in global upstream capex?

      • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

        I suspect that late last year US refineries hit the upper limit of how much very light oil and condensate (roughly 42+ API) that they could take, if they wanted to maintain their distillate output. Note that at Cushing 42 API is the upper limit for WTI crude oil contracts. And as previously discussed, Reuters had the article earlier this year discussing why refiners were increasingly rejecting artificial WTI blends of condensate and heavy oil that met the upper API limit for WTI, but that were deficient in distillates.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          The problems would be resolved if the US stopped restricting crude exports, there are refineries in other parts of the World that are set up to refine lighter crude.

          Also some of the light crude will go away as the LTO plays are depleted, though there will still be a lot of condensate coming from the tight gas plays. Canada needs some of this condensate to get the oil sands to move through pipelines in the form of diluted bitumen (the so-called “dilbit”).

          • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

            Although I have no problem with lifting the ban, my guess is that lifting the US export ban will have little or no impact, given what I suspect is a global condensate glut.

            • AlexS says:


              There is no global condensate or ultralight crude glut. In fact, the average barrel outside the U.S. is heavier than in the past.
              However, I agree with you that the effect of lifting the US export ban will be limited. Basically, the current spread between WTI and Brent will be largely eliminated.

              • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

                If the global condensate to C+C ratio is around 10%, an increase in heavy oil production and/or declining 30’s API gravity production would have a disproportionate impact on the average API gravity worldwide. In other words, I don’t think the average API gravity tells us anything about a probable condensate glut.

                • Watcher says:

                  One more time:

                  US consumption is 47% gasoline.

                  85% of global distillate fuel oil is burned outside the US. This includes diesel.

                  Condensate doesn’t have this in it. Hard to export something that would have no buyers.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Watcher,

                    Some of the crude is lighter crude which can be refined elsewhere in refineries designed to handle crude fro 36 to 45 API.

                    The condensate could be exported to Venezuela or Canada where it is needed to move oil sands through pipelines.

        • Toolpush says:


          I believe you may be correct that the US refineries hit their upper limit of high API oil this year, but there are several projects coming online next year for spliter capacity. with the continued export of condensates and decreasing “oil” supply from LTO producers, there may just be a very quick flip over to a shortage high API oil for these new projects.

          In the meantime refiners continue to increase their consumption of light crude and to add capacity such as the two new Kinder Morgan condensate splitters processing ultra-light condensate that are located at Galena Park close to the Houston Ship Channel. Another refinery investment to process more light crude is being made by Valero to their Houston refinery that will enable it to process an additional 90 Mb/d by mid-2016. Houston has also become a center for waterborne exports of lightly processed condensate – movements permitted since July 2014 by new interpretation of the export regulations for condensate (see Ticket To Export). Such processed condensate has to pass through a distillation tower and then kept segregated en-route to marine docks for export

          • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

            Of course, there are two separate issues here. The upgrades to refineries to allow them to handle more light oil would increase the demand for 42+ light crude and condensate, but the condensate splitters are designed to allow condensate exports under existing crude oil export restrictions.

            I think that the bottom line is that the first hydrocarbon to peak globally is light/sweet crude, while we are definitely seeing increasing production on the light end, condensate to gas, and probably increased heavy crude production, but as noted above, I suspect that we have been on an “Undulating plateau” in total crude oil production (45 API and lower) since 2005.

          • So the Obamite bureaucracy spurred the construction of condensate fractionation towers (the so called splitters).

            • Nick G says:

              No, a reduction in regulations by this administration allowed exports that were not allowed before.

              • Not good enough. Export limits are nonsense.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Fernando,

                  Those rules have been in place since 1970, blaming them on Obama is pretty silly.

                  • Why should it be silly? The US crude slate didn’t have the huge light end imbalance we see nowadays. As far as I can tell Obama turned out to be a slightly retarded Harvard graduate. It shows a law degree and slick talk don’t make for good presidents.

        • Cracker says:


          I take the EIA’s new-found attention to crude grades as an indication that they pay attention and find your arguments persuasive. I certainly do. I’ve learned a lot from you and very much appreciate your comments and analysis. Well done!

          Ron deserves kudos, too, as some of what he had been asking for has been delivered in the form of better data collection and reporting. We aren’t the only ones, but Ron and the regular commenters here have helped to move the EIA forward.

          The EIA deserves some credit, too, for being willing to improve their products. Some of the smoke and mirrors are gone.

          Thanks to you all!


          • shallow sand says:

            Cracker. I agree.

            I would still like to see EIA consider requiring the crude purchasers to provide monthly crude purchase information, which would include gravity.

            On about the 10th of this month we will get a statement from the crude purchaser detailing to the 1/100 of a barrel every tank of oil purchased from us, as well as API gravity of each tank.

            I think EIA could provide some very timely data using this method, which I feel would not be overly burdensome on crude oil purchasers.

            I am sure many here would like to know how much crude went into the pipeline for November prior to Christmas, with extreme accuracy.

          • Watcher says:

            BTW sportsfans, anyone notice Libya is still not flowing anywhere near to max? They are the diesel yardstick.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              You are aware that Libya is a political mess, I would think, that is likely the reason for low output there.

          • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

            I remain somewhat puzzled that there is so much resistance to what, IMO, the data clearly imply, to-wit, that we have been on an “Undulating plateau” in actual crude oil production (45 API and lower crude oil) since 2005, while global natural gas production and associated liquids have (so far) continued to increase.

            Fossil fuels can be thought of as a continuum, from natural gas to coal. Leaving coal aside and focusing on gaseous to semi-solid hydrocarbons, the spectrum runs from gas to NGL to condensate to light/sweet crude to heavy/sour crude to bitumen. We get the maximum yield of Liquid Transportation Fuels (LTF), for the least expenditure of capital and energy, from light/sweet crude, so it only makes sense that the first hydrocarbon to peak was light/sweet crude.

            Where production appears to be increasing is toward the light and heavy endpoints from light/sweet crude, but it appears that the probable increase in heavy oil has only been sufficient to approximately offset the decline in light/sweet crude, resulting in little or no increase in actual overall crude oil production since 2005.

            In other words, in my opinion Peak Crude Oil–the stuff that corresponds to the price indexes–has probably been hiding in plain sight, obscured by the increase in global NGL and condensate production.

            • Light sweet crude is also easier to extract and transport. Maybe fuels evolved because the raw material yielded that particular range? Just pondering.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Jeffrey,

              Condensate output has increased, due to higher natural gas output.
              The problem is that natural gas output has not increased enough to explain all of the condensate increase you propose, you have to also argue that the condensate per unit of natural gas output has increased worldwide. This has happened in certain places such as the Eagle Ford play, we can assume it has happened elsewhere, but that might not be the case.

              You might be right, if all of your assumptions are correct.

              • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

                The doubling of annual Brent crude oil prices from $55 in 2005 to an average of $110 for 2011 to 2013 inclusive (remaining at $99 in 2014) provided lots of incentive for oil companies worldwide to boost liquids production wherever they could, e.g., liquids rich gas plays.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Jeffrey,

                  Now oil prices have fallen so there is less incentive to develop liquids rich gas plays. It is a nice story and we can assume that the condensate per unit of natural gas has increased as much as you say, we just don’t have the data (for all World condensate output) to back it up. You can probably gather data from Canada, Texas, OPEC and Russia on condensate output over time and see if the condensate per unit of natural gas has been increasing as much as you assume. Then the claim would be more believable.

                  • Think about it this way: where are the large new natural gas sources?

                    I’m going to venture a guess: USA, Australia, Qatar, Irian Jaya? They do produce condensate.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Fernando,

                    Of course they produce condensate.

                    Do they produce a higher proportion of condensate than the natural gas already being produced?

                    Basically Jeffrey Brown is asserting that condensate output has doubled since 2005, natural gas output has increased, but it has not doubled, for Jeffrey’s assertions to be true the barrels of condensate per MCF of natural gas output would have to be higher.

                    It is not clear that this is the case.

                • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

                  Basically Jeffrey Brown is asserting that condensate output has doubled since 2005

                  Continuing qualitative objections to a quantitative argument. . . .

                  Excerpt from one of my previous comments:

                  Implied OPEC condensate production* increased by 1.2 MMBPD from 2005 to 2014 (1.2 to 2.4).

                  (As OPEC gas production increased by 51% from 2005 to 2013.)

                  *EIA C+C less OPEC crude for OPEC 12

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Jeff,

                    Did natural gas output double over that period?

                    This is a quantitative objection.

          • gwalke says:

            Maybe we can organise a similar thing to get Texas to improve their woeful data collection?

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              The Texans like it. It will not change.

            • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

              According to an RRC official that an ASPO-USA board member corresponded with a year or two ago, the RRC’s complete data pretty closely match the EIA data for C+C production, but the RRC does not release production data for wells and leases which have not yet had a RRC number assigned.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Jeffrey,

                The problem is that it takes about 18 months for the data reported in the PDQ to become “complete”. The “pending well data” that is included in drilling info’s database should be released in the PDQ and there should simply be a note that the most recent 12 or 18 months of data is preliminary.

                If that was done the RRC data would be nearly as good as the NDIC data.

                • gwalke says:

                  I do love that one of the RRC’s options is to mail them a hard disk, which they will fill up and mail back to you. I also love that much of their data is formatted in EBCDIC.

                  Dennis, is there any way for the general analyst to access pending well data, aside from paying DrillingInfo?

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi gwalke,

                    I asked Jeffrey Brown and he said he did not know of any way except through drilling info,
                    sorry to be of no help.

              • AlexS says:

                Apparently, Drillinginfo data for the most recent months is not complete as well

                Texas C+C production estimates: EIA vs. TRRC vs. Drillinginfo (kb/d)

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi AlexS,

                  Thanks. It’s not perfect, but better than the RRC data. The best estimate by far is from Dean.

  5. shallow sand says:

    Also interesting is that Federal Offshore production is up over 250K bopd May to September. This is a very significant increase.

    • The offshore increase is from the project backlog caused by Macondo. Once this works through the system production will decline pretty fast. I reviewed the Eocene a few years ago and it looks very tough, won’t produce at high rates, needs very high prices.

      • Longtimber says:

        GOM Activity. The Samson – docked in Pensacola for 30 days of Maintenance. She’s a Mother, 600 million USD city/offshore support vessel. Taking on .5 million gallons of Fuel while she’s here.

        • SouthLaGeo says:

          Offshore production is up because deepwater production is up. Shelf drilling has all but dried up, while deepwater activity is still fairly heavy – not as many deepwater exploration wells being drilled now as in past years, but all of the big fields have development drilling campaigns – Mars-Ursa, Atlantis, Shenzi, Tahiti, Jack, St. Malo, Great White, Mad Dog,,
          September offshore production from the EIA data is at about 1 .69 mmbopd – I estimate about 1.45-1.50 from deepwater. This is about as high as deepwater production has ever been.

          • shallow sand says:

            SouthLaGeo. Thanks for your post.

            Where do you see deep water headed? I do not know much about this area of production.

            Was very surprised to hear COP is stopping new deep water exploration. I had assumed given long lead times action like that would not occur.

            • SouthLaGeo says:

              There are at least 9 additional Wilcox (Eocene) discoveries that are almost certainly going to be developed – by my count at least 6 will be host platforms while the others will be subsea tiebacks.
              There are at least 3 additional subsalt Miocene projects that will be developed -each with there own host facility.
              In addition, Shell has a number of Norphlet fields.
              In order for any of these to be considered as developments, the operators have to think there are at least 100 mmbo of recoverable reserves.
              Ands there will continue to be a smattering of “conventional” small developments- probably tiebacks – these can be anywhere from 20-40 mmbo.
              I share Fernando’s concerns about Eocene/Wilcox recoveries. After about 4 years of production, one can see that Petrobras’s Cascade/Chinook complex has not been that successful. On the other hand, Chevron’s Jack-St. Malo fields, after about a year of production, are performing better.
              So,, a lot of money is going to be spent! How much is going to be made? That is a good question. Wood Mac has done some analysis of that- in their opinion, the Miocene fields can make money even at these prices, while the Wilcox fields are a mixed bag.

              • By the way, I was brought in to review Eocene fields because I was familiar with offshore technology and also worked with very deep Eocene to Cretaceous wells in Venezuela. The rocks just lack the flow properties we see shallower, and the crudes have that little bit of asphalt to make for big headaches as reservoir pressure drops. It can be so bad I devised a backwards wag with a water compressor to optimize developments

  6. TechGuy says:

    [Continuing the “Solar is Dying” series]

    Giant “Green Energy” Boondoggle Flops in Spain

    “It is the by far biggest bankruptcy in Spain’s history. 24,000 employees will have to look for a new job.”

    [Interesting! The US gov’t subsidized this Foriegn Boondoogle!]
    “The cost to U.S. taxpayers could be enormous. Abengoa has received nearly $3 billion in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy, as well as more than $100 million in federal grants.”

    • Doug Leighton says:

      WOW What an amazing (amazing depressing) story, on so many levels. And the US DoE handing out more than $100 million in federal grants in Spain. Weird. On the bright side: “Solana prevents 475,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.” Maybe it should read ’emissions for a year’ rather than ‘per year’.

    • Longtimber says:

      Such Boondoggles has much in common with “Shale Oil”. Note that these are Mirrors… Not PV Panels.. CSP – Mega centralized concentrated Solar Power works in Arid climates.. so of little interest to most unless you have Camel and Monster Banks. Power corrupts – US has FERC to lay down some “laws” … excluding Texas. Texas has it’s own Grid.

      • Javier says:

        I have looked a little into Abengoa story and indeed it has a lot in common with Tight Oil.

        The company had very little cash flow increase and was expanding by increasing its debt to a point were 90% of the value of the company was debt and interest payments were increasing faster than cash flow. Apparently it is as hard to make money out of renewable energy as from oil these days. In a way it was like a little Enron and Deloitte bears some responsibility for its auditing not uncovering the hole.

        The company is good technologically and has won a lot of contracts, hence US grants for contracts in the US, but it appears that it was not well managed. It belonged to the Benjumea family from Andalusia that owned 51%, and dividends were very generous for so highly indebted company.

        A curious piece of information is that the Benjumea name is Spanish version of ben Umayyad. These people are descendants of the Umayyad dynasty that ruled the Caliphate and established the Caliphate of Córdoba in Spain when they were ousted from Damascus and hunted down. After the Christian conquest of Granada they changed name to a Spanish version and changed religion, continued being part of the Spanish nobility and finally of the financial elite.

        The people on top do not change over time. They change their allegiance to anything but wealth.

        • Longtimber says:

          If you can predict when the winds change direction you can make lots of $$.
          As Greenspan nuked Interest rates, many business ( like Real Estate ) forced into bankruptcy , liquidate debt & change hands multiple times before they were viable. : Time is everything. “unprecedented” as in Hirsch Report

          • JN2 says:

            Javier, thanks for your point of view. I love Cordoba (a Catholic church within a mosque within the Jewish quarter – where else in the world?). I knew the Umayyads were from Damascus. I had no idea they converted and became Benjumea. Fascinating. Similarly in England the Plantagenets in England have held land and power since 1154, even through the civil war. They have only recently been evicted from the House of Lords. I am sure they still have their land…

            • Mike says:

              The last Plantagenet reigned in 1483-1485. The house is long extinct. What “Plantagenet” was evicted from the House of Lords?

              • Ralph says:

                There are about 800 hereditary peers, most of whom were entitled to sit in the House of Lords until 1999. Since then,
                only 92 hereditary peers can join the house at one time, mostly being elected by all 800 as sitting hereditary peers retire, or more normally die.

                There are two political roles , Earl Marshal and Lord Great Chamberlain , which are themselves hereditary.


                The Plantagenet line did die out, although illegitimate descendants remain. The hereditary titles associated with the family were reallocated and remain as living peers, but were not elected by their peers in 1999. Of the 6 new hereditary peerages created since 1963, 3 are within the royal family and 2 have since died out.

      • TechGuy says:

        PV companies are also going bankrupt too. See my earlier post on Solar is dying (about 1.5 weeks ago) SunEdision, SolarCity, etc are also running into a cash crunch.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      From the article:


      Businesses that cannot possibly survive without subsidies are ipso facto not economically viable. In spite of all the high-minded pronouncements about the “need to save the planet” and how this valiant effort can allegedly be “combined with economic growth”, their existence serves primarily one function: to distribute money looted from taxpayers and consumers to assorted cronies of the political class, who in turn provide the latter with kickbacks. That is all there is to it.

      That conclusions sounds like it could just as well have been written about the shale oil boondoggle and and so called state of the art NEW fracking technology. Or any of the big oil companies that also receive billions of dollars in subsidies and are no longer economically viable at this point without them!

      This article doesn’t prove that solar technology doesn’t work, what it proves is that people in finance and government are crooks of the lowest common denominator! The problem is the financial system and the expectation that the economy has to grow. It doesn’t, it can’t and it won’t. Fortunately there are people who get that and are working on alternative systems for business, government, finance and social systems. BTW this solar plant exists and it will at some point still be useful for producing energy even if it won’t support the economic expectations of the old and failed system most are still wedded to.

      • oldfarmermac says:

        Hi Fred,

        “This article doesn’t prove that solar technology doesn’t work, what it proves is that people in finance and government are crooks of the lowest common denominator! The problem is the financial system and the expectation that the economy has to grow. It doesn’t, it can’t and it won’t. ”

        It might be a tad more accurate to add a qualifier, and say the economy can’t grow indefinitely or very much longer, but I basically agree.

        Many conservative commentators, a species mostly held in very low repute in a forum such as this one dominated by liberals, have always maintained that big government is in large part based on institutionalized theft , meaning the unjustified taking of money from less favored tax payers and giving it to tax takers on the government sweetheart list. That this argument has been made mostly from a partisan point of view does not make it any less true.

        If any body ever wants to truly understand why so many working , working class people, and working middle class people, and working poor people, flat out refuse to endorse socialism in the form of such social undertakings as socializing health care, it is because all these people believe this one sentence summary of their belief.

        “The xxxxing government is going to TAX ME to pay for it but GIVE IT AWAY to somebody ELSE.”

        I must say that I have found this argument to be quite compelling most of my own life, up until I started getting my own magical bank deposit when I turned sixty five and also getting that medicare card. Ever since then I have been a net tax TAKER myself.

        Government is necessary, only an utter fool would ever argue otherwise, and the nature of some critical jobs is such that they can only be accomplished by means of government.

        But government is inherently subject to favortism, fraud, and abuse. We spend a billion every goddamned DAY, on various undertakings that can only be described as boondoogles, welfare handouts to already wealthy recipients, or just plain outright foolishness that benefits only the recipient.

        I personally know a “moderately ” wealthy man worth only ten or twenty million or so, who got a two million dollar cash gift from UNCLE SAM out of the proceeds of the tobacco worker program. The large majority of his six hundred local employees make less than thirty thousand a year including their company bennies. One of my relatives got a near zero interest no qualifying thirty year loan from the USDA to buy a two hundred fifty acre farm, and once he had it three years, promptly shut down his farming operation and is now worth several million as the result of owning this highly desirable property which will most likely eventually be subdivided.

        Generally speaking, I believe we will “come out ahead” over the long run because we subsidize the development of renewables.

        Sure some of the money is ill spent, given over to poor managers. But overall, subsidizing renewables is well worth while.

        • TechGuy says:

          OFM wrote:
          “Government is necessary, only an utter fool would ever argue otherwise, and the nature of some critical jobs is such that they can only be accomplished by means of government.”

          One Doughnut is fine to eat. Eating a box of 24 doughnuts, not so much. ie a Little gov’t is fine, A full Police State, not so much!

          As far as gov’t entitlements:

          1. Makes people less independant and more reliant on gov’t. If people did not count on SS & Medicare for retirement, people would have saved more instead of saving nothing.
          2. Gov’t subsidies drive up costs, especially healthcare. Very few bills are audited. Gov’t tends to rubber stamp everything, and the patients do not care what it costs as long as Uncle sam (err Uncle Sugar) is paying the bills, Thus creating widespread fraud and price gouging.
          3. Demographics. the Baby boomer bulge has now begun. There isn’t sufficient workers to pay for the promised entitlements. Back in the 1950s there was betwee 6 and 10 workers to pay for SS recipients. Today there is about 2 workers and its going to fall to less than 2 workers over the next 5 to 10 years. Also the Middle Class in America is vanishing, as Middle Class jobs are either moved overseas or replaced with automation. The Millennials are stuck with low paying jobs. To boot, SS is running a deficit of about $84 Billion this year and will continue to grow.

          Congress had a consider raising the payroll tax this year by 2%, but it believe it got nixed. The Payroll tax will need to be raised a bit more than 1% every year for the next 15 years to accommodate retiring boomers. Back in 2008 I did some calculations and the payroll tax would need to increase to about 34% to pay for the SS promises for the boomers.

          FWIW: I was informed by a SS insider that that cut off for SS recipients is 1959. Anyone born after 1959 will never see a dime of SS. The plan is to raise the retirement age so that younger workers are never eligible.

          • Forbin says:

            I was struck by the opposing views you posted

            “1. Makes people less independant and more reliant on gov’t. If people did not count on SS & Medicare for retirement, people would have saved more instead of saving nothing.”


            “The Millennials are stuck with low paying jobs. ”

            So I wondered how low paid workers could have saved anything …


            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Forbin,

              I agree there are some strange views. The basic view of some on the right is the government should uphold the law(protect property owners), provide for the national defense(protect property owners), and keep inflation very low (so debts owed to the wealthy aren’t reduced as much by inflation). Other than that the free market will provide (for the wealthy property owners).

              Possibly this is an oversimplification. For the right wing in the US, more government spending on the police and military is ok, most other government programs (possibly all) should be eliminated.

            • TechGuy says:

              Forbin Wrote:
              “So I wondered how low paid workers could have saved anything”

              Gov’t meddling making US employers less interesting in keeping production domestic and choosing to move jobs overseas to escape regulation and taxation on labor.

              DC Wrote:
              “Other than that the free market will provide (for the wealthy property owners).”

              So you propose all of the economy should be managed by the gov’t. Make all workers gov’t employees? Remove property ownership, the gov’t owns everything?

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Techguy,

                Nope. As with most things there is a middle ground between a Marxist state and a free market completely unregulated by government (similar to the US from 1870 to 1910 say, though perhaps that is not reactionary enough for you.)

                Something like Canada or perhaps the UK would work for me. I like the US though so I will work to bring the US towards the 21st, rather than the 19th century.

                • A middle ground like you describe really sucks. Can you imagine if the government owned half of all real estate, commerce and industry? Marxism is simply imbecile.

                  • Nick G says:

                    A middle ground is just regulated markets.

                    You know, like banks aren’t allowed to loan money to home buyers who have no money, then flip the loans to investors while certifying that the loans are AAA.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Fernando,

                    Not sure I understand, does the government own half of real estate, commerce, and industry in Canada and the UK, maybe you are talking about the land owned by the Crown in the UK? You live in Spain, is that the case in Spain as well? Are you suggesting a return to the freedom of 1870 or thereabouts in the US where the power of big business was virtually unchecked?

                  • Ralph says:

                    Fernando, you really are living in a time warp.

                    The UK priviatised the vast majority of its state owned industry, institutions and utilities decades ago, and the current government is hell bent on completing the job.

                    The experience in the UK is that if there is a more corrupt and inefficient way of running natural monopolies than state ownership, then it is under regulated corporations. The VW emissions scandal is the latest example, and the banking sector has got away with tens of billions scot free.

                    I would prefer a more Scandinavian model, where taxation is highly progressive, and income inequality is strictly limited. Their standard of life is far higher than ours.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    Ralph said:

                    I would prefer a more Scandinavian model, where taxation is highly progressive, and income inequality is strictly limited. Their standard of life is far higher than ours.

                    Denmark: Ahead of the Game?

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ralph,

                    I of course am talking from a US perspective.

                    A UK type system (minus the monarchy) would be better than the current US system, jumping to a Scandinavian style system would be better, but Rome was not built in a day.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    If the gov’t explicitly tells business how to run their business, how they sell and market thier products. who and when they sell to, taxes, 40% to 50% of their profits,
                    then I ask what is difference between private ownership and a state controlled business?

                    The bottom line is that gov’t has their hands up the dress and in the pocketbooks of all businesses. Yet does not inforce laws to protect consumers from crime. ie not a single bank executive when to jail over hideous crimes.

                    We don’t need more gov’t control regulation, just enforcement of the rule of law. What is the point in creating a mountain of bueracracy when laws are never enforced? Do a crime then, face the time in the slammer. Period!

                  • Nick G says:

                    If the gov’t explicitly tells business how to run their business, how they sell and market thier products. who and when they sell to

                    Any examples? It’s hard to follow such a broad and general argument.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi NickG,

                    Techguy seems to harken back to the 1870s in the US, back in the good old days when nobody told John D how to run his business.

                  • Glenn Stehle says:


                    The rub is that the modern day green entrepreneur is not the opposite of a John D, Frick, Vanderbilt or Carnegie, but their mirror image.

                    For more on how the green entrepreneurs seek to enrich themselves by controlling government policy, such that the governmnet intervenes on their behalf, much like the robber barrons of the Gilded Age dictated public policy, see my comment below on this thread:


                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Glenn,

                    So are you arguing that we should have less government regulation of businesses?

                    Would that be a step in the right direction, to have less regulation of the powerful or more?

                    Surely the system is not perfect, nor are people. Powerful people will always try to game the system in their favor, that is a given. The question is how best to deal with it.

                    You like to present problems and there are many, but I am more interested in solutions, the world is not perfect, never was and will never be.

                    The game is to attempt to improve things rather than make them worse.

                    Does US 1870s style “regulations” seem to be the best direction in your view?

                    What do you propose?

                  • Glenn Stehle says:

                    Dennis said:

                    Does US 1870s style “regulations” seem to be the best direction in your view?

                    You tell me.

                    After all, it’s the green entrepreneurs who are bellying up to the government trough, the same way the robber barrons of the Gilded Age did.

                  • Nick G says:

                    it’s the green entrepreneurs who are bellying up to the government trough, the same way the robber barrons of the Gilded Age did.

                    That’s highly unrealistic. Green entrepreneurs are trying to level the playing field caused by indirect subsidies of Fossil Fuels.

                    You do agree that FF get high levels of indirect subsidies?

      • islandboy says:

        “BTW this solar plant exists and it will at some point still be useful for producing energy even if it won’t support the economic expectations of the old and failed system most are still wedded to.”

        Actually it should be “these solar plants still exist”, since there are two of them, the Solana Generating Station near Gila Bend, Arizona commissioned in 2013 and The Mojave Solar Project about 20 miles northwest of Barstow, California, commissioned on December 1, 2014. Both plants have been beset by technical issues and have failed to deliver on their projected output but, they are producing and more importantly in the case of Solana, with six hours worth of thermal storage, is able to produce in the absence of sunlight for up to six hours.

        These projects have been compared to Solyndra but, IMO anybody who pursues that line of argument is displaying some amount of technical illeteracy. Solyndra was based on a dubious concept to begin with and let me remind fellow participants of this blog how I have been saying Solyndra was an exceedingly dumb idea since at least 2011, when I first saw the technology. This subthread from of October 21, 2012 contains a comment from me, in which I say:

        “Well, I must have a top notch BS filter in my brain. I remember attending the Intersolar 2011 trade show in SF last summer and passing by the Solyndra booth. I don’t remember if I asked the questions or just listened in on the sales pitch but, I distinctly remember thinking, “this is BS, what a dumb idea”. Their failure did not surprise me at all.”

        There is also another comment of mine, in which I explain why exactly I thought Solyndra’s technology was exceedingly stupid on a technical level.

        In the case of Abengoa, their technology is sound, not perfect but, sound. I have issues with some of the technical details that, I suspect might be the root of some of their technical problems (heat transfer fluid leaks) but, essentially their technology works. It can form the basis for improved systems in the future that, are more efficient and/or more reliable and/or less costly. I have some ideas that might be able to improve on their designs but, one of them was dismissed out of hand when I mentioned it to one of these “solar trough” guys despite potential for huge reductions in cycling for the tracking mechanism.

        So, the big difference between Solyndra and Abengoa is that Solyndra ostensibly used the money to develop the technology and manufacturing capacity to build solar generating plants while Abengoa used the money to build actual generating plants that are in operation, with the potential to generate electricity into the distant future with proper maintenance and upgrades. With Abengoa, there is a revenue generating asset to show for the money but with Solyndra, nothing

  7. Longtimber says:

    Distributed PV looks sweet compared to Centralized Desert Boondoogle Solar. Now KSA has completely different situation since Local PV is allowing additional exportable liquid sunshine aka. Crude.
    Southern Co. (SO +0.2%) says it is buying a 51% interest in the planned 157 MW Roserock solar farm in Texas, as it makes its first renewable power entrance into the state.

    • TechGuy says:

      Longtimber wrote:
      “Distributed PV looks sweet compared to Centralized Desert Boondoogle Solar. ” &
      “Southern Co. (SO +0.2%) says it is buying a 51% interest in the planned 157 MW”

      a 157MW solar farm is a centralized system.

      DOE is giving SO $10B to for its nuclear and Solar Plant projects. More boondoogles financed with gov’t money. In 3 to 5 years SO may very well become will become the next Abengoa.

      “The Vogtle nuclear facility in Georgia and V.C. Summer nuclear facility in South Carolina are both some three years behind schedule in construction and each is expected come in billions of dollars over their original budgets.”

      Distributed systems using intermittement power sources (Wind/PV) without storage systems can destabilize the grid, causing increased phase noise and make it difficult to balance load with power generation. intermittment power sources can suddenly change, causing either too much power or too little power leading to surges and brownouts.

      The US is losing about 23 GW of power this year and will continue to loose many more as all coal plants will be shutdown by 2024. Expect electricity prices to soar and US manufacturing jobs to disappear.

  8. oldfarmermac says:

    First off, we need to distinguish between complete and partial decoupling. Monboit makes this distinction.

    Now so far as I can see, the case is being made that RICH WESTERN COUNTRIES such as the UK are using more resources and polluting more than previously, when taking into account the offshored pollution associated with imported goods.

    DUH, well , who woulda thunk it?

    Now I have not given this matter any close study, and will not, because I don’t have the necessary expertise, nor access to the raw data.

    There is a hell of a difference between saying partial decoupling CANNOT HAPPEN and that it IS NOT HAPPENING or has not been happening according the the statistics these researchers are using.

    I am personally convinced that partial decoupling is indeed possible, and that it is happening every day in many parts of the economy, although this OBVIOUS ( to me at least ) PARTIAL DECOUPLING may not in fact be great enough to offset increased use of resources in other parts of the economy that are not increasing in efficiency so quickly.

    Consider these examples. A new Corvette actually burns less gas on the open road than an early eighties PINTO. LED lights last ten or twenty times as long as old incandescent lights and use a quarter of the energy. Cars last twice as long, and require half as many repairs. Houses built to modern codes outlast old houses,except in the case of houses built by VERY WELL OFF people in the past, and outlast them by a factor of two or three or more.

    I currently heat our old farmhouse with a third or maybe only a quarter of the firewood and oil we used forty years ago. New windows new doors, new siding, LOTS of added insulation of course.

    Now I am NOT arguing that across the board the world wide economy IS using resources more efficiently, by which I mean generating MORE economic activity per barrel of oil, or truck load of lumber or concrete, or that farmers are not growing more food per unit of fertilizer and pesticide used, etc.

    But it is bullshit to argue that partial decoupling is impossible. As various resources get to be more expensive due to scarcity, the efficiency with which we use them will increase, and we will not NECESSARILY experience a decline in economic activity, so long as efficiency of use increases faster than available supply declines.

    But the more relevant argument, the one we should be focusing on, is whether we can maintain or improve our QUALITY of life using less resources.

    GDP, world GDP, and all similar measures are generally poor indicators of how well people are actually living, when you get down to to the nitty gritty.

    There are plenty of people leading miserable lives on mid six figure incomes, and plenty of people living very satisfactory lives on low five figure incomes here in the USA.

    I used to hang out with friends who wanted to drive to the beach for the day, five hours round trip, but we made it lots of times. Later on, we started just getting together on the down country farm, having a private cook out, sunbathing by the farm pond, swimming in it too, complete privacy, no hassles with cops because we were drinking, far better food far cheaper, bought at the supermarket and grilled at our leisure.

    Our day on the farm was infinitely superior to a day at Virginia Beach, but it generated maybe a tenth of the contribution to GDP.

    There are at least a half a dozen regular contributors in this forum who live quite well indeed, but contribute very little to conventionally measured economic activity.

    • Improved efficiency is not decoupling. There is a difference, a very significant difference. Efficiency will always improve. Just look at computers. But computers still require energy to work. Computers will never be decoupled from energy.

      The question is can GDP continue to grow if oil production starts to decline, and declines forever. Our economy requires growth. The decline in fossil fuel means that eventually GDP must decline… forever.

      End of story. And I do mean end of story.

      • oldfarmermac says:

        Hi Ron,

        I don’t want to argue language definitions and absolutes , have it your way. 😉

        Arguing about the terminology is a waste of time, we are not writing textbooks or composing a dictionary.

        The real question is whether we can obtain more output of goods and services with the same amount of energy and other material resources. I am perfectly confident we can based on an overwhelming amount of evidence in the form of examples.

        Whether we can do it in terms of the overall global economy is an open question.

        Personally I believe we can increase the efficiency with which we use energy and raw materials to a truly substantial extent.

        If some economic activities prove to be exceptionally hard nuts to crack when it comes to energy efficiency, we can most likely cut back on or abandon that sort of activity.

        There are no natural laws that force us to drive cars in circles at a race track or fly to Colorado to play in the snow and Rio to sunbathe.

        I don’t think we can improve efficiency fast enough to prevent an eventually hard crash or collapse however because the population is still growing and we are already to far gone down the overshoot rabbit hole.

        But life is a practical matter, rather than an abstraction, and we might succeed increasing efficiency faster than energy supplies decline so for another generation, or maybe even a couple of generations.

        The fact that something has not been done- so far- is not proof that it cannot be done .

        I am most emphatically not arguing that a hundred years from now that we WILL have basically unlimited amounts of energy at our disposal, generated with renewables such as wind and solar, plus lots and lots fusion reactors.

        But it would be foolish to argue that such a scenario is an IMPOSSIBILITY.

        If it comes to pass, then we will not need coal or oil or natural gas. We might not be decoupled from energy as such, but we would surely be decoupled from fossil fuels.

        With a stable population, we could get very close to the point of never needing to mine more iron ore, because iron is very easily recycled . ETC.

