Texas RRC Oil & Gas Production Report

Texas has released Oil & Gas Production Data Query with its (incomplete) production numbers for December 2014. The numbers were quite surprising.

The last data for all Texas data is December 2014. The EIA data is through November. The Oil data is in barrels per day.

Texas C+C

Though the data is incomplete, we can still get some idea what oil production was in Texas in December. Total, C+C incomplete, production numbers for December was up over 133,000 barrels per day over the November incomplete data. Of course this number will change but it is very significant. Why would Texas production numbers jump to over 2.5 times their usual number in December?

Texas Crude Only

Texas crude only was up 109.4 thousand barrels per day according to the Texas RRC.

Texas Condensate

And the rest of the C+C increase came from condensate, up 23.9 thousand barrels per day.

All gas data is in thousand cubic feet with the last data point December 2014.

Texas Total Gas

Total Texas,  gas production was up just 619,000 thousand cubic feet according to the incomplete RRC data.

Texas Gas Well Gas

Gas well gas was up 267,000 thousand cubic feet on incomplete data.Texas Associated Gas

Texas Associated gas was up 352,000 thousand cubic feet. This is a huge jump for associated gas.

Forget EROEI, ROI is the important thing.

Commenters on this blog often talk about EROEI, Energy Return on Energy Investment. It was one of the very first energy related acronyms I encountered when I first entered the peak oil fray almost 15 years ago. It is a valid concept and should be of concern to everyone. However… as far as the peaking of world oil production is concerned, it is far more of a confusion factor than anything else.

EROEI is extremely difficult to calculate. What do you count? Human labor? Only the calories actually expended by human labor should be counted. But how do you figure that out? Of course all fuel and electricity should be counted but what about the equipment? The energy expended in manufacturing the equipment should be counted. But that would be an almost impossible task because the energy expended in the manufacture of drilling and other oil production equipment must be spread out over the life of that equipment.

Then there is the downstream energy expended, that is the transporting of the raw product, the processing energy and then the delivery energy expended. And if you are going to count the downstream energy, and you must, then you must figure the energy required in manufacturing of the refinery, the pipeline, the trucks, the gasoline and diesel pumps, and even the calories expended by the workers involved in all these activities.

The total energy required in all these processes is almost impossible to calculate and the exact figure would always be unknown.

What really matters, the real important entity and what is far more easily to calculate is ROI, Return on Investment. As long as ROI is strong rig counts rise and every effort is made to increase production. But if ROI drops then everything slows down. If ROI goes negative then rig counts drop and a drop in production soon follows.

Return on investment is everything. ROI is the determining factor, not just for the production of oil and gas but for the production of everything. Even the state of the economy rises and falls with what kind of return investors get on their investment.

For every action there is a reaction. When the ROI of oil production drops, production drops, then the price rises until the ROI on oil production is positive again. But this action also has a reaction. When the price of oil goes up the price of producing other commodities goes up, the manufacturing cost of equipment goes up and the delivery costs of everything goes up. All this causes the ROI of almost every other type of investment to fall. But just like in the oil patch, the price of everything else must rise until the ROI of all other investments becomes positive.

However as the price of everything else rises then the price of everything in the oil price rises also, causing oil patch ROI to drop. So the price of oil must rise higher. This in turn causes the price of everything else to, again, rise higher.

As the real cost of oil recovery and production rises the price of everything else must rise to compensate. But if that happens then nothing is gained by raising the price of oil because the price of everything else rises in an equal amount. It becomes a wash. The oil producers would still be losing money.

In order for a rise in oil prices to benefit the producers the price of, at least some things, must not rise with the price of oil. And that would most likely be wages, or the people’s ability to pay higher prices. That in turn would cause ROI on almost everything else to drop… and the economy to crash.

Are the Alberta oil sands going bust?

Every day I see another news article about the Alberta oil sands problems.

Oil slump puts diversification back in view for Alberta Premier Jim Prentice

Under pressure in the Alberta oil patch

Canada’s Oil Industry ‘In Near-Death Condition,’ Russian State-Owned Rosneft Says

CNRL’s Steve Laut Says Oilsands Face ‘Death Spiral’ If They Don’t Cut Costs

We all know what is happening in the US oil patch as well as a lot of other oil patches around the world but from the rash of news articles we have been seeing lately it looks like things in Canada are getting desperate.

And I had to post this. A coal company is financing climate change denial research.

Documents Reveal Fossil Fuel Fingerprints on Contrarian Climate Research

After finishing a study contending that solar activity is increasing global warming, scientist Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reported his news to a utility company that was a major funder of his work.

Scientist falsifying research papers on “risks of global warming and climate change” funded by energy industry

It was revealed that he has received an exceeding $1.2 million over the last 10 years from the fossil-fuel industry without bothering to reveal the conflict of interest in 8 out of 11 of his scientific papers that has been published from 2008. There was violation of ethical regulations in all these papers.

In has been proved through these documents that he has delivered these papers in return for their money and this same goes for describing the testimony which was arranged for the Congress.


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402 Responses to Texas RRC Oil & Gas Production Report

  1. Petrol lines in Rockhampton, Australia east coast


    But that’s global warming, not peak oil

    Cyclone Marcia: Climate change is expanding the tropics
    The southward shift of cyclones under climate change will force planners to demand stronger building standards as far south as Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast, Cairns climatologist Steve Turton says.

    TONY JONES: …. why worry about carbon dioxide when water vapour is a stronger greenhouse gas and actually occurs naturally?

    JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, that’s the screwiest argument which keeps being made again and again and again. The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere is determined by the atmosphere’s temperature, everyone should know that. Look at the difference between winter and summer.

    As you go to a warmer climate the atmosphere holds more water vapour because at the places where the humidity reaches 100 per cent the water vapour falls out as water or snow. And therefore, as the planet becomes warmer, the atmosphere holds more water vapour.

    That’s why we get heavier rain falls as the planet gets warmer. So this water vapour is an amplifying feedback. It makes the greenhouse effect much stronger. But it’s not something that just changes on its own accord; it changes in response to the temperature changes.

    • clueless says:

      Just wondering, because I do not have a clue. But, is carbon dioxide a “miracle molecule?” I ask that because out of every 10,000 molecules in the atmosphere, 3.64 are carbon dioxide. And those few molecules “trap” enough heat to heat the world into oblivion. If I had a sponge with 10,000 pores and 3.64 of those pores were capable of “trapping” water, would it be a great sponge? Instead of using fossil fuels, can we take carbon dioxide and circulate through the ground and have it suck up enough heat to then circulate through a house to heat it? Kind of like a geothermal heat pump?

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Dude, did you ever take physics and chemistry?

      • Old farmer mac says:

        CO 2 is an insulator that allows the sunlight to reach the surface of the earth as if it weren’t even there.

        CO2 is transparent like nice clean glass to sunlight.

        But when the sunlight warms up all the things ranging from the air to the soil and trees and buildings to everything else- the CO2 then acts as an INSULATOR holding in the heat.

        And it doesn’t come and go in the atmosphere like water vapor. The humidity varies wildly with location , weather and season of the year with the air going from bone dry to so foggy you can see only a few feet. Co2 sticks around like an unwanted relative on the sofa. Like a venereal disease. Like a debt collector.

        So – the more CO2 the greater the insulating effect. It lets the sun in but does not let the heat back out again. Everything else held equal the more CO 2 there is in the atmosphere the warmer it will be.

        But it takes a long time for the warmth to build up noticeably in the air because a hell of a lot of the heat is winding up in the water of the oceans— for now.

        Now the reason CO2 lets heat IN is that it is transparent to short wave radiation such as sunlight. The sun is VERY hot and produces short wave.

        When the ground and other things warm up they radiate long wave because they are not very hot. CO2 is opaque to long wave radiation.

        The cooler an object is the longer the wavelength of radiation it emits and the hotter the shorter.

        Now understanding WHY CO2 is transparent to short wave and opaque to long wave is above my own pay grade. I didn’t get that far in physics and/ or chemistry and doubt many people do excepting physics majors and some engineers depending on their specialty.

        • clueless says:

          OFM – Thanks for your explanation. Fred, I took Physics and Chemistry at MIT in 1959-1961, but they never touched on this subject. And, if everything that OFM said is correct, it is still somewhat puzzling [to me only] why 3.64 molecules out of 10,000 can possibly have such a major effect. But, I do recognize that one 22 caliber bullet to my heart will kill me.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            My apologies, but sometimes I get a bit frustrated when people don’t take the trouble to even try to find this kind of information on their own. Especially if they took physics and chemistry at MIT. A good place to start is here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

            Below are also a few links with some short excerpts from aip.org
            I highly recommend reading the full texts and all the hyperlinks.
            YES, it takes time and effort to become educated on a such a highly complex topic as this one. Personally I find such effort worthwhile. YMMV!

            The Discovery of Global Warming February 2015

            A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change.

            This Website created by Spencer Weart supplements his much shorter book, which tells the history of climate change research as a single story. On this Website you will find a more complete history in dozens of essays on separate topics, occasionally updated.

            Selected links are mine for illustrative purposes:

            The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect

            In the 19th century, scientists realized that gases in the atmosphere cause a “greenhouse effect” which affects the planet’s temperature. These scientists were interested chiefly in the possibility that a lower level of carbon dioxide gas might explain the ice ages of the distant past. At the turn of the century, Svante Arrhenius calculated that emissions from human industry might someday bring a global warming. Other scientists dismissed his idea as faulty. In 1938, G.S. Callendar argued that the level of carbon dioxide was climbing and raising global temperature, but most scientists found his arguments implausible. It was almost by chance that a few researchers in the 1950s discovered that global warming truly was possible.


            Simple Models of Climate Change

            What determines the climate? Explanations proliferated — models for climate built out of little more than basic physics, a few equations aided by hand-waving. All began with a traditional picture of a stable system, self-regulated by natural feedbacks. A few nineteenth-century scientists suggested that a change in the level of carbon dioxide gas might cause an ice age or global warming, but most scientists thought the gas could not possibly have such effects. Yet climate did change, as proven by past ice ages. Some pointed out that feedbacks did not necessarily bring stability: in particular, changes in snow cover might amplify rather than dampen a climate shift. In the 1950s, an ingenious (although faulty) model involving changes in the Arctic Ocean suggested a disturbing possibility of arbitrary shifts. Experiments with fluids made that more plausible.


            Basic Radiation Calculations
            The foundation of any calculation of the greenhouse effect was a description of how radiation and heat move through a slice of the atmosphere. At first this foundation was so shaky that nobody could trust the results. With the coming of digital computers and better data, scientists gradually worked through the intricate technical problems. A rough idea was available by the mid 1960s, and by the late 1970s, the calculations looked solid — for idealized cases. Much remained to be done to account for all the important real-world factors, especially the physics of clouds. (This genre of one-dimensional and two-dimensional models lay between the rudimentary, often qualitative models covered in the essay on Simple Models of Climate and the elaborate three-dimensional General Circulation Models of the Atmosphere.) Warning: this is the most technical of all the essays

            • Lance Bergio says:

              Sorry, you ignoramus commie witch, but the serial sociopathic man-made climate change lies of the Gore Green Goblin Eco-fascists have been debunked worldwide by REAL as opposed to junk science whose false gospel has been long since abandoned by countries not having a death wish for their economies!

              Beware Of The Ulterior Motives Of UN Agenda 21 Proponents Regarding Farmers Markets – The UN Agenda 21 Plan Of
              The Eco-Fascists To Herd Those Of Us, Whom They Deem Fit To Live, Into Cities So That We Might Be Better Controlled –

              Burn Down The Suburbs – A New And Intrusive Ecclesiastical Communism As Agenda 21 Enabling A Godless New World Order –

              Fighting The Pathological Lying Gore Green Goblins For The Sake Of A Country Fit To Live In – Corporate Welfare Costs

              Taxpayers Almost $100 Billion In FY2012 – White House Pressure Got Solyndra DOE Loan – Melting Our Money Away Via

              Delusional Solar Power Dreams – Obama’s Green Jobs Scam – Biofuels Boondoggle Ripping Off Military As Air Force Pays

              $59 A Gallon To Help Obama Donors – Obama Waging All-Out War On Coal Industry As Unreasonable Clean Air Standards

              Imposed On Plants With The Loss Of Jobs Of No Concern – Obama’s Amerika Is Now A Country Where Being An American Is A

              Crime As Oregon Rain Man Found Out – Insanity As Beetle To Delay Keystone Pipeline – Get Ready For More Solyndra-Style

              Waste As Obama’s 2nd Term Will Feature A “Green Bank” – Obama’s Draconian Car Regs Based On Green Goblin Lies Will

              Make Cars Unaffordable – The Assault On Coal And American Consumers – Skeptics Put The Freeze On NASA “Hot Air” About

              Greenland Ice – Debunking The Great Carbon Tax Hype – Let’s Drill For Oil – Solyndra Figures Attend Swank Obama

              Fundraiser – Leaked Emails Snag Global-Warming Alarmists – Obama’s Imaginary Efficient Green Energy – EPA’s “Border

              Environmental” Agreement Ignores Damage Done By Illegal Aliens – Lifting Drilling Restrictions Could Increase U.S.

              Reserves By 30 Percent – Alaska Massive Petroleum Reserves Put Off Limits By Obama Who Has A Death Wish For Efficient

              American Energy – Obama Wants To Nationalize All Industries And Regulate Your Paycheck As Plan Would Let Government

              Determine “Value” Of Private Market Jobs – EPA Foolishly Seeks To Destroy Nation’s Coal Industry – Ethanol Mandate

              Ignores The Free Market – The Bogus Hype From Climate Alarmists Like Michael Mann That July Heat Record Shows Rise In

              Global Temp – Higher Gas Prices Add To Economic Slump – The Obama Politburo’s Double Standard When It Comes To Concern

              About Carbon Footprints

          • Brian Rose says:

            It’s really about scale.

            The Earth warmed 1 degree Fahrenheit in 100 years. This happened even though various orbital occurrences would have a cooling effect.

            COm is not a particularly powerful greenhouse gas, but a persistent one.

            Think of it like compound interest. A greenhouse gas is any gas that lets solar radiation through, but does absorb infrared radition – which is what sunlight become after being absorbed by an object like land, water, other gases, etc.

            If solar radiation makes it all the way to the ground before being absorbed and re-emitted as infrared, then it has to travel 62 miles up to get back to space. It may encounter a greenhouse gas, be absorbed, and then re-emitted in a random direction (up,down, sideways, wonkaways). Sometimes that ‘re-emission is down, trapping that infrared heat.

            This is where the compound interest analogy comes in. Even 100 parts per million more of a greenhouse gas will, over decades, and ONLY decades (or longer), not only trap small amounts of new incoming radiation, but ALSO continue RETRAPPING the radiation it has slowly kept bouncing back toward Earth.

            It is not the trapping of New radiation that is the problem because that is indeed small cheese. It is the cumulative, ongoingn, interest accruing trapping of both new AND old radiation.

            Not only are we putting money in our 401k with our paycheck, but we’re accruing interest on the money we out in decades ago.

            Saying CO2 shouldn’t matter because its concentration is small its like saying putting $3000 a year in a 401k would never make you a millionaire. It’s not the initial input that counts. Its the compound interest.

            Put $3000 away every year starting at 23, and you’ll be a millionaire by 65 – even though you only put in $126,000 you would have well over $1,000,000.

            When it comes to COm we’ve been making small deposits for a century, and we’re all going to be millionaires a few decades from now.

            Hope this helps put it in perspective. It is not just an analogy; this is quite literally how it works.

            • Brian Rose says:

              On my phone. It seems my fat fingers, and auto corrects adamance that it is indeed automatically correct have combined to translate that comment into pieces of gibberish.

              I apologize, and hope everyone enjoys broken English!

            • Doug Leighton says:

              “various orbital occurrences” What orbital occurrences occurred in the past 100 years? Earth’s axis completes one cycle of precession every 26,000 years so not that; if you ignore anthropogenic sources of variation what are orbital affects that could act to cause warming on a one century time frame?

              • Doug, the Earth’s axis is turning so as to increase the amount of solar energy striking the northern hemisphere and reduce the energy striking the Southern Hemisphere. The net effect is a slight cooling tendency (in theory), but it depends on a ton of details and albedo effects. I think we should try to reduce emissions in part so we can have fossil fuels to keep warm later. Otherwise we do risk falling in an ice age in short order (say 3 to 5 thousand years).

                • Doug Leighton says:

                  But, axial precession cycles on 26,000 year intervals and Brian was talking about “various orbital occurrences” on a century long time interval: I don’t buy this. Obviously axial precession affects will be asymmetric owing differences between northern and southern hemisphere geography but I don’t see any pertinence of that (w.r.t. Brian’s premise).

                  Not that it matters but the ancient Greeks had worked this out over 2000 years ago (by observing a shift in the apparent orientation of the star field) and perhaps quite a few ancient peoples long before that. There are, of course, other > 26,000 year cycles and even the earth’s axis is slowly shifting however none of this is relevant to PO or climate change (in human terms).

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Fernando,

                  Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will get to 450 ppm at minimum. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will remain above 280 ppm for 100,000 years, so we will not need to worry about an ice age any time soon. See David Archer paper at link below:


                  • Good point. Fernando doesn’t understand that playing with CO2 is like trying to steer a supertanker in the ocean. The inertia of the CO2 is so large that the background concentration will not respond instantaneously to attempts at control.

                    This is all due to the slow diffusional properties of CO2 sequestration.

        • Ovi says:

          Today the CO2 concentration is closer to 4 molecules per 1o,000.

          To explain how these 4 are so effective lets assume that they, along with the other 9996 other particles, are in one cubic metre at ground level. So if you think of a 1 km stack of these cubes, that means that the light reflecting from the surface has to dodge 4000 CO2 molecules to get to the height of 1 km. In other words the probability of the light escaping decreases the further up it travels. Regardless a lot of energy still escapes, but not enough to maintain a constant average temperature equilibrium.

          • Allan H says:

            Light does not interact with CO2 molecules, they are transparent to light. Infrared interacts with CO2, NO2, CH4, CFC, H2O and others. The infrared is captured and re-emitted or kinetically transferred to other atmospheric molecules thus heating the air, some of which is returned to the surface through infrared and kinetics to heat it which produces more infrared as it tries to cool.
            Here is a simple explanation and some infrared absorption spectra.


            As can be seen from the combined spectra, much of the infrared region is covered by absorbing greenhouse gases.

        • Allan H says:

          CO2 and similar molecules like NO2 an methane have the ability to vibrate asymmetrically. O2 and N2 can only vibrate symmetrically. This is an important difference since asymmetric vibration is required to intercept infrared energy and re-emit. Infrared is not energetic enough to cause electron orbital jumps, only physical motion in molecules.
          The optical range of EM waves, visible light, is of an energy that does not cause molecular vibrations but does cause electrons to jump to higher orbitals. If an atom does not have an available and compatible higher energy orbit, then the light does not interact as in the case of O2 and N2. Visible light is not energetic enough to cause ionization so passes on without interaction. Only atoms with available higher energy electron orbitals of the proper energy absorb light.

      • Allan H says:

        Hey clueless, if 270 ppm can raise the global temperature from zero F to 56 F, how much will the current 399 ppm raise the temperature?
        I don’t expect you to know the real answer because it involves concepts like black body radiation and band broadening. However, CO2 is only the trigger in this case. The warming causes another asymmetric stretching molecule to come into play, H2O. Then the warming causes yet another release of an asymmetric stretching molecule, methane. And to top it all off, the real monster is released as the snow and ice cover diminishes. A grand reduction in albedo of the planet.

        Just remember how an avalanche starts – small.

        • Jerry O. says:

          I have to laugh at a few of you Democrats/progressives here. If the atmosphere is made up of:

          Nitrogen (N2) 780,840 ppmv (78.084%).
          Oxygen (O2) 209,460 ppmv (20.946%).
          Argon (Ar) 9,340 ppmv (0.9340%).
          Carbon dioxide (CO 2) 397 ppmv (0.0397%).
          Neon (Ne) 18.18 ppmv (0.001818%).
          Helium (He) 5.24 ppmv (0.000524%).
          Methane (CH4) 1.79 ppmv (0.000179%).

          Which totals almost 100% (minus water vapor) then if CO2 is actually increasing (measurable by unbiased instruments, not the ones certain academics placed in urban heat islands to justify taking more of MY tax money to fund their elitist lifestyle) what gas is actually being displaced and where is it going? To left-wing fairy land along with the unicorns? By the way, if CO2 is increasing, that is a good thing since it is one of the two gases necessary to photosynthesis, the other being O2.

          Just remember the radical left-wing NY Times has been whining about climate change, global cooling, warming, etc, etc, ad nauseum since the 1880s and oddly enough we’re ALL STILL ALIVE! How’s that even possible, progressives?

          • Allan H says:

            Jerry O wrote “what gas is actually being displaced and where is it going? ”

            Duhh, oxygen of course. Carbon burns meaning it combines with oxygen. That oxygen is no longer a free diatomic molecule, it is part of the CO2 that was formed. Thought that was pretty obvious. Every 12 grams of carbon burned removes 32 grams of free oxygen from the atmosphere.
            Then half of the CO2 generated goes into the ocean, making it more acidic and reducing the ability of phytoplankton to calcify, thus reducing the production of oxygen.

      • WelshFarmer says:

        The simple answer is that 99.9 percent of the air is made up of two atom molecules
        – oxygen and nitrogen
        Three atom, molecules like CO2 have ways of vibrating and rotating that two atom dumb bells can’t do.
        The frequencies of the rotations match low temperature heat photons.
        So hot sunlight goes through without causing vibrations, but cool heat from the ground goes up and causes vibrations, thus trapping the heat in.

        If you don’t understand this basic physics, you aren’t entitled to an opinion on climate change. Sorry.

    • John B says:

      I think there is also some research that points to more cloud formation with more water vapor. More clouds reflect sunlight away, creating a cooling effect. So that would be a negative feedback.

      • Fuser says:

        I’ll mail you $10 if you permanently change your handle to ‘King Cornucopia’.

      • Head-Janitor says:

        John B,

        There are something like 42 positive reinforcement feedback loops now. I am glad you think you found one negative feedback loop. However… you’re wrong.


        • John B says:

          Hi SRSrocco,

          Will you be watching the Congressional Hearings on Climate Data tampering?
          It should be interesting.


          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            If your point is that you are unsure governpimps can survive the fossil-fuel-related implications of climate change, and that they’ll therefore likely be fighting it tooth-and-nail for their very survival as the monsters that they are, then I am inclined to agree.

          • kertzman says:

            This will be a great start to finally begin fining and possibly imprisoning some of worst of the atmospheric science researchers hawking the phony climate change narrative. See most of the Republican presidential candidates if they become president have already pledged to start the lawsuits against the climate change fearmongering dolts. I inspect it will be very lengthy legal process, but it will be interesting to see what other ‘inconvenient truths’ from the inner sanctum of the climate change scientific cult come slithering out of the closet once we have a Real American in the White House willing to get to the truth behind the faux climate change science..

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              They better hurry…

              “Ultimately, what brought the civilizations down was the inability of governments to collect enough taxes for expanded government services from the increasingly impoverished citizens.” ~ Gail Tverberg

            • thrig says:

              Reality paints a slightly different picture of the denalist antics, ongoing.

              Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (heh!), wasted a bunch of taxpayer money in failing to find any of the alleged fraud on the part of Michael Mann, and the court ruling from 2012 set the allegations aside “with prejudice.” Ouch. No evidence? Try a witch hunt!

              Meanwhile, a different supreme court judge ordered the National Post to pay climate scientist Andrew Weaver $50,000 in damages in a defamation suit over articles published in 2009 and 2010. Oops. No evidence? Try defamation!

              Now, as for actual scientists getting in trouble, one need only look to Wei-Hock Soon, who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. Turns out Willie somehow forgot to mention in 8 of 11 recent papers something about the sweet $1.2 million from the fossil-fuel industry. Something about violation of ethical guidelines for the journals involved. Whoops! No evidence? Try the tobacco lobby playbook!

      • Synapsid says:

        John B,

        It’s a little more interesting than that. The overall effect of Earth’s clouds, at present anyway, is cooling. Stratus (grey-sky) clouds act to reflect incoming sunlight and prevent it reaching the surface, so are net coolers, but cirriform (wispy and mares’ tails and such) let sunlight through but trap some outgoing infrared, and are thought likely to have a net warming effect.

        A big question is: what will warming do to the ratio of cooling clouds to warming clouds, and to their global extent, and how will its effect rank alongside all the other feedbacks in operation. Clouds are one of the least understood parts of the overall dynamics of climate change; there’s lots of research underway as a result.

        Remember the mantra: Uncertainty is not your friend, when it comes to climate change.

        • Allan H says:

          Global dimming from aerosols, SOx and contrails has led to about 1 degree C cooling overall. Basically our pollution is doing uncontrolled geo-engineered cooling in regions over the globe. Sunlight has been reduced from a few percent to 22 percent across the globe, depending upon where it is measured.
          SOx causes cloud droplet changes and increases reflectivity (also destroys lungs). So any sulfur containing coal or petroleum product is reducing global warming, modifying climate and setting up a potential heat disaster if the pollution is stopped.

        • WelshFarmer says:

          Cloud cover will only change if the overall temperature changes.
          They are therefore a secondary effect.
          Heat trapping molecules like CO2,H20,CH4 are the primary cause for temperature change.
          The primary effect is easy to calculate (radiative forcing).
          The secondary knock-on effects are almost impossible to calculate, unless you are a massive parallel processor computer.
          It is undeniable that CO2 and CH4 concentrations are increasing more rapidly than ever before in our planets history.
          This is clearly bad news, because the way the system reacts is unpredictable.
          IOW, I believe in Climate Change, but I don’t trust the models.
          It could be much worse or much better than we expect.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi JohnB,

        There are two types of clouds that form some of them cause a net cooling and others cause a net warming and on balance the effect is small. The research is ongoing in this area and is one of the major sources of uncertainty in climate science, there is little agreement on whether the net effect causes warming or cooling, but there is good agreement that the overall effect is relatively small.

        Another area of major uncertainty is the effect of aerosols and their possible interaction with cloud formation.

        • The question is whether climate models assume the cloud effect is a positive or negative feedback. Right now the energy inbalance seems to be 0.2 to 0.6 watts per m2, this can be offset by very small changes in temperature, or reductions in CFC and methane concentrations.

          On the other hand the Chinese seem to be doing a great job geoengineering the atmosphere with aerosols and soot. Complicate, isn’t it?

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Part of the difference in model results is that the clouds and aerosols are not well understood and different models make different assumptions on these less well understood aspects of the climate.

            The best estimate of Transient Climate Response is 2C, after 560 ppm CO2 is reached and assuming no further carbon emissions, the atmosphere will continue to warm as the ocean warms up and after 100 years or so equilibrium temperatures will be about 3C above pre-industrial, any emissions beyond reaching 450 ppm CO2 (assuming other greenhouse gas levels are unchanged) will take the earths atmosphere above 2C over preindustrial temperatures at equilibrium.

            • I dont think the best estimate is 2 C. I think its likely to be 1.3 to 1.6. Got the number from coworkers who specialize in it. As you know i have worked on extracting oil from the Arctic.

              The higher an oil company’s TCR range, the more aggressive they become bidding for Arctic acreage. Or they have unusual regional climate projections. And that’s all I can say.

            • Fernando Leanme is wrong and DC is right. The TCR is close to 2C for a doubling of CO2.

              What people like Fernando don’t realize is that CO2 is an equivalent measure. Along with increases in CO2 come increases of methane and other anthropogenic greenhouse gases such as N2O. These get dragged along with CO2 as fossil fuel emissions rise.

              And what is more troubling is that the land-based TCR value is closer to 3C for a doubling of equivalent CO2.

              • WelshFarmer says:

                And we should be clear that each methane molecule traps 100 times more heat than a CO2.
                Not 28 times. This oft-cited figure is the erroneous result of double counting (CH4 is at low concentration precisely because it doesn’t persist very long).
                I personally am more worried about methane (belching) than CO2.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi WelshFarmer,

                  The Methane does not remain in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide so the effect is more temporary. We will run out of natural gas so it will only be a problem if methane hydrates melt, which is possible but not likely.

          • Old farmer mac says:

            Yes- Very complicated indeed.

            But we know that natural processes leach CO2 out of the atmosphere very slowly in terms of human perceptions.

            And while we DO NOT know how long we will be able to burn fossil fuels and produce soot and aerosols at the current rate or a higher rate we have a pretty good idea that we are going to hit maximum pollution and start down the backside of the fossil fuel consumption curve within a couple of generations.

            When the aerosols and soot concentrations start falling off the temperature will start going up faster than before.

            A degree or two more warmth doesn’t sound so bad at first glance but it will not be uniform in time and space. Some places that hit one hundred F today a couple of times a year will probably hit the century mark a dozen times.

            And places that hit zero F a couple of times a year now may get that cold only once every four or five years.

            Such changes have simply ENORMOUS implications for my own line of work.

            Nice hard winter freezes for instance are the best defense I have against some of the more common pests in my area such as stink bugs.

            And a week of exceptionally hot dry weather can potentially ruin some crops.

            Some places may get hot enough that people will no longer be able to live there on a year round basis due to the combined heat and temperature.

            None of this bodes well for our grandchildren but I doubt very seriously anything can be done to stop the various developing countries from burning all the coal oil and gas they can put their hands on.

            And so far as that goes even rich western countries such as the USA are going to cut back on fossil fuels only slowly and marginally until forced by necessity to do so.

            Depletion is the sort of problem that cannot be finessed by bankers and politicians.

    • wimbi says:

      All of the highly erudite chat about climate illustrates well the truth of the remark I heard in a lecture by Ilya Prigogine, who got his Nobel for studies of non-equilibrium complex systems ( like, atmosphere). He made a generalization relevant to all this:

      1) If you add energy to a complex system, it will get warmer – this is essentially certain.
      2) When you add energy to a complex system, it will get more chaotic, the detail of which is impossible to predict. This too is essentially certain.

      Summary- we know it will get warmer, we don’t know anything else.

      So, from that, what do I, a mere gadget engineer, do? Well, do what I do- think up things that might allow a lower rate of warming. Might and might not. After all, everything is uncertain, which means despair is illogical, since, who knows, it is possible that something might come up.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Wimbi,

        Great comment thanks.

