Unsustainable cow manure

Since we are watching the plight of the Thompsons in Australia over cow manure, this submission titled “Unsustainable cow manure” on sustainable energy sent to me by Paul Driessen seemed appropriate. I put solar on my own home and a school in my school district. Without “OPM”, they would not have been viable, so he has a point- Anthony

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Sustainable, affordable, eco-friendly renewable energy, my eye

Paul Driessen

Seek a sustainable future! Wind, solar and biofuels will ensure an eco-friendly, climate-protecting, planet-saving, sustainable inheritance for our children. Or so we are told by activists and politicians intent on enacting new renewable energy standards, mandates and subsidies during a lame duck session. It may be useful to address some basic issues, before going further down the road to Renewable Utopia.

First, when exactly is something not sustainable? When known deposits (proven reserves) may be depleted in ten years? 50? 100? What if looming depletion results from government policies that forbid access to lands that might contain new deposits – as with US onshore and offshore prospects for oil, gas, coal, uranium, rare earth minerals and other vital resources?

Rising prices, new theories about mineral formation, and improved discovery and extraction technologies and techniques typically expand energy and mineral reserves – postponing depletion by years or decades, as in the case of oil and natural gas. But legislation, regulation, taxation and litigation prevent these processes from working properly, hasten depletion, and make “sustainability” an even more politicized, manipulated and meaningless concept.

Second, should the quest for mandated “sustainable” technologies be based on real, immediate threats – or will imaginary or exaggerated crises suffice? Dangerous manmade global cooling morphed into dangerous manmade global warming, then into “global climate disruption” – driven by computer models and disaster scenarios, doctored temperature data, manipulated peer reviews, and bogus claims about melting glaciers and rising sea levels. Shouldn’t policies that replace reliable, affordable energy with expensive, intermittent, land-intensive, subsidized sources be based on solid, replicable science?

Third, shouldn’t inconvenient sustainability issues be resolved before we proceed any further, by applying the same guidelines to renewable energy as courts, regulators and eco-activists apply to petroleum?

Most oil, gas, coal and uranium operations impact limited acreage for limited times – and affected areas must be restored to natural conditions when production ends. Effects on air and water quality, habitats and protected species are addressed through regulations, lease restrictions and fines. The operations generate vast amounts of affordable, reliable energy from relatively small tracts of land, and substantial revenues.

Wind turbines generate small amounts of expensive, unreliable electricity from gargantuan installations on thousands of acres. Turbines and their associated transmission lines dominate scenic vistas, disrupt habitats and migratory routes, affect water drainage patterns, impede crop dusting and other activities, and kill bats, raptors and other birds, including endangered species that would bring major fines if the corporate killers were oil or mining companies. And yet, wind operators receive exemptions from environmental review, biodiversity and endangered species laws that traditional energy companies must follow – on the ground that such rules would raise costs and delay construction of “eco-friendly” projects.

Kentucky’s Cardinal coal mine alone produces 75% of the Btu energy generated by all the wind turbines and solar panels in the USA, Power Hungry author Robert Bryce calculates. Unspoiled vistas, rural and maritime tranquility, and bald eagles will all be endangered if 20% wind power mandates are enacted.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Power Station near Phoenix generates nearly 900 times more electricity than Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base photovoltaic panels, on less land, for 1/15 the cost per kWh – and does it 90% of the time, versus 30% of the time for the Nellis array. Generating Palo Verde’s electrical output via Nellis technology would require solar arrays across an area ten times larger than Washington, DC.

Building enough photovoltaic arrays to power Los Angeles would mean blanketing thousands of square miles of desert habitat. Once built, solar and wind systems will be there just this side of forever, since there will be no energy production if we let them decay, after shutting down whatever hydrocarbon operations aren’t needed to fuel backup generators that keep wind and solar facilities operational.

Wind and solar power also mean there is a sudden demand for tons of rare earth elements that weren’t terribly important a decade ago. They exist in very low concentrations, require mining and milling massive amounts of rock and ore to get the needed minerals, and thus impose huge ecological impacts.

If mountaintop removal to extract high quality coal at reduced risk to miners is unacceptable and unsustainable – how is it eco-friendly and sustainable to clear-cut mountain vistas for wind turbines? Blanket thousands of square miles with habitat-suffocating solar panels? Or remove mountains of rock to mine low-grade rare earth mineral deposits for solar panel films, hybrid batteries and turbine magnets?

Since any undiscovered US rare earth deposits are likely locked up in wilderness and other restricted land use areas, virtually no exploration or development will take place here. We will thus be dependent on foreign suppliers, like China, which are using them in their own manufacturing operations – and selling us finished wind turbines, solar panels and hybrid car batteries. The United States will thus be dependent on foreign suppliers for renewable energy, just as we rely on foreign countries for oil and uranium.

To claim any of this is ecologically or economically sustainable strains credulity.

Green jobs will mostly be overseas, subsidized by US tax and energy dollars – other people’s money (OPM). Indeed, Americans have already spent over $20 billion in stimulus money on “green” energy projects. However, 80% of the funding for some of them went to China, India, South Korea and Spain, and three-fourth of the turbines for eleven US wind projects were made overseas. This is intolerable, indefensible and unsustainable. But it gets worse.

Denver’s Nature and Science Museum used $720,000 in stimulus money to install photovoltaic panels and reduce its electricity bills by 20 percent. The panels may last 25 years, whereas it will take 110 years to save enough on those bills to pay for the panels – and by then four more sets of panels will be needed.

As to biofuels, the US Navy recently waxed ecstatic over its success with camellia-based eco-fuel in fighter jets. But the PC biofuel costs $67.50 per gallon, versus $5.00 per gallon for commercial jet fuel.

To meet the 36-billion-gallons-a-year-by-2022 federal ethanol diktat, we would have to grow corn on cropland and wildlife habitat the size of Georgia, to get 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol – plus switchgrass on farmlands and habitats the size of South Carolina, to produce 21 billion gallons of “advanced biofuel.” By contrast, we could produce 670 billion gallons of oil from frozen tundra equal to 1/20 of Washington, DC, if the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge weren’t off limits.

OPM-subsidized ethanol also means a few corn growers and ethanol refiners make hefty profits. But chicken and beef producers, manufacturers that need corn syrup, and families of all stripes get pounded by soaring costs, to generate a fuel that gets one-third less mileage per tank than gasoline.

Hydrocarbons fueled the most amazing and sustained progress in human history. Rejecting further progress – in the name of sustainability or climate protection – requires solid evidence that we face catastrophes if we don’t switch to “sustainable” alternatives. Computer-generated disaster scenarios and bald assertions by Al Gore, Harry Reid, John Holdren and President Obama just don’t make the grade.

We need to improve energy efficiency and conserve resources. Science and technology will continue the great strides we have made in that regard. Politically motivated mandates will impose huge costs for few benefits. Sustainability claims will simply redistribute smaller shares of a shrinking economic pie.

“Renewable” energy subsidies may sustain the jobs of lobbyists, activists, politicians, bureaucrats and politically connected companies. But they will kill millions of other people’s jobs.

Let’s be sure to remind our elected officials of this along their campaign trails – and on November 2.

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202 thoughts on “Unsustainable cow manure

  1. The “green fees” to pay for these stupid solar panels is one of the reasons electrical rates in my area went up from $0.12 to over $0.18 per kWh (the rest being upgrades to the PJM grid). I have tenants that can barely pay their utility bills this summer. I already upgraded the insulation, windows, and doors so there are no other energy efficiency improvements that I can do that will have any meaningful effect.

    Energy costs impacts directly the health, welfare, and wealth of a nation. The greens are making us poor.

  2. I’m an advocate of “drill here, drill now”. Although I like pristine environments and wild places, I also like the light to come on when I flip the switch. I also like to be able to put gasoline in my car. The country is currently suffering a recession (or depression) due almost entirely to all the artificial restraints on business, energy exploration and energy production imposed by the government. The sooner we get rid of the idiots in Washington the better off we will be.

  3. not often you see an article full of so many straw men

    oil fields deplete, so do coal seams, get over it

    US oil production peaked back in the 70’s, nothing can be done to stop it no matter how much territory you open up that has not been available previously

    coal is also basically in the same predicament, it is depleting and there is no replacement

  4. A somewhat off topic quibble with the article, nobody actually needs corn syrup. It’s more like a byproduct that someone has conned manufacturers into dumping in everything for unknown reasons, even produicts that don’t need sweetening. Adds junk carbs at best and research is starting to link it to medical conditions. Personally I won’t buy anything that includes “high fructose corn syrup” in the ingredients list.

  5. In amidst all the truth in this article are also numerous falsehoods:

    Wind generators are built on the prairie, not mountain tops

    They don’ t endanger the bald eagle.

    They surround the family farm an all horizons – I can’t hear them.

    There is already several times that much corn being grown.

    It is grown for lower pollution and as being better than certain artificial additives not so much as a replacement for petroleum

    It doesn’t raise the price of feed – the spent mash is excellent livestock feed.

    We are probably better without the corn syrup.

    We over produce corn massively. Ethanol production only uses a small percentage of the over-production

    Yes, we are better off with thorium and boron-deuterium fusion reactors and petroleum. But that doesn’t make the errors in the article ‘sustainable’.

  6. 11 billions barrels in ANWAR = 214.5 billion gallons of gasoline/fuel oil and jet fuel (ignoring the other products of a barrel of oil) divided by 20 years = 17.6 billion gallons of fuel per year. 1 acre of corn produces a net of 188 gallons of ethanol with the 80% fuel concentration of gasoline.

    To replace the ANWAR oil we would need a farm the size of 182,845 square miles.

    Plow under the following states to get that much land:
    Indiana
    Maine
    South Carolina
    West Virginia
    Maryland
    Vermont
    New Hampshire
    Massachusetts
    New Jersey
    Hawaii
    Connecticut
    Delaware
    Rhode Island

    or just use 117% of California … or 70% of Texas …

    yea, riiiiight, that’s possible …

  7. The Green Lobby should own up to the public.
    Confess this sustainable dream won’t work unless they cull about 80% of the worlds human population.
    Anything less is disingenuous.

  8. Excellent article!
    Feedlot manure’s are purchased by eco-nuts in towns and subdivisions if its processed (deep stacked for a few weeks to kill pathogens, etc.). When I’ve found myself a suburbanite, yes I paid money for poo myself.

    On the farm manure is generally handled by God’s poo processors (dung beetles, worms, etc.). If the ranchers can avoid the use of insecticides then the manure reprocessing by these critters will keep the piles reduced to a bare minimum, especially in high stocking rate pastures. The general rule of thumb is 1 cow will cover 1/13 of an acre in the course of a year. If the piles were permanent then 13 cows would cover an acre in manure in one year.

    The dung spread by the green-eco-nutjobs will cover how much? Can we put that to an equation?

  9. This one was worth printing out, as it contains facts I can use in my efforts to save the Earth from the Environmentalists.

    AGW is not merely factually incorrect, nor merely expensive. It leads to actions that reduce the carrying capacity of the Earth. For example, manure is accused of generating methane, several times “worse” than CO2. So the recent post of low-tech garbage heap proposes that manures and organic matter be piled too deeply to decompose. That reduces soil fertility and biodiversity. Plenty of references exist on that, from Organic advocacy sites, to books such as those of Joel Salatin (who would love the Thompsons’ manure) to the reality that China feeds four times US population on the same amount of land.

    Wind farms kill birds and may cause extinctions. At the least, they take up so much space that they must reduce the carrying capacity of the planet at least a little bit. This article shows that solar and wind energies also require destructive mining.

    Yet one kind of energy–fossil fuels–actually increases the carrying capacity of the Earth. This fact is third grade science: photosythesis is CO2 + H2O –> sugar plus oxygen in green plants.

  10. Cows will consume more energy per capita in its food than the energy you could reclaim from its manure. It is an axioma.

  11. Steve Schaper says:
    It is grown for lower pollution and as being better than certain artificial additives not so much as a replacement for petroleum

    10%+ additive in gasoline is marketed as a replacement for petroleum in addition to being a replacement for MTBE. Ethanol, with hits high affinity for water is NOT good for automobiles and is pure hell on marine engines.

  12. Sometimes those sustainable energy programs aren’t too sustainable.

    Just a few weeks ago, we had a school here in the Bay Area installing a PV solar array on their roof. I’m not sure; but I think it was some sort of doantion or similar sort of situation.

    So the locals watched in interested fashion on the weekend, when the “workers” came in and started installing those paqnels on the roof. Nobody had said much about the project; so the locals were still watching on the following weekend when the “workers re-appeared on the roof to finish the job.

    It wasn’t discovered till later, that the installation had been completed the first weekend; but it was sure noticed that the entire installation disappeared off the roof the second weekend; while the interested locals watched the process.

    You know what they say; “Easy come; easy go. ”

    I don’t know if they have figured out yet who the thieves were; but you can make some reasonable guesses.

  13. So you listed a lot of the problems with wind a solar and why we won’t be able to replace fossil fuels with them on anything approaching the scale we’re using fossil fuels today.

    Then you concluded that the sustainable thing is to continue using fossil fuels. Which basically means that you never stopped to think about what the word “fossil” is doing in “fossil fuels” so you win absolutely no points for basic intelligence and scientific literacy.

    I have seen this many times now not only here, but in numerous other cornucopian articles. It is absolutely amazing how people will list pretty much the same reasons that I and other people worried about sustainability would list for why renewables aren’t up to the task of powering the global economy in its present size (and it’s expected to grow several times in size in the next decades), usually omitting the absolutely crucial discussion of EROEI (after all, in order for you to start talking about EROEI, some basic literacy is needed) and then will turn around and say “Therefore we should keep BAU with fossil fuels and nuclear”. And what is even more amazing, I would go to a so called “environmental” blog and explain to people why renewables can’t power the economy and they will accuse me of promoting the interests of fossil fuel companies. Which tells you what the level of understanding of the situation is on both sides – they both have mostly no clue about reality, it is just that one side is simply further into denial than the other.

    In short, if you can’t power the economy with renewables, and if the renewable in their current form depend on fossil fuels and on rare earth elements in short supply, this means that the economy is TOO BIG TO BE SUSTAINABLE and has to SHRINK until it’s safely within the carrying capacity of the planet. It shouldn’t take much brain power to figure that out, yet for most people it seems to be an impossible feat of logical reasoning.

    Like this one, for example:

    Yet one kind of energy–fossil fuels–actually increases the carrying capacity of the Earth.

    Yes, for how long?

  14. Steve Schaper says:
    September 21, 2010 at 10:40 am

    “In amidst all the truth in this article are also numerous falsehoods:……”
    =========================================================
    Said the corn farmer…………..