        • ChiefEngineer says:

          Hello Mac & Ron,

          I have to agree with Mac here and think Ron has a case of Tverberg with small vision on an enormous task at hand. There is plenty of solar energy available to replace the burning of fossil fuel and we have the technology to do it. The only thing that stops us from starting is the shifting of wealth in the process, but it’s not going to stop us. Just delay. It’s a process that will take sum 30 plus years once the world commits to what needs to be done.

          From above- “Texas (and ND, WY, AK, OK, and LA) technically entered recession in the Apr-Aug period, similar to Mar-Apr 2008, Dec 2000, and Jun-Jul 1990, which coincided with the US economy entering recession.”

          Yet, California leading the energy revolution is booming.

          We have no choice and the sooner we start the better

          • Mac, Chief, et al. Below I depict a student and a teacher discussing why improved efficiency, or as you guys call it “decoupling”, is so important.

            Question: What hath God wrought, via new technology of course?

            Answer: My son, new technology hath wrought us Improved Efficiency! And improved efficiency will save us from the ravages of resource depletion.

            Q: But why is improved efficiency so important?

            A: Because, my son, our economy, which is based on debt, requires growth in goods and services. And if we don’t have growth interest cannot be paid, capex dries up, and we have recession until we do have growth again. But if we never have growth again, then we have depression then collapse.

            Q: But that still does not tell me why improved efficiency is so important?

            A: Because it will save us from collapse.

            Q: You lost me, could you explain how that works?

            A: Simple my son. We cannot have growth in GDP unless we also have growth in energy and other finite natural resources. And many of these finite natural resources, like oil, are now peaking. They are peaking and will soon begin to decline… forever. But improved efficiency will allow us to decouple from energy inputs.

            Q: And how long has this improved efficiency been going on?

            A: Well, it has been going on ever since we hitched the first oxen to a plow. Or perhaps longer.

            Q: And how long has the production of oil and other natural resources been declining.

            A: Well my son, natural resources began to decline when we dug up the first lump of coal, or barrel of oil. However the production, or rate of extraction, of these natural resources has only recently begun to decline.

            Q: But how can something that has been going on forever save us from something that just started?

            A: By decoupling of course. Improved efficiency, from this day forward, will be known as “decoupling”. And decoupling means we will no longer be coupled to inputs of finite natural resources, or at least not nearly so much as we were in the past. And as those resources continue to decline we will decouple more and more until we are completely decoupled.

            Q: When did all this decoupling start?

            A: Well it started with the first case of improved efficiency, somewhere in our ancient past.

            Q: Well, if it has been going on all that time then why are we not completely decoupled by now.

            A: My son, the decline in the extraction of natural resources never happened until now, so we never needed to decouple before. So nobody ever talked about decoupling before. We never needed to call “improved efficiency” “decoupling” before, even though we have always been doing it.

            Q: So what has changed?

            A: Well nothing, except the decline of natural resources of course. My son, let us continue this discussion tomorrow.

            • ChiefEngineer says:

              Hi Ron,

              Improved efficiency will be part of moving forward. Decoupling from fossil fuel and ending almost all burning will be another.

              Switching to EV’s is the low hanging fruit in the process of “decoupling”. Eliminating the burning of coal, oil and natural gas for the production of electricity will be another. Manufacturing will have to continue to clean up it’s act too.

              A combination of new regulations and carbon taxes will mark the day the world gets serious. Hopefully it won’t have to be a catastrophic event to make the changes. There will be a lot sacrifice and improvements to the quality of life. But most of all the oil, gas and coal industry will have lost it’s influence over our lives.

              When the rest of the world wakes up. California will have laid out the model moving forward. It takes vision to see past the old and move on to the future.

          • wharf rat says:

            “California leading the energy revolution is booming.”

            West Coast thinking globally, acting locally on climate change

            British Columbia, California, Oregon, and Washington are building low-carbon economies along the West Coast


        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Old FarmerMac,

          We may never get a fusion reactor to work (I think it unlikely). We might have a shot at other types of fission reactors that produce less waste and shut down without need for cooling (I am not up on the latest research, there undoubtedly many practical problems which may never be overcome). An over build of wind and solar with battery and/or fuel cell backup seems the most promising way forward. If we simply tax carbon emissions (and other forms of pollution) appropriately and let the market decide what is most cost effective, that would be a solution that both conservatives and liberals should be able to agree on.

          • Javier says:

            There is a point when adding more intermittent renewables to the grid destabilizes it and requires a lot more back up sources becoming a lot more expensive. Several European countries appear to have reached that point as renewable energy investments have notably decreased since 2011.

            We might be able to overcome that problem in the future but we will probably need new grids and technology. For that we need time, wealth and resources. We might not get enough of the three in which case we will fail to transition.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Javier,

              The problem of intermittency can be overcome.



              Full PDF of paper at link below:



              We model many combinations of renewable electricity sources (inland wind, offshore wind, and photovoltaics) with electrochemical storage (batteries and fuel cells), incorporated into a large grid system (72 GW). The purpose is twofold: 1) although a single renewable generator at one site produces intermittent power, we seek combinations of diverse renewables at diverse sites, with storage, that are not intermittent and satisfy need a given fraction of hours. And 2) we seek minimal cost, calculating true cost of electricity without subsidies and with inclusion of external costs. Our model evaluated over 28 billion combinations of renewables and storage, each tested over 35,040 h (four years) of load and weather data. We find that the least cost solutions yield seemingly-excessive generation capacity—at times, almost three times the electricity needed to meet electrical load. This is because diverse renewable generation and the excess capacity together meet electric load with less storage, lowering total system cost. At 2030 technology costs and with excess electricity displacing natural gas, we find that the electric system can be powered 90%–99.9% of hours entirely on renewable electricity, at costs comparable to today’s—but only if we optimize the mix of generation and storage technologies.


              ► We modeled wind, solar, and storage to meet demand for 1/5 of the USA electric grid. ► 28 billion combinations of wind, solar and storage were run, seeking least-cost. ► Least-cost combinations have excess generation (3× load), thus require less storage. ► 99.9% of hours of load can be met by renewables with only 9–72 h of storage. ► At 2030 technology costs, 90% of load hours are met at electric costs below today’s.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Javier,

              Mostly I agree with your comment. New HVDC grids will be needed and fossil fuel prices will need to rise. As that happens alternative energy will become more competitive and there will be more demand for and investment in wind and solar. The investment that is currently being made in fossil fuel output will shift to other forms of energy. In fact economic growth may be enhanced by this new investment in a growing alternative energy industry. There are problems to be solved, but with widely dispersed wind and solar connected by a high voltage DC grid, a little spinning reserve from natural gas for backup can back up the wind and solar (at three times the average load in capacity), until batteries, vehicle to grid, and/or fuel cells can take over that backup role in the future.

              • TechGuy says:

                Fuel Cell rely on NatGas.
                Adding storage systems to PV/Wind systems triples the cost. PV/Wind is already expensive, adding the cost of storage transform it into unobtainium since only a very few at the top of the economic food chain can afford them.

                We been down this discussion before. The only modest option is pumped water storage (not Fuelcells/Batteries/Compress air/etc). Unfortunately with water shortages and lack of locations to create storage resorviors (with sufficient drop) makes it impractical, whcih was also discussed in detail.

                The article you site is not based upon sound economics. Its written by an academic with no real world understanding of economics. We also discussed this same article in detail over a year ago.

                FWIW: There is no money available for these grand projects anyway. The world in drowning in debt and unfunded liabilities. By 2018-2019, gov’ts around the world, will be struggling to keep their doors open, as all of the deferred problems come home to roost. With low energy prices (Oil & NatGas), there is zero interest in moving forward with mitigation projects. Support will only return when Energy prices are sky high and it will be too late since the economic will be crushed.

                Notice that Oil & Gas Depletion is never a topic discussed, promoted by any gov’t. Its either about terrorism, healthcare, home ownership, free trade, or global warming. Energy depletion is T-Rex in the room that is being completely ignored until it starts biting the heads off elected officials.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Techguy,

                  I was not convinced by your arguments before, so no point in rehashing them. Very little storage is required, if storage is too expensive now, then natural gas spinning reserve can be used.

                  There are other studies such as:




                  A summary of the two papers can be found at the link below:


                  And more recently(2012) the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) proposed that 80% electricity generation by renewable energy in the US by 2050 is feasible.


                  • oldfarmermac says:

                    Hi Dennis and Tech Guy,

                    Here is another point that is generally over looked by renewables naysayers.

                    The life of a gas fired power plant is probably twenty five to fifty years, roughly. At fifty years most of the machinery in it will be either obsolete or worn out to the point of questionable reliability, and the ONE thing you really need to count on in a power plant is reliability.

                    It is perfectly obvious that we are going to BUILD LOTS of gas fired generation, and I do mean LOTS of it, the upper limit being most likely determined by the price and availability of gas. It is going to be built to offset the shuttering of nasty and incidentally worn out old coal fired generation.

                    SO – The GAS FIRED generation needed to serve as back up is GOING TO BE THERE long before the wind and solar industries scale up to become major contributors to the grid.

                    We are NOT going to have to BUILD back up generation capacity to any significant extent. We will use existing gas fired capacity that will otherwise be stranded and useless.

                    This ain’t no effing engineering question, not really, it is much more a question of who will get paid, and how much, to maintain and operate gas fired capacity that is going to be running at a LOT less than the owner/ builders anticipated originally in computing profitability.

                    The only real engineering needed in terms of fossil fuel generating capacity might be converting gas fired plants designed for base load operation to run optimally as peakers and back up.

                    Now I am about as far from an grid engineer as it is possible to be, but I do read what real ones have to say, and I have not seen any of them say that the grid cannot be MADE to work reliably with lots of renewables. They rather say it is going to take a lot of money to make the necessary modifications. They do not say such modifications are technically impossible by any means.

                    One of two things is going to happen, EVENTUALLLY. We are going to go renewable on electricity, or we are going to go without.

                    Arguing absolutes is fun, but not very relevant to the actual problem, which will be dealt with using machinery that has a finite life expectancy. So the question is what do we do for the next one two three four decades?

                    I say the answer is dirt simple as far as as backup is concerned, there is plenty of it sitting out there RIGHT NOW, serving as peak and base load. We simply have to maintain it, rather than build it.

                    Another thing- about long distance transmission:

                    HVDC will be built, and plenty of it, as a matter of necessity. The price of it will come down substantially as it scales up.

                    ONCE it is built, there will be plenty of spots available to build new pumped storage capacity- spots currently too remote from major cities to be practical.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    OFM Wrote:
                    “We are NOT going to have to BUILD back up generation capacity to any significant extent. We will use existing gas fired capacity that will otherwise be stranded and useless.”

                    Thats not really the case since all US coal production needs to be replaced by 2024 due to regulations. FWIW, I expect the US to build some new NatGas plants, but not a 1:1 replace. probably for every 1000 MW lost will be replaced with a few hundred MW of NatGas production. I expect electricity prices to soar, forcing people conserve because they can’t afford it. Its going to cost money to build replace plants and utilities are going to pass on these costs to consumers. This will also result in more job losses as higher costs cause more production moved overseas and more business to shutdown as do to fewer customers.

                    The issue is that NatGas is a finite supply and its broadly used (heating, hotwater, feedstock for petrochemicals, manufacturing, and oil refining). At the moment NatGas is being sold considerable below production costs. What happens when prices start to soar to real production costs? Meanwhile China and India will continue to build 2 to 3 new coal plants for every US plant that is shutdown. Production will continue to move overseas.

                    As far as sources for articles about renewables and the grid, read “Power Engineering” Magazine ans well as “Transmission & Distribution” Magazine. Both periodicals have a few articles per year that discuss the real world problems with intermittent (renewable) systems and the grid.

                    Another issue is lack of workers. The majority of people working in the Utility industry are boomers. If I recall correctly about 50% to 60% of the utility labor force is going to reach retirement age in the next ~7 years. There are very few younger workers replacing them, either because they lack the education/skills or don’t want to get their hands dirty.


                    “Almost 62 percent of utility employees have the potential to retire or leave over the next decade”

                  • Nick G says:

                    all US coal production needs to be replaced by 2024 due to regulations.

                    Do you any articles about that?

                  • islandboy says:

                    Hi Dennis,

                    That Jacobsen guy from Stanford would be considered crazy in some circles! I was alerted to some of his team’s more recent work by this recent article at PV Magazine.

                    The world could be 100% renewable by 2050

                    Researchers from Stanford University have layed out exactly how the planet could forego fossil fuel and nuclear power and adopt renewable energy across the board.

                    A new study by Stanford University’s Atmosphere/Energy Program makes the case that the world could be fully powered by renewable energy as early as 2050 by detailing the necessary resources for each country…..[snip]

                    Speaking to innovation news website Co.Exist, Atmosphere/Energy Program director Mark Z. Jacobson said, “These are basically plans showing it’s technically and economically feasible to change the energy infrastructure of all of these different countries.”

                    Jacobson rejected claims that adopting renewable energy to such a wide extent would be too expensive and unreliable. “What this shows is that all these claims are mythical.”

                    Presenting a timeline for full adoption of renewables, the study says countries would stop building new coal, natural gas, biomass or nuclear plants by 2020; new home appliances like stoves and heaters would be electric, not gas. By 2025, new cargo ships, trains, and buses would be electrified, followed by cars and trucks by 2030. The transition would be complete by 2050.

                    Jacobson stressed the renewable energy was already cheap and costs continue to decline, noting that wind was currently the cheapest power in the U.S. at just 3.5 cents a kilowatt-hour, not including subsidies, compared to 6 to 8 cents for natural gas.

                    It must be those subsidy seeking, money grubbing, Silicon Valley government leeches that have funded this study. It could never be possible, it’s gotta be a hoax! /sarc

                  • TechGuy says:

                    all US coal production needs to be replaced by 2024 due to regulations.

                    Do you any articles about that?

                    Google for EPA CO2 limit of 1,100 lbs of CO2 per MW of power. That is the amount of CO2 for a NatGas Plant emits. No Coal Plant can come close. For any new plants to be constructed the limit is 1000 lbs per MW, which only Combined cycled NatGas plants can meet.

                  • Nick G says:


                    You wrote earlier that existing coal plants would have to be shut down by 2024. That’s incorrect, right?

                    New coal plants would have to sequester some of their CO2 output (which is expensive), but new coal plants are possible.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Techguy,

                    I read the regulations, you are incorrect, it says nothing about 2024 and closing down existing coal fired plants. For new coal power plants the regulation is 1400 lbs of CO2 per MW not the 1100 lbs/MW you listed, that is the requirement for new natural gas plants.

                    Hopefully the price of both coal and natural gas will rise so that no new natural gas or coal plants will be built and old plants will be replaced by wind and solar power. It will happen first in the developed World and the costs of non-fossil fuel energy will fall as the industry scales up. For developing nations thy will also stop building new coal and natural gas plants and as prices continue to rise for coal and natural gas they will gradually shut down more and more of their fossil fuel power plants. The process will take 50 to 70 years, but it can be done.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    “You wrote earlier that existing coal plants would have to be shut down by 2024. That’s incorrect, right?”

                    No because existing Plants have to meet the 1,100 lbs target, New Plants need to meet a 1000 lbs target. Sequestering CO2 is not economically. They will just shut them down. I don’t think even converting them with NatGas inserts would work since I don’t think a boiler conversion would be efficient enough to meet the 1,100 lb target.

                    I suspect starting next year due to the loss of 23GW coal plants (mercury emissions) that prices will begin to rise and consumers will cut consumption thus eliminating the need to build plants.

                    US companies will just move more production overseas as cost rise and less jobs means people will be forced to consume less electricity.

                    If the RNC takes over in 2016 (and controls the Senate) They will probably roll back the regulations. Most of the Utilities think the rule will get over turned before they are forced to shutdown.

          • oldfarmermac says:

            Hi Dennis

            I share your pessimism when it comes to fusion power. I probably should have said new generation fission reactors.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Ron,

        You win against the straw man. Nobody thinks energy and output can completely decouple, so there is nobody on the other side of your argument with a brain 🙂

        As to the economy will grow forever argument, also incorrect. Population will peak and decline and the economy will no longer need to grow.

        The social structure is not fixed, it will change in the future. What form it will take I cannot predict, only that it will be different.

        Ah and you seem to prefer improved efficiency instead of decouple, I agree, probably less confusing. Energy efficiency improvements allow energy resources to decline less rapidly and be replaced by wind and solar power. Using other resources such as soil, water and nitrogen more efficiently will also allow the system to attain a sustainable state with a smaller human population. Is this certain? No. Possible? Absolutely. Likely? Opinions vary.

        The rate of extraction is different from production or output. The rate of extraction is output divide by resource (or reserve). If we look at primary energy output, this has not declined yet over the long term. Some forms of energy can be substituted for others, propane or natural gas or electricity can replace oil or coal for heating buildings and hot water. Electricity can be produced by solar, wind, or nuclear.

        Some physical resources, such as metals and water, can be recycled, others such as sand are plentiful and are unlikely to be a future constraint.

        • Dennis, your comment is insulting and completely misses the point. The point is nothing has changed as far as improved efficiency or so called “decoupling” is concerned. It has been going on as long as time. The only thing that has changed, or is about to change, is resource depletion.

          What has been going on for decades, or actually hundreds of years, will not make any difference. Well, no more difference than it has made for decades anyway.

          And Dennis, please try to grasp my point before you insult me again.
          Improved energy efficiency has been going on forever. But it is now called “decoupling” as if it were something new. Decoupling is now touted as the saving grace for humanity. Decoupling will save the world. That is not a straw man, it is pure bullshit.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Ron,

            If you are going to argue as follows (bold is added by me):

            Q: But how can something that has been going on forever save us from something that just started?

            A: By decoupling of course. Improved efficiency, from this day forward, will be known as “decoupling”. And decoupling means we will no longer be coupled to inputs of finite natural resources, or at least not nearly so much as we were in the past. And as those resources continue to decline we will decouple more and more until we are completely decoupled.

            Then I will point out that nobody has made such an argument.

            Resource depletion has been going on as long as efficiency has been improving.

            One might go so far as to say they are coupled. 🙂

            I do agree the term “decoupling” is a poor one.

            If that is your main point I agree, as the implication seems to be that we could completely decouple from energy use, which is absurd.

            Energy efficiency just allows us to extend the time needed to transition to other forms of energy, rising energy prices helps to speed up the transition from fossil fuel to alternative energy

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Ron,

              You are pretty funny being insulted, when you constantly tell others that their arguments are bullshit because you do not agree.

              • Dennis, if you think my argument is bullshit then just say so, and tell me why. But my argument is not a straw man. That was the insult.

                Improvement in energy efficiency has been going on for centuries. To rename it “decoupling” and pretend it is something new, something that will save civilization, now that is bullshit. 😉

            • Dennis, I wrote:

              A: By decoupling of course. Improved efficiency, from this day forward, will be known as “decoupling”. And decoupling means we will no longer be coupled to inputs of finite natural resources, or at least not nearly so much as we were in the past. And as those resources continue to decline we will decouple more and more until we are completely decoupled.

              The entire argument is that we are decoupling from energy inputs. No one has said when it will stop. But the term “decouple” simply implies… well it implies decouple! True, no one has said it will go on until it is completely decoupled, yet nevertheless no one is arguing “partially decoupled”.

              The argument, by Mac, Chief, et al, is that GDP becoming decoupled from energy. The term “decoupled” is just a bullshit term that implies something that cannot possibly exist, it implies the decoupling of the production of goods and services from energy inputs.

              My argument is that the word “decoupled” is just a bullshit term for “improved energy efficiency”, something that has been going on, with fossil energy, ever since the first lump of coal was dug out of the ground.

              Nothing has changed. Improved energy efficiency will not save civilization from the ultimate consequences of massive overshoot. In fact continuous improvement in energy efficiency over the past several hundred years has been part of the problem, not a solution. It has enabled, or helped enable, the massive population explosion.

              That is my argument Dennis and please don’t try to change it again.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Ron,

                Well your argument seemed to be different than “I don’t like the term decouple”.

                Things have changed. Prices have increased and when that happened, the GDP per unit of oil consumed increased substantially and the Oil intensity in metric tons per million 2005$ of GDP(in constant dollars) decreased substantially. See chart below for 1960 to 2014 for C+C per unit of GDP in constant dollars. Higher oil prices led to lower oil intensity (1984 to 2014 exponential trend extrapolated to 2035). The 30 year trend may change in the future.

                • TechGuy says:

                  DC Wrote:
                  “Things have changed. Prices have increased and when that happened, the GDP per unit of oil consumed increased substantially and the Oil intensity in metric tons per million 2005$ of GDP(in constant dollars) decreased substantially.”

                  Nope. US move energy intensive production overseas. So if a company making steel/fertilizer/etc moves production overseas to Asia but sells the products in the US, it makes it appear energy consumption per unit of GDP has decreased, when it fact its just been moved off the table.

                  Britain merely ‘outsourcing’ carbon emissions to China, say MPs

                  This is how Western nations have addressed Pollution/labor regulations. They simply relocated production beyond the jurisdiction of the gov’t enforcing regulation.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Techguy,

                    The chart is for the World, not the US.

                    So arguments about offshoring do not apply.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    I didn’t post a Chart. I posted a news article that states the UK shifted CO2 emissions overseas by offshoring energy intensive production.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Techguy,

                    The chart that I posted is World oil intensity, which has decreased, so whether developed nations have off-shored their oil use doesn’t really matter if we look at the entire World.

                    The focus of many here is on oil only, the World is using less oil per unit of GDP produced (oil intensity). The same is true of primary energy.

                    Not all of the decrease in primary energy is due to energy efficiency improvements, some is due to a higher proportion of services in total GDP, so efficiency is just a part of the story, finding the data to try and measure “efficiency” for the World is difficult. Energy intensity is not a perfect measure, just easy to find the data and it is what it is, energy consumed per unit of real GDP(in constant dollars) produced.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    DC wrote:
                    “The focus of many here is on oil only, the World is using less oil per unit of GDP produced (oil intensity). The same is true of primary energy.”

                    That doesn’t really matter. What matter is that the world continues to “increase” fossil fuel consumption. it would not matter if energy consumption declines in half per unit of GDP, the fossil fuel consumption continues to grow. There is also Jevon’s Paradox that discusses improvements in efficiency lead to increased consumption as the it speeds up economic growth.


                    The thing that is import is slowing the rate of depletion, which simply isn’t happening. The only time when consumption slows is when the economy declines. Thus, when fossil fuel depletion affects the economy it will force it to decline. Couple a debt/demographics bubble with a energy depletion problem and you have a no-win situation.

              • ChiefEngineer says:

                Now Ron, did I say that ?

                “Chief, et al, is that GDP becoming decoupled from energy”

                To help clarify- GDP will remain a function of energy. Humans will decouple from burning fossil fuels. It will not happen overnight or our lifetime and it will take a commitment from the major political leaders of the world. We will transfer(decouple) to renewables(mostly solar) and some nuclear from fossil fuels. It will require an extreme amount of improved efficiency, change of life styles and some sacrifice. Dealing with overshoot is also part of the equation. The word “Can’t” is the selfish lazy mans excuse. There has never been a guaranty that GDP would grow forever. The focus will turn to better quality of life for all in a regulated capitalist system.

                If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

                That’s my dream and don’t wake me up. Tomorrow I want to go motor boating and waterskiing a few more times.

                • The word “Can’t” is the selfish lazy mans excuse.

                  Chief, that is a cheap shot. I have seen the world’s population, of human beings, triple in my lifetime. I have seen the world’s wildlife population reduced by perhaps 70% in my lifetime. I have seen the number of species decrease by 50% in the last 40 years. And the wildlife just keeps on dying out and species keep on going extinct. We are destroying our environment. We are cutting down all our forest and leaving deserts in their wake. We are in deep overshoot with perhaps 5 to 10 times the population the earth can support, long term.

                  This is clearly a predicament, not a problem that can be solved with solar panels or wind turbines. I do not believe we are going to turn this thing around. And I am not a fucking selfish or lazy man!

                  If you cannot answer a man’s argument, all is not lost. You can still call him vile names.
                  Elbert Hubbard, American Journalist

                  • ChiefEngineer says:

                    Ron, It might have been a little bit of a cheap shot. But it was never to be directed at you. I have never thought of you as “lazy” or “selfish”. But I am surprised how negative your view of the future is. I don’t see the near future economy in turmoil or the ecosystem in total collapse now. I believe there is still time to make a difference and you “can’t” prove there isn’t. If we don’t try to save ourselves, we will fail a lot sooner.

                    A lot of people here respect you. What you say influences a lot of people. Please don’t shoot us all in the foot now. Leave that for Tverberg. Thanks

                  • Chief, do you really believe that what I say can affect the beliefs and actions of 6.3 billion people?

                    Have you read my post: Of Fossil Fuels and Human Destiney? And I have expanded on the views reflected in that post with another: The Competitive Exclusion Principle.

                    Those two posts make the argument that has been made by William Catton, David Price and hundreds of others in the last half century. That argument is that we are deep into overshoot and that overshoot has already destroyed most of the earth’s wildlife and is running fast to destroy the rest of it.

                    10,000 years ago most of the Near East and Middle East was covered with forest. Now it is mostly desert and scrub land. First they cut down the trees for timber and fuel. Thenthey turned the land into grazing land, then into crop land. Then the land just washed into the sea. Where once was forest, now only desert scrub land remains.

                    Consider the ancient biblical city of Ephesus on the coast of what is now Turkey:

                    The ruin came about not as a result of wars or some violent calamity but by the steady degradation of its surrounding environment. Samples of the pollen grains in the sedimentary strata around Ephesus indicate that four thousand years ago, around the time of the first settlements, the hills were covered with forests of oak. A few centuries later the oak gave way to plantain weed, which typically colonizes land that has been cleared for animal grazing. By 100 B . C . it is wheat pollen that predominates in the samples, indicating that pasture had given way to intensive agriculture. Transformed from forests to pasture to cultivated fields, the land around Ephesus became more productive, to be sure, but the loss of the outlying forests eventually led to disaster. As the hills could no longer retain water, the runoff rushed down into the valley. With the plow- ing of the land, soil erosion was exacerbated and led to a severe buildup of silt in the great harbor of Ephesus, so severe in fact that the city was eventually forced to relocate itself farther along the coast. At least four times the city’s harbor silted up in this fashion, and by the ninth century A . D . it was too shallow to receive the Byzantine fleet. The city of Artemis declined into oblivion. Today it lies some three miles from the sea, prostrate under the rays of Apollo’s glory….

                    It suffices to travel around Asia Minor today and visit such cities—Ephesus, Miletus, Aphrodisias, Priene, Pergamum, Side, Kaunos, Ha-likarnasos, etc.—to see how nakedly they lie under the open sky. There is little in the vicinity to hide the celestial auspices now.

                    And a similar story could be told about dozens of other cities and ports in the area.

                    10,000 years ago humans and their animals represented less than one tenth of one percent of the land and air vertebrate biomass of the earth. Now they are 97 percent. And that percentage is rising. Do you really believe you are going to fix that?

                    So what should I do Chief. Should I tell everyone something I know to be a lie just to make them feel comfortable? You tell me.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    Ron Wrote:
                    “Chief, do you really believe that what I say can affect the beliefs and actions of 6.3 billion people?’

                    FYI: Your missing about a billion People. Current estimate is World population is about ~7.3 Billion

                    ” the worldwide population, which will be 7,214,958,996 when the calendar flips to 2015″


                    ~7.3 Billion as of Dec 2015

                    No arguments from me about your points. You are 100% correct in my opinion.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Ron,

                I didn’t think I was changing your argument. Decouple means to reduce or eliminate the connection between one thing and another (as in the noise between components in an electrical circuit). For some reason, you have chosen the “eliminate”, while most people would choose the “reduce” connotation as there is nobody in the world that thinks the economy can run with no energy.

                If you believe that Mac or I or anyone else has implied that
                the energy input to the production of goods and services can be eliminated (your seeming understanding of decoupled), then I am insulted.

                However perhaps you mean that we think the energy input to the production of goods and services can be reduced. In that case, you are correct, and so are we.

                Does that mean we think it can be reduced to zero?
                That is called reductio ad absurdium, and I can’t imagine that you would make that mistake.

                • Dennis I wrote:

                  A: By decoupling of course. Improved efficiency, from this day forward, will be known as “decoupling”. And decoupling means we will no longer be coupled to inputs of finite natural resources, or at least not nearly so much as we were in the past.

                  I am insulted that you keep ignoring that line.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    That line was followed by another, first you said we would use less and then you said we would “completely decouple.”

                    I took “completely decouple” to mean that energy inputs would be eliminated, was that a misinterpretation?

                    Original below:

                    Q: But how can something that has been going on forever save us from something that just started?

                    A: By decoupling of course. Improved efficiency, from this day forward, will be known as “decoupling”. And decoupling means we will no longer be coupled to inputs of finite natural resources, or at least not nearly so much as we were in the past. And as those resources continue to decline we will decouple more and more until we are completely decoupled.

                    The last sentence is what seemed to be a reductio ad absurdium.

                    Perhaps your understanding of “completely decoupled” is different from mine. My interpretation is that the teacher is arguing that eventually we will need no natural resources once we have “completely decoupled”.

            • Jef says:

              Dennis – Industrial civilization has never “transitioned” to a new or different energy source…ever!

              We have added in additional sources but never stopped using others.

              You and others here wave your hand and claim we will naturally do just that which has never been done and at a time when the World uses more energy than ever and needs to use even more to avoid collapse and build out infrastructure.

              As Ron would say …Bull Shit!

              • Jef, I think “bullshit” is one word. 😉

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Jef,

                We use much less wood and peat for fuel than we did 250 years ago, to the point where it is an insignificant amount of total energy production. The transition I speak of does not mean we will use no fossil fuel, we will use less.

                So you may not agree it is possible, but bullshit back atcha.

                That is, I disagree. You do not think we will use less fossil fuel? No you assume we cannot ramp up production of wind, solar and nuclear as quickly as fossil fuels will decline. I think it will be difficult, but not impossible.

                • Ralph says:

                  I suspect that the total global consumption of wood as fuel has continued to rise relentlessly, with global population (more than doubled in my lifetime). Consumption of wood for construction continues to grow exponentially.

                  Consumption of peat probably is similar to consumption of whale oil – a supply issue


                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ralph,

                    I said wood used for fuel. Possibly the total amount has increased. My guess is that the percentage of wood used for fuel relative to total world energy use has fallen. Wouldn’t you agree? It is a relatively insignificant portion of total energy use relative to 1800 AD.

                  • Ralph says:

                    However, as an unsustainable consumption of a limited resource it is an absolute and growing problem, in almost every continent of the planet. Europe was largely deforested in prehistoric times. Forests in South America and south east Asia continue to be destroyed at an accelerating pace today. Just because it is a smaller percentage of our total unsustainability does not make current global consumption of wood any less unsustainable.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ralph,

                    I agree. We need to move to more sustainable use of wood, eventual population peak will help, we could also build with different materials. Expanding agriculture is a problem with rain forests, in Brazil I believe it is soybeans that are the problem and in Indonesia, vegetable oil production (to produce biodiesel) is part of the problem. Not sure of the best solution in this case, but some of the move to biofuels has had unintended consequences.

                  • Glenn Stehle says:


                    You might like this painting from Brazil, d. 1840.


                    Here’s the caption from the catalogue:

                    In Vista de um mato virgem que se está reduzindo a carvão (View of a Native Forest Being Reduced to Coal), Taunay collapsed several stages of the timbering process into a single composition, capturing the industry as a major source of revenue for Brazil throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. Though famous for paintings that gave shape and form to Brazilian national identity, Taunay was aware of the ecological damage being wrought by the wholesale logging of Brazil’s rich forests. Here, Taunay depicted the natural setting transformed by human action: the right side of the canvas features Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca Forest in its unspoiled state, while the left shows where vegetation has been cut, fired, and reduced to charcoal. By showing land being depleted of its resources, Taunay’s painting combines scientific attention to detail with the techniques of European-styled landscape composition.

                    As the catalogue notes elsewhere:

                    These are not neutral images; they reflected the politics and practices of the time and helped to shape national identities.

                    It took centuries to shape these identities, and they are not going to turn on a dime, short of collapse. The romantics who believe they can “transform” society overnight are whistling dixie.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    Expanding agriculture is a problem with rain forests, in Brazil I believe it is soybeans that are the problem and in Indonesia, vegetable oil production (to produce biodiesel) is part of the problem.

                    Despite serious problems in Brazil there are very positive things happening as well. As in all cases things are not starkly black or white. There are multiple shades of grey.

                    All industrial monocultures such as soybean crops in Brazil have negative impacts on the ecosystems. Cattle ranching is another big one in the Amazon region. The worst thing is the unfettered promotion of growth and it’s consequences, coupled with building of roads and towns.

                    Not long ago, I flew over the Amazon at night and couldn’t believe all the lit up towns and roads that I was seeing. Having said all that, Brazil is working very hard to diminish clear cutting of rain forest and is changing the way it does agriculture in general!

                    Case in point:


                    Leontino Balbo Jr has developed an approach to organic sugar cane production with the potential to disrupt the whole agricultural sector itself.

                    In 1986, Leontino began experimenting with “ecosystems revitalising agriculture”, a new approach that he believed could increase crop yields, reduce pest numbers and restore natural capital, all while reducing reliance on natural resources.

                    29 years later, Leontino’s sugar cane farm, based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has enjoyed unprecedented success with his work becoming a paragon of regenerative agriculture. A hypothesis has transformed into measurable results, with Leontino claiming to be able to produce higher yields, while not raising production costs, using only one third of the resources and providing a swathe of environmental benefits.

                • TechGuy says:

                  FWIW: I think we will be consuming a lot less energy in future as depletion and regulations drive up costs. Higher costs will force people to consume considerably less energy.

                  DC wrote:
                  “Possibly the total amount has increased. My guess is that the percentage of wood used for fuel relative to total world energy use has fallen. Wouldn’t you agree?”

                  Wood burning has likely increased as population in the developing world have soared since these people don’t have access to coal, NatGas,etc. Most of them live in huts with dirt floors. In addition Much of developing world is also burning forests and peat bogs (in Indonesia) to make room for more crops.

                  I am sure peat burning will increase for some nations that have domestic peak, as energy imports soar. I am sure it will spun as good for the environment since its a Biomass fuel 🙂

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Techguy,

                    Burning a forest to clear it is a little different from burning wood for cooking or heating, There are also forest fires caused by lightening, though tis is not well measured throughout history.

                    Which part of wood burning as a percentage of total energy consumed has decreased, do you not understand? Yes the absolute amount may have increased, it is still a much smaller percentage of the total energy consumed in 2014 than it was in 1764.

                    Wouldn’t you agree?