        I have some training in engineering and back in my day engineers tended to use a factor of safety when faced with uncertainty.

        There is a great deal of uncertainty with how much the planet will warm if CO2 levels double to 560 ppm (roughly 1.5 to 4.5C, with a best guess of 3C at equilibrium).

        Does it seem strange to you that there are some engineers that think we should deal with this uncertainty by choosing 1.5 or 2C for an equilibrium climate sensitivity, rather than 4 or 4.5C?

        To me this seems like choosing a factor of safety of 0.3 to 0.5, rather than the usual engineering rule of thumb of maybe 2 to 3.

        • Find the current temperature to be quite acceptable. This means I’m pretty cool if TCR is in the 1.3 to 1.6 degree C range. Which is what I think is the most likely range.

          So, for now, I’m more worried about peak oil than I’m about global warming. I’ll worry more if I see temperature track the current model ensemble centerline within say 0.2 degree C.

          The same applies to peak oil, if I see some of the large solar and wind power projects pan out then I’ll worry less about peak oil.


          • It doesn’t matter whether you “Find the current temperature to be quite acceptable.”

            This is not Fernando’s vision of Fantasy Island.

        • wimbi says:

          Factor of safety decision. Depends on lots of things, including consequence of mistake, and, most important, COST OF ALTERNATIVE. Obviously, if the alternative to a dicy choice is less risky and also less expensive, then we go for the alternative.

          That’s why I keep harping on solar. Less risky than ever more holes in the arctic, and, if all costs taken into account, no more $ and carbon, and maybe less.

          And, easy to slide into bit by bit, in small easily digested hunks. Take those megabucks from a hole, and instead put it on a wind turbine. That’s all I’m advocating. Sorta harmless, not risky, maybe good.

          And for me and my brother gadget makers, fun.

          • Boomer II says:

            And, easy to slide into bit by bit, in small easily digested hunks. Take those megabucks from a hole, and instead put it on a wind turbine. That’s all I’m advocating. Sorta harmless, not risky, maybe good.

            I think that’s its appeal for Silicon Valley types. They have seen how the Internet and the home PC markets grew: individual units that could then be linked together to a network.

            Distributed power generation has appeal because it isn’t centrally controlled by either fuel providers or by power generators.

          • I need a factor of safety to make sure you don’t starve half of humanity with make believe solar power solutions. Don’t worry, if you guys are right solar panels are viable, cars will run like the energizer bunny, Ron will be right and we will have peak oil and everybody will be just fine with a wire delivering cheap juice using chinese technology. But if you are wrong we are in deep doodoo.

            • Old farmer mac says:

              ”But if you are wrong we are in deep doodoo.”

              PERSONALLY I am convinced we ARE in deep doo doo and that a major portion of the human race is going to drown in it within the next half century.

              But there is an excellent possibility that some of us – the ones with the most remaining natural capital and the expertise and will to use both wisely – will manage a transition to a low energy per capita lifestyle.

              Business as usual is a dead man walking folks. The scientists from the Good Reverend Malthus on who have pointed out the problems associated with exponential growth have reasoned correctly.

              But just as Malthus could not anticipate the Industrial Revolution scientists such as Catton could not have reasonably anticipated some of the things that have come to pass since they did their work- things such as dramatically falling birth rates and the equally dramatic drop off in the cost of renewable energy produced by modern wind and solar tech.

              There is in my estimation – looking at things from the pov of a professional ag guy who is well informed about the basics fossil fuel supplies and other once thru now renewable gifts of nature- PLENTY of reason to believe in a general and widespread collapse in human numbers. I just can’t see renewables being scaled up fast enough to keep upwards of ten billion people alive.

              At some point within the next fifty years or so there a dire shortage of agricultural inputs such as nitrate fertilizers will develop in the same year as the weather on average fails to cooperate and people will starve by the millions. THERE IS NO BIG CARRYOVER OF FOOD FROM YEAR TO YEAR. Not anymore.

              But people who have plenty of resources and the will to use them wisely can make the transition to a new low energy economy IF they get started soon enough. IF they are ruthless about keeping the population in their home territory down- meaning small families and extremely little immigration if any at all. If they are capable of defending themselves. If they are willing to give up ease and comfort in the short to medium term to ensure their long term survival.

              This is a lot of if’s and a it is hardly a start on a comprehensive list but people have done as much or more in the past once they realized they had the choice of doing it or perishing.

              Hard nosed engineers like Fernando will be a necessity. The dreamers will make the transition politically possible by preparing the way in people’s minds.

              Leviathan will put people like Fernando in charge of managing the transition – if we are lucky. If Leviathan puts the wrong people in the key positions involving the transition it will surely fail.

              There are a ”million” things that can go wrong. But there were always a lot of things that could go wrong on an old sailing ship on a long voyage. Nevertheless most of them had captains that got them there and back again.

              There is nothing certain about ANY society managing a successful transition to a renewables economy that allows people to live a more or less modern western life style – a life style including comfortable homes with water and sewer and electricity and stores with plentiful food and so forth.

              But even in the worst of times, years with lots of pirates and lots of storms, most sailing ships still got there and back again trip after trip.

              A few countries will probably pull thru the fossil fuel bottleneck more or less whole if greatly chastened- given good luck.

              • Futilitist says:

                Old captain bligh,

                Your old timey sailing ship won’t get us to the promised land of renewable energy because it might only be a mythical land. No one has ever actually been there, though many claim to have seen it in their dreams. Besides, since we’re a runnin’ outa provisions down in the galley, it’s solar, solar everywhere and not a useful way to capture and apply it to keeping ye old vessel of civilization afloat. Were a takin’ on water fast and the crew is starting to talk mutiny.

                Nice pep talk. USS Leviathan is no more unsinkable than the Titanic was.

                • Futilitist says:

                  “But just as Malthus could not anticipate the Industrial Revolution scientists such as Catton could not have reasonably anticipated some of the things that have come to pass since they did their work- things such as dramatically falling birth rates and the equally dramatic drop off in the cost of renewable energy produced by modern wind and solar tech.”

                  That is utter horseshit, Old farmer mac. You do not understand the science. Over 40 years ago, Dennis Meadows modeled and correctly forecast the change in population growth rates, as well as several other important metrics such as energy and pollution. And the dramatically falling birth rates you are talking about are the direct result of growing resource constraints. Dramatically falling birth rates do not indicate progress. Quite the opposite, actually.

                  Though you claim otherwise, you are a typical cornucopian thinker.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Old farmer mac,

                    Here is a link to the David Korowicz paper:


                    Please read it and let me know what you think.

                  • Old farmer mac says:

                    You MR FUTILIST are a fucking idiot. I read the Limits to Growth book when you still had to reserve a copy at the library.

                    I am not a cornucopian. You are a fucking idiot if you cannot understand this after apparently reading my many comments here.

                    I swore earlier today I would not respond to you again but you are SO STUPID I changed my mind.

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Futilitist, sorry about OFM’s harsh words, which really suck shit.
                    Anyway, I would like to read Korowicz’s paper and get back. A couple of things beforehand… First, I’m familiar with a few of his lectures on the subject. Second, if he’s who is recalled, he talks about lock-in, yes? Well this worries me a lot with regard to nuclear power lock-in and some of the seemingly-unconscionable & reckless talk about continuing and expanding it in the face of the ‘perfect storm’ of peak oil and sociogeopolitical and ecogeological instability. If there is anything that might ensure a final and rapid nail in our species’ coffin (extinction) in the face of collapse, this would be it. This is where high energy, DNA, cancer/disease, the grid, vested interests, short-term/myopic thinking, large-scale centralization, systemic violence, lies, instability, overcomplexity, coercion, taxation, human error, weapons and cover-ups, etc., all meet. And they all seem to run completely counter to where we need to be going.

                  • John B says:

                    Hi Futilist,

                    I quit reading after Page 3, where he says that oil production has been declining. That’s a false premise. Everything after that false premise is nonsense.

                    What has been declining is oil demand. That’s why the price went down, and that’s why oil storage facilities are filling up.

                    You seem to be stuck in a declining oil production fantasy world that never happened.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    John B,

                    “I quit reading after Page 3…”

                    Please tell me EXACTLY what Korowicz said, on page 3, that you think is so wrong that it invalidates the rest of his 75 page paper.

                    Copy and paste the thing that Korowicz said on page 3. Then explain, as precisely as you can, why you disagree.

                    Thank you.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hi Caelan.


                    I think I might want to take you up on your offer concerning my lack of access to the TOD database. Please let me know if the offer stands.

                  • John B says:

                    To clarify, Page 3 of the .pdf.

                    “we are at a peak in global oil production, and that affordable, real-time production will begin to decline in the next few years”

                    This was written in 2012. Since then, global oil production (all forms) has increased. Yet the cost has gone down. So the reality is the exact opposite of this guy’s premise.

                    Anyone can come up with some fantasy, and then go on about all the consequences.

                    E.g. “In a few years, an asteroid the size of Alaska will hit the Earth. These will be the consequences.”

                    Show me the proof of the asteroid before I read anymore about it.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    ““we are at a peak in global oil production, and that affordable, real-time production will begin to decline in the next few years”

                    This was written in 2012. Since then, global oil production (all forms) has increased. Yet the cost has gone down. So the reality is the exact opposite of this guy’s premise.”

                    John B, you are a peak oil denier.

                  • John B says:

                    Nope. Conventional oil production peaked in 2005. It’s just that no one noticed. It was a non-event.

                    I guess you could say I’m a collapse denier. Show me some evidence of a collapse, and I’ll reconsider.

                    Now on the Singularity…


                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Nobody said unsinkable. If we speed into icebergs, or ignore climate change, we could very well sink.
                  Old Farmer Mac thinks a short term collapse in North America is unlikely, I agree.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    So your outlook is supported by Old farmer mac’s? That is not surprising. You are both collapse deniers. You both just make stuff up.

                    Old farmer mac writes fictional short stories, while you pretend to be Mr. Science.

                    We have already crashed into the net energy iceberg, and we are sinking fast. You just can’t deal with reality.

      • Cave Bio says:

        Hi Wimbi,

        I think this could have been simplified even further…we cannot escape the second law of thermodynamics.


        • wimbi says:

          Yep. Prigogine knew all about the second law. What he was trying to do was warn people that trying to make out some nice pattern in the consequences of warming was likely to be pretty profitless, given the infinity of possibilities.

      • Futilitist says:


        You said:
        “All of the highly erudite chat about climate illustrates well the truth of the remark I heard in a lecture by Ilya Prigogine, who got his Nobel for studies of non-equilibrium complex systems ( like, atmosphere). He made a generalization relevant to all this:

        1) If you add energy to a complex system, it will get warmer – this is essentially certain.
        2) When you add energy to a complex system, it will get more chaotic, the detail of which is impossible to predict. This too is essentially certain.

        Summary- we know it will get warmer, we don’t know anything else.

        So, from that, what do I, a mere gadget engineer, do? Well, do what I do- think up things that might allow a lower rate of warming. Might and might not. After all, everything is uncertain, which means despair is illogical, since, who knows, it is possible that something might come up.”

        I would like to say something about your general mode of thought on this. It is a common mode of thinking that is evident all over this website, as well as practically everywhere. It seems to be just human nature. To illustrate this, I will take your post and change a few things to make it about collapse, not climate change.

        Here goes:
        “All of the highly erudite chat about the collapse of industrial civilization illustrates well the truth of the remark I heard in a comment by Futilitist, who has no particular credentials at all. He made a generalization relevant to all this:

        1) Civilization requires constant growth in net energy — this is essentially certain.
        2) We have reached peak oil and thus peak energy, so our exponential growth must come to an end. All exponential growth ends in collapse. This too is essentially certain.

        Summary- we know we are headed for collapse, we don’t know anything else.

        So, from that, what do I, a mere human do? Well, do what I do – make up things that might allow us to avoid our certain fate. Might and might not. After all, everything is uncertain, which means despair is illogical, since, who knows, it is possible that something might come up.”

        You are caught in a denial loop.

        You are correct that despair is illogical. But so is it’s opposite. Hope.

        Hope dies last.

        • TonyinPDX says:

          As Mr. B. Franklin observed, he who lives upon hope will die fasting.

          • Boomer II says:

            As Mr. B. Franklin observed, he who lives upon hope will die fasting.

            But if the opposite choice is to die anyway, what difference does it make?

        • Ronald Walter says:

          Hope springs eternal!

          Last summer’s weather never saw a century mark in temperature, late May had a week of temps in the 90’s, but that was it. The summer of 2014 was cooler and not as warm as normal or past years.

          Normally, the last two weeks of July and all through August have several days of daytime temps in the 100 degree range, but not so much anymore these days. A cooling trend for the last seven years or so has been the observation. The summer months have been cooler the last four years and the winter months haven’t been nearly as severe with a record winter daytime temp recorded this year.

          Hard to tell if it is cooling or warming but I do know that the summertime temperatures are cooler than in the early sixties to the early seventies and the winters are maybe a little less severe than winters from the seventies. The winter of 75/76 had a lot of snow and the drifts were deep, colder than normal too.

          The early eighties had warm temps and I remember days of 102 in August. Barley from the field on a hot day is hot coming off the truck and into the bin. Used to drain gallon jugs of malathion right into the grain as it was binned. The malathion was diluted, but I poured gallons of malathion solution into barley to kill the bugs coming in from the field. Barley is for beer, not bugs. If you have ever seen grain bugs, they’re there by the millions. Phostoxin works too.

          The summer of 1988 was especially hot and the sidewalks were hotter. 108 degrees in the shade one day, it was hot.

          On a hot day in July or August, when I was a kid, I would go out to the black dirt in the field and stand with my bare feet until I couldn’t stand it, the dirt was so hot. Just too hot for bare feet.

          During harvest, you always carried a five gallon bucket filled with water and a small rug, in case of a fire. You had something to fight it with ten miles from the nearest water source. Had one fire, the muffler on the grain truck was too close to the barley stalks and they began to burn right now, spontaneously. It was a quick reaction to grab the five gallon bucket, pull the rug out from the bucket and douse the fire in no time flat. Don’t want to lose a truck when you need it now. If you have ever been near a burning building, it doesn’t take much to realize how hot a burning building fully ablaze can get. Holy smokes!

          I am actually hoping for a warmer summer this year.


        • wimbi says:

          Ferchristsake! Tell me quick, Just what am I denying???

          What I said, real loud, is that WE DON’T KNOW. How can anybody call that any kind of denial?

          Denial of certainty? Guilty as charged.

          • Futilitist says:

            Generic philosophic denial of certainty is fine.

            Just don’t over-generalize the concept.

            Near term collapse is a virtual certainty. The evidence is simply overwhelming.

            Focusing on efforts to avert a long range, diffuse threat like Global Warming while ignoring evidence of a near term, catastrophic energy/economic collapse = Denial

            • John B says:

              Define near term. Define collapse.

              • Futilitist says:

                Near term —-
                Collapse begins within 0-5 years. I think it has already started. Dennis Meadows (Limits to Growth) also thinks collapse has already begun.

                Collapse —-
                The rapid and complete disintegration of modern industrial society and the subsequent die-off of perhaps 90-95% of the population.

                • Thirunagar says:

                  So what would be the population in say 2020. 1 billion? 5 billion?

                • Thirunagar says:

                  So what would be the population in say 2020? 1 billion? 5 billion?

                  • Futilitist says:

                    I have no idea, and never claimed to. Why would you ask such a question? Reread my post.

                  • Thirunagar says:

                    Because your comments are never quantifiable or verifiable. Otherwise you can keep on writing the same comments (we are in collapse) for any number of years you want and the thesis can never be disproven.

                    The only thing that collapsed in the last 6 months was the price of oil which is primarily due to the rapid scale up of shale production.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    I have been writing that we are ‘in collapse’ for about the last week or two. Please be a little more patient.

                    And declining demand was a bigger factor than rising supply starting around December. Go ahead and say that isn’t true if it makes you feel better.

                  • Thirunagar says:

                    Where exactly was it declining?

                    From December? Even if it is true, you are basing your assumptions on 2 months data?

                  • Futilitist says:


                    It is no surprise that you keep insisting that oil prices have declined only because of increased supply. Collapse deniers like you need to pretend that declining demand has had nothing to do with the drop in oil prices. But you are wrong. There are plenty of articles all over the web explaining why the drop in oil prices have also been driven by falling demand. Just open your eyes.

                    This chart is from the IEA:

                  • Thirunagar says:

                    Ok high priest from the Church of Doom. There were 5 such occurences (short term demand decline) is the chart you have posted. By your logic, we have collapsed 5 times over. And ooh the production improved too exacerbating the mismatch.

                  • John B says:

                    Hi Futilist,

                    The drop in demand is due in large part to a switch to alternatives like biofuel, CNG, electric, and hybrid electric cars.

                    I figure 3 million barrel/day now and climbing steadily. E.g. electric car production is doubling every year.

                    This is not a collapse. This is an exponential increase in technology. And deployment of those new technologies.

  2. clueless says:


    After Jensen’s 1st premise, all the rest of the premises are meaningless. So, we might as well just plod along until extinction.

  3. Phil Harris says:

    Tar sands and similar?
    Oil extraction until recently has not really been a ‘ net cost’; it has been a benefit: all those ‘energy slaves’ building and maintaining a global economy. This includes I suppose growing the recent 4 billion tonnes per annum coal extraction industry in China.
    I put this reference up on Ugo Bardi’s blog recently.
    Nate Hagens has a good video lecture.
    I liked Nate’s simplified yellow chart 17 minutes into his long lecture.
    He illustrates what happens when an economy goes from spending 5% of GDP on obtaining and putting energy to work, to spending perhaps over the next 10 – 20 years, 10% of GDP on getting the same energy. Even if the total amount of energy obtained is the same, the said economy loses about half the original ‘benefit’ that was obtained from the original easier-to-get fuel input.

    To build and then year-to-year maintain global industrial civilisation has needed the large favorable ratio between the ‘costs’ of supplying the energy inputs and the GDP value of the output. We have seen a vast increase in ongoing outputs of goods and services. But, half the ratio looks to make a dramatic difference: down from 19:1 to 9:1 in Nate’s arithmetic illustration!

    It must get more difficult to make money as this change sets in?


    • Jef says:

      Exactly the point I was attempting to make the other day.

      Nate obviously does a much better job of pointing this out although I believe he understates it quite a bit.

    • Brian Rose says:

      I’d be happy to have 50% of the population involved in the solar industry. Still 50% of the workforce left over for filling employment roles in the rest of the economy.

      This doesn’t really equate to EROEI since labor is poorly related to energy, but there’s certainly a relationship between EROEI and % of the workforce employed in “energy harvesting”. Inputting more energy is usually a reflection of requiring more complex multifaceted activities – a fracked well requires far more workers than a classic oil derrick.

    • There are ways to offset increased energy costs. For example, take Aleppo. That city has been destroyed by the use of bullets and explosives. Eventually it will be rebuilt. This destruction/rebuild process desnt seem very efficient. I can think of several hundred instances of such inefficient practices. But I’m not sure we can stop being stupid.

  4. Coolreit says:


    You and I are both surprised at the jump in Texas December C+C production. Why do you think that oil production jumped so much in December considering the collapsing oil price?

    • I really have no idea but the fact that gas jumped by a similar amount I think there could have been some adjustments in the Texas RRC’s method of compiling the data.

      • Philip Backus says:

        Ron, When you say Texas RRC’s method of compiling the data are you suggesting at all that a perhaps newer method was used for a “feel good” effect? I’ve lurked here for quite awhile and have always known you to call a spade a spade or to simply say you don’t know when you don’t. Can you elaborate on a reason for any adjustments on methodology?

        • No, I mean they may have a better way of getting the correct data sooner. They may realize that allowing companies many months to report their production simply isn’t what should be done and are taking steps to correct that. And if they implemented steps this month that was not in effect last month, that might cause a sudden increase in the reported data.

          Of course that is just speculation. I was just trying to guess why such a huge increase in one month because I really do not believe that Texas increased its production by 130 thousand barrels in December.

          • Watcher says:

            Haven’t looked up anything so also speculation but end of year reporting of more or less anything is often tax liability relevant. Maybe there’s a rate increase scheduled for 2015.

    • tstreet says:

      Producers are content to to sell their oil at a price that covers their operating costs, including loan costs. Therefore, I can see a desperate need to keep up production even though this will probably end badly for most of these producers. Just because rig counts go down does not immediately result in decreases in production especially because a rig taken out of production could have just completed a well. I believe production is up in general so why would Texas be different.

      However, I very well may be missing something here.

  5. Thirunagar says:

    Thanks for these posts Ron. You are doing a great service for the average knowledge seeking guy in explaining relatively complex concepts with simple English.

  6. Allan H says:

    ROI is an artificial, abstract measure that, as Ron states, is self-nullifying and highly interdependent upon other investments in society. ROI only functions in a financial environment where the appearance of future gain is significant enough to risk investment. Does a failed investment, say oil wells in North Dakota, mean that no energy was produced? No, lots of energy was produced and will be produced further after a bankruptcy sale at a much reduced investment. There was a gain in net energy even though the actual ROI was negative for the initial investment! Also the new ROI (from the same old wells) is positive. Too convoluted for me. Would make one believe in the dead coming to life. Primarily it was a method to shift money from one set of pockets to another, with the side effect of producing energy for society.

    Basically, EROEI has become extended from a pure natural and biological concept where if the EROEI gets below one, the effect is starvation and death after a short time. No amount of paperwork, legal hashing or money will bring that creature back to life. So extending EROEI to human endeavors has to be done carefully and it will not be a good match in all cases. However as an indicator of direction (similar to weight loss and lowered activity in a biological creature) it is good enough. All fossil fuels are experiencing lowered EROEI with time. All fossil fuel production takes more activity, more technology, more societal shift of money to them to achieve the same net energy output. Ergo, fossil fuels are starving at the current time. Meanwhile, solar power and wind power are going in the opposite direction, taking less activity, less money to produce a given amount of energy. They are getting fatter.
    So which spawn of humans will survive given those energy vector conditions?
    I mean isn’t that the whole idea of EROEI, a measure of survival capacity in a given environment?

  7. clueless says:

    Accounting is complicated. But, let’s first look a “variable” costs. Assume that you sell a widget, that someone else makes, on the internet. Your computer and internet setup are fixed costs, and for the most part your “variable” cost is the cost of the widget. Say that is $2 and you sell it for $5, so you make $3. You will get paid (internet customer enters credit card info) before you have to pay your supplier (anecdotally, Apple generally gets paid for its I-phones before it pays its suppliers). If the supplier raise the price by 50% to $3, you can raise your price by 20% to $6 and still make your $3. Or, in reverse, you can raise your price first to $6, and you can wait until the supplier raises your cost of the widget by 50% before your incremental profit goes away and you are back to making $3.
    So, if the price of oil goes up by some %, an oil producer receives an incremental profit that remains (in some amount) until all of his collective “variable” costs rises by a GREATER PERCENTAGE – because variable costs are some fraction of total costs, and total costs are less than selling price. So wages and all other costs of drilling/production can rise by some factor greater than the increased revenue before the producer is financially hurt.
    This also illustrates why falling prices are so harmful to a producer of a producing well. Suppose the price is $100, fixed costs are $40 (cost of land + drilling), variable costs are $10 (production), so profit is $50. If the price drops by 50% to $50, and you cut your production (“variable”) costs by 60% [from $10 to$4], your profit drops by 88% to $6.

    • Clueless, I’ve been on the inside in an oil company undergoing a price drop crisis. Based on my experience, the focus is on net cash flow after income taxes.

      Let me outline the measures we took to get through:

      1. Deferred most large one of a kind operating expenses. For example, we deferred a platform painting program.
      2. Reduced CAPEX by dropping rigs where rig contracts allowed it, and stopped investing in plant capacity expansions.
      3. Called all contractors and asked them to “volunteer” price cuts.
      4. Froze most hiring, had a layoff program.
      5. Froze increases in dividends (but we didn’t cut dividends).
      6. In some countries negotiated tax cuts or other fee reductions.
      7. Stopped bidding for exploration acreage
      8. Cut exploration to the bone.
      9. If it helped we wrote off investments so we could position to pay no taxes at all.

  8. Old farmer mac says:

    I have often argued that return on investment is in the day to day practical world the metric that determines energy production and the production of just about every thing else- in the immediate and near term.

    It is not a problem for a businessman to produce ethanol to burn in automobiles with a net energy loss so long as he makes a PROFIT RUNNING HIS ETHANOL BUSINESS. It matters not a whit to him that the ethanol when it is finally ready to be burnt in a car contains less available energy than was contained in the coal and natural gas and diesel fuel etc that went into producing it.

    In the LONG TERM EREOI will probably be a rock solid limiting factor at some point. The energy in the coal and gas may or will eventually be worth more when utilized in a more direct fashion such as heating a house.

    There is at least a POSSIBILITY however that EREOI will not in fact be a limiting factor in all cases. For instance the utility of liquid fuels MIGHT be so high that wasting some energy in the manufacturing process will ALWAYS be profitable. In other words a few gallons of ethanol to burn in an ice might be more valuable than using the gas and coal etc to heat a house.

    And it might eventually be possible to manufacture some liquid fuels economically at an energy loss because the energy inputs become very cheap. I am NOT PREDICTING that solar farms will one day be built by the square mile the way houses and shopping malls have been built in the recent past but I don’t believe the construction of renewables on this scale can be categorically ruled out.

    If wind and solar are ever built on such massive scales manufacturing some liquid fuels with peak renewable production that does not match up with peak demand might be economically profitable.

    • Allan H says:

      Old Farmer said “I am NOT PREDICTING that solar farms will one day be built by the square mile the way houses and shopping malls have been built in the recent past but I don’t believe the construction of renewables on this scale can be categorically ruled out.”

      I came to the conclusion a number of years ago that those huge mall parking lots and associated buildings would much better serve mankind and the world if they were turned into solar farms.

      What happens if all new houses and buildings are energy self-sufficient and may even be producers of power? Also if many of the existing houses are converted to do the same?

    • Jeffrey J. Brown says:

      In the Sunshine State, a Power Struggle Over Solar Plays Out

      Liberal environmentalists and tea-party conservatives, among others, unite to press state to open window for more renewable energy


      A broad political coalition, from liberal environmentalists to tea-party conservatives, has banded together in Florida to press for something that ironically is in short supply in the Sunshine State: solar power. The group, which also includes business owners, libertarians and Christian conservatives, launched a campaign in January to place an initiative on the state’s 2016 ballot that would eliminate restrictions it says are suppressing the solar industry and protecting utilities from competition.

      Though Florida is the third-most-populous state in the country—after California and Texas—and has plenty of sunshine, it ranks 13th in installed solar capacity, with 229 megawatts, compared with 8,544 megawatts in top-ranked California, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Pennsylvania, ranked 12th, has 240 megawatts of capacity.

      “Florida is the best solar market in the eastern United States, and it’s clearly underperforming,” said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which promotes renewable energy and is a member of the coalition, Floridians for Solar Choice.

      Florida is one of only five states that prohibit so-called third-party sales from non-utility companies to install solar panels on residents’ or businesses’ rooftops and sell them power. Under such arrangements, consumers can avoid the upfront costs of installing solar arrays and lock in potentially cheaper electricity rates, while providers can earn back their investment and a profit over the long haul. Currently, Florida consumers can buy electricity only from utilities. The coalition’s initiative, which requires more than 680,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, would remove that restriction and authorize third-party sales.

      • The simple mathematical implications of the proposed system will be much higher electricity prices and a grid system collapse. I suspect they’ll let it go on until they start suffering power blackouts and electric bills skyrocket. Typical Homo sapiens disfunction.

      • John B says:

        Florida’s oil fired power generation has already been substantially reduced since oil peaked in 2005.


          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            John B is waiting to make their point so that it can be wrung out to dry. ‘u^

            • John B says:

              The point is to illustrate how easily oil can be replaced.

              • Yes, it can be replaced by natural gas. Now please go on and expand your logic.

                • John B says:

                  IF oil is replaced THEN the price will go down

                • Nah. Right now the only effect is to stop it from increasing as much. The long term effect is a relentless price increase. It’ll continue until the whole system breaks down. Or until an alternative energy source can deliver sufficient quantities. We just need to root for new technology so it can take up the slack and allow oil production to drop gradually without causing a lot of pain. Right now, that new technology doesn’t exist.

      • Old farmer mac says:

        It is an excellent rule of thumb that when people who as a general thing DETEST each other agree on some particular point that point is VERY likely to be one well supported by the facts.

        I generally don’t have much use for Tea Party politics except for one key point. They are right that if we don’t get spending under control the country will fall apart due to not being able to generate enough real goods and services to compensate for the goods and services that are either given away or paid in the form of salary and benefits to people who produce nothing. This is just one aspect of collapse of course.

        But a REAL conservative – as opposed to REPUBLICAN – believes in having as little power of any sort concentrated in any one spot as possible. Speaking as a real conservative I do not want the government to have too much power in too many different ways. I do not want any given business or coalition of businesses to have a strangle hold on the economy. I WANT CHOICE in where I get my electric power although I do recognize that the grid itself must be operated as commons type of property such as a highway.

        I don’t want to be told what I can or cannot smoke or drink or eat. I don’t want to be FORCED to live in close proximity to people who have far far different values from my own.

        But given that I have a brain of sorts that is semi functional at least I also recognize that a lot of problems are the sort that can only be dealt with thru collective action and that means government.

        We can’t rely on mercenaries for our national defense and we can’t rely on immortal artificial life forms aka as corporations to look after the environment. So we have a choice to make. Either we have environmental laws or we die from pollution.

        That choice doesn’t require much in the way of a brain but it does require some understanding of the basic sciences.

    • Allan H says:

      It is quite possible that the production of liquid fuels can be operated through subsidy. If the actions allowed by the fuel use are quite profitable or are necessary for the functioning of society in general, then subsidizing a portion of fuel production is quite justifiable.
      For example, the passenger railroads near me are heavily subsidized. They carry large amounts of people to and from their places of business as well as tourists. Without them the nearby roads would probably be in gridlock.
      Another example, highways and roads, all subsidized by the people through government taxes. Without them, everything comes to a halt.
      So subsidy through necessity and the common good is a well established program.