    Wind turbines go anywhere they can catch wind.(prairies are only one of the many places ideal for wind generation.)
    They endanger any birds in the area they are planted.
    Are you stating the skyrocket the price of corn took with they started ethanol was coincidental? In the area I live in, yes, production of corn is up. Look at the price to understand why. Is the cost going down? No? Someone must be buying up the supply. I’m really hoping somewhere in this country they still grow wheat, because all of the farmers went to corn this year. I won’t even start on the nutritional value of spent spent mash…..
    Regardless of the reasoning, ethanol is being used as a replacement to petroleum.
    While, you are correct, presently, the planning is to move us of off petroleum, so the percentage of corn used for ethanol will continue to increase.

  15. Most of the talk about “renewable energy resources” is based on the idea that the existing reserves of oil and gas would be depleted sometime “soon” (how soon exactly, nobody really is sure any more, because all the deadlines of many previous predictions have passed, and oil keeps pumping).

    The main pillar of this “sustainability” and “renewable energy” propaganda is the theory of the biological origin of oil. Which is a lie: a bigger, and even more fiercely protected lie than the odious AGW theory.

    In fact, oil (petroleum) is a substance of mineral origin that formed when Earth was cooling, many billions of years ago. There is literally an ocean of oil just under the crust in most regions of the Earth (proven numerous times by deep drilling), with the exception of volcanically active regions where magma (molten rock, which is heavier than oil) rises very close to the surface.

    Old wells of Azerbaijan and Texas, supposedly “exhausted” back in the 1930s, are filling up and producing again, because oil seeps up from its huge underlying basins.

    Add nuclear energy, and any hint of energy problem disappears. It is no more than a hobgoblin used by our puppet masters to scare the ignorant, to make them feel guilty, and thus to acquire more and more power and money.

    The liar rides the fool while the coward looks away; that’s how our “progressive” society pretends to work.

  16. Yes GM, can your non-illiterate self explain to us, the uneducated how long we can sustain ourselves. Please keep your formulae simple so we can follow your brilliance.

  17. “”” Steve Schaper says:
    September 21, 2010 at 10:40 am
    “””” In amidst all the truth in this article are also numerous falsehoods: “””

    “””” Wind generators are built on the prairie, not mountain tops “””” I know of three wind farms in California; all three are on mountain tops; none on prairies.

    “”” They don’ t endanger the bald eagle. “”” One of the three is considered to be one of the biggest Golden Eagle habitats in the USA; which is probably why it is only Golden Eagles they find dead around there; not Bald Eagles.
    ………………………
    ………………………

    “”””” It is grown for lower pollution and as being better than certain artificial additives not so much as a replacement for petroleum “”” In California it replaces MTBE as a compulsory fuel additive. MTBE wasn’t needed in fuel either; well the companies did have to get rid of it somehow; so It took us a while to get it banned. The Ethanol additive isn’t needed either; but It may take us longer to get it banned too, since so many people have a vested interest in making it compulsory. The fuel companies say they can meet ALL California fuel Standards with ordinary gasoline; and NO OXYGENATES; which only decrease fuel mileage.

    “”” It doesn’t raise the price of feed – the spent mash is excellent livestock feed. “”” So I guess the part of corn that is converted to ethanol is inedible to livestock; or esle there would be that much more feed, and even lower prices.

    “”” We are probably better without the corn syrup. “”” So besides the Vermont Maple Syrup industry; sugar from corn syrup is a threat to whom ? Starbucks Coffee shops advertise that they do everything green; and they stress they use no high fructose corn syrup. So you buy a coffee there, and over at the “fixins” stand, they have every phony plastic sugar substitute known to man; but no perfectly natural good sugar from the corn belt.

    “”” We over produce corn massively. Ethanol production only uses a small percentage of the over-production. “””

    So why don’t we cut the massive overproduction, and save even more farmland from depletion; and save more water and energy. Then we can put that excess farmland back to more natural habitat.

    Just because you could grow artificial genetically engineered crops on arable land; doesn’t mean it is a good idea to do so.

    REPLY: What I find most hilarious about Starbucks is that despite the green bent, “Ethos water”, and “fair trade” coffee, they don’t have a simple recycling bin in any store. Just try to dispose of any plastic or paper recyclable container at a Starbucks (like an “Ethos water” bottle) and ask them where the recycle container is. They don’t have one. What angers me is that as a citizen of my town I’m required to recycle and pay extra for it. These corporate weasels get off scot-free mixing garbage and recycle together. – Anthony

  18. Wind turbines are planned for building on hills where I live. Hundreds of them. They’ll be visible for 30-40 kilometers stretching from horizon to horizon, plus the flashing nightlight on top. Before you ask why the locals agreed – they didn’t. In the brave new green world, the peasants don’t get a vote.

    Some lucky folks will see just whirling steel from horizon to horizon.

    Same in Maine and Vermont, and New Zealand.

    It’s nice that you can’t hear them, but some people aren’t that lucky. Within about 1- 1.5 km the incessant noise can be intolerable.

    Also – it’s pretty well known that turbines are lethal to raptor populations. Raptors use the thermals near the hills to gain height. Sooner or later they are going to fall foul of miles of steel blades. Then the next eagle pairs move in to the territory, and same result.

  19. Here in New Zealand, we have an Emissions Trading Scheme. As part of this scheme, the price of all power has gone up, including mains electricity, which in New Zealand is 70% hydro and 10% geothermal. The electricity supplied to my home is 100% hydro, but its price has gone up too, in order to pay for carbon dioxide emissions.

    Work that one out.

  20. Steve Schaper – Wind turbines work on the prairies , but if you don’t happen to have a prairie convenient you use the windiest spots available . Those are usually mountain tops .

  21. After revieving a email from Joanne Nova, I now have no qualms about having sent money. She explained the problem/smell very well. Thank you.

  22. So GM, I assume you would probably agree with what John Holdren, aka Dr. Doom once said:
    “Only one rational path is open to us—simultaneous de-development of the [overdeveloped countries] and semi-development of the underdeveloped countries (UDC’s), in order to approach a decent and ecologically sustainable standard of living for all in between. By de-development we mean lower per-capita energy consumption, fewer gadgets, and the abolition of planned obsolescence.”

    You’re essentially a Malthusian at heart right? What a whacko he turned out to be.

  23. ‘Like this one, for example:

    Yet one kind of energy–fossil fuels–actually increases the carrying capacity of the Earth.

    Yes, for how long?’

    More than long enough to develop better fission reactors (Thorium, breeders etc) and/or fusion power.

  24. DEEBEE says:
    September 21, 2010 at 11:43 am
    Yes GM, can your non-illiterate self explain to us, the uneducated how long we can sustain ourselves. Please keep your formulae simple so we can follow your brilliance.

    [Snip, now now. ~ ctm] Anyway, the answer to your question is not for long at our present numbers and per capita consumption

  25. Bruce Cobb says:
    September 21, 2010 at 11:58 am
    So GM, I assume you would probably agree with what John Holdren, aka Dr. Doom once said:
    “Only one rational path is open to us—simultaneous de-development of the [overdeveloped countries] and semi-development of the underdeveloped countries (UDC’s), in order to approach a decent and ecologically sustainable standard of living for all in between. By de-development we mean lower per-capita energy consumption, fewer gadgets, and the abolition of planned obsolescence.”

    So according to you, planned obsolescence is good, is that correct?

    There is no need for lowering per capita energy consumption if you lower the number of people in the right proportion. Of course, there is absolutely no need for the current levels of per capita consumption of energy and resources either, people in Europe already live better lives on half the energy that Americans use and if you get rid of planned obsolescence and other such wasteful practices whose only purpose is to keep growth going at all costs, it can be reduced much further with no negative consequences for standard of living. But you can’t have 9 billion people living a Western lifestyle and that’s not because Holdren or me don’t like it, it’s because it’s a biophysical impossibility, the denial of which can only result in much much fewer than 9 billion people absolutely none of which will ever live a Western lifestyle again. That’s what we’re trying to prevent (or would be if we were a tiny fraction as smart as we think we are)

  26. You get about 495 gallons of ethanol from an acre of corn. Plus you get over 40% of your “feed energy” back in the form of Distillers Grains, Plus you retain the Corn Oil.

    Once Distillers Grains are included in the equation you get 800 Gallons of Ethanol for every Extra Acre of corn you plant.

    We pay farmers Not to plant 34 Million Acres of fertile land (in the U.S., alone.)

    34,000,000 X 800 = 27,200,000,000 (27 Billion, 200 Million.)

    That’s 27 Billion Gallons of Ethanol from just planting the land that we’re Paying Farmers NOT to Plant.

  27. I find it odd that there has been no mention of the methane hydrates that exist off shore. When we figure out how to extract it we will have thousands of years of energy at present day useage. Running out of energy is not our problem staving off an ice age the real issue.

  28. GM says:
    September 21, 2010 at 11:20 am
    …..Yes, for how long?

    Maybe a long time if the Russians are right about abiotic petroeum.

  29. The green agenda really is all about enslaving mankind so that we can be driven back to the stone age as a first step in the ultimate goal of eliminating humans all together. Any solution to the lefties talking-point problems that are proposed by these people will not be workable, and workable solution, that comes to light will be attacked.

    It is pretty obvious from the writings of the greenies that come here to troll, that they are beyond reason. and the only concepts there minds can contain are the one they have been programed to think with.

  30. GM,

    You lefty looneys have been screaming the same nonsense for 150 years, shut up already. Peak coal, my shiny metal …

  31. “…this means that the economy is TOO BIG TO BE SUSTAINABLE and has to SHRINK until it’s safely within the carrying capacity of the planet.” -GM

    Who exactly is going to take the hit in your quest for “sustainability” since we know it won’t be you?

  32. We’re presently using about 13 Billion Gallons of Corn Ethanol. The Cut-off is 15 Billion. We’re building out enough refineries to get to 14.6 Billion (about 12% more than we’re using at present.) And, That’s It. From there on out it’s Municipal Solid Waste, switchgrass, corn cobs, and other cellulosic feedstocks.

    Here’s where we could go fairly easily.

    10 Billion Gallons from MSW (municipal solid waste.)

    25 Billion Gallons from Switchgrass on CRP Acres.

    10 Billion Gallons from Corn Cobs/Corn Stover.

    15 Billion Gallons from Corn.

    Cars like the new Buick Regal that utilize TDI Engines to attain equal efficiency (MPG) on Ethanol as Gasoline.

    60 Billion Gallons/Yr replaces 4 Million Barrels of Foreign Oil Every Day.

    That’s $300 Million Every Day (over $100 Billion Every Year) NOT going to the Royal Families of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and The UAE, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Russia.) That is $300 Million/Day staying home, and working here.

  33. wow… It never fails. Keep one of these “sustainability” types talking long enough, and the malthusian ghoulishness come pouring out.

  34. GW:
    “people in Europe already live better lives on half the energy that Americans use”

    A lot of verbiage being thrown around above, but I just don’t believe this one. I have no hard evidence and I have never been there, but I just plain don’t believe it.

  35. The DOE plan to meet the Congressional mandate for significantly increased ethanol depended heavily this year on cellulosic ethanol dispite the fact that even today there are still no operating commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants.
    The summary given below is not intended to knock one particular project but to expose the naive (incompetent, or dishonest ?) folks we have in the DOE and the EPA. They like to believe or claim or want us to believe that there are near term viable alternatives to our conventional fuels and are investing tax dollars heavily toward that end.
    The URL below describes fairly well how that is working out not just for the particular company mentioned but typically the entire effort.
    Maybe it is time to reset the goal/targets for “renewable” liquid fuels especially mandated ethanol.
    From the URL
    “Let’s recap the highlights:

    February 2007 – Range Fuels announced that they would build their first “cellulosic ethanol” plant in Georgia. In a story at Green Car Congress, the capacity was announced at “more than 1 billion gallons of ethanol per year.”

    March 2007 – Range Fuels announced a $76 million grant from the Department of Energy.

    July 2007 – In a story in USA Today, the Phase 1 capacity was announced at 20 million gallons. The full scale would be 100 million gallons at a cost of $150 million.

    November 2007 – Range broke ground on the plant; announced they would be finished with Phase 1 (still 20 million gallons) by the end of 2008.

    April 2008 – Range announced a $6 million grant from the state of Georgia.

    January 2009 – Range received another $80 million, this time from the USDA, and announced receipt of $158 million in venture capital funding for 2008.

    October 2009 – Range asked for more money. This time they were told no.

    February 2010 – After investments that have been publicly announced at $320 million, the EPA announced that Range would initially produce 4 million gallons, and it would be methanol. Further, there would be no ethanol produced before mid-2012.

    February 2010 – I write an article wondering why the mainstream media has completely missed this story.

    In summary, we were given numbers of $150 million to build 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol capacity. What we are being told now is > $320 million to build 4 million gallons of methanol capacity. Of course they intend to do so much more, but I have a very big problem giving more taxpayer money to an organization with this history.”

    http://theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/59543

  36. @ Kum Dollison says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    How about “the rest of the story” for those extra acres? The extra fertilizer, water, fuel, manpower, etc. to plant, grow, harvest, and transp0rt that corn to turn it into ethanol. And then there’s the nitrogen runoff to deal with. And that doesn’t count the 45 cents per gallon subsidy we as fuel users have to pay. Fact is that without that subsidy ethanol is a net loss. Just as biodiesel has gone belly up without their subsidy, so will ethanol. TANSTAAFL.

  37. Codswallop and strawmen. Example – birdkill by wind turbines would be less than 0.1% of all birdkill causes in the USA if we had enough turbines to supply all of our electricity. Wind turbines in west Texas improve the appearance of a more than semi-desert moonscape, and they look pretty good along the crest of the Poconos, without forest clearing. Try PV on rooftops for peaking power to avoid covering the desert, and LA wouldn’t use “1000s of sq. mi.” anyway. Like it or not we are at peak oil, we will be past peak NG by 2050, and if we use coal to compensate, will be past peak coal by 2050 also. Maybe we can wait a few more years, but we do have to develop the renewables, and do so in this century, or as the energy doomers suggest it will be “back to Olduvai”. Murray

  38. PV solar panels aren’t the only type of solar installation possible. There’s concentrating solar thermal, which has the advantage of potentially allowing for storage, meaning it could provide continuous energy in areas with sufficient sunlight, unlike solar panels or wind. It’s also cheaper than solar panels. PV solar panels only make sense in off-grid applications, in my opinion. Also, there is geothermal to consider.

  39. Larry Geiger says: “people in Europe already live better lives on half the energy that Americans use”

    A lot of verbiage being thrown around above, but I just don’t believe this one. I have no hard evidence and I have never been there, but I just plain don’t believe it.

    Larry, the “1/2 the energy” is largely true. One can debate the “better lives”, but I did live there for 24 years total, in England, Scotland, France, Italy and Switzerland, and have now been back in the USA in SC, Calif., and Florida, and for me the quality of life is at least as good in Europe as in the USA, and in some ways better. Murray

  40. The fact is, the world, basically, has flatlined at about 73 Million Barrels/Day of Crude + Condensate since 2005. To accomplish this we’ve added over 4 Million Barrels of “New” Production every year (this makes up for the declining flow from producing wells.)