                  • TechGuy says:

                    “Which part of wood burning as a percentage of total energy consumed has decreased, do you not understand? Yes the absolute amount may have increased, it is still a much smaller percentage of the total energy consumed in 2014 than it was in 1764.”

                    No I don’t agree. The World Population was less than 2 Billion in 1764. There is now about 7.3 Billion, which about 5 Billion lives well below the poverty line. Most of those 5 Billion use wood or peat for heating and cooking since the do not have access to natGas, Oil or even coal. ie there are more consumers living today using wood and peat than back in 1764.

                    And deforestation (burning of forests) to make room for crop land should still be included since its gets burned.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:


                    The % of biofuel energy in world primary energy consumption 1800-2008, data at link above.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    The very first chart from your link shows growth in biofuels. In 1800 chart states 20 Exjoules consumed from Biofuels. Peaking at 45 Exjoules in 2000. Slight decline between 2000-2008 to 42 Exjoules. So your own link disproves your theory.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Tech guy,

                    Can you find my theory that says that the total has decreased, I don’t see it?

                    At first I said it may have increased (because I had not checked the data, it has), what I always said was that for the World, the % of biofuels consumed out of total energy consumed has decreased. In 1800 biofuel consumption was about 97% of total energy consumption, today it is about 9%.

                    I agree that the total has increased, I have all along. Clearly the chart showing that the percentage of biofuels in total energy consumption has decreased has not convinced you. So I will give up.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    “what I always said was that for the World, the % of biofuels consumed out of total energy consumed has decreased. In 1800 biofuel consumption was about 97% of total energy consumption, today it is about 9%.”

                    You original point is that Human could reduce consumption of fossil fuels and transistion to renewables. You were using Peat and Wood to drive your point. Thus your point isn’t valid since consumption never declined.

                    Humanity continued to expand consumption even though newer fuel sourced (Coal, Oil, NatGas) became available.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Techguy,

                    Do you think population will continue to increase forever? I don’t.

                    Eventually population will peak so the increase in the use of all fuels will decrease.

                    Clearly less biofuels per person are being used today compared to 1800.

                    I never disputed that use of biofuels had increased, so your point had been granted and you insisted that the % of biofuels as a proportion of total energy had increased. Biofuels are relatively insignificant as a source of energy, relative to other energy sources. We will be forced to use less fossil fuels as they deplete, biofuels will not be able to fill that gap, the price of fossil fuel will rise, energy will become more expensive everywhere in the world and non-fossil fuel energy use will rise as it will be lower cost than fossil fuel.

                  • TechGuy says:

                    DC Wrote:
                    “Eventually population will peak so the increase in the use of all fuels will decrease.”

                    Yes, but its will be the other way. Fossil Fuels will be depleted causing the population to collapse caused by two reasons: Lack of resources to support them, and war as people fight over dwindling resources. With the exception of the EU because of austerity, Military spending is on the rise, and I except Military spending in the EU to reverse soon.

                    “I never disputed that use of biofuels had increased, so your point had been granted and you insisted that the % of biofuels as a proportion of total energy had increased.”

                    No I insisted that the total amount of biofuels consumed increased. You disagreed.

                    “energy will become more expensive everywhere in the world and non-fossil fuel energy use will rise as it will be lower cost than fossil fuel.”

                    The Cost of non-fossil energy resources will also increase with the cost of fossil fuels. For the simple reason that cost of manufacturing non-fossil fuel energy systems is subsidized by the use of fossil fuels in thier production. A fossil fueled truck delivers the raw materials and parts need to produce and install a renewable system. Renewable systems also rely on fossil fuels for production. For PV, Nat Gas and coke is used to refine Raw sand into silicon carbide that is transformed into Silicon. Wind systems us composite materials (ie fiberglass, plastics, etc) as well as Steel all made using fossil fuels.

                    At best some further improvements may be made in the production & installation of renewable systems, but its not likely to offset rising fossil fuel costs. Its extremely probable, that as fossil fuels get expensive the economy will tank and there will be a collapse in production & demand for renewable systems. We are likely seeing the peak of renewable system installs and growth in renewable installs will begin to decline shortly and remain in permanent decline.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Fossil fuel energy per capita in chart below, this has started to level off and will decline as fossil fuels peak. As this happens prices will rise and wind, solar, and nuclear will fill the gap that energy efficiency cannot do on its own.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                In Chart below we have primary energy per capita, the scale is different, but notice that in 2013 the ratio of fossil fuel use to total energy use was about 87%, but in 1980 the ratio was about 92.6%.

                When fossil fuels peak their prices will rise and the world will gradually transition to other forms of energy, just as the World transitioned from coal and wood to oil and natural gas from 1900 to today, yes we still use coal and wood, the transition means that we will use less in percentage terms in the future.

                Coal was about 95% of fossil fuel use in 1900 and in 1965 coal was about 40% of fossil fuel use, the low point was about 28% in 1974.

                The absolute level of coal use has continued to rise, the level of output was 8 times higher in 2014 relative to 1900.
                For oil and natural gas combined the level of output was about 200 times the level of output in 1900.

                The peak in fossil fuels is likely to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels as prices rise making alternatives more competitive.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                I forgot the chart (again).

        • Doug Leighton says:

          Dennis, why do you keep saying the world’s population will soon peak thereby implying all will be well thereafter. The world population will peak at 8.7 billion in 2055 and then decline to 8 billion by 2100, according to new research by Deutsche Bank. This contrasts drastically with previous forecasts by the UN, which saw world population continuing to rise until 2100.

          In any case, all projections are useless because: 1) the human population is already in overshoot; 2) the projected “peaks” are in fact plateaus; 3) and, assuming a “peak” in 2055, that’s 40 years from now when the planet will be unrecognizable by today’s standards. Earth cannot deal with 8-plus billion people. Looking around, we aren’t coping with our current population.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Doug,

            Did I say all will be well? No I misread, you said imply, I have said population will peak around 2050 to 2070, I never meant to imply all will be well. In many cases I have suggested there may be another Great Depression (which was supposed to imply the reverse of “all is well”, though one might say this might be better for the environment (lower GDP implies lower carbon emissions). Generally I concern myself more with human suffering so I don’t really think along those lines.

            I have said repeatedly That transitioning will be difficult. The plateau for population is a myth based on the assumption that total fertility ratios(TFR) will approach replacement rate, that has not been the experience of the roughly 3.5 billion people in nations that have fallen below a TFR of 2.1 so the data suggests the assumption is incorrect.

            Some demographers worry about a low fertility trap where human population falls to very low levels in the 22nd century. I think that will also not be a problem, I believe if World population gets to 1 billion or so that the TFR is likely to return to 2.1 or so, hard to say for sure, but we will let the people in 2300 worry about that.

            We don’t know what future population will be, but I think the UN’s low fertility scenario is more likely through 2100. After that I expect population will continue to fall.

            Whether all will be well will depend on how quickly fossil fuel resources deplete, I think there is more of a risk of them not depleting quickly enough so that low prices prevent alternatives from developing and risk damaging climate change rather than fossil fuels depleting too quickly being a problem. Hopefully I am wrong.

            • Doug Leighton says:

              “Did I say all will be well? Can you find it for me?” Where did I say that, I said you imply……… and you do.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Doug,

                Yes you said imply. I guess from your perspective anything except “we are all going to die very soon and suffer a lot in the mean time” is the same as all will be well.

                There is a middle ground between Pollyanna and Henny Penny. My world is not black and white, I see shades of gray.

              • Cracker says:


                Dennis is a numbers guy, and when he says population will peak in some year, or whatever, I take it that he means the numbers show that result with the inputs assumed. I don’t know that he actually personally believes that, only that the model indicates that result.

                I like his comments, and his numbers do shed a brighter light on potential trends and outcomes, which I find useful.

                I admire him for being an unbridled Pollyanna, firmly entrenched in denial, as I perceive it. He just doesn’t see the same reality you and I do, and he continually reminds us that it doesn’t have to be as bad as some of us expect.

                That isn’t all bad:-) I just don’t happen to agree with him.

                Humans really aren’t very nice creatures and with so many of us, it won’t take much to unravel our economy and society. Dennis’ long term trends won’t hold, but the future probably won’t be what you and I contemplate either.


                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Jim,

                  I have based my population predictions on the average of the UN low and medium variants from 2015 to 2100 and also on research from Wolfgang Lutz see fig 5 on page 16 at the link below:


                  In these scenarios population peaks between 2050 to 2070 (I think the SSP1 and SSP2 scenarios are most likely). The World total fertility ratio(TFR) fell from 5 to 2.5 from 1965 to 2015. The optimist would assume it will fall to 1.25 by 2065, I have a more realistic estimate of 1.75 by 2100. The scenarios are backed up by what many demographers are saying, but could of course be wrong.

            • Javier says:

              I already presented my population model in this blog some time ago. We are nearing 8 billion, and whether we reach 10 billion or not it is clear that the end of population increase is at sight. The growth has taken place at jumps:
              a) Interglacial expansion
              b) First agricultural revolution
              c) Second agricultural revolution
              d) Industrial revolution and green revolution

              and although simplified, the reduction is likely to take place also at jumps:
              e) Transition to a contracting economy
              f) Glacial contraction

              Then mankind will have to wait for the next interglacial.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Javier,

                If 1000 Gt of carbon (or 3667 Gt of CO2) are released by combined fossil fuel burning, cement production, natural gas flaring, and land use change after 1750 AD, then the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will remain above 300 ppm for 100,000 years. It is unlikely that we will need to worry about another glaciation in the next 2000 years, see


                A review of the literature by Mason Inman


                • Javier says:

                  I don’t know for how long will CO2 levels remain elevated, nor does anybody else know it.

                  I do know that scientists have evidence that Late Ordovician Ice Age was even colder than present one, and CO2 levels are estimated at 4000-5000 ppm.

                  I do know that scientists have evidence that for the last 2.5 millions of years the return of a glacial period has never failed.

                  I do know that scientists have evidence of a progressive cooling of the planet during the Pleistocene that has made interglacials more unstable and glacial periods longer.

                  Now some people believe that all that has ended because we have put 110 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere by burning about half of our fossil fuels, while we don’t even know how much warming that can cause (as we don’t know climate sensitivity). That is pretty big talk for so little evidence. Same chance as stopping the Sun in the sky. Humans are so pretentious. We are going to be humbled huge time.

                  In two thousand years comes the next low in the Hallstatt cycle, and climate will probably be colder than Little Ice Age. Whether next glacial period starts then or waits for another cycle two and a half millennia later cannot be predicted.

                  Despite its beginning, Anthropocene is destined to be colder than Neoglacial, so you can judge by the name. We might as well enjoy the warm while it lasts.

                  • Javier says:
                    “I do know that …”

                    You don’t know jack.

                    Do people want to actually do some interesting work in regards to the data available? Or do they wanna spout off spew like Javier and Fernando?

                    This is fun stuff tracking down what drives climate —

                  • Javier says:

                    Handwaving WebHubTelescope,

                    I rely only on published scientific literature, so not so easy to dismiss with your bare opinion.

                  • Javier says:

                    By the way, WebHubTelescope, you are aware that you are going against scientific consensus when you say that changes in the Earth rotation affect the climate, aren’t you?

                    The consensus is the opposite, that changes in climate affect Earth rotation.

                    Pretty funny that you will criticize others for going against consensus. Not very coherent.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Read the Archer paper, if you want to understand the geologic fate of carbon in the atmosphere. The estimates for atmospheric CO2 that far back in time are highly uncertain and based on the scientific understanding of the Sun, solar output was lower during the Ordovician so higher CO2 levels would have been needed to support life on the planet.

                    Our estimates of atmospheric CO2 levels 450 million years are not very good. There is evidence that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere fell (but we don’t know the level at the start and at the end with any precision). Estimates for atmospheric CO2 before the glaciation range from 2200 ppm to 5500 ppm.

                    Also remember the effect of CO2 is logarithmic.

                    During the period 10,000 to 5000 years before the present(BP) atmospheric CO2 was about 262 ppm, and during the last glacial maximum (LGM) atmospheric CO2 was about 185 ppm.

                    So a mere 77 ppm increase of atmospheric CO2 caused a global temperature change of about 5 C.

                    During the Holocene climactic optimum (HCO), when temperatures may have been close to 1960 to 1990 average temperatures, atmospheric CO2 was about 265 ppm. If the earth’s atmospheric CO2 rises to 450 ppm and remains at that level we might see a 3.9C rise in temperatures.

                    ln(262/186)=0.34, we will assume only 2.5C delta T
                    ln(450/265)=0.53, with delta T=x
                    x=2.5*0.53/0.34=3.9 C

                    I assumed delta T is one half the change from the
                    LGM to the HCO (5C) due to the absence of large ice sheets today relative to the LGM.

                  • Javier, I think the article is saying that the winds can speed up the rotation or slow it down, but in the end it is a wash because angular momentum must be maintained.

                    Some of these factors can act to speed the planet up, while others literally drag it down.

                    The earth’s rotation is slowing down due to tidal drag caused by the Moon. Tidal drag slows the earth’s mantle down but the core tries to maintain its speed. As a result the core of the earth spins faster than the mantle creating a dynamo and giving us our magnetic field.

                    Angular momentum is maintained by pushing he moon a little faster or more correctly, it pushes the moon out a little further from the earth.

                    When the earth was much younger it spun a lot faster and the Moon was a lot closer.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    The physical principles applied by Webhubbletelescope in the CSALT model are essentially the same as used in the article you linked, conservation of angular momentum and its link to changes in the length of day.
                    It simply applied on the macro scale so that there is conservation of energy for the entire Earth system.

                    Try a physics textbook for more information.

                    Hi Ron,

                    Thanks. I don’t think Webhubbletelescope thought of including the moon explicitly in his model, but the system should not ignore the effect that you mentioned which would explain in part changes in the length of day (probably it is even more complicated than you explained, I imagine you simplified a bit). In any case, WHT found other cyclical effects in the temperature, and other data of the CSALT model which correspond with various lunar, solar and other astronomical cycles.

                    Anyway thanks for the lesson on the moon earth interaction, interesting stuff.

                  • Javier says:

                    Hi Dennis,

                    CO2 theory tries to explain the entire climate of the Earth since its origin without any evidence. We don’t even know its effect on temperatures, the ECS that has not been determined in 30 years, and some people try to explain the faint Sun paradox. This is not science, is fantasy.

                    Of course at 5000 ppm CO2 effect is saturated. Maximum effect, yet we got Ice Age. That is the point.

                    “So a mere 77 ppm increase of atmospheric CO2 caused a global temperature change of about 5 C.”

                    Yeah, right. Like CO2 was the cause of the glacial termination. You CO2 guys know no limit to your outrageous claims. Have you heard of a guy called Milutin Milankovitch?

                    Let’s go back to what we said previously:

                    Glacial CO2 termination values according to Shakun et al. 2012:
                    190-265 ppm. Increase +75 ppm

                    Holocene CO2 changes between 6800 and 600 yr BP according to Monnin et al. 2004:
                    258-283 ppm. Increase +25 ppm

                    The increase in CO2 levels during the Holocene between 6800-600 yr BP constitutes a third of the increase in CO2 levels that took place at glacial termination.

                    Converted to logarithms and doublings for climatic effect:

                    Regarding climatic effect, the Holocene increase constitutes 27% of the interglacial increase.

                    In the first case temperatures raised about 5°C, in the second they dropped about 1°C. It is called the Holocene Temperature Conundrum: Raising CO2, dropping temperatures. If temperatures can drop while CO2 raises, then your deltaT calculations are useless.

                  • Javier says:


                    I got it. Changes in Earth rotation (changes in lod) seem to correlate to changes in climate.

                    The consensus view: changes in climate -> changes in Earth rotation
                    WebHubTelescope view: changes in Earth rotation -> changes in climate

                    I’ve read a few papers on the issue. I think the relation is clear. I don’t know what to make of it.

                  • Javier doesn’t get it. No one has figured out the pattern in El Ninos, yet we all know that the consensus is that for every action there is a reaction. This goes back to Newton. So if El Nino and ENSO is the reaction, what is the originating action? In other words, what forces El Ninos?

                    It’s actually pretty simple to consider that the ocean’s thermocline is very sensitive to angular momentum shifts because what it acts like is two volumes of slightly different density liquids.
                    Ever seen how a wave machine works?
                    These things are very touchy to slight variations in motion and it ends up sloshing. What the sloshing in the thermocline does is expose colder water to the surface.

                    So when the moon exerts a periodic pull on the thermocline, it can set this in motion. Yet because of the huge inertia of the ocean, this pattern is not quite as straightforward to predict as tidal profiles. Seasonal aliasing of the lunar periods plays into the solution.

                    This is all consensus thinking because it involves physics, scientists are only playing with the mathematical models to see what best approximates the ENSO pattern.

                  • Javier says:


                    Nice hypothesis. Does it explain why in the past El Niño frequency has been linked to the Bond cycle, or why during the Holocene Climatic Optimum there were almost no El Niño events? I mean, if your hypothesis doesn’t explain past El Niño history the chances of being correct are greatly diminished.

                    If I were you I would be looking at the latitudinal thermal gradient. After all, El Niño is excessive equatorial heat bypassing the oceanic current redistribution mechanism.

                    You might be interested in taking a look at Soon W. & Legates D.R. 2013 “Solar irradiance modulation of Equator-to-Pole (Arctic) temperature gradients: Empirical evidence for climate variation on multi-decadal timescales” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 93 (2013) 45–56.

                    They discuss the issue of the Equator-to-Pole temperature gradients.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    There is natural variability which is not well understood, we don’t have good data on solar output or ocean currents for all of the Holocene, and there is substantial uncertainty in the global temperature (some of which is land based).

                    Based on the data from


                    Data can be downloaded at


                    One explanation for the cooling is Milankovitch cycles. The long term cooling trend that began about 3500 BP would have been steeper if CO2 had not risen from 262 ppm(average from 10,000 BP to 5000 BP) to 277 ppm (4000 BP to 350 BP). The rise in temperatures during the 20th century was because 300 ppm and higher was enough to reverse the trend.

                    Undoubtedly the story is more complex, but I and every climate scientist (which I am not) is quite aware of Milankovitch theory. Chart with CO2 from 10,000 BP to 350 BP below.

                  • Javier says:

                    Hi Dennis,

                    “The rise in temperatures during the 20th century was because 300 ppm and higher was enough to reverse the trend.”

                    Bullshit. The temperature trend reversed in the mid-17th century, at the bottom of the Little Ice Age, when CO2 levels were 280 ppm and not raising (as your graph shows). We have been warming for 350 years and that is in itself a powerful statement on natural global warming, because except for the last 70 years that warming took place without any help from CO2.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    And bullshit back atcha.

                    I will repeat, nobody thinks there is no natural variability. The climate is affected by Milankovitch cycles, ocean currents and tidal cycles, volcanoes, ice sheets, to name only a few. So 280 ppm over a 300 year time frame (blink of an eye in geological terms) enabled a small rise in temperature during the medieval warm period and then a fall during the little ice age. The general trend from about 5500 BP (I misread a chart before and said 3500 BP when it was 3500 BC) to 40 BP (where 0 BP=1950) was a fall in temperatures of about 0.7 C. Contrary to what you think, climate scientists know that the earth system is very complex and that it is not only atmospheric carbon dioxide that affects climate. A primary difficulty that climate models have is predicting ENSO and other oceanic effects, this is the main reason for the differences between actual and modelled temperatures.

                  • Javier says:


                    If you insist in saying things that you know are false, I’ll insist calling them bullshit.

                    “The general trend from about 5500 BP to 40 BP was a fall in temperatures.”

                    You know perfectly well that the Little Ice Age ended about 1825. Temperatures have been on a rising trend since 1600-1650 at the bottom of the Little Ice Age, and especially since 1816. Not 1910 (40 BP) as you have said.

                    The general trend from about 300 BP to present has been an increase in temperature. This statement is incompatible with what you said and unlike what you said it is true.

                    Figure 16b from Wanner et al., Mid- to Late Holocene climate change: an overview. Quaternary Science Reviews Volume 27, Issues 19–20, October 2008, Pages 1791–1828. A 38 page review on Holocene climate that you would do well in reading if you want to discuss Holocene climate with me.

                  • Javier says:


      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Ron,

        Why can’t other forms of energy replace oil as it depletes and the price of oil rises?

        There is coal, natural gas (both of which will also peak and decline),solar, wind, nuclear, hydro, and geothermal energy along with improved efficiency. Population will peak and decline which means that growth will eventually level off and possibly decline (depends on GDP per capita growth rate and the rate of decline of population). Eventually a steady state might be reached (400 years in the future) where population and GDP are relatively stable. Clearly the social structure would be different and all nations (if they still exist, perhaps there will be no government or perhaps a World government) would be as developed as they wish to be.

        • oldfarmermac says:

          HI Ron and Dennis,

          This little tempest in a teacup is basically all about the three of us talking about different time frames.

          Ron is obviously talking long term, and it is clear he does not believe renewables and recycling etc be scaled up adequately, even long term, to prevent a hard crash.

          I agree with him that such a crash is baked in , but think it might not be world wide and take EVERYBODY back to the eighteenth century or earlier. IMO some pockets of modern technology and industry might survive and some probably will survive- in my opinion. That is only an opinion, of course.

          I am arguing mostly about what the next couple of decades, or maybe the next half century will be like.

          I think there is a good possibility that we can increase efficiency of resource use including energy use to maintain life as we know it for at least that long.

          We will cross the bridges of the last half of this century WHEN the last half of it arrives. For NOW we are crossing, ,or trying to cross the bridges of the twenty teens.

          Dennis and I may be right about the longer term, or Ron may be right. Chance and historical accident will play a huge role in what the future holds.

          I think resource wars are baked in, and they might escalate to a flat out NBC WWIII.Ialso think the population will peak somewhat sooner than even the more optimistic demographers think it will, because birth control is dirt cheap, compared to kids, and just about every body in the world, will soon have SOME contact with the modern world via electronic communication.

          Let a young third world impoverished woman,who has never known anything else other than extreme poverty and oppression, see a woman on tv who has TWO pairs of shoes, and a few little luxuries, and only one kid,or no kid, and a job, and a few coins of her own, and she gets the idea REAL QUICK.

          Now as far as those places where the mullahs and priests and preachers keep the girls barefoot and pregnant, they are mostly just going to STAY POOR anyway, and do what they do now in respect to energy and resources. They are going to continue to DO WITHOUT, mainly.

          Such very poor countries can produce emigrants and terrorists, but other than that, the world can and will mostly ignore these places.

          The world does not have much REAL choice in this matter, because just about every country in the world is looking at a full plate of DOMESTIC problems.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Old Farmer Mac,

            It might be time frames, I think it is just different perspectives. I think you are less optimistic than me. I believe a hard crash is possible due to War and/or other future events which are not predictable, but I do not think it inevitable. Note that wars are likely, but I believe a nuclear war is less likely, climate change is a big unknown (as far as how bad it will become) which is linked to fossil fuel availability, the development of alternative energy, and world population. So I would change “hard crashed baked in” to very difficult times are likely due to climate change, the energy transition, high population levels, and depleting soil and water resources.

            • oldfarmermac says:

              Back atcha Dennis,
              You won’t get any real argument out of me. I have been pleasantly surprised to be wrong about a lot of bad things coming to pass.

              I agree there is a possibility we MIGHT squeeze thru the population and resource bottleneck without billions of people living very hard and dying young for all the various reasons associated with past civilizations biting the dust. I just don’t think it is likely that we will.

              Beyond that, the term hard collapse probably means something different depending on who you ask. I most definitely believe that “very difficult times ” lie ahead for everybody, including those who live in my speculative pockets where industrial civilization survives.

              We all spent a lot of electrons discussing collapse scenarios a few months back. I still believe that once aroused, the various LEVIATHANS, meaning the bigger, better situated, more powerful , better endowed countries can pull thru by means of going on a war time type economic footing as necessary, rationing food, energy and other essential goods and essential services, and countries putting substantial portions of their national manpower to work on any measures that will help the country pull thru.

              By way of example of what I am talking about:

              Union electricians making close to six figures WON”T like it, but when the shit really and truly hits the fan, they will do what UNCLE SAM tells them to. This is to say, they will wear khaki and go to work for private’s wages installing pv systems etc. Bitching about unpaid over time will get them plenty of overtime -in Minnesota or North Dakota in the dead of winter, lol.

              Consider the possibilities when such measures are implemented across the board, and it seems very possible or even likely to me that a country such as the USA is not NECESSARILY going to collapse.

              Factories that make manufacture insulation can be put on twenty four seven. Factories that manufacture throw away clothing can be mandated to manufacture LESS clothing but clothing of three or four times the quality when it comes to durability.

              Six thousand pound beer fetcher trucks can be outlawed and hundred mpg cars can be subsidized.

              We DO have a fair shot at pulling thru, in some places, in my opinion.

              But Ron might be right. Luck and historical accidents are going to play huge roles.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Old Farmer Mac,

                It is about what is most likely. Ron is a pessimist and thinks the worst case scenario is the most likely. You are more optimistic than Ron, I am more optimistic than you, and Nick is more optimistic than me.

                Everyone thinks their personal point of view is most realistic. That is part of what makes life interesting, in my view.

                • Javier says:

                  Yet some personal points of view are based on more information than others.

                  There is the old adage:
                  A pessimist is a well-informed optimist.

                  And is supported by research:

                  verbal intelligence was a unique positive predictor of worry and rumination severity. Non-verbal intelligence was a unique negative predictor of post-event processing.

                  Intelligence and emotional disorders: Is the worrying and ruminating mind a more intelligent mind?
                  Personality and Individual Differences Volume 74, February 2015, Pages 90–93.

                  After all if “ignorance is bliss,” then “knowledge involves anguish”.

                  So not worrying enough might be a sign of less intelligence 😉

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    Clearly it is only you who is well informed.

                    And humble too.

                • Javier says:

                  Hey Dennis,

                  Don’t be so humorless. Didn’t you see the wink face?

                  After all I don’t worry at all about climate change 😉

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    True, that occurred to me, we are concerned about different things, the solution to both peak fossil fuels (which is also a concern I worry about) and climate change (which you think is not a problem) is to transition to alternative forms of energy. Slower population growth and better stewardship of the environment would also help a lot.

                    I think wringing of hands and woe is me is not the best approach and where pessimism tends to lead. Murphy’s Law is a reality, everything will not always work out for the best, but we should soldier on doing the best we can with the hand we are dealt. I do not think that is optimistic, I call it realistic. Worrying is fine, as long as it leads to action rather than paralysis.

                  • wimbi says:

                    On same string as Dennis


                    These people have agreed to publish some of my many op-eds, even including a few of those many rejected as not sufficiently pc.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Wimbi,


                    Try to put up these types of links shortly after Ron puts up a post. Also with your permission I would be happy to repost at my blog (though it does not get a lot of views).


      • Nick G says:

        But computers still require energy to work. Computers will never be decoupled from energy.

        Of course. But that doesn’t mean they need fossil fuels, or indeed that they need what we think of as external energy inputs.

        I have a calculator that’s been running on a built-in solar cell for 30 years. Cars can run on local or utility wind, nuclear, hydro, solar, wave, etc. Homes can be built as Passiv-Hauses, with no external energy inputs.

        Sure, machines & other built things will always need energy of some sort – but who cares, as long as it’s not polluting, expensive fossil fuel??

  9. R Walter says:

    1000 meters by 1000 meters by 12 meters, 12,000,000 cubic meters. 6.29 barrels of oil per cubic meter, you will have 75,480,000 barrels of oil, the daily supply of 4.5 billion year old sunlight concentrated into liquid form. For those metric system impaired, like me, 5/8 mile by 5/8 mile by 39 feet high. 3300 feet by 3300 feet by 39 feet high, 12,000,000 cubes of oil, 75,480,000 barrels of crude, on flat country, it is easy to envision the size of the volume, how big a storage facility. If the SPR is 792,000,000 barrels, you’ll need ten storage facilities 12,000,000 cubic meters each.

    Oil was at an all time high at 145 dollars in 2008 on the Fourth of July, Independence Day, today’s oil is only 42 USD, you can buy two and one half more barrels with another 103 dollars. For 145 dollars, you can buy 3.5 barrels of crude, not just one.

    Some kind of decoupling going on there, decoupled money from the consumers’ pockets.

    Instead of 10.9 billion dollars needed to purchase 75,480,000 barrels of oil for a one day supply, today, at 42 dollars, you need only 3 billion dollars, the oil companies are short 8 billion dollars for that one day, after seven years of decreasing oil prices, the market forces work in favor of the consumer, the consumer is decoupled from the market, demand destroyed, the price reached a peak, Peak Price, maybe a new Peak Price in the future, but for now, 145 dollars is the high, maybe 147 for a day or so, doesn’t matter. The consumer just stopped driving like mad at 4.19 USD per gallon of petrol. Bears down on you and makes you act real quick. Instead of four trips a year to various rock concerts, you cut back to three, reduce your miles traveled by 2000 miles. Instead of traveling to different baseball stadiums to follow your favorite team, you just buy a season ticket. Have to cutback someplace. Drink a six pack before the game instead of 7 dollar beer at the ballpark. Beer at 90 dollars a gallon is well worth it on game day, so you can have a couple more at 7 dollars a pop. Ten grand for a 22 oz bottle of wine is 50 grand per gallon of a fine wine.

    You need two dollar per gallon gas to drive to buy beer, four dollar gas, you have to buy twice as much beer, the high price of gas drives you to drink. har

    Oil at 42 dollars for 42 gallons is too much says Goldman Sachs, and if they’re doing God’s work like they say they do, oil will be 20 dollars per barrel.

    Might as well go for the gusto. Sell the mansion for 25 million and upgrade to a new 40 million dollar one. The reward for doing God’s work. You have to indulge yourself, give yourself a break. A new yacht and a new private jet for doing God’s work will help break the monotony. Doing God’s work can get old, I spose. Don’t know myself, got plenty of work of my own to do, can’t be bothered doing God’s work too, no time for that these days.

    What can you do? I know!

    Rent the top floor at a casino in viva Las Vegas, buy the casino. When you are doing God’s work, well then, by God, you can be a riverboat gambler in the desert too. God doesn’t need the money, you do, so a few indulgences can be granted, and since you are doing God’s work, God can rest. Go on vacation, a trip to Mars, ease His Mind, which is omniscient, can’t teach God a thing, He knows it all.


    A decoupling from reality, which can’t be good.

    A surreal world like the one there is now is bad.

    12,000,000 cubic meters of crude oil consumed each day can’t be good. All gone, in one day. When the day comes that it stops, look out.

    A ship of fools.

    • wimbi says:

      Says carbon sequestration is poorly counted, and if counted right, won’t do.

      Did not mention the one that really works, at any scale – pyrolysis. Take any biomass, cook it in an oven sans oxygen, take the gas driven off and use it for fuel or whatever, Take the carbon left over and put into the ground or use it to replace ff’s some other way.

      This is very easy to do, I do it at domestic scale with a simple stove pipe, and the result is carbon -negative without any dubious counting tricks, since there it sits- big black pile which came out of the air, not out of the ground.

      I then take that carbon and turn it into what everybody wants – potty-char. I do my poop into the potty and then sprinkle some char on it to get rid of smell and sight. Result is pure gold for the plants that have been so generous as to sacrifice their several parts for the good of the cause.

      This also gets rid of the flush toilet, biggest stupidity re actual/possible energy use in the history of humanity. That’s saying a pot.

    • wimbi says:

      Any chance for a response here? So far, 2 tries. No.

      OK, so 3rd try below

      Says carbon sequestration is poorly counted, and if counted right, won’t do.

      Did not mention the one that really works, at any scale – pyrolysis. Take any biomass, cook it in an oven sans oxygen, take the gas driven off and use it for fuel or whatever, Take the carbon left over and put into the ground or use it to replace ff’s some other way.

      This is very easy to do, I do it at domestic scale with a simple stove pipe, and the result is carbon -negative without any dubious counting tricks, since there it sits- big black pile which came out of the air, not out of the ground.

      I then take that carbon and turn it into what everybody wants – potty-char. I do my poop into the potty and then sprinkle some char on it to get rid of smell and sight. Result is pure gold for the plants that have been so generous as to sacrifice their several parts for the good of the cause.

      This also gets rid of the flush toilet, biggest stupidity re actual/possible energy use in the history of humanity. That’s saying a pot.

      • oldfarmermac says:

        Hi Wimbi,

        Depending on the time frame under consideration, I am with you all the way old buddy.

        Necessity is a HARSH taskmaster, and once the easy living is over, we will do whatever is necessary, no matter how hard , to survive.

        I used to make charcoal by the same process you are using, except I just flared the gas.

        Put hardwood chips in a five gallon metal paint bucket, drove the lid on tight, punched a couple of nail holes in the lid, and put the bucket in a large hot fire. We used to burn all the pruned limbs from the fruit trees in good sized fires. After a few hours, you have premium light flaky charcoal.

        Going the route you describe small scale means going back to subsistence life styles, but by Sky Daddy, most people would rather be a subsistence level peasant than DEAD.

        I am hoping to meet a couple of youngsters, maybe a family or two, who would like to live on a nice little farm organized to make subsistence as easy as possible, and maybe buy it owner financed in ten or fifteen more years.

        Life on such a farm is strenuous, the hard work never ends, and cash will always likely be in short supply, but it can be a satisfying life. Kids raised by literate parents on a working farm grow up knowing what reality is about , and the value of work.

        • wimbi says:

          Thanks, OFM, for the relevant comment. I travelled a lot in Africa and south Asia, and saw a lot of charcoal mounds smoking away the major fraction of the energy in the wood, just to get the charcoal for cooking. I got nowhere trying to get anyone to think about capturing the gas.

          Here, I find trotting out the pot to the windbreak no more a chore than taking out the compost or feeding the chickens. And it’s mighty convenient to have it right in the shop to eliminate the need for a mad dash to the house when afflicted with too many pears.

          BTW, I take no blame for the repeated posting of this potty comment. The powers behind the throne told me it was not gonna posted , I reposted, and then, after several hours, it posted all of the reposts in order to get revenge on harmless little old me.

          I only regret that I have but one pot to give for my country.

          • Wimbi, a couple of times a day I check the spam file. Every post I find there from a regular poster I mark as “Not Spam” and it is then posted on the blog. If you post the same post over and over again trying to get it through it will just go to the spam file every time, for the same reason it went there to start with. And I have absolutely no idea why it ever went to the spam file.

            So if you post a post over and over again, all of them will eventually go to the blog. I just don’t have time to go through every one and see if it is a duplicate.

            • wimbi says:

              OK, Ron, I have been taught my lesson, I will now go back to my stool and put my dunce cap back on, and from now on I will never, never, never, never, post the same thing twice.