  9. Aspera says:

    ROI and EROEI seem to be different in their temporal scale: ROI useful for short-term decisions, EROEI for longer-term planning (if only we did more of that…).

    Heinberg (2007) reports that a large amount of the coal remaining under ground will require more energy to extract than it will produce when burnt, thus becoming an energy sink rather than an energy source. Yet, it seems at least plausible that a near-term financial market could be tilted in a way to provide a positive ROI, although only for a short time, for extraction. Add in a short-term existential crisis (e.g., war) and perhaps neither ROI or EROEI need be positive for extraction to go ahead.

    • Fossil fuel companies only look at the bottom line, they always want it to be black. They look at return on investment, that is how much is it going to cost them to produce a ton of coal or a barrel of oil or a million cubic feet of gas. If they cannot make a profit, or believe they can make a profit, they will not begin the project. The energy required to complete a project is never a consideration. It is the money required and the profit they expect in return that will determine whether they dig or drill or don’t dig or drill. If you approach one of their executives and start talking EROEI it is very likely that he/she will have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Aspera says:

        Agreed. EROEI would be used (if and when) by others.

        EROEI might prove useful by those who make policies having a longer time-horizon. Or those setting the societal-level or international-level monetary and financial policies that create the conditions under which those fossil fuel companies function.

        Of course, those same companies get a hand in creating those same policies. But they are not the only ones involved (any longer).

      • Ron, some of us do have an idea. At least where I worked we looked at both the emissions profile as well as the energy use.

        The energy use issue is important because we use natural gas for internal project fuel. In countries such as Colombia and Ecuador the field burns crude. We also have to I Clyde the statistics when the local partner, usually a state oil company, wants to get a world bank loan. I’m not sure the world bank knows what to do with the numbers but we do prepare them.

        And I know this sounds crazy but we have studied the use of a nuclear power plant to deliver low CO2 emissions heat to a large heavy oil project. Heck, we look at really crazy schemes.

    • Old farmer mac says:

      I personally don’t believe the argument for extracting coal at a negative energy return on investment can hold water except possibly for a very small amount of coal that might be needed for some particular specialty use – such as manufacturing a particular kind of steel perhaps- and other carbon sources such as wood could probably be more economically substituted for SMALL scale needs for fairly pure carbon as an industrial feedstock.

      The problem with coal being extracted at a negative energy return on investment is that the energy that goes into extracting coal has a higher value than the energy in coal itself. Diesel fuel is many times as valuable on an energy basis as coal.
      Electrical energy is far more valuable than coal energy unit for unit.
      Ditto natural gas. Coal is about the lowest value form of energy that is widely used.

      Even firewood is a better deal if it is cut and used locally in terms of energy returned on energy invested. I can get in firewood equivalent to a ton of soft coal with five gallons of gasoline burnt in my chainsaw and truck.

      Diesel , electricity, and natural gas are just about the only feasible means of powering up a coal mine other than nutritional calories burnt by men digging by hand.

      I have no doubt coal will be mined by hand in small quantities far into the future. There are a few men doing it today not far from where I live. They manage to get a living out of doing so by reopening old diggings quietly and selling the coal to their neighbors and nearby local customers in small quantities. Life is hard in former coal country and jobs are scarce.

      More power to them so far as I am concerned. They aren’t getting rich and they are putting their lives on the line to a certain extent. I have a number of relatives from a couple of generations back permanently interred in coal mines.

      My immediate branch of the family gave up on the coal fields to take up logging and farming by hand a century ago which is adequate testimony to the reality of just how tough a job hand mining coal is . Sharecroppers in the upper south actually lived better in a LOT of respects back then than miners . My maternal grandfather’s father got his start sharecropping.

      Clandestine mining by hand is probably no more dangerous than logging or anything else they could find that pays enough to support a family.

  10. EyesWideOpen says:

    I wonder what the ROI will be for the proposed California ‘Bullet Trains’ (High Speed Rail System) if it ever gets built?


    From the article:

    “Supporters say the 24 stations along the route will enable people in the middle of the state to commute to big-city jobs now beyond their reach, leading to the creation of 450,000 permanent jobs. But that presupposes that the bullet train ever makes it onto the tracks.”

    Wow, doesn’t this swim against the tide in a World of increasingly expensive energy?

    How about these two responses as more logical:

    1) People move to where the jobs are, rebuild cities (no suburbia) with high-density housing if people need to move to where the jobs are.

    2) More people telecommute, since a lot of our jobs are ‘knowledge workers’.

    Of course this whole sideshow discussion misses some fundamental points: Due to automation (and in general greater and greater efficiency/productivity per worker) and outsourcing, there are too many people for the given number of jobs (I will speak for the United States here). At least too few ‘good’ jobs…jobs that one could actually afford decent housing, utilities, health care, education, etc. to raise no more than two children with (or even no children!).

    Building High speed rail solves none of that. It does move lots of $$ around through a select few at the top of the pyramid.

    If people and goods need to get around, how about low-speed rail, topping out at say 60-80 mph?

    On rock-solid high-quality roadbed, ties, and rails and bridges and tunnels? Double-tracked with appropriate sidings when required, with a robust, efficient, redundant control/switching system (my goodness, one that might actually employ a few people to keep an eye on the automaton? With comfortable, spacious, clean passenger cars with toilets that work?

    Of course none of the above address ‘The Limits’ and the fact of being over carrying capacity.

    Building pyramids and stone faces is the wrong response.

    Oh, and Elon Musk has some accomplishments under his belt, but his Hyperloop idea (mentioned at the end of the article) is a flight of fancy.

    • Allan H says:

      Far better to put more planes in the air. Passenger jets are becoming much more efficient and surpass most passenger trains for efficiency (passenger-miles per gallon). Aircraft need no expensive infrastructure between airports. High speed railroad is extremely expensive, must be isolated from it’s surroundings and after all that expense, it can only run along that one corridor. Aircraft can be used to move people to many places, thus filling in the slack time and keeping passenger loading higher per plane. Passenger rail is notorious for dead runs (hardly any passengers) to reposition themselves.
      I don’t know what level of use is expected but from experience, the passenger lines in one of the densest population areas in the country are highly subsidized. Ticket prices only cover a portion of the cost of the railroads.
      ROI would have to be calculated against the effect on society elsewhere. Calculating it on it’s own merits gives a huge loss.
      As far as low to medium speed rail goes, the rail lines are fairly saturated by freight movements and thus passenger is a disruptive factor. Also the cost of converting freight rail to allow passenger is very high since many standards need to met that are not required for freight.

      • Old farmer mac says:

        Planes are better than railroads in the short to medium term for the reasons you point out.

        BUT in the long term we are not going to be able to afford fuel for air travel. It will be desperately needed for more important purposes.

        The only real solution to our travel habit is to BREAK IT.

        • Allan H says:

          Passenger planes are not just passengers, every flight carries cargo. And I do disagree, having been in the chemical field for over thirty years, the chemistry to produce liquid fuels with catalysts at low temperatures from CO2 already exists. The chemistry to produce hydrogen cheaply via catalytic reactions is there. http://www.forumforthefuture.org/greenfutures/articles/rust-catalyst-cheap-hydrogen-production.
          New catalytic routes for syngas and hydrogen http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0926860X96001081
          Liquid fuels will be produced from water, CO2, and natural gas. Water and CO2 produces methanol which can be further upgraded to larger organic molecules. Hydrogen, methanol and methane will be used to make synfuels (much easier and safer to handle than hydrogen itself and much more energy dense).
          Solar and wind powered synfuel manufacturing is not far away.

        • Mac, I have a conceptual design for a 200 seater, an alcohol fueled turboprop which flies at 400 kmph. Its better than high speed rail in some cases.

          • Old farmer mac says:

            Ok for Allan and Fernando at six forty and seven twenty three:

            I don’t always remember to qualify my comments in terms of the time frame short medium long very long etc.

            My belief is that we will within the foreseeable future no longer be able to afford very much air travel. I do understand that it is fuel efficient in moving people long distances considering the time savings and flexibility.

            There are people who accuse me of being a blind cornucopian posting here. I do believe that it is POSSIBLE for a society that is currently well endowed and situated to make the transition to a renewables based economy.

            I am not a big enough fool to think that it will ALWAYS be impossible to manufacture affordable synthetic liquid fuels. But to the best of my knowledge it is only going to be possible for the near to medium term using either nuclear or fossil fuel energy to drive the manufacturing process and natural gas or coal as a primary feedstock.

            In my estimation we are going to be pretty short of not only oil but also coal and natural gas within the easily foreseeable future. I don’t see enough nukes getting built to use the electricity they generate to manufacture synthetic liquid fuels. Not any time soon at least. One more major accident and there may not be another new nuke permitted for decades in the west.

            So – I think air travel is going to be GREATLY curtailed because of very high fuel prices and also because most people don’t travel by air. We have basically just seen a government takeover of the health care industry in this country get implemented for the simple reason that most people could no longer afford health care.

            At some point in time people who can’t afford to drive are going to outnumber those who can. The non driving majority combined with the drivers of ”golf carts ” are going to do the unthinkable and six thousand pound pickup trucks are going to be either outlawed or taxed so heavily nobody will ever drive one again except if he is a working tradesman with a permit to buy it without paying the luxury tax.

            It is no doubt in my mind possible that at some future time – a time probably at least a few decades away and probably longer – It MIGHT be possible to generate enough wind and solar or nuclear power to manufacture affordable liquid fuels from CO2.

            But unless I am way off in my thinking jet fuel is simply going to be either too costly or too highly taxed for air travel to remain a major industry starting within the next decade or two and for a long time after that.

            Personally I don’t believe high speed rail is ever going to carry enough people enough places to really matter in terms of the big picture. It just costs too damned much and I am not talking just about the technology it self but about the cost of actually implementing it – right of ways, environmental remediation , financing , politically gerrymandered routes etc etc. I sure as hell am not going to support spending tax money out of my pocket on high speed rail for the obvious reason that the benefit of it is highly concentrated where it is built whereas the cost of it is borne by everybody.It will never save enough fuel in my estimation to matter.

            Now supporting renewables is a different matter. Renewables have the potential to save enormous amounts of fuel and thus everybody or just about everybody will benefit.

            When I was involved in rental property in the city it was actually considered an ADVANTAGE to be well away from a bus route by a lot of property owners.It kept them from having to deal with tenants who were unable to afford cars or too irresponsible to keep a drivers license.

            I foresee whatever energy and capital resources we have going forward as being stretched too thin for either high speed rail or air travel to be a major part of the mix in the long term meaning starting sometime a few years from now for the easily foreseeable future.

            But a hundred years from now maybe there will be plenty of affordable energy. Energy cheap enough to waste it on unnecessary travel .

            I doubt it but I can’t rule it out. There really may be solar farms built by the square mile and wind turbines erected by the thousands and a technology developed to tap the heat of the earth a few miles down. Carbon fiber may get cheap enough to really build cars out of it and somebody may engineer a bug that concentrates lithium from seawater as well as being an oil rich little critter that can be aqua farmed.

            There is no doubt in my mind that most of the traveling we do is unnecessary and that we are going to be traveling a HELL of a lot less as time passes at least in the medium term. I could be wrong of course.

            But the girl who usually waits on me at a small fast food place where I have occasionally for a wake up coffee told me this when I remarked that she had found a long term home behind the counter.

            paraphrased :

            I will never give this job up because it is the only one available within walking distance of my house and I can’t afford to drive.

            Biofuels scare the hell out of me not because they cannot be produced in enormous quantities but because they CAN . If Joe Sixpack gets it in his head that we should be manufacture alcohol on a scale that allows him to continue the bau lifestyle every acre of land in the country will be plowed up unless it either belongs to somebody very rich. Even the national parks would not be safe.

            Collapse is likely enough without going the farmed biofuel route.

            • Old farmer mac says:

              I ought to be more careful or compose in a different program and copy and paste. I have a bad habit of revising in a hurry and not checking for errors before hitting post.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi OFM,

              I agree that high speed rail is not a great solution. I do think regular passenger rail, freight rail, light rail, and other types of public transportation in densely populated areas makes sense. Perhaps state or local taxes could be used to support this, or public private partnerships, tax breaks, or some such thing so rural areas are not supporting the big cities, though in fact if you look at the net flow of tax collection vs. government outflows, it is not clear that the overall net flow of government money is not to the low population density areas.

            • wimbi says:

              I poke my head out from under my rock just enough to whisper

              Vacuum Tube Trains go real fast and don’t take much energy, could be all solar.

              Now, back under that rock real quick.

  11. SRSrocco says:


    I still see a great deal of chitter-chatter that EV’s, Solar, Wind or any of the assorted renewable wanna-be’s technology is going to save us from DEVILS of Coal, Oil and Gas.

    Unfortunately, renewables won’t scale to the amount we need in the time necessary. Richard Heinberg talks about this over and over again… makes some excellent common sense points. However, it doesn’t seem to sink into the EGGHEADS who think they know better.

    Of course, its nice to have SOLAR bought and paid for on ones home, for guaranteed electric, but do not expect SOLAR to be commercial on a grand scale to offset oil, gas or coal.

    So, continue praying to the RENEWABLE GOD and maybe, just maybe… we can continue to go to Wal Mart and Walt Disney World for a few more years, while we drive to extinction another 200 species a day.


    • Philip Backus says:

      It is Sunday Steve and though not religious in the conventional sense all I can say is amen brother!

    • EyesWideOpen says:

      Ole King Coal isn’t going away anytime soon, fear not!

      Good ole fashioned jobs for real rock-ribbed ‘Mericuns!


      From the article:

      “The new law bars the state from adopting any implementation plan that includes renewable energy or energy efficiency, or that encourages power plants to switch from coal to natural gas. ”

      No efficiency gains! Booo! Hiss! Burn Mor coal!

      • Old farmer mac says:

        This law is intended to stonewall the EPA mandating shutting down coal fired electricity. It is questionable whether it will actually go on the books.

        In any case coal mining in Virginia is an industry on the way out due to depletion .This link is dated in terms of prices but otherwise is highly informative.


        We don’t have that many mines any more and the ones we do have are going to be worked out within a couple of decades.

        But we have some corporate coal big boys with offices in the state.

        And the remaining coal reserves in this state are nothing to be sniffed at.

        I wonder if the EPA is overreaching politically. There is such a thing as political backlash as recent elections amply prove.

        I am personally of course all for keeping the pedal to the metal on renewables but unfortunately for Virginia we have only an average quality solar resource and a poor wind resource. We are not going to be big winners in terms of renewable power compared to other states..

        We do have some remaining untapped hydro potential but it is going to remain untapped for the easily foreseeable future which pleases me.

        • What some states need is to finance a hydroelectric dam in Colombia and get the emissions credits.

          • Old farmer mac says:

            It wouldn’t hurt my feelings any to see some pumped storage built someplace in these mountains. There are a number of suitable sites.

            AND while I recognize that building a HVDC transmission line from the plains states to my locality would cost an arm and a leg I also believe that in the end if it happens we will be damned glad there are wind farms in the mid west and pumped storage here to balance the load and supply.

            I BELIEVE in peak fossil fuel and while I understand that the intermittency problem is a killer at this time I also believe that we are going to have to accept very expensive electricity as a reality within the next two or three decades which is as long as I think the cheap gas and coal will last.

            We will be hopefully be able to compensate for the overall increased cost of electricity for the most part by using it more efficiently and by load shifting to the extent we can.

            The folks who say renewable electricity won’t work generally don’t want to talk much about changing the demand picture to accommodate the future renewable supply reality.

            But there really are tons of things that can be done shift loads to times when wind and solar power are plentiful and thus conserve as much coal and gas as possible to be burnt when the weather does not cooperate.

            I just bought three more led lights for our house to replace the last of the cfl’s I have been using for the last few years. The CFL’s refuse to die so I am just taking them out and giving them away to a hard up neighbor who still buys the old incandescent bulbs because they are so cheap. I will have a couple of spares on hand but I don’t expect to replace a light bulb again for five to ten years.

            Since we put in sealed double glazed windows with lifetime guarantees a good long while back I am not going to take them out but rather fabricate some interior storm windows myself to make in effect triple glazed windows which will cut into our heating and ac bills significantly.

            I built a domestic solar powered hot water system some years ago that whacked our electricity consumption bill by a hundred kilowatt hours a month on average. . It will take a long time but it will eventually save me more in electricity by a substantial margin that it cost me to construct it. ..Next year I am going to add a hot water loop to the wood stove that will heat the solar reservoir in the winter and I have hopes that I will be able to get ok using hardly any grid juice at all to heat water.

            If I were building a new house today it would have two by eight walls instead of two by fours and everything else upgraded accordingly. The cost of heating and cooling it if properly sited in relation to the sun and the seasons with proper landscaping would be cut by three quarters or more.And I would recover the extra expense in via reduced utility bills within ten years. There would be a nice sunny spot set aside for a solar garden because land is cheap out in the country and ground mounted solar is easier to maintain and cheaper to install and will never lead to a leaky roof. If I were a young guy there would be a second hand Chevy Volt in the garage and my favorite long term shop project would probably be to salvage the drive train components out of a wrecked Volt and use them to build a one off compact pickup truck suitable for hauling light but bulky loads.

            This sort of change is not going to set us free of dependency on fossil fuels but it can and will reduce our consumption of them enough to extend the supply out a good many years and it will also save us a shit load of money on a collective basis.

            Reducing use saves purchase money in direct proportion to the amounts not purchased.

            But reducing DEMAND for a commodity drives the price of it down substantially due to reduced sales.

            I must make up this example because I have not been able to find hard figures to support it but the concept is what I am trying to get across.

            When we get ten percent of our electricity from wind and solar power – which will happen domestically within the next decade imo- we will be avoiding the PURCHASE of pretty close to ten percent of the coal and gas that would have other wise have been burnt to produce electricity.

            This reduction in DEMAND for coal and gas will result in SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER PRICES of coal and gas right across the board for EVERYBODY including steel manufacturers who use a lot of coal and home owners who use a lot of gas for heating and cooking.

            Taking this savings into account the actual true effective cost of renewable electricity may be only HALF or less the apparent purchase price of it considering the economy as a whole.

            The cost of nitrate fertilizers – and nitrate fertilizers are THE KEY input that enables farmers to feed the existing population – is largely determined by the price of natural gas which is the primary feedstock. Cheaper gas means cheaper food.

            • Allan H says:

              Excellent thought Farmer. I like your logic how wind and solar help control prices of fossil fuel.
              I have one active pumped storage facility a few miles from me and another is being planned nearby for a very deep abandoned mine. Solar farms have popped up all around the area, not so much residential though.
              Here is a compilation of plans and examples of solar home designs: http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SolarHomes/plansps.htm

    • James says:

      Not only will renewables be unable to take care of existing society, they will fall completely short of serving a global economy that wants to double in size every twenty years. Renewables can only augment the cancer growth until it is done.

    • Sam Taylor says:

      To meet the world’s energy needs from solar would require a machine the size of France, built in the middle of some of the most inhospitable deserts on the planet. the people who claim that this would be a relatively straightforward thing to do are borderline insane.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Sam,

        Not many are suggesting solar only. The desert is not the only place solar insolation is good. It would also be silly to put it all in one place. Mostly people think it is possible rather than easy. If pv costs fall as fast as the cost of computer processing speed 10 watts of pv will cost one penny in 30 years.

        • Futilitist says:

          Hi Dennis.

          You said:
          “If pv costs fall as fast as the cost of computer processing speed 10 watts of pv will cost one penny in 30 years.”

          That is laughable! You are suggesting that pv costs will follow Moore’s Law! Why on earth would they do that? Why would you even suggest something so misleading?


          It’s tempting to apply Moore’s Law to PV Panels. From a layman’s perspective they seem very similar – silicon wafers churned out in high-tech factories in Asia and shipped to the world. Unfortunately for energy consumers, that’s where the similarities end. As Michael Kanellos notes in a Forbes article on the topic:

          “Moore’s Law is all about getting small. Transistors exist to ferry electrons from point A to point B. Thus, smaller transistors mean better performance. They also mean lower costs, because more small chips can be popped out of the same wafer.”

          There is little efficiency to be gained from “die shrinks” of PV cells. The size of of a solar cell is necessitated by the amount of solar rays it can absorb. The larger the surface area, the more sunlight absorbed by the panel.

          PV costs actually drop 20% for every doubling of manufacturing capacity according to Swanson’s Law (an observation, really). That practically translates into an annual 7 percent reduction in the dollars per watt of solar photovoltaic cells. If the 7 percent decline in costs could be maintained, in 20 years the cost per watt of PV cells would be just over 50 cents.

          That’s 50 cents per watt (in 20 years) vs. your pie in the sky projection of 1/10 cent per watt (in 30 years)! You are clearly dreaming.

          • John B says:

            FYI, PV broke through 50 cents/watt last year. You are clearly uninformed.


            • Futilitist says:


              I don’t really care. It doesn’t change the big picture at all. I knew if I tried to debate the nitpicky little details over here in EV world, I would just get dragged into this crap. Forget it.

              I was calling Dennis on his wildly optimistic application of Moore’s Law to PV costs.

              Dennis said this:
              “If pv costs fall as fast as the cost of computer processing speed 10 watts of pv will cost one penny in 30 years.”

              Do you find Dennis’ forecast realistic?

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Futilist,

                You are correct, I should have said if PV costs fall 170 times less fast than PC costs, then they would be one penny per watt in 30 years. That was a little too optimistic, if we assume 15% lower PV module costs per year and 2013 costs of 50 cents per watt, in 2033 PV costs would be down to under 0.5 cents per watt.

                Can you give us your estimate of Global GDP in 30 years?

                I am trying to get a handle on how fast the collapse that you claim began in June 2014 will proceed.

                Would you expect a 5% decrease in World real GDP per year? That would put us at 20% of today’s real GDP in 2033, is that about right? Too fast maybe.

                How about a 2.3% annual decrease in World real GDP which would cut World GDP in half in 30 years?

                • Futilitist says:

                  Hi Dennis.

                  “Can you give us your estimate of Global GDP in 30 years?”

                  I don’t know how to calculate Global GDP for 300-700 million scavenger/hunter-gatherers.

                  “I am trying to get a handle on how fast the collapse that you claim began in June 2014 will proceed.”

                  Collapse will be extremely rapid. Beyond your conception, apparently. To get a more realistic handle the speed of collapse, please read the following:


                  “Would you expect a 5% decrease in World real GDP per year? That would put us at 20% of today’s real GDP in 2033, is that about right? Too fast maybe.

                  How about a 2.3% annual decrease in World real GDP which would cut World GDP in half in 30 years?”

                  You automatically assume that collapse will be gradual enough that it will allow for enough BAU so we can keep measuring GDP. We won’t have any way to carry on measuring GDP during the collapse. Or after. When the collapse is complete, I doubt anyone will even remember what GDP was. GDP is a questionable metric in the best of times. It is not a useful metric when talking about collapse.

                  From the Korowicz paper:


                  This study considers the relationship between a global systemic banking, monetary and solvency crisis and its implications for the real-time flow of goods and services in the globalised economy. It outlines how contagion in the financial system could set off semi-autonomous contagion in supply-chains globally, even where buyers and sellers are linked by solvency, sound money and bank intermediation. The cross-contagion between the financial system and trade/production networks is mutually reinforcing.

                  It is argued that in order to understand systemic risk in the globalised economy, account must be taken of how growing complexity (interconnectedness, interdependence and the speed of processes), the de-localisation of production and concentration within key pillars of the globalised economy have magnified global vulnerability and opened up the possibility of a rapid and large-scale collapse. ‘Collapse’ in this sense means the irreversible loss of socio-economic complexity which fundamentally transforms the nature of the economy. These crucial issues have not been recognised by policy-makers nor are they reflected in economic thinking or modelling.

                  As the globalised economy has become more complex and ever faster (for example, Just-in-Time logistics), the ability of the real economy to pick up and globally transmit supply-chain failure, and then contagion, has become greater and potentially more devastating in its impacts. In a more complex and interdependent economy, fewer failures are required to transmit cascading failure through socio-economic systems. In addition, we have normalised massive increases in the complex conditionality that underpins modern societies and our welfare. Thus we have problems seeing, never mind planning for such eventualities, while the risk of them occurring has increased significantly. The most powerful primary cause of such an event would be a large-scale financial shock initially centring on some of the most complex and trade central parts of the globalised economy.

                  As Darwinian (Ron Patterson) said on Aug. 23, 2012:
                  “I read the very long David Korowicz Trade-Off-Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: a study in global systemic collapse twice. Now a paper has to be very good to get me to read it twice, especially one that is 75 pages long. But it outlined the best case for a fast collapse I have read… ever.

                  The collapse will surely come and the crash will be so fast it will shock everyone. It will likely happen in a matter of months.

                  Okay, now I understand. No one in this debate arguing for slow collapse has even bothered to read the David Korowicz paper. Too long and too much trouble I suppose. And besides, you already have you mind made up and that’s it.

                  I repeat my earlier argument. No one on this list, or on any other blog has refuted the points made in the David Korowicz study. That’s because they have not read it so how could they possibly refute it.”

                  • I repeat my earlier argument. No one on this list, or on any other blog has refuted the points made in the David Korowicz study. That’s because they have not read it so how could they possibly refute it.”

                    Hey, I read it, twice. Of course I cannot refute it because I agree with it.

                    Hey guys, I apologize for not being more active in the debates that go on here. But between trying to get a post genned up every three or so days and the other things I need to do, I really don’t have a lot of time.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hi Ron.

                    I can’t refute it either.

                    I wonder if anyone here will bother reading it and take a shot at refuting it.

                    I have been waiting a long time.

                    The last great debate over the Korowicz paper was terminated prematurely by Leanan at the Oil Drum more than two years ago.

                    I thought it would be interesting to resurrect this debate here to help show how pervasive collapse denial really is.

                    People who suggest we can make a transition to alternatives always ignore realistic assessments of the likely speed and severity of collapse. That allows them to carry on making detailed projections that can never happen. They don’t seek the truth, just reassurance.

                    The problem is, that is how most humans ‘reason’. It is an instinct. That is why it took humanity so long to invent science.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Of course, if no one bothers to try to refute the Korowicz paper, it will prove that I am right about collapse denial.

                  • Sam Taylor says:

                    As someone who has read, and agrees with many of Korowicz’s points I think the fundamental thing that’s wrong with his arguments is that he doesn’t really understand government debt, which I contend is fairly well described by MMT economics. In this school of thought, large government deficits are less important than might be imagined, and the government deficit is essentially a policy tool, and not a millstone around the neck of our children. He also ignores the fact that debt can, and has many times, been written off. It is ultimately a human construct, and not some absolute reality.

                    He is also guilty, I would say, of ignoring the fact that there are both positive and negative (or stabilising and destabilising) feedback loops. For example, one of his older papers was concerned about the effects of an imminent peaking in oil and the catastrophe it might have led to. However the fact that we’re currently fracking oil from shales (for the time being at least) shows that the system still has some potential to keep itself going, and is perhaps more resilient than he gives it credit for.

                    That said I do think that things keep getting more and more fragile on a systemic level, and when systems flip from one state to another things tend to go pretty rapidly.

                    His ideas also mesh quite well with some of the stuff that’s coming out of Geoffrey West’s work on cities at the santa fe institute. West finds that cities obey supra-linear (power law > 1) scalings with increase in size for many things like energy consumption, pollution, etc. This in turn demands that the pace of innovation must constantly be accellerating to keep up with the ever growing demands. Eventually, because time is finite, you reach a singularity where innovation cannot keep up and you inevitably get a collapse. See more here:


                  • City sizes and oil field sizes follow similar power-law distributions.


                    Reservoirs such as Ghawar are equivalent to Shanghai

                    Google The Oil Conundrum for more info

                  • Sam Taylor, it is not David Korowicz that does not understand government debt but it is Sam Taylor who does not understand government debt.

                    Such a debt as the US government now holds is something that has never happened in history, not even close. To suggest that it is something ordinary betrays any understanding of the problem. But this statement defies all reality:

                    He also ignores the fact that debt can, and has many times, been written off. It is ultimately a human construct, and not some absolute reality.

                    Unbelievable! Such a statement could only be made by a person who has not a clue as to the magnitude and importance of government debt. You are suggesting that the US Government simply default, write off all debts. Well hell, that would cause a fast collapse. It would all happen in one day, the day the government defaulted on all debts.

                    Of course we all know the debt will never be paid off. But we can keep BAU for a while longer by pretending that we can, or pretending that the debt can just keep on growing forever.

                    It is likely that runaway inflation will ultimately deal with the debt, but that in itself would be a sign that the collapse is well underway. But a default by the US government on all debts would, overnight, collapse the US government.

                  • Sam Taylor says:


                    I have to admit, I used to share the same views, but frankly I don’t think they correspond to the operational realities of the modern money system.

                    If massive government debt were as dangerous as you say, then Japan should probably be in the midst of collapse and QE should have caused massive hyperinflation by now. The simple fact is that a government which is soverign issuer of it’s currency (which currency it creates demand for by levying taxes in the same currency) can NEVER default, and never needs to default. Indeed, it is in fact illegal for the US to default on it’s debts. In this respect, government debt is fundamentally different from private debt.

                    A lot of the “hyperinflation now” crowd have turned out to be absolutely wrong in the last few years (i was among them), so when it became obvious I was wrong, I sought other viewpoints, and found myself agreeing with some of the tenets of mmt economics, a good summary of which can be found here: http://www.renewal.org.uk/articles/modern-money-and-the-escape-from-austerity

                    This is not to say that current US debt or deficit is exactly healthy at the moment, just that government default and hyperinflation are close to non-issues.

                    Now, private debt is a different kettle of fish, and indeed private debt was one of the causes of the last crisis and following recession (good article http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/09/government-debt-isnt-the-problemprivate-debt-is/379865/ ). Given the slightly messed up nature of how the global finance system works, it can certainly have some effects. However, will large debt levels stop people in 20 years time from being able to consume what they produce? I don’t believe so.

                    Now, do I think any of the above is sufficient to absolutely demolish Korowicz’s arguments? No, I do not, but I believe they do represent flaws, and having done a fair bit of reading I think I’ve gained a level of understanding that I previously didn’t have (although now I’m not sure I really understand what money is). I still think that his general system-level analysis is pretty good and that any collapse is likely to be fast. However hyperinflation in any of the advanced countries is near bottom of my list of things to be concerned about.