    This year we are slipping down to 3 Million Barrels/Day. Next year will, also, be 3 mbd. 2012 IIRC will be about 2.5 mbd. We know this because it takes several years of a step by step process to bring a new field online. 2013 is looking even weaker than 2012.

    Saudi Arabia, and the chums, overproduced for several months after the “crash.” That brought about a glut that was stored on tankers all around the world. The last couple of months have seen the remainder of that overproduction come ashore. That is giving the impression of “all is well, there is a glut of oil.” That’s Not the way it is. It will take us, maybe, 5, or 6 months to work off the excess inventory, and maybe another year to work off a “possible” 1.5 to 2.0 Million bpd Spare Capacity in Saudi Arabia (includes just a little bit in UAE, and Kuwait.)

    Most of the experts are getting very nervous about the time frame around the end of 2012. 2013 looks like the latest that we will roll off the plateau. Jes Sayin.

  41. DesertYote says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm
    The green agenda really is all about enslaving mankind so that we can be driven back to the stone age as a first step in the ultimate goal of eliminating humans all together.

    Talk about “looney”. Murray

  42. DEEBEE says: September 21, 2010 at 11:43 am
    Yes GM, can your non-illiterate self explain to us, the uneducated how long we can sustain ourselves. Please keep your formulae simple so we can follow your brilliance.
    ======================================================
    Deebee: Don’t worry about our dear friend GM he is really Sheldon Cooper (of the Big Bang Theory) in drag on this blog.

    Here is a bio note for you: Sheldon is distinctive for his overtly intellectual personality: he is calculating and cynical, he exhibits a strict adherence to routine, a lack of understanding of irony, sarcasm and humor, a habit of constantly expressing admiration for his superior intellect (which is sometimes found offensive by the other characters), and a complete lack of humility. So just sit back and enjoy.

    Doug

  43. That’s odd , I haven’t noticed that Europeans live “better” lives than we Americans . But that might depend on your definition of “better”.

  44. The frightening thing about GM’s post is how close the the edge he got with the position paper and statement demanded by the Discovery Channel eco-terrorist.

  45. Don Shaw says:
    September 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    A cellulos to ethanol plant was supposed to be built here in the UP of Michigan. Ground break was suppose to be last year. Nada yet.

    A huge problem with the ethanol plants is the 1000:1 water to ethanol ratio. Using this much fresh water is not wise. Plus a tank full of ethanol for a large SUV is equal to enough calories to feet a human for a year. A very bad use of food, burning it in cars.

  46. pedex says:

    September 21, 2010 at 10:26 am:

    …oil fields deplete, so do coal seams, get over it…and there is no replacement

    pedex, Iran just finished its first nuclear power plant. Maybe later they’ll figure out how to refine their own oil? The French have 3x the nuc. plants/population compared to the U.S. and get 75-80% of their electricity from them.

    Apparently, they’re “over it”.

    pedex, with full knowledge of the ipcc “Climate Science”, China and India are “getting over” in the meantime by constructing coal fired electricity plants up the yin-yang.

    pedex, what does everyone else know that you don’t know?

  47. I think the post and the comments are all over-generalized and as one example only I present:
    Steve Schaper says: at 10:40 am
    “Wind generators are built on the prairie, not mountain tops”

    Which is not true as shown here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Horse_Wind_Farm

    These are on high ridges (between 4,000 and 5,000 feet) near Ellensburg, WA and can be seen from 40 miles away. No “clear cutting” was involved as there were no trees. They did flatten a bit of ridge top for their solar panels, though. In another part of the county there are plans for a large area vegetation removal for solar panels with panel production on site:

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/275770
    Note that this project is not in the southwest US where solar is supposed to be found.

  48. The $0.45/gal “blending” subsidy is, almost certainly, going away Jan 1st.

    But, we’ll still be spending $100 Billion/Yr, or so, in Iraq, and the Persian Gulf. What is that – about $0.70 for every gallon of gasoline that we use?

    And, we’ll still be in horrible shape with our “balance of payments” as a result of sending $300 Billion/Yr “Overseas” for a resource that’s Consumed on a daily basis.

    And, we’ll still be giving the oil companies Billions of Dollars of Tax Breaks every year (Deep Water Tax Credits, Oil Depletion Allowances, etc.)

    As for water: 96% of the ethanol in your gas tank was produced from “Non-Irrigated” Corn. Approx 3,500 btus of petroleum are used (field to wheel) to produce 76,000 btus of ethanol, and about 30,000 btus of nat gas. The average of Ethanol from ALL refineries is about 1 btu In, 2.3 BTUs Out.

  49. OPM-subsidized ethanol also means a few corn growers and ethanol refiners make hefty profits. But chicken and beef producers, manufacturers that need corn syrup, and families of all stripes get pounded by soaring costs, to generate a fuel that gets one-third less mileage per tank than gasoline.

    Don’t worry about the corn syrup. The kissing cousins of the (C)AGW proponents in the Nanny State Family, the healthier-eating-through-government-control advocates, have stirred up the hornet’s nest against all corn syrup while pounding the high-fructose drum so FDA action is coming soon. They’ll do their best to kill off the market for that Dangerous Product.

    These are the intelligent scientific people who warned us:

    Meat is bad for your heart, go vegetarian!
    (Dr. Atkins and recent studies show low-carb high-protein/fat is best for cardiovascular health.)

    Coffee is bad for you and raises your blood pressure, at least drink decaffeinated!
    (Brewed coffee is chock full of antioxidants, regular drinkers have no blood pressure rise, a pot or more a day has no known risks, and decaf is bad due to chemical processing to remove the caffeine.)

    Women need their calcium supplements!
    (Studies show pill supplements alone aren’t working in post-menopausal women. Weight-bearing exercise builds bone mass, in those not getting such exercise. The drugs that force bone growth may lead to odd growths and other issues. The calcium needs to get stored when you are young with a growing skeleton. Without sufficient Vitamin D post-menopausal women are also prone to calcium deposits in the cardiovascular system, in arteries and at vessel openings and valves, as well as certain organs, and calcium supplements may worsen that.)

    And now we know that high-fructose corn syrup is linked to everything from diabetes to cancer to Alzheimer’s. The experts have said it, it must be true. Bring on the government mandates to protect we ignorant consumers who have been lied to by the Big Corn Syrup lobby for so long!

    Hmm, I got a bottle of Karo corn syrup around here, better alert the hazmat team…
    ———-
    Irony Note: I see more brands of soda proudly labeled “Made with real sugar!” Weren’t we warned long ago to avoid soda BECAUSE it has sugar?

  50. Ode Da Cow,

    Oh’ Cow, mother of my milk,

    To you is to blame for this heat.

    You are mocked, you are tormented, you are ridiculed.

    Greenies don’t want your Brownies.

    Al waits to tax your backside.

    What say you? Are not these honorable people?

    I say, No!

    You to will ask them about the Prime Cut, “Ate two, you Brutes? “Well TAX this Methane blast, you DemoRePuck

    As the day draws to an end at the Dodge City Stockyard, you can hear from the road,

    “Home, home on the range!”

    Good night from yard that stinks up the town when the summer breezes blow the wrong way.

  51. Larry Geiger says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    “people in Europe already live better lives on half the energy that Americans use” -GM

    A lot of verbiage being thrown around above, but I just don’t believe this one. I have no hard evidence and I have never been there, but I just plain don’t believe
    ———————————————————————-
    GM, uses the term “better lives” because it is a vague term that suggests a higher standard of living, but actually has no meaning.

    People in Europe have a lower standard of living than people of the USA. Unless someone wants to cherry pick select countries, and there standard of living has nothing to do with their energy consumption.

    World Top 10 – Countries with Highest
    Standard of Living

    1. Norway
    2. Sweden
    3. Canada
    4. Belgium
    5. Australia
    6. United States
    7. Iceland
    8. Netherlands
    9. Japan
    10. Finland

    Norway (huge oil producer), Sweden, and Belgium are tiny countries. I can’t accept comparing them to the USA. Australia has about 20 million & Canada has about 35 million. If you want to believe Canada and Australia have a higher standard of living than the USA go right ahead. I harbor doubt.

  52. “”” REPLY: What I find most hilarious about Starbucks is that despite the green bent, “Ethos water”, and “fair trade” coffee, they don’t have a simple recycling bin in any store. Just try to dispose of any plastic or paper recyclable container at a Starbucks (like an “Ethos water” bottle) and ask them where the recycle container is. They don’t have one. What angers me is that as a citizen of my town I’m required to recycle and pay extra for it. These corporate weasels get off scot-free mixing garbage and recycle together. – Anthony “””

    The local Starbucks, (which I just came from) has no recycling capability. I have several Starbucks cups which I try to remember to take to lunch when I go; but once in a while I forget to take one. On other occasions, I have bought a coffee at one of their stores, and taken it with me in my car; which means I have a paper starbucks cup in my car. So I took it into the local shop figuring I might as well just refill that. The chap looks at me, and says: “Refill ?” and I said no, not wanting to get a $1.50 cuppa for just the 50c refill price; I’ll just take the 10 cent reusable cup discount thanks. No can do; it is against company policy. He was ready to refill my cup for 50 cents; thinking I had already downed a full one at $1:50; well I had but that was yesterday. Big deal; I used to eat dirt when I was a kid.

    I recycle when I can; it makes a lot of sense and not a lot of problems; but when it is just a marketing gimmic, it turns me off. And on the weekend, I can get a senior coffee at McDonalds for 38 cents; and they will give me a free refill; and every bit as good coffee as Starbucks. I never take the free refill; If I do refill, which is almost never I always pay the 38 cents; I’d rather they gave a free one to someone who has nothing; and I can afford the 38 cents. They still think I’m nutz anyway.

  53. James Sexton says:
    September 21, 2010 at 10:39 am
    “Well stated Paul. It is well past time this short-sighted lunacy end.”

    I agree. This is a great post, Paul, which demonstrates the lunacy of what happens when you try to force the pace of change to ‘renewables’ before the economics are right.

    However, what’s happening is not lunacy, it has been deliberately planned.

    Control the money supply and you control the world… Control the energy supply and you own the world!

  54. Kum Dollison says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    “That’s $300 Million Every Day (over $100 Billion Every Year) NOT going to the Royal Families of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and The UAE, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Russia.) That is $300 Million/Day staying home, and working here.”
    =========================================================

    That argument is invalid. I would like to be able to cut them off, but, we could do that today without ethanol. It would simply take the collective will to allow the oil drillers to drill where they want. ANWR, the new basin found in ND and surrounding area, off-shore(near), ect.

    We’re sending those people(Venz, UAE, ect.) money because people in this country put the interests of a tree above the interests of this nation and their fellow citizens.

  55. GM says: September 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    But you can’t have 9 billion people living a Western lifestyle and that’s not because Holdren or me don’t like it, it’s because it’s a biophysical impossibility, the denial of which can only result in much much fewer than 9 billion people absolutely none of which will ever live a Western lifestyle again. That’s what we’re trying to prevent (or would be if we were a tiny fraction as smart as we think we are)
    ——————————————————————————–
    GM: Who are the “we” you mention and how exactly going to do this may I ask?

    Mic

  56. Energy use is “green speak” for WEALTH. And, yes, people who are less wealthy can have wonderful and fulfilling lives – but ‘better’? That is just horse-manure since there are infinite ways of measuring such an elusive thing… And someone proud of his intellect said that? Not so smart…

    Here is a link to a wiki article on just that concept:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_energy_consumption_per_capita

    Note that generally the poorer the country, the lower the energy use – imagine that! LOL

  57. “And, we’ll still be giving the oil companies Billions of Dollars of Tax Breaks every year (Deep Water Tax Credits, Oil Depletion Allowances, etc.)” – KD

    I love this logic. If the government takes less money from a company than someone thinks the govt. should take from said company even if said company is still paying through the nose then said company being given a gift. Does the oil industry get more “tax breaks” than other industries… doubtful.

    The government makes more money on a gallon of gasoline than the oil companies. Who’s really subsidizing who?

  58. Mic says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm
    GM says: September 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    ——————————————————————————–
    GM: Who are the “we” you mention and how exactly going to do this may I ask

    When I say “we”, I mean the whole of humanity. And there are three ways to bring ourselves within the carrying capacity of the planet – increase death rates, reduce birth rates, reduce per capita resource consumption. The most painless combination is drastic reduction of birth rates plus moderate reduction of consumption. The most painful combination is what will happen in a BAU scenario – drastic increase in death rates combined with a drastic decrease in per capita consumption levels, all of that accompanied with a serious decrease of the long-term carrying capacity of the planet. I think the choice is clear to anyone with two functioning neurons in their brain

  59. @ Kum Dollison says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    You forgot the NPK, as well as sulfer and other ingredients, which must be mined, processed, shipped, packaged, etc., with attendant costs and fossil fuel use for the machinery doing the mining and so forth. N of course from Nat Gas, via Haber/Bosch.

    As for cobs & stover, farmers are not being offered enough to make it worth while to collect it. They would need $100/ton and are only being offered $45-$60/dry ton. http://www.dtnprogressivefarmer.com/dtnag/common/link.do;jsessionid=78EE09311569C5098D9DFC1E5CFFC258.agfreejvm2?symbolicName=/ag/blogs/template1&blogHandle=ethanol&blogEntryId=8a82c0bc2a8c8730012aeca821b104a8

  60. If newer technologies produce power efficiently and reliably people will use them. If oil is unsustainable and starts to run out, the price will go up and people will use less. There is a mechanism for answering such questions of economic utility that works quite efficiently. It is called a market. It beats a planned economy hands down.

  61. GM says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    You know GM, you guys are right. We’re doomed.
    Let’s commit suicide and avoid the horribe end. You go first.

  62. Justa Joe says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    The published studies showing higher standards of living in Europe are as bogus as AGW. This is someone’s idealized notion of “better living”. Europe does not have a higher standard of living than the USA. I think they usually cite socialized medicine and cradle to grave social programs as their proof. It’s more a measure of Marxist Utopia than anything else. Some of them live longer on average…. often because they don’t eat like pigs and shoot each other in the streets.

  63. Layne Blanchard says:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm
    Justa Joe says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    The published studies showing higher standards of living in Europe are as bogus as AGW. This is someone’s idealized notion of “better living”. Europe does not have a higher standard of living than the USA. I think they usually cite socialized medicine and cradle to grave social programs as their proof. It’s more a measure of Marxist Utopia than anything else. Some of them live longer on average…. often because they don’t eat like pigs and shoot each other in the streets

    Well, if dying of something completely preventable because you can’t afford to pay for healthcare, eating like pig until your arteries burst or you can’t move from obesity and getting shot on the street are your ideas of living well, then definitely the US has a better standard of living.