              Um, with a fairly high degree of probability.

    • ChiefEngineer says:

      “3300 feet by 3300 feet by 39 feet high, 12,000,000 cubes of oil, 75,480,000 barrels of crude”

      You don’t need to be a scientist to realize this amount of fossil fuel burned everyday is going to change earths atmosphere for the worse.

      The sooner humans change their ways. The less suffering there will be. The word “can’t” is just a lazy mans excuse for not addressing the solution .

      If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

      • Arceus says:

        If the elite warmers in Paris could somehow muster the political will to outlaw every car, bus, airplane, train and boat, we would never have to mention this predicament again.

        • ChiefEngineer says:

          Now Arceus,

          Realistically, autos, buses and trains could be switched to EV powered by non CO2 producing energy. Most air cargo and passengers could be migrated to EV auto’s, buses, trucks and rail. Shipping by water could be optimized also by speed reduction and substitutions.

          Can’t is a selfish lazy excuse

          • Arceus says:

            The elite warmers of the world have impeccable timing as usual. They have chosen to grandstand about climate matters just as the world has passed the arc of peak prosperity. Never again will most countries have as many full-time workers. Never again will they be as wealthy. Never again will they have as many cars on the road driving as many miles (most of them). The demographics are fairly clear on this. Nothing like the global elites pretending to care about and to solve a problem that will resolve itself within a decade or two anyway. Peak oil. Peak coal. Peak prosperity. Welcome to the downside of the curve. Thanks to all trying to get us there faster.

            • ChiefEngineer says:

              You “can’t” change history but you can influence the future. It’s not to late to correct mistakes.

              • It’s not to late to correct mistakes.

                Oh good grief. Some mistakes, like typos, can be corrected. But obviously many mistakes cannot be corrected. That Asian Air crash was caused by pilot error. A mistake. I do think it is a bit too late to correct that mistake.

                Likewise with human overshoot and the destruction of the environment. It is just too late to correct those mistakes.

              • Doug Leighton says:

                And there was God’s big mistake: writing the Old Testament then having Paul do a hopeless re-write that left everyone thoroughly confused. Why didn’t He stick with the original which at least used (relatively) clear cut language? Alas, as you say, you can’t change history.

                • Javier says:

                  That’s only a problem for you Protestants. Us Catholics have no problem since the Pope interprets the Scriptures for us and he only follows God dictum. 😉

                  And if not, we cannot be condemned by God for the Pope’s mistakes.

                  • Doug Leighton says:

                    “That’s only a problem for you Protestants.” Please correct to read: That’s only a problem for Protestants [no you]. I pledge allegiance to Thor and his dad, Odin. Frigg, Odin’s wife, has a reputation of knowing your destiny, but she never unveils it; totally useless. Gna is sweat but too flirty, you can’t really trust her.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Doug,

                    and all this time I thought you were either an agnostic or atheist 🙂

                    Not intended as an insult, depending on which kind of non-believer you might be (those agnostics and atheists arguments can get pretty heated, how can you know there is no god, seems faith based)

                  • Dennis, atheists come in all different flavors. It is the term “God” that I have a problem with. Yes I know that the God of the Bible does not exist for the same reason that I know that Peter Pan does not exist. Is my disbelief in Peter Pan based on faith?

                    But as far as “something else” or “a higher intelligence” goes, I have no idea. Now some wags would claim that such an opinion is based on faith because I cannot know that I cannot know. But I have never claimed that I cannot know. I only claim that I do not know if a higher intelligence exist or not.

                    But as far as a god who rewards and punishes, a god that promises to torture you forever for disbelieving in the Noah’s ark story, that is bullshit and I know such a cruel and horrible being does not exist. I also know that Captain Hook or Tinkerbell does not exist as well. And I do not believe that has a damn thing to do with faith. Some things are just self evident.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    The nature of God should he/she exist is clearly unknown. An atheist from my perspective is one who claims that God does not exist, that is any God of any type, higher powers or intelligences or whatever word you would like to use, they are all covered and claimed to not exist.

                    It does not really matter to me, it cannot be proven one way or the other. Now I suppose one could claim that anything that cannot be proven does not exist, but I would have to see proof of that claim.

                    We could go round and round, but I am not interested. To me an agnostic position is the most sensible, I don’t know and don’t really care about the existence or non-existence of “God”.

                  • Javier says:

                    Scientists are usually agnostic by default, as anything that we cannot measure falls outside our realm and we cannot say anything about it, neither that it exists nor that it doesn’t. Then obviously personal inclinations can take some scientists to one side or the other.

                    God probably doesn’t exist, but religions do exist and they are interesting, because they tell a lot about human nature, not about God.

                    I find surprising that the idea of something that doesn’t exist can kill you while you are sitting enjoying a drink at a cafe in Paris.

                    It is also interesting that a lot of people that have abandoned religion, they haven’t done it for a superior faithless state, but instead they place their faith on science, or destiny, or palm reading, or God forgives government.

                    As a biologist I am puzzled by the biological basis of faith. Is it a subproduct of a complex brain or does it hold some unknown adaptative value? Perhaps is some sort of social glue and the Moon-goddess clan can only survive by sticking together against the Sun-god clan.

                    There is some evidence of this, as two of the most resistant social groups, Jews and Amish, have a very strong religious base that sets them apart.

                    If I ever organize a survivalist group I’ll have to include a strong religious component. It is going to be difficult going from agnostic to high priest.

                  • Dennis wrote:

                    An atheist from my perspective is one who claims that God does not exist, that is any God of any type, higher powers or intelligences or whatever word you would like to use, they are all covered and claimed to not exist.

                    Dennis, since you have your own personal definition of what an atheist is, then it would be impossible to argue with your conclusions.

                    And to imagine, you were the one who brought up the subject of straw men a few posts ago.

                    Talk about irony….

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    Here is one definition of atheist:

                    a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.

                    I found it by typing atheist into google, it pretty much matches my definition.

                    From Wikipedia:

                    Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[3][4][5] Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist.[4][5][6][7] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[8][9] which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.[9][10][11]

                    You said:

                    I only claim that I do not know if a higher intelligence exist or not.

                    I agree with that.

                    You go on to say that you know what God is not like.

                    But as far as a god who rewards and punishes, a god that promises to torture you forever for disbelieving in the Noah’s ark story, that is bullshit and I know such a cruel and horrible being does not exist.

                    This you say is self evident. I have no opinion on the matter.

                    If that is a straw man argument, I don’t see it. I am simply arguing that I don’t know, maybe you are correct.

                    I don’t know about either the nature of or the existence of God.

                  • Goddammit Dennis, did you google “Deity”?

                    noun, plural deities.
                    a god or goddess.
                    divine character or nature, especially that of the Supreme Being; divinity.
                    the estate or rank of a god:
                    The king attained deity after his death.
                    a person or thing revered as a god or goddess:
                    a society in which money is the only deity.
                    the Deity, God; Supreme Being.

                    A deity is a God! A deity is not a higher intelligence. A deity is not “something else”. A deity is a fucking God!

                    But what about God? Did you google that?

                    the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
                    the Supreme Being considered with reference to a particular attribute:
                    the God of Islam.
                    (lowercase) one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.
                    (often lowercase) a supreme being according to some particular conception:
                    the god of mercy.
                    Christian Science. the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle.
                    (lowercase) an image of a deity; an idol.

                    I do not believe in God. God does not exist. I do not believe in any deity, i.e. God! A deity does not exist.

                    I am a goddamn atheist.

                    However something else just might exist. Not a god, not a deity, (which is the same thing). But a higher intelligence or “something else” just might exist, I have no idea.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    Got it, no belief means no existence, at least for you.

                    And what you mean by “something else”, that is not god and may or may not exist, I will not pursue.

                  • And what you mean by “something else”, that is not god and may or may not exist, I will not pursue.

                    Oh good grief! A god implies the creator and ruler of the universe. Something else does not have to be a creator and definitely not the ruler of the universe.

                    Jeeesus Dennis, don’t you understand the difference between god and not-god? You are implying that if any intelligence exist higher than human intelligence then it has to be a deity, a god. Really now? This stuff is just not that hard Dennis.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    Just was not clear what you meant,

                    I guess you are talking about intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, which likely exists, though neither of us have proof (or I don’t).
                    Perhaps they are observing us now 🙂

                  • TechGuy says:

                    “As a biologist I am puzzled by the biological basis of faith”

                    Likely a combination of many things, included by not limited to:

                    1. Wanting to believe in a afterlife, Continuation of existence beyond a normal lifespan is consider very important by most people.
                    2. Filling in the gaps of understanding of the world and the universe. Its easy to fill in the gaps, by presuming it was all created by a God.
                    3. Hope for a better outcome in life or the afterlife. People look to a “higher power” to deliver them from poverty, illness or something they cannot control. They prey to a deity in hope of a better outcome.

                    Organized religions prey upon people by coning them to do things they would not ordinarily do, such as sacrifice themselves, their child that ends up benefiting kings or religious leaders.

                    In my opinion, Humans are terribly irrational. They will blindly follow an idea without question. It does just apply to religion, but just about everything, from Money & Investing, Health, Politics, you name it.

                    The very most important class that is never taught in school is critical thinking. Imagine a world of people that understood how to apply critical thinking to everything the do. There would be no need for war, political parties, economic boom-busts, and the population bomb.

                    As it stands Critical thinking is a self-taught skill and less than 1% of the population fully grasps it.

  10. Dean says:

    New EIA data for Texas crude+condensate up to September 2015, compared to my corrected data (published 2 weeks ago)

  11. wimbi says:

    Says carbon sequestration is poorly counted, and if counted right, won’t do.

    Did not mention the one that really works, at any scale – pyrolyzation. Take any biomass, cook it in an oven sans oxygen, take the gas driven off and use it for fuel or whatever, Take the carbon left over and put into the ground or use it to replace ff’s some other way.

    This is very easy to do, I do it at domestic scale with a simple stove pipe, and the result is carbon -negative without any dubious counting tricks, since there it sits- big black pile which came out of the air, not out of the ground.

    I then take that carbon and turn it into what everybody wants – potty-char. I do my poop into the potty and then sprinkle some char on it to get rid of smell and sight. Result is pure gold for the plants that have been so generous as to sacrifice their nether parts for the good of the cause.

    This also gets rid of the flush toilet, biggest stupidity re actual/possible energy use in the history of humanity. That’s saying a pot.

  12. shallow sand says:

    It is 12/1. Last point for determining WTI and HH for SEC PV10.

    WTI currently 41.36.

    HH currently 2.22.

    Going to be massive PV10 reductions on the 10K.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Shallow sand,

      They use the price from a single day rather than the average price for the month of December?

      Do they use the closing spot price or the futures price?

  13. Heinrich Leopold says:

    US Natgas production falls below 70 bcf/d,

    According to the daily comments from US dry production fell for the first time since months below 70 bcf/d to 69.9 bcf/d. According to the EIA forecast (table 5a STEO for natgas from September 2015) supply should stand around 74.88 bcf/d for the last quarter in 2015. Last year production has been 74.69 bcf/d, which gives a decline of – 7% yoy. Daily production from Texas confirms the trend which stands at 19.4 bcf/d which is also far below last year. This comes despite stock withdrawals which should allow for maximum production. The next weeks will show if this is just a short term aberration or the beginning of a trend which I was forecasting all over this year. At least the flood of announced new natgas production over the summer due to new pipelines has not materialized yet.

    • John Keller says:

      I have followed their numbers the last couple of months. Production has been falling steadily. I think it will only accelerate as the lack of drilling is finally hitting. Companies are also running out of money. SFY should be gone soon. It wouldn’t surprise me if ng rig counts drop another 10-15% by the end of the year. No one should be drilling with NG at $2.25.

      • Heinrich Leopold says:


        Drilling has been reduced substantially over the summer. The real slowdown should come therefore with a time lag of six months in January/February. An open question is still the number of wells waiting for completion.

  14. rochapeau says:

    Hi, everybody! Trying my first post.
    Just my 2 cents in. When discussing oil demand, did anybody already mention here that the oil industry has just eliminated close to half a million barrels a day of its own oil (diesel, gasoline etc) demand by idling almost 1500 drilling rigs worldwide and putting a great number of projects on hold. Oil and gas industry is using enormous amount of petroleum to operate and move equipment and people

    • Ralph says:

      Do you have a source for this number? It is a significant number, and one I expected when anticipating the current drilling decline a year ago. I have posted comments in the past speculating on the DRODI of shale drilling (Diesel return on Diesel invested) but had no figures.

    • Doing the math, 500,000 barrels divided by 1500 rigs comes to 333,33 barrels per rig per day. That times 42 comes to 14,000 gallons per rig per day. I know you must include the gasoline and diesel used by the trucks and cars that serviced those rigs. But still, that seems like a bit much.

      • daniel says:

        I would think 100 to max 200,000 bbl per day seems more realistic

      • rochapeau says:

        I agree, it is probably an exaggeration. However, we need to account for rig construction, servicing and all the secondary jobs (around 80-90) that each rig creates. Those jobs and people employed in them use petroleum products. Then we need to account for well spudding, pumping, transporting, and storing the oil and again for all the secondary jobs that those activities create. Then there is exploration and all the oil-consuming activities associated with it. All of this combined will account for a number in hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of petroleum consumed. That is why shutting or even scaling down oil industry creates a temporary oil glut. Not too many analysts seem to be talking about this phenomenon

      • John S says:


        I just talked to a diesel fuel salesman. he said a small rig will use about 3-4 000 gallons / day and a big rig will use between 6-8,000 gallons of diesel / day.

        • John S says:

          Correction, my diesel salesman corrected his numbers : 400-600 gal/day for a small rig and 1,200-1600 gal/day for a big rig.

          • Wake says:

            Thanks, interesting number

            Pressure pumping power would be a couple times the drilling? Maybe high end 5000 hp a rig times 1500 rigs would be 7.5 mm hp, and spears I believe had pp hp at what, 18 mm at peak and still 9 today?

          • Whew! Thank goodness, I was a little shocked by those earlier numbers. Thanks for the info John.

  15. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Ron and Others
    Relative to the alleged ‘decoupling’ of GDP from energy. Please see:
    The material footprint of nations

    The apparent decoupling turns out to be mostly a mirage. It is true that rich countries outsource some of the more energy and materials intensive operations to poor countries, but if you count back from consumption, the rich countries are essentially as energy and materials dependent as they ever were. For fossil fuels, the coefficient is 90 percent…a 90 point increase in fossil fuels is needed for a 100 point increase in GDP.

    Part of what happens can perhaps be understood by thinking about beef imports. If England imports beef from Africa, then there is a great deal of materials and energy consumed in Africa to produce the beef. Only a small percentage of the resource used gets exported to England. If you start with the steak in England and look back at the supply chain, you find that the consumption of the pound of steak in England was responsible for the consumption of lots of energy and materials in Africa.

    I think that ‘decoupling’ is not the same as energy efficiency. Suppose, for example, that we look at the efficiency with which firewood is burned in an ordinary house. Back in the olden days, the wood was burned in a fireplace, which is inefficient. Then Franklin invented the Franklin stove and heating became more efficient in terms of calories of usable heat per cord of wood. But the stove wasn’t necessarily any less or more expensive than the fireplace. Since GDP essentially measures cash outlay, the increased efficiency doesn’t necessary have any direct impact on GDP.

    Recently, we have begun to adjust GDP for ‘hedonic factors’. Suppose, for example, that one has an old radio with lots of static and poor sound quality. Then one buys a new radio with better sound quality. But suppose that the price you pay for the new radio is the same as it was for the old radio. GDP would be the same for both radios. But, recently, the US government has begun to make adjustments for the quality of the sound.

    Whether the hedonic adjustments make any sense depends on what sort of question you are trying to answer. If you are asking ‘will my radio company be able to pay our debts?’, then all that matters is your actual income. The fact that you had to improve the sound quality in order to remain competitive is an ancillary fact. If you are not getting any more income, then paying your debts doesn’t get any easier.

    Don Stewart

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Why the GDP Is Not An Good Measure of A Nation’s Well Being

      In their book, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger (link is external), Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, present data taken from multiple credible sources that show the gap between the poor and rich the greatest in the U.S. among all developed nations; child well being is the worst in the U.S. among all developed nations; and levels of trust among people in the U.S. among the worst of all developed nations.

      The Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight of the U.S. Congress’ House Committee on Foreign Affairs stated, after examining the issue of the U.S.’s declining image abroad, “the decline in international approval of U.S. leadership is caused largely by opposition to the invasion of Iraq, U.S. support for dictators, and practices such as torture and rendition. They testified that this opposition is strengthened by the perception that our decisions are made unilaterally and without constraint by international law or standards-and that our rhetoric about democracy and human rights is hypocritical.”

      The US ranks 114th out of 125 countries in international peace and security.

      To those in power who believe that only strength counts, and that people are always self-interested, I say “We tried it your way, and it didn’t work. Let’s try something new.”

      Simon Anholt

      • Clueless says:

        “child well being is the worst in the U.S. among all developed nations”
        I wonder how child well being stacks up in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, and Utah, against the rest of the developed world? What do they have going for them that the rest of the USA suffers from?
        Oops! Never mind, I just thought of the answer. White privilege.

        • Arceus says:

          Blame it on iPhone envy. As the study alluded to, income disparity (and a consumer-oriented culture) naturally leads to less “well-being.” An upper middle class kid may want the latest iphone, the latest video game, the latest nike shoes (just like his peers) or he is not “happy.” The gadgets and toys his parents provide him will negatively affect the well-being of other kids who have less wealthy parents. Numerous studies have shown that poorer kids in, say, Africa whose basic needs are met and associate with peers whom are on a more equal economic footing score higher on well-being. Nothing surprising there.

          Naturally, this does not mean a third-world society is wealthier, healthier or more comfortable than a suburb outside Boston – just that they score higher with feelings of well-being. Socialism anyone?

  16. wimbi says:

    Third try at response. No again. A conspiracy!

    I’m goin’ out and eat worms.

    • oldfarmermac says:

      Hi Wimbi,

      I posted a response someplace up thread. Hang in there.

      I may not have mentioned recently that I have set aside an older full size Ford pickup with the honest to Jesus old time four wheel drive, granny gear four speed, two speed transfer case, and long stroke low rpm big six engine.

      When I get a few more ducks in a row in terms of converting the farm to a medieval doomstead, I am going to convert her to run on charcoal, the way people ran trucks on charcoal in occupied Europe back during WWII.

      I haven’t yet figured out exactly how to go about making my charcoal while simultaneously getting good use of the combustible gases being driven off. I suppose I can build a furnace of some sort to make the charcoal and use it to heat the house or the shop by burning the volatiles.

      The problem is that I am going to need a good bit of charcoal, if I ever USE the truck very much after converting it.

      Some conversions run on wood chips, and I might have to go that route, as a practical matter.

      Now as far as using charcoal as a soil builder goes, it works miracles, it some cases at least, depending on the nature of the soil. Local people in this area used to deliberately burn and incorporate waste wood into the soil, and then intensively garden where the fire was located.

      I helped my maternal grandfather with this chore several years. We piled the waste wood from pruning the orchard, or limbs and brush where he cleared “new ground” and made large hot fires that nevertheless left a good bit of charcoal because we always lit them when rain was expected.

      Plowing this ash and charcoal into the soil enabled him to grow the finest of veggie transplants, such as tomatoes , pepper, and cabbage. I went with him and we sold them in bunches for a penny a piece, fifty cents for fifty eight inch transplants, in front of the county court house, on Saturday mornings, back in the fifties. That was pretty good money for this part of the country back then.

      And back then, the sheriff and town cop were glad to see you there, as was everybody else, including the judge, who only wanted a dozen tomato and a dozen pepper for his hobby sized garden. . Now they would give you a ticket in a heart beat, and also charge you for not having about four or five different kinds of permits to do business.

      • wimbi says:

        My assistant, Danny the Appalachian junk genius, also an expert car mechanic and dirt bike racer, knows all about running cars on wood/charcoal. Charcoal is best by far, sez he.

        We use just ordinary firewood logs, cooked in a big vertical stainless stove pipe, by the stored gas, to get the gas out of the wood. That gas goes to the Honda generator which keeps the battery up, and/or to the flabby bag which stores it.

        At the end of the day, we have full batteries, a sack of gas, and a big pile of charcoal for the potty or the car if there happens to be a car around that runs on charcoal. In my case, the car is all-electric.

        Danny says it’s only fair that I let him make one for charcoal.

        • oldfarmermac says:

          I have seen pictures of gas bags on photographs of vintage wood burners. Where did you get yours? I am betting you got it cheap, and that it was originally manufactured for some other use.

          So far I have not been able to locate anybody who has actually built a wood burner truck within a thousand miles.It would be great to compare notes with anybody who has hands on experience. I do have the drawings published by FEMA.

          I think I can finish the job in a month or so, if I ever get around to it, and stay after it like an EMPLOYEE. All the oddball hardware needed is going to cost an arm and a leg and I will have to buy some of it at retail, the rest I have been collecting for years at scrapyards and junk sales.

          Anybody who is interested can get them, they are free online. There is at least one article on these wood burners in LOW TECH magazine.

      • Longtimber says:

        Backyard Biochar production a Simple way. ( Just hose it down works fine also ). My piles of Surplus Oak is much larger these days.

        • Javier says:

          I would be careful. Adding that stuff is forever, and science has not had enough time to asses its long-term impact. Tropical soil is completely different to temperate soil.

          • oldfarmermac says:

            Hi Javier,

            Farmer or no, I know very little about tropical soils.

            But I am confident that adding charcoal, in any form, so long as it does not contain heavy metal contaminants ( maybe lead from paint on old scrap wood for instance ) or other possible contaminants, is a perfectly safe practice, in many types of temperate soils.

            The likelihood of charcoal containing significant amounts of dangerous contaminant is small indeed.

            Small scale farmers such as my family have been adding charcoal and ashes as a matter of course to garden spots for a century or two now, with no obvious ill results.

            But nobody to the best of my knowledge has done this on a large scale in temperate areas for an extended period of time, because charcoal is not available in such large quantities, and doing so would be very expensive.

            Local people in my area burned limbs pruned from fruit trees, and small limbs from trees cut for timber and fire wood, to get rid of them, and often burned entire trees to get rid of them, when clearing land for farming.

            This burning has the effect of killing grass and weeds, and roots and seed within a couple of inches of the surface as well, making for a nice easily planted and hoed garden.

            For safety reasons, the fires are ( used to be) lit when rain was expected, meaning quite a lot of charcoal was produced, rather than all fully combusted ashes. This ash and charcoal has been incorporated into the soil by plowing and hand cultivation (hoeing)

            Some of these same spots have been used for gardens for decades, and remain as productive or MORE productive than adjacent ground.

            SO- we have experimental evidence that charcoal is GOOD in many soils, including most and maybe all of the ones found in the southeastern USA, but none to my knowledge that it is harmful.

            I doubt it will be used in quantity on commercial farmland due to the expense, but adding it to small intensively cultivated garden spots might get to be a common practice.

            • wimbi says:

              Everybody- almost, around here uses a wood stove, since we live in a hilly forest and wood is easy to get.

              What I am promoting is not a gasifier, which generates woodgas by partial combustion, but a pyrolyzer, which cooks wood in an anoxic oven, which can be heated by anything, solar, wood, electricity, etc.

              The volatiles are stored or otherwise used, and the remaining carbon is put in the garden, potty chair or other.

              A big advantage here is that there is no combustion of wood needed. Wood is hard to burn without visible pollution since the pile changes shape, rate of burn, etc, at random unless effort is spent shaping it like, for example, pellets.

              Gas, however, can be controlled very well to result in a clean burn. So result, clean energy, and carbon out of the atmosphere and into the garden.

              All good. Anyone or any entity, like a town, can do it.

              My pyrolyzer is a stove pipe, heated in the middle by woodgas, loaded at the top with just any size of biomass, and sitting in a water bath which seals the bottom and allows removal of carbon.

              Now that will be two cents please, for consulting fee and transportation.

            • Javier says:


              Adding ashes to land is as old as agriculture. But ashes and charcoal are completely different things in many aspects.

              Adding charcoal to the land is a permanent modification as humans are concerned. Terra Preta is 2,500 years old and is still there.

              Before doing something permanent to my land I would make dam sure that it has no ill effect, known or unknown.

              Tropical soils are very poor because they are constantly washed of free nutrients by daily rains. They are very productive because the nutrients contained within the biota are constantly recycled. If you slash and burn, you deposit those nutrients in the soil and get one or two crops before they are gone, and then it is a decade or more before they are back to normal.

              Now let’s talk hypothetically. Imagine that charcoal traps some trace element, for example Molybdenum, that is required in very small amounts. After all charcoal is pretty close to the activated carbon that they put in filters to remove heavy metals from water.

              That would not be a problem for a tropical soil because most Molybdenum would be in the biota being recycled, and any in the ground would be washed by the rain anyway.

              But in a temperate soil you might have created a deficiency yourself as farming eliminates most recycling. You might not know for a long time as Molybdenum is required in traces. But one day the crop might be reduced by lack of Molybdenum and you might not discover the problem ever as the Molybdenum will still appear in the analysis as it is still there, just trapped.

              Remember that we did not know how dangerous radiation and tobacco were for a very long time, as they were not instant killers. Actually smoking was considered good for your health.

              This is a hypothetical danger, but it illustrates the precautionary principle a lot better than climate. There is no ill effect to not adding charcoal, and adding it is irreversible. If it ends up having a negative effect, who are you going to blame? The salesman that told you that it was a wonderful stuff tried for 2,500 years?

              • Longtimber says:

                J, Thanks for feedback, Caution noted. I’ve found that the quality of the Bio-Char depends on the wood. We know that some woods have traces of carcinogens. You can make creosotes via incomplete combustion. I have a separate pile for Pine woods that does not go near food production. I will say the Texture of Biochar from Live Oak Limbs is different and grows incredible tomatoes. Commercial BioChar is $40 per sq. ft and is recommended @ 10% soil volume. Black Locus Posts last 100 years in the ground, there is something there the microbes don’t like.

              • Nick G says:

                Actually smoking was considered good for your health.

                I’d be curious to see evidence for that. My suspicion is that such ideas were pre-WWII or earlier, and never considered scientific.

              • oldfarmermac says:

                Back atcha ,Javier

                My knowledge of tropical soils extends to and beyond the scope of your comments, which are consistent with what is taught in a course such as Agronomy 200 and 201, Introduction to Soils.

                Now I am all for the precautionary principle, which is why I disagree with you about forced warming. 😉

                Yes ashes are not at all the same thing as charcoal, which is why I pointed out a rained out fire leaves a lot of charcoal as well as ashes.

                We can’t worry about every thing, or else we would be forever frozen into the status quo, and never change anything.

                Now speaking in practical terms, I very strenously doubt that charcoal is going to be widely used on a commercial basis in places such as the USA. It costs too much. Simple as that.

                I have read what I could find about the way terra pretta soils are created. Nobody knows for sure, but most likely, the process is slow is slow , tedious and labor intensive.

                My guess is that some gardeners and very small specialty crop growers may make the effort necessary. A few people always get all excited about new ways of doing things and try them out before the proof is in.

                But hardly any commercial farmers will bother- unless the process is fully deciphered and field tests prove it works on a wide variety of temperate soils, or certain specific soils.

                If you get out of bed in the morning, you might break a leg. IF I ruin a tenth of an acre of my farm by playing with charcoal, which seems unlikely in the extreme, it is very likely SOMETHING will still grow on it, even if it is only poison ivy , lol.

              • oldfarmermac says:

                Hi Javier,
                Tree tops and leaves and limbs, if given time to rot and the nutrients in them to become incorporated to the soil, are wonderful soil builders, but using wood as a soil amendment is slow and and expensive to implement.

                Now this works like a CHARM sometimes on a small scale. I bought the guys who passed thru this year trimming the right of ways of the electric power lines a lot of soft drinks, and they dumped about twenty large truck loads of wood chips on my place free of charge. 😉

                I will spread them out with a grader box and plow them in, most of them, and use the rest for a heavy mulch around blueberries etc.

                The real problem using wood is that this only MOVES the nutrients from one place to another. It does not SOLVE the problem of soil depletion.

                Depletion occurs mainly because the nutrients are REMOVED along with the harvested crop or livestock and hauled away and flushed down toilets in far away cities.

                Until we figure out how to get the nutrients back from the cities, we will be replacing them. Sometimes we can get the nitrogen “for free” but seldom in the quantities it is needed and not at all in a lot of cases.

                So we will be buying nitrogen too, for the easily foreseeable future at least.

                Long term we will do things differently because we will have no choice.

  17. shallow sand says:

    Ed Morse is saying OPEC will not cut until June, 2016 at the earliest. Given that his employer, Citibank, is owned to a large extent by Saudi royals, he should be listened to (assuming he is shooting straight).

    I also notice he is calling for US stripper well production to be shut in. Also note WSJ has written two stripper well articles in the last week.

    What the heck? We were just minding our own business the whole time. Per Macquarie, US conventional onshore, which a large chunk of is stripper, has rolled over harder in percentage terms than in even 1986 or 1998. Those numbers are just through June, 2015, see my post above. We are being responsible, not drilling, not doing work overs, not borrowing. Why should we close up shop? Just because we don’t want to borrow above our means?

    Shale caused this mess. But I guess a bunch of Wall Street types would rather see stripper producers fail, as stripper producers are not generally indebted to Wall Street. MLPs such as LINE, BBEP are exceptions.

    So sorry, but to totally kill US stripper production, will need lower prices for longer, which may very well happen. But you Wall Streeters will need to loan more $$ to your Shale oil buddies, are you willing to do that as their $$ per BOE slides below $20?

    • Arceus says:

      Not sure the shale drillers have many “friends” on Wall Street. Most of the smart money is short the shales. But you are right, the big money center banks and smaller banks do not want the companies to go under – they need to make money off of them first in a variety of ways – shorting of their stocks, issuing preferred converts, buying up secured high yield junk bonds, doing secondaries, arranging potential mergers, etc.

      When enough money has been made, the bones of the shalies will be picked over.

    • John Keller says:

      I’m going to stick with my call-OPEC cuts Friday. Every analyst seems to think that they won’t cut. But to me, the language out of al-Naimi the last couple of weeks at least leaves the door open. I think they will reference current high inventories and the fact that higher prices are needed now to prevent a major price spike in a year or two. They’ve knocked out 3-5 million barrels per day of future oil supply with some of it coming out of OPEC members Nigeria, Algeria, Venezuela, Ecuador and Iraq who can’t afford to invest in maintaining production. We’ll see.

      • oldfarmermac says:

        Personally I am still of the opinion that the Saudis are keeping the pedal to the metal in order to put a hurting on their enemies, real or perceived. My take is that they are fighting a war, using the price of oil as their primary and probably only effective weapon, thus depriving their enemies, most or all of whom are oil exporters, of revenue. It takes revenue to fight, revenue to overthrow existing governments, revenue to do just about anything.

        Another reason for them to wait a while yet on cutting is that they may not yet be SATISFIED that the other OPEC countries have GOTTEN THE MESSAGE about cheating on quotas.

        When the Saudis cut before, all their friends except one or two played the backstabber by cheating like hell and leaving the Saudis to eat the loss of revenue and market share.

        The longer the Saudis put off cutting, the more they rub the cheaters noses in their past mistakes. Maybe this time around, the Saudis will be able to get GUARANTEES that the rest of OPEC will not cheat. Something in writing maybe, specifying damages to be paid to the Saudis. Maybe they think the other OPEC members will be desperate enough to give such written binding guarantees , sooner or later.

        I don’t think they will cut anytime soon, given that they still have plenty of money in the bank, and can afford to give up the revenue for a while yet, if they so choose. But I wouldn’t bet very much on this opinion.

      • Javier says:

        Whenever they cannot keep pumping as much as they have, they will say they are cutting production.

  18. oldfarmermac says:

    For those of us interested such things:

    Apparently the researchers going for the Earth’s mantle have an excellent shot at success this time, using conventional drill ships.

    It comes as a surprise to me that the crust is only about six kilometers thick at least at this one spot where they are planning on drilling. Relatively shallow water too.

    I bet a crew of oil guys used to working deep water would have that hole drilled as a matter of routine business in a few days once on site.

    • Arceus says:

      This could have devastating consequences…

      According to Norse myths, Midgard will be destroyed at Ragnarök, the battle at the end of the world. Jörmungandr will arise from the ocean, to poison the land and sea with his venom and causing the sea to rear up and lash against the land. The final battle will take place on the plane of Vígríðr, following which Midgard and almost all life on it will be destroyed, with the earth sinking into the sea, only to rise again, fertile and green when the cycle repeats and the creation begins again.

  19. aws. says:

    Canadian Energy Companies Seen Disappearing in Oil’s ‘New World’

    Rebecca Penty, Bloomberg, November 27, 2015 — 5:35 PM EST

    Canada is poised to lose energy companies as the industry faces the “new normal” of lower and more volatile oil prices along with tougher climate and regulatory policies, billionaire investor Murray Edwards warned Friday.

    The chairman of the nation’s largest heavy-oil producer, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., likened the oil industry to a horse race in which western Canadian producers are struggling to compete with developers of light crude from U.S. shale.

    Some parts of the industry won’t outlive the new regime, said Peter Tertzakian, chief energy economist at ARC Financial Corp. and a member of the royalty review panel.

    “I am confident that segments of the industry will remain competitive,” Tertzakian told reporters. In an earlier presentation, he outlined a “new world” facing oil companies since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last year decided to maintain output amid a supply glut, boosting competition, complicated by rising use of renewable energy that’s damping demand for crude. “We are in the mother of all market share battles.”

    Canada is one of the most expensive places to extract crude, yet some of its largest energy companies publicly embraced the province’s new climate policy even if it means that only oil-sands projects with the lowest carbon footprint get developed in the future, Edwards said.

    Why does the glut always seem to be blamed on OPEC (Saudi Arabia) when most of the new production was U.S. LTO and Alberta bitumen?

    And… it’s remarkable the mess Harper and the Alberta oil patch have made of the Canadian economy.

    • Ves says:

      “Why does the glut always seem to be blamed on OPEC (Saudi Arabia)”when most of the new production was U.S. LTO and Alberta bitumen?

      Because when we blame someone else we are actually hiding our own irrational behavior.

  20. AlexS says:

    Russian Oil Output Stays Near Record Level as OPEC Set to Meet

    Russian oil output in November hovered near a post-Soviet record set the previous month, shrugging off a crude-price slump before OPEC gathers for its annual meeting in Vienna.
    Production of crude and gas condensate averaged 10.779 million barrels a day during the month, according to data from the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit. That’s an increase of 1.3 percent from a year earlier and slightly beneath the 10.782 million barrels a day record in October.
    Russia … continues to build output as a weakened ruble reduces costs for drilling and the nation’s tax system helps compensate for the lower price.
    Crude exports reached 5.32 million barrels of oil a day in November, an 11 percent gain from the previous year and a 2.4 percent decline from the previous month.