                  • Sam Taylor says:


                    The issue is also that as cities grow, their needs scale supralinearly. A city which is twice as large requires around 2.2x as much food. As cities continually grow, the pressure on resources increases proportionately.

                    A good paper to start with on this area is here: http://www.pnas.org/content/104/17/7301.abstract

                    Bettencourt has been publishing a lot of interesting stuff on scaling of ancient cities lately, too.

                  • marmico says:

                    Korowicz makes the typical novice error- failing to differentiate stocks from flows.

                    Debt (a stock) seems historically high relative to flow (GDP). Debt service (flow) relative to GDP is historically low.

                    Comparing flows rather than stock to flows.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hi marmico.

                    You must be an economist. I don’t have any idea what you are talking about. What you say hardly refutes Korowicz unless you can explain how it does (and even what you mean).

                    Pretend I’m not an economist (not too difficult to do).

                    Copy and paste anything you disagree with in the Korowicz paper (one point at a time, please). Explain in layman’s terms why you think he is wrong. That is the only way to have a useful discussion about this.

                  • islandboy says:

                    Hi Futilitist,

                    I’m pretty sure that based on my comments in this thread and at other times, you and maybe others have put mefirmly in the Cornucopian/collapse denialist camp. Well, I totally get that collapse can happen and is very likely and even though I have not read the Korowicz paper, I joined TOD early 2008 and probably read the debate that Leanan terminated prematurely.

                    The thing is, having taken in a fairly steady diet of doomer stuff at TOD and elswhere and having understood that collapse is likely, I’m just a little surprised it hasn’t happened yet. When people say that Peak Oil predictions have been wrong so far, I like to use the argument that every day the predictions are proven wrong brings us closer to the day when Peak Oil will actually happen. The same might be true of collapse except for one difference.

                    Every EV that gets made, every wind turbine that gets installed and especially every PV system with off grid capabilities, makes collapse less likely. That does not mean that collapse won’t happen but in my personal life I have choices. I can:
                    1) Totally ignore the doomer porn and just continue on with my life.
                    2) Take note of the doomer porn and party like there’s no tomorrow so, when collapse happens, I can say I really enjoyed those last few years of BAU and just take the blows that collapse delivers.
                    3) Invest in Off Grid capable solar PV. Acquire electrically powered tools and appliances that are built to last and can be powered by completely by said PV system. Invest in rainwater harvesting and learn to grow my own food. Generally try to reduce my day to day dependence on the global supply chains.

                    My thoughts are that every time anybody chooses the third option and acts on it, total collapse becomes less likely. Right now for example, EVs are an insignificant portion of total vehicles on the roads (300 thousand out 300 million see http://insideevs.com/cumulative-us-plug-electric-vehicle-sales-model-model-breakdown-market-share-data-december-2014/). Tesla motors is well underway with the construction of their battery gigafactory and plans to sell over 200,000 BEVs per year when it is completed in 2017-2018. What if collapse doesn’t happen before that materialises? Is it possible that every day that collapse doesn’t happen may bring us closer to the day it could be averted?

                    Alan from the islands

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hi Alan from the islands.

                    “Is it possible that every day that collapse doesn’t happen may bring us closer to the day it could be averted?”

                    Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Alan. I have never heard it phrased that way before. That is a really beautiful way to look at it, very well expressed.

                    I know I come off all hard core on the collapse thing, but I sure would prefer it if we didn’t have one. I don’t hate alternatives energies. I think they are cool.

                    Intellectually speaking, I just don’t think that it is a real race. But I still hope you are right.

            • Now we need to test these cheap chinese solar panels to see how long they last. I have decided to stop buying cheap chinese batteries and light bulbs we can get at the local store. The chinese are making a lot of junk.

              • Old farmer mac says:

                I wonder how long it will take for the ” made in China ” label to be something the Chinese can be proud of.

                I avoid buying Chinese whenever I can but it is just about impossible in a lot of cases.

                Craiglist is full of ads for Chinese scooters and generators and similar stuff that is a few weeks old for half price or less. I could buy five or six Chinese scooters still showroom shiny with under five hundred miles on them today for less than half what they sold for a month or two ago.

                The same situation applied to the ” made in Japan ” label back when I was a kid. That label virtually guaranteed you that you were buying junk. Not anymore.

          • islandboy says:

            Sorry, I have to support Dennis on this one. You say “You are suggesting that pv costs will follow Moore’s Law! Why on earth would they do that? Why would you even suggest something so misleading?” See the last half of my comment lower down. The article you quote says, ‘“Moore’s Law is all about getting small….” [snip]
            There is little efficiency to be gained from “die shrinks” of PV cells. The size of of a solar cell is necessitated by the amount of solar rays it can absorb. The larger the surface area, the more sunlight absorbed by the panel.’ The stories I linked to in my comment are all about making cells thinner to gain the same cost reductions as are achieved by “die shrinks” in the semi-conductor industry.

            Now, I don’t know where you get your pricing information but, I did a search for “lowest solar module prices” and the top result was an outfit in Mt. Shasta CA that has modules for as little as 97 cents per Watt in single quantities. Another result, the PV Magazine Module price index has a chart showing prices for January 2015 ranging from about €0.62/W to €0.45/W. Another result is a supplier in South Florida that I have bought modules from. They currently have modules at prices ranging from a high of $2/W to as low as $0.61/W (shipped directly from China). A 7 percent decline in costs per annum from $1/W would result in prices would result in less than 24c per Watt in 20 years and less than 12c/W in 30 years. Not 1/10 of a penny per Watt but, it doesn’t really matter in relation to the last article I’m going to refer to.

            Tariffs-Smariffs, We Can Already Make the World’s Lowest Cost Solar Modules — Here In The US

            This article is about reducing module costs from $0.40/watt to as low as $0.28/watt over “a few years” using thin film technology. The thing I noticed was the top comment, as of the time of this post.

            ” Vensonata • 2 months ago

            Consider that pv at 50 cents per watt is about $3 sq ft. Same as cabinet grade plywood. You can start talking about using it as siding on ths south side of houses and certainly as roofing. Garden sheds can be made of half pv half wood. Certainly commercial building facades and canopies and flat roofs. Parking lot shade canopies. Limitless!”

            Even if this guy is way off, the point he makes still stands. At some point solar PV will probably become less costly than many forms of roofing/cladding. At that point solar PV is absolutely disruptive technolgy. You use it as roofing/cladding and any amount of electricity it generates is essentially free. Think about it.

            I’m not saying solar PV will save us but, just trying to point out that some of the things that are being said (by Tony Seba in the video linked to in my other comment for example) might not be as crazy as you think.

            Alan from the islands

            • Futilitist says:


              “Not 1/10 of a penny per Watt but, it doesn’t really matter…”

              It matters to me. I think it is unrealistic to apply Moore’s Law to PV, and Dennis’ projection seemed ridiculous. Clearly it is. That was my point.

              I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t keep up with the fine points of the PV debate. I don’t suggest that PV isn’t cool or useful, just that it is inadequate to the task of averting collapse. I don’t think that even 1/10 cent per watt for PV would be enough to save civilization because it is already in collapse and PV will collapse with it. We certainly don’t have 30 years to make a “transition”.

              • islandboy says:

                Tony Seba says the transition is going to happen in the next ten to fifteen years

                Clean Disruption of Energy & Transportation
                “The industrial age of energy and transportation will be over by 2030. Maybe before.

                Exponentially improving technologies such as solar, electric vehicles, and autonomous (self-driving) cars will disrupt and sweep away the energy and transportation industries as we know it. The same Silicon Valley ecosystem that created bit-based technologies that have disrupted atom-based industries is now creating bit- and electron-based technologies that will disrupt atom-based energy industries.”

                It is important to note that this guy predicts that the car maket will shrink by 80%. Continuing from above:

                “Clean Disruption projections (based on technology cost curves, business model innovation as well as product innovation) show that by 2030:
                – All new energy will be provided by solar or wind.
                – All new mass-market vehicles will be electric.
                – All of these vehicles will be autonomous (self-driving) or semi-autonomous.
                – The car market will shrink by 80%.
                – Gasoline will be obsolete. Nuclear is already obsolete. Natural Gas and Coal will be obsolete.
                – Up to 80% of highways will not be needed.
                – Up to 80% of parking spaces will not be needed.
                – The concept of individual car ownership will be obsolete.
                – The Car Insurance industry will be disrupted. The taxi industry will be obsolete.”

                Not BAU by any stretch of the imagination. I think the point to note is one I got from Prof. Bartlett’s lecture “Population, Arithmetic and Energy”. By the time and trend has become significant enough to gain attention it is often unstoppable and in the four minute video at the page linked to above Tony Seba says “Resistance is futile. Solar will be the world’s largest source of energy within the next ten to fifteen years.”

                As far a Moore’s Law goes PV has never and likely will never follow Moore’s Law. Module costs have been halving every 7-8 years and if that continues over the next fifteen years, solar PV will eventually become the cheapest source of electricity.

                I am coming around to the belief that electricity will be less of a problem in the future than food. Someone, I don’t remember who right now, described modern indutrial agriculture as the process of using land to turn oil into food. Unless we can figure out a economic way to use land to turn electricity into food it’s gonna be “Game Over” for lots of people.

                Alan from the islands

                • Boomer II says:

                  – The car market will shrink by 80%.
                  – Gasoline will be obsolete. Nuclear is already obsolete. Natural Gas and Coal will be obsolete.
                  – Up to 80% of highways will not be needed.
                  – Up to 80% of parking spaces will not be needed.
                  – The concept of individual car ownership will be obsolete.

                  I think that’s why it is silly to argue that renewables won’t support business as usual. Renewable advocates aren’t saying that it will.

                  The argument that renewables can’t support the current system is a given, and is, in fact, a plus in some people’s minds.

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    Ok, but do renewables rely on BAU layers of infrastructure, etc.? IOW, without BAU (say, it more or less collapses) do we still have renewables?

                    How To Identify A Real Solution:


                    Gives People More Power (Democracy)
                    Opens People’s Eyes To The Truth Of Happiness
                    Accounts For All The Costs (Internalizes Them)
                    Lessens The Wealth Gap

                  • Boomer II says:

                    Ok, but do renewables rely on BAU layers of infrastructure, etc.? IOW, without BAU (say, it more or less collapses) do we still have renewables?

                    World trade would likely be curtailed significantly, but not totally eliminated. We’ve had some sort of world trade for as long as we had camel caravans and sailboats.

                    If the world planned for a largely local economy, we could cut down on transportation costs significantly and then pay more for those items that had to be shipped long distances.

                    Keep in mind that some renewable is passive and low tech, so it doesn’t need BAU. Solar home heating and greenhouse gardening are examples. Air conditioning was long done, pre-electric air conditioning, by designing buildings to work in local environments. Thick walls, designing windows that don’t get sun in the summer, and so on.

                    If necessary, much of daily life probably could revert to pre-electricity days.

                    I’m not trying to predict the future. However, the prospect of a life beyond business as usual doesn’t, by itself, trouble me. Do I think eliminating business as usual will be easy? Not at all. And given what I see on the news these days, I think a lot of people are becoming increasingly irrational as they see the world they know slipping away. They aren’t coping with change well at all. So I think the nuttiness is going to get worse. Maybe at some point they will accept the “new normal” and be okay with it, though I see a lot of politicians and the news media churning them up about the changes rather than helping them adjust to the changes.

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    I’m inclined to agree, Boomer II, and feel a similar way.
                    It seems a bit like a catch 22, where renewables might need a certain complexity-level of BAU for manufacture, distribution, maintenance, repair, replacement and disposal, but they won’t sustain that complexity-level of BAU. This may be what Nicole Foss and others might have described as a ‘receding horizon’.
                    In any case, I welcome a simpler life, where work means doing things simply, locally and with/for true community and stuff like that.
                    I recently found out, incidentally, and speaking of eco-residential design, that sand is a very good insulator, and over here in Nova Scotia, we have plenty of that, plus lots of stones to pile up in a nice, maybe trulli-style double-wall, and timber to lay on top for the roof, maybe as a simple reciprocal design with even water reeds for thatch. I, and I think everyone, if they really think about it, would thrive on this kind of stuff and lifestyle. This current one is really more or less dead in spirit.

                • Old farmer mac says:

                  It is not quite true that modern farming is a process of turning oil into food but there is a powerful element of truth in this argument.

                  The bulk of the oil goes not into actual production but rather shipping storage processing packaging and distribution.

                  The average loaf of bread these days has more fossil fuel tied up in the wrapper than it does in the wheat coming out of the field.

                  Actual on farm production of food could be managed using farm produced biofuels and natural gas derived fertilizers etc with relatively minor amounts of oil needed to get the food to where the people are if it were to be sold in bulk and without much processing- if we quit eating things such as fresh green beans in the middle of the winter.

                  We used to use less than ten gallons of gasoline in a big truck to haul eight tons of apples to the nearest town.

                  If you were to weigh the ACTUAL FOOD – not the packaging- bought by the average customer at a supermarket on an average trip -I would bet my farm on the customer using three times as much oil just getting the food home as farmers did in getting it ready to load on a truck.

                  Biofuels for tractors and combines we could manage. It would be expensive but it would not mean starvation for people in rich countries at least.

                  But going the biofuels route would mean getting Joe Sixpack hooked on them too and that would be a DISASTER.

                  NOW this business of producing food locally is fine on paper but it has all the same sort of problems associated with it as our hard nosed engineer Fernando keeps pointing out about renewable energy . It just doesn’t work very well when you compute the costs. The wind and sun are mostly not where the people are plus the intermittency problem.

                  The good weather and good soil and large fields are not where the people are. Growing some food almost anywhere is a real possibility.

                  Growing MOST of the food needed by the inhabitants of a city such as New York locally is a entirely out of the question. It might be just barely possible from a technical pov but from an economic point of view FUGGETTABOUTIT.

                  It will never happen at least not within the lifetime of anybody living today. If the entire city were roofed over with high tech greenhouses it still would not be enough except maybe for a starvation diet of potatoes and tomatoes. Probably not even that.

                • Sam Taylor says:

                  Ugh, the whole theory of “disruption” is just a load of post-hoc heuristic rubbish designed to try and explain why businesses fail. It has little to no predictive power whatsoever, and thus is largely useless to anyone outside of the world of management consultancy.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Futilist,

                I actually did not use Moore’s Law, I used actual processing speed data from 1984 to 2014 where the processor speed in MIPS increased by a factor of 300,000 over 30 years.

                Note that in my example I suggested PV costs might decrease by a factor of 1000 from $1/ watt to $0.001/Watt, or at a 3000 times lower rate.

                I did not realize that it needed to be spelled out in such detail.

                Link to PC processor speed below, system costs are assumed equal in 1984 and 2014 in real terms (actually that are about half the level of 1984, so cost per MIP has really decreased by more like a factor of 600,000 in 30 years).


                I compared the Intel 8086 (original IBM PC) at 0.33 MIPS with Intel Core i7 at about 100,000 MIPS to get 300,000 =100,000/0.33.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi all,

                  The original IBM PC used the Intel 8088 processor, not the Intel 8086, the processor speed was 0.75 MIPS and it debuted in 1981, in 2011 the Intel core i7 2600K operated at 128,000 MIPS, or 170,000 times faster than the original IBM PC after 30 years. So a guess of a PV costs falling by a factor of 1000 in 30 years is only 1700 times slower than the PC industry (if reduced system costs in real terms since 1981, by at least a factor of 2, are ignored).

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Sorry, that should be 170 times slower not 1700 times.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    “I did not realize that it needed to be spelled out in such detail.”

                    It didn’t.

                    But with your answer, you are helping to highlight your faulty reasoning on collapse.

                    Moore’s Law isn’t a law. It is an observation of exponential growth which is itself just a byproduct of the exponential growth of civilization.

                    Your extrapolations of other examples of exponential growth are just ‘Moore’ of the same. Useless.

                    Exponential growth always ends in collapse.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    But I’ll bet your exercise with the math felt a lot ‘Moore’ comfortable than looking directly at collapse.

                  • John B says:

                    MIPS is more a measure of processing power, than processor speed. The speed of the early processors was 4.77 MHz. Modern PC processors are in the 3 GHz range. But they have even more power because of the multi-core architecture.

              • Old farmer mac says:

                I am old enough to remember talking to old folks who saw the first automobiles and tractors and said they would never replace horses .

                Within ten to twenty years they were giving up their horses and mules.

                I learned to plow with a mule as a boy only because my maternal grandfather was fond of the old ways and kept a mule and horse or two for about thirty years after he quit actually using them on a regular basis. They filled a slot between a hobby and a security blanket- he had a very hard time getting gasoline enough during WWII and thus was an early fossil fuel doomer of sorts. His opinion was that if there was another depression and another war his family would eat so long as they had a couple of mules or horses on the place.

                So we used them to plow some small patches of garden and rode them as kids once in a while for the fun of it and to bring in small quantities of crops from the fields occasionally even though it would have been faster and more convenient to use a tractor or truck.

                ONE of the biggest drawbacks of draft animals is that they must be worked – exercised – to keep their behavioral training and physical conditioning up to par.

                The other is that you have to feed them every day no matter how seldom they are used. This one fact alone is sufficient to ALMOST guarantee that biofuels burnt in tractors will out perform animal power on a farm for the long haul- so long as you can still get tractors and parts of course.I haven’t started a tractor in six weeks. Given the water logged fields around here most tractors won’t be started at all for at least two more weeks.

                And when I do the one I use most will do more work in a day on ten gallons of diesel OR biodiesel than six or eight horses and three or four men to work them. And the next day and the next day and the next day after that as well. Horses and men cannot plow day after day without resting up at least every second or third day.

                Beyond that it has lights and there is nothing to prevent another driver running it all night long. Routine maintenance is about fifteen minutes per day on average which is less time than it takes to look after a horse or mule during busy seasons.

                None of this was obvious to my great great grandfather when he first saw an automobile or a tractor. None of it even seemed possible.

                ONE DAY sometime within the next decade or two the grid is going to go down for the simple reason that there is NOT ENOUGH COAL or NO GAS available to keep it up at some particular spot. The result will be a rolling blackout at the minimum.

                People should take notice of the amount of money and intrusion into our lives that we suffer today as the result of basically just one terrorist incident- which took ONLY three thousand lives. A black out in the north east that lasts a day or two in a blizzard like the ones we have had this winter would probably kill ten or even a hundred times as many.

                A highly credible scenario is that- once we get this or some other equally painful Pearl Harbor wake up brick upside our collective head – we will go crazy for renewables.

                Everybody will jump on the band wagon except a few hard core old red red state republican congressmen wholly owned by fossil fuel business as usual interests and they will be voted out of office.

                Hundreds of billions will be voted ( and printed, most of it) to go on a war time footing to build out wind and solar and geothermal and to retrofit older houses and buildings for energy efficiency. The labor movement will be on board wanting work, the greens will be on board, the banks will be on board because they always get a fat cut no matter what and the average plumber and secretary will be on board because they will finally understand that expensive and somewhat intermittent electricity is a HELL of a lot better deal than NO electricity at all at times . Once the power goes off and stays off for a day or two Joe Sixpack will finally understand what any idiot ought to understand intuitively- that oil and gas come out of holes in the ground and don’t grow back like trees.

                There will also be a big new wave of enthusiasm for nuclear power because the odds are excellent that every nuke still running will perform at near nameplate right straight thru the blackout. People will notice because the nuclear industry will make damned sure of it.

                There is absolutely nothing in the laws of nature to stop a gargantuan build out of renewable power and the necessary modification of the grid to handle it. There is plenty in human nature to suggest that it WILL happen under the right circumstances.

                Let us be REALISTIC about backup capacity for renewables. It will take exactly or nearly exactly the same fossil fuel generating capacity to back up renewables in the WORST POSSIBLE CASE-no wind nationwide on a cloudy night – as it takes to operate the grid with NO WIND and or SOLAR AT ALL.

                Basically what this means is that if you believe in collapse or hard times ahead with demand for electricity slowing down or stalling all together we won’t have to build a whole lot of extra fossil fuel capacity to balance off more renewables on the grid. The capacity needed ALREADY EXISTS for the most part.

                What ever does have to be built will to some degree be needed anyway to replace old worn out plants that need to be torn down and rebuilt to modern standards. Paying for new capacity that runs intermittently rather than almost continuously as in the past will be costly no question. But it won’t be as costly in my opinion as buying enough ever scarcer coal and gas to run continuously.

                For my part I believe in a possible collapse and VERY hard times for sure.

                Millions of people will have to be provided with make work and it might as well be useful work such as refurbing existing infrastructure for energy efficiency and building out renewables.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Old Farmer Mac,

                  I asked for Ron’s definition of collapse and he said he meant Global collapse that was permanent, not just another Great Depression from which we (or some places) might recover from.

                  My impression is that you think that kind od global collapse is possible, but not very likely. If I have understood your comments correctly, I agree.

                  I think wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and nuclear will help us transition to something different, but it will not be easy and a severe depression once the peak of fossil fuel has passed (within 5 to 10 years, probably between 2025 to 2035 for the onset) is quite likely.

                  The ensuing crisis may get Leviathan into gear.

                  • Old farmer mac says:

                    I believe that a substantial percentage of the global population is going to die off and that substantial portions of the world will revert to a subsistence or near subsistence level of existence for the relatively few people who remain in those spots. It might be centuries (if ever ) before these places recover a modern lifestyle.

                    But I do not believe in collapse in the global sense meaning it will happen all over the planet.

                    I do believe collapse MIGHT engulf the entire planet due to plain old bad luck – political mismanagement resulting in WWIII for instance.

                    The climate might even go badly enough haywire to destroy industrial civilization but in my opinion the odd of THAT are one in a million.

                    Some parts or countries of the world are still quite wealthy in terms of fossil fuels, farmland ,water, educated and trained work force etc and I believe these countries MIGHT pull thru peak fossil fuels severely tested but more or less whole.

                    Barring WWIII or some other equally unfortunate scenario I think the USA and Canada in particular have a very good shot at transitioning to a low energy economy that will allow most of our grandchildren and great grandchildren to live decent and dignified and comfortable lives.

                    They won’t be driving very much (compared to today) or eating quite as high on the hog or living a long way from work or flying off to the beaches or the ski resorts but they will still hopefully have a shot at a happy dignified life.

                    ASSUMING a little luck. No WWIII in particular.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hey Old farmer mac and Dennis Coyne.

                    Have either of you guys bothered to read the David Korowicz paper?

                    If so, what do you think? Is Korowicz wrong? Why?

                  • Futilitist says:

                    If you haven’t read it, why not?

                • Thirunagar says:

                  I wonder how your maternal grandfather would have sounded if there was a POB in the 50’s and 60’s! My guess – very similar to some doomers here.

                  • Old farmer mac says:

                    The biggest difference would have been that he would LAUGH at even the thought of giving up. The tougher things got the harder he would have worked had it been possible to work any harder.

                    People like him are rare these days. He understood that EVERYTHING could go wrong but just kept on working with the attitude that if he came up against problems he could not solve he would die trying.

                  • Thirunagar says:

                    So, he would have been the Wimbi of 50’s 😉

                • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                  Hi OFM,
                  Apparently, not tilling the soil is actually better for it in many, if not most or all cases. Apparently, self-fertilizing, perennial, generally native crops, as well as vertical food forest agriculture is likely the way to go, rather than, say, rows upon rows of ‘monoculture.
                  While tractors are all fine and nice, comparing them with living creatures, like mules or horses, which reproduce and heal themselves, provide warmth, pelts, hair, labor, manure, even companionship, etc., seems substantially unfair to the tractor.
                  With regard to nuclear, I am worried that if gov’t collapses, and cheap fossil fuels sufficiently run out, Houston, we may have a very serious problem with all the decommissionings, spent fuel pools and waste dealings.
                  I also imagine nuclear waste dealings might involve a whole lot of fossil fuel and governments or some kind of post-collapse nuclear-emergency organizations that are still around that don’t have their hands tied, like with regard to diminishing tax returns and increasing protests, riots and civil unrest/instability and even war.
                  IOW, my advice would be to shut down nuclear power ASAP, like yesterday.
                  We live in very precarious times and one would have thought we would have learned something by now after Fukushima or Chernobyl. Were you around over at The Oil Drum when Fukushima went off? If not, or for anyone else, you may be interested in reading the articles and comments from around that time. Many are quite chilling. Let’s learn as best as we can from history and make proper extrapolations for the future.

                  • Old farmer mac says:

                    Hi Caelan,

                    ”Apparently, not tilling the soil is actually better for it in many, if not most or all cases. Apparently, self-fertilizing, perennial, generally native crops, as well as vertical food forest agriculture is likely the way to go, rather than, say, rows upon rows of ‘monoculture.”

                    In abstract terms these concepts are valid and represent targets worth aiming at.

                    Unfortunately in our honest to sky daddy cards on the table NOW physical world we are like a person who has launched himself down a ski jump.

                    We can’t turn around, we can’t even stop. We are committed and are just going to have to work out whatever partial solutions we can on a piecemeal basis.

                    There is in my estimation going to be a catastrophic crash in food production in most of the world within the foreseeable future. There is again in my estimation hardly anything that can or will be done about it.

                    I really am a real world farmer with a real world pro education in the field. You can take this to the bank:

                    It is possible to make sustainable farming schemes work. I have some experience with some of them and have visited a number of places where they are being developed and read a representative sample of the literature.

                    Sustainable farming is beset by the same problems as renewable energy but the scale of the problem is a hundred times worse. A person with a fair sized house and a bit of lawn at least potentially has space enough to install solar panels and solar panels can be installed remotely with the juice arriving on the grid.

                    So adopting solar energy does not require a truly major change in the lifestyle.

                    Modern farming involves a few men well trained in operating and managing expensive equipment using expensive inputs on large tracts of expensive land.

                    Getting away from this system to the promised land of sustainable farming is just about impossible for a number of reasons.

                    ONE . People don’t want to live on farms and work in the dirt.

                    TWO No housing exists out in the boonies for millions of people to move there and take up small scale supposedly sustainable farming. The supporting infrastructure doesn’t exist.

                    Three most of the places where farming is possible on the grand scale would not support a working class of farm hands because the work is highly seasonal. A farm hand on a farm on a midwestern grain farm would out of work nine months out of the year. It is not possible to run a truck farm in Nebraska and ship produce year around.

                    I could go on all day.

                    Now here is a real killer. There is no such thing as a self fertilizing self supporting farm in the true sense. You can capture some nitrogen with the right crops but a farm is not an ecosystem.

                    A farm is a place where food is produced and HAULED AWAY.

                    The nutrients that leave in the food are pretty much lost permanently unless the farmer is using humanure in quantity. They have to be replaced eventually and that means hauling them in from elsewhere. Eventually.

                    The overall problem appears to be about as tough a nut as can be imagined. Industrial farming is not sustainable over the long run but in the short to medium run there is no viable way to get away from it.

                    Just moving ten percent of the population of a modern western country back into production agriculture is an obvious political non starter. The draft animals that would be needed don’t exist and breeding them in sufficient quantities would take decades. The out put per person is abysmally low compared to the current industrial system.

                    The end result is going to be a catastrophe of unpredictable dimensions unless we are very lucky. If the birth rate drops fast enough and fossil fuels last long enough we will be able to transition piecemeal fashion to a MORE sustainable type of agriculture.

                    I foresee TERRIBLE times ahead. Starvation on the grand scale in many parts of the world but hopefully not here in yankee land barring bad luck. Not within the easily foreseeable future at least.

                    But some of us are probably going to pull through the bottleneck.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Old Farmer Mac,

                    I believe most of the fertilizer is produced from natural gas and as it runs short (around 2025 to 2035) it can be reserved for fertilizer use if necessary. As more and more wind and solar provide electricity, less natural gas will be wasted on producing power, also as natural gas prices increase, gas fired boilers for home heating will be replaced with heat pumps.

                    Eventually solid human waste from sewage plants will need to be processed into fertizizer.

            • Longtimber says:

              “Swanson’s law, named after Richard Swanson, the founder of SunPower, a big American solar-cell manufacturer, suggests that the cost of the photovoltaic cells needed to generate solar power falls by 20% with each doubling of global manufacturing capacity.” http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/12/daily-chart-19
              Module cost minus wafers close to 22-25 cents /watt. So perhaps 36 cents FOB may be the floor for Crystal Si, (??) Global Annual Capacity will cross 100GW within 3-4 years (??)

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Longtimber,

                Are there compelling reasons why module costs cannot be reduced?

                For personal computers, it was not just the CPU cost that came down, storage, memory, graphics adapter and display costs all came down as well so that overall system performance improved, while overall system costs came down.

                Note that nobody that I know of has suggested costs would become zero only that they may decrease more rapidly than some people think is possible. The cost of computing speed (IBM compatible PCs) decreased by roughly 33% per year for 30 years (1981 to 2011).

                If PV costs decrease by 20% per year for 30 years that would be a factor of 800 cost reduction in 30 years.

                From 1998 to 2013 PV module prices fell by about 15% per year, if that rate continues for 30 years PV modules could fall by a factor of 131 in 30 years. PV modules were about $0.5/W in 2013 and if 15% annual cost reductions are maintained for 30 years modules would be 4 cents per watt in 2033. Note that if I were assuming the rate of decrease in computer costs (I am not), costs would be far lower (10,000 times lower) which is unrealistic.

                Swanson ( a PV pioneer) suggested a 20% PV module cost reduction for each doubling of cumulative shipped volume. this is called Swanson’s Law.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Longtimber,

                The Economist got Swanson’s Law wrong see


                Swanson’s Law is an observation that the price of solar photovoltaic modules tends to drop 20 percent for every doubling of cumulative shipped volume. This was misstated by The Economist, which said that photovoltaic cell costs drop 20 percent for every doubling of industry capacity. At present rates, costs halve about every 10 years.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Futilist,

            Yes you are correct that 0.1 cents per Watt is too low. Swanson’s law is a 20% cost reduction for every doubling of cumulative shipped volume.

            Based on the trend from 1998 to 2013, costs were falling by 15% per year, 2013 costs were 50 cents per watt and if the 15% rate of decrease does not accelerate (due to an increase in production), we would see about 0.4 cents per Watt in 2033, so the original guess (with no research except PC costs) was indeed too high by a factor of 4.