    That’s not the argument though, the argument was that it is completely possible to live quite well with only half the energy consumption of the average US citizen, and that is not to imply that no energy or resources are being wasted in Europe, there is a lot of potential for improving efficiency further.

    However, even that isn’t going to make us sustainable unless we also reduce our numbers to a level that can be supported on renewable energy and close to 100% recycling so that we buy ourselves enough time to figure out what we can do in the really long term. BAU means global civilizational collapse with 100% certainty and never recovering from it with 99+% certainty. I know the discount rates that some people are living with are so steep that when you tell them that, the only thing you’re going to get is a blank “What the #$*& are you talking about and why should I care about what’s going to happen 50 or 100 years from now?” stare (now try to talk with that kind of people about 1,000 or 10,000 years ahead in the future), but there are people who do care about more than their immediate gratification and they see the problems, despite the ridicule they get from those that don’t

  64. @ Kum Dollison said:

    The $0.45/gal “blending” subsidy is, almost certainly, going away Jan 1st.

    Let’s hope so.

    And, we’ll still be giving the oil companies Billions of Dollars of Tax Breaks every year (Deep Water Tax Credits, Oil Depletion Allowances, etc.)

    You might want to read up on depletion allowances. Cost depletion is essentially cost amortization. Percentage depletion has been reduced to 15% and no longer applies to about 35 major oil companies, just to the smaller independents. As for the rest of the story, Obama’s 2011 budget proposes eliminating nine so-called oil-company tax subsidies which, taken together, “save” $5 billion a year. They don’t really eliminate the deductions (except for percentage depletion for independents), they simply lengthen the period over which the deductions can be claimed.
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/05/oil_company_subsidies.html

    As for the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act of 1995, the basic problem there was that for a two-year period, the MMS screwed up when writing the regulations. Congress had intended there to be a sliding scale that phased out the relief as the price of oil rose past the $18/bbl price in 1995. The MMS has been renegotiating the ’98/’99 leases and six companies, including BP, ConocoPhillips, Marathon and Shell agreed in 2006 to pay full royalties (take no benefit from the Act). Deep water royalty relief is not on Obama’s list to remedy because MMS leases were corrected in 2000.

    The GAO estimated that the MMS foul up on leases written in 1988 and 1999 has cost the government $1 billion. You might ask BP how important that is compared to a $32 billion loss on one well. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07682t.pdf

  65. Using my state tax dollars in New Jersey to subsidize crystalline silicon PV arrays is daft. New Jersey is too far North, and has too many hazy and cloudy days for the arrays to operate efficiently. They will NEVER, EVER generate as much energy as it takes to produce, install, interconnect, and maintain the arrays.

    So, why is it “green” or “sustainable” to install them?

  66. Kum,
    As I told you several times before, the oil depletion allowance was ended in 1974.
    Are you still living in the past?
    Even then it only reduced taxes
    Why do you still cling onto the non existant subsidies for oil.
    Does anyone on this site believe your claims
    Tell us more about all the subsidies for ethanol from corn or any other source

  67. Somebody explain to me how burning forests for charcoal production makes any sense at all in today’s world. All for food cooking and heat … Aren’t there more effective ways to do this?

    Is this what electricity was invented for?

  68. No, Curious, I Did Not forget the nitrogen in the fertilizer. It “in” there. 5,500 btus/gal for That. I did not however, include the $10’s of Billions of environmental damage caused by oil spills, or the 4,000 American Troops killed in Iraq.

    As for Oil Companies: Exxon, in spite of $39 Billion in Profits, did not pay a single, solitary dime in Federal Income Taxes in 2009. Not. A. Dime.

  69. James Sexton says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    You’re correct, but it isn’t just the supply that is cut off. They have shut out refineries and power plants as well. It is an attempt to shut down the country.

  70. @ Jeff

    Ever heard of M King Hubbert? you are aware that US oil production peaked around 1971 or so and has been declining at about 3% per year ever since? has nothing to do with politics, just geology and physics and it was even predicted ahead of time with pretty amazing accuracy considering. This method also does not even get into politics, it assumes unrestricted drilling and usage. The same methods can be applied to the world and have been, those too are proving to be pretty accurate. The same can be done for most any mined resource. US coal production measured in btu’s peaked back in the late 1990’s and the US has far less left than many assume. All this info is readily available even at places like wikipedia, plus there are blogs similar to this one just focused on energy supplies. Might be worth your time to read about it.

    At any rate the US is down to about 21 billion barrels of conventional oil in reserve(2009) and currently produces roughly 5.3 million barrels per day while importing about 10 million barrels per day of conventional oil. The rest is various liquid fuels. Those numbers are at the USGS and EIA websites. US at its peak produced about 9 million barrels per day of conv oil and about 11 million barrels per day total liquids. All of this is part of US history, nothing secret here. The US could once again unleash unrestricted drilling and the fact is unless it stops using so much oil then oil independence is impossible and it isn’t even close. There is no way it is going to go from 5 million barrels per day to 18 plus million barrels per day and that’s without even factoring in the existing decline rate. Oil fields deplete and we have done a remarkable job using our endowment of it up. Finding more reserves really changes nothing, quality of reserves and flow rate from them are really the key factors. The good stuff that is easy to get and flows at high rates tends to be first and that is true with just about any mined resource. Our discoveries have been lagging our consumption for a long long time while the quality and flow rate of new sources continues to drop. Nature of the beast. Domestic coal is in basically the same situation. We used up most of the anthracite and now we use the dirty hard to get grades we use to just discard or ignore as a waste of time. It is increasingly getting harder to get more and more coal while the quality and heat content slowly drops off.

  71. “The most painful combination is what will happen in a BAU scenario – drastic increase in death rates …”

    Like the drastic increase in death rates in Africa we saw the last time we listened to a noisy gang of “green” ideologues and banned the most effective anti-malaria agent? If you really want to reduce the population, that’s the way to do it; you are now at tens of millions and counting.

    “… combined with a drastic decrease in per capita consumption levels, all of that accompanied with a serious decrease of the long-term carrying capacity of the planet.”

    Like the decrease in future per-capita consumption that the African mother can look forward to, since she won’t be able to progress from living in the choking smoke of the dung fire over which she cooks the family dinner (since the delightfully renewable woods of the area were denuded generations ago for fuel) to cleaner electric heat, and perhaps eventually running water with electric pumps and refrigeration for her food — or at least for the medicines her children need. She will get, at best, the lunatic expensive skittering power of wind and the silly trickle of solar, which of course goes off right when her children need light in the hut to do their homework.

    “I think the choice is clear to anyone with two functioning neurons in their brain.”

    Yes, those of us who lived through the imbecile nonsense of 1970s Malthusian propaganda would agree completely.

    For my own views on wind, click the link above.

  72. GM says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    “…..The most painful combination is what will happen in a BAU scenario – drastic increase in death rates combined with a drastic decrease in per capita consumption levels,….”

    The proposed solutions today, include both scenarios. Changing food to less efficient internal combustion engine fuel, helps how? Planting windmills to substitute for more cost efficient, reliable energy in place of food producing land, helps how? Solar panels are ludicrous.

    Of course, as mentioned earlier in this thread, we could try to figure out a way to harness the methane in the seas as a power source, but we choose not to. Why? Or, and possibly in addition too, we could look towards all of the available hydrogen as energy sources. Hydrogen is a proven, plentiful energy source, yet, we have people like you pronouncing doom and gloom and death and limited energy uses. Why?

    GM, this is why I find people like you objectionable. Obviously, you’re sharp enough to understand problems. And sharp enough to understand the needs for solutions. But not sharp enough to see the solutions that are all but slapping us in the face?

    You say, we are consuming too much. I say, mankind cannot create matter, ergo, mankind cannot destroy matter. We simply move the state of matter. What constituted the earth still constitutes the earth. We haven’t changed the earth in any significant, lasting way. An element is still an element. We haven’t changed the processes, either. What made oil in the past is still occurring or will occur again.

    It should be apparent by anyone who has ever read and understood history of humanity, we are beings of action and animation! Civilizations have perished because of lethargy. It is through action, activity and animation that man progresses. We are built for action! Only through consumption of energy are we able to achieve activity.

    So, we change our source of energies. We do not limit our energies. To do so would sentence mankind to lethargy and spell the very doom we seek to avoid.

  73. So GM what are you doing about sustainability personally? How about a link to pictures showing how you live completely off grid with no carbon source of energy. How about pictures of you bicycling or walking to work. No buses or trains since they use non sustainable energy sources. Otherwise you are just being hypocritical with your posts and you could do us all a favor by not wasting the energy in the electrons used to post your rants.

  74. Sustainable energy: GM and the like.

    From Pimental and Patzek: BTU input per gallon of ethanol produced.

    Corn Production 37,860
    Corn Transportation 4,834
    Ethanol Conversion 56,399
    Energy Input (Total) 99,093
    Coproduct Value -6,680
    Total Net 92,413
    BTU/ Gal Ethanol 77,011

    Net Energy balance -15,402

    The USDA uses very suspicious numbers and came up with a net total of +30,527. So if we average the two we get +7,516 Net BTU/Gal ethanol. For comparison a gallon of refined gasoline has 115,000 BTU/Gal. All energy used to produce the product comes from the product. If you produced the millions of gallons of ethanol using ethanol as the energy source, you would plant millions of acres of corn to power the tractors, the refinery, the Ag-Chems and the transportation, but NO ethanol would come out of the system. However the system might be sustainable.

    GM, we will find out what the carrying capacity of the Earth is in good time so stop worrying about, otherwise calculate the number of nukes you need to reduce the population to your desired level. The sooner we use up all the oil, coal and natural gas, the sooner we will have to figure out some sustainable solution or return to the cave, where it seems to me you want us to go to now.

  75. Larry Geiger>

    Europeans have a similar standard of living on less energy, honestly. What people neglect to mention is that we don’t need air-con in most of Europe. The other big difference is that we drive more fuel efficient vehicles.

    One of the things that annoys me about the whole global warming malarkey is that there are actually lots of sensible savings of energy that we could make without bothering anyone very much at all. The stupidly huge US trucks are one of those things, I reckon. Then again, the big cars over here with just the driver inside are nearly as bad.

  76. “”” Dave says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm
    Larry Geiger>

    Europeans have a similar standard of living on less energy, honestly. What people neglect to mention is that we don’t need air-con in most of Europe. The other big difference is that we drive more fuel efficient vehicles. “””

    Well Europeans have the luxury of having had train systems for ages; whereas in the USA there’s hardly anything much you can call public transportation.

    Anything that is operated by public employees who can go on strike; is by definition NOT a transportation system. When I drive to my house in California’s central valley, it would take me across four countires in Most of Europe.

    But I’m in agreement that we still could do betetr than we do.

    Over here in the usa, trains do not go where people want to go.

    So how come those efficient Europeans are not way out in front of the inefficient USA; maybe its those 30 hour work weeks.

    A lot of European cars won’t pass California pollution requirements; so we can’t import them here.

  77. GM says:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Layne Blanchard says:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm
    Justa Joe says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    “Well, if dying of something completely preventable because you can’t afford to pay for healthcare, eating like pig until your arteries burst or you can’t move from obesity ………”
    =======================================================

    It is called freedom. It’s a hard concept. Freedom allows for success, but also for failure. Our right to choose. I prefer freedom over mandated mediocrity and subservience. I believe freedom has served us well over the past couple of centuries and believe it will continue to do so. There will be hard times,(especially when we re-assert the concepts of freedom) but, that’s the price. And that is why me and mine are here, today. And will be tomorrow. Does that precious “standard of living” understand the precepts and concepts of freedom?

    In my mind, humanity isn’t worth a shit without freedom.

  78. GM quotes the article “Yet one kind of energy–fossil fuels–actually increases the carrying capacity of the Earth.”

    Then asks: “Yes, for how long?”

    Long answer: until the market brings us a new source. The government heavily taxes conventional energy to fund various boondoggles. The energy business has some of the biggest financial risks of any industry, except perhaps chip fabs, but chips aren’t government’s cash cow. The government doesn’t run a strategic silicon wafer reserve. The government does it’s very best to increase the risks and costs of energy.

    Short answer: until the government gets in the way of the market.

  79. “… accompanied with a serious decrease of the long-term carrying capacity of the planet.”

    Comparable to, for example, the “decrease of the long-term carrying capacity of the planet” due to the European Union ban on genetically-modified foods?

    Since EU food imports are mostly from Africa, and since “greens” and European farm lobbyists have spread hysteria about GM produce and even produce that might be cross-pollinated from neighboring GM fields, Africa profits little from technology that increases yields dramatically through disease and drought resistance. Not to mention that some new strains, such as Golden Rice, could relieve serious dietary deficiencies throughout the continent. This anti-scientific “green” hysteria is indeed reducing the “long-term carrying capacity of the planet.” Congratulations; you are reducing the terrible human load on the environment at a marvelous rate.

    Now when will you volunteer?

  80. Dave says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    “Europeans have a similar standard of living on less energy, honestly. What people neglect to mention is that we don’t need air-con in most of Europe. The other big difference is that we drive more fuel efficient vehicles.”
    ========================================================

    Yes, also, they are more compact, hence, less necessity for fuel. I live 30 miles from the nearest town of 1000 people. On dirt/gravel roads. I once bought my daughter a Yugo under similar circumstances. It lasted 4 months. Not wrecked, just beat to death from the wear and tear of the elements. I doubt an Audi would last much longer. Its an apples to oranges comparison. I lived in Germany for a while, and been to several other nations in Europe. Its like me going from NY to Jersey here. That’s significantly different than going from the Arkansas hills to Arizona.

    Do people know what it takes in some places in Europe to even own a gun, much less hunt? Try throwing your pole in a pond. Better standard of living my ass! IT’S NOT THE SAME!!!!!

  81. I say, mankind cannot create matter, ergo, mankind cannot destroy matter. We simply move the state of matter. What constituted the earth still constitutes the earth. We haven’t changed the earth in any significant, lasting way. An element is still an element. We haven’t changed the processes, either. What made oil in the past is still occurring or will occur again.

    It isn’t about matter, yes matter moves from one state to another and is not lost, those phosphorus atoms we take out of rocks and eventually dissolve in the sea while passing them through agriculture and our guts in the process aren’t lost; energy does that too. However, it is entropy that really matters, not energy or matter, we just like to talk about energy and resource because they are more immediate and tangible and because most people are too illiterate to understand entropy anyway. The human body exists in a very low entropy state, human civilization exists in a very low entropy state (think about all those buildings and infrastructure), so you need constant external source of negative entropy to keep things going (this is why the discussion of EROEI is so important BTW). The highest entropy state the planet can be in (without breaking up atoms or anything like that) is a homogeneous mass of elements with equal concentration everywhere. The planet doesn’t exist in such a state, there are pockets of rock with much higher concentrations of certain elements, which what we call ores. Those are in a low entropy state which we can input more negative entropy into and take them to an even lower entropy state of near purity. However, when we use them up and they end up in the ocean, their concentration decreases greatly, and their entropy goes up. To get them back to a low entropy state that’s useful for us, or to use lower grade (higher entropy) ores you need a lot of negative entropy, much more than you would need for high grade ores.