    My comment: using the 7.3 barrels/ton conversion ratio, November production was 10,735 kb/d vs. 10,737 kb/d in October (revised; preliminary estimate for October was 10,731 kb/d).
    Russian annual output is on track to surpass the official forecast for 2015 of 533 million tons, or 10.66 mb/d.

    Russian C+C production (mb/d)
    Source: Russian Energy Ministry

  21. islandboy says:

    Yesterday, Tuesday December 1, the EIA released their Electric Power Monthly and this installment includes some interesting changes. Table 1.1 Energy Source: Total – All Sectors, now includes a few added columns. The first has a heading of “Solar” (column “I” if you download the Excel spreadsheet) and what was formerly the last column under the heading “Total” now has the heading “Total Generation at Utility Scale Facilities”. This column is now followed by three new columns headed “Estimated Distributed Solar Photovoltaic Generation”, “Estimated Total Solar Photovoltaic Generation” and “Estimated Total Solar Generation”. Table 1.1.A Renewable Sources: Total – All Sectors has had the heading changed on the column that was formerly the last column, to read “Total Renewable Generation at Utility Scale Facilities” as opposed to “Total Renewable Sources” and also gets the three new columns including the “Estimated Distributed Solar Photovoltaic Generation”. It would appear that what they have done is, come up with an estimate for “distributed” or “behind the meter” solar PV generation and added that to the figure for solar PV generation from the column headed “Solar Photvoltaic” (column “C” in the Excel spreadsheet for Table 1.1.A) to get the figure for “Estimated Total Solar Photovoltaic Generation” . They then add the figure from the column headed “Solar Thermal” (column D), to give the figure for “Estimated Total Solar Generation”. I checked and adding the figures in Table 1.1.A, gets to within 1 GWh of the figures in the the new “estimated” columns, a result of rounding errors I assume.

    One is left to wonder about the rational for separating solar from the other renewable sources since, looking at Table 1.1.A, total solar generation is roughly a fifth of the amount generated by wind for September 2015 and only about one tenth of the annual amount generated for 2014. An examination of the growth of solar and wind generation tells another story. It took nine years from 2005 to 2014 for wind generation to grow tenfold while it only took three years from 2011 to 2014 for solar generation to grow by a factor of almost ten. So between 2007 and 2014, solar has grown at a significantly faster pace than wind but, it should be noted that, at the end of 2014 solar had generated about the same amount as wind had generated at the end of 2005.

    Wind generation doubled every two years from 2005 to 2009 but. in reality has only added between about 8 and about 27 GWh per year since 2005. It appears to me that the exponential growth phase for wind may be over and it is now settling in to the logistic growth phase. Solar PV grew exponentially between 2007 and 2013, more than doubling every year up to 2013 but, in 2014 the growth was only about 88%, despite the fact that 2014 was a record year for the amount of capacity added in the US. The question is, will the solar PV manufacturing industry be able to continue to add capacity at a rate that will allow generation to continue to double every year? I have my doubts. Maybe the exponential growth phase for PV is drawing to a close as well, in which case I can’t see why a separate column for wind wouldn’t be justified as well. Maybe as usual, the EIA is just projecting that recent trends indicate what the future holds.

    Below is the graph of Monthly Electricity Generation as a percentage of total by source with the data for solar as a separate item.

    • aws. says:


      Thank you for the work you did on reporting this.

    • oldfarmermac says:

      “, will the solar PV manufacturing industry be able to continue to add capacity at a rate that will allow generation to continue to double every year? I have my doubts.”

      You are onto something, Islandboy, but I really wonder if the solar pv manufacturing industry will have sense enough to back off building new manufacturing capacity before it gets itself into the same situation as oil producers are in right now.

      With solar pv being roughly one percent of current USA supply, doubling every year would go two four six eight sixteen percent of total supply about THREE years, if total consumption remains approximately flat. These numbers are for illustration only, pulled out of thin air, not even back of napkin, but they ought to get the point across.

      Most of that would be concentrated in the sun belt states, and it is just about impossible to envision utilities and individuals going solar at such an incredible pace.

      OTOH there are plenty of places in the world where solar is about the ONLY short option, and some governments, especially the Chinese government and the Indian government are apt to push solar for all it is worth, in order to stretch domestic fossil fuel supplies and avoid having to pay for imported fossil fuel. The industry will probably have customers for another five to ten years for however many panels it can produce, assuming there are customers with money enough to buy them.

      I recall reading a piece in the Richmond Va paper some years ago about a bad hotel room glut in that city. Basically the way it came about was that about five or six hotel operators saw a great opportunity in Richmond, and ALL of them jumped in at the same time, resulting in overbuilding. It took a good while for occupancy rates to rise high enough after that to make any money.

      A lot of older manufacturing plants have already been shut down due to not being cost competitive. The life cycle of the manufacturing equipment is probably less than ten years due to obsolescence.

      The owners of older plants are going to be in a world of hurt if the industry overexpands.

      • Nick G says:

        Industries always seem to overshoot their mature levels:

        electric utilities (their bubble helped start the 1929 crash)
        and so many more.

        On the other hand, the bubbles are bad for investors but almost always good for the country and consumers, because they build capacity that gets used eventually.

  22. islandboy says:

    Here is the graph for Solar PV and Thermal Monthly Energy Output with the estimated data for distributed generation added. The blue line gives an indication of how much distributed generation has increased the amount generated by PV.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Islandboy,

      I would be careful to compare july to july for solar, or better yet look at full year output because the output is so seasonal. Using July 2014 to July 2015, solar output only increased by 44%, you said something about 88%, though that was in 2014 (maybe 12 months of 2014 to 12 months of 2013)?
      Interesting stuff thanks.

      • islandboy says:

        Hi Dennis,

        I avoid month by month comparisons for solar because apart from being seasonal, there are also differences from year to year. A couple examples are the slight dip in July 2014 with no corresponding dip in July 2015 and the way September 2015 has fallen off far more sharply than did September 2014. Instead I use the full year totals found under the heading “Annual Totals” at the top of Table 1.1.A so, the output for solar PV of 15250 GWh for 2014 was 87.78% more than the 8121 GWh produced in 2013. We have another three months to wait before the EIA publishes the data for December, with the full year total for 2015 but, I suspect that 2015 will be another record year for capacity addition and yet output will have grown less than 88% over 2014.

        As I said, I suspect the exponential growth phase is over as it gets harder to double an ever increasing installed base. Just pulling some data for the US from the Wikipedia page Growth of photovoltaics, in 2009, the 474 MW added represented just over 40% of the total installed capacity at the end of 2008 but, in 2014 the 6,201 MW added represented less than 52% of the total installed capacity at the end of 2013! It still means that installed capacity is doubling in less than two years but, as the installed base grows larger, how long can this continue?

        The fact that utility scale generation has been doubling ever year suggests a couple of things:

        1) The utility scale sector has been growing faster than the overall market
        2) The utility scale plants are being installed in prime locations for solar. sweet spots as it were.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi islandboy,

          The exponential growth may continue but at a slower rate, so rather than 40% annual growth it may slow to 20% then to 10%. Note that oil and natural gas output grew by 7% per year for about 60 years from 1910 to 1972. If solar can match that from 2025 to 2085, we will be in good shape.

        • HVACman says:

          Distributed PV will continue to grow at a very rapid pace- at least in California. CA’s utility rates are a driving factor due to their high per-kWh cost and aggressively-tiered structure, plus the state energy standards due to take effect in 2020 will mandate all new residential construction to be “net zero energy”, which virtually mandates PV installations at every new home.

          Another factor – locally (northern California) PV has gone from being “niche” to mainstream. A lot of local businesses and residents are now installing it purely because it makes economic sense, especially as long as the tax credits remain in-place. The feel-good “green” aspect isn’t the driving factor anymore. So long as investment in distributed PV has a better rate of return than other available relatively-safe capital investments, capital will continue to flow in its direction.

          Wind has had a heyday, but it will be much more challenging in the future. It is very site-specific in most regions and most of the onshore “sweet spots” except in the mid-west have been pretty fully developed. Plus it is not amenable for “behind the meter” residential and commercial development. To make it cost effective, it now has gone with the mega-turbines that get way up above the wind-friction-effected areas near the ground. The average turbine is now well over 1 MW rated and they are usually installed in farms of dozens of turbines like that. That also means that HV distribution lines have to be available or be routed to the farms, which is not a factor with distributed PV.

          • Glenn Stehle says:

            …as long as the tax credits remain in-place.

            That seems to be the trick that drives the entire green “transformation.”

            As The Edison Foundation explains of California’s generous subsidies for distributed PV in this study:

            The NEM subsidy for residential rooftop solar is overly generous and not transparent. In California, the NEM subsidy is substantially larger than the 30-percent federal tax credit and far exceeds what is necessary to incent rooftop solar. It is ironic that much national debate has centered on whether the federal tax credits should be continued for solar energy while the NEM subsidy is the elephant in the room and dwarfs the federal tax credits.

            [This is not to say that the federal tax credit is insignificant, just that it pales in comparison to the NEM subsidy offered by the state of California. The installed cost of a typical roof system is $14,586, in 2014 dollars. The federal tax credit of 30 percent is thus $4,376. The NEM subsidy, far more generous, comes on top of this.]

            ▪ In California, most of the NEM subsidies go to affluent households, and these subsidies are largely paid for by less affluent households through their electric bills.

            [Yep, take from the poor and give to the rich. That’s Team Green’s notion of Robin Hood. The typical California residential customer with rooftop solar PV consumes about 15,000 kWh per year, which is substantially more than the 6,800 kWh per year consumed by the average residential customer served by the three California IOUs.]

            ▪ Under NEM practices in California today, when a residential customer leases rooftop solar PV (which accounted for about 75 percent of all new residential rooftop solar PV in 2013), most of the NEM subsidy is transferred to the leasing company. This is one of the unintended consequences.

            [Surprise! Surprise! The largess that rains down from above doesn’t fall on individual households, but the corporations that finance and install these rooftop PV systems. Who would have ever imagined that?


            And to top it all off, the scam comes crowned with a generous dollop of sanctimonious, self-righteous piety as Team Green sets about doing God’s work. After all, indulgences, and salvation, don’t come cheap. At least that’s what Pope Leo X said.

            So what more could a flimflam man ask for? The supply of hayseeds and hapless marks seems endless.

            The Flim-Flam Man (1967) George C. Scott

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Glenn,

            Even without the tax credits prices will come down and solar will become more competitive as natural gas depletes. The tax subsidies are a good idea because it is not practical to transition very rapidly and we would see a spike in prices as natural gas started to deplete.

            Plus if one is concerned with climate change the policy makes sense in the absence of a carbon tax. The best policy is to dump the subsidies and put a price on carbon emissions, though undoubtedly you wont like that either.

            So what do you propose?

            • Glenn Stehle says:


              Let’s recap what the Edison Foundation study found:

              1) The average distributed PV solar system installed in California in 2014 cost $14,586

              2) Of this, the entity investing in these systems (this can be either the homeowner or the lessor who leases the system to the homeowner) receives an immediate federal tax credit of $4,376

              3) Then on top of this, the party making the investment receives NEM subsidies — mandated by the state of California — which have a present value of slightly over $20,000.

              4) The households which benefit from these subsides are wealthy households. Their average energy consumption is more than twice that of the average California household.

              5) The subsidies are paid for by less wealthy households.

              6) The subsidies are paid for by households that are not energy hogs.

              7) Most of the subsidies do not accrue to any household, rich or poor, but to the finance companies that lease the systems to homeowners.

              And you don’t see anything wrong with this arrangement, all imposed by the long arm of the law?

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Glenn,

                I believe that the people of California can elect representatives to the state government and those representatives can pass legislation that they feel is in the best interest of the state. If the voters do not agree they can elect someone else. In most of the US there are not such subsidies (except for the federal tax credit). Everything the government does benefits some people at the expense of others, the rich complain that the poor get welfare, and the rich coal and petroleum companies complain that the rich greens are taking away their market share at the expense of the poor welfare recipients.
                The answer, for the right wing fossil fuel supporter, cut both the subsidies for green energy and cut welfare, but don’t touch those accelerated depreciation rules for fossil fuel investments, those subsidies are good for the nation.

                Oh and I agree the subsidies are a bad idea, a carbon tax would be much better, don’t know why California doesn’t impose one, but they would probably have a problem with interstate commerce rules. So in the absence of a nation wide carbon tax, for states the main solution for electricity might be a uniform tax on all electricity from the grid, then solar systems with battery backup could avoid the tax and they would be more competitive without subsidies.

      • Yep, it’s better to look at it on a June to June and December to December basis. I got a friend in Iceland, he sends photos as the days go by. Yesterday’s showed a Xmas tree fully lit a 4 PM. It sure was dark.

  23. islandboy says:

    Here’s the solar PV and thermal output as I used to post them, without the data for distributed data, going back to 2012 for more historical perspective.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      If we use the chart above we get roughly a 56% increase in solar PV output from July 2014 to July 2015.
      For the world its about 42% annual increases from 2002 to 2014, based on BP data on solar consumption in Terawatt-hours.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        For World Wind Power consumption in Terawatt-hours, growth from 2002 to 2014 was about 22.5% per year on average. Chart below of natural log of wind power consumption vs time to show the exponential trend.

  24. Ves says:

    Hi Dennis,
    I see up there little discussion about GDP and what it means.
    Let’s say:
    Country A: use washable rags to clean kitchen counter-tops.
    Country B: use paper towels to clean same kitchen counter-tops.

    As result they both have clean kitchen counter-tops but Country B has higher GDP due to use of paper towels.
    So GDP means absolutely nothing or anything depending what you want to present.
    GDP is like looking at the sunset and your mind is thinking that you are actually looking at the sunset. But it takes 8 minutes for sunlight to reach the earth and that sun that we think we are looking at is already gone. (Since this site is loaded with scientist they can correct me with if that 8 minutes is more or less correct 🙂 )

    Anyway, mostly GDP is used by some “smart” people we call economist to tell us some “story”. For example they tell us: “You see sunny boy that GDP is big number this year, bigger than one from last year. So you should be content and happy. Not convinced? Don’t worry we will “super size” that GDP for you next year. Isn’t your tummy already feeling full and content?”

    This kind of storytelling is usually printed as financial news about GDP. Meaningless if you ask me from the point of average citizen.

    I have to go now because I have whole day of work planned for me by this economy and I will catch you later tonight to see your thoughts. Another thing that crosses my mind is how come that we work more or at least the same now when oil is at $40 compared to when oil was $100 last year? Wasn’t the official meme that use of oil as our biggest invention beside sliced bread, made our life easier so we actually work less and spent more time with family & friends and doing odd staff like canoeing 🙂 How come I don’t feel that I did not get 60% discount due to price of oil in terms of work load from the last year 🙂 Who is pocketing that 60% 🙂
    How about employed folks who bought kiwi Leaf? Do they work less and have more time with family and friends or they are paddling in the same hamster wheel we call economy?

    • Ralph says:

      One thing I have never understood. Light travels at finite speed. Does gravity travel at the same speed?

      Thought experiment.

      If the sun was suddenly to vanish into another dimension (or instantaneously convert itself into pure energy as in e = mc2, both impossible of course) we would not see the effect for 8 minutes, but would the earth be released from the sun’s gravity instantaneously? Would astronomers suddenly notice that we were no longer in orbit?

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Ralph,

        We would notice either the big explosion in the sky (if the Sun’s mass were converted to energy, the Earth would be vaporized in the expolosion). If the Sun were to vanish, things would get cold pretty quickly, along with the planet hurtling off into the Galaxy.
        Either way we would be toast or popsicles.

      • Doug Leighton says:

        Hi Ralph,

        The so-called “speed of gravity” in fact refers to the speed of a gravitational wave, which is the same speed as the speed of light (in all probability). I am not aware of a gravity theory in which gravitational interaction propagates at a speed other than the speed of light.

        “Would earth be released from the sun’s gravity instantaneously?” Based on Newton’s 2nd Law earth would be “released” from the sun’s gravitational attraction instantaneously or as fast as it took for the sun to disappear. According to Einstein’s field equations there might also be some ripples in space-time to consider. Take your choice.

        But, “If the sun was suddenly to vanish into another dimension” I think you’d be into some pretty esoteric physics. Try a different Blog.

        “Would astronomers suddenly notice that we were no longer in orbit?” No, they’d be too busy rushing home to their loved ones or enjoying their last coffee.

        BTW What do you mean by “suddenly”? Eight minutes? 10^-8 seconds?

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Ves,

      I agree GDP is a poor measure of well being. Another example would be World War 2 where a lot of output was created to destroy stuff (tanks, bombs, planes, ships, guns, etc), then stuff was destroyed, cities and other infrastructure in Europe and Asia and then it was rebuilt leading to a lot of economic growth. Were we better off? Probably not, especially the millions who died and their families.

      GDP has many problems, beyond paper towels and paper plates and other wasteful (in my opinion) uses of resources.

      I did a different chart using the human development index (HDI) from 1980 to 2013 which shows World primary energy use per unit of HDI(a dimensionless number) has been increasing roughly linearly, not decreasing as is the case for energy intensity.

      The HDI is also far from perfect as a measure of human welfare, but probably better than GDP.

    • Nick G says:

      Country B has higher GDP due to use of paper towels. So GDP means absolutely nothing

      No, it means that Country B has a lot more manufacturing capability. Now, we may think the specific thing they’ve decided to make ( paper products) are unnecessary. But, the fact remains that they can make more stuff. If they realize that other stuff is more important – PV panels, say, or medicines, perhaps, they have the ability to do that.

      Obviously, the ability to make stuff is only one part of the puzzle of a good economy: we need to make good choices about what we make. But, it’s nice to have that productive capability.

  25. R Walter says:

    Warning! On topic oil post!

    There are 10,160 Bakken formation wells producing Bakken oil, the per well average is 109 bpd.

    1,107,440 bpd. Times 30 dollars from the well, 33,000,000 dollars per day. Times 365, it a a great big number. If you multiply those two numbers, the number becomes real and finite. 12,126,468,000 is the number. So 12 billion dollars for a 1.1 million barrel per day production from the Bakken in 365 days.

    Hundred dollar oil at the well is 110,744,000 dollars per day. 77 million dollars per day saved by consumers. The rip off of captured consumers stops with a low oil price. Oil companies have enough money, what do they need more for? They don’t, if they go broke, that is just too bad.

    Another thousand wells drilled, not completed. Has a cost of 2,000,000 per well to complete. Another two billion dollars has to come from somewhere to make that happen.

    Meanwhile, the 10,160 wells deplete, 2007 wells are producing less oil and a new 2015 well will have a higher production. You really do have to separate the wells by year, for sure. Somebody should do that. 😁

    Oil Producers in Bakkenland, just like Alice in Wonderland, the debt pill made them larger, the oil pill made them small.

    11,160 wells, 1000 in the uncompleted inventory, 6,000,000 usd per well, 66,960,000,000 dollars invested, loans, capital, regular visits with the bankers, money, not oil, is on their minds.

    12 billion per year for 25 years of production will have revenue of 300 billion dollars. Add another 25,000 wells in those 25 years, so it is a future investment of 150,000,000 dollars, totals 216,960,000,000 dollars for a gain of 83,040,000,000 in 25 years. Operating costs will eat up more than that, so it is a losing poker hand from the get go. One of those ‘just for practice’ exercises.

    Might want to consider alternative energies in the meantime.

    It’s fun to play with numbers.

    Give us this day our daily oil. har

    • R Walter says:

      Edit, forgot to add three zeros to 150,000,000,000, as it should be.

      150,000,000,000 dollars to drill and finance 25,000 additional wells.

  26. wharf rat says:

    “Atmospheric satellite data, considered by many to be the most objective, has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades
    Now this is very popular on the SKS list of denial as the El Nino driven SURGE is pushing global temperatures through the roof.
    All is not clear in Alabama.

    A friend of the Rabett Run knows quite a bit about MSU units and how Roy Spencer and John Christy have danced with the data.

    He wrote a letter to Lamar Smith.

    Eli thought reproducing the letter would be a public service. ”

    Author is TOD’s Black Dog, Eric Swanson

    • I discussed the subject with a professional climatologist. He said the 1998 El Niño was observed in the satellite data, the 2010 had a weaker impact, and that he expected the 2015-6 impact to be evident in the November data.

      He also explained the phenomenom was possibly related to what he termed “lapse rate feedback”. I looked into the issue, came back & asked more questions, he pointed out he needed to see the data split into sectors, and thus far I haven’t heard back. Looking at individual sectors would give him a better idea of where the lapse rate is behaving oddly.

      I noticed the RSS and UAH weren’t under attack by climate groupies until it started diverging from the Karlized surface data. 🐸

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Somehow I doubt Lamar Smith is capable of understanding any of that…

    • Javier says:

      That article appears to ignore the fact that UAH is not the only one measuring temperatures from satellites. RSS is also doing it. The result of both independent temperature analysis is entirely consistent and indeed UAH shows a little bit more warming than RSS.

      There is no way that Spencer and Christy could fiddle with the data without showing in the difference respect RSS, unless both agree on data manipulation which is absolutely incredible. More so as RSS director Carl Mears is in no way an skeptic of anthropogenic global warming.

      The thing is that satellite measurements and surface measurements showed very good agreement from 1979 until 2005 and have come to diverge since. Looks like the pause is not having the same effect on thermometers as on satellites.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Javier,

        It is interesting that Spencer and Christy don’t share their algorithms, but I agree that having a second group doing the satellite temperatures is good, there are many different groups (more than 2) analyzing the surface temperature data and their results are pretty consistent. It seems that the coverage of the satellites are not very good at high latitudes and perhaps that explains some of the difference as the warming is pretty large in those areas (though the area is smaller).

        • Javier says:

          Hi Dennis,

          It is no so simple. Essentially there are three main sources of global surface temperatures: the Global Historical Climate Network (sometimes including additional land stations) coupled with sea surface temperature measurements (GHCN), global weather forecast model input data, and satellite estimates of lower tropospheric temperatures.

          Each has its share of problems.

          Satellite estimates are indirect measurements from microwave sounding units and have poor polar coverage. They also appear to overestimate warming during El Niño conditions. However they have the best land-ocean integration and coverage, and do not suffer from urban heat island effect.

          Satellite measurements are confirmed by radiosonde measurements that are a direct temperature measurement.

          We all know the problems with GHCN data. It has poor coverage outside the developed world and in oceans and poles and requires heavy adjustment, homogenization, and interpolation. It also suffers from UHI effect.

          Global Forecast System (GFS) data has the best coverage and integrates data and model through reanalysis. It depends on model assumptions not being too far off, but since the global forecast runs on it, it is clear that it is the best data we have right now. This data is produced by two agencies, one Pan-European and the other NOAA. The one used here is from NOAA (Climate Forecast System Reanalysis NOAA National Climatic Data Center).

          Despite all of them being different, the level of agreement between them is remarkable from 1979 to about 2010 except for periods of strong El Niño conditions that deviate satellite data upwards temporarily. This argues against any system being intrinsically wrong or showing a bias as you argued. They all do the job. They all show warming with minor differences.

          However from 2010 data from GHCN starts to deviate upwards with respect to GFS data and satellite data. This deviation is significative, almost 0.2°C with respect to baseline.

          Since satellites, radiosondes, and global forecast system data all are still in agreement, the most parsimonious explanation is that there is an issue with GHCN data. In support of this interpretation, HadCRUT that “Incorporates many additional data sources beyond GHCN” and does not perform interpolation, shows intermediate warming between GHCN temperatures and satellites and GFS.

          In the following graph you can see two GHCN temperature anomaly estimates, GHCN NCEI (US National Center for Environmental Information), and BEST (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature), one satellite UAH (University of Alabama Huntsville), and one Global Forecast System GFS UM CCI (University of Maine Climate Change Institute). Notice the disparity at the end.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Javier,

            Many different groups use the GHCN data, the urban heat island effect has been looked at by many scientists, it is not a problem. The BEST group was specifically looking for problems with the GHCN, it did not find a problem. So I would tend to trust the temperature measurements over the models and the satellite temperature measurements have had problems in the past.

            • Javier says:

              Hi Dennis,

              I have showed you the three different ways of measuring temperature and the evidence that they produce.

              You are obviously free to trust whichever pleases you most based on whatever criteria you choose. Just don’t think that your choice is better than other people’s choice. There is no a priori best choice so if two groups support their claims in two different datasets there is no way of telling which one is right.

              As I have no place for trust I just follow the evidence. I am puzzled by the recent divergence. Obviously two temperature datasets measuring the same cannot diverge indefinitely without at least one being declared wrong. So this is a temporary situation. When the convergence takes place we will know which one of them was faulty by how they converge, to the upside or to the downside.

              However the coincidence of the satellite, GFS and radiosondes measurements does increase the chance of them being the correct one if only by Ockam razor. This explanation only requires one to be wrong.

              Another problem is that after the last modification to GISS that increased its warming rate, now GISS is outside the 95% confidence range of BEST in three or four occasions since 2002. This contradiction cannot be resolved easily. It means either the error bars are meaningless (and thus cannot be trusted and data is low quality) or they refute each other.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Javier,

                There are many potential problems with the satellite data, models can be wrong (including climate models, which you argue for fairly vigorously), the radiosonde data is pretty sparse, relative to the land based data. Coverage of high latitudes is not very good in either the land based or the satellite data (though the satellites use models to cover this area), where some places use interpolation between stations at high latitudes and some do not.

                I do not have a good explanation for the difference between the satellite data from RSS and the land ocean data from BEST, they agree well from 1979 to 2002 and then diverge. Note that the GISS data is not very far from the BEST land ocean data, both are about 0.167 C per decade from 1987 to 2012 (using 60 month centered running mean for each).

          • By the way, the tropical pacific is definitely turning around, the El Niño peaked this week. The North Pacific blob has nearly vanished, and we are seeing very good ice extent everywhere. I suspect we are about to start sliding into La Niña in 6 months. Its going to be interesting to see how the US government agencies try to keep it up.

            By the time Obama retires we may see Polar bears in Miami. 😜

        • I wrote a short bit at Eli’s making fun of their attacks on UAH. Mentioned I want the contract so I could show the balloon data. 👹

          And I wrote Judy Curry suggesting this type of attack be mentioned to the forthcoming Senate subcommittee meeting. 👹👹

  27. oldfarmermac says:

    A key reason why I believe a hard collapse is baked in for most of humanity:

    Between the issues of lost topsoil, as in lost to erosion, lost fertility in the remaining top soil, depleting supplies of water available for irrigation, and increasing populations, I find it just about impossible to be anything other than extremely skeptical about humanity’s chances AS A WHOLE avoiding a hard crash.

    There is a hell of a difference between what is technically possible, and what will actually be DONE, on a timely basis, in order to ensure we will have adequate food for eight billion or more people.We COULD ramp up production of pure electric cars and plug in hybrid cars by a hundred percent a year, for several years easily, IF we were to MANDATE such production. We aren’t about to do that, and so when and if an oil crisis hits, we aren’t going to have very many electrics on hand, and not nearly enough manufacturing capacity to build them on short notice.

    Same thing with farming, what we could do will not be done, and when the time comes that it MUST be done, it will be TOO LATE to do it.

    And even if we were to go at it pedal to the metal starting today, we might not be able to avoid a food supply crisis ANYWAY. The scope of the job is worse than mind boggling, the technology to do better is not all that good, it is expensive in terms of both capital and manpower, and it does not scale up easily.

    I know a good bit about sustainable farming, and it CAN work, but MAKING it work on the grand scale is going to be a job even bigger and tougher than going renewable with electricity and transportation.

    Consider-hardly anybody will need to MOVE physically in order to build out wind and solar farms and install pv locally on houses etc. Nobody is going to have to MOVE in order to drive a plug in hybrid or electric car.

    Anybody who thinks we can give up industrial agriculture without an economic and cultural revolution comparable in some respects to Chairman Mao’s GREAT LEAP FORWARD concept is hopelessly ignorant of the realities of agriculture.

    Just getting the nutrients in sewage OUT of the sewage and FROM the cities BACK to the farms is going to be an undertaking as big or bigger than for building a hydrogen truck and car refueling infrastructure.

    I could go on all day.

    This is not going to end well, and forced climate change is ninety nine percent sure to make it WORSE before population peaks.

    The ONLY really bright spot I see is that birth rates MIGHT fall off a hell of a lot faster than even the most optimistic demographers think they will. Almost all women are soon going to have at least some minimal opportunity to learn about birth control, and tv is going to giterdone when it comes to convincing young poor women that having only one or two or NO kids is their best hope for a decent life for themselves.

    And while Daddies in backward and poor countries are not as smart as Mommies, or maybe I should say as WELL MOTIVATED, a hell of a lot of them are going to come to understand that they are NOT going to be able to support a large family, and thus be willing to go along on the smaller family issue.

    It is a DELICIOUS irony that the idiot box, which has done SO MUCH to destroy family and community, may turn out to be the KEY factor in saving some societies from collapse.

    We Yankees and Canadians are extremely lucky in that even though we are losing it fast, we for sure STILL HAVE ENOUGH good farmland, barring catastrophic climate troubles, to weather our own population peaks, assuming we have sense enough to maintain tight control of immigration.

    A few other countries are equally as well situated in terms of population and farm land issues, but none are as well situated overall as well as the USA and Canada, except maybe Russia, when considering such issues as defensible borders, domestic fossil fuel reserves, other mineral reserves, military power ( ” The better to seize YOUR resources my dear !” sez the Big Bad Wolf to Little Red Riding Hood ) etc etc.

    The Russians may not be in a position to “go aviking” successfully on the grand scale, but they sure as hell are not in any danger of being INVADED and they have plenty of everything critical, or can easily trade for what they lack.

    We might have to drop down the ladder a few rungs, and eat a lot less beef, and some less pork, but that would be good for us ANYWAY. Chickens convert feed so efficiently we can probably continue to have plenty of drumsticks here in the Land o’ the Brave and Home o’ the Free . 😉

    • Thanks for the link Mac, a very interesting read. You wrote:

      The ONLY really bright spot I see is that birth rates MIGHT fall off a hell of a lot faster than even the most optimistic demographers think they will.

      Well there is another spot, perhaps not really a bright spot however. That is the death rate will definitely rise a lot faster than most optimistic demographers think they will.

      • oldfarmermac says:

        Dammit Ron, you have a way with words sometimes that makes me laugh, when I ought to be crying for all the little kids that are going to starve to death over the next century.


        • Javier says:

          Raising the optimism, they might actually die drowned by raising seas or in an extreme weather event first. This is a much better way of dying than slow starvation and we have been promised that it is “very likely” that it will happen.

          • Javier, you are poking fun at a very grave and serious subject.

            However, that being said, it has always been my opinion, that although global warming is very real and most definitely caused by human activity, that massive overshoot combined with declining natural resources, will hammer the human population way, way before climate change has any chance.

            Consider the link posted by Mac just this morning: Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years, scientists say Imagine that, a third of all arable land in just 40 years. That is many times faster than global warming is causing sea level rise.

            Climate change is just part of the problems massive human overshoot is causing. A very serious problem but not the most serious problem.

            • Javier says:


              Yes it was black humor. I apologize to those too sensitive to enjoy it.

              You know by now that I agree with you in your worries with only one exception. I fail to see any danger from climate change for at least a century, probably two or three; and while I think climate change has the potential to kill 9/10 of the world’s human population, I am almost alone in thinking that it will eventually do so through cooling, not warming, at the end of present interglacial.

              Regarding the issue of lost top soil, I have studied many ways of soil conservation and restoration and things can improve a lot in that front so we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

              A classic book is “Building soils for better crops” by Fred Magdoff and Harold Van Es. I’ve got a copy of that one.

              No till or reduced till cultivation does wonders for soil management.

              Also there are some promising developments without the need to go to drastic permanent alterations like Terra Preta. One that I particularly like and have to try myself is Ramial Chipped Wood


              The research done at the Laval University of Quebec indicates it has a great capacity to build soil. We just have to imitate nature instead of fighting her.

              So we will lose our soil only if we are stupid enough to continue doing what we do.

              • oldfarmermac says:

                We are absolutely, unquestionably, incontestably, guaranteed stupid enough to continue doing what we do.

                A good many farmers do understand the long term implications of our ( long term ) unsustainable industrial agricultural system, but they are almost all trapped by necessity in either giving up farming ,or doing it the way they do now.

                Necessity is a harsh task master. You do what you have to do to survive in the short term, and cross long term bridges when you get to them .

                If you live that long.

                It is ok to think of the above line as black humor too.

                There are so many things going wrong that I just cannot IMAGINE there NOT being a hard economic and ecological crash well within this century.

                Having said this much, I am with Javier and Ron in thinking climate is a super serious problem, but I think Javier may be right about timing.

                We may be dealing with OTHER problems as bad or worse, in human terms, WELL BEFORE changing climate becomes our most IMMEDIATE pressing concern.

                There WILL be another ice age, and there WILL be an end to the fossil fuel era, and it won’t be much more than a century or so until fossil fuels are basically history.

                It IS possible that we will not turn up the planetary thermostat so far that most of humanity COOKS.

                There is ALSO is a very real possibility most of us will be dead as the result of plain old overshoot before the climate gets too far out of hand. I am with Ron just about every time, except for differences of opinion about time frames and scale.

                The problem with sustainable agriculture is the same, basically, problem we have with renewable energy. It is technically doable, but we are simply not willing to do what is necessary to implement either sustainable agriculture or renewable energy on the necessary scale.

                WE might not even be ABLE to make the transition, no matter how hard we try, before collapse hits us.

                See my comment one fourteen comment below.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Old Farmer Mac,

      You are the farmer, did you read the whole piece? It seems rotating pasture land with crop land is the main solution, though they mention others. Is that practical? It seems animal and crop farming are now separated (in the US), but I am not a farmer so I may be wrong. Could these be integrated so that such rotation is possible? I agree with you that usually action is taken much too late in the game to really address the problem.

      • oldfarmermac says:

        Hi Dennis,

        It would be technically feasible to rotate crops and pasture on a fair sized portion of US domestic farm land that is used continuously for either purpose. How big that portion might be I can only guess , but it would be substantially less than half most likely more because of economic problems than technical problems.

        I don’t have figures handy but a fairly small part of our farmland is rotated this way, maybe ten percent for a wild assed guess.. The economic and technical difficulties associated with such rotations are formidably expensive for the farmer who is not well situated already to rotate this way.