            • Futilitist says:


              Swanson’s Law is just an observation, like Moore’s Law.

              And I found a different trend in a Scientific American article online (I don’t remember where). They said there has been an annual 7% (not 15%) reduction in the dollars per watt of solar photovoltaic cells. If the 7% decline in costs could be maintained, in 20 years the cost per watt of PV cells would be just over 50 cents.

              If you feel like it, you can use my numbers to calculate how much bigger an error you actually made. Or not. Because it doesn’t really matter.

              Once collapse begins, all your extrapolations of exponential growth collapse with the civilization that gave rise to them.

              • Old farmer mac says:

                If you have made your mind up that there IS NO solution to a problem you will certainly never look for one.

                Facts are about as big a problem to a person who has made up his mind and put his ” face ” on the line by stating his beliefs as rain is to a duck.

                A duck never even notices it when it rains. The rain just runs right off.

                • Futilitist says:

                  Old farmer mac,

                  “If you have made your mind up that there IS NO solution to a problem you will certainly never look for one.”

                  How do you know I didn’t exhaustively look for realistic solutions already, and, having found none, and in full consideration of the magnitude of our dilemma, I sadly came to the correct conclusion that there were, in fact, NO solutions?

                  “Facts are about as big a problem to a person who has made up his mind and put his ” face ” on the line by stating his beliefs as rain is to a duck.

                  A duck never even notices it when it rains. The rain just runs right off.”

                  To carry your analogy out, I would say the duck is in deep denial of the rain!

                  So are you agreeing with me or disagreeing?

                  It sounds like you are giving a pep talk extolling the virtuous powers of denial.

                  • Old farmer mac says:

                    ”I sadly came to the correct conclusion that there were, in fact, NO solutions?”

                    I think this line pretty much indicates that you are not at this time looking seriously for solutions at least. My take anyway.

                    Life is a Darwinian thing. There are no perfect answers to any problem.

                    But there are at least partially workable answers to most problems.

                    So far as I can tell you seem to be in denial of the facts involving renewable energy.

                    Now as far as the paper proving collapse is inevitable is concerned I don’t remember that paper specifically having read tons of stuff both pro and con and my memory not being what it used to be anymore.

                    But I have a friend who is an extraordinarily bright semiliterate self taught engineer named Howard who had this to say about collapse. I was pretty active on TOD towards the end and posted it there several times.

                    Think about driving a truck or car with a stick shift up a long grade in high gear. So long as you do not have to stop you can continue. BUT if you ever have to stop then you will never get started again because you will find that your transmission is busted and you have no first second third fourth gears to enable you to get started again.

                    This is a true and well reasoned argument.If everything stops then nothing will start again.

                    BUT there is absolutely no reason to think EVERYTHING will stop.

                    If every computer chip factory on earth vanished in a puff of smoke instantly there are enough computers around to keep the world turning until a new chip plant could be built. If every commercial aircraft in existence crashed tomorrow the world would keep on turning.

                    Leviathan has ways of making horny young men leave hot young women who are madly in love with them and live as slaves whose basic job description is to kill people they have never met and in most cases seldom even thought about.

                    Given that I have retained my ability to think like a child I find this absolutely marvelous, abhorrent, and amazing giving that I once would have killed somebody for putting his hands on my own hot young woman. Having grown old I also accept it as commonplace and requiring no further thought.

                    Somehow this utterly obvious fact (Leviathan’s power to enslave ) seems to have completely escaped the notice of doomers.

                    THE IMPLICATIONS of this fact have escaped the notice of doomers.

                    The entire world economy is not going to explode like an over revved hot rod engine flinging connecting rods thru the engine block . It is not going to seize up like a tractor engine welding itself solid due to running without enough oil in it.

                    You can either accept the argument Korowicz makes at face value or not as you please. I don’t. It is a theoretical argument that holds water if you accept the premises he reasons from and the assumptions he makes.

                    He misses the boat a long way in terms of his assumptions. He does a better job with his premises but not an airtight job.

                    I once accepted the argument that Paul Elrich made in The Population Bomb.

                    Nowadays I recognize that he had a valid argument but not an airtight one. In the end he will be proven right just as Malthus was right.

                    But the possible sudden collapse of the financial and world trade system does not mean the end of industrial civilization.

                    Some well trained farmer or another once listed all the things you could do to get rid of johnson grass. The list was pretty long and he had faithfully and meticulously tried them all at great expense for a number of years.

                    He had a great sense of humor and went on about fifteen or twenty pages describing his war with johnson grass.

                    In the end he just decided to raise johnson grass hay. It is about as close to a trouble free bullet proof crop as can be imagined.

                    The world wide industrial economy is sort of like johnson grass. It isn’t going anywhere. Burn it mow it plow it up bathe it in weed killer it comes right back.

                    Collapse will happen but it will be piecemeal in time and place. There will almost certainly be surviving pockets of just about all sorts of essential industries and when you get right down to it not that many industries are TRULY essential.

                    The ones that are will be kept running on an emergency basis. Well organized people with weapons in their hands will make sure of it TO SOME EXTENT.

                    Now I would not move to EGYPT for all the virgins in that neck of the woods. And I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be caught in LA in when the shit hits the fan.

                    I have made all the preliminary arrangements necessary to forting up myself if it becomes necessary.With a weeks notice I am prepared to stay put on the premises for a year. Three or four friends who are experienced in the art of war will be coming if they can get here.

                    Within a year most of the random violence should be about over with if collapse does turn out to be sudden HERE.

                    I take collapse seriously.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Futilist,

                    I do not think anyone knows how the future will unfold. I have read the Korowicz paper.

                    The world system is more resilient than Korowicz believes, crises can indeed occur, but the assertion that they cannot be solved or that they are unsolvable, is unproven.

                    We can assume collapse is inevitable and that no transition to another form of social organization is possible, or we can look at how we might change society to mitigate impact of peak fossil fuels, and climate change and reduce the damage human civilization does to the environment through reduced population and other measures (durable goods, cradle to grave manufacturing, more recycling, less toxic chemicals, and better environmental regulation.)

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hi Old farmer mac.

                    “Now as far as the paper proving collapse is inevitable is concerned I don’t remember that paper specifically having read tons of stuff both pro and con and my memory not being what it used to be anymore.”

                    You begin by saying you are not very familiar with the paper you are about to refute.

                    You then offer an analogy concerning a car with a stick shift and a broken transmission. You then continue:

                    “This is a true and well reasoned argument.If everything stops then nothing will start again.

                    BUT there is absolutely no reason to think EVERYTHING will stop.”

                    But Korowicz shows many reasons to think that everything will stop. That is what his paper is about. That is what you are supposed to be refuting.

                    “If every computer chip factory on earth vanished in a puff of smoke instantly there are enough computers around to keep the world turning until a new chip plant could be built. If every commercial aircraft in existence crashed tomorrow the world would keep on turning.”

                    Korowicz never suggests any of the above. Instead of arguing against anything Korowicz actually said, you just make up unreasonable sounding stuff and say it can’t happen. You should address what Korowicz said if you want to refute it.

                    “The entire world economy is not going to explode like an over revved hot rod engine flinging connecting rods thru the engine block . It is not going to seize up like a tractor engine welding itself solid due to running without enough oil in it.”

                    So the entire world economy can’t be compared to a hot rod engine. And it also is not like tractor engine. But it is exactly like a stick shift car with a broken transmission. Is that about right?

                    “You can either accept the argument Korowicz makes at face value or not as you please. I don’t. It is a theoretical argument that holds water if you accept the premises he reasons from and the assumptions he makes.

                    He misses the boat a long way in terms of his assumptions. He does a better job with his premises but not an airtight job.”

                    Really? What are his assumptions? What are his premises? You just got through saying that “I don’t remember that paper specifically”, yet you somehow managed to come up with the meaningless gibberish above.

                    Seriously. That kind of review wouldn’t have fooled any of my teachers into thinking I had actually read what I was reviewing.

                    Do you think that kind of made up stuff really convinces anybody?

                    “But the possible sudden collapse of the financial and world trade system does not mean the end of industrial civilization.”

                    That is a statement of belief with no real support offered.

                    “The world wide industrial economy is sort of like johnson grass. It isn’t going anywhere. Burn it mow it plow it up bathe it in weed killer it comes right back.”

                    Another analogy in which the economy is now likened to johnson grass.

                    “Collapse will happen but it will be piecemeal in time and place. There will almost certainly be surviving pockets of just about all sorts of essential industries and when you get right down to it not that many industries are TRULY essential.”

                    And another belief statement.

                    Is that all you got?

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hi Dennis.

                    Korowicz never argues that collapse is inevitable. He argues that it will be fast. David Price makes the inevitability argument in his Energy and Human Evolution paper which Ron has at the top of the page. We should talk about that one sometime as well.

                    “It is argued that in the coming years there are multiple routes to a large-scale breakdown in the global financial system, comprising systemic banking collapses, monetary system failure, credit and financial asset vaporization. This breakdown, however and whenever it comes, is likely to be fast and disorderly and could overwhelm society’s ability to respond.”~David Korowicz

                    He then elaborates multiple scenarios that could lead to a rapid collapse.

                    “The world system is more resilient than Korowicz believes, crises can indeed occur, but the assertion that they cannot be solved or that they are unsolvable, is unproven.”~Dennis Coyne

                    Yes Dennis, the future is unknowable. But that is not the question. No one ever suggested that Korowicz knows the future.

                    You say the world system is more resilient than Korowicz believes. Okay. That makes sense as a position. What makes you think that? Korowicz came up with 75 pages explaining why he thinks the world system is not as resilient as you say. You have a single sentence that is nothing more than a statement of your belief. That clearly does not rise to the level of what could be called a refutation.

                    Is that all you have on the subject?

    • ChiefEngineer says:


      You are the same type of person who weighs 400 pounds and eats super sized meals at McDonald’s three times everyday and says “I can’t help myself”. Try setting your Big Mac down and eating fruits & vegetables. You will feel better being part of the solution and not the problem before you kill us all.

      It’s about quality of life, not consumption. In 1980 you never imagined a computer in your home either. But today, here you sit enjoying the marvels of technology.

      Never say never

      • SRSrocco says:

        Chief….. thanks for that thoughtful reply…. EGGHEAD.


        • ChiefEngineer says:

          Thanks for a non thoughtful reply and simple name calling

          • SRSrocco says:


            If you read all the comments above… along with some basic common sense, you would realize the obvious. Because you don’t, means you have an EGGHEAD.

            This to me is not name calling, rather an attempt to classify.


          • Doug Leighton says:

            Chief, do you think your comment to Steve contained a thoughtful reply? Let’s see: “You are the same type of person who weighs 400 pounds and eats super at…” Nope, can’t see the thoughtful reply in there. What am I missing?

            • Old farmer mac says:

              We are all naked apes under our clothes and our mid brains are our bosses with a few rare exceptions. People perceive people who think differently as enemies. Enemies are for fighting with and exchanging insults is the usual opening move in our species.

              I would like to scold both Chief and Steve but I fall off the wagon and post an insult once in a while myself.

              Both these guys are right in my estimation depending on when and where. Some parts of the world – most of it in my opinion – are going to suffer a major collapse and die off.

              But some parts of the world are PROBABLY going to pull thru and manage to establish an economy based on the dregs of the fossil fuels and renewable energy by adopting a low per capita energy lifestyle.

              There is no question whatsoever in my mind that this is technically and economically possible although there are many things that could prevent it from happening – which is why I say probably.

              I have inquired of four different reputable physicists who all assure me that there is nothing in the laws of nature that will stop us from achieving a renewable lifestyle other than bad luck or failure to make the effort.

              My opinion is that a few countries will make the effort and get started in time to make the transition when the need becomes obvious. This will take a few Pearl Harbor events one after another to wake up the public and allow the job to be organized on a wartime footing. The USA and Canada and maybe a few other countries have a good shot at making the transition.

              A renewable based economy means business as usual is a dead man walking. A society that manages a transition to renewables is going to get by on a quarter or less energy per capita which means no more big pickup truck toys and lots of blankets and fans and super insulated houses and all that sort of thing.

              There is nothing impossible about living well on a quarter or less of the energy per capita we use today but the transition is going to be VERY TOUGH.

              Everybody with a job that depends on cheap energy is going to have to find a new way to make a living. This means everybody from airline pilots to long distance truckers to convenience store managers.

              But a lot of local businesses that used to exist will come back with a vengeance. Furniture will be made locally perhaps from shipped lumber. It will be solid wood and it will last just about forever and it will never be shipped but rather delivered in the immediate area. No boxes no store no warehouse needed. Just a local furniture maker and lumber.One truck load of lumber is sufficient to make ten truck loads of assembled furniture..

              Beer will be brewed locally and bread will be made by a local baker who sells to everybody within a five or ten minute walk or bike ride. Hops barley and flour are much easier hauled than water and bread wrapped and boxed.

              Chicken is three times or so less energy intensive than beef and beans are less energy intensive than chicken. We will be eating down the food chain.

              If we go very far to see Grandma it will be by bus or train.

              We will be driving cars that get the equivalent of a couple of hundred mpg – if we are still driving which most of us won’t be.

              A HELL of a lot of people are going to be glad to find employment as personal servants for a trivial wage plus room and board.

              • SRSrocco says:

                Farmer Mac,

                Are you saying. .. mt great-geandpappy was a naked ape?


                • Old farmer mac says:

                  Your Pappy too. Mine as well. 😉

                  Naked under his clothes of course. Still an ape.

                  No doubt about it, ask any biologist who got his degree anywhere other than a bible college.

                  I presume you are laughing with me.

              • Futilitist says:

                Old farmer mac,

                This is the third time I have posted this question to you:

                Ofm, here is something you said that I am very interested in:

                “Greer may be right or wrong in terms of his prediction of a long slow collapse. I once believed collapse would be fast myself and fully recognize that it indeed may arrive suddenly and happen fast.

                But nowadays I believe that collapse will more likely occur piecemeal fashion in time and place with collapse in the US and Canada playing out in a way not altogether different from what Greer envisions.”

                What exactly changed your mind?

                • Futilitist says:

                  Old farmer mac

                  “I once believed (X)…

                  …But nowadays I believe (Z)”

                  You never say (Y)

                  • Fred Magyar says:


                    You wrote:“Long story short, I’m not buying your long story, Old farmer mac. In the finest tradition of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you are nothing but a cornucopian in doomer’s underwear.”

                    I have only know OFM through his writings over the many years dating back to the old days at TOD… but if ever I could make a statement with absolute 100% confidence, here it is: YOU ARE WRONG, BRO!!

                    I may not always agree with every thing OFM says but I have never ever known him to be disingenuous, or to make any statements without having put very serious though into it. He is extremely well read, is a serious student of history and has a solid scientific background which includes math, physics chemistry and biology. He is one of the few people around who really gets it. Does he have biases, sure, we all do!

                    Personally I think you owe him an apology!


                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hi Fred.

                    Caelan MacIntyre posted Derrick Jensen’s premises from End Game:

                    “Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always… unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims…”~Derrick Jensen

                    Forums like this tend to turn into social clubs. You feel like you and Old farmer mac are friends. I’m the new guy on the block and I challenged your friend. This seems to have really upset the social balance on this site. You react with shock and horror, and you tell us all what a great guy Old farmer mac is.

                    I seem to have triggered the scapegoat mechanism! Suggesting that Old farmer mac might be somewhat disingenuous in the way he makes his arguments is the big problem, I guess.

                    Please reread my comment to OFM. My points are all pretty valid. Maybe you have just become accustomed to his style and never noticed, but all his posts have the patterns I described.

                    You and I had a pretty good dialog on the Solar Impulse thing. It was genuine, and we really do share a similar point of view. You make sense to me and I have a lot of respect for you and what you write.

                    I can appreciate where you are coming from as far as Old farmer mac is concerned, but I won’t be offering him an apology. I hope you understand.

                    (Bro, you called me Futilist. Why?)

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    Hey Futilitist, Sorry about mystyping your handle it was not intentional at all.

                    Sometimes I wish we could all just sit down at the bar and toss back a few cold ones. We might all understand each other a bit better.

                    You are probably right in that I do consider OFM to be at the very least and old acquaintance so I tend to to cut his foibles and idiosyncrasies a bit of slack.

                    But to be clear I don’t agree with everything he says.

                    Anyways I’ve had a very long day and I am going to have a beer!


                • Old farmer mac says:

                  Thinking about the arguments made by both sides – the doomers on the one side and the cornucopians on the other.

                  Either side may prove to be right in the long run with the caveat that SOMETHING is sure to get us ALL sooner or later.

                  Not many people ever change their minds about such a fundamental question given that their beliefs are usually tied in together with their other personal values and beliefs.

                  I am very much an outlier in that I try very hard to understand the issues that interest me without accepting anything on the basis of faith unless it is absolutely necessary. I am not afraid to change my mind.

                  My understanding of the world is that just about every body in every camp has a piece of the truth.

                  ( Nobody can hope to master every field so we all necessarily take some things on faith.)

                  Believing in collapse is very easy if you read and study the literature of collapse and I encountered it early and studied it deeply.

                  BUT the arguments of the cornucopian element HAVE prevailed in spite of the sound reasoning of the prophets of doom -SO FAR at least.

                  And I have had plenty of exposure to solving problems thought at one time to be intractable such as feeding seven billion people. I had a great experience meeting Paul Erlich of The Population Bomb fame at a seminar for ag students back in the dark ages. People of that sort were godlike in my eyes back in those days.

                  I even had a hand it doing that feeding myself as an educator and producer.

                  I read history one or two nights a week. Serious history with the emphasis on understanding what has determined the course of events thru the ages.

                  Being an ag guy means that I got a sound scientific education actually far better in terms of understanding the world that most scientists themselves who study only one field in depth.

                  I got the biology the chemistry the math the basic physics and the equivalent of an engineers education in the mechanics and nuances of the art and science of producing food on an industrial basis.

                  So my perspective is different.

                  They say being able to hold two inconsistent beliefs at one and the same time is an indication of having a poor intellect.

                  But I don’t believe in either the doomer vision or the cornucopian vision. I am not afraid to change my mind and admit it publicly.

                  The evidence in my estimation leads to the conclusion that collapse is possible and probable ; that the cornucopian vision is achievable ; and that the most likely scenario is a mixture of collapse and cornucopian success with the caveat that the cornucopian vision is grossly overblown in the minds of most cornucopians.

                  Luck is going to have a determining role in future history just as it has in the past.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hi Old farmer mac.

                    You said:
                    “They say being able to hold two inconsistent beliefs at one and the same time is an indication of having a poor intellect.

                    But I don’t believe in either the doomer vision or the cornucopian vision.”

                    My father has a hard time admitting he is an Atheist. He likes to call himself an Agnostic instead (people of his generation are afraid of the Atheist label). I like to give him a hard time about it.

                    “Dad, do you believe in God?”

                    “Son, I told you before, I’m an Agnostic. I neither believe, nor disbelieve.”

                    “But Dad, if you have given any thought to it, you must be at least leaning one way or the other. It can’t be 50-50.”

                    “Son, I don’t know how to answer you. I neither believe nor disbelieve.”

                    “Okay Dad, so you haven’t made your mind up YET. But you must be at least leaning one way or the other. If you had to decide today, based on what you know now, is there a God or not?”

                    “Son, I already gave you the best answer I could. Why do you keep pestering me with this?”

                    “Because it doesn’t make sense, Dad. C’mon, what’s your gut feeling?”

                    “I told you what I believe, son. Now let’s change the subject.”

                    I didn’t buy my Dad’s story then, and I am not buying yours now, Old farmer mac.

                    You admit to having right wing leanings and you express American exceptionalism when you suggest that our particular Leviathan has the ‘right stuff’ to pull through. Those ideologies are completely incompatible with the scientific theories of collapse you claim to have once believed in. In fact, those core ideologies more are far more compatible with cornucopian belief structures.

                    What was it you said about core beliefs? Oh yeah:

                    “Not many people ever change their minds about such a fundamental question given that their beliefs are usually tied in together with their other personal values and beliefs.”

                    I certainly agree with you on that.

                    Something always seemed a little fishy in the way you structured your posts. That is why I asked you why you had changed your mind about collapse.

                    Now I have the answer. You never really changed your mind at all! You are just pretending you did, probably in some kind of clumsy attempt to woo readers (who might be seriously considering collapse) to your ideology.

                    The whole Paul Ehrlich story sounds *WAY* off to me, too. Right wingers, American exceptionalists, and cornucopians of all stripes love to tell the story of Ehrlich’s failed bet with Julian Simon. You are just cleverly (?) reframing a commonly raised cornucopian example of a failed doomer prediction that supposedly confirms the truth of corucopianism.

                    People don’t change their core values, like you say. The failed bet didn’t really change anybody’s mind. You would already have to hold cornucopian views to think that the bet constituted some sort of proof of anything.

                    Your position is not a real one. It is a more like a fabrication. A fraud. A former hard core doomer who has changed his mind? Don’t make me laugh.

                    The rest of your post just pumps your expertise and honesty, so that we can take you at your word.

                    Long story short, I’m not buying your long story, Old farmer mac. In the finest tradition of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you are nothing but a cornucopian in doomer’s underwear.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Futilist,

                    In my view, Old Farmer Mac’s position is very sound.

                    I assume you are an atheist.

                    I believe the agnostic position is most sensible. The existence of God must be taken on faith, the non-existence of God is also an act of faith.

                    The agnostic simply says, I don’t know.

                    I will add that I don’t care.

                  • Futilitist says:

                    Hi Dennis.

                    “Hi Futilist…”

                    That’s not helpful.

            • ChiefEngineer says:

              Doug, I believe my analogue of food addiction and oil addiction is spot on. The over consumption of both are means to a quick death to humanity. Discipline of consumption management is critical to success. Steve’s lack of vision regarding changes in technology and the current waste of energy in today economy doesn’t help advance humanity.

              There is no future in being a doomer like Steve. Your grandparents didn’t give up when times were tuff. There are always answers to the problems. Doomers are just to selfish to sacrifice.

        • TopOfficial says:

          Steve, I don’t appreciate you disrespecting someone with rank such as the ChiefEngineer.

    • John B says:

      What has Richard Heinberg ever accomplished besides talking nonsense?

      Do you think Google would ever hire Richard Heinberg to be their Technical Director?

      I would rather listen to a real genius.


      • SRSrocco says:

        John B,

        LOL… didn’t know you were such a gifted COMMODE-IAN.


      • FrY10cK says:

        Kurzweil? Seriously?

        He makes noise (artistic noise, i.e. synthesizer music) not sense. Did you forget to put a /sarc tag at the end of your comment?

        • John B says:

          From Wiki:

          “Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flatbed scanner,[2] the first omni-font optical character recognition,[2] the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind,[3] the first commercial text-to-speech synthesizer,[4] the Kurzweil K250 music synthesizer capable of simulating the sound of the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.[5]

          Kurzweil received the 1999 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America’s highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony. He was the recipient of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for 2001,[6] the world’s largest for innovation. And in 2002 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, established by the U.S. Patent Office. He has received twenty honorary doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents. Kurzweil has been described as a “restless genius”[7] by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine”[8] by Forbes. PBS included Kurzweil as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America”[9] along with other inventors of the past two centuries. Inc. magazine ranked him #8 among the “most fascinating” entrepreneurs in the United States and called him “Edison’s rightful heir”.[10]”

          He’s also Director of Engineering at Google.

          What has Heinberg done besides write Doomer books?

          • Futilitist says:

            John B

            Are you a Singularity believer?

            • John B says:

              That’s not something I really think about much. But I think the Technological Singularity will be a little bit like Peak Oil (2005), in that we won’t notice when we’ve reached it.

      • Sam Taylor says:

        So blindly extrapolating the present growth rate makes him a genius? He’s applying Moore’s law when it’s clearly not valid. The first few doublings are easy, but it’s not realistic to just assume it’ll keep going like that. More likely it’ll follow a logistic-shaped curve of some sort.

        And when calling Kuzweil a genius, let’s also remember that this is a man who is injected daily with vitamins and is convinced he’ll live to see human immortality.

        • Futilitist says:

          People get way too excited about Moore’s Law. It is just another example of exponential growth which obviously cannot go on forever. Cornucopians and technocopians absolutely love Moore’s Law. They try to apply it to everything, even future reductions in PV costs! Wow.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Futilist,

            Actually, the simple point is that PC costs fell (based on processor speed) by at least a factor of 300,000 over thirty years. I proposed that PV cost may fall by a factor of 1000 over 30 years.

            Perhaps I am just not very good at arithmetic, last I checked 300,000 is not equal to 1000. Maybe the collapse has affected basic math as well 🙂

            • Sam Taylor says:


              It would be interesting to look at how much energy is embodied in computers now versus say 20 or 30 years ago. Now much of this was before my time, but I seem to recall seeing that some of the earlier computers were made from relatively simple components, and could be assembled at home. The complexity and amount of energy required to manufacture an iphone would make building such a thing at home impossible (especially since I don’t live in a clean room environment).

              The environmental cost of the computer industry is probably also increasing, with increased use of rare earth materials, which are very unpleasant to mine. The human cost, in terms of near slave labour that Chinese workers toil under, is also large.

              I don’t think it’s quite as straightforward a value proposition as you make out.

              • Doug Leighton says:

                Hi Sam,

                If you only knew. Most Chinese rare earths are in Bayan Obo, in the Gobi desert. The main open-pit mine is 1,000 metres deep and 50 sq km. The ore is laced with thorium (very radioactive), and separation requires huge amounts of carcinogenic toxins. I visited the area five or six years ago and they wouldn’t let me take photos; I don’t know why because if you Google “china rare earth images” the whole horror show comes alive.

                • Sam Taylor says:

                  I have do admit I feel that many ordinary Chinese are getting an incredibly raw end of the deal. They’re destroying the ability of their country to sustain life at an absolutely breathtaking pace, the pollution is monstrous, they’re mining all their rare earths at enormous cost and many of them are working jobs which must be just incredibly soul destroying. And for what? So that westerners can get iphones for the lowest price possible and so that a few lucky and well placed party officials and businessmen can get incredibly rich fior a brief period, until entropy catches up with them.

            • Futilitist says:

              Hi Dennis.

              “Actually, the simple point is that PC costs fell (based on processor speed) by at least a factor of 300,000 over thirty years. I proposed that PV cost may fall by a factor of 1000 over 30 years.”

              Actually the simple point is that kind of extrapolation is not valid.

              You assume that exponential growth can be maintained indefinitely. It cannot. With respect to collapse, you are using circular reasoning which assumes the outcome you hope for. That is called begging the question. It amounts to wishful thinking.

              • Old farmer mac says:

                It is also invalid to refuse to recognize that at some point that is probably achievable the cost of pv is going to be low enough that the price of panels is hardly going to matter.

                The pv industry is eventually going to supply electricity at VERY low cost. LOW ENOUGH to use the juice to do most of what we use coal generated juice for today once we figure out how to shift the loads and build some cheap storage .

                It won’t really matter if the cost of electricity is one cent or three cents per kilowatt hour once it gets down in that price range . It is going to be very affordable at three cents. One cent would just be more icing on the cake.

                • Futilitist says:

                  It is more invalid to refuse to recognize and factor in that we are at least dangerously close to a catastrophic collapse that will render all of your arguments academic.

                  “The pv industry is eventually going to…”


              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Futilist,

                I did not say it would continue forever.

                Note that 30 years is not equal to forever, though you seem to think so. If your assumption of near term collapse were correct, I suppose 30 years might be forever. I think your assumption is incorrect, just as you believe that it is correct.

                In 1977 solar PV was $76.67/W and in 2013 the price was $0.5/W, about a 13% annual average decrease in costs.
                If that rate continues for 20 years the cost falls to $0.03/W. and in 10 years the cost falls to $0.1/W.


                • Futilitist says:

                  Um Dennis.

                  “In 1977 solar PV was $76.67/W and in 2013 the price was $0.5/W, about a 13% annual average decrease in costs.
                  If that rate continues for 20 years the cost falls to $0.03/W. and in 10 years the cost falls to $0.1/W.”


                  Are you confused or are you trying to create confusion?!? It has to be one or the other because the trend in solar PV costs has not been anywhere near linear as your projection suggests!!!

                  A 13% annual average cost decrease looks nothing like this!!:

                • Futilitist says:


                  You show an amazing propensity to make some pretty far out projections there Dennis, but this one has to take the cake!

                  Have you ever heard of diminishing returns?

                  You assume a trend (which is not even happening) will continue to happen for the next 20 years. Based on that massive error, you arrive (mathematically) at your silly estimate and proclaim the good news about solar to all. Wow.

                  Now that we know you were wrong about this, how does the bad news effect your outlook on the chances for solar energy to save us? No effect at all, I bet. You will just make up some new hopeful numbers.

                  Your math exercise earlier showed some pretty sloppy, slapdash, bullshit data extrapolation, too. I am not impressed with your grasp of anything technical at all. Seriously.

                  Back to the drawing board, Dennis.

                  I am going to examine everything you say a lot more closely from here on out.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    So you are not too familiar with the exponential function. The overall rate of decline in costs has not been steady, it was more rapid from 1977 to 1990, decreased more slowly for a few years then went through another rapid decline from 2002 to 2013. From 1998 to 2013 PV model costs fell at about 15% per year on average.

                    I am very familiar with diminishing returns. At some point costs will not be able to decrease any further, we do not know when that will be, so far costs have fallen faster than expected. Chart with 13% decrease from 1977 to 2013 below.

                  • Futilitist says:


                    I understand the exponential function. But the smooth exponential curve you want to impose over 36 years of actual data doesn’t really fit all that well. You then take that poor approximation and extend it out 30 years into the future.

                    That is a terrible methodology! It is really just a sloppy product of wishful thinking.

                    To me, it looks like the actual cost curve was subject to an initially rapid decline, then a long period of no progress, followed by another recent cost decline. The declines correspond to times of high energy prices which spur research and development.

                    So we are really looking at two separate diminishing return curves with a flat section connecting them, not a smooth exponential function. And if oil prices do not rise soon, the most recent trend in cost reduction may already be over.

                    You see what you want to see in the actual data and then project what amounts to a fantasy into the future. Nice.