    Ultimately, the only reliable source of negative entropy we have (unless a technological miracle occurs very soon) is the sun, but the flow is very limited and diffuse. So things like infinite economic growth are absolutely impossible, and it doesn’t take much knowledge or understanding to figure that out, yet the people (usually economists) who like to talk about the “base of the resource pyramid” don’t possess even that rudimentary understanding of things

  82. chemman said on Unsustainable cow manure
    September 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    In response to Anthony Watts on September 21, 2010 at 10:00 am:

    Since we are watching the plight of the Thompsons in Australia over cow manure, this submission titled “Unsustainable cow manure” on sustainable energy sent to me by Paul Driessen seemed appropriate. I put solar on my own home and a school in my school district. Without “OPM”, they would not have been viable, so he […]

    So GM what are you doing about sustainability personally? How about a link to pictures showing how you live completely off grid with no carbon source of energy. How about pictures of you bicycling or walking to work. No buses or trains since they use non sustainable energy sources. Otherwise you are just being hypocritical with your posts and you could do us all a favor by not wasting the energy in the electrons used to post your rants.

    I’ve never had a car, I live 500m from work so I don’t have to even use the bus, I walk everywhere. You can probably call me a hypocrite because all of the above is completely negated by the several flights I make to go to meetings and conferences, but I can’t do much about that.

    It has to be said that I am not for getting us back to the stone age, neither is anyone who is seriously concerned about the future and expresses a position similar to mine., The goal is precisely not to have humanity back to the stone age (from which there will be no return back to a state of high technological development this time because all the resources will have been used up). Why is that so hard to understand?

    But you can’t have your cake (billions of people) and eat it too (at a high level of resource consumption). There are laws of physics after all.

  83. Dave, Larry G., others

    Did I notice anyone mention geography? Think distance, population density, timing of historical development and related issues (technology at time of settlement) as you compare Europe and North America.

  84. robr said:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Sustainable energy: GM and the like.

    From Pimental and Patzek: BTU input per gallon of ethanol produced.

    So why exactly are you saying this to me????

    Based on all the things I have posted so far, what made you think I am not aware of negative EROEI of ethanol when I have repeatedly mentioned that in my posts??

    You could only post this if you haven’t understood absolutely anything of what I said…

  85. Need to wreck a planet but don’t know how?

    Farm organically everywhere by law. Enforce localism and make quaintness compulsory. Come up with a word like, I dunno, “sustainability” to justify all the stuff that doesn’t work properly. Any money that might be spent on newer and cleaner tech must be sequestered for the experimental and unworkable – stuff like cycleways people don’t use because of helmet laws, wind turbines that have to be made and supported by burning lots of coal, feeble cisterns you flush five times instead of once etc. How do you know if something is a turkey? Easy! Look for the government subsidy and the word “sustainability”.

    Work quickly, because the jaded middle classes of inner cities and the Green-voting doctors’ wives will soon yearn for a bit of good old jading. (It’s like that feeling you get after staying an hour too long at a weekend market with lots of feel-good and incense.)

    So work quickly. The middle classes who are briefly flirtatious with your “sustainability” will soon discover it’s them, not faraway Tasmanian pulp-mill employees, you’re trying to eliminate this time.

    Once you’ve got that pesky middle class out of the way, we can all be one big Africa. Then look out planet!

  86. GM:

    When I say “we”, I mean the whole of humanity. And there are three ways to bring ourselves within the carrying capacity of the planet – increase death rates, reduce birth rates, reduce per capita resource consumption. The most painless combination is drastic reduction of birth rates plus moderate reduction of consumption. The most painful combination is what will happen in a BAU scenario – drastic increase in death rates combined with a drastic decrease in per capita consumption levels, all of that accompanied with a serious decrease of the long-term carrying capacity of the planet. I think the choice is clear to anyone with two functioning neurons in their brain.

    Or, GM, “we” could proceed as we have to proceed anyway, that is sans an iron fisted World domination by people like you to “help” us – which on a National level never has, and which will not happen any time soon at a whole World level, regardless, thank God – and thus continue our struggle as is; with the anticipation that there are going to be winners and losers on a National level as determined especially by the efficacy of different political systems – Socialism/Communism being abject failures, for example; and with the anticipation that the development of amazing new technologies will not suddenly cease as you appear to presume, thus increasing the World’s “carrying capacity” in ways that Malthus, Erlich, enc., certainly were unable to imagine, as proven.

    I tend to believe in competition as a determinant as to the question of who and what Political System will survive and adequately prosper and who and what System or Nation won’t do so well. In addition, there is no way that the development of the human mind can be simply declared “over”, something which you seem to have also done.

    In other words, GM, I believe in the overarching idea of “Evolution” of some sort as being a process still at work when it comes to the question of Humanity’s survival and progression. Don’t you?

    Or, GM, are you going to claim that you and your grandiose schema for saving Humanity and the World from your allegedly necessary apocalypse – which does in fact require World domination to effect – will work this time when it never has when attempted on a National level in the past, and that thus you just happen to be the ultimate form of Man in being certainly able to pull it off this time- instead of being a mere “throwback”?

  87. Ted Patzek is an oil company activist (worked 7 years for Shell, founded the Southern California Oil Consortium.) Pimental is pushing coal to ethanol. Their numbers were horrible. NO ONE pays any attention to them.

    An ex: A modern dry grind ethanol refinery will use from 16,000 to 25,000 btus of nat gas per gallon of ethanol, Not 56,000. They made assumptions such as Buying the Very Biggest Farm Equipment to farm small farms, and building sheds to house them. At one point they were even using the “solar” energy that fell on the field.

    Just silliness.

  88. Dave says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm
    Larry Geiger>

    “Europeans have a similar standard of living on less energy, honestly. What people neglect to mention is that we don’t need air-con in most of Europe. The other big difference is that we drive more fuel efficient vehicles.”
    ————————
    Dave, I ‘ve been to Europe for my job (UK, France, Hungary). Americans on average have more material wealth than Euros relative to their economic class. I’m not saying that that is good or bad. I’m not assigning any moral judgement to that as so-called greens would. It’s just a fact. When you see some guy in what you refer to as a stupidly huge truck. It is quite likely that that individual has determined that he needs that vehicle to tow his camper, race car, drag boat, motorcycles etc around. Anyway he paid for the vehicle and he pays for the fuel. When that vehicle is no longer viable he’ll unload it in a heartbeat.

    I’m not going to look it up, but I’m going to assume that Americans live in larger dwellings on average than Euros, and I know for a fact that we live more spread out. Those factors contribute to ones econmic standard of living. I would say generally a higher standard of living is going to correlate to more energy use. Just ask Algore.

    Probably if you take an area like the New York metro area where population is quite dense. You’ll get per capita energy consumption levels closer to those Euros.

  89. Kum,
    You might want to correct your erroneous statement that ExxonMobil did not pay income tax in 2009.
    The following URL explains how this erroneous info was spread in the anti business blogs:
    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/04/exxon-mobil-paid-zero-income-tax-offshore%20shelter-wal-mart-general-electric-forbes

    “[Update: Alan Jeffers, ExxonMobil’s media relations manager, contacted Mother Jones to respond to this story, confirming that he had submitted a signed comment on this Web page (see way below). He first sent us an email, which states:

    It is incorrect to say that ExxonMobil did not pay any U.S. income tax in 2009. In fact, we expect a significant U.S. federal income tax liability for 2009, although our tax return will not be filed until later this year. Our tax installments overpaid our 2008 U.S. federal income taxes and we used that excess in part to pay our 2009 estimated taxes. The amount stated in our 10-K filing with the SEC, which Chris [Christopher Helman, who originally reported on this story for Forbes] told me he based his story on, includes expenses or credits recorded during 2009, and can represent items from previous years or expectations for subsequent years. It is not our actual tax bill.

    In a subsequent phone conversation, Jeffers told Mother Jones he “really had to dig in with our tax guys just to really explain what was going on here.” He stressed that “the activity in that report”—referring to the 10-K, an annual summary of company activity that must be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission—”does not represent our tax bill,” which has not been settled, since the company has not yet filed its 2009 IRS return. He added that, just as an individual might see a refund or not have to pay additional income taxes when they file, the firm could conceivably show a surplus or a zero on the “total income tax” line. When an individual gets a refund from the IRS, that doesn’t mean she got off scot-free: It means she overpaid her taxes throughout the year. Jeffers said the same principle operates for ExxonMobil.”

  90. GM says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    There is no need for lowering per capita energy consumption if you lower the number of people in the right proportion.

    And exactly how would you do that? Who would decide what the right proportion should be? Is that you, a tiny fraction as smart as you think you are? Looks like just another twist of the same old Lebensraum meme.

    The problem with you guys is lack of imagination. People are a resource, not a drain. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the European pension crisis.

    The Uranium-Thorium breeder cycle has the capacity to provide all the necessary energy for billions of years with no long term accumulation of nuclear waste whatsoever. For that matter, we also have this huge fusion reactor nearby with a 3.8×1026 W electromagnetic power output, it’s not even figured out how to turn it off yet. However, burning good public money via pathetic solar panels of the day is not an option.

    Obviously we should go for molecular nanotechnology first. With the capacity of 40% economic growth in a day and using advanced storage of energy and retrieval on demand, atmospheric CO2 is turned into a readily available resource instead of a nuisance. Our biggest problem would be how to replenish it in quantity, not how to get rid of it (hint: reprocess some limestone).

    With energy in plenty, raw materials are also available with no visible upper bound. It’s elementary thermodynamics. The energy needed to extract any raw material is proportional to the logarithm of its primary concentration, that is, negligible even if the ore is poor. With the right technology, of course.

    It is a very small life you are aiming for.

  91. @ GM,

    I’d copy and paste, but it would be too lengthy for anyone to read.

    I agree with almost everything you stated. When you talk of entropy, I’m assuming you’re speaking of entropy as a measure of the unavailability of a system’s energy to do work. I disagree that this can happen. There are two reasons for my assertion. One is, there is an infinite way we can imagine extracting resources. The second is, Nature continually provides resources of energy. Do you seriously believe the earth will stop rotating because it doesn’t have oil?

    What I believe you are saying, is that our consumption of energy will exceed Nature’s production of energy.

    GM, we are not locked in a time static continuum. We progress. We learn. We achieve. This is our nature.

    At a time not so distant past, the primary source of heat was wood. If all we knew and understood was wood, then it would be conceivable to regard trees as a treasured source of energy that we should take care not to consume. (We still should regard trees, only they are not our primary source of heat.) I find your perception of oil in the same fashion. Yet, we’ve progressed and you are assuming we will not progress any further. I see where you haven’t addressed the methane or hydrogen as sources of energy as I have mentioned. Do you believe this may carry us a couple of millennium or so? What after that that we can tap into the geothermal core of the earth? GM, the earth is still bountiful, full of energy and resources for us to use. In a twinkle of an eye, we’ll have other planets to use as resources. All at the same time, the earth will renew itself again. We’re fine, your distress is distressing.

  92. The simplest easiest cheapest fastest and most environment friendly solution is geothermal.

    1. Tap Iceland and Yellowstone Park
    2. Lay some large capacity DC power cables
    3. Link them to existing distribution grids
    4. Expand almost infinitely
    5. Built is safety as hot tends to cold thus possibly reducing eruptive potential
    6. Place expensive infrastructure in secure places or make it mobile (cheaply)
    7. provides continuous and very cheap power

    Plus these are a lot of other places that can do it and be linked cost effectively.

    Why does nobody want to discuss it let alone implement it

  93. James Sexton said on Unsustainable cow manure
    September 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    “Europeans have a similar standard of living on less energy, honestly. What people neglect to mention is that we don’t need air-con in most of Europe. The other big difference is that we drive more fuel efficient vehicles.”
    ========================================================

    Yes, also, they are more compact, hence, less necessity for fuel

    And what exactly prevented Americans from setting up their cities in a compact way too? Even within America, that twofold difference in energy usage between the US and Europe doesn’t apply uniformly – your average person in the big cities in the Northeast uses not much more than an European, while in Texas they probably use a lot more than twice as much. So it sprawl wasn’t always the only alternative. But a giant failure of markets and democracy made sure that the US finds itself in the trap it is right now – when the oil shortages hit, the suburbs and exurbs will be essentially unlivable

  94. GM says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    robr said:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Sustainable energy: GM and the like.

    The ethanol discussion, was mainly addressed to “the like”, the carrying capacity was addressed to you specifically.

    Kum Dollison says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Ted Patzek is an oil company activist (worked 7 years for Shell, founded the Southern California Oil Consortium.) Pimental is pushing coal to ethanol. Their numbers were horrible. NO ONE pays any attention to them.

    So typical, don’t like the message attack the messenger. So let me see, I will take a tractor, filled with gas, plow a field, then disc the field, then use it to plant the seeds, apply the fertilizer, spray it for weeds, spay it for insects, and then harvest it. I will fill trucks with corn and haul it to be fermented. They will grind it, mash it, rinse it ferment it, filter it, and distill it. It will then be trucked to a refinery to be formulated. Oh and I forgot the energy to produce the Nitrogen, the Potassium, the Phosphorus, the insecticide, the herbicide, and the Lime. Gee that sounds so much more efficient than drilling, pumping to a pipeline and distilling with some catalytic cracking.

  95. I tend to believe in competition as a determinant as to the question of who and what Political System will survive and adequately prosper and who and what System or Nation won’t do so well. In addition, there is no way that the development of the human mind can be simply declared “over”, something which you seem to have also done.

    The development of the human mind also includes things like learning the laws of nature and realizing that their immutability, and modifying one’s behavior accordingly. As George Mobus (http://questioneverything.typepad.com/about.html) likes to say it we are smart but we aren’t wise. We will only become wise when we realize that the world doesn’t exist for us to forage on it and there are certain limits which we can’t break.

    In other words, GM, I believe in the overarching idea of “Evolution” of some sort as being a process still at work when it comes to the question of Humanity’s survival and progression. Don’t you?

    You sound like someone who sees evolution as a progressive process towards some more sophisticated and “advanced” outcome, If that’s the case, you have zero understanding of evolution (at least you aren’t creationist, which is a plus, given how significant the overlap between them and those who deny AGW and the limits to growth is – because religion that’s the root of it all).