        Consider- places such as the Central Valley in California are way to valuable to even consider the possibility, the return on irrigated veggies is many times the return on pasture. Conversely, farmers located hundreds of miles away from major markets who want to raise let us say green beans for instance, as opposed to cows, cannot compete with other farmers in places where the packers and wholesalers are already located. A truck load of cows can be sold year around, and a truck load of cows is worth five or ten times a truck load of green beans. You can haul cows a long way, and you can run cows on millions and millions of acres that just will not produce field crops worth a damn. Grass will grow almost anywhere there is enough water, but field crops are will not grow on stony poorly watered , windswept ground- not well enough to compete at any rate.

        Then there is topography – maybe half of my own place is suitable for crops, the other half is too steep to plow it regularly, but a quarter of it is ok for pasture and orchard, with the last quarter in permanent woodland.

        Smaller fields, say up to a hundred acres or so, which are very common in the Southeast, generally do not have any water supply, and little or nothing in the way of fencing or other infrastructure, but this is not a problem raising crops. The farmer drives his equipment to the field. Fencing and wells are damned expensive, so are barns to store hay and shelter cows in bad weather. Then if you want to stay busy, you need need a lot more land in pasture and hay than you need to stay busy raising other crops.

        You go to such a field a few days planting, a few days during the growing season, a few days during harvest, but if you put a fence around it, and cows on it, you have to check on them damned old cows EVERY day, and feed them all winter to boot- using feed raised on CROPLAND of course.

        Neighbors in areas that are filling up with people get bent out of shape when you have livestock, because livestock means flies and smells.

        Going from crop to sod takes time and money, the grass needs the first year to get well established and cannot be heavily grazed. Going back to crops is easy, you just pour on some herbicide along with using the plows depending on what you want to plant.

        You need capital for MORE equipment and more expertise in managing both crops and livestock and in managing the rotation.

        Most of the land we farm, percentage wise, is just not economically suitable at all for rotation between pasture and crops for one reason or another.

        You can grow crops on big open midwestern farms spring to fall, and you COULD put cattle on that ground all year around. But there is damned little there for the cows to eat, from first to last frost, and that means feeding them with feed you get – from cropland!

        Having said all this, rotating land into sod and pasture or hay is a really good thing from the pov of preserving soil fertility. The problem basically boils down to the fact that farming, for the most part, is the most brutally competitive cut throat business EVER.

        You do what you have to do to stay in business, short term, even though you know it would be better, over the long term, for your land, to do things differently.

        Now if somebody wants to PAY for implementing such changes in management practices, most farmers will be glad to cash the check.

        My family only plows so called “bottom land”, which is basically dead flat and not subject to erosion for that reason, and we seldom plow any hillside, except ONCE, in that case to ESTABLISH a pasture. We keep our orchards in sod, with a single exception. I have one cousin who believes in a bare ground orchard. He makes money but he spends a fortune on herbicide, and he is losing a lot of soil, on hillsides, but that soil is not getting OFF his place. He owns level ground down hill as well, and THAT ground is actually accumulating top soil.

        Our practice in times past has generally been to simply fallow land, to plant a so called cover crop and just let the land rest for a year or two, which works fine, especially when you plow in a heavy crop of rye etc. This puts the organic matter back big time.

        The problem with fallow ground is that most farmers cannot afford the loss of production these days. Property taxes are sky high, equipment costs are high, you need to run like hell just to stay in the same place, Alice in Wonderland fashion.

        When it comes to farming the way we do it these days, we are collectively damned in the long run if we do, and in the short run if we don’t .

        This is not going to end well. Barring miracles, people are going to starve by the hundreds of millions sometime within the easily foreseeable future.

        But who cares ?

        They look different , they talk different , they dress funny, they are atheists or heathen, and they are far away. Sarcasm light on.

        Not many will starve in countries such as the USA, barring really bad luck and or really piss poor management on the part of the government.

        Sky Daddy alone is in a position to save the people in countries that are are already badly overpopulated, already short of land and water and oil and everything else, with next to nothing to export to pay for imported food, fuel, machinery etc.

        • farmboy says:

          OFM There is room for a lot more integration of Livestock and croplands then what is happening at the present and the benefits to soil fertility, animal health, and the bottom line are significantly more then most farmers comprehend.

          You are right, that labor is the number one reason that cash crop farmers normally have nothing to do with livesstock and the second reason is usually the lack of resources between their two ears. My small flock of around 200 sheep are out since Nov 2 on my neighbors field that he planted into an Oat covercrop after the seedcorn cashcrop. Saves a lot on the fossil fuel soaked hay bill. And in your latitude there are a lot more opportunities, like turnips, vetch and rye seeded into standing corn with an airplane. The remaining stover is generally equall in weight to the grain yield, and atleast a third of that is quite adequate for dry cows all winter, with May born calves on them, in adition you have the cover crops in there to add to the digestability, and some needed protein. If a guy doesn’t harvest the corn he can turn the hogs into it as well.

          Now you can take into account some of the benefits, ) your pastures received a needed rest, so they have plenty of energy reserves in their roots, for spring growth, ) You used no fuel, wore out no machinery, and wasted time harvesting that corn, or storing, grinding, and adding protein, vitamins, and minerals. )And then handling all that manure. )The cows, sheep, or pigs harvested a nutritionally ballanced feed all by themselves, given you would have to go out and move their fence every week or so. )The land got a good amount of fertilizer, the nitrogen rich urine soaks right in. )The biology in the soil gets a boost from not only the boring corn root exudates, but also from the root exudates from the Rye, vetch, turnips, and volunteer annuals aka weeds which have been capturing solar energy that would have gone to waste when the corn turned brown.

          The oldtimers would turn their pigs, turkeys, sheep, etc into their orchards at strategic times to eat the grass, weeds, and bad fruit, and bugs. Heck I planted over a thousand seedling and rootstock trees into my pastures, for shade and livestock feed last year.

          Well its past time I get them eggs cleaned for market.

          I think you might find these valuable ( The Stockman Grass Farmer magazine ( And check out the presentations on youtube by Gabe Brown

          • oldfarmermac says:

            Hi Farmboy,
            Most or all of the practices you mention will work, technically, and I have seen most of them used.

            I know of people doing most of these things NOW, to some extent, in my immediate area.

            But no seeding from airplanes !

            But most of them are uneconomic, most of the time.

            Did you fence that field for your neighbor, or did you stay out there with those sheep, Biblical shepherd fashion, to keep them from straying?

            If you don’t turn a profit, you are out of business.

            Your sheep fertilized your neighbors field with their droppings, not your own. 😉

            Damned few commercial farmers are short of assets between the ears.

            Competition has weeded out the dumb ones over the last century.

            Something I should have added to my original comment is that nearly all the land used for PASTURE on a continuous basis is simply not suitable for cropland for one reason or another. Too steep, too dry, too stony, too small in acreage to be used profitably for crops, too far from markets, etc.

            I forgot to add NOISE to the troubles associated with livestock in developed areas as well. Flies, stinks, and noise are not welcomed by new neighbors on the adjacent recently subdivided farm. In Virginia, we were able, luckily, to get a “right to farm ” act passed before it was too late to do so. In some other states, localities have basically already BANNED livestock production- right down to the keeping of a single chicken.

            Basically my MAIN point is that nobody is willing to pay for changing the current system, and farmers themselves are UNABLE to pay for doing so.

            • farmboy says:

              OFM So its quite obvious you didn’t watch the youtube video. That would answer many of your objections. Gabe brown is just one of a number of inovative farmers, his presentations are where he shines. If you are still open to learning then it will be well worth your time.

              On my fenceing I used 6 rolls of electric string with fiberglass fence posts, to build a 2 strand electric fence that covers 25 acres or so. takes me about 3 hours and I do it every 2 weeks or so. My 2 great Pyrenees Do a great job of guarding from coyotes etc.

              Flies and stinks are no issue, but dogs do make some noise.

  28. Venezuela update: I hear about scattered unrest, tire burning to protest lack of food. Government official statements imply they won’t accept election results. Lots of threats by government types. I just saw a tweeter message by pdvsa president Del Pino saying they wouldn’t relinquish control of pdvsa. I answered it was better if they surrender peacefully.

    A USA aircraft carrier fleet is sailing off Brazil heading north. I think it’s positioning to evacuate USA citizens starting next week.

    The extreme unrest should start by Monday to Tuesday, I suppose. I hear oil production losses are already significant.

    • Watcher says:

      Carrier groups are not required for evacuations.

      If you care, you might want to check the deployment, and undeployment, schedule for that carrier. Might just be headed home on schedule.

      • oldfarmermac says:

        It might be on schedule, but it might also be held up a few days or weeks to assist in an evacuation.

        If I were in a position to do so, I would drop a few B52 loads of small arms and ammo all over the country, and thus give the PEOPLE there a fair shot at dealing with the government. My sarcasm light is blinking but only slowly and dimly.

        Maybe the troops and cops will see the light, and turn on the scumbags currently ruling the country. Generally speaking, things have to get VERY BAD indeed for troops and cops to mutiny on the grand scale.

        There are not very many people on the scene who are getting the news out and it is hard to know how close the country is to exploding like a pressure cooker.

        Fernando probably knows more than any other regular here.

        It looks as if it might be getting that bad very soon in Venezuela.

        • Mac, FORGET interfering that way. The US simply moves assets to rescue embassy personnel and USA citizens, plus those of its allies who request it and can be accommodated.

          Like I said, I can’t disclose the plans I was told about when I lived there. Besides, my part was minor. I happened to live very close to the USA embassy, so my apartment was set as a secondary gathering spot for anybody who wanted to be as close to shelter as possible when the crap hit the fan.

          Just a few minutes ago there was a leak from inside the government. They plan a total shutdown of phone links for opposition leaders and anybody they think will make trouble. A full shut down of the Internet social media and communications apps. The election results will be faked, announced very late at night.

          They are intensifying “peace operations” in which they do extrajudicial killings. They are killing thugs, but those thugs are all armed, so if there’s a popular rebellion the ones who have the hardware to fight are mostly criminals.

          I suspect we may see Civil strife by Monday. Low probability of civil war as well. Say 20 %.

      • It’s possible the schedule was set to have the fleet off Venezuela on December 6? By the way, I used to work for a multinational oil company. I can’t discuss the detail of how we planned to evacuate personnel, who could be considered for evacuation, etc. but I can say having a safe landing spot to land a helicopter after it reaches the coast is a real plus. The bigger, the better, of course. If such a landing spot is available the biggest hassle is getting to the USA, British, or other embassy grounds or the alternate escape routes.

        I remember one country where security was so goofy we bough two cigarettes so we could go out and meet a large crew boat laying offshore. But helicopter seems better.

  29. Watcher says:

    Nissan Leaf November sales 1054
    November 2014 2687 Sales growth a decline of 61% It’s a revolution!

    Have to stop tracking the Volt. The new rev has a gasoline engine in it. Plug in hybrid. Imagine that. Its sales are stronger than Leaf now, obviously because people don’t want to be stranded enroute to grandma’s house.


    U.S. new-car sales in November continued to run at a blistering pace, putting the auto industry on track to challenge the 17.35 million sales peak reached in 2000.

    (ZH had an article saying this included rest of world ex China. Not sure)

    Nearly 59% of November’s volume was classified as light trucks, according to researcher Autodata Corp., including smaller SUVs.

    More than 80% of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV sales last month were light trucks.

    It isn’t just domestic car makers reaping the benefits of the shift. Half of the sales reported by Japan’s biggest car makers— Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co.—were light trucks and SUVs.

    ZH doesn’t care about consumption derived Apocalypse, though they probably would like Apocalypse. They just have a formula of countering editorial preference of the MSM, who have advertisers to satisfy who are not satisfied if coverage depresses viewers/readers who then don’t buy stuff.

    • aws. says:


      Buyers were waiting for the greater range/bigger battery 2016 Nissan Leaf to go on sale. So the last month of 2015 model sales took a hit… not a surprise.

      Though I am sure low gas prices may have had some effect.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi aws,

        That’s crazy talk, that is. 🙂

        You didn’t get Watcher’s memo? Supply, demand, price, none of it matters.
        /Sarc off

      • wimbi says:

        Local credit union is giving zero interest loan to people buying EV’s. I tell my friends they can get Leaf exactly like mine for less than 10K, like brand new. They agree it’s a bargain.

        We use the car in a normal way for us and friends. Range no problem at all. Best car we have ever had. Friends like it too.

        BTW, none of us need any wheeled ego crutch.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Watcher,

      The Volt always was a plugin hybrid. Hey prices don’t matter right? We wouldn’t want to start thinking crazy things like the price of gasoline falling almost in half has affected consumer choices.
      That would be nuts.

    • TechGuy says:

      Watcher wrote:
      “U.S. new-car sales in November continued to run at a blistering pace, putting the auto industry on track to challenge the 17.35 million sales peak reached in 2000.”

      Subprime strikes back!

      Subprime Auto Loans Have Got Regulators Worried

      “According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, U.S. households borrowed $212 billion in new loans in the third quarter of 2015, much of that driven by a boom in auto lending. ”

      “Over the six months through September, more than $110 billion of auto loans have been originated to borrowers with credit scores below 660, the bottom cutoff for having a credit score generally considered good,” the report reads. “Of that sum, about $70 billion went to borrowers with credit scores below 620, scored that are considered bad.”

      [Forward to 2016: Round two of the Debt crisis. Complete with Auto bailouts and Banker bailouts (From Student Loans, Defaulting Energy companies, and housing foreclosures). I can’t wait to see what happens if Yellen follows through with a rate hike this month. I look forward to the endless “Nobody could have seen this coming.”, “Its transitory”, “Subprimed contained”, and the rest of the endless Fed speak, lies & propaganda, when the bubble pops again!]

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hey maybe prices do matter. 🙂

      • Glenn Stehle says:

        Apparently not as much as government subsidies and perks.

      • Toolpush says:


        And a reason for the low price maybe related to full storage, and nowhere to put any more gas?

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Toolpush,

          I boil it down to a single word, oversupply.

          Drilling is slowing down and prices may rise to higher levels (as I do think that in the long run the rules of microeconomics tend to apply). I will not guess how long this will take, we will stick with higher prices in the future.

          • Toolpush says:


            I agree.
            Current oversupply

            • John Keller says:

              I think NG will rebound faster than most people think, as we are not terribly oversupplied. Inventories are 250BCF above the five year average. We use about 20-25% more NG than we did five years ago. Furthermore, 250BCF is only 1% of total production (nothing). Dry gas production and total supply are about to go negative y-o-y and have been declining about 0.6-1.0% per month. Sabine cranks up this month and Los Ramones II starts up Q1. NG is overly shorted right now. When sentiment changes, it will head much higher.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi John,

                I think you mean prices will rebound, possibly, but drilling will also rebound so prices may stay low until the marcellus and Utica plays start to peak, that might be another 5 years, I wouldn’t be long on these energy stocks until they get really cheap, maybe 75% of book value.

  30. ChiefEngineer says:

    Ron, continued from above:

    Educated humans are not deer or mice. We don’t only live in the moment and can make rational decision regarding our future. The day you were born, your live was doomed for this plant. Yet, it didn’t stop your parents or someone from educating you to evolve into what you are today. There was no guaranty you would develop into the fine human you are today. Was that a mistake to invest in you ? I don’t think so.

    In 1942 at 16 years old my father was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. But my grandmother taught him disciple to manage his disease. Seven years later when my mother became pregnant. Her family didn’t want her to marry my father because of his short expected life span and the hardship related to it. He out lived almost all of his high school friends to the age of 85 years old because of the disciple he learned.

    In 1987 my oldest brother was diagnosed with AIDS. He took it a upon himself to do everything he could to stay healthy and live life to the fullest until a cure was developed. He died in 1990. Eighteen months later, Magic Johnson announced he had contacted the HIV virus. Knowing what I knew at the time. I cried for him that day. But today, here he is still trying to educate others about the virus. From an atheist, god bless his soul.

    No Ron, I don’t thing you can influence 6 billion people, but I do believe you could influence a couple of hundred. I do believe humanity does have the technology to improve the lives of others now and in the future. But it’s not going to happen without trying and if we all though up our hands in defeat. The game is over.

    It might be late in the 4th quarter and we are down by a lot of points. But the coach needs to put the best 5 players on the court and fight for every lose ball & rebound. I’m not leaving the stands until the final score is in the record books.

    I’m only here today because others before me have not been quitters.


    • Chief, it’s 7.3 billion people, not 6.3 as I wrote. That’s one of those past errors that can be corrected.

      But reading your post it is obvious, very obvious, that you do not understand my position at all. If you looked at my post Of Fossil Fuels and Human Destiny then you would understand my position. You wrote:

      Educated humans are not deer or mice.

      It is human beings that are currently in deep overshoot, not deer or mice. In my post linked above, I talk about black rats that go from about 100 to over 4000 when they are suddenly supplied a huge surplus of food. The food is bamboo fruit from a species that fruits once every 48 years. The rats were in overshoot when their numbers reached 200, twice the carrying capacity of their area.

      Likewise humans are in deep overshoot. We were in overshoot when our numbers reached about 2 billion, perhaps sooner.

       photo Terrestrial Vertebrate Biomass_zpsf1dzq0rc.jpg

      Obviously I do not believe anything can possibly be done to prevent collapse. I believe only people who do not understand the true situation believe we can fix things. We have already started down the path of destroying our biosphere. We have reduced the vertebrate biomass of wild land animals to a tiny fraction of what it was. And, very important, as the chart above shows, we are already 7 to 10 times the long term carrying capacity of the planet.

      That just can’t be fixed.

      • wimbi says:

        So it won’t be fixed. Huge die-off coming up. For sure. Yes.

        Then what? Lots of people (very small fraction of present total, but present total is now dead) already know how to get along on near nothing compared to what people around us now have.

        But the resourceful ones don’t any more have near nothing. They now have lots, since the previous owners are dead.

        People like Danny, my assistant. He now lives on near nothing by choice, and is astoundingly resourceful at using anything he finds. His type will be finding gops of everything after the big die-off.

        So. Sure, big die-off. Then, happy times are here again. Here, where once again, the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play.

        • Now you are just being sarcastic. I think you finally realize the predicament we are in and also realize there is no painless way out. So you just resort to sarcasm.

          Give a serious reply to my post and I will give a serious reply to yours.

          • wimbi says:

            Well, Ron, I am sorry to see that interpretation.

            I was being serious, even tho a bit light in the wording. I have never had any delusions about overshoot and die-off. I have always agreed with what you say about all that.

            Humanity’s predicaments, on multiple levels, have been obvious to me for a very long time.

            But is it not a fact of observation that in those odd circumstances where humans have been removed, nature flourishes? Korean DMZ and Chernobyl, maybe?

            And is it not true that there are people here and now all over the planet who have proven their ability to survive on near nothing compared to western standards?

            I see what I said as the most likely, not at all improbable, path of the future.

            I myself am assuredly dead in within a short time, so have no personal worries, and in fact, am having fun trying to make some widgets that the Danny type survivors of the world collapse will find helpful–and easily within reach.

            What I had expected as a response was a remark that there would be no buffalo, deer or antelope to play after the great hunger, and I had prepared a response to the effect that something like unto them would fill in that niche, as is usual in darwinian evolution.

            • Jef says:

              Wimbi – When collapse happens it will be for all the marbles.

              Collapse means no decommissioning of 400+ nuclear plants, thousands of oil rigs, waste sites, etc. Not to mention the end of global dimming and the runaway climate change that will follow.

              After collapse will certainly not be just a knock back to living a YMCA camp.

              I really can’t understand how people can conjure up such idiotic nonsense just to make them feel better about everything.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Here, where once again, the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play.
          Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the bullets in San Bernardino won’t spray!

      • Nick G says:

        We have reduced the vertebrate biomass of wild land animals to a tiny fraction of what it was

        I agree this is a tragedy. But if the subject here is human survival – why is this important to human survival?

        If the whole world were converted to an English garden with no wild large mammals, as humans have certainly been prone to do historically, what is the evidence that this would doom humanity?

        • Doug Leighton says:

          Because we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day. It will be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century. Is human survival independent of other species?

        • TechGuy says:

          Nick Wrote:
          “I agree this is a tragedy. But if the subject here is human survival – why is this important to human survival?”

          That’s a pretty cold and disturbing statement. Suppose next week a group of thugs breaks into your home, Kills you and your children, and rapes your wife. This is OK because it does not impact human survival.

          On the flip side, The planet would do just fine without Humans. Life will continue on Earth until the Sun expands into a red giant. Why does it matter if Humans thrive?

        • The Wet One says:


          Do we know the bare minimum number of other species necessary for the survival of the human species? Do we know which ones we absolutely must have survive so that humans don’t go extinct?

          I don’t know what the answer are to those questions myself. But I am near certain that those questions and their answers point to answer to your question of why this is important to human survival.

          I think it’s fair to say we know that humans cannot survive without other species. We can’t photosynthesize sunlight on our own at the very least. Which photosynthesizers, and in what numbers, are necessary for human survival, I do not know. But I know the answer is not zero.

          And relevant to this point, I give you this link:

          A bit far fetched in my view, but if it is even 1/2 way correct, well, it can’t readily be ignored in terms of human survival now can it?

          We also don’t know which large wild animals are necessary and why for our own well being. I’m pretty sure we’d have some impacts if all the cows, pigs, goats and chickens disappeared. Heck, we’re pretty concerned about honeybees disappearing.

          So since we don’t know so much, it might behoove us not to get rid of too many things where we have no idea how their disappearance might impact on us. It seems prudent at the very least. Sure it’s the precautionary principle and all that, but when we could be gambling with human existence, some care and perhaps caution is advisable. We don’t know where the equivalents to a nuclear holocaust lie, and as my first link demonstrates, such equivalents could possibly be out there.

          • Nick G says:

            I absolutely agree. As I’ve said to Ron several times, when I asked this question before, I agree it’s a bad idea to take such a risk. But, certain collapse? I’d like to see actual evidence for such an idea.

            All of the large mammals were killed in the UK centuries ago. Their ecology didn’t collapse. Bees are a good example of an important species that is at risk. On the other hand, Ron is talking about large mammals, not insects.

            I think large scale species extinction is a very bad idea: an emotional tragedy, and a risk to the ecology which supports us.

            I agree that Climate Change is a big risk: I think we should transition away from FF ASAP. But, does civilization face certain collapse due to Climate Change? I don’t see the evidence, in part because of the likelihood that humanity will respond to CC by reducing FF. Not as fast as we should, but we are doing it.

            So, does civilization face certain collapse due to extinctions? I’d like to see at least a little evidence.

        • I agree this is a tragedy. But if the subject here is human survival – why is this important to human survival?

          Nick, if you don’t already know then it would be impossible for me to explain it to you. Anyway, such an unbelievable question is not deserving of an an answer.

          • Nick G says:

            such an unbelievable question is not deserving of an an answer.


            Ron, this appears to be your central argument about the collapse of humanity. It deserves more than a simple handwaving argument.

            All of the large mammals were killed in the UK centuries ago. Their ecology didn’t collapse.

            Now, is there a serious risk of unknown consequences? Sure. I agree that’s clear. I agree it’s a bad idea to take such a risk. But, certain collapse? I’d like to see actual evidence for such an idea.

            • So, does civilization face certain collapse due to extinctions? I’d like to see at least a little evidence.

              Nick, I would like to see evidence where I said the collapse would be due to animal extinctions.

              My point was, and is, we are multiplying our numbers and taking over the entire earth as our habitat with wanton disregard for all other species. The earth has a maximum carrying capacity for animal life, all animal life. By destroying all other animal life we are actually taking over the part of he earth that supported life for them, the other animals.

              We are destroying the ecosystem of the earth. Rives are running dry, water tables are dropping, forests are disappearing, deserts are expanding, the air is becoming unbreathable in many places.

              Our massive numbers will be the reason for the collapse, not he disappearance of other species. We will simply take them down first. And soon after that the declining natural resources and the destruction of the natural environment of the earth will cause our own numbers to collapse.

              And your question was callous. It implied “so what if they all do die, that does not mean our population will collapse. We are the human population, the important species.”

              • Arceus says:

                When white-tailed deer in Texas overpopulate an area, the situation will always resolve itself – not enough grass for all of them and the weaker ones die off, disease, increase in hunting. I’m sure something similar will happen if the world gets too crowded.

                When that happens with the deer, there are always some kind-hearted (but generally clueless) types that feed the deer to keep them alive. Of course, that doesn’t work – not in the long run. The deer continue to breed and more deer inhabit.

                Perhaps renewable energy is something similar. Might it just postpone the inevitable winnowing?

                • Nick G says:

                  No. The deer keep breeding. Humans have already decreased their fertility dramatically: most of the world has reduced fertility below the replacement rate, and most of the rest has fertility rates which are dropping fast.

                • wimbi says:

                  Winnow the hell out of rats, roaches and people, and after the big winnow, the remainder crawl out of the cracks and find a brave new world, all nicely winnowed out and full of easy meals.

                  A short walk along that winnowed creek or beach and you have breakfast, lunch and supper. Just like the first folk did who wandered out of africa.

              • Nick G says:

                Geez. How many times do I have to say “I agree this is a tragedy.” before it’s okay to actually respond to your argument that extinctions matter to human survival??

                Rives are running dry, water tables are dropping, forests are disappearing, deserts are expanding, the air is becoming unbreathable in many places.

                A shotgun approach to argument is kind’ve fun, but it only convinces those who are already convinced. It’s preaching to the choir. And it makes it tough to have an interesting debate.

                So…which one of these is key? Is it your argument that farm production is the key thing?

                • So…which one of these is key? Is it your argument that farm production is the key thing?

                  I am floored by that question. Do you actually think there is one key thing? And if we just fixed that one key thing then our problems would be over?

                  Nick, the things I listed are results, not causes. The key, the cause is the massive, massive overshoot of the human population.

                  • Nick G says:

                    Do you actually think there is one key thing? And if we just fixed that one key thing then our problems would be over?

                    Of course not. But some things are more important than others. Usually some things are much more important than others. The fact that you say things like “the world can only support x number of people” suggests that you feel that you can quantify the earth’s carrying capacity. That has to be based on something. What’s it based on??

                    the things I listed are results, not causes. The key, the cause is the massive, massive overshoot of the human population.

                    That assumes that we know that’s true. You’re arguing that this population is too high? Let’s find some evidence. There are a lot of studies about this kind of thing, but are there any that say that collapse is certain?

                    If we can find such a study, What’s it based on? There’s not enough energy available to support civilization? Not enough Food?

                  • That assumes that we know that’s true. You’re arguing that this population is too high? Let’s find some evidence.

                    Gracious Nick, it is self evident.. If our population is destroying the environment, destroying our ecosystem, then it is too high.

                  • Nick G says:

                    If our population is destroying the environment, destroying our ecosystem, then it is too high.

                    That really doesn’t make sense.

                    If burglars come into your house, and steal stuff and destroy other stuff, is your response to say: “there are too many burglars in my house.”?????

                    Obviously not. There should be no burglars in your house.

                    Australian aborigines managed to kill all the large land mammals millennia ago: they didn’t need a large population, just a lack of any kind of knowledge of ecological limits, and a little time.

                    US hunters managed to kill all the Passenger Pigeons, and came close to wiping out the buffalo. US population was much lower then – did that make a difference? No. A relatively small number of hunters could do the job just fine.

                    Ancient humans desertified the Sahara, and destroyed the cedar forests of Lebanon. They didn’t need large populations to do it. On the other hand, the forests of the NE US have recovered nicely, despite very large populations.

                    Humans need to protect their environment, regardless of population. A smaller population makes that a little easier, a larger one makes it harder, but the fundamental dynamic stays the same:

                    we’re going to kill ourselves with BAU, and we won’t if we make perfectly feasible, affordable changes.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Ron and everyone,

        A couple of links you may have already seen:

        The above on tricking ourselves into becoming more sustainable.

        An introduction to overshoot (Ron knows this but maybe Nick does not).

        The link above suggests some familiar solutions and will be considered hopelessly optimistic by most readers here.

        • Nick G says:


          I’m very familiar with the material in the Chefurka link. I don’t see anything new: there’s a general argument that we’re in overshoot, which seems to be based almost entirely on our current dependence on Fossil Fuels.

          I’ve reviewed several quantitative analyses of carrying capacity and human footprint: they’re all based on peak FF. And, of course, if FF can be replaced then we’re not in overshoot, based on those models.

          • And, of course, if FF can be replaced then we’re not in overshoot, based on those models.

            Whether or not fossil fuels can be replaced is another debate. But we are in deep overshoot regardless. If we were not then the ecosystem would not be being destroyed. Rivers would not be running dry, deserts would not be expanding, topsoil would not be being washed away, forests would not be disappearing, species would not be going extinct, water tables would not be dropping, the atmosphere would not be becoming dangerous in many cities, etc. etc.

            Clearly Nick, you don’t seem to have a fucking clue as to what overshoot really is.

            • Nick G says:

              Have you seen any good, quantitative studies of the impact on the environment that suggests that it’s certain or even very likely that it won’t be able to support human civilization, that don’t rely on Fossil Fuel depletion??

              • Surely you jest. Dennis just posted three good links that explains the problem definitively. I have posed almost nothing else for the last two years. My posts Of Fossil Fuels and Human Destiny and The Competitive Exclusion Principle both describe the problem very well.

                Yet you want studies that show that, if we manage to support 7.3 billion people, or 9 to 10 billion people in the future, without fossil fuel, that the ecosystem will still collapse. Let me remind you Nick, that there will be far, far more stress and dependence on the environment without fossil fuel than with fossil fuel. An environment that is already collapsing even with fossil fuel. Your supposition that we can continue business as usual without fossil fuel is based entirely on faith… and is laughable.

                You are the one that needs to supply some definitive studies, not me.

                • ChiefEngineer says:

                  “Let me remind you Nick, that there will be far, far more stress and dependence on the environment without fossil fuel than with fossil fuel”

                  I call “Patterson Bullshit” to this statement. You can’t prove it. But we do know human daily travel would significantly be reduced to limit environmental damage. Humans in large numbers couldn’t live in marginal temperature zones. The oceans couldn’t be over fished. The Canadian tar sands wouldn’t exist or mountain top removal coal mining. No oil drilling, deep water horizon Macondo oil spill or Exxon Valdez. There would only be camel wars in the Middle East. D8 Cats wouldn’t be chewing up rain forest. People would grow more of their own food. Most transportation would be walking and biking. But most of all, people would stop eating fast food drive thru and throwing their MacDonald’s trash on my front yard.

                  Your guessing at best Ronald

                  • I call “Patterson Bullshit” to this statement. You can’t prove it.

                    Chief, did you even think about it for half a minute before calling it bullshit or saying I cannot prove it. It is self evident! All you have to do is think about it for a minute.

                    Biofuel use would have to increase meaning more land use to produce biofuels. All plastics, or plastic substitutes would have to be produced from land use, from the environment. There would be no chemical fertilizers, therefore it would require more land to grow food. Pests would take a greater portion of the food as there would be no chemical pesticides.

                    Of course electric irrigation pumps would still work so water tables would continue to drop, meaning less and less irrigated land. More rain fed land would have to be put into use, more forests cut down.

                    Every chemical or product we now get from fossil fuels would have to be produced from land, from the environment, putting far, far more stress on the environment than we have now.

                    Goddammit Chief, think for just half a minute before you bullshit next time. And my name is not Ronald.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    I think it is a function of time. I think the World’s population will peak and decline as more of the World’s women become educated. This will be well on its way during the 22nd century. I also believe that we can with great difficulty (everyone usually ignores that part), transition from fossil fuels to non-fossil fuel energy, mostly wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear (fission) power, with a little bit of biofuels maybe for tractors when all fossil fuel is gone (in 2300).

                    The question is whether population decline and the energy transition will entail collapse or a more gradual transition.

                    It is going to happen one way or another.

                    I believe appropriate policy might help avoid, or at least ameliorate the collapse.

                    Clearly most people here think its hopeless and either we should fort up or party on.

                  • Dennis, I think you are dreaming and everyone is entitled to their own dream.

                    I am not going to comment any more on this post today. I am working very hard on a new post that will be out later today, sometime this afternoon or evening.

                  • Nick G says:

                    Biofuel use would have to increase meaning more land use to produce biofuels.

                    That’s a common idea. A lot of people get stuck on this. But, it’s not accurate. Biofuels have some niche uses, but they’re not necessary. Electric transportation can replace most liquid fuels for travel, and the rest of the liquid fuel needed can be synthesized.

                    All plastics, or plastic substitutes would have to be produced from land use, from the environment.

                    Again, there are lots of places we can get hydrocarbons. They don’t have to come from biomass.

                    There would be no chemical fertilizers, therefore it would require more land to grow food.

                    We don’t need methane to create fertilizer. Methane is a somewhat cheaper source, but electrolytic H2 works just fine.

                    Pests would take a greater portion of the food as there would be no chemical pesticides.

                    Again, we don’t need biomass to produce chemicals. Petrochemical feedstock isn’t that large, and hydrocarbons aren’t that hard to get.

                    Not to mention that there’s no problem using fossil fuel to produce things that don’t get burned. We could use coal for many hundreds of years for petrochemical feedstocks.

                  • ChiefEngineer says:

                    Hi Ron,

                    “It is self evident! All you have to do is think about it for a minute.”

                    Yes, it was self evident with a minute of thought that the world was flat 500 years ago.

                    “did you even think about it for half a minute before calling it bullshit”

                    I was thinking the same thing when you responded back.

                    Most doomer think we are in overshoot because of fossil fuel and humans are destroying the environment. So maybe the root of the problem is ? A- fossil fuel, B- humans and fossil fuel, C- solar energy from panels and EV’s, D- Republicans

                    “An environment that is already collapsing even with fossil fuel” “Of course electric irrigation pumps would still work”

                    I think of “fossil fuel” as a product such as coal, oil and NG only when we burn it for energy, other wise it’s not fuel. If it’s not burnt, it’s not used as energy. Making plastic products or asphalt out of oil is not really burning fossil fuel. It’s more like turning sheep hair into a sweater. Although there is energy required to produce the products in both cases. Like almost every product. Conclusion, we aren’t going to lose all oil based products because we stop burning fossil fuel.

                    How are you powering your water pumps ? Today, most electricity is generated by burning fossil fuel. So, I don’t buy your explanation here and your argument is not “self evident”.

                  • Most doomer think we are in overshoot because of fossil fuel and humans are destroying the environment.

                    Nonsense! No doomer I ever met would be that dumb. We are not in overshoot because we are destroying the environment. We are destroying he environment because we are in overshoot.

                  • ChiefEngineer says:

                    “Most doomer think we are in overshoot because of fossil fuel and humans are destroying the environment.”