                    Keep up the good work.

    • islandboy says:

      Not that I pray to a renwable energy god but, when I first stumbled upon the term Peak Oil back in 2007 and eventually watched “The End of Suburbia”, Crude Impact”, “A Crude Awakening”, “Oil Smoke and Mirrors” and others, I was sure that by now, 2015, the fan would have stalled from the amount of shit hitting it, as a matter of fact I thought the fan would have beeen buried in it by now! I was brought to Peak Oil by a car site and forgive me for the indulgence but, my big sis says that as a kid, if it didn’t have wheels, or propellers or some othe mechanical means of motion, yours truly wasn’t interested. I was doing tune-ups and repairing minor electrical problems on the family car by the time I was fifteen (1976) and in 1996 carried out all the electrical work and fuel system changes to convert my Volkswagen Vanagon from a 52 hp, 1.6L diesel to a 100+ hp 2L fuel injected gasoline motor.

      As a result of things not having fallen apart yet, I have become a little more optimistic that, things may turn out better than they wouild have otherwise been, if certain scenarios actually play out. One scenario comes to us from none other than Elon Musk who is at least aware that oil production will peak well within his lifetime. From the EV entusiast blog insideevs.com

      Elon Musk: In The Future There Will Be No Gas Stations – Video
      “In the recently available movie, “PUMP,” CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk has something quite interesting to say in regards to gas stations in the future…there won’t be any.

      It’s safe for us to assume that Musk wants gas stations to be obsolete as soon as humanly possible… it’s a given this will happen, according to Musk and we mostly agree.”

      He didn’t give a time for gas station s to disappear, using the phrase “in the future” but a couple of talking heads implied that it would take decades to replace the entire US automobile fleet. Now, in the comments, one individual linked to a video of a pressentation by Tony Seba, “a Stanford professor who predicts the switch over to EVs will occur much earlier…by 2030; and, there will be a major decrease in the car population.” I have not heard of this Tony Seba guy before but I find him pretty convincing. Trying to find more info on him revealed that he thinks tha the world will experience “Peak Water” before we experience Peak Oil. He believes that technology improvements will make EVs and solar PV cheaper than ICE powered cars and fossil fuel powered generation within the next decade or so! He bases this on price trends to date for batteries and PV.

      AltCars Keynote – 100% electric transportation and 100% solar by 2030

      Before I go put on my flame suit, some people have questioned the potential for cost reductions in PV modules. Here’s a couple of examples of how it works:

      Silicon Genesis enters the solar PV market with “kerf-free” wafering technology
      “Silicon Genesis Corporation (San Jose, CA), a leader in process and technology for engineered substrates announced on July 11th 2008 that it has successfully produced solar substrates for the PV industry using a revolutionary “kerf-free” wafering process technology developed by SiGen called PolyMax™.”

      The benefits of this process are twofold.
      1)Kerf free cutters can cut much thinner slices than mechanical (wire) saws which leades to more wafers per block of silicon.
      2)IIRC the width of the cuts (kerf) produced by the mechanical saws is greater than the thickness of the wafers produced by the new procees which translates to at least twice as many wafers per block of silicon.
      The more recent development is

      Crystal Solar and NREL Team Up to Cut Costs
      “Crystal Solar’s direct gas-to-wafer method is epitaxial, which means it grows a layer of material on top of another material that has the same crystal structure. In the direct gas-to-wafer method—the official name is Direct Monocrystalline Silicon Wafer Growth by High-Throughput Epitaxy—gaseous layers of semiconducting silicon material are grown directly on reusable silicon substrates. The method has several advantages, including eliminating the waste incurred in the traditional approach, which involves sawing thin slices from a large ingot or block of silicon. In the new approach, wafers can be made thinner without compromising their quality or efficiency.”

      It’s anybodys guess as to whether any of the current prices can be attributed to the cost reduction promised in the first story and I doubt that the technolgy in the second story has yet affected the market so even as prices have fallen, there are more cost reductions baked into that pie.

      Alan from the islands

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Hey Alan,

        Trying to find more info on him revealed that he thinks that the world will experience “Peak Water” before we experience Peak Oil.

        Well at the very least “Peak Water” would put a damper on population growth… or would that be a drier >;-)

      • Now you need to find a similar improvement trend for batteries.

        • islandboy says:

          Reach into your pocket and take out your cell phone. If it is not an iPhone, take of the back cover and take a look at the battery. Compare it to the battery in the original Motorola “brick”. I do believe they are still working on it.

          I guess nobody has 40 minutes to waste watching a nutcase making crazy predictions! (the video linked to above)

          Alan from the islands

          • Alan, I keep hearing and reading a lot of science fiction in the energy field. The way I see it, it’s up to the proponents to deliver sound cost efficient systems. I need to see somebody bid a solar plant with associated energy storage able to deliver 900 MW for 10 days without a hiccup.

            I just want to see the proposal with some solid engineering. A firm commitment to build, and the associated feed in tariff they want. Then I’ll compare that to a nuclear power plant’s.

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              I have yet to hear of the true costs of nuclear startup, disaster, decommissioning and waste storage/etc. issues.
              From what is understood, this may be because they are unaffordable.

          • John B says:

            I watched it, and I thought it was an excellent presentation.

            I think for some people, collapse has become their religion. They’re not interested in facts, or logic.

  12. Allan H says:

    Ron, it looks like the delta between month graphs for the Crude only production and C+C have gotten very small for six months back. Do you think that the numbers six months earlier and before are fairly reliable estimates of actual production?
    That, of course, would make the EIA estimates too high a bit whimsical.

  13. Ovi says:

    Re:Are the Alberta oil sands going bust?
    What does Buffet know/understand that a lot of others don’t? I think he understands the significance of a company that has 40 years of oil. See below

    “Berkshire Hathaway Sells Exxon Stake But Buys More Suncor

    Exxon wasn’t the only U.S. oil giant that failed to maintain Buffett’s interest. Berkshire also divested a smaller stake, about a half a million shares in ConocoPhillips during the quarter.

    But that’s not to say that the Oracle of Omaha had soured on oil companies overall. Berkshire actually increased its stake in Calgary’s Suncor, by about four million shares during the period. Buffett now owns 22 million shares in Suncor. At current prices, that’s worth about $700 million Cdn.

    Buffett made his first investment in Suncor in the fall of 2013, the same year he bought into Exxon.”

    • Old farmer mac says:

      Buffet is legendary for taking the long term position as he sees it.I would bet the same way if I were investing long term money.

      The tar sands industry going busted is complete and total bullshit in my opinion. Some individual companies may go broke but the industry is going to flourish barring either a collapse of the world economy or miraculous breakthroughs in renewables.

      There are a few politicians who will curry favor with their own constituencies by talking about shutting down the tar sands but when the oil shit hits the fan they will shut up FAST or get their asses booted out of office in a hurry.

      If I remember correctly Rockman pointed out sometime back at TOD the same thing my lawyer has pointed out about his two daughters who are just about now graduating from the snooty universities that have kept him hustling for the last few years. They are all in favor of little bitty energy efficient houses and little bitty cars and street cars and high rise apartments and a bread and veggie diet ad infinitium for OTHER people.

      For themselves they want it all just like Momma and Daddy have it. Big house fancy car salmon in the fridge weeks at the beach -way down south – in cold weather – and weeks in the Rockies in the summer AND winter- for the summer scenery and warm weather outdoor recreation and the skiing in the winter.

      Both the girls are hard core Democrats. Only a very foolish politician will risk telling them they can’t live the way they want to. Obamacare alone was just about enough to make republicans out of them since they both anticipate being self employed and understand that they will have the shit taxed out of them to subsidize poor folks insurance. One more economic insult of this sort and they are going to turn red.

      Like all my liberal acquaintances they love poor people at a distance. I live among poor people and while I am not hard up by any means I don’t have much money. And while there are quite a few very successful people in my family now there are still some poor people too. This gives me a very different perspective from that of most people.

      If the entire economy goes belly up all stock and bond type investments are toast. Whatever companies are doing well in such an environment will be actually or de facto nationalized by taxing the crap out of them.

      Only a fool BETS on miracles.

      I believe in techno miracles as a general thing however. The problem is that knowing there are going to be some -just as there have been many in the past- does not enable me to know what they will be or when they will come about.

      • ChiefEngineer says:

        “Obamacare alone was just about enough to make republicans out of them since they both anticipate being self employed and understand that they will have the shit taxed out of them to subsidize poor folks insurance.”

        The Affordable Care Act guarantees that self employed can go to the market place and purchase health insurance. Prior to the ACA, pre existing conditions meant some self employed had to go without coverage.

        Please name who currently is getting “the shit taxed out of them” ? This is another lie.

        The ACA may not be prefect, but it’s a lot better for most Americans than the system in place before it. Current medical cost are growing at a record low increase. Get over your Republican talking points, there a lie.

        • Old farmer mac says:

          Chief I will leave it to you to tell us how much a good insurance policy – a gold policy – costs a young healthy lawyer or CPA. THESE two girls are going to get the shit taxed out of them. I won’t publish their names but there are a millions of them out there in the same situation.

          I am not a REPUBLICAN but a conservative with a working brain and I do not tell lies.The republican party these days is no more conservative in the true sense that the democratic party . Both parties are owned and operated as a subsidiary of big business in general.

          If anybody doubts whether these two young and capable professional women are going to get the shit taxed out of them —————-

          Just look up the cost of a good policy for a young single self employed person making good money – lawyer money CPA money MBA money – in any given community and compare it to the cost of an identical policy sold to a person making minimum wage or maybe ten bucks or so. These two girls are going to step right into Daddy’s law office with PLENTY of ready business and Daddy to help them get acquainted all over the capital city with the people that matter in his specialty. He will retire as soon as they are up to speed.

          You might not consider the difference to be getting the shit taxed out of you but I can assure you young people who are paying the price without benefit of the welfare subsidy think so.

          Having said all this I am on record here in this forum as being in favor of a European style one payer health care system here in the USA. But being in favor of it does not blind me to the reality of the politics involved.

          Now the reason I am in favor of a government takeover of health care is that there is not and has not been a free market health care system in this country for the last sixty or seventy years. The doctors lawyers hospitals insurance and pharmaceutical industries have pretty much done away with the free market and turned health care in this country into a money grubbing racket.

          The rot was so bad that in my opinion the immediate past (before ACA ) system was so rotten that it could only be fixed by utterly destroying it and starting over.

          This might sound STRANGE coming from a conservative but in my estimation we will have a stronger safer happier more productive country with socialized medicine than we had with our old system.

          The health care industry brought the ACA on itself. Serves it right. But seeing this does not prevent me from seeing all sides of this issue.

          The ACA has is no doubt helping a lot of poor people or people who could not get insurance to obtain better health care.

          Whether the AVERAGE person is better off in terms of his own personal health care and finances is debatable. I know quite a few people personally who are worse off but I also know at least as many that will be able to get a useful policy for peanuts or for nothing.

          It pisses me off that I know a hell of a lot of deadbeats actually get care for free that would pretty close to bankrupt me. I could name half a dozen in flash. Auto accidents they brought on themselves by driving drunk etc. Smoking. Meth. Ignorance in general.

          I was once a card carrying long hair liberal who organized on labor jobs and as a teacher. Still got my papers to prove it. Operating Engineers and VEA and NEA . I eventually came to realize that when welfare pays nearly as well as low wage work and the recipient doesn’t have to bother with actually going to work or worrying about medical bills etc that the typical recipient once on the rolls prefers to STAY there. Manipulating the system is so easy even people with iq’s of eighty five have no trouble managing it.

          In any case I did not start out to debate the health care issue but rather to use it to illustrate the workings of political backlash when any given group or party or special interest manages to do something that REALLY pisses off the opposition.

          I do suppose you DID notice that the Republicans won control of the Senate and padded their house margin substantially last round of elections.IF the presidential election had been held at the same time they could have run a child molester and won the White House as well.

          My gut feeling is that the resentment over the ACA and the Keystone and a few other hot button issues is still burning hot enough that they will take the White House in ’16 even though I would rather see a Democratic president since the republicans are so backward about the environment.

          When the oil crunch finally hits – and it will eventually hit like a pro boxer landing one in the solar plexus – the public right left and indifferent is going to be all in favor of all the tar sand oil it can possibly put it’s hands on.

          And if the grid goes down just once or twice for a day or two due to inadequate generating capacity the public will insist on plenty of coal fired juice as well.

          • shallow sand says:

            Although I am not in favor of this, what would happen to medical costs if there was no insurance and the medical industry had to get paid whatever people could pay?

            Doctors and lawyers used to be lumped together, considered to be in about the same league pay wise. Not anymore. The reason imo is the lawyers have to get their fees from what people can pay, which in many cases is not much.

            Of course, personal injury ads fill the airwaves. That is because those lawyers are going after a pot of insurance money. You don’t see as many ads for divorce lawyers because it is not as lucrative. They have to get their fees from the clients.

            There are many exceptions, but a large percentage of lawyers do not make six figures. Considering it costs in excess of $300,000 for the seven years of schooling to become one, it looks like there will be fewer in the future.

            Remember the old adage, “Everyone hates lawyers until they need one”.

            • Old farmer mac says:

              My personal physician does not accept insurance except as mandated by law – this has been Medicare so far. Haven’t talked to him about Ocare and whether he will have to deal with it or not.

              But you pay cash on the spot and he charges half or a little more than half what all the other local docs charge. He has told me that given the savings involved in running his office that way he makes almost as much money anyway and that given the lack of headaches involved in supervising bookkeeping staff etc he is well satisfied.

              He lives upstairs in a very nice building purpose built as a combination residence and office and pays no rent. There is something to be said for a boonies address and as doctors go he has one for sure. The time that most docs spend getting two and from their offices allows him to see two or three extra patients a day.

            • Old farmer mac says:

              I believe the three hundred grand figure is mostly hot air except in the cases of people who attend the snooty schools and even then the tuition is quite often heavily discounted. And adding in living expenses is bogus as you have to live no matter what.

              My own lawyer worked his way thru school as an undergrad at a local state university and paid almost all his way thru law school as well painting houses. He took it easy and borrowed all the money only for the last year. His wife paid their actual living expenses such as rent and groceries until he got his shingle.

              You are right about a lot of lawyers not making a great deal of money. My guy kept on painting houses for a couple of years a day or two a week as a junior hand in a two lawyer office until he developed somewhat of a following. Then the old guy retired a couple of years after that and he has been swamped ever since.

              Two young people who want to can generally live on one income if they really want to even today assuming the one working has a semi decent job and they are willing to live modestly.

              • shallow sand says:

                The 300,000 figure is not hot air. Have a daughter who is interested so I’ve been looking into it. That was the quote from the state university for four years of undergrad, three years of law school, in state tuition, but also includes books, room, board fees. I am sure there may be cheaper avenues, such as first two years juco, but this is not snooty private school either. In state tuition at a “public” university. Why do you think student debt in the US is over one $Trillion?

                When did your guy graduate? If it was in the 1960s, whole different ballgame. I know one who went to same law school I referred to above, his tuition was $100 per semester, in mid-1960s $ of course. He said he was more worried about cost of books than tuition.

                The idea one can work their way through 4 years of undergrad plus 3+ years of professional school is no longer a good one, absent some serious aid or scholarship money.

                Maybe living expenses should be discounted, but unless you live where the kid can live at home and go to college, it will be more expensive by far.

                If you know of some “inexpensive” four year universities, please let me know. I have teenagers and its going to be expensive, despite having saved consistently since before their birth.

                • John B says:

                  FWIW, I don’t think college today is all it’s cracked up to be. There’s plenty of young people with 4 year degrees working at Subway.

                  My advice to young people would be to find something they like to do, and start they’re own business. If that business fails, start another one.

                  • shallow sand says:

                    Actually, I stand corrected. One can get through 7 years of undergrad and law school at OU or KU for about $175,000 in state.

                    John B. I assume you know several places where a 19 year old with a high school diploma can get a loan to start a business, and then can get another if the first business fails.

                    I am sure it has happened, but on a large scale, not realistic.

                  • Fred Magyar says:

                    Shallow sand,

                    John B. I assume you know several places where a 19 year old with a high school diploma can get a loan to start a business, and then can get another if the first business fails.

                    Actually, yes! ‘Kickstarter’ and other crowdsourcing sites…


                • Let me tell you what I did: 1. I became a Texas resident. 2. Sent the first to stay in the dorms. 3. When she was older I bought an old house close to campus, sent number two to stay in the house with her, rented the spare room. They rode bikes or walked to school, shared one old car. Then I sent number three after number one graduated. The fourth was a semi adopted daughter, and so on. I’m not even sure who lives in the old house anymore, my kids arrange to have people move in and out.

                • Old farmer mac says:

                  Full time under grad tuition at Virginia Tech in state is currently 5044 per semester.

                  Sixty grand plus living expenses will get you an engineering job starting at sixty .

                  You can get at least a quarter of the required courses at a community college much cheaper thus lightening the load once at the university and have more time to work.

                  There are at least a couple of dozen law schools in this country that don’t cost any more than fifteen grand annually.

                  Just google cheap law schools. Most of them are reputable state operated universities.

                  If you pass the bar you pass the bar. Otherwise it doesn’t matter if you went to Harvard except you get a lot more money to start if you did.

                  • toolpush says:


                    “Otherwise it doesn’t matter if you went to Harvard except you get a lot more money to start if you did.”

                    I am not sure if it is the start money, by going to Harvard, or the finish money. A nephew on my wife’s side. Way too smart for himself, managed to go through Harvard law on scholarships. When he came out, I was actually getting better money than him, as a dirty oil field worker.
                    We don’t discuss money any more, he is a partner in Beverly Hills corporate law firm. some people are just too smart for their own good, lol.

  14. Paulo says:

    re: Oil Sands going bust…

    Somehow I think this industry will be standing long after shale is done. I will make this quick without links as I have to get back to work in my shop. (coffee break).

    Suncor is doing fine as they have been producing since the 70s. But they are cutting back on the gravy, as is Shell, etc. I have heard Suncor makes money at $35. CNRL is a shitty company from what workers tell me, with projects constantly over budget and troubles with their SAGD. Many of you know my son has been working in the sands for the last 10 years, giving it up to contract out for residential construction and commercial electrical. He quit Ft Mac projects 6 months ago, just before the bust, and has not looked back. Why? He was sick of camp life, pure and simple. He did not like working for CNRL, at all, ever.

    re: “Berkshire Hathaway Sells Exxon Stake But Buys More Suncor”.

    I have been looking at Suncor stocks, myself, but they aren’t dropping. Yet. If they do I will buy. If silver drops, I will buy that too. There is a reason why their stocks are stable.

    I have heard CNRL is not doing well. I look upon ‘warning articles’ such as the one featuring the CEO as opportunities to put pressure on contractor expenses and high pay scales for workers. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Union man through and through. But I also know (basically) kids who I wouldn’t hire to cut my grass (they are that dumb and lazy) who made 2X what I did my last year of formal work (two years ago), and I have a few degrees, a red seal trade, and 10,000 hours flight time commercial. But then again, I don’t work in an Oil Sands camp, either. I suppose if I did work there I would have done as well. I did have a friend who taught electrical at the local college who quit and made $100/hr commisioning new equipment. I suppose he is now out of work as there is now no ‘new equipment’.

    Also, you often hear stories of welders making $250,000/yr with their own rigs etc. I think those days are pretty much gone. The average trade makes in the high thirties, with contract welders at $50…using plants equipment. There are a lot of wage myths out there. The bottom line is what do people clear after paying out in their tax bracket? And what could they make at home, and clear, in a lower bracket? Plus, when workers return and try and find work at home many employers do not hire them as they have a reputation of ‘not getting anything done’, and if any of you are ‘old school’ like me, it is all about production. As I said to my son last year when I was working on his house, “let’s just get it done and worry about our feelings, later”. (Boy, was he pissed off!!)

    My point is that a lot of the doom and gloom is an opportunity to pressure down wage rates for when things ramp up again. If anyone thinks oil prices will never rise again, well….I think you are wrong. It will ramp up again and it will bust again, until it can’t.

    By the way, we are having awesome spring weather here on the west coast. I put 700 km on my new bike the last two weeks.

    • Doug Leighton says:

      Paulo, I agree with your analysis in all its detail. Oil Sand (Tar Sands) projects are long term affairs that are likely to go through many business cycles. No matter the ramifications; good, bad or ugly, oil will be flowing out of Alberta’s oil sands for decades: The momentum inherent in these many projects is huge. In case anyone doesn’t know, Athabasca oil sands refer to Cretaceous age bitumen deposits located in Alberta, Canada, covering almost 50,000 square kilometers. Source rock is mainly the McMurray Fm., a layer of shale, sandstone, and oil-impregnated sands.

      • Paulo says:

        Thanks Doug. From you that is a great compliment as I am just a blog cruising layman who believes in PO. Thank God for this site!! Sanity.

        • Watcher says:

          Suncor is a simple company. This is a huge source of attraction, as is the fundamental truth that they actually have reserves. Not constantly seeking them all over the world. They have them and they know where they are.

          Odds of Canada shutting off its cash cow . . . pretty much zero. Suncor’s future is bright, but another down spasm in oil will give you a chance to own it much cheaper.

  15. I have just received an email from Mike that the Texas RRC has indeed instituted a new digital electronic system of reporting and this is likely the cause of the huge jump in the December production of oil and gas.

    Mike has given me permission to post this portion of his email:

    Ron, I think that the TRC has very recently (December) finally gotten its digital act together with regards to reporting. We can no longer file any paper work with the TRC, it actually now all has to be done digitally. Previously all paper submittals had to be sent out of house to get scanned, before it could be processed, and that was taking upwards of 18 months in some cases. That’s over and I think the reporting problems, and deferred corrections, are going to get sorted out. This downturn will allow the TRC to get caught up; it has been overwhelmed the past 6 years and has a turnover rate that makes McDonalds look like job security. As soon as anybody learns how to process a form, they are hired by EOG, etc. The State has just thrown a lot of money at the TRC for new hiring and higher salaries.

    • Philip Backus says:

      Ron, I guess that answers my question from above. I forgot to mention your ability to drill deep and get answers….pun intended. Thank you and best regards,


    • notanoilman says:

      Can that be added to the article in case people miss the comment?


    • toolpush says:


      So I gather we are going to wait and watch for a few months, before we can draw too many conclusions from the Texas RRC numbers. But it should mean we get faster more meaningful numbers in the future.

      And just when I thought I was starting to understand their reports?

  16. Political Economist says:

    Ron, thanks for this new post. But from your graph the jump of December is not obvious.

    What is the last data point on your greenline, December 2014 or January 2015?

    I can see how your December line is elevated relative to the November line. But if I just look at the December line, production has been falling.

    • PE, sorry but you have not been paying attention. The drooping, for all months, line is a reporting anomaly. In Texas there is often a delay in reporting production. All companies that produced oil in December did not report their production. The reporting trickles in over many months. When it does the line straightens out.

      The point is, if the same percentage of companies updated their numbers last month, for November, as they did this month, for December, then there was an increase in production of over 130 thousand barrels.

      But, according to my post from Mike, the Texas RRC has a new electronic digital system of reporting. So the huge jump in December may just be another reporting anomaly.

      • shallow sand says:

        It very well could be a reporting process change. However, US oil rigs peaked in October at 1,609. I do not know when Texas peaked but assuming it was then, it is not surprising that December would be up, given the time needed to drill, complete and put the well on producing status. Rig count really started the free fall in January. This will probably not be reflected in the production numbers for 3-4 months, so April or May, which will be reported in June or July.

        My guess is that the reporting process change accounts for some of the increase, but not all. If well head prices do not improve, look for December, 2015 to be below December, 2014. EOG, for example, plans on exiting 2015 with less BOPD than 2014, and they are reputed to be “the lowest cost” EFS producer.

        This is why I think Mr. Patterson may be accurate that world peak will hit this year. Once all of these workers are terminated and rigs are stacked, it will take awhile to get them back. $90-100 oil will be needed, which doesn’t look likely for 2015. This is not just for US. Rigs are declining in every area of the world except the middle east.

        One other note on EOG. Consensus estimates are they post a slight loss or break even in the first quarter of 2015. If the cream of the shale crop is forecast to have declining production and lose money, where does that put the lesser shale companies?

        • Need to factor in the reduction in rig and other contractor rates. There’s a lot of negotiating going on. Overseas we see negotiations to cut taxes to avoid field abandonments. This moves the peak oil out in time because everybody is pitching in to stay in the game.

          • shallow sand says:

            I agree. However, oil at current levels the rest of the year will not be overcome by contractor rate reductions in my opinion.

            It is going to take more then a few months to force out the US shale producers. I doubt OPEC does anything to increase prices till that happens. The middle east has not cut rigs like the rest of the world.

            Some bond holders need to take it on the chin. That will take awhile. I hate it but just going to hunker down.

  17. Watcher says:

    Despite total apparent Greek capitulation there is no sign of Euro surge in strength (and thus dollar weakness and oil price rise) in Singapore. As of now, $50.40ish and Euro still in the 1.13s range.

  18. Futilitist says:

    Here is something really interesting:

    War And Petroleum Reserves

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-2 … m-reserves

    In the interest of analytical balance, we would do well to consider the possibility of war strategies when it comes to the global stockpiling of petroleum reserves. In the years leading up to the German invasion of Poland, the world witnessed dramatic decreases in the price of oil as well as massive increases in petroleum inventories, especially as the Texas fields began to produce.

    These shifts in the global oil markets ran parallel to the deflation which had begun in October, 1929, and as such, we can see the same pattern repeating today as oil prices collapse, inventories are growing, and world wide deflation is deepening.

    Whether by design or not, the lack of reduction in crude production around the world, and the growing stockpiles which isn’t slowing down, will only mean further decreases in the price of oil.
    The growing deflation will obviously drive down the demand for petroleum products even further, while at the same time decreasing oil prices will continue to feed the deflationary pressure from the opposite macro position.”

    It looks like Old farmer mac’s Leviathans are gearing up for war! The historical parallels are chilling. I love the part about US production leading the way into a glut back then too.

    Lots of automatic mechanisms are lining up to set the stage for WWIII:

    Exponential Growth -> Overproduction -> Crash ->
    Massive Productive Capacity Overhang Prevents Growth -> Deflation -> Oil Glut ->
    Lot’s of Excess Fuel for War -> War -> Productive Capacity Overhang Eliminated ->
    Exponential Growth Resumes

    It seems that WWII averted a collapse by eliminating the overhang in productive capacity, creating room for economic growth. Can WWIII do the same thing for us today? I think peak oil will mean that history only repeats itself up to a point. But who knows? I don’t think we will have to wait much longer to find out.

    Seems like this might generate an interesting discussion.

    • Futilitist says:

      When the collapse happened on Easter Island, the Rapa Nui had a civil war. Rival clans toppled each other’s moai. According to scholars, moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna).


      It was believed that the living had a symbiotic relationship with the dead in which the dead provided everything that the living needed (health, fertility of land and animals, fortune etc.) and the living, through offerings, provided the dead with a better place in the spirit world.”

      Thus, by toppling their rival’s moai, what they were really trying to do was destroy their rival’s productive capacity! Wow.

      Think about it.

      In Energetic and evolutionarily terms, declining net energy triggers the instinct to destroy a rival’s productive capacity to free up more resources.

      In English, we call it War.

    • Futilitist says:

      “Seems like this might generate an interesting discussion.”

      Or not.

  19. SRSrocco says:


    I don’t know if someone else posted this yet, but if not, I believe you will find this interesting:

    BIG BLOW FOR SHALE ENERGY: Chevron Terminates All Shale Gas Exploration In Europe


    • Sam Taylor says:

      Is this all that surprising? The only significant shale deposits I know of in Europe were in Poland, and they turned out to be a total dud.

      • Mike says:

        British government is hoping for massive reserves in UK. Half lowland Britain potentially being developed. Dreams of gas independence znd not relying on Russia and Mid East. Dreams probably become nightmares.

        • Sam Taylor says:

          Indeed, I live in the UK so I’m well aware of the debate. However we’ve not got a single producing shale well in this country yet, and I’ve got my suspicions that the Bowland might not be all that great if we ever get round to drilling it (lots of environmental groups aren’t all that enamoured with the proposition). I seem to recall hearing that it’s quite highly faulted and fractured, which from what I understand about shale gas is less than ideal. Though the resource in place is maybe on a par with the Marcellus which certainly wouldn’t hurt, but it’s hardly going to solve our relatively dire energy situation.

          Still, the jury’s out until someone drills something.

    • Sam, there are possible tight gas zones in France. But the French banned technology. I also wonder if there may not be potential in Austria and Rumania?

      • SRSrocco says:


        If I say something is interesting… it’s interesting…LOL. The reason I find this important has to do with the PUBLICS PERCEPTION. While most of us already knew shale wasn’t much of a deal in Europe or in other countries, this news finally proves to the public that SHALE WON’T BE A SAVIOR.


        • It was never shale. It’s tight rocks closely associated with source rocks, usually found in stratigraphic traps. I never thought it was a “savior”. The rocks are so poor they won’t produce much unless the hydrocarbons have very low viscosity.

          I think we can sniff around for these strat traps, but they require unique properties to be aligned. The best candidates are in the Former Soviet Union (other than North America).

          If gas prices increase a lot we can go for over pressured brine with dissolved gas. But that’s going to require work.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            If gas prices increase a lot we can go for over pressured brine with dissolved gas. But that’s going to require work. ~ Fernando Leanme

            I wonder where the point/time will be– 1:1– where, no matter the price, it stays in the ground/rock. Where are we now? 10:1? If PV and wind, etc. are going to be built out, we might want to hurry up, yes?

            • I don’t know. I have ONE document on gas extraction from geo pressured gulf coast sands. A friend of mine had his company test a well many years ago, we discussed the results. My wild ass guess: we can get the gas for say $12 per MMBTU. I think we can run an ammonia heat recovery system to get the heat energy, and we can capture CO2 if we use a gasifier, dump co2 loaded brine in deep water. It’s a crazy idea but I would love to give it a try. The brine ought to do a number on the environment and alter the carbon cycle.

  20. Futilitist says:

    WTI spot price just went under $50

    $49.64 at 5:57 am CST

    • John B says:

      Yup. I guess there’s just not that much demand these days for oil, with all the alternative energy, and alternative energy vehicles being produced.