  96. Top Per Capita Automobiles by country

    # 1 United States: 765 motor vehicles per 100 p
    # 2 Luxembourg: 686 motor vehicles per 100 p
    # 3 Malaysia: 641 motor vehicles per 100 p
    # 4 Australia: 619 motor vehicles per 100 p
    # 5 Malta: 607 motor vehicles per 100 p
    # 6 Italy: 566 motor vehicles per 100 p
    # 7 Canada: 563 motor vehicles per 100 p
    # 8 New Zealand: 560 motor vehicles per 100 p
    # 9 Austria: 558 motor vehicles per 100 p
    # 10 Japan:

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/tra_mot_veh-transportation-motor-vehicles

  97. Well, interesting topic and comments. A few observations:

    GM – You are one sick puppy, aren’t you?

    pedex – get off the “peak oil” or “peak anything” crap. The Williston Basin (Bakken Formation) now shows something like 465 billion barrels of in situ resource (only part of which will be extracted). That’s brand new – and more oil than old M. King ever imagined in the US. There’s now discoveries in another formation below the Bakken that the oil patch thinks might even be bigger.

    Chevron and BP, in the last three years or so, announced discoveries beneath the salt in deep-water Gulf of Mexico, both of which were estimated in the 15 to 20 billion barrel range. These are early finds in this terrane, which has previously been beyond our capability to explore because the salt obscures seismic exploration. Massive computing power allows us now to get meaningful data out of the seismic responses. Brazil, by the way, in just the last few years, has reported about 35 billion barrels of new reserves, similarly below the salt, in a portion of the rift sequences off their east coast. We haven’t even begun to explore the rift basins off our east coast, most of Africa’s west coast, and so on.

    Recent discoveries of “tight shale gas” in several basins in the US suggest resources of a few quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas. This is just the beginning of such exploration (I believe there’s a huge new play in Poland, for example). There are massive quantities of gas in the Persian Gulf, Australia and elsewhere that are undeveloped because the economics aren’t there. These are far more likely to be produced before we cover the US in wind farms.

    We have coal to last for a couple centuries at current production rates. There is uranium up the wazoo still to be discovered and produced (and also to be recovered from depleted reactor rods). And I haven’t even touched on tar sands and oil shales. All of these things – barring some miraculous breakthrough in wind generation technology or in solar electrical generation – will ultimately be exploited. So far, we’ve basically eaten the cherry off the top of the banana split. (Most oil fields yield something less than 50% of the initial in situ resource – some as little as 10%-15%. If push comes to shove, you could mine these fields to recover, more or less, the total resource. Again, economics dictate. Someday, however, that might be feasible.)

  98. GM says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Ultimately, the only reliable source of negative entropy we have (unless a technological miracle occurs very soon) is the sun, but the flow is very limited and diffuse. So things like infinite economic growth are absolutely impossible, and it doesn’t take much knowledge or understanding to figure that out, yet the people (usually economists) who like to talk about the “base of the resource pyramid” don’t possess even that rudimentary understanding of things
    =======================================================

    That would be true if the entirety of humanity possessed your imagination.

    Ultimately, what you don’t understand, even in a rudimentary way, is that while there are finite elements, there is an infinite way we can use them. More importantly, there is an infinite way we will learn to use them. We’ll run out of energy as soon as we acquiesce thinking to people such as yourself. Until then, we’ll be fine.

    GM, I enjoy engaging, half empty people are just as interesting as half full people, but at some point, you should address reality. In the same fashion that we’re not all going to burn to death in some sort of death/heat spiral, we’re not anywhere close to being out of energy availability.

    In my finite, limited abilities and knowledge, I’ve shown where we have two separate sources of potential energy that would and could fit quite well in the society that we live in today. I’m going to go out on a limb and state that I believe there are people out there that can see even more potential reliable, efficient energy right now.

    We’ve made a hydrogen vehicle. We know how to burn methane. Fission/fusion? Don’t you think that may carry us for a bit? What about when we learn a more efficient way to harness the sun and wind? Or grass growing for that matter? Yeh, no way we can spare room for one more person. We must be done by now, Malthus said so. SOB was wrong then, and he’s still wrong. Time has shown this. You’d do just as well as believing in Nostradamus. Tarot cards, anyone?

  99. Berényi Péter said on Unsustainable cow manure
    September 21, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    And exactly how would you do that? Who would decide what the right proportion should be? Is that you, a tiny fraction as smart as you think you are? Looks like just another twist of the same old Lebensraum meme.

    The right proportion is determined by some (a half for example) portion of the lowest available estimate for the long-term carrying capacity of the planet. And you want it to be the lowest estimate because there are huge uncertainties in any such calculation, but the one thing you absolutely never want to do is exceed carrying capacity. It is elementary risk management and common sense. If you are interested in what that number is, it is probably lower than 100 million (possibly in the single digit millions).

    The problem with you guys is lack of imagination. People are a resource, not a drain. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the European pension crisis.

    The pension crisis is the result of improperly set up social system and inflated people’s expectations. Nobody had pension just 100 years ago, people were working until they died. That’s been forgotten. But it doesn’t matter what people’s expectations are, what matters is what the physical reality is. If there will be no economic growth because of peak oil and other resource shortages, then there will be no pensions and no amount of democracy and free markets can change that, because the laws of nature are very undemocractic.

    The Uranium-Thorium breeder cycle has the capacity to provide all the necessary energy for billions of years with no long term accumulation of nuclear waste whatsoever.

    This is probably the 25th time I have to explain on this blog that:

    1. If we are the plateau of oil production and it will take another 20-30 years just to develop the technology (and it isn’t clear at all whether it is possible to develop it, people like to believe in magic, because that’s how it is in the movies – everything is possible, but real life ain’t like the movies), then that technology will do nothing to help solve the crisis.

    2. Electricity does nothing to address all the other resource shortages we face. On any realistic timeline for development and deployment of breeder and thorium reactors, before this happens at the scale needed, agriculture will have long collapsed due to depletion of aquifers and of phosphorus reserves.

    For that matter, we also have this huge fusion reactor nearby with a 3.8×1026 W electromagnetic power output, it’s not even figured out how to turn it off yet. However, burning good public money via pathetic solar panels of the day is not an option.

    And as I have explained another 25 times here, you need inconveniently huge installations to harvest enough of that energy, installations for which , neither the raw material, nor the capital, and most importantly, the time, are available.

    Obviously we should go for molecular nanotechnology first. With the capacity of 40% economic growth in a day

    What does “40% economic growth in a day” have to do with sustainability and where did you come up with that??? The only thing that 40% economic growth in a day can do is make us 40% more unsustainable every day. When I see such statements, I begin to seriously doubt the sanity of the people they come from

    With energy in plenty, raw materials are also available with no visible upper bound. It’s elementary thermodynamics. The energy needed to extract any raw material is proportional to the logarithm of its primary concentration, that is, negligible even if the ore is poor.

    Negligible??? Even now a single aluminium extraction plant can easily use the power needed to supply a city of 100,000. How is this negligible??

  100. The Williston Basin (Bakken Formation) now shows something like 465 billion barrels of in situ resource (only part of which will be extracted). That’s brand new – and more oil than old M. King ever imagined in the US. There’s now discoveries in another formation below the Bakken that the oil patch thinks might even be bigger.

    Another dimwit who can’t understand the very simple difference between original oil in place and recoverable reserves or the just as simple concept of rock porosity and its implications for oil production…

  101. @ JimF
    right from wikipedia

    “The Bakken Formation, initially described by geologist J.W. Nordquist in 1953,[2] is a rock unit from the Late Devonian to Early Mississippian age occupying about 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2) of the subsurface of the Williston Basin, covering parts of Montana, North Dakota, and Saskatchewan.”

    “Besides being a widespread prolific source rock for oil when thermally mature, there are also significant producible reserves of oil within the Bakken formation itself.[3] Oil was first discovered within the Bakken in 1951, but efforts to produce it have historically met with difficulties. An April 2008 USGS report estimated the amount of technically recoverable oil within the Bakken Formation at 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels (680,000,000 m3), with a mean of 3.65 billion.[4] The state of North Dakota also released a report that month which estimated that there are 2.1 billion barrels (330,000,000 m3) of technically recoverable oil in the Bakken.[5]”

    you might wanna quit talking out your butt and actually do some reading, sorry buddy but a few billion barrels of marginal EROI oil aren’t gonna make much difference

    Bakken is new huh? no its been known about for DECADES

    as far as the Gulf of Mexico goes, look up the production totals for the fields there, you will notice something that sticks out like a sore thumb: low field size, rapid depletion rates, and increasingly difficult drilling issues

  102. Grey Lensman said on Unsustainable cow manure
    September 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    The simplest easiest cheapest fastest and most environment friendly solution is geothermal.

    And what happens when the temperature starts to drop due to overproduction (as has happened in real life).

    Geothermal isn’t infinite, in fact it is very limited – we can only harvest as much energy as the Earth releases into space, and I don’t know the number, but given that this is flow over the whole surface of the planet, the harvestable amount isn’t very big.

  103. Like is said…………………….

    Peak oil is a myth but really do we need oil, no

    Geothermal power uses high tension cables much less impact than pipeline.

    Geothermal cables deliver usable power to point of use

    Pipelines only transfer energy, it needs to be stored and processed.

    You do not need expensive generating infrastructure with geothermal, no boilers. Mass production of cheap simple steam turbine gensets will bring down costs easily.

    New generator designs are lightweight robust and very efficient.

    Will somebody go for it.

    All the experts in Iceland should be fully utilsed expanding their proven use of the technology. Indeed they should tap up the banks that claim the people owe them to fund a massive expansion and they can share the profits to recoup their losses.

  104. Justa Joe says:
    September 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    “Top Per Capita Automobiles by country……..”

    Nice, meaningless statistics, not to mention highly questionable.

  105. “And what exactly prevented Americans from setting up their cities in a compact way too? … your average person in the big cities in the Northeast uses not much more than an European, while in Texas they probably use a lot more than twice as much. So it sprawl wasn’t always the only alternative. But a giant failure of markets and democracy made sure that the US finds itself in the trap it is right now – when the oil shortages hit, the suburbs and exurbs will be essentially unlivable” -GM

    cuckoo… cuckoo…

    The respective economies of Texas and the Northeastern big cities are vastly different. Well Texas actually has a productive economy for one thing.

    http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/us/A0861503.html

  106. Steve Schaper says:
    September 21, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Wind generators are built on the prairie, not mountain tops

    Some are built in mountainous areas. Tehachapi [sp] comes to mind.

  107. Poor GM. You’ve got so many things backwards that its almost impossible to have a debate with you. I’m reminded of Einstein’s remark to a student’s math paper. “That’s not right. That’s not even wrong!”.

    Your premise is that the world’s resources are finite and that exceeding them will be a disaster. The assumption that this will happen on a time scale relevant to current decision making is farcical. If it is for your great great grandchildren’s sake that you take this position, may I suggest that the economic collapse of the United States due to an inability to service the national debt is far more likely to take their lives, and generations sooner, than will the planet’s resources being depleted.

    Your premise continues that the only rational solution is a decreased population. Regulated and enforced by who? This is a case of the cure being far worse than the disease. Experiments by humanity with central planning of anything on such a scale have not only repeatedly failed, the corruption and violence that ensued as those who had power clung to it in the face of their failure, took tens of millions of lives.

    As for your solution itself, may I point out that the first world, which you seem to accuse of having committed some crime simply because they became the first world, already has a birth rate below the replacement rate. It is the 3rd world that continues to expand the population of the planet. How do you propose to “control” the impending disaster to humanity the 3rd world is causing?

    As a last example of not even being wrong, my I draw attention to your contention that in a collapse of available resources, the concentrated urban communities will be better able to survive as they will need less resources per capita to sustain themselves while the sprawling rural communities will wind up destitute. What utter nonsense. Where do you think that the food the concentrated urban communities consume comes from? Who will be better off, those close to the food sources or those who cannot eat unless food is transported en masse to their location? Who will drink dirty water from a stream, and who will stare at a tap from which water doesn’t flow at all? Which one would you rather be?

    I choose to be neither. Free markets have solved problems that our parents couldn’t even conceive of, let alone the solution as well. Were we able to visit our ancestors of just 100 years ago, we would seem to them to be powerful sorcerers who command immense magic. If we could go back 200 years, we would be seen as gods.

    So stuffit. You want to propose a solution today, for a problem that won’t present itself for generations, based on the assumption that nothing new in the way of technology and problem solving will ever happen again, and the solution you propose is the true root of evil. The control of the many by the few for the good of all, but which inevitably collapses, and in its death throes takes the lives of many to enforce a system that utterly fails to achieve even a mirage of its stated goals. Central planning of anything humanity has ever attempted on a large scale has ended in disaster. Central planning of population levels globaly would result in something unspeakable.

  108. GM said

    Quote

    Geothermal isn’t infinite, in fact it is very limited – we can only harvest as much energy as the Earth releases into space, and I don’t know the number, but given that this is flow over the whole surface of the planet, the harvestable amount isn’t very big.

    Unquote

    You cannot be real, would you care to substantiate that claim. One single volcano chucks out more energy than humanity has used.

    Or, if a an oil well runs dry what do you do, quit????????. No you go and drill some more.

    As they say practice makes perfect and the sources of Geothermal are manifold indeed.

    Believe it or not, Big Nasty Oil has just the technology needed to drill very efficient and effective geothermal wells.

    Golden Rule, if you dont believe that you can do something, you wont.

  109. GM and pedex:

    To the first of you. I clearly stated “in situ resource”. That you cannot read and understand that clear statement of economics simply shows what an arrogant yet stupid person you are. And, I still maintain that you are a monster in respect to your genocidal desires.

    pedex: Do some reading beyond Wikipedia. The Bakken is the biggest oil rush in the country today, and resource estimates (not “reserves” – an economic term) have risen dramatically (probably with cause, but there may also be some stock pumping involved. Nevertheless it’s really big. As to the USGS – in my long experience – they are notoriously conservative in their resource pronouncements, but with good cause). Until you can show something that suggests you have even the slightest familiarity with economic geology – mining or petroleum – you rate beneath my butt as source of information.

  110. GM says: September 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm
    Mic says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm
    GM says: September 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm
    ——————————————————————————–
    GM: Who are the “we” you mention and how exactly are you going to do this may I ask
    When I say “we”, I mean the whole of humanity. I think the choice is clear to anyone with two functioning neurons in their brain.
    —————————————————————————————
    GM. The whole of humanity! THE WHOLE OF HUMANITY! How, in the name of god do you think that YOU can induce the whole of humanity to do anything – at all! You can’t even induce anyone here to go along with your shall we say – thoughts. Such hubris.

    Mic

  111. How, in the name of god do you think that YOU can induce the whole of humanity to do anything – at all! You can’t even induce anyone here to go along with your shall we say – thoughts.