                    Let me clarify-

                    1. Most doomer think we are in overshoot because of fossil fuel.

                    2. Humans are destroying the environment.

                    I never implied or said- “We are in overshoot because we are destroying the environment”. But to be in overshoot we would be destroying the environment at an unsustainable pace.

                • Nick G says:

                  Dennis just posted three good links that explains the problem definitively.

                  And, they rely on peak FF. But, we know that replacing FF is possible. We don’t know it will happen for certain, but it’s very possible, so relying on peak FF for the idea of certain collapse doesn’t make sense.

                  And, none of them say collapse is certain. You actually said below that you disagreed with them when it came to the idea that there are solutions. So, you don’t actually think these authors support the argument that collapse is certain.


                  • Anonymous says:

                    Peak soil, peak phosphorus, peak platinum – possibly peak freshwater soon. See Geochemical Perspectives October 2014

                  • Nick G says:

                    Phosphorus can and will be recycled.

                    Platinum is nice to have, but not a necessity (not even for fuel cells, which are in turn not a necessity).

                    Soil and freshwater are obviously problems, but the cause of certain collapse?? I haven’t seen that claim from a reputable source.

                    “The challenge is to accept this knowledge, and to find the necessary solutions and adaptions for the future while we still have time and possibility to so. “

                    Source: Geochemical Perspectives October 2014

              • ChiefEngineer says:

                Hi Nick

                No one knows what the carrying capacity of planet earth. Let alone a standard of living or technology applied to that capacity. Saying deserts and forest are getting larger or smaller is not definitive to the relation to capacity. Damming the Colorado river irrigates thousands of square miles for agriculture which otherwise would be desert. Most of central California valley is irrigated by dammed water. My point is that comparing the carrying capacity of earth by some baseline 12000 years ago earth makes little sense. Clearly mans technology is a large function of (sustainable) capacity. Hell, the sustainable capacity may be 20 billion humans with solar powered golf carts, 100 story apartment buildings and a vegans only population.

                Now for another word that gets used with little definition – “collapse”. Ten different posters here will give you ten different definition. All this means is that there is a lot of talk here about something that everyone is at best guessing.

                Life is about the travels, not the destination

                • oldfarmermac says:


                  Somehow, for SOME reason, I get the idea that you do not have a very good grasp of the basic physical and life sciences, nor a very good grasp of the behavior of naked apes.

                  Arguing what MIGHT CONCEIVABLY be technically possible, if the world were run like a sole proprietor business by an all powerful elite dedicated to seeing how high the population could go is a bullshit exercise in one upmanship.

                  Reality is about what we are doing and going to do, and Ron has obviously forgotten more about it than you actually seem to know.

                  Some of what you have to say is on the money, such as nobody throwing food wrappers in your yard- but that would be AFTER society collapses. AFTER the population crashes.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Chief,

                  Here we definitely part company, 20 billion might work in Star Wars, but we can’t import our food from other planets. The long term carrying capacity of the planet is probably 1 to 2 billion, I think 1.5 billion is not a bad guess, but that’s all it is.

                  The damage being done to the planet by 7 to 9 billion people over much of the 21st century (along with damage previously done over the past 5000 years), is going to require lower population over the long term in order for the planet to heal itself.

                  Less is more when it comes to population, we should aim for one billion and see how it goes.

                  • Nick G says:


                    This is a tough question. If humanity continues with Business As Usual with no modifications, it will destroy our environment. And, I agree that higher population levels certainly make things worse. I certainly agree that population levels are likely to fall, and that will help.

                    But…if we only have 1B people, we’ll still destroy our environment with BAU – it will just take a little longer. Ron is right about that, in a theoretical kind of way.

                    But humanity is perfectly capable of changing it’s behavior. In the past slavery and serfdom was the norm for most of humanity. That was changed by conscious decisions on a societal level – it didn’t happen because supernatural influences, or unexplainable forces of nature.

                    The US has reduced it’s fuel consumption per mile for passenger transportation by 50% in the last 40 years, by explicit, effective public policy. It worked, and prevented an enormous greater and earlier shortage of oil.

                    Other kinds of environmental problems have been fixed, like certain sulfur emissions, DDT, etc. There are many examples.

                    We can certainly eliminate FFs, and we can identify and eliminate the other ways we’re destroying our environment. It’s not certain we will, but it’s unrealistic to say we definitely won’t.

                  • ChiefEngineer says:

                    Hi Dennis,

                    You missed my point. I don’t believe it’s possible either or going to happen. The point is there are a lot of doomers out there. Who think their capacity numbers are correct and their are just guessing. We will evolve over time and the numbers will change day to day until it’s zero. Our actions will plot our course. Be it long or short.

                    Mac, your always good for a laugh. The only Patterson BS in my two comments was the part about MacDonald’s wrappers on my lawn. We are not naked apes. At least not were I live.

                    Ron, I enjoy a good argument and a little humor. Don’t take it personal. We can agree to disagree. To be continued.

                    Plus, if your going to try to beat up on Nick with the doomer agenda. Who has a positive reasonable approach forward. Well, I can’t help myself from commenting when I see it.

          • oldfarmermac says:

            NICK , you know a lot, but sometimes you just don’t know ENOUGH.

            ( Nor do I know ENOUGH a lot of the time, but in this case I do.)

            Fossil fuels are like one leg of a tripod stool industrial civilization. IF is the biggest two letter word in English. IF we manage to transition away from fossil fuels, the other two legs are still critical to the stool remaining upright. Such analogies or metaphors or whatever are never perfect, but one of the legs can be thought of as resources such as farmland, metal ores, water etc..

            We are dead sure deep into overshoot already in respect to resources of this kind, and we are going to pay the price, BARRING MIRACLES.

            It’s fun to speculate about the nature of such miracles. Some billionaire might secretly fund the development of a virus that cannot be stopped that renders every woman in the world infertile after having one child.

            (Is it sexist of me to use women as the victims ? Maybe so, but one young healthy man can keep dozens of women pregnant and enjoy doing so. Eggs and wombs are precious, sperm is dirt cheap.)

            Now that might be a hell of a start on a solution.

            A number of good novels have been written based on a similar plot premise, but the authors of all of them I have read presume the release of a fatal, fast moving contagious disease that kills virtually everybody.

            For what it is worth, I can see no hope that Ron Patterson is wrong, in general terms.

            There is some hope however, imo, that some pockets of industrial civilization might survive long term because technology does advance, efficiency improves, there will still be a substantial amount of resources in the ground AFTER collapse, and above all the survivors living in these hypothetical pockets will learn to live FRUGALLY in terms of resources as well as efficiently.

            And some humans are well situated to hog such resources as are possessed by others. The Big Bad Wolves have military teeth, and when oil supplies for instance become REALLY critical, we will find out whether modern military forces CAN or CANNOT control a country such as Iran or Iraq.

            I say there is no question whatsoever that a country such as the USA could WIPE both countries clean of two legged naked apes in a few months – and that if our leaders were to conclude that our own national survival depends on doing it, we would do it.

            NECESSITY is a HARSH taskmaster.

            Just to be clear, I think the odds of us actually doing such a thing as nuking a country with neutron bombs and spraying all the crops and pasture land with herbicides from high altitude bombers are astronomically high against.

            • Nick G says:

              What was the 3rd leg of the stool??

              “One of humankind’s biggest challenges over the next century is to provide adequate resources for civilisation. Geochemistry plays a central role, from the processes that accumulate elements into ore bodies, to developing exploration techniques that are used to find them. Geochemistry is also important for the processes that win the resources and redistribute them with the accompanying risks of environmental contamination and threats for human health. As geochemists, it is useful to take a step back and look at the big picture of resources from a global perspective, to consider their place in history and to contemplate their importance. The future of our civilisation depends on their wise use and geochemistry lies at the centre – for ensuring adequate supplies and for minimising the risk of poisoning ourselves. This Perspective summarises the current and future availability of many natural resources. But the main focus is on the most important metals and on phosphorus. The metals are grouped into the big six (iron, chromium, manganese, aluminium, copper and zinc), with some shorter discussion of precious (gold, silver and platinum group metals) and other metals. These other metals are those needed for steel (niobium, vanadium, nickel, molybdenum), for technology (tantalum, zircon, indium, gallium, germanium), for new technological developments in the renewable energy industry (europium, terbium, neodynium, lithium), and the chemical industry (platinum group metals, cobalt and rare earth elements).

              The sobering common aspect for all of these resources is, that available data suggests that their production has either peaked already or will peak within the next 50 years. Throughout history, the major part of the economy of the world´s nations has been driven directly or indirectly by access to and use of natural resources, and this still remains so. Our main findings are that the world is heading towards a restricted access to the key resources that are used by humanity today and these restrictions will have a profound impact on the world economies and life styles of future generations. The challenge is to accept this knowledge, and to find the necessary solutions and adaptions for the future while we still have time and possibility to so. History will judge how well we responded to current resource challenges.”

              Source: Geochemical Perspectives October 2014


        • Dennis, thanks for the links. They were really great. I really enjoyed the first one: “How to Avoid Population Overshoot and Collapse”.

          That article did a really great job in describing the problems we face with our ever expanding population and destruction of the ecosystem. And then the solution, or “what we must do to save civilization as we know it.”

          Here it is, copied and pasted, what we must do!

          A new social movement is needed – a sustainability movement. This is particularly important for anyone who plans to live in the future. A grass-roots movement of the magnitude of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and the women’s rights movement of the 1970s, is needed.

          Thank God, we are saved. All we must do is start a grass roots movement to save civilization as we know it.

          Okay, enough sarcasm. The articles were really great, including the first one. It was good right up to the point where it told us “What we must do to save the world.” At that point it had me rolling in the floor laughing my ass off.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Ron,

            Social movements can change things. Maybe not as fast as we might like, but certainly the civil rights, women’s rights, and GLBT rights movements have led to positive change. The environmental movement already exists and has had less impact, as is also true for the peak oil movement.

            I know, in your humility, you think your blog has no impact. I disagree.
            It may not change the world, but I think it can have a positive impact.

            I imagine you don’t think the impact will be negative, or you wouldn’t do it. My guess is that if you were sure the impact is nil, you wouldn’t bother.

            Hey, but maybe it’s entertaining!

  31. ezrydermike says:

    from Kurt Cobb…

    Climate change is our grand narrative now

    There is the story of our personal lives: our family, our friends, our jobs, our hobbies. There is the story of our communities: our civic, religious, business, artistic and recreational lives. There is the story of our nations: their internal political struggles and their struggles with each other.

    But now, there is one grand narrative which ties us all together, whether we want to be connected or not, whether we are preoccupied with our personal, community or national narratives or not. That is the narrative of our changing climate and the resulting threat to the continuity of our world civilization. The upcoming climate talks in Paris this week are but one expression of this new reality.

    Even people who oppose doing anything about climate change are forced to talk about it. Even people who somehow have convinced themselves that climate change is not happening and oddly, in the same breath, claim that humans have nothing to do with this thing that is not happening–even those people confirm by their very framing of the issue that they are firmly situated inside this narrative.

    Climate change is now the grand narrative because what happens to climate and what we do about it will be a worldwide story which no one can ignore. As such there will be few people without an opinion on the issue of climate change. Increasingly, it will reach down into our national, community and personal lives in ways we had hoped would wait until we are gone. The droughts, the heat, the floods, the damage to crops, the lengthening summer, the late fall, and the early spring–none of them can escape our notice.

    We are forced to incorporate the changing climate into our everyday conversations. It is already a big topic among anyone who gardens and certainly anyone who farms. Among those in touch with plants the evidence of a changing climate is incontrovertible.

    The grand tension will be how to address climate change without giving up the abundant energy, food and technology that have given us such comfort, ease, mobility and opportunity. Neither side in the debate over what to do wants to relinquish the hope that we will have to give up almost nothing.

    One side says we should continue to burn fossil fuels, to raze the forests, and to farm the fields in ways that release carbon from the soil into the air…and that we will continue to be able to live the modern industrial life we’ve become used to. Any consequences of climate change will be manageable (an argument that becomes less plausible with each passing day).

    The other side implores us to embrace carbon-free energy sources, move toward better care of the forests and the soil, sip what energy we use instead of gulping it, adjust our habits and lifestyles…and we will continue to be able to live a green version of the modern industrial life we’ve become used to.

    But underneath it all, we fear and suspect that either path will involve some loss, some sacrifice. And, it is that fear and suspicion which prevents us from committing to do what we must do to save the best parts of our culture and society while letting go of the worst. It is the fear of change and the fear of loss which is holding us back from truly addressing the existential threat of climate change.

  32. Enno Peters says:

    I had another look at the Colorado well data. I found out how I could only focus on horizontal wells, and also selected only the prolific Wattenberg field in the Niobrara area.

    I kept being amazed by the declines, compared with the Bakken. See the full picture below.
    The average well here returns 82 kbo after 3.5 years, so the EUR may be about 100 kbo or so.
    Newer wells are slightly better, but also not by much: 2014/2015 wells produce maybe 10 kbo more in the early phase, but similar as in the Bakken the daily rate drops to the same rate as older wells after 1.5 years.
    Gas output is higher, may be in the tune of 500-1000 kMCF EUR.

    These wells together produced about 170 kbo/d in July.

  33. coffeeguyzz says:


    It is great to get a broader perspective from different shale plays. All the attention on the data-rich Bakken can mask what is occurring elsewhere.

    Many of the Wattenberg field wells are 6,000′ deep and have laterals slightly over 4,000′, and 20/25 stages.
    The decline would be horrendous compared to the Bakken where wells run 9,500’/10,000 deep, have 9,500′ long laterals as a rule, and anywhere from 30 to 60 stages.

    A lot of the Niobrara guys drilled the shallowest bench first (Niobrara 1 ?), and have yet to extensively test benches 2 and 3, as well as the deepest Codell, where it exists.
    The usual HBP circumstances as well as economics (shallower = cheaper) have influenced development there.

    The Niobrara wells will never compare favorably to the Bakken, but if the intense down spacing proves effective, and the operators get more than 75 cents/a buck for a gallon ATW for their product, it may make economic sense.

    (As per the down spacing, Whiting just put 32 wells on one pad, but seem to think 30 will be optimal going forward).

    • Enno Peters says:

      Thanks for the info Coffee.

      I had a look at the XLR wells of Bill Barrett Corp in the Niobrara. These have 9,500 laterals, 40-55 stages, and a reported D&C cost of $5.6m/well. The reported EUR is 700 Mboe (similar or even above Bakken wells). Despite that they indeed produce something like 50% above the curve above, the decline profile looks the same.

      700 MBOE is not going to happen for these wells. My amateur eyes can see that. I am sure a reservoir engineer can see that. How can they state these numbers? Do you belief their numbers are close to accurate? I would love to see some calculations on which these numbers are based.

      • coffeeguyzz says:


        Just as I shy away from granular financial aspects of this stuff, I also keep some distance from the EUR realm.
        It is not that I am disinterested, rather , there seems no way of easily proving or disproving these numbers … and there is a LOT of money involved if a company can claim a million barrel per well recovery versus half that.

      • Enno Peters says:

        I can appreciate your attitude to stay away from fuzzy EURs (Exaggerated Ultimate Returns).

        I guess I just don’t understand then very well your recurring enthusiasm for unproven new technologies and IPs 🙂

        But, I got to say, unlike the Bakken where wells are performing well after several years, this is not the case in the Niobrara. I would say that based on all available production data, it is pretty obvious what these wells can and cannot do. And it is not very pretty. See below picture. I was able to include 2011 horizontal wells as well. Granted, these have an earlier performance about half below current wells, but similar as in the Bakken, after 4 years, the daily rate of newer wells trends to that of the older ones, so this already can give a hint which ends awaits them. I think the picture also shows nicely that 16 bo/d seems to be a kind of economic limit, as wells hitting this limit drop off much faster.

        These 2950 horizontal wells produced together 243 kbo/d in July, and thus were responsible for just over 70% of Colorado’s oil output. 500 horizontal wells with gaps in the data were removed from this set.

  34. Doug Leighton says:


    Andy Samuel, the head of the Oil and Gas UK Authority has said: “We’ve now got 300 fields producing a third of what they used to. The mathematics mean that the cost per barrel goes up.”

  35. Rune Likvern says:

    Is POB being crowded by a few GDP fetishists?

    GDP is just a simplistic measure of changes to the volume of economic activity in an economy.
    (GDP numbers may also be subject to redefinitions …..if this is beneficial.)

    A lot of metric is being thrown around to further some cause, like Debt to GDP ratios, energy intensity measured as $GDP/MJ (or whatever the preferred metric du jour for this is).

    Can anyone provide any information where GDP was used as a metric as an ability to service (total) debts?
    GDP tells nothing about the ability to service debts. There are too many structural differences among the economies to make GDP a universal metric for this.

    The more recent fixations by some have been to use GDP as a metric on how much debt an economy can assume before further debt slows it down. (Growth [in GDP] must be pursued {with more debt} at whatever costs for future generations.)
    IMVHO these are meaningless metrics.

    When it comes to debt it is households, companies/corporations and sovereigns that assumes debt. In each of these cases it is all about the abilities to service [and pay down/retire] those debts. A sovereign running huge budget deficits for years and decades can do so …..until it can’t.
    For a sovereign it boils down to how able (and effective) it is to tax its population/corporations to service its debts.

    A sovereign can default on its debts [what should the creditors do then?] , households and corporations are subject to different rules.
    A sovereign can introduce a combination of tax changes and austerity to serve its debts [creditors are aware of this].

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Rune,

      Typically a loan is based on the assets and income of the borrower. As GDP represents income, it seems relevant to how much debt is sustainable. Often the increased debt is needed during a recession, a wise government would attempt to pay down the debt when the economy is close to full employment. Unfortunately in many countries this is rarely done.

      • Rune Likvern says:

        Since when did GDP represent income or assets?
        Can you point to anywhere in the world where GDP was used as a metric to grant loans?

        For the public it is about ability to service debts through revenues (Not GDP) from taxation and/or introduce austerity measures.
        There is no household or corporation that gets loans granted with reference to their country’s GDP.
        The use of GDP is flawed as a growing portion of the GDP growth in recent years was created by growing total amounts of debt.
        No one services their debts based on GDP.
        For households it is about disposable income.
        For companies about their profits (or outlook for future profits).
        GDP measures (broadly) the volume of transactions within an economy. A more precise measure would be to look at (real value) value added within the economy.
        A country A importing an item for $500 from country B then selling it at a retail price of $1,000 has added $500 to its GDP. (GDP does not account for how these $1,000 to pay for the item came from.) These additional $500 (GDP) was from distribution, mark ups and retail.

        Yes, the Keynesian countercyclical use of debt may work if there are prospects for growth in the private sector and if public debt levels are at reasonable levels.

        There are several countries that now are living through the experiences from too much debt and it appears few of them are willing to solve this by going deeper into debt.

        • Nick G says:

          A country A importing an item for $500 from country B then selling it at a retail price of $1,000 has added $500 to its GDP. (GDP does not account for how these $1,000 to pay for the item came from.) These additional $500 (GDP) was from distribution, mark ups and retail.

          I’m impressed by any company that can import a $500 retail item that someone else developed and manufactured, not change it in any way, and mark it up by 100%. Do you have any examples?

          • Arceus says:

            Seriously? Too many examples to mention. Designer purses, video cameras, high-end shoes and clothing, Rolex watches, suits, furniture, glasses (frames), electronics, etc.

            • Nick G says:

              hhmm. $500 Rolex?

              Glasses are a funny item, given the near-monopoly a major company has. Heck, diamonds are another example: they’re almost worthless, but DeBeers manages to sell them at an enormous markup. But, neither of these are resellers – they sell their own product. Jewelers selling diamonds are a better example – a funny business, supported by the DeBeers monopoly.

              Cameras and electronics? I think the markup by someone like Best Buy or Amazon is much thinner than that.

              The original example seemed to suggest that pure distributors and resellers can routinely make a 100% markup on large items -that seems high.

              And, of course, it seemed to suggest that importation, distribution and retailing is a worthless economic activity, which I guess is my major complaint. Retailers don’t do anything of value??

              • islandboy says:

                Nick, you need to get out a bit more. Here’s how it works in my neck of the woods. A television that retails in the US for $500 is bought by a distributor from the island for $400 in quantity and loaded into a container. When it arrives at the destination port local customs charges import duties based on it’s CIF (cost, insurance, freight) value. Lets assume that the insurance and freight values are $50, the CIF value is now $450 and the Jamaican government collects duties and sales tax at the port which come to an aggregate of about 45% or about $200. The distributor then sells it to a retailer with a 20% markup on their $650 cost, so it costs the retailer $780. The retailer then adds their 30% markup and viola! Your $500 tv is now selling for $1014! Even if it cost nothing to ship the tv you’re still looking at a $900 tv!

                For cars, the aggregate duties range between 46% for a hybrid and 75% for cars that use gasoline and have engines larger than 2 liters so, it is not unusual to see cars selling for twice what you would pay in the US. Living in “paradise” can be expensive!

                • ChiefEngineer says:

                  I got out tonight, a lot of hot air in Jamaica

                • Nick G says:


                  Yes, there are a lot of very high taxes.

                  But…taxes support government: it’s the government work that is part of GDP. These sky high taxes aren’t really part of the cost of importation & distribution.

          • oldfarmermac says:

            Up until a couple of years ago, there were Egyptians all over the southeast buying up old Japanese pickup trucks and shipping them to Sand Country to be refurbished- new tires, new paint, new brakes, engine overhauls, the works- because import taxes in the places these trucks were finally sold were well over a hundred percent on a new pickup truck.

            The taxes on junkers were very low, comparatively speaking, plus refurbishing them locally provided local employment as well.

            I don’t know why these guys quit showing up.

            Smuggling small luxury goods and even day to day goods such as small appliances is an “alive and well ” profession due to prohibitive taxation.

            When the giant amusement park near where I used to live brought in a few hundred foreign students as seasonal help,(bastard management said they could not find local help, which was bullshit, they just wouldn’t pay the extra dollar an hour to get it ) just about every last one of those kids took home a couple of lap top computers, and sold one of them for two or three times what it cost them HERE.

            Nick,I am surprised you don’t already know all about sky high import taxes.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Rune,

          I was unclear, for a private borrower a bank considers both income and assets when deciding if the borrower qualifies.

          I meant to say GDP is income for a nation, so when looking at total debt (public and private) for a nation GDP is part of the equation. Assets are essentially “old GDP” from previous years and probably relevant, but on a national level are not well measured. The main point is that generally higher GDP should be able to support a higher level of total debt.

          For the public sector at any given level of taxation, higher GDP means higher tax revenue(I thought that was pretty obvious so it was left unstated.)

          In aggregate (taking all borrowers in the private sector together), the income of the borrowers is equal to GDP, as income is a major factor when borrowing, for the nation as a whole it will influence the ability to borrow, along with other factors such as assets and credit report.

          GDP only counts final goods and services, business to business transactions are not included, such as supplying auto parts to a car manufacturer.

          In the case of imports that are not balanced by exports, the difference would have to be borrowed.

          Clearly countries can choose not to borrow.

          • Rune Likvern says:

            ”For the public sector at any given level of taxation, higher GDP means higher tax revenue(I thought that was pretty obvious so it was left unstated.)”

            Are you serious? Several countries have boosted their GDP numbers by also running (huge) deficits.
            The US outlooks is to run deficits for several more years.

            How can boosting GDP through high (private and public) debt growth be counted as income?
            Using debt is pulling demand forward in time.

            ”Assets are essentially “old GDP” from previous years and probably relevant, but on a national level are not well measured.”
            For several advanced economies about 70% of their GDP is consumption.
            How can consumption become assets?

            ”In aggregate (taking all borrowers in the private sector together), the income of the borrowers is equal to GDP,”
            That is blatantly wrong!

            Or is Dennis Coyne using definitions that are aligned with his world views?

            • TechGuy says:

              Rune Wrote:
              “The US outlooks is to run deficits for several more years.”

              LOL! Sorry Rune, but that made me laugh the US has been running deficits since the 1960s. No way the US is going to stop in a few more years. The US will continue running deficits until the dollar is worthless, but I am sure you know that. Right on all other points!

              Every industrialize nation is running deficits. Its the Demographics bomb that working its way through all economies cause by the bulge of retirees collecting unfunded entitlements. The US has it, the EU, and even Asia. The US and EU will continuously run deficits since there is no way revenues can be increased to match entitlement outlays and the politician won’t cut entitlements because they be booted out of office.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Techguy,

                During the Clinton administration from 1997 to 2000 there was a budget surplus, he inherited a $300B budget deficit and gradually (after 5 years) got it under control. For the EU the average budget deficit is about 3% of GDP, not really a big deal. Public debt in the EU is 87% of GDP, also not really a problem.

                • TechGuy says:

                  DC Wrote:
                  “During the Clinton administration from 1997 to 2000 there was a budget surplus”

                  No surplus. Debt kept on growing during the “entire” Clinton Admin. What happen is for a very few months, due the the Dot-com bubble, the US had didn’t need to buy any new bonds. However the intergov’t borrowing continued to go up during the time. The payroll tax revenue increased so the gov’t borrowed more from SS to avoid selling more bonds. If you got the Treasury Dept’s “Debt to the Penny” you will see that the national debt continued to grow. SS cap was also raised significantly, during the Clinton years which created a much higher SS surplus that was used to fun the general fund.

                  Also as I stated this was in the biggest bubble of the US economy. As soon as the bubble popped it returned to record deficits again. The late 1990s was the Peak working income years for the boomers. Now they are all getting ready for retirement and income from them is declining as so is tax revenue collected from them (as the retire)

                  “For the EU the average budget deficit is about 3% of GDP, not really a big deal. Public debt in the EU is 87% of GDP, also not really a problem.”

                  The EU faces the same problems the Demographics bulge and a mountain of unfunded liabilities. What the EU does is hide its massive unfunded liabilities, just like Greece did. Greece’s problems arrived sooner since it have a much lower minimum retirement age than most of the EU, but the rest of the EU aging population is beginning to take its toll. The Northern EU depends on Exports to balance there budgets, but the EUs oil fields are become depleted, and US consumers aren’t buying Luxury European goods as much as they had.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Rune,

              The difference between GDP and Income is pretty small. So yes it is wrong, but only 1 to 2% off for the US.

              See chart at end and link below


              Usually economists just treat GDP as equal to income.

              As far as (old GDP), the 30% that is not consumed is mostly public and private investment, some of which depreciates each year, clearly the assets come from somewhere, again I try not to insult my readers by stating the obvious (that some of GDP is consumed for example).

              Yes countries have run deficits and borrowed, that does not make the products supplied imaginary. Private businesses borrow when the cost of borrowing is at a level where the ROR on an investment (with a risk premium built in) is sufficient in the mind of the business owner or CEO to make the investment worthwhile. Like wise governments can choose to invest when borrowing costs are low.

              Often borrowing costs are quite low when Monetary policy reaches the zero lower bound and that is a great time for public investment, usually an economy is in a recession and the deficit spending will increase spending and output. When the economy reaches full employment the fiscal stimulus can be reduced and the higher tax revenue (due to higher national income) can be used to pay down the accumulated debt.

              For quarter I in 2015 Gross national income was about 1.4% higher than gross national product in the US. Chart below with GDP and GNI (gross national income) for the US from 1960 to 2014 in billions of $,data from FRED.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Rune,

              You are correct that income (GNI) and GDP are different.

              From the Wiki:

              Gross national income (GNI) equals GDP plus income receipts from the rest of the world minus income payments to the rest of the world.[26]

              This change in US national income accounting has been in place for US national income accounting (using GDP instead of GNP) since 1991, for the US GNP is actually higher than GDP (but insignificant at about 1 to 2%). For the World as a whole gross world income is equal to gross world product.

              Another thing I forgot, you asked:

              Are you serious? Several countries have boosted their GDP numbers by also running (huge) deficits.
              The US outlooks is to run deficits for several more years.

              Absolutely serious.

              I read through the Wikipedia on GDP, there is nothing about goods and services produced with borrowed money not being included.

              • Rune Likvern says:

                Of course GDP includes goods and services paid by debt.

                Dennis, what you just admitted to is an acknowledgement that GDP is and have been boosted by the use of debt.
                That was my point.

                So without growth in debt, how would GDP look?
                And what implications would that have for all your GDP related claims?

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Rune,

                  GDP would be lower if there were no debt. There have been times when public debt rose to high levels (1939 to 1960 roughly) and then the debt was paid down(1960-1980), which was easier to do because of economic growth.

                  Note the when we look at the entire World, GDP and income are equal. An increase in World GDP (assuming average world tax rates do not change) would tend to increase tax revenue, making it easier to pay off debt.

                  Lets say a nation responds to a recession by balancing its budget. For the same reason an increase in debt increases GDP, this would tend to decrease GDP, which leads to lower tax revenue and the need for further spending cuts, and lower GDP in a downward cycle. A balance needs to be found between debt levels and economic growth, when the economy is doing well debt should be paid down, by either cutting spending, raising taxes or a little of both. In the US, a carbon tax would be a sensible way to raise taxes, and the revenue could be used to pay off the national debt.

    • TechGuy says:

      At least India is honest. On the other side, there is China which states its going to start cutting in 2030, yet continues to build new Coal plants with Zero emissions controls. China just appeasing western gov’ts but has no real intension of following through its commitments.

      Confucius says: “Promises made for distant future never honored.”

    • The Wet One says:

      Yeah, basically. Economy trumps all. Which is demonstrated clearly in the graph shown here:

      Since we basically already know that nothing will come of our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, shouldn’t we simply get ahead of the curve and simply start talking about what kind of geo-engineering efforts might work, what those effects might be, what might succeed and what might fail?

      We’re going to be doing it in 20 – 30 years time anyways (if not sooner) so we might as well get the discussion going now? Wouldn’t that be something worthwhile to do? Or are we not there yet psychologically, even though the writing is one the wall for actually heading off climate change by way of human action?

      • oldfarmermac says:

        Hi ,Tech Guy and Wet One,

        You fellas are going to be very unpopular if you CONTINUE TO THINK for yourself about such issues rather than conform to the usual party lines. Neither a republican nor a democrat may you be, unless you bow down in the CHURCH OF ETERNAL GROWTH.

        And the environmental camp will condemn you to the deepest and hottest corner of HELL for even MENTIONING geoengineering.

        There is such a thing as common sense, although it is hard to define exactly what is meant by the term. And there is such a thing as scientific literacy. Both of you possess both in good measure.

        You fellas are not going to be happy, henceforth, living as SEEING men in the WORLD OF THE BLIND.

        The fun people are not going to invite you to any parties. 🙁

        The problem with “common people”, my people, the sort of people I live among and grew up with, is that they are almost without exception scientifically illiterate.

        And the problem with environmental activists and scientists ,again almost without exception, is that they fail to display even a paupers measure of common sense, when it comes to their public pronouncements concerning the future behavior of billions of naked apes.

        Of course the scientists are compelled to pretend we are going to do something -such as convince the Chinese to give up coal. We are about as likely, barring a miracle, to convince lions to eat strawberries. ( Courtesy of Mr Twain. Anybody who has not read his Adam and Eve sketches is intellectually impoverished, humor wise. )

        Confucius says: “Promises made for distant future never honored.”

        That says it all.

    • Arceus says:

      India is willing to deal, and stop burning so much coal if the price is right.

      If the warmers want less coal being burned, India says put up or shut up. The country has suggested more than a few times they will stop burning their black rocks in lieu of cold hard cash.

      India is expected to become the world’s top coal user and importer by 2020 as it seeks to provide expand coverage of its power grid to under-served rural areas.

      I guess they figure if the U.S. is going to put billions into renewable companies that flop, they can just cut a check to them instead.

      • Nick G says:

        I don’t think anyone expects India to come anywhere close to China’s coal consumption any time soon: IIRC China burns less than a billion tons per year, while China is up around 4B.

  36. R Walter says:

    In 1900 the carrying capacity, the available resources, would not support today’s population. The collapse would be immediate. Your chances of living into your 60’s were slimmer then than they are now. One of my uncles died of diphtheria when he was 12 years old. The first born child, gone. Life is not fair.

    A vaccine for diphtheria was developed and millions lived. Science is to blame, some lamebrained smart genius who was dumb enough to be smart enough figured out a way to outwit Mother Nature, make a fool of her, and as a result, more people lived.

    It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, but then, fools never learn.


    Diphtheria treatment today involves use of antibiotics to kill the diphtheria bacteria plus antitoxin to neutralize the toxins secreted by the bacteria. Diphtheria patients are usually kept in isolation until they are no longer capable of infecting others, usually about 48 hours after antibiotic treatment begins.


    The current U.S. childhood immunization schedule for diphtheria includes five diphtheria toxoid immunizations before age six years, plus one booster dose for adolescents. (A toxoid is a toxin modified to invoke an antibody response, but not capable of causing disease.) All diphtheria immunizations for children are given in a single injection combined with tetanus toxoid and pertussis vaccine (known as DTP or DTaP). Adults receive diphtheria toxoid in combination with a tetanus toxoid booster, which is recommended every ten years. The adult product can protect against tetanus and diphtheria (a vaccine known as Td) or all three diseases (a vaccine known as Tdap).

    A new campaign should be initiated, Stop the Vaccinations Campaign, or something like that. There’s your answer.

    Measles, mumps, polio, small pox, rubella, tuberculosis, pneumonia, influenza, just stop immunizing humans so they become diseased. Stop treating symptoms so a patient recovers, just let them die. It is not an ethical dilemma, just let nature take its course. Had I not visited a doctor about fifteen years ago, I probably would have died of pneumonia. I had enough sense to go and the doctor prescribed medication so I could recover, otherwise, it was going to be real bad for me. Staying alive and living to see another day is better. Malaria, stop spraying for those anopholes and let people die faster. Why should female mosquitoes die just to save the lives of a few humans? To be fair, anopholes eradication should be discontinued. The Panama Canal wouldn’t be finished yet, but who cares?

    Science is at fault for the overshoot, nothing else.

    Just too much good medical science, doctors should stop washing their hands before surgery. Stop treating sick people so they can recover. The deaths will begin to mount, there would be too many sick people, the GDP would decrease, all hell would break lose, pandemonium, chaos, general mayhem etc. Of course I am not being serious, just sarcastic.

    Humanity is between a rock and a hard place.

    • Javier says:

      Hey, Hey, R Walter,

      We found fossil fuels and threw a hell of a party. Party is over. No regrets.
      We just followed human nature (animal nature in fact) and would do the same if it were to be repeated. Things just could not have been different.
      We are the lucky ones who enjoyed the party at its climax. Life was dreadful before and will be dreadful again.
      During the party we really messed up the house and the more responsible between us are really sorry, but the house has been messed up a lot more previously. The clean up will take a long time but it will be done.
      Some people want to continue the party, but the piper wants to leave and he demands to be paid in full. There won’t be music after that.