      • Doug Leighton says:

        Tesla Motors managed to nab the number 6 spot in China’s EV market, with Model S, with total (estimated) sales being 3831 units while EV skyrocketed there to 0.25 % of total sales. Meanwhile poor BMW lumbered along with a pathetic one million vehicles sold in the first half of 2014.

        • John B says:

          What about Hybrid, Flex-Fuel, CNG, Propane, and Hydrogen vehicles?

          Poor BMW: http://www.caranddriver.com/bmw/i3

          • Doug Leighton says:


            I know nothing at all about EVs. Hybrid, Flex-Fuel, CNG, Propane, or Hydrogen vehicles and I plan to keep my car, a Subaru, until the Grim Reaper arrives. Actually my wife has a ancient Volvo (with terrible gas mileage) in Norway for our occasional use there and we have an old VW (Diesel) parked in Italy for the same reason (because one Daughter lives there). I’m not anti-EV just an old dude with no reason (excuse) to change.

        • Watcher says:


      • Futilitist says:

        John B,

        Ha ha. Brilliant interpretation of the data.

  21. Ronald Walter says:

    Solar and wind technologies to produce energy in the form of electricity reduce consumption of oil and coal. Windmills to pump water have pumped a lot of water from wells and into stock tanks.

    It is incremental, furtive. It looks like the amounts are tiny, but in the long haul, solar and wind power should become more prevalent, just needs some coaxing, some support. Solar and wind are always there, just couldn’t be harnessed to have the potential energy become real usable energy. That has happened and it happened a long time ago.

    Here’s how it was done back in the dirty thirties:

    Despite the expansion of electrical use in the cities and larger towns at the turn of the last century, most American homes were still without access to electricity. In 1910, the U.S. population was 92 million and 54 percent lived in rural areas. Electricity access was almost unheard of for farms, cabins, and buildings of any kind that were located far from the cities. Flame lamps, hand pumps for drawing water, and outhouses were the norm. Mechanical windmills were used to pump water from the ground, but only when the wind blew.

    In 1916, that was all about to change. America’s inventive spirit during the next 20 years would create an entire industry to provide the convenience of electric power to rural and remote areas. By 1935, nearly one million rural homes, businesses, communities, churches, schools, resorts, and cabins were producing their own electric power with farm and wind electric plants.

    Although early inventors were developing both farm and wind electric systems, one engineer would have the most significant impact in creating the farm electric industry. Charles Franklin Kettering, a prolific inventor, was inspired to make electric power available to rural areas – “safer, cleaner, brighter electric lighting,” provide for “running water,” and all the “modern convenience appliances.” Fresh from his enormous success at National Cash Register, developing the modern auto electrical system, and leading auto supplier Delco – Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company, Kettering had both the creativity, financial resources, and influence to make it happen. Teaming up with America’s leading battery manufacturer, Kettering’s new Domestic Engineering Company introduced the Delco-Light farm electric light and power plant based on his OHV engine generator set and an Exide Ironclad battery. Fueled by kerosene, the engine would automatically start, operate at it’s optimum fuel efficiency, and charge the battery when it was discharged. Once charged the engine would stop and the battery would power the home for several days before the process repeated. A “hybrid” power plant 100 years before the term became popularized with the hybrid car.

    The next major influence on the wind industry and the starting point for its success was the radio. The first newscast by WWJ in Detroit in 1920 launched America into a fascination with this new media. To meet demand in rural areas, manufacturers offered radios that were powered by rechargeable batteries. However, a logistical problem arose: If you did not have a farm electric plant or electricity, you had to take the battery to the gas “service” station in town and have it charged, pick it up later, and put it back in the floor model radio cabinet.

    The earliest wind pioneers, Wind Electric Company and Perkins Corporation, were about to get competition from a new breed of wind pioneers. Simultaneously, several entrepreneurs entered the business to supply wind chargers to charge radio batteries. At first. these machines were quite simple, consisting of a 6- or 12-volt car generator with a wood “airplane-type” propeller attached to the front and a tail attached to the back to point it into the wind. They worked so well at keeping radio batteries charged that owners soon discovered there was enough excess energy to supply a few electric lights. They would no longer have to listen to the radio by candle or oil lamp anymore. Business thus boomed for several wind charger companies, and these pioneers sought to grow the market by expanding their product lines to include larger full-home models.

    While the farm electric plant was based on a small internal combustion engine operating on kerosene, they made noise, exhausted fumes and required fuel and service. A large wind charger added to a farm electric plant significantly reduced fuel. In many areas, the larger wind chargers could supply all the power to a home and the engine was no longer necessary. The companies began supplying their wind electric plants with a slightly larger capacity battery to make this possible where fuel was difficult to obtain or undesirable.

    By the 1930s, business was great. The demand for wind machines grew rapidly and companies prospered. Numerous supplier companies and retailers selling and servicing wind electric plants sprang up across the Midwest. These suppliers manufactured towers, batteries, and a myriad of appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers, well pumps, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, kitchen appliances of all types, and motors, that operated directly off this equipment. Even at the height the Great Depression, the industry grew and tens of thousands of people found meaningful employment competing in the marketplace and serving their fellow citizens.

    Also during this decade, General Motors, which acquired Delco-Light 10 years earlier, supplied electric power to more rural farms, homes, and businesses than all of the electric companies in the nation combined! The electric utilities thought supplying electricity to rural America was financially foolish and impractical. They were not interested in rural customers, unless they were close to the city and willing to pay installation costs and a premium for each unit of electricity.

    In 1935, as the American farm and wind electric industry approached a milestone in serving one million rural homes, President Franklin Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration by executive order as an “emergency agency to carry electricity to as many farms as possible in the shortest possible time and have it used in quantities sufficient to affect rural life.” Congress enacted the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to transform it into a permanent agency. The impact on the industry was immediate and dramatic – it was destroyed, along with small town economies and thousands of jobs. The wind companies soldiered on against the odds for a few years, but by the time World War II started most converted production to support the war effort, only to fade away after the fighting.

    So it was President Roosevelt along with the partners in crime, the Democrats, that advanced the coal and oil industrial base and created and caused the demise of the wind power industry in its nascent stage. The filthy swine, the dirty dog, anything a Democrat does kills all innovation, nips it in the bud.

    If any one group is to blame for all of this pell mell chaos, this maelstrom of mania, this fossil fuel bonfire, insane as it all is, it is the Dirty Democrats, not those Rotten Republicans, as filthy and disgusting as they have become, they can’t outpace the Democrats in boneheaded policies.

    ‘When the Republicans stop telling lies about us, we’ll stop telling the truth about them’ – Adlai Stevenson

    Another politician willing to lie about anything and a Democrat to boot. Figures.

    Follow the money, the captains of the industry destroyed America and pompously pontificate how they have saved it, all the while using Franklin Roosevelt to do the dirty job, needed a scapegoat. Even though Franklin was duped, he should have known better. Another sell out. har

    It’s Pick on Politicians Day, something like Groundhog Day, the movie. It’s the same everyday, it never changes. Just as much fun to pick on Democrats as it is to pick on Republicans, whatever it is those nitwits have become, two peas in a pod cut from the same cloth.

    The wind industry was destroyed while the oil industry was subsidized and allowed to grow to the current Frankenstein monster it is.

    All because Franklin Roosevelt destroyed the wind energy industry in its infancy to serve the money masters with policies that favored the fossil fuel industry.

    Now you know.

    If it weren’t for the Democrats, every home in America would be powered by wind power and not be dependent upon fossil fuels, which looks rather foolhardy at this point in time.

    How much oil and coal would still be available for years yet to come had the wind industry been allowed to flourish?

    Of course, the wind turbine industry that exists now is the wrongheaded approach and the need to scrap it all is obvious, scrape it all back to dirt, and go back to the drawing board.

    Good thing there are fossil fuels to depend upon, but coal and oil don’t have to be consumed in such mega quantities.

    Less is more. Oil at 50 million barrels per day is plenty to go around for everybody, just have to stop wasting it night and day. It’ll last longer and we can stop the hand wringing and the fretting about it all all of the time.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Ronald,

      Some simple math for you.

      Let’s say there are 1800 Gb of oil that can be recovered economically (of 3000 Gb URR). I will also assume we can immediately reduce World consumption to 50 million barrels per day through efficiency (or whatever you have in mind, I do not think that is realistic, just a simplification). That is about 18 Gb per year and would last for 100 years if we had constant output and if we gradually decreased consumption from present levels of 27 Gb/year by 0.2 Gb every year, then we would be out of oil in 133 years, similar types of scenarios can be done for coal and natural gas.

      What do you suggest we do when we run out of fossil fuels? Once we reach the peak of oil, coal and natural gas the prices of all three fuels will rise and wind, nuclear and solar will be cheaper by comparison, you don’t like wind (I assume you don’t like cats and tall buildings either as they kill many birds) so I assume you think solar, nuclear, and maybe biofuels will be the answer. There are limits on efficiency improvements dictated by physical laws.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Ronald,

        Note that 1200 Gb of oil has been produced already, so if 3000 Gb is the URR of oil we have 1800 Gb left to recover, assuming no miracle breakthroughs in extraction techniques for oil.

      • Ronald Walter says:


        In all seriousness, the numbers could very possibly be very wrong, all estimates just plain bunkum and bosh. The totals are maybe too low, the consumption rate is much lower in percentage to the total recoverable, and the total recoverable is much higher, more than 3000 gb. All-in-all, much ado about nothing since all of the numbers are not anywhere close to what there really is and really recoverable.

        I’m making up all of it, just for the fun of it all and have a little time on my hands to deconstruct all of the models and prove they are all incorrect.

        Just reject them and say good riddance. The same goes for the laws of physics, just ignore them.

        I’m being sarcastic, seriously.

        A short answer to wind power capabilities:

        One day some time ago now, I spotted a bald eagle hovering at about 500 feet in the air. The wind was doing a good job of allowing the bald eagle to remain stationary in flight. Up above the bald eagle another 300 feet, 800 feet above the ground, there were two hawks ready to zero in on the eagle.

        Hawks and eagles are not the best of friends, and, in the final tally, the bald eagle is flying a mile and a half to two miles distance from the hawks, fleeing the wrath of those hawks. At the end of it all, you’re trying to spot the eagles with binoculars, but they flew far and wide from those hawks.

        Crows are scavengers and hang around where a hawk has made a kill, but will not go near the kill while the hawk is in the vicinity. The dead rabbit is on the ground, the hawk is perched above the kill, the crows are hanging around hoping and waiting for a chance to have rabbit for dinner. The hawk is just waiting for the rabbit to stop twitching, flies to the kill, begins to have some of the rabbit, then sinks the talons into the rabbit’s hide and flies off with the rabbit so the crows won’t be bothering and bugging the hawk for a bite.

        Anyhow, you can see why a hawk would drive out a bald eagle, competition for food and those pesky crows won’t quit either.

        Not so for a golden eagle, those things control a lot of air and ground space. There is nary a hawk nor a bald eagle to be seen in sight when a golden eagle is gliding and in hunting mode up in the sky.

        Rabbits hide, deer run like a deer when golden eagles are on the prowl for prey.

        Why so much attention to birds of prey? Has to be some reason, some motive.

        Of course, if there were 75 to 100 wind turbines disturbing such habitat, you wouldn’t be able to see and witness any hawks or eagles doing any of what they do best in an undisturbed natural habitat. It would be gone.

        Those wind turbines are an imposition, a gargantuan obstacle to the natural order.

        You see it happen, know it happens, and you wonder why humans don’t know any better, don’t have a lick of sense about any of it. No wonder we’re doomed.

    • SW says:

      This is comedy of course. The rural electrification program actually brought electricity to rural areas. Not rechargeable batteries for radios. FDR’s conservation programs put air motors (windmills) on every section of useless land dry land in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles turning them into cow calf operations that had only been productive near the few streams and rivers. Most of those windmills are still in service. You can drive down there and see them pumping water.

    • Allan H says:

      “Grand leaps of logic are fun and exciting but often lead to a great fall” Wile E Coyote

      Thanks for the post RW, very informative and the twisted logic was quite humorous.

      • Allan H says:

        Ron Walter said “Less is more. Oil at 50 million barrels per day is plenty to go around for everybody, just have to stop wasting it night and day. It’ll last longer and we can stop the hand wringing and the fretting about it all all of the time.”

        With 7 billion people (and growing) that is 0.007 barrels per person per day or 0.3 gallons per person per day. That is for everything. Gasoline is only about 25% of production so that is 0.075 gallons per person per day. That would make my vehicle go about 2.6 miles per day if oil got around to everybody. Sheesh, I’m conservative but travel further than a thousand miles per year. I would need a vehicle that got 175 mpg. That would force me to go electric. Guess that works.

  22. AlexS says:

    RE: Canadian oil sands

    Here is and article from Bloomerg, largely expalining the current situation in the oil sands industry.
    The key conslusion: “While starting an oil sands project now wouldn’t be economical, companies will push ahead with those under construction and projects already operating will continue”

    Canadian Oil Sands Output Growth Defies Plunge in Prices: Energy


    The deluge of Canadian oil that’s adding to a global glut and driving prices lower is showing few signs of slowing.
    Even with crude down 52 percent since June, output will grow 3.5 percent this year from the world’s fifth-biggest producer. The Canadian dollar is near a six-year low and materials cost less, helping oil sands producers cut costs and keep pumping. Oil would have to stay between $30 and $35 a barrel for at least six months, down from about $50 now, before wells and mines are shut, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
    Surging North American production has contributed to a global glut, pushing U.S. supply to the highest in three decades. OPEC opted in November to maintain output to hold on to market share. Oil sands supply is growing even as the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. has fallen to the lowest in almost four years. RBC Dominion Securities estimates that oil companies have cut $86 billion from spending plans.
    “We are above the price where existing projects” get shut down, Robert Johnston, chief executive officer of risk consultants Eurasia Group, said in Calgary Feb. 4. “Even projects that are under construction will continue.”
    Western Canadian Select, the heavy crude that serves as the benchmark for oil sands, traded at $37.30 a barrel today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was $13.50 below West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark.
    Lower Oil
    Canada exported 2.93 million barrels a day in the third quarter, 97 percent to the U.S., National Energy Board data show. Canadian production will rise to 3.89 million barrels a day this year, according to the board. Conventional crude and condensate will drop 3 percent, while output of oil sands and upgraded synthetic crude will grow 8.3 percent.
    Break-even costs have fallen 18 percent from a year ago and range between $25 a barrel for producers who use steam and $40 for the mining operations, according to Bank of Montreal estimates. This compares with $10 to $25 estimated by the Paris-based International Energy Agency for conventional Middle East and North African producers.
    Smaller Producers
    Some Canadian output from smaller producers who have to borrow money may be at risk, Juan Osuna, IHS Energy Inc.’s senior director for North American oil, said by e-mail Feb. 10. Oil sands explorer Laricina Energy Ltd. said last month it was in default.
    The Alberta oil sands growth parallels the Gulf of Mexico, another region where producers have invested for the long term. Offshore rigs will rise 30 percent this year compared with 2014, according to data from Wood Mackenzie, an industry consultant.
    Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., the main owner of the Syncrude Canada mining project, expects to spend C$40.19 ($32.16) a barrel this year producing synthetic crude from oil sands, down from a previous forecast of C$45.69. Production is forecast to rise 8.9 percent this year.
    Global Players
    Suncor, which cut oil sands operating costs 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, is proceeding with its Fort Hills project, scheduled to begin production in 2017 and ramp up toward 180,000 barrels a day. This comes after Suncor said it will cut 1,000 jobs and lower its 2015 capital budget by about 13 percent.
    Imperial Oil Ltd. said Feb. 2 it will examine costs and capital investments even as it plans to double output from its C$20 billion Kearl oil-sands project in Alberta and boost production from the Nabiye facility this year.
    While starting an oil sands project now wouldn’t be economical, companies will push ahead with those under construction and projects already operating will continue, Jackie Forrest, vice president of Calgary-based ARC Financial Corp., said in a Jan. 29 e-mail.
    New Capacity
    While it can take years for a new oil sands operation to ramp up to full production, a total of 423,000 barrels a day of new capacity is under construction and scheduled to be in operation this year, up from 116,000 barrels added last year, according to data published in Alberta’s winter 2015 Oil Sands Industry Quarterly update.
    Most of the oil sands companies are “global players” and “they can afford to operate at a loss within the oil sands area,” Dinara Millington, a vice president at CERI, said by phone yesterday.
    Oil sands miners would have to spend billions of dollars on reclamation of tailing ponds if they shut, she said. “It’s not as simple as turning off a truck or shutting in a well.”

  23. Longtimber says:

    Media doesn’t ask the obvious.. Source or radiation levels ? Which isotopes? Source spent rods or corium? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corium_(nuclear_reactor)

  24. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    “In has been proved through these documents that he has delivered these papers in return for their money and this same goes for describing the testimony which was arranged for the Congress.” ~ Ron Patterson

    I will more or less say this again: Greed (crony-capitalist plutarchy) is hitting the ceiling (global) of natural constraints– peak everything, including population, and social and climate stability.

    If you forget everything, just remember or at least consider this:

    If I make more money than you, (even though I don’t work any harder), the unethical legal system enforces my ‘privilege’ to acquire more commons land and resources (our planet/ecosphere). This ‘privilege’ is upheld/enforced by force (cops, military, private security, etc.).

    This sets up a ratcheting (Lorenz seed/butterfly effect) dynamic over time, from where most, if not all, social problems cascade, including landlessness, homelessness, poverty, crime, social unrest, war and ecocide.

    This is undemocracy/elitism built into the very legal structure/fabric of a nation-state. The legal structure of course also enforces how money works. The late Michael Ruppert got it right when he often said, “If you don’t change how money works, you change nothing.”

    The unethical legal-money-system is how scientists, etc., are bribed to act without conscience.

    This is why I have also more or less wrote that nature is fair, but not in the sense one might think: Nature is fair in eventually creating increasing problems for human systems that think they can trample over everything and everyone and get away with it. This is also why I like permaculture, whose basic tenet is Care of Earth and Care of People. If we can’t get it together in that regard, our demise (or close to it) may now be nipping at our heels.

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      With regard to the above, I am probably describing the Overshoot Loop hypothesis in different words/on a different level.

  25. Dean says:

    Using the latest RRC data up to T and the previous data up to T-1, I computed the amount of corrections that each month should undergo to be close to the real data. In doing this, I consider only the last 24 months (older months have only negligible corrections): what I did was to sum for each month the corrections which took place in the previous “h” months, where I put h=24 for computational simplicity.
    For example, the correction for the last month (which is one subject to the highest degree of corrections over time) were equal to 527960 bbl/day (only oil , no condensate).
    By doing this for all the past 24 months, I reconstructed the supposed “real” Texas oil production data. The result is the figure attached to this comment.

    • Dean says:

      here is condensate:

      • Dean says:

        here is natural gas

        • Dean says:

          and finally the comparison of my C+C with the latest EIA data:

          • Dean says:

            Some comments: I waited one day before posting the corrected Texas data, because in the latest data there was definitely “something new” ^_^. In this regard, I want to thank Ron and Mike for explaining what has happened (see their comments above). What I can say from a pure mathematical point of view, is that the RRC proceeded to a substantial reduction of old oil production numbers (this is why my corrected numbers are now lower than EIA) and an increase of more recent production data. To have an idea of what these adjustments made by the RRC meant in terms of my correction factors, I post below the correction factors for the last 24 months for the November 2014 data and those for the last 24 months relative to the December 2014 data. I think that my corrected data (and anyone’s corrected data) for this month and the next ones have probably to be taken with some grain of salt, given the adjustments put forward by the RRC.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Dean,

              Thanks. It is surprising that there were such changes at about 24 months. I wonder if your algorithm was changed to 36 months or 48 months, if there would be the same discontinuity at around 24 months. There is also the possibility that the updated numbers need some tweaking. That is that the process of bringing on new software at the RRC of Texas may not have been perfectly smooth and it is possible some errors to the database may have been introduced.

              Or the EIA estimates may not be very good (which Ron has been saying for a while), but until this change at the RRC, your analysis seemed to indicate that the EIA estimates were pretty good.

              It will be interesting to see if anything changes next month.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Maybe all the old paper processing was eliminated and it will take some time for this paper to be entered into the new system, very strange.

                • Dean says:

                  Yes, there is the discontinuity at t-24 because my excel correction worksheet is structured to correct only the last 24 months. The best thing would be to write down an R program for a general correction structure -not limited to 24-. Unfortunately, I will be very busy till July with no time left, so that I really hope that the digitalization at RRC will be quick ^_^.

    • Watcher says:

      Offering up another cause. Texas would be complicit because it boosts tax revs.

      Simply, pitches to rollover the HY paper have to be made. Quoting bigger production numbers offsets price decline a bit on the spreadsheet presented.

  26. BC says:



    Let’s see if this is the first sign of a Tejas-sized bust for the energy, energy-related transportation, and capital goods-producing sectors hereafter.

  27. Doug Leighton says:


    Comments from Kjell Aleklett’s Blog. There is a lot of interesting information in Kjell’s Blog but most is in Swedish. I thought I could translate some of the highlights for you guys then realized my time in a Swedish university was almost 50 years ago (don’t understand the language at all now) and when I asked my wife to do this translation for me (for us) she said: “Get stuffed” but in four letter words. Anyway, the following may be of interest to some?


    “Today, many people regard $50 per barrel oil as cheap and as a sign that we are, once again, “drowning in oil”. According to BP, production of crude oil and natural gas liquids totalled 82.6 Mb/d in 2006. If that production had continued at the same rate during the following ten years then the additional of oil would have raised total production to 92.3 Mb/d in 2013. Instead, 2013 saw total production at 86.8 Mb/d. The increase of 4.2 Mb/d we saw from 2008 to 2013 was not cheap oil. It came from deepwater, from Canada’s oilsands and as NGL and shale oil from fracking in the USA. We can see now that Colin and Jean’s 1998 predictions have proven completely correct.”

    “One field that will contribute new oil by 2020 is Johan Sverdrup in Norway. When it is brought online in 2019 it is expected to provide 0.32 to 0.38 Mb/d. To bring online new production equivalent to 20 Mb/d requires very large investment and the cheap oil that contributes to oil companies’ investment budgets will be decreasing. If they prioritise development of discovered fields there will be less money available to invest in finding new fields. During the period 2020-2030 it will be extremely expensive and difficult to bring new oil production online. There is an economic limit beyond which oil is left underground. The advantage with conventional oilfields is that one has steady (plateau) production for many years and a temporary fluctuation in price thus has less effect on the project. One can even include price fluctuations in the project plan.”

    • He’s biased by North Sea production strategies where plateau production is fairly long. I’m not sure his logic applies in the settings we have for new oil fields being developed. For example the deep water oil fields have their unique design profiles. If somebody could put up the Azerbaijan total country profile you can see what I mean, that’s driven by the ACG production curve, which I feel was designed for too much oil rate.

  28. Boomer II says:

    I’m not posting directly under the comment (in case it is easier to delete it or ban it if we don’t). but I am guessing that anyone who starts out a comment with:

    I have to laugh at a few of you Democrats/progressives here, includes To left-wing fairy land along with the unicorns? and ends with the radical left-wing NY Times won’t be posting here again.

    • ezrydermike says:

      Boomer II, do you need to move away from your elitist urban heat island and go live with REAL AMERICANS?

      • Boomer II says:

        Yes, I was wondering where I would find these REAL AMERICANS?

        Native Americans, right? Our next president will be a Native American.

    • LifeWithADD says:

      It just started snowing in Tupelo, MS. Global Warming®, indeed. 🙄

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Tupelo, MS is not planet Earth. Anyone with half an ADD knows that.
        But, ya, it’s unusually cold here too… so then let’s change Global Warming® to climate change and be happy we did.

      • Stephen Hren says:

        January 2015 2nd warmest on record. February obviously not over yet but could be up there.

        We lost the battle to convince the less science-inclined people in the world of global climate disruption when we insist on calling it global warming, because every time there’s a snow storm in their area they’ll immediately stop being concerned with it. Folks, please, if you care about this issue, insist on calling it climate DISRUPTION not warming. Thanks!

        Stephen Hren

        • Jay Thompson says:

          Yessir, I just read the other day how the grant-takers are now going with “climate disruption” since global temperatures have been falling or nearly steady for the last 17 years. I don’t understand why the liberals wont, acknowledge the unexpected temperature pause, they look like science deniers by not admitting guilt to all there scheming trying to sell the global warming stories. But I guess I will never understand how the brain of typical loony liberal operates.

          • notanoilman says:

            S’funny, how come right wing governments are concerned about global warming? Not sure hoe you get to temperatures falling for the last 17 years when all the charts I see are rising.


      • Jef says:

        LifeWithADD – My freezer just quit and all my ice cream melted. Proof positive of global warming.

        Signed Life with Attention Surplus Syndrome.

  29. Watcher says:

    CNBC guest. Dunno who he was, some generic CEO from a US oil company. The quote was like this:

    “Look, for the US to be oil independent, the price has to be something that makes sense for US onshore production. For us, everything worked at $90/barrel. For us and everyone, nothing works at $50/barrel. The things you hear about others re-emphasizing this prospect over that prospect is all just blather. Nothing works at $50.”

    • Allan H says:

      Hasn’t this happened before, where crude went for $10 a barrel in the late 90’s? The oil industry didn’t flop then and it won’t flop now. Eventually the price will rise to an appropriate level, then too high again and more permanent demand destruction will occur. If it rises to $5 a gallon for gas, alternatives will look really sweet.

      • Watcher says:

        There was conventional oil, or at least shallow offshore oil, in the 90s. There was the North Sea in the 90s.

        It’s all gone.

        And as has been mentioned, do not presume price is determined by supply and demand.

      • toolpush says:


        The difference this time to 1999, is OPEC is not acting as the swing producer. Shale has to fill those boots, and if the shales will not do it voluntarily, but they will do it kicking and screaming.

      • Anon says:

        We still had the supergiant fields in the 90s. Cheap sources that had mainly up-front costs and very, very low operational break-evens. Now, everything is difficult and/or requires *ongoing* major capital spending.

        Of what exists, yeah, $50 is not going to cut it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Pretty much this.

          We were discovering super giant fields left and right in the 1970s. The rate of discovery has come to a trickle, which means that, come the 2020s and 2030s the world will be in deep trouble.

          Funnily enough, most of the major undeveloped/underdeveloped fields of any real size are located in Iraq (Quran, East Baghdad) or Iran (Azadegan, Ferdows).

          There’s been a lot of talk of Brazil (Sugar Loaf, Lula) but it isn’t quiet clear how much and at what price they’ll get it out of the ground.

          That is why I think, regardless of costs, the United States will support a Shiite-majority government even it means a little ethnic cleansing for the Sunnis. And a nuclear deal with Iran will get done, whether Israel is kicking and screaming or not. The United States for all its talk knows that a nuclear Iran is not a credible threat. A nuclear arms race would have occurred in the Middle East when Israel got the bomb, so that argument is void. What a nuclear armed Iran means is, above all else, no regime change. A conventional attack on Iran would be costly now, but just imagine what it would be like if Iran had 5 or 10 nuclear-tipped IRBMs.

          Iran and Iraq together will buy the global order another 15 years of moderately priced oil ($50 to $150).

          I’m a bit more optimistic than a lot of people here. While I think peak is coming in the next 5 years, I think these two countries, plus additional deep water/shale/tar sand oil that will come online as the price creeps up and past $100 a barrel, will keep BAU alive for a time being. Does it mean we’ll likely have a harder crash than we would have if we dumped billions into alternative energy research for the past 3 decades? Yes. Does it mean the end of the world? No, certainly not. Most of us (I’m probably one of the younger posters here) won’t live to see the worst of things. If you live in a first world country with a powerful military and enough capital to keep the lights on, you’ll be fine for the time being. Things will start to break down in the periphery first.

          Call me when Egypt completely collapses. They’re the canary in the coal mine. The violence we seen in the Middle East now is just a taste of things to come, but it will get worse there and will flare up in other places.

  30. Old farmer mac says:

    For Futulist in reply to his one twenty three am .

    You are determined to label me as a right winger (which anybody who has truly followed what I have to say realizes is NOT TRUE ) for the fairly obvious reason – to me – that you are an ape of the left wing band – an ape that has made it’s mind up and refuses to consider the possibility that it be wrong about the course of future history.

    I am a conservative in the true original sense of the word as it is used in engineering. I believe in safety margins. I believe stability rather than change for the sake of change. As farmers put it you NEVER open a gate unless you know what is living on the OTHER SIDE of the gate. It might gore you or trample you on the way out.

    A real conservative understands that you should be careful what you wish for because you may actually get it. Along with the strings attached to it.

    I am an outlier. I don’t fit into any recognized political camp.

    I support strong environmental laws single payer health care and quite a few other things that the left stands for— except putting utter and absolute faith in the government being a benevolent institution that will always look after the PEOPLE instead of itself. ( Some left wingers don’t actually believe in government being a benevolent loving Mommy who will faithfully without fail look after all her children given the opportunity but most of them seem to believe this very thing imo.)

    I UNDERSTAND the power of Leviathan. It both comforts me and scares me so bad my asshole puckers. Left wingers haven’t generally got a clue when it comes to the way government looks after itself first and everybody else second when times get tough or the wrong people make it to the top. I have worn out copies of Brave New World , Animal Farm and 1984.I have read The Gulag Archipelago and a number of other books written by people with actual experience of government run wild. My second wife lost the entire known European branch of her family to the Nazis.

    Fernando is the only other person currently posting here who seems to REALLY understand where I am coming from in this respect except perhaps CM. I admire Caelen ‘s sentiments but he doesn’t have the answers anymore than Marx or Anne Rand. I have partial answers, Caelen has partial answers, Fernando has partial answers.

    DARWIN has THE BEST answer which is paraphrased the fittest will survive and the weak will perish. Until they strong perish as well. I am sure that a tyrannosaur would have laughed at a rat like creature had it been capable of laughter. But the proto rat survived – maybe by eating T REX eggs. T Rex is deep history. Some of us will probably survive. Most of us collectively on a world wide basis probably almost for dead sure won’t survive when collapse finally hits but there is no way of knowing for sure.