    Where did I say that I can induce anyone to do anything? I didn’t neither I have any hope it is possible. and that’s the problem (and the source of any over bitterness you may sense in my writings) – the society we have built has absolutely no mechanism to make sure that in situation, where a tiny minority understands something of such impact for everyone that drastic action by everyone is required in order to preent a catastrophe, that drastic action is taken. Exactly the opposite – we have set up a perfect idiocracy in which it is considered almost a crime to be educated and an even bigger crime to say the truth about anything because someone’s feeling may get hurt. So my MIT+Caltech education and total lack of desire to sugarcoat things don’t work in my favor. Which I am perfectly aware of, but I will keep saying it as it is in the vain hope of changing some minds, as hopeless as it is. That’s the best I can do. That’s why I post here and I don’t post much on blogs that share my views.

  112. Grey Lensman says:
    September 21, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Unquote

    You cannot be real, would you care to substantiate that claim. One single volcano chucks out more energy than humanity has used.

    Give me numbers. How big an eruption and how much energy?

    And assuming you are correct, what does geothermal do to address the problems of topsoil loss, aquifer depletion, exhaustion of various mineral resources, general ecosystem collapse, etc.? Nothing. It will only speed up collapse due to those as it will artificially raise the short-term carrying capacity even more.

    Of course, given the time it would take to build all those geothermal plants, collapse due to Peak Oil + Peak Water, Soil, Phosphorus and others will occur long before geothermal (in the unlikely case you are correct) makes any significant contribution to the energy mix.

    Or, if a an oil well runs dry what do you do, quit????????. No you go and drill some more.

    And when you have drilled all sediment basins of the world, where do you drill next? Everest?

  113. rbateman says:
    September 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm
    Sustainable in the New Green Economy means 10,000 people working like serfs to support 1 feudal lord.

    That’s a very likely outcome in the optimistic scenarios for where BAU will take us. Do you want to know what the pessimistic scenarios look like?

  114. Justa Joe says:
    September 21, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    cuckoo… cuckoo…

    The respective economies of Texas and the Northeastern big cities are vastly different. Well Texas actually has a productive economy for one thing.

    http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/us/A0861503.html

    Apparently you are unaware that the first oil boom happened in Pennsylvania. I wonder what happened there since then…

    Anyway, your “logic” is a complete non-sequitur. Just because Texas mines a lot of fossil fuels is absolutely no reason for why people in Texas should be living in McMansions and driving huge SUVs and pick up trucks for tens of miles from and to work. Absolutely no reason.

  115. Grey Lensman says:
    September 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm
    Like is said…………………….

    Peak oil is a myth

    And it is a myth because? Your local preacher told you so? Or you read it in some book with fairy tales for 3-year olds? Or because you have looked at the data and they are still producing as much as oil in Texas and Pennsylvania as they were 100 years ago, the US never peaked in 1971, neither did the North Sea, Indonesia and the UK never went from net exporters to net importers, etc. Enlighten us please

  116. GM says

    Quote

    where a tiny minority understands something of such impact for everyone that drastic action by everyone is required in order to preent a catastrophe, that drastic action is taken.

    Unquote

    Thank God that evolution has taken care of that. If not we would still be living in caves or shortly to return to them.

    Dont worry GM, its clear that you will not be part of the solution but rest assured you will share the benefits.

  117. Well said Paul!
    Sooner or later, energy derived from nuclear fusion, in one form or another will become available. No doubt it will be hideously expensive to begin with, and may take years of private investment to come to fruition. However, as soon as any new commodity becomes popular, the government of the day steps in with with its own demands for regulation and, of course taxation.
    Let us hope that said governments cease pandering to those “sustainable”, erratically sustained energy sources which are now causing such a colossal financial burden, and instead invest in the future; a step, however that no politician likes to take if longer than a few years.
    We can only live in hope!
    Chris

  118. Don Shaw,

    Thanks for the info on ExxonMobil. The internet seems to breed false stories, some of which have a grain of truth (or not) and can be attributed to someone trying to pile dirt on someone else. I read many things that I wonder about but do not have the time to look into. About five times this year I have thought “that’s got to be false” and with a little searching soon find the truth. And there is the connection – I had the same thought when I first heard the CAGW (CO2) Story.

    The most recent thing (not related to this thread) was a picture and story of big horn sheep feeding on the face of a dam in Wyoming. But they were not big horns, it wasn’t Wyoming, and it wasn’t in the US. However, it is now everywhere. This type of story is harder to explain. Why take a true and interesting thing, twist it so it is false, and send it around the world. Where is the payoff?”

  119. GM says: September 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm
    Where did I say that I can induce anyone to do anything? I didn’t neither I have any hope it is possible. and that’s the problem (and the source of any over bitterness you may sense in my writings.——— Which I am perfectly aware of, but I will keep saying it as it is in the vain hope of changing some minds, as hopeless as it is. That’s the best I can do. That’s why I post here and I don’t post much on blogs that share my views.
    ———————————————————————————-
    Well GM I feel sorry for you. Truly. Because you have burdened yourself with a monstrous problem that is mainly in your own mind and one that you can’t possibly solve – and you know, because you say so, that you can’t influence anyone. You should really stop flagellating yourself this way. It would be better to go to the movies and think about something that you can actually do – like a bit of gardening.

    Mic

  120. Message for GM

    I worked in the Oil Business for 40 years, built really things cheaply and on time, represented them at th UN, Wrote laws, So please dont tell me about peak Oil. Its a myth and the story is an open book for YOU to read. Nothing I can teach you nor have an inclination to do.

    You clearly have a drum to beat, so beat it, it will not fix anything but instead will just make a noise

  121. There are no piles of dead birds under the wind chargers. MAYBE in some strange siting in a mountain pass you might get that, but not around here. We have this thing called the power grid, and these things called wires. They transmit power from point A to point B. I don’t know if we need to build more wind chargers when reactors are a far better deal, but I don’t see the point in tearing the ones we have down. Some ingenious new ways of making use of their electricity are being thought up – such as for fertilizer production. They aren’t all that suitable for baseline power (though they are -nearly- always running in this part of the world)

    There have been so many clueless challenges to what I said, that I conclude many are from cities and far away from the heartland. I thought you people wanted leaner beef, higher protein mash rather with some of the starch removed is a move in that direction. What a strange list of states to plant corn in. How about Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Missouri (or parts thereof on the edges. Stop growing it? And raise what? To sell where? A farmer can sell two crops in the midwest: corn and soybeans. Unless they live close to say a Green Giant facility, that is it, or be driven off the land to pay off property taxes.

    Kum, much of the conservation reserve acres are on highly erodable, less productive land, or in riparian filter zones. Minnesota uses about 6% of its corn crop to make ethanol. If we are making 14 billion gallons (your figures) and 15 billion is the cut-off, well, how do you figure that? You grow switchgrass on what would otherwise have been corn acres. There are advantages to it.
    Cellulosic ethanol is presently being produced from corn in Iowa. Not sure why cutting down forests for methanol is better than continuing to raise corn.

    Murray, there really is no evidence for peak oil. The proven untapped reserves could cover our needs for the next 500 years.
    With the Clinton and now Obama administrations converting vast tracts of land to non-use -because- of the petroleum found under them, and the drilling bans, of -course- production has flat-lined. But that is a political artifact, not a geological necessity.

    Americans used to be free. That is why they like a healthy amount of space. Rats in cages aren’t a model we prefer to emulate. Even so our cities are so crowded that the pathologies observed in overcrowded rats plague our inner ­­­cities. If you like Europe so much, go live there. Don’t tell us we need to change to suit your fancy.

    Peak water? Say what? At what rate is water being cracked to hydrogen and oxygen in such a way that it cannot be burned back into existence? Is matter-energy being destroyed in your Malthusian dystopia? Have you ever looked at a globe???

  122. Grey Lensman says:
    September 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm
    Message for GM

    I worked in the Oil Business for 40 years, built really things cheaply and on time, represented them at th UN, Wrote laws, So please dont tell me about peak Oil. Its a myth and the story is an open book for YOU to read. Nothing I can teach you nor have an inclination to do.

    Did you work as petroleum geologist or as an account, manager, lawyer, or something of the sort? Because if you did, you will be the first petroleum geologist I have ever heard of that claims that there can be no such thing as peak oil. If that’s the case you have a lot of explaining to do regarding where is the oil that will make sure there is no Peak Oil going to come from, why wells dry up and fields deplete and why oil has peaked in so many places in the world and continues to do so in the present. I am waiting for your explanations…

  123. Hey! Guys! Give GM a break he is working with a few bricks short of a load. Kind of like that “Big Bang” theory. pg

  124. @Grey Lensman says:
    September 21, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    “…Believe it or not, Big Nasty Oil has just the technology needed to drill very efficient and effective geothermal wells….”

    Actually, geothermal is difficult. It’s hard to find both a source of heat and of sufficient heated water to produce more than a few megawatts at a crack. Wells may be dry, or run dry, or cool quickly, or start to plug due to chemical deposits, and on and on. I’m not sure that Big Oil is much, or even any, invested in geothermal energy now. We were, back in the ’70s and ’80s, but like I said, geothermal is difficult. It will provide electrical energy here and there, and serve to heat houses or provide healing spas, but it is not a panacea.

    There is nothing like oil, coal, gas and nuclear to provide huge, controllable and dependable quantities of electrical and mobile energy. The sooner we get back to basics, the better. We’ve squandered many years catering to ever more restrictive environmentalism directed at us by fools like GM, losing jobs here while sending megabucks to squalid despots in Saudi and Venezuela and Iran (actually, more of our $ go to Canada and Mexico, but our demand keeps the prices up for SA and all the rest), who repay us by trying to kill us. Maybe that’s the objective of GM’s demented vision – kill as many of us a possible so that we don’t overcome the – what was it? – grazing capacity of dear old Gaia.

    The sooner we frog-march these “illuminati” out of our universities and governments and media or wherever else they lurk, the sooner we can get back to being a country that makes things, and knows how to solve problems, and has a dream for the present and for the future generations.

  125. GM

    What is your purpose here?

    I have no explaining to do, I have said what I said and meant it. If you dispute that, thats your problem not mine. There are loads of tools for you to research.

    I am afraid your facile comments leave me cold, they reek of “we know best fpr you, do as we say”

    It is clear that you have no idea how big this planet is, how much energy keeps it spinning at 900 mph, how even bigger the solar system is and through which the earth runs at 26,000 mph and where the energy comes from to maintain that.

    Ignoring how big the universe is.

    Thats why we are human, we interact with the likes of you and solve problems.

    If you focus on problems you will never fix them, you need to concentrate on solutions.

  126. Sorry about the errors and double “post” above, seems wordpress does not like my keyboard.

    For the record

    I really hate the way the “green” movement is being used and hijacked to support nuclear power. Unbelievable in my book really. Whilst understanding the principles and benefits of nuclear power, I dont believe we need it or really want it. Same with abiotic oil, we dont really need it.

    Biofuels come in for a lot of stick but they can be really nice. For example just using 30% of the land set aside as unproductive in New Zealand since 1998, would be sufficient to grow all there liquid fuel needs. This will provide both employment and environmental gains cutting out imports of liquid fuels and reducing abiotic oil use.

    Dont ask for a link, thats my own calculations from data readily available.

    We also have the technology now, to increase crop yields, reduce fertiliser use and biocide use and with the plus that it is organic. No such thing as a “food crisis” what is real is the manufactured alarm and manipulation of fake markets. But that can be fixed even easier.

    We also need to look at hydrokinetic power generation, it is really simple and inline power generation from water flows. You can even use sewage flows for that.

    We have so many positive options, it never ceases to amaze me that people find such a need to fight and argue.

    For good news just look at the partial restoration of the Aral Sea and the massive replanting of the Himalayan foot hills. With effort almost anything can be achieved.

    God bless you GM, Try and divert your energy into achieving real goals.

  127. While we are poking at alt energy, this is actual operating experience of a Physicist in the suburb adjoining ours. The Australian Governement has been subsidising solar electricity roof top panels as expalined in the article. The payback is so poor that the whole scheme is a scandal. The article appeared as a letter in “The Skeptic”, Sept 2010.
    http://www.geoffstuff.com/Sun%20shines%20Bright%20Skeptic.doc

  128. GM:

    You sound like someone who sees evolution as a progressive process towards some more sophisticated and “advanced” outcome, If that’s the case, you have zero understanding of evolution….

    Well, GM, this does seem to be the case in regard to Human Evolution and in regard to Evolution in general having now produced a thinking being that even wants to understand – and also especially in an “understanding-its-place” way – its own Creator, the Universe, right?

    But now you apparently want to stop it? Or, again, jump right over its ongoing process to an allegedly improved solution, but one which operates via certifiably evil means which have already led only to enslavement or to at least a generally increased misery?

    Try this, GM: recall the more vulgar definition of “insanity”. Then simply ask yourself why you blame others for not acknowledging your own [completely baseless] “superiority”.

    On the bright side, though, perhaps you might want to sue your Head Start style Education or maybe somehow take it out on the Post Normal Science Propagandists who have apparently succeeded in enlisting you [snip]?

  129. Biofuels come in for a lot of stick but they can be really nice. For example just using 30% of the land set aside as unproductive in New Zealand since 1998, would be sufficient to grow all there liquid fuel needs.

    At a negative EROEI, it will be sufficient for absolutely nothing. Not to mention the soil destruction that will result from that and the general environmental devastation

    This will provide both employment and environmental gains cutting out imports of liquid fuels and reducing abiotic oil use.

    So what exactly are going to be the environmental gain given that you just suggested converting another 30% of whatever (semi)wilderness was left into feeding lot for more humans?

  130. Here, in a nutshell, is how I understand the origin of major scientific hoaxes that are being propagated by the establishment, and the crucial “double-edged” role that these hoaxes are playing in our society.

    The powers that be, whoever they are, want to keep their power as long as possible, and to strengthen their position. To do so, they need to keep most of the population in a gullible and malleable mental state, to make people ignorant while pretending to educate them, to let people earn just as much as necessary to survive but not as much as would allow them to stop and think — while pretending to take care of them.

    In the past, the Church played a central role in this all-important process of mind-weakening (brainwashing, indoctrination, call it as you like). Old major religions are becoming obsolete (because they so obviously contradict everybody’s everyday experience), and there is a need for new mechanisms that would keep the population in check. Our masters are seeking new effective ways to instill ignorance, fear, and guilt: best tickets to the “sustainable” power since times immemorial.

    Violence alone is insufficient; furthermore, it provokes resistance. No, they need ideological smoke and mirrors, to breed slaves who are convinced that they are free, slaves who believe that they have voluntarily chosen the balderdash they have been indoctrinated with.

    Establishment (government and other influential parties deriving their wealth from government contracts and legislation) largely controls and finances scientific, educational, and media institutions. Naturally, these institutions become actively involved in indoctrination and brainwashing necessary to maintain the effective control.

    Science is becoming the new Church, and academic institutions are its temples. They work out hoaxes that satisfy the needs of establishment: Peak Oil theory, AGW theory, Big Bang theory (a necessary bridge between old and new religions), many other propaganda grooves. Governments and government-dependent industries play an old game of “good cop vs. bad cop,” blaming each other but working together behind the scenes.