      I am just thankful that I was invited because a lot of people in the world weren’t. I am sitting here watching the party end. Most people don’t know the party is ending and music is about to stop so I am privileged to know too. After all some people get violent when the party ends and don’t want to get out.

      As I said, a hell of a party. Worth living to see it even if dying is the price.

    • Science is at fault for the overshoot, nothing else.

      Well perhaps, if you blame science for the discovery of fossil fuel. I am no so sure they deserve that mantle however. And the industrialists who figured out how to use all that fuel, well I am not so sure they were scientist either.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      I had an interesting conversation with a Brazilian doctor not long ago. He was upset because he thought the government wasn’t doing enough to try to eradicate disease bearing mosquitoes in the state of Amapa. I told him that as the president and sole member of ‘The International Society for the Protection of Mosquitoes’ and therefore the diseases borne by them, I much preferred that prime mosquito habitat be left in its pristine state. I also suggested that if the mosquitoes weren’t eradicated fewer people would try to live in those areas. Which in turn would reduce human impact and that in a way would be a form of protection for the natural habitats and fauna and flora in those places. Suffice it to say he neither appreciated my sense of humor nor did he understand my point in terms of the bigger, systemic view of things. I have now added most medical doctors to my growing list of people who are apparently incapable of systems thinking…

      • wimbi says:

        Yep, Fred I feel furya.. I tried to convince my wife that now that we had turned our lawn into a wildlife haven, we oughta bring up a jaguar and a boa constrictor and watch the fun.

        She didn’t go for it, being sorta ultra risk-averse. Even when I pointed out that boas are – if looked at rightly – just a real long string of delicious steaks pinned together on a backbone.

        A self-propelled shish kebab.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Yup! boas are quite edible.
          I also tried to convince our condo association to get us a few goats and let them loose on our lawns… They didn’t go for it but it was a fun meeting 🙂

          • Bob Nickson says:

            If they ever change their minds about the goats, make sure you know where those goats have been before you set ’em loose.

            My brother learned the hard way that a herd of goats is a fantastic method for seeding a lawn with orchard grass and then fertilizing it.

            • wimbi says:

              Also fantastic for rubbing poison ivy all over jeans and eating roses.

              And if you get exasperated and whack one, its thigh bone breaks your wrist.

              My solution — eat ’em. Works every time.

      • Doug Leighton says:

        A 50:50 mix of Roundup and Diesel Fuel spread by helicopters will kill your mosquitoes. Sometimes a second application is required. What’s the area of Brazilian jungle you need to cover? Send me that figure and I can tell you how many drums of the mix you need. You’re right, doctors know nothing.

    • TechGuy says:

      Reply to R Walter:
      One problem: Antibiotics has reached the end of the road. Most of the old 19th century diseases are now becoming anti-biotic resistant. I am sure before the 21th Century ends we’ll be back where we stated.

      Javier Wrote:
      “During the party we really messed up the house and the more responsible between us are really sorry, but the house has been messed up a lot more previously. The clean up will take a long time but it will be done.”

      The clean up (by humans) will never be done. Perhaps over a few dozen million years nature will slowly recover a significant amount of the damage. But its not going to return extinct species or other forms of permanent damaged caused by humans.

      We are bankrupt in all forms: Economically, Society, and resources. Humanity has reach the point in population numbers, when it will simply trash whats left in terms of resources, implementing a scorched earth policy as die off unfolds.

      “Worth living to see it even if dying is the price.”
      You may very well regret that statement as die off unfolds. FWIW: I would preferred to been born many decades earlier and not face the die off.

      • Javier says:


        I’ve got a secret. 7.3 billion people are going to die in the next 100 years. I’m 100% sure of it and there is nothing that can be done about it.

        In biological terms the big die off only means that they are not going to be replaced by 7.3+ billion people. The replacement number is going to be lower, perhaps much lower.

        In human terms it means that a lot of people are going to die earlier than what statistically could be expected at present. And they are going to die from causes that have a much lower mortality right now. Hunger, suicide, disease and violence are the main candidates (the four horsemen?). Old people will be the most affected.

        But studying from past occurrences, the main contributor is likely to be a very low birth rate. Few people will want to bring babies to such a world. The growth rate drops like a stone.

        Nobody is going to be happy to go through such correction whether survives to advanced age or not. Nobody was very happy about the situation of the Roman empire between 200 and 500 CE. But we’ve got to accept what is coming our way and cannot be avoided, and for those of us that have enjoyed the good times, that should serve as some consolation.

        Regarding the clean up, I was referring to nature obviously and with hundreds of thousands to millions of years in time scale.

  37. SatansBestFriend says:

    ELM + Putin = Bad news for NATO aligned countries.

    Russia wouldn’t use their energy to gain power would they………

    This is what we get for ignoring Satan!

  38. Jef says:

    Ain’t no heat hiding in the ocean any more.

    “Massive El Niño sweeping globe is now the biggest ever recorded”

    and no it does not mean a welcome end to drought. It means massive flooding, killer drought, record temps, in short…climate change and not in a good way.

    • Javier says:

      El Niño is weather, not climate. And it has been going on for ever. It was named in the 19th century but it has been detected for at least 5000 years.

      Don’t freak out. No need.

    • El Niño is caused by a shutdown of cold water emerging from the deep Eastern Pacific basin near the South American coast. That cold water is replaced by warm water flowing from the western pacific. So it’s not really energy popping in from the deep. The cold water is accumulating off Peru. I’m keeping a close eye on it, and expect a strong cold water surge within the next six months. La Niña.

      • Javier says:

        “El Niño is a giant puddle of heated water that sloshes across the Pacific Ocean. From NASA satellites, we can see the big picture; a massive pool of warm seawater, half as large as the United States. It’s like an iceberg; most of it is submerged, but part of it sticks out above the sea’s surface, as the wedge floats in the surrounding ocean. The bottom of this warm “iceberg” is about 100 meters below the surface. The top layer of water may protrude 150 or more centimeters above sea level.

        El Niño’s energy reserve is vast, almost inconceivable. It contains more energy than has been procured from all the fossil fuels burned in the United States since the beginning of the century – that’s all the gasoline in all the cars, the coal in all the power plants, the natural gas in all the furnaces. It would take more than a million large power plants, at 1,000 megawatts each, running full tilt for a year, to heat the ocean that much.”

        El Niño from a planetary point of view constitutes a venting event. The planet cools by putting most of that heat first in the atmosphere and then radiating it to space. Without an El Niño most of that heat would have to be moved towards the poles for years or decades by oceanic currents before getting out of the planet.

        Only to the limited view of a surface creature frightened by CO2 levels can El Niño be seen as dangerous warming. We are just in the middle of its way out of the planet.

        El Niño primarily warms the atmosphere, and only secondarily the surface. That is why satellite temperature measurements register a lot more warming from El Niño events than surface temperature measurements.

        • Arceus says:

          – “Only to the limited view of a surface creature frightened by CO2 levels can El Niño be seen as dangerous warming.”

          LOL. Well done.

        • Jef says:

          Jeezu, I don’t know why I have bothered reading reports from thousands of researchers all around the globe over the last 20 years when all I had to do is come up with my own opinion by pulling it out of my ass.

          I guess its all good and I should start stocking up on down parkas.

  39. scrub puller says:

    Yair . . .

    Okay folks this is an open thread so could anyone explain why the San Bernardino shootings have affected Wall Street . . . makes no sense to me.


    • TechGuy says:

      Scrub wrote:
      “Okay folks this is an open thread so could anyone explain why the San Bernardino shootings have affected Wall Street ”

      It didn’t effect the Markets. the Market declines was caused by other factors, such as the ADP report that signals the US employment situation is improving, which increases the odds that the FED will hike this month. Mario Draghi, didn’t tell the markets what they wanted to hear. There is also trouble brewing in the Bond Market. The EU Sold off about 3% on the ECB news, which leaked into the US and Asian Markets.

      • scrub puller says:

        Yair . . .

        Gotcha TechGuy . . . local media are attributing drift to the shootings but offer no explanation.


    • Heinrich Leopold says:

      scrub puller,

      The Wall Street sell off has probably more to do with the Yellen speech today and yesterday, who hinted an interest hike next week. USD down more than 2% and interest rates spiking indicate emergency selling of treasuries.

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      Wall Street doesn’t give a hoot about ‘The People’. There have been many instances of the stock market going up as unemployment went up, because it meant less expenses for businesses, thus more profit for dividends. The idea it would go down due to a shooting in San Bernadino doesn’t fit. It’s a simple reaction to confirmation there will be an interest rate hike this month and concern over market reaction.

      • scrub puller says:

        Yair . . .

        Thanks fellers . . . still see local media making the connection between the two events.


  40. Doug Leighton says:

    Hi Mac,

    I ran into following so am posting in case you’re still interested. This is strictly “could be/might of been” stuff. Personally I have no knowledge relating to flares (other than their interaction with Earth’s magnetic field).


    “The Sun demonstrates the potential to superflare, new research into stellar flaring suggests. New research has found a stellar superflare on a star observed by NASA’s Kepler space telescope with wave patterns similar to those that have been observed in solar flares. Superflares are thousands of times more powerful than those ever recorded on the Sun, and are frequently observed on some stars.”

    • Strummer says:

      “might of been”

      I’m not usually a grammar nazi, but really?

      • Doug Leighton says:

        I was raised on Oxford English and (sort of) migrated to the stuff you use here. “might of been” in this case is derived from song lyrics I assumed OFM would appreciate. Sorry if you’re offended.

      • Puffalar (Your Five-Alarm Puff) says:

        Might of Bean Coffee House

        *Don’t forget to join us for our Tuesday Night Regrets Open Mic & Karaoke: Best regret or saddest song gets a 25% discount!*
        *Sunday Collapse Lattes half price!*
        *Tickets for R Walter Dec. 25th. available now!*

        Let the might of our bean pick you up when nothing else will!

  41. ezrydermike says:

    more on the “War on Coal”…

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Donald L. Blankenship, a titan of the nation’s coal industry whose approach to business was scrutinized and scorned after 29 workers were killed at the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010, was convicted Thursday of a federal charge of conspiring to violate mine safety standards, part of a case that emerged after the accident, the deadliest in mining in the United States in decades.

  42. Don Wharton says:

    It looks like natural gas production might be drastically increasing. No relief for the bulls.

    [edit – actually this was an Oct. 13 article so a bit out of date. It would be good to get more current data from other than the EIA. Will the new takeaway capacity really be this massive?]
    Selective quotes:
    Natural gas production in the lower 48 United States averaged 72.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in September, up nearly 0.4 Bcf/d versus the August average, according to Bentek Energy®

    “The month-on-month U.S. natural gas production jump can be attributed almost entirely to the Northeast,” said Sami Yahya, Bentek energy analyst. “While most of the upcoming pipeline expansion projects in the Northeast are slated for a November 1 release date, some projects came online ahead of schedule. Northeast gas production shot to a record 20.8 Bcf/d in September, which marks a month-on-month increase of nearly 0.45 Bcf/d between August and September.”

    “ Given that the Northeast is expected to add another 2.4 Bcf/d in November, U.S. dry gas production is set to reach new highs and average a little less than 74 Bcf/d by year end.”

    • Arceus says:

      Are there any natural gas bulls left?

      Natural gas has been trending down for at least five maybe six years – short of massive bankruptcies and painful industry consolidation I can’t see that changing anytime soon. Far too much of the stuff to ever be profitable for long.

      • Heinrich Leopold says:


        It is exactly when all bulls have left, the market turns around. Quietly the natgas market and production fundamentals have changed significantly over the last two years. Not so long ago president Obama declared 100 years of natural gas production, which equals around 3000 Tcf of reserves. That has been reduced massively in the latest reserve estimation towards just 400 Tcf or around 15 years of reserve life. So this is a seven times reduction in about two years. In addition, decline rates in shale gas accelerated astronomically (Marcellus legacy rate e.g. tripled from just 0.171 bcf per day and month towards over 0.6bcf per day and month). Shale gas producers have to replace every year 18 bcf/d (or 3 mill boe/d) of production just to stay even. Furthermore, most producers replace currently just 50% of the decline rate – see below chart – and this is going down even further. The only area still growing is Utica , which is still in its infancy, yet experiences growing decline rates as well. Despite cheer-leading from the media reporting new production records, these records represent a minimal increase in baby steps of 0.1 bcf/d over the previous production record. The Northeast (Utica and Marcellus combined) has therefore just grown 1.8 bcf/d this year, whereas production did not grow over the last half year and was just helped by a jump in November to show any growth at all – despite all the comments about flooding the market with natgas from newly connected pipelines. Given the sharp acceleration of decline rates over the last months I estimate the remaining reserve life of US gas to just eight years. I am therefore extremely bullish on natgas over the next years as the market dries up to the extremes. Timing is difficult yet in my view this is one of the best investment opportunities in the century as the US natgas market is extremely important for the competitive position of the US economy and has also a big impact on monetary policy. The expected dislocation of the natgas market has good chances to qualify for an extreme ‘black swan’ event.

        • AlexS says:


          The estimated US proved reserves of natural gas have actually more than doubled since the beginning of the shale boom.
          3000 Tcf likely refers to technically recoverable resources or some other category of resources

          • Heinrich Leopold says:


            The 400 Tcf gas reserves are definitely an improvement, yet have a reserve life of just 15 years and not 100 years as published openly by president Obama a few years ago (quote from February 14, 2012 …….We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years,” declared President Barack Obama in his State of the Union speech last month. “And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.” Hooray, right? Some environmental lobbyists aren’t exactly celebrating—and some analysts say that the president doesn’t know what he’s talking about…….. So the natgas bubble deflated substantially.

            • AlexS says:


              You compare different categories: proved reserves and technically recoverable resources.

              From the EIA website:

              “How much natural gas does the United States have, and how long will it last?

              The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that as of January 1, 2013 there were about 2,276 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable resources of dry natural gas in the United States. At the rate of U.S. dry natural gas consumption in 2013 of about 27 Tcf per year, the United States has enough natural gas to last about 84 years. The actual number of years will depend on the amount of natural gas consumed each year, natural gas imports and exports, and additions to natural gas reserves.

              Technically recoverable reserves consist of proved reserves and unproved resources. Proved reserves of crude oil and natural gas are the estimated volumes expected to be produced, with reasonable certainty, under existing economic and operating conditions. Unproved resources of crude oil and natural gas are additional volumes estimated to be technically recoverable without consideration of economics or operating conditions, based on the application of current technology.”


              Technically recoverable U.S. dry natural gas resources as of January 1, 2012 (trillion cubic feet)
              Source: EIA AEO 2015

              • Heinrich Leopold says:


                Total technically recoverable resources imply no price limit. The US will probably not run out of natural gas, yet prices will rise substantially. There are also vast technically recoverable resources of precious metals in oceans and even in space on comets etc., yet production costs are astronomical.

    • Heinrich Leopold says:


      Although US natural gas production is still up year over year in September, it stands around even month over month and the year over year difference of 130 bcf is much lower than in January 2015 which was 200 bcf year over year. Moreover, the record of 20.8 bcf/d in the Northeast (Marcellus and Utica) is barely over spring production when production increased over 20 bcf/d for the first time and – having a hard time of staying above 20 bcf/d – falling many times below 20bcf/d since then. The rest of the US is in steep decline and the production increase in the Northeast cannot compensate for this decline. End of November, US total production fell below 70 bcf/d for the first time in months. This is significantly down from last year’s production of over 74 bcf/d and your prediction for the year end. It remains to be seen if production from uncompleted wells can compensate for the current steep decline. As we are seeing stock withdrawals from reservoirs, full reservoirs cannot serve as an excuse for low production levels anymore.

  43. oldfarmermac says:

    TESLA is trying to set up a deal with CHILE for lithium.

    • Jef says:

      EVs in every garage.

      “Lithium ion batteries are also, together with nickel-metal-hydride batteries, the most energy consuming technologies using the equivalent of 1.6kg of oil per kg of battery produced. They also ranked the worst in greenhouse gas emissions with up to 12.5kg of CO2 equivalent emitted per kg of battery. ”

      What could possibly go wrong with ramping up production 10 fold every year?

      • Fred Magyar says:

        They also ranked the worst in greenhouse gas emissions with up to 12.5kg of CO2 equivalent emitted per kg of battery.

        That’s a ridiculous statement! Batteries do not emit CO2 when in use, on the other hand burning a single gallon of gasoline emits roughy 20 lbs of CO2…

        What could possibly go wrong with ramping up production 10 fold every year?

        A much better question is what could go right if we had fewer idiots running the world clinging to the past and supporting their special interests and agendas!

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Fred,

          Yes I agree, the “batteries are bad for CO2 emissions” argument relies on the assumption that the electricity is supplied by coal or natural gas. The argument is not that far off for the average US consumer today, but a lot of the people that buy Teslas also buy PV solar with powerwall backup. They are not your average consumer and probably have a huge carbon foot print in other ways (big homes lots of air travel etc).

          The positive part is that these early adopters can allow Tesla and other companies to eventually turn a profit and start selling to regular people (like me), and eventually to everyone in the form of used cars and lower cost PV either grid only or with battery backup. Eventually Wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear, with a little natural gas backup will get the job done.

      • islandboy says:

        The big difference between mining battery raw materials and fossil fuels is that fossil fuels are burnt once and gone forever, while batteries are used again and again after which the raw materials can usually be recovered through recycling. Automotive lead acid batteries are some of the most recycled items on the planet. Wikipedia says you get 11.6 kWh per kg so if we use a depth of discharge of somewhere 50%, say 5kWh per cycle and assume 3000 cycles a kg of lithium can store 15,000 kWh of carbon free renewable energy over it’s lifetime. Using a figure of 400 Wh/kg for lithium ion batteries, with a 50% depth of discharge (200Wh) and 3000 cycles, a kg of lithium ion batteries can store 600 kWh over it’s lifetime.

        The EIA says, when generating electricity using fossil fuels anywhere between 1.21 to 2.17 pounds of CO2 are produced per kWh of electricity, depending on the type of fuel. For simplicity let’s say half to one kg of CO2 per kWh meaning one kg of lithium can prevent the production of 7,500 to 15,000 kg of CO2 and one kg of lithium ion batteries can prevent the production of 300 to 600 kg of CO2. So you produce 12.5 kg of CO2 to prevent the production of 300 kg, doesn’t sound too bad to me.

        I do not understand the anti-renewable rhetoric around here. It’s like any effort to mitigate Global Warming or Peak Oil is a total waste of time. Should we all just put the pedal to the metal and wait for our Thelma and Louise moment?

        Edit: I saw Fred’s comment after posting mine and realised that in focusing on storing renewable energy, I totally ignored the EV angle. If a Nissan Leaf can go 100 miles on 30 kWh and we assume 3000 cycles, over the lifetime of the battery it will travel 300,000 miles. At 30 mpg that’s a savings of 10,000 gallons or 200,000 lbs. (91,000 kg) of CO2. At 200 Wh/kg, the Leaf battery would weigh 150kg needing the production of 1875 kg of CO2. So, if the EV is powered by carbon free electricity it produces 48 times less CO2 than an equivalent conventional car over the life of it’s battery.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Islandboy,

          The problem is the electricity to run the car is usually from fossil fuels, so from a carbon emissions standpoint it may be a wash for the average US electricity consumer.

          • Nick G says:

            Dennis, a few thoughts:

            1st, you have to have a pretty high percentage of coal for EV CO2 emissions to get as high as a Prius. Most people in the US don’t have a percentage that high.

            2nd, EVs can and do charge when wind, solar and nuclear are strongest or have the highest kWh percentage, usually at night. EVs help support clean energy by providing additional demand for them.

            3rd, if EVs were to help reduce oil consumption now, and only reduce CO2 emissions later, that still would be more than good enough.

            The perfect is the enemy of the good!

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Nick,

              I agree EVs are a good idea, but the average kWh of electricity produced in the US emits a fair amount of carbon, so EVs probably help, but not as much as many think.

              Of course we need to find something to replace ICE cars as oil depletes, it is not clear that EVs are the best choice (trains, and light rail might be better in many places) EV powered by PV and wind is a nice choice in the suburbs and plugin hybrids in rural areas.

              • Nick G says:

                the average kWh of electricity produced in the US emits a fair amount of carbon

                Well, again, EVs don’t use the average kWh. They use power at night, when the share of wind and nuclear is higher.

                trains, and light rail might be better in many places

                I agree. But…

                1) trains and light rail take a long time to build. and,

                2) They don’t work well for much beyond rush hour commuting and inter-urban trips under 500 miles. That’s not a really big percentage of trips, even for city-dwellers.

                I love rail: I use it to commute every day: it’s quiet, it’s safe, it’s chauffered! But outside of commuting it doesn’t work well: buses handle the majority of passenger-miles in big city transit systems, and they’re not very fuel efficient. Remember: for mass transit to actually eliminate cars it has to go everywhere, and it has to do it 24×7. For most people, even in urban areas, that’s incredibly expensive (and fuel inefficient) to do, even with buses. Rail would be astronomically expensive.

      • Glenn Stehle says:


        The environmental impact of the mining of lithium and its use in the manufacture of batteries:

        °°°Elemental lithium is flammable and very reactive. In nature, lithium occurs in compounded forms such as lithium carbonate requiring chemical processing to be made usable.

        °°°Lithium is typically found in salt flats in areas where water is scarce. The mining process of lithium uses large amounts of water. Therefore, on top of water contamination as a result of its use, depletion or transportation costs are issues to be dealt with. Depletion results in less available water for local populations, flora and fauna.

        °°°Toxic chemicals are used for leaching purposes, chemicals requiring waste treatment. There are widespread concerns of improper handling and spills, like in other mining operations around the world.

        °°°The recovery rate of lithium ion batteries, even in first world countries, is in the single digit percent range. Most batteries end up in landfill.

        °°°In a 2013 report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out that nickel and cobalt, both also used in the production of lithium ion batteries, represent significant additional environmental risks.

        • Nick G says:


          You have to ask yourself 2 questions:

          1) how does a new thing like a li-ion battery compare to the status quo? Answer: it’s far, far better than oil.

          2) If the new thing has problems like water or toxic spills, is it fixable if someone pays attention? Answer: yes.

      • Glenn Stehle says:


    • Glenn Stehle says:

      “Transformation” is the magic word.

      Want absolution? Then merely click your heels together three times, chant “transformation,” “transformation,” “transformation” and all your sins will be washed away.

      Chile’s CODELCO is the world’s largest copper producer. The Mexican mining giant Grupo Mexico is its third.

      Grupo Mexico just released a new commercial titled “Transforming with Vision.” It can be seen on YouTube here:

      So we ask: Who in their right mind could be against “transformation”?

      “Transformation,” however, has two very different faces. There’s the one the green entrepreneurs and their mining buddies want us to see — the one they use in their public relations campaigns. And then there’s a very different one.

      Here are some images of the other face of “transformation” that the green entrepreneurs don’t want us to see.

      Others can be found by Googling “Grupo Mexico derrame Rio Sonora.”

      • Glenn Stehle says:


      • Fred Magyar says:

        Hey Glen, why not post pictures about tar sands mining in Canada or maybe deep sea corals killed by the Macondo blowout or any one of a number of ecologically devastated areas due to mountain top coal mining or oil derricks in lake Maracaibo, etc… etc… etc…?

        I think we all know that our industrial civilization has extracted a huge cost in terms of environmental degradation. Obviously the pictures you posted are more of the same in terms of not doing what is necessary to safeguard our environment.

        So what exactly are you doing to change all of the above or are just one of those people who finds joy in pointing out only the flaws and problems of anything that doesn’t support you world view? So what’s your solution to our problems? Do you have anything positive or constructive to add to the conversation?

  44. R Walter says:

    A look at the Little Ice Age and what did happen during those 400 years.

    Everything changes.

    Good thing coal came along during that time, saved Europe and England from freezing to death. har

    The Baku region is the original oil place, the highly prized white oil from there.

    1264 Mining of seep oil in medieval Persia witnessed by Marco Polo on his travels through Baku.

    1500s Seep oil collected in the Carpathian Mountains of Poland is used to light street lamps.

    1594 Oil wells are hand dug at Baku, Persia up to 35 meters (115 feet) deep.

    John D. Rockefeller hired Hermann Frasch, made plenty of money removing the stink from kerosene. Rudolf Diesel built an engine so farmers could use peanut oil to run the machines.

    The oil industrialists began to produce diesel fuel when all you have to do is grow peanuts the original biodiesel.

    Science has helped the development of the oil industry, no doubt.

  45. Watcher says:

    Indonesia re-enters OPEC despite consuming twice what they produce.

  46. Ves says:

    Where do we go to collect our wager money for betting that OPEC will not cut? 🙂

    • Heinrich Leopold says:


      There is actually some talk from the conference that the production limit is raised as the organisation will adjust to already higher production from members. we will see.

      • Ves says:

        That limit raise is not really a raise but more along the line: “Okey this is a reality that current OPEC production is 31.5 so let’s call that our production limit for now”

        • Watcher says:

          Limit raise to accommodate Indonesia inclusion.

          • Ves says:

            OPEC is grouping of exporting countries. Indonesia does not export any oil so their inclusion into OPEC is not related to this perceived raise of the production limit. Limit is not raised today but there is only OPEC acknowledgment of reality that OPEC production 31.5 mbd. OPEC just stated the reality: “OPEC produces 31.5 mbd today and that is production limit as of today”. That is all. Asymmetrical warfare to be continued. World elites squabble between themselves while the rest collectively have a race to the bottom.

    • shallow sand says:

      Not from me, I’m broke. LOL. Seriously, this is going to hurt, but we have adjusted big time to try to survive this crash. I am hoping having no debt will help us survive. I have no idea how those who bought conventional production for $80-150 K in 2013-2014 are going to get out of this mess unless they paid cash, but I think few did. I am aware of several who borrowed substantial sums to buy production in 2013 and 2014. Thankfully they outbid us, the few times we bid.

      Whether we keep going depends on how much further we drop in oil prices in 2016. $40 WTI average in 2016 is survivable. $30 WTI in 2016 is not survivable, not sure what we will do then. I guess if you asked me in 2014, I would have thought we would be in worse shape than we are, so maybe we will figure something out at $30 WTI, if that occurs.

      I guess I wonder if we will see rig counts fall further, more companies go under? Will be interesting to see how shale reacts. I imagine US offshore will continue its course higher, too late to turn back the projects. But as for LTO, I am thinking we might finally see rigs drop below 400 as contracts expire.

      The Q4 numbers will be worse than both Q3 and Q1 for US shale. Realized BOE will be below $30 pre hedges for almost all publicly traded US shale. I presume in many areas, NGLs will still be negative (i.e. producers WILL PAY purchasers to take it).

      Long term, USA is totally dependent on LTO for domestic oil production. Conventional onshore is below 2.5 million and falling. Domestic offshore may reach 2.0 million, but based upon the amount of CAPEX being slashed, I do not look for it to surpass that amount, and will likely fall within less than five years as new projects slow and decline marches on.

      LTO is the future for US oil production, it appears. I am skeptical, but I am very biased.

      • Ves says:

        SS: “Thankfully they outbid us, the few times we bid.”

        You see that nothing in life is “bad”, but it is just our perceptions 🙂

        I don’t know what will be in future but reading from your comments I can sense that if you stay cash flow neutral with $40 that you will come on other side. Maybe just watch carefully for any additional costs in terms of big repairs.

      • Heinrich Leopold says:

        shallow sand,

        As oil prices will come down over the next months, especially if the FED raises interest rates, the companies surviving the next year will reap huge benefits in 2017 and beyond. It is just a question of keeping the powder dry and surviving the next year. Why selling cheap when it is possible to sell at a profit later? I know it is difficult to manage as costs are always there and bills have to be paid, yet it will pay off to be not aggressive now.

  47. Jeffrey J. Brown says:

    MSNBC is reporting that the San Bernardino female terrorist posted a pledge of support for ISIS on a Facebook account, just before the attack.

    In any case, if X = number of Radical Islamic Terrorists in a given country and if Y = Number of Muslims in a given country, then our experience seems to be as Y increases, so does X.

    • Clueless says:

      Times sure have changed.
      A Christmas 40 years ago: Look at that! A gold ring with a red ruby, surrounded by small diamonds. Wow, what a great Christmas present.
      This Christmas: Look at that! A concealed carry Sig Sauer P938 9mm, with night sites and a Sig laser. Wow, what a great Christmas present.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Xmas is just another m!ndfü¢k.

        “Blood diamonds (also called conflict diamonds, [etc.]) is a term used for a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, an invading army’s war efforts, or a warlord’s activity. The term is used to highlight the negative consequences of the diamond trade in certain areas, or to label an individual diamond as having come from such an area…The term conflict resource refers to analogous situations involving other natural resources [Like oil?].” ~ Wikipedia

        “Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes … it’s all a charade. The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path…” ~ Pope Francis

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      “In any case, if X = number of Radical Islamic Terrorists in a given country and if Y = Number of Muslims in a given country, then our experience seems to be as Y increases, so does X.” ~ Jeffrey J. Brown

      Seems to be’? With a comment expressed like that? Cute.

      Ok, well then how about;

      ‘If X = Number of tax-hostage dollars/’energy-credits’ stolen/leveraged by so-called governments (AKA, State/legal/hyper terrorist organizations) for military (industrial complex) and related (foreign, etc.) activities, and Y = social unrest/violence, then our experience seems to be that, as X increases, so does Y


      • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

        Perhaps if I imbibed sufficient single malt scotch, your comments would begin to make more sense to me.

        In any case, it seems self-evident to me as the population of Muslims in a given country increases, the number of home grown Radical Islamic Terrorists is likely to increase commensurately, plus existing Radical Islamic Terrorists slipping in with migrants/refugees, which is what happened recently in France.

    • Javier says:

      This is all very interesting.

      The link to ISIS is a supposed Facebook page under pseudonym that was erased prior to the attacks. Ok. We have to believe that.

      They were a Muslim couple. She was born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia, two known terrorist havens. They had no trouble to legally buy all the weapons used in the attack. Is it me or the US has a problem with weapon availability?

      Most people don’t understand that unlike Al-Qaeda or Al-Nusra Front, ISIS is not a terrorist group that promotes international jihad. The origin of ISIS was Al-Qaeda in Irak, when it was directed by a Jordanian and an Egyptian, but after 2010 it became directed by Iraqis, incorporating army officers from Saddam’s Ba’ath party. It broke up with Al-Qaeda in 2013 because it no longer supported international jihadism. It had become an Iraqui-Sirian terrorist state bound on increasing power and territory. ISIS main goal is not to spread terrorism attacks over the entire world but to expand and consolidate their territory. Our strategy to fight them should be completely different than our strategy to fight Al-Qaeda. By bombing them we attract international jihadists to their cause that otherwise would not go to die for the benefit of a local conflict.

      Syrian army, Iraqi army, Kurdish army and Jordanian army (all Muslim) that surround ISIS and have a paramount interest in stopping ISIS, are perfectly capable of doing so if we just convinced our allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to stop financing ISIS. Too bad we rather send the bombers. Our citizens are going to pay the price of a misguided policy.

      • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

        Is it me or the US has a problem with weapon availability?

        Without any apparent sense of irony, a MSM reporter noted that while it was virtually impossible for a law abiding citizen to buy a gun in France, they were readily available to criminals and terrorists in France, on the black market, where the Islamic Terrorists bought the weapons they used to slaughter 100+ French citizens.

        • Javier says:

          You fail to see the difference. If found buying or holding weapons in Europe they would be immediately sent to prison. And Islamic radicals are being arrested on a regular basis over here.

          Had this couple been searched the day before, they would have been allowed to proceed because they were legal.

          They were not international terrorists with illegal weapons access like in Paris, they were a couple of legal citizens that radicalized on their own. This type of people would not have had access to those weapons in Europe and they would have had a high chance of being arrested if they tried.

          • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

            And yet the bottom line is that both groups of terrorists had no difficulty getting the weapons they needed, and the larger group of terrorists in France, where they have strong gun control laws, killed about 10 times as many people as the pair of terrorists in the US.

  48. ezrydermike says:

    Two conferences are taking place this week 5,438 miles apart.

    The agendas could not be more different. The stakes could not be any higher.

    In Paris, 120 world leaders are meeting under the auspices of the United Nations in an urgent effort to prevent catastrophic climate change, which threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions around the globe.

    In Arizona, global fossil fuel companies and giant utility firms will go behind closed doors with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) politicians in a continued effort to derail any global agreement with state lawsuits designed to sink President Obama’s Clean Power Plan with cement boots.

    ALEC Spearheads State Legal Efforts to Tank the Clean Power Plan and Paris Accord

    To rein in carbon pollution that causes severe health and environmental impacts, the Obama administration developed the 2015 Clean Power Plan (CPP), which requires states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent by 2030.

    Although experts say it falls short of what is needed, it is also the the most ambitious effort of any American administration to address the climate crisis.

    While Republicans in Congress can do little but rant and rail over the measure, states have the power to bog down implementation with aggressive lawsuits and other legal countermeasures.

    ALEC has been a key vehicle for advancing this goal.

  49. ezrydermike says:

    some big names mentioned here…

    Introducing the Breakthrough Energy Coalition

    THE WORLD NEEDS WIDELY AVAILABLE ENERGY that is reliable, affordable and does not produce carbon. The only way to accomplish that goal is by developing new tools to power the world. That innovation will result from a dramatically scaled up public research pipeline linked to truly patient, flexible investments committed to developing the technologies that will create a new energy mix. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is working together with a growing group of visionary countries who are significantly increasing their public research pipeline through the Mission Innovation initiative to make that future a reality.

    • ezrydermike says:

      Mission Innovation aims to reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable.

      Accelerating widespread clean energy innovation is:
      •An indispensable part of an effective, long term global response to our shared climate challenge;
      •Necessary to provide affordable and reliable energy for everyone and to promote economic growth; and
      •Critical for energy security.

      While important progress has been made in cost reduction and deployment of clean energy technologies, the pace of innovation and the scale of transformation and dissemination remains significantly short of what is needed.

      Mission Innovation will help accelerate the global clean energy revolution.

    • Javier says:

      Let’s hope they can revert the trend. It looks like the number of visionary countries is dwindling.

  50. dmg555 says:

    For the 13th week of the last 14, US Oil rig counts declined. Down 10 to 545 rigs, this is the lowest since May 2010 as the temporary respite in the early Fall has given way to reality and rig counts track the lagged crude price lower…

  51. Anonymous says:

    One platform on fire, one collapsed and one losing it’s anchors in the Caspian – all due to storm effects by the look of things.

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