    Farmers understand collapse as a practical affair. A few times I have known of cattle men losing every last cow to starvation and exposure but as a rule a few survive no matter how bad the drought or how rough the winter. IF none survive they buy some from other farmers far away.

    One of these days there will VERY LIKELY be a TRULY CATASTROPHIC crop failure and with no substantial reserve stock of food available and no means of paying for it even if it existed ( IT DOES NOT EXIST ) a few million to a few hundred million people are going to starve in Africa and or the Asian subcontinent. If the food shortfall is sufficient to kill off one third of the population in such places the population might actually grow for the next ten or twenty years after that. If it is bad enough to kill off two thirds of the people their food supply problem will cease to be a problem for at least a couple of generations in terms of farmland versus population. The survivors may fight among themselves to the point that hardly anybody is left. Body guards may literally eat their former employers in some cases. I believe it is justifiable to term this piecemeal collapse in time and place.

    I am a right winger when it comes to my personal rights such as being able to defend myself and determine whether I am able to decide with my neighbors what social life is like in my own long established community.I believe in personal property but I also believe in the Commons and the commons extend to clear air and clean water. I have been a card carrying long haired drug addled member of the ACLU and the NEA.

    ( I have been a dues paying member of a labor union and might have gotten killed for my efforts in trying to organize a strike on a big job in my native Virginia which is a non union sort of place.Management refused to properly fix the brakes on my truck hoping I would quit. But being a farm boy who grew up in the mountains driving raggedy ass trucks on farm roads I just kept on driving it since it was an off road truck and I was making very good money for the time and place and was young and reckless to boot back then.If the brakes had failed too badly I would have just jumped out since the downhill haul was at five mph or so UNDER CONTROL. Now if the brakes had failed completely and I had been dumb enough to stay in the truck it would have been doing a hundred in a few seconds. The foreman cussed me every day for tearing up the haul road skidding one rear wheel but I just pointed out that the truck had brakes only in that one wheel and he could have it fixed any day he pleased. Old model Cat trucks for all intents and purposes didn’t have any brakes on the front wheels. I was the first driver laid off out of the entire crew. I WONDER why lol. )

    I am not and never will be a PC idiot. I believe in about one quarter of what libertarians believe in – such as smoking pot being my own business if I want to smoke some.My baby sister can sleep with whoever turns her on, it’s none of my business. If I had a little girl who turned out to be a lesbian I would love her just the same. I would however advise her that she would likely be happier living someplace more socially liberal than this backwoods community. Hopefully a place within easy visiting distance.

    I am a right winger when it comes to believing that we have too much welfare and too little self reliance. ( I have also posted here that a serious cut back in the existing welfare state given the cards on the table NOW would be a DISASTER.About the only thing the Tea Party has to say that I agree with is that if we don’t get our financial house in order it will collapse…… BUT then that is only going to be one part of a general collapse which MIGHT happen. )

    My intellectual goal has always been to understand the big picture.

    To take just one example of your presumptuous foolishness when I HAVE mentioned the Elrich Simon bet I have always pointed out that Elrich would have won had the start and finish dates been changed by a year or two.

    I have never advocated a blind cornucopian or technocopian point of view.

    I said up above that Elrich would likely eventually be proven right, that his argument was sound.

    But he failed to understand the Green Revolution – which I was involved in at that time as an ag professional. He failed to anticipate fast falling birth rates and the ( so far ) availability of pesticides fertilizers and machinery on the grand scale for the last few decades . So did I.

    I am not afraid to change my mind.

    I am not an ” American exceptionalist ” in any real sense of the term.

    I have pointed out some highly pertinent facts that are totally obvious to anybody with a brain bigger than a flea about the strategic military and economic position of the USA. Big enough. By far and away the most powerful country on earth militarily. Rich enough in natural resources to make a go of it alone without world trade. Farmland enough, water enough.Oil ,coal and gas enough. Not enough for business as usual but more than enough to have a stable economy capable of feeding and sheltering everybody no problem once we realize we have no choice and get on with the job. A very friendly Canada thinly populated powerful in her own right in relation to her population even better endowed with the ( remaining ) gifts of nature on our northern border. The largest oceans on our east and west borders.

    These are facts. I don’t think they originate in anything more or less than that some country or another is apt to be the most the biggest richest most powerful etc. You might have heard of Pareto distributions.

    That they happen to be facts in favor of the USA and Canada etc is a matter of luck.

    If Hitler had had sense enough to stick to politics rather than military command and listened to his staff we would quite possibly be looking at Germany being the most powerful country in the world. Then you could run your mouth about so called German exceptionalism.

    I suggest that you read Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs and Steel to understand why America is REALLY on top but on second thought I doubt you have the intellectual capacity to appreciate it.

    It is just a matter of luck that I am a WASP (a big advantage for me not being a second class citizen ) living in this country. I could just as easily have been born white in Somalia. My white skin would not help me much in Somalia. I married a Jewish woman- an artist . Real right wing nut cases have even less use for Jews than they do for blacks. I have never heard of a real right winger marrying a Jewish artist or for that matter a Jew of any sort to my personal knowledge.

    As far as religion is concerned I hereby accuse you of being a dyed in the wool true believer in the CHURCH OF DOOM. Your philosophy and your on line handle and your comments here are self evident and ample in my estimation for me to come to this conclusion.

    You actually seem to be too stupid to believe that a person can believe the future can play out in more than one fashion. That a person can reserve judgement on a serious question or change his mind without doing so for some mysterious reason that he will not reveal.

    I will not directly respond again to any comment you make except possibly to call you an idiot. Mostly I refrain from that sort of comment but every once in a while my inner own ape gets the upper hand . I am just as nekkid as every body else under my clothes.

    • clueless says:

      “I have never heard of a real right winger marrying a Jewish artist or for that matter a Jew of any sort to my personal knowledge. ”
      My twin brother.

    • Futilitist says:

      Hi Old farmer mac.

      “If Hitler had had sense enough to stick to politics rather than military command and listened to his staff…”

      You bring up Hitler a lot.

      “I suggest that you read Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs and Steel to understand why America is REALLY on top but on second thought I doubt you have the intellectual capacity to appreciate it.”

      I read it and enjoyed it very much.

      “I hereby accuse you of being a dyed in the wool true believer in the CHURCH OF DOOM. Your philosophy and your on line handle and your comments here are self evident and ample in my estimation for me to come to this conclusion.”

      My philosophy, my online handle, and my comments are internally self consistent. Straight forward. What you see is what you get.

      If there is a CHURCH OF DOOM (which there isn’t, last time I checked), I guess I must be it’s High Priest (at least in your mind).

      “My intellectual goal has always been to understand the big picture.”

      Mine too.

      “I will not directly respond again to any comment you make except possibly to call you an idiot.”

      I would prefer more a constructive discussion, but you are free to respond as you wish.

  31. Marcus says:

    I Hope this not considered too off topic, but I have a question for the esteemed gallery. According to the EIA working gas in storage has surpassed the five year average for the first time in two years. http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=20052

    However looking further it seems that these are only estimates:
    “..Working gas in storage was 2,157 Bcf as of Friday, February 13, 2015, according to EIA estimates.” http://ir.eia.gov/ngs/ngs.html

    So my question is this: when were the last confirmed months of data?

    Thanks in advance.


  32. Ronald Walter says:

    Give us this day our daily math:

    268 082 573 106

    The number is the volume of a sphere with a radius of 4000.

    262 690 462 090, the volume of a sphere with a radius of 3973.

    Subtract the two numbers, you have 5 392 110 016.

    5,392,110,016 cubic miles of atmosphere at 27 miles thick encompassing the earth from the troposphere to the stratosphere.

    For every million cubic miles of atmosphere, there will be 400 cubic miles of it consisting of carbon dioxide.

    5,392 x 400 = 2,156,800 cubic miles of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    5,392 x 280 = 1,509,760 cubic miles of CO2 gas in the atmosphere at pre-Industrial Age concentrations.

    The natural CO2, not that CO2 generated from man building fires everywhere everyday on the planet, be they be in an enclosed space such as a piston, even, man never tires of fire.

    more arithmetic, math

    647,040 cubic miles of CO2 from anthropogenic origins.

    5,392,110,016 cubic miles of air, 1/8500th is from man’s activity causing carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

    All of the CO2 that existed in the atmosphere prior to the Industrial Revolution was replaced with carbon emissions from man burning just the coal from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to now, several times over again, all of the CO2 in the atmosphere today that is there now is there because of man’s activity. Every single molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere is now from man’s activity.

    One cubic mile of CO2 from man burning fossil fuels inside of 8500 cubic miles of atmosphere had a cumulative effect and now 100 percent of the CO2 is there because of humans.

    The one example of naturally sequestered CO2 was the bubble of CO2 that formed at the lower depths of Lake Nyos, then one day the entire bubble surfaced and killed people and animals in and around the area where the surfaced huge volume of CO2 gas was concentrated. Too much for sure for the inhabitants near Lake Nyos.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      More math:
      In 2013, about 134.51 billion gallons (or 3.20 billion barrels) of gasoline were consumed in the United States, a daily average of about 368.51 million gallons…

      • Ray Lafrance says:

        “C02 is not a pollutant as Al Gore infers. It is, in fact essential to life on the planet. Without it there are no plants, therefore no oxygen and no life. At 385 ppm current levels the plants are undernourished. The geologic evidence shows an average level of 1000 ppm over 600 million years. Research shows plants function most efficiently at 1000-2000 ppm. Commercial greenhouses use the information and are pumping C02 to these levels and achieve four times the yield with reduced water use. At 200 ppm, the plants suffer seriously and at 150 ppm, they begin to die. So if Gore achieves his goal of reducing C02 he will destroy the planet.”

        – Tim F. Ball, Ph.D. Climatology

    • clueless says:

      “Every single molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere is now from man’s activity.”

      Ronald –
      Are you saying that without man’s activity, the earth would be gone? All plants require carbon dioxide in order to grow. No carbon dioxide = no plants, no food – all gone?

  33. Ronald Walter says:

    Wouldn’t those decreases in production reflect a decrease in production to remain in line with the demand more so than declines of field production from the wells out there? Too much in the supply will slow price increases, result is decreases in price, the deduction would be to reduce production to limit supplies to cause a price increase.

    Whether or not the investment side is influencing price direction is of no consequence, the demand is going to control the price equation more than any other factor. If there is zero demand, it doesn’t matter how much you ask for it, it won’t sell. No buyers, period. Any investment will be a 100 percent loss.

    Too much dogma going on around here, too much doctrinaire, too much subjective, not enough objective, might be better to reject it all, not buy into any of it. Better to be a Peak Oil Apostate that this point in time, too much Pharisee action going on. Advance the subjunctive, not the meandering narrative that goes no where.

    Peak Oil tries to convince the gullible Lampwicks out there, but it not doing the job.

    It is good for Peak Oil to try to show every Lampwick out there that Peak Oil is without a doubt, unequivocally, invariably, a real set of phenomena, complex and convoluted as it all is, it is real and there.

    Might as well warn the Cornucopians in advance that the trip to Treasure Island is a trick, you’ll end up braying like a donkey.

    Just the facts, Jack.

    doctrinaire – a person who tries to apply some doctrine or theory without sufficient regard for practical considerations; an impractical theorist.

    “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom…You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.” ― William Blake, Proverbs of Hell

    No good deed will go unpunished, there will always be hell to pay.

  34. ezrydermike says:

    some stuff on Mr. Soon….

    “As many will have read, there were a number of press reports (NYT, Guardian, InsideClimate) about the non-disclosure of Willie Soon’s corporate funding (from Southern Company (an energy utility), Koch Industries, etc.) when publishing results in journals that require such disclosures. There are certainly some interesting questions to be asked (by the OIG!) about adherence to the Smithsonian’s ethics policies, and the propriety of Smithsonian managers accepting soft money with non-disclosure clauses attached.

    However, a valid question is whether the science that arose from these funds is any good? It’s certainly conceivable that Soon’s work was too radical for standard federal research programs and that these energy companies were really taking a chance on blue-sky high risk research that might have the potential to shake things up. In such a case, someone might be tempted to overlook the ethical lapses and conflicts of interest for the sake of scientific advancement (though far too many similar post-hoc justifications have been used to excuse horrific unethical practices for this to be remotely defendable).

    Unfortunately, the evidence from the emails and the work itself completely undermines that argument because the work and the motivation behind it are based on a scientific fallacy.”


  35. RE: “And I had to post this. A coal company is financing climate change denial research.”

    I work for Friends of Science and am also an advocate for Friends of Coal. we are grassroots activists from local communities who are looking to promote scientific information, free of political grandstanding, to the public and North American lawmakers.

    I highly recommend you check out non-biased scientific data regarding the unproven theory of climate change.


    Be aware that there is a very powerful and influential lobby, consisting of former “reds” who are now “greens,” attempting to spread enormous amounts of propaganda supporting the unproven theory of climate change (see http://www.biggreenradicals.com/). It is all part of a desperate last ditch attempt to get the citizenry to believe like they once did. There is no reason for you to listen to this lobby. But you do owe it to yourself to get informed.

    Have a great day!
    Sherri <3

    • We have no record of you working with Friends of Science, Sherri. Are you trying to spoof us? Unacceptable.

      • Watcher says:

        Why are these names clickable?

        And if you would post this climate change stuff on blogs that actually are about climate change, you would take this trash there, rather than here. This crap is as bad as the posters who spam their blog links on ZeroHedge’s amazing traffic.

        • ezrydermike says:

          well I don’t know the motives of Sherri and Michelle, I posted the link to Soon in response to the last few paragraphs of Ron’s original post.

          However, I do agree that it is a pita that the trolls, ‘bots, etc. how found this site. It is remarkable how much effort is being put into disinformation wrt AGW. Seems very clear that we have progressed far past science and are now well into politics/psychology/BS.

          • My motive is that I am the Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society. We do not have a Sherri Beinart employed with our non-profit society and we do not represent the coal industry. We are a group of retired solar, earth and atmospheric scientists, engineers and citizens whose view is that the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide. Sherri seems to be trying to stir up trouble by stating that she works for Friends of Science Society when she does not, and by stating that we are associated with the coal industry. We are not. My motive is to clarify these facts.

            • ezrydermike says:

              but why on this site?

            • Mips says:

              I have seen two or three comments also on Reddit equating Friends of Science with Friends of Coal. Matter of fact, from what I recall, they were very similar to what Sherri wrote. Is all of this trouble coming from the same source?

              I am involved from time to time with a local organization that holds semi-regular discussions with politicians about the holes in the “official” narrative of greenhouse gases perpetuating climate change, so these people trying to fraudulently claim they are affiliated with certain organizations is also concerning to me.

        • aws. says:

          Watcher, their names are clickable because they want them to be. They are clickbait. No good reason to go to where they want to take you, so they have to bait you.

          David Climenhaga did a thorough job explaining who they are.

          Don’t let any ‘celebrities’ tell you different, we’ve got friends of science here in Alberta

          by David Climenhaga, Alberta Diary on June 2, 2014

          Alberta’s “Friends of Science” are friends of science like North Korea is a democratic people’s republic.

          Moving to the realm of political science, the Friends of Science turn out to be an interesting group, another part of the extensive, intricate and well-funded network of loony-right front groups, which inevitably seem, like the cabal around our prime minister, to be linked back to the Friends of Scholarship at the University of Calgary’s so-called “Calgary School.”

          Lots of credible information about the Friends of Science is only a Google search away on the Internet. Like the fact it was founded by a bunch of retired oil industry types and while, like many such groups, it claims to be funded from small donations by citizens it seems in fact to be generously and secretively bankrolled by flow-through donor-directed “research funds” like those once connected to a right-wing political scientist at the University of Calgary.

  36. Rune Likvern says:

    Hello, I just put up the post;¨
    Are We In The Midst Of An Epic Battle Between Interest Rates And The Oil Price?

    Is there a SIGNAL when the oil price collapses as the interest rate is low?
    – Rune

    • Doug Leighton says:

      Extremely interesting analysis Rune. I have several questions but will save them until tomorrow.

    • Watcher says:

      There is no canary, Rune, because there no longer is a coal mine.

      Post 2008, nothing works. Everything you see is unprecedented. Central banks cannot risk capitalism when systemic threats now appear to perpetual. So they intervene over and over and over again with trillions of dollars, yen and starting next month, Euros created from nothingness — because deflation is an intolerable risk. Debt magnitudes must be inflated away and that isn’t happening with prevailing rates often negative (for short term German paper) and relentlessly falling US Treasury note yields.

      None of this has a precedent at these magnitudes. The German govt debt is yielding 0.5%. They pay 0.5% to borrow money. The US pays only 1.98%. Amid claims of growth, these yields are falling.

      Why? Because growth is measured in parameters created from thin air. They don’t have to mean anything at all. Ditto oil price. It’s all nearly by decree, with decrees coming from central banks whose primary goal is just to keep the ball rolling. Not to fix anything.

      • Doug Leighton says:

        Unfortunately you’re probably right Watcher. We really do live in weird times!

        • Watcher says:

          Douglas, there is an avalanche of pontificating babble from people who don’t know anything, but sense a departure from their lifetime’s norm. They can’t trace it back to oil scarcity because the sheer quantity of obfuscating BS about how stocks are at all time highs (stocks are also measured in parameters printed from thin air) and unemployment is improving and **THE ECONOMY** is getting better, a two word phrase that doesn’t place the reporter in a situation where he has to reconcile countering evidence.

          More than anything else, that is the key issue. That there is countering evidence. In the old normal, there were no glaring, screaming items of evidence so profoundly at odds with a prevailing narrative of sunny skies and booming prospects. Now, the countering evidence doesn’t even require work to find. It’s just there and obvious.

          Falling long term interest rates. Employment numbers as a % of total population falling. Zero evidence of crushing significant inflation, and how can that be so if you claim 3% GDP growth? Or 5% GDP growth? More important, perhaps underlying all matters of oil finance . . . trillions upon trillions upon trillions of dollars, yen and Euros QE printed, when money supply is supposed to happen by itself from demand for loans expanding the asset base of banks. Why was all that money printed . . . with the EU about to embark on another trillion over the next 16 months . . . if everything was recovered?

          We are denied legitimate data for analysis of most things. Simply that. The definitions are being smashed.

          • Futilitist says:

            Hi Watcher.

            You are so right. Things are getting really weird, and people are starting to get kinda tense. Even here.

            All the old narratives are falling apart.

            (It is like something bad is about to happen)

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              Only Superman can save us now, but, like the corporate environmentalists, he’s been [always was] co-opted, but is too tired and overworked anyway, wage-slaving at the Daily Planet as Clark Kent [no real secret anymore, except to himself], helping to print, out of nothing of course, elitist-spun press releases…


              “Superman says [this and that] so it must be true… Street protesters: ‘Superman never sold out because he was always one of them [the 1%]…’…

              Lex Luthor joins the movement and hits the streets, waving around his cache of kryptonite in the air amid claps, hoots, hollers and cheers from the protesters, who march toward The Hall of Justice… Riots break out as the black bloc attempt entry, smashing windows… Police move in with tear gas, rubber bullets, and water-cannons… radio for backup from Captain America…”…

              Graffiti images nearby surface on You Tube…

              …’James Bond, double-ohh seven, turning tricks for His Majesty’s Secret Service, looks on from a secret overseas location, with his gun tucked comfortably in his pants’ …”

              “Superman never made any money
              For saving the world from Solomon Grundy
              And sometimes I despair the world will never see
              Another man like him

              Hey Bob, Supe had a straight job
              Even though he could have smashed through any bank
              In the United States, he had the strength, but he would not…” ~ ‘Superman’s Song‘, Crash Test Dummies

  37. Gerd says:

    Continental released their results today. This commentary was included.

    “Looking ahead, our 2015 budget targets cash flow neutrality in the second half of the year. Given the quality of our assets and our operational flexibility, we are well on our way to achieving this balance of growth and value-creation in the current environment. We believe that our momentum coming out of 2014 will allow us to grow our production 16% to 20% this year; however, we are deferring completions in the Bakken to minimize the volumes we sell into this low price environment. As oilfield service costs align with commodity prices and as the contango in the oil market is realized, we will bring additional production online.”

    • Watcher says:

      This month’s NoDak DMR report an increase in completions.

      There is a lot of lying going on by parties you’ll have to choose.

      These doods have HY paper to rollover. The rollover process isn’t going to be as smooth as last year. Lenders would say in this environment . . . okay pay me my money back. Good. Now . . . you wanted to borrow more? Yes? Show my why this deal is as good for me as it was last year this time.

      It’s not? Then why should I lend? Oh, you’ll pay higher interest? Now we’re talking. How much higher? No, that won’t be enough. Keep offering higher interest. What? No, I’m not going to quote you what I want. You just keep increasing your offer? Don’t like that? Best of luck to you.

      Wait a minute. You didn’t pay me my money back. Where’s my check? Ohhh, you say you can only pay me back if I lend you more? With which to pay me back? What are you, Greece? Pay me or I take your leases. There, that’s better. Now, how much are you willing to pay for a new loan?

      • shallow sand says:

        I notice CLR still projects production growth of 16-20% year over year. That differed from EOG, who is not going to grow production.

        Looks like ND rig count is getting ready to drop below 120. 124 currently with four listed to stack. However, appears ND production will continue to grow for a few months.

        Also noticed Williston Basin posted price is still in the $33 range.

        Wonder what happens in ND regarding production if price stays in that ballpark all of 2015?

        Looks like average daily production per well is holding around 130 BOPD. Net sales per well of around 38,000 barrels of crude oil. 38,000 x $33 = $1,254,000. ND taxes knock $144,210 off that, but will be less if price stays down. OPEX takes away another $190,000 to $570,000. G & A subtracts another $50-100 thousand. So a well, which cost $6-12 million is looking toward net EBITDA of about $600,000 to $900,000 in 2015 at current oil prices. Gas will add $100,000 or so.

        I still don’t understand how they do it. CLR stock is back up near $50. EOG is back up over $90.

        • Watcher says:

          “Wonder what happens in ND regarding production if price stays in that ballpark all of 2015?”

          Lenders will get stiffed. They are being sold a guarantee oil price rise to take place quickly or they would not be writing checks.

  38. The Wet One says:

    I see that folks are getting testy in these parts.

    I wonder why that is? This has always been quite a civil forum. The decline in decorum is unfortunate.

    I’ll be reading that collapse article Futilist posted above. 75 pgs is a long slog for me these days and like as not, I won’t even finish reading it. But I’ll give it a whirl.

    As for when the collapse will happen and why, I haven’t a clue. Things are changing and I don’t know why or where it is going to or, even where its coming from. But change is the only constant, so meh.

    As for OFM’s comments about Leviathan, he is quite right IMHO. Leviathan (as named by Hobbes) is the most powerful thing known to exist to humankind. When it puts it mind to it, almost nothing that is possible is beyond its reach. It is also, beyond question, the most terrifying entity in existence as well. Do not underestimate Leviathan’s power or its danger. And don’t forget to feel the same way about Leviathans other than your own.

    As for the future, as always, we’ll see. Time shall tell (even if not terribly clearly), it always does.

    Thanks for the links on Fukishima. It really blows my mind how little attention that bit of hell on earth gets. But then, this is the real world, where media tends to have the attention span of gnat.

    • Futilitist says:

      Hi The Wet One.

      Thanks for taking a look at the Korowicz paper. The whole paper is actually a little overly exhaustive for most, but once you have read through a couple of the scenarios, you will get the idea.

  39. Political Economist says:

    This graph shows US natural gas rigs in operation, annual change in production, and annual change in production projected by EIA. Annual change in production is defined as the total production over the last 12 months less the total production over the previous 12 months.

    Note that rigs in operation are shown on left scale and annual change in production is show on right scale.

    For purpose of comparision, an annual growth of natural gas production by 2000 billion cubic feet is equivalent to annual growth of 50 million tons of oil equivalent or 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

    • Dean says:

      It would be interesting to separate produced gas from gas wells from associated gas from oil wells. My idea is that after 2009 a good chunk is due to associated gas

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi PE,

      Have you ever read the Korowicz paper? If so, does the World economic system seem as fragile to you as Korowicz assumes? I think the World economy can be likened more to the internet where there are multiple redundencies, particularly over the long term. Short term crises are likely, long term collapse on a global basis, not very likely, especially near term (within 30 years).

  40. ezrydermike says:

    At the risk of being to far out of the peak oil box…Anyway, there has been quite a bit of discussion about electric cars, residential solar, storage, etc.

    I came across this article in Counter Punch…

    “Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, is/has become America’s surrogate “Congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology.” Where Congress forfeits, Elon Musk capitalizes, bringing the energy technology of America’s space program to homeowners, the way forward to a better life, which is what Congress is supposed to do. It’s why they are elected in the first place.

    Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla is currently in partnership with Panasonic Corporation, building a $5 billion gigafactory in Nevada to manufacture batteries for cars and for homes. The factory will be primarily powered by solar and wind.

    Ad interim, Tesla will soon, this year, hit the market with stand-alone battery systems, similar to what the space station uses when “in shadow,” thereby offering smart energy consumers a space age opportunity, both big and small alike, from households to big commercial enterprises, like Wal-Mart stores, which are already using the Tesla unique battery system, saving Wal-Mart 20-30% off energy bills. Assuredly, no business can afford to pass up that kind of dollars and cents opportunity.

    Not only that, but 500 homes in California are currently part of a pilot project, using the stand-alone battery system to augment electricity generation for up to two days w/o sunlight, similar to how the International Space Station operates.”


    Which led me to this article…

    “Solar consumption is one of the reasons California declared a rather vigorous energy storage mandate. It aims to store 3 GigaWatts of power by 2020. As other states are moving onto creating power from renewable sources like solar and wind, they will obviously need to install energy storage too – providing a ready and waiting market for Tesla’s batteries.

    This seems like a pre-planned strategy falling into place. Last fall, Musk and Rive had announced SolarCity would build a huge PV-panel factory, and that every SolarCity unit would come with battery storage within five to ten years, and that the systems would supply power at a lower cost than natural gas. These batteries will be provided by the the gigafactory, which is currently being built in Nevada.

    SolarCity has already started installing Tesla batteries, largely on commercial buildings like Walmart stores, which currently have to pay huge amounts of dollars for more consumption during peak hours.”


    And finally this one…

    “Manghani believes utilities aren’t doomed, but they may undergo a radical transformation, becoming something closer to service providers and minders of an increasingly distributed grid rather than the centralized power producers they are today. Such a system would require lots of batteries to help balance the load and supply extra power during peak times, which is why GTM estimates the market will grow from $48 million today to about $1 billion in 2018.”


    Lots of uncertainty and yes much potential environmental baggage, but I’m getting a strong feeling that Musk and companies like Tesla and Solar City aren’t listening to the “you can’t do that” crowd and are just trying to do it.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Yeah, I saw a grey Tesla at a traffic light today, when the light turned green, with almost no noise at all, it just literally disappeared down the road leaving the traffic and especially an ICE muscle car that had been gunning it’s engine, so far back in the dust that I was actually almost in shock… no pun intended

    • Political Economist says:

      I looked at the following website which claims to publish “official” Californial solar statistics


      The website says California currently as 2.3 gigawatts of solar projects installed. So the projected storage capacity needed by 2020 (3 GW) is already bigger than California’s current installed solar capacity.

      Also from the website, to my surprise, solar installation in California is clearly expensive, still costing about 5 dollars per watt.

      The actual observed solar capacity utilization rate is about 10 percent (not the capacity utilization rate claimed by producers), so 1 KW of solar can generate 8760 * 0.1 = 876 kwh of electricity a year.

      5 dollars per watt is equivalent to 5000 dollars per KW. If the annual cost (interest, depreciation, operation, and maintenance) is assumed to be 10% of capital cost, the annual cost before subsidy would be 500 dollars.

      500 dollars for 876 kwh of electricity amounts to an electricity cost of 0.57 dollar per kwh. This is super expensive! And we have not yet included the storage cost.

      • Political Economist says:

        As of 2013, the US had installed 12.022 GW of solar PV capacity. In 2013, US solar electricity consumption was 9.3 terawatt-hours.

        So the observed solar averagen capacity utilization rate in the US is 9.3 / (12 * 8.76) = 0.088 or 8.8%

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Political Economist,

          You should check your data sources, often the solar output figures do not reflect residential installations, but the capacity data may include this, which would account for your low figures for capacity utilization for solar. A more realistic estimate is about 13%.

      • John B says:

        Wiki says 10 cents/kwh. You should go edit the Wiki entry.

        Utility-scale solar power can now be delivered in California at prices well below $100/MWh ($0.10/kWh)


      • islandboy says:

        P.E., please do a search on “cost of electricity produced by solar pv” and have a look at the various articles and LCOE papers that pop up (I used Google). It would be interesting if you could tell why they are mostly so awfully wrong? 0.57 dollar per kwh seems way out of line with what almost everybody else seems to be saying.

        Alan from the islands

        • John B says:

          And most of the figures out there are still too high, because they are based on a 25 year lifespan. PV could actually last a LOT longer than that. Early Kyocera panels are still working after 60 years.

  41. Political Economist says:

    This graph shows US oil rigs in operation, annual change in production, and annual change in production projected by EIA. Annual change in production is defined as the total production over the last 12 months less the total production over the previous 12 months.

    Note that rigs in operation are shown on left scale and annual change in production is show on right scale.

    An annual growth of crude oil production by 400 million barrels is equivalent to annual growth of 1.1 million barrels of oil per day.

  42. aws. says:

    “Alberta is a one-trick pony”… and by extension so is Canada.


  43. aws. says:

    A short post that illustrates how to calculate R-value. Worth reading as it was once an epiphany for me to realize that a wall’s R-value isn’t the same as the R-value printed on the bag of insulation.

    The Layers and Pathways of Heat Flow in Buildings

    Posted by Allison Bailes, Energy Vanguard Blog, on Tue, Feb 24, 2015

  44. ezrydermike says:

    pumped hydro storage in the Balkans…are we really thinking this through?

    “What we have here in the Balkans at the moment is a gold rush on the rivers,” says Ulrich Eichelmann, the director of RiverWatch, an Austria-based NGO. “I sometimes think the western countries that are financially supporting this degradation process have no idea what they are destroying. There is nothing in Europe remotely like this river system.”


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