    The “opposition” is using the same big lies to it’s own advantage. By pointing at the prevailing lies, revealing them and discrediting them, clever operators, such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck, are creating a very credible criticism of the establishment. Having built their reputations upon this solid basis of criticism, having acquired a sufficient following by exploiting the truth, what do they do? They sell their followers a positive program, which is a stale brew of old lies with the twist of this or that lemon, depending on circumstances.

    This way, these “critics” are still a part of the establishment, a part of the same big lie. They fulfill the most important function, a task given to them by the same establishment that they apparently criticize, absorbing and subverting the discontent fraction of the population, those who started to think but had not enough time and not enough information to think it through. I think both Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck realize very well that they are nothing but safety valves in the iron hands of the puppet masters.

    Emotionally unstable people are being absorbed and manipulated using the same lies (as in the case of green extremists) or the same criticism of lies with a false “way out” (as in the case of ultraconservatives and fundamentalists of all kinds, antisemitic nutcases blaming “Zionists” for all evils possible and impossible, etc.).

    Cultural phenomena (music, art, literature) are also subverted to serve the New Church of Politically Correct Science. Spontaneous self-expression is methodically suppressed, natural talent is persecuted and “silenced out,” everything is bureaucratized and commercialized, the very notion of beauty and harmony is perverted to the most absurd relativistic extent where ugliness, talentless mediocrity and sickness become desired qualities.

    When everything in people’s minds is relativistically mixed up and turned on its head, when people are totally disoriented and misinformed morally, economically and politically, they will trust anything that is being told frequently enough and loudly enough, and they will do what they are told to do, believing that they are doing the “right thing.” They become as imbecilic and obedient as cows following the biggest and loudest bull.

    Make more than half of this disoriented population dependent on government hand-outs by multiple taxation and “redistribution” (legalized armed robbery under the direct threat of violence, property expropriation, and imprisonment), and they will continually support you by voting for you.

    Et voila! Democracy? Tyranny? What’s the difference?

    That is exactly what our masters want, and that is what they get.

  131. GM says:
    September 21, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    before this happens at the scale needed, agriculture will have long collapsed due to depletion of […] phosphorus reserves.

    Come on, get real. Crustal abundance of phosporus is 0.1% (by weight). Would you please calculate mass of crust and divide it by 1000? There is five times more of the stuff on Earth than carbon.

    This peak-anything is a fine marketing hype to push prices up and harvest huge profits while postponing reinvestment, but it’s just that. I only hope we have not passed peak common sense yet.

  132. Excellent post Anthony. To my mind sustainability is the farmer who grows under glass, uses bio waste in a digester to generate methane which is used to heat his greenhouse and the CO2 produced is piped into the greenhouse to increase cropping. Many farmers here in the UK do this and make a good profit from the extra crop.

  133. [Reply: Prohibited words. I’m not going to waste time rewriting ~ ctm]

    One big fat middle finger for you. I wrote a 200+word post which had those words once or twice there, you deleted the whole thing because it was too inconvenient for you… Nice way to hide what you don’t want to be seen, thank you very much…

    Reply: They were rather central to your point. To just snip the words without a rewrite would be to allow them implicitly. Seriously, stop whining and learn to write like a gentleman. ~ ctm

  134. Reply: They were rather central to your point. To just snip the words without a rewrite would be to allow them implicitly. Seriously, stop whining and learn to write like a gentleman. ~ ctm

    Well, precisely because I can’t rewrite it without using those words at least once, I am basically not allowed to make that point here. Which is hardly a proper way to handle things in a society that supposedly values free speech so much…

    Reply: All you are saying is that you don’t know how to make the same point in a respectful discourse, i.e. without resorting to demonization. I could do it easily, but I’m not going to do it for you. ~ ctm

  135. Sadly to add to my lack of writing and typing skills, it seems we have to add GMs lack of reading skills.

    Just where did I mention soil destruction. Do you not know what organic means. The technology that I speak of not only repairs soils but builds it at demand rates utilizing plants, yes bio plants not industrial plants. Sadly Banks and investors are not interested, they want to know whats in it for them. So we go about ourselves. Its simple, we succeed or we fail but at least we try.

    You also do not seem to grasp what set aside land is, its wasteland not virgin pristine habitat and fun jungle.

    One of the key elements of Man Made Global warmists shill demands is the denail of mankind’s innate ability to solve problems and to inculcate a terminal guilt complex over which they will lord it. Well their time is past.

    Sorry to the Mods for causing so much grief, thanks to those that can see what I am trying to say.

  136. Alexander Feht

    A fine and lucid analysis. They throw up straw-men for them to be burnt to the glee of the misdirected.

    Fertilisers, who needs them, Current technology of course but that has reached its limit. What I am seeing happening is that a group of very fine and clever people are reverse engineering the industrial revolution, in an unexpected way. They are using simple physics and plant chemistry to convert, say simple grasses into factories of mass manufacture. The products could be soil or erosion repair kits or protein builders.

    In the light of this, comments such as those made by GM tend to leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth.

  137. ” Ate two, you Brutes” He he~

    The end game is…. little Nukes, sprinkled about, and though we can do them quite safely now, wadda ya suspect the config will be bid to~

  138. Top Per Capita Automobiles by country
    # 1 United States: 765 motor vehicles per 100 p

    Is p=people?
    We have 765 mv per 100 people?
    7.65 mv per person?
    Where do people come up with this stuff?
    Once more, I don’t believe it.
    Ok, US = 300,000,000 people
    Ok, so we have 2,295,000,000 mv?
    Two and a quarter BILLION motor vehicles? Huh? Does that even sound possible? I don’t know anyone with 7 mv.
    Ok, so a truck driver has a car, his wife’s car, a hobby car and a motorcycle. His company has one or two trucks per driver. That’s six. And that’s a lot. More than anyone that I can think of. Most families that I know have one or less than one mv per person. And they don’t drive for a living.
    Ok, almost no one that I know has room for 7mv. Couldn’t store them or park them if they had them. Does that count tractors and locomotives? Airplanes?
    But still, 2.25 billion?

  139. I think I see GM’s problem now. Stuck high up there in his ivory tower peering down disapprovingly on whovillewestern society with their feasting, trinkets, and all their noise, noise, noise! The idea that someone, somewhere might be a having just a little more fun than he is, why that’s just unacceptable. If only there was some way he could put a stop to it!
    Perhaps though, like the Grinch, there might be redemption in his future.

  140. Ok.
    For the State of Florida at:
    http://www.flhsmv.gov/html/FactsFigures/0810.pdf
    There are:
    Licensed Drivers – 15,556,658

    Motor Vehicles (includes trailers) – 14,349,941
    Manufactured Homes – 394,903
    Vessels – 746,862
    Total – 15,096,803 (I’m not counting Manufactured Homes (house trailers))

    So in Florida there is barely one registered vehicle per licensed driver.
    Throw in all of the unregistered (hobby) cars, railroad engines, tractors, etc and it ain’t gonna equal 90,000,000. That 90 million is the other 6 vehicles per person times the 15 million people in the state. So how many more vehicles. A million. 10 million (I don’t even believe that!).

    But one thing’s for sure. It ain’t 119,008,433 (7.65 * 15,556,658)

  141. George E. Smith says: So why don’t we cut the massive overproduction, and save even more farmland from depletion; and save more water and energy. Then we can put that excess farmland back to more natural habitat.
    Just because you could grow artificial genetically engineered crops on arable land; doesn’t mean it is a good idea to do so.

    George, I like you writing style and mostly agree with you. But I can’t abide this. Please define “depletion”. In my work, we define it as loss of soil at a rate greater than replenishment. We use a formula called the Russell soil loss equation, and includes mathematical factors estimating erosion from wind or water based on soil type, slope, prevailing wind and average velocity, organic matter content, etc. Both state and federal governments cost-share on projects designed to eliminate productive losses from each.
    But more importantly, land productivity based on amount of sequestered energy relative to stands of identifiable virgin, native grass and other species-is greater now than before man. Granted, some soils have lowered levels of organic matter in certain season, and some producers have erosion problems, but these people are slowly being weeded out by economic variables (I hear the phrase “that’s the way my pa did it” all too often.
    So, IMHO, the question of land use hinges on availability of nutrient additions and on an ill-defined esoteric value, “natural habitat” as you called it. I loved “Dances With Wolves” as much as the next guy (and was born and raised 30 miles SW of Fort Sedgwick), but I have serious objections to the necessity for population reduction simply to restore the Cherokee nation.

  142. Larry Geiger says:
    September 22, 2010 at 7:12 am
    Top Per Capita Automobiles by country
    # 1 United States: 765 motor vehicles per 100 p

    Ok, almost no one that I know has room for 7mv. Couldn’t store them or park them if they had them. Does that count tractors and locomotives? Airplanes?
    But still, 2.25 billion?

    ———————————————-

    Nationmaster Website made an error. It’s not per 100 people. It is per 1000 people, which would equate to .765 vehicles per person. I just cut and pasted it without scrutinizing the numbers because I was only interested in the rankings.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_vehicles_per_capita

  143. “Apparently you are unaware that the first oil boom happened in Pennsylvania. I wonder what happened there since then…” – GM

    Actually I was aware that the Quaker State was big oil once upon a time. I’m not sure where you were going with that statement. Pennsylvania is still around… no?

    “Anyway, your “logic” is a complete non-sequitur. Just because Texas mines a lot of fossil fuels is absolutely no reason for why people in Texas should be living in McMansions and driving huge SUVs and pick up trucks for tens of miles from and to work. Absolutely no reason.” -GM

    I’m starting to think that you make outlandish statements just to get a rise out of people. People can drive big SUV’s or Pick-ups and live in “McMansions” if they can afford it. They’re not really obligated to get your approval first, and believe it or not some people actually find utility in such types of vehicles. You made the silly suggestion that Texas should compact their population like NYC. I pointed out that Texas economy differed greatly from Northeastern big cities and included a lot of mineral mining, ranching, oil production, and agriculture. Anyone can see that this would tend to correlate to a more dispersed population.

  144. Diversity is not only a “green word” but its tenets apply equally to humanity. One of our survival strengths is our diversity in thought, culture, science, religion.

    Science, true science progresses in steps just like evolution. We are at a moment in time where another giant step is being prepared.

    The strawmen, the scams and fake panics are all falling away, dying in the warm light of honesty. The classic Man Made global warming scam has had its day. The truth promoted by this site is winning the day, but for what purpose. I feel (very non scientific) that it is a regular process, nature identifying the models that dont work and clearing the way for the new.

    I see almost every field of science being challenged, new ideas taking shape, new ways of looking at things, doing things, achieving things. But this is not happening in a destructive or negative sense but rather in a positive uplifting way. The potential of these new thought forms is almost infinite. Imagine that.

    I mean in all honesty, for example, what could be simpler than collecting all the accumulated temperature data and analyzing it truthfully, accurately and openly. It really is not rocket science. But it could not be done. Case in point, they want USD 100 million to set up 1,000 decent recording stations. USD 100,000 per thermometer. Come on guys.

    The same applies to this thread topic, alternative, viable energy, it is not rocket science. The people making it Rocket Science are Politicians, Greens and Corporations. Why? Power Control and Money.

  145. pedex says:
    September 21, 2010 at 10:26 am

    “coal is also basically in the same predicament, it is depleting and there is no replacement”

    Let’s be define things more closely.

    Coal that can be extracted at current costs is depleting.

    Geologically, there is at least 3,000 billion tons of coal with current global extraction in the neighborhood of 6 billion tons a year.

  146. @Enneagram

    ‘Cows will consume more energy per capita in its food than the energy you could reclaim from its manure. It is an axioma.’

    No it’s not, but it is if you don’t use the over head energy cows. I believe agculture magazine or some such covered this whole stuff several years ago. Some dairy farmer producing both electricity for his 5000 neighbors and natural manure for him self and for sale, and still keeping his farm lands fertilized with minute precision so as not to add extra nitrogen to the rest of the natural cycle. Or maybe it was he generated 5000 KWh from his most natural gas burning. Anyways it’s been done before and it ought to be mandatory for every serious dairy farmer, otherwise the energy in all that crap is going to waste literally, and I believe that is an axiom. ;-)

  147. I like having GM (Genus Malthusiasticus) blog here. His semi-hysteric urgency for humanity to take drastic actions to take care of CAGW reminds of what we who are “skeptics” are up against. His is the mindset that is ever present, morphing in outward form from “the coming ice age” to “nuclear winter” to “acid rain” to “species extinctions” to “global warming” to “climate change” to now, “global climate disruption”. His Medieval intellectual ancestors were fixed on the End of Days and the Book of Revelations. Man is evil, infectious, destructive, etc, and must be punished to save himself. Totalitarian means are always prescribed. Those who resist are fools. Calm reason is rejected because destruction is so near.

    Oh well.

  148. “”” Tim Clark says:
    September 22, 2010 at 8:10 am
    George E. Smith says: So why don’t we cut the massive overproduction, and save even more farmland from depletion; and save more water and energy. Then we can put that excess farmland back to more natural habitat.
    Just because you could grow artificial genetically engineered crops on arable land; doesn’t mean it is a good idea to do so.

    George, I like you writing style and mostly agree with you. But I can’t abide this. Please define “depletion”. In my work, we define it as loss of soil at a rate greater than replenishment. We use a formula called the Russell soil loss equation, and includes mathematical factors estimating erosion from wind or water based on soil type, slope, prevailing wind and average velocity, organic matter content, etc. Both state and federal governments cost-share on projects designed to eliminate productive losses from each. “””

    Well Tim; I am not going to try and match Agricultural wits with you; If I had not been a major heavy duty asthmatic growing up as child; I would now be a long since retired filthy rich and happy ex-farmer in New Zealand; but me and Agriculture were completely incompatible.

    But even I know that constantly growing the same crop year after year on a piece of land will eventually deplete critical minerals and biological properties of the soil, until eventually almost nothing can be grown; so farmers typically rotate crops, or rotate land in and out of production to give the soil time to recover and replenish the nutrients. That’s part of the reason why slash and burn and clear cutting of tropical rain forests for agriculture is so destructive. Those lands have been growing the same plants for eons, and they have depleted the ground of nutrients down to the level where nothing else will grow there; and what is growing there is sustained by just the natural slow replacement that can occur each year due to rains, and flooding and other natural weather phenomena that bring in soil components form other places. In fact the plants that naturally exist there are those that have evolved to get by with those replacement shipments.

    Well I’m sure you know a hell of a lot more about that than I do; I just pick up a hint now and then from the California Central valley Armenian Farmers who have been farming there since the early 20th century.

    But anyway; it was in that vein that I referred to “depletion”.

    Give the land a break for a few years or decades; instead of ploughing every square foot; just because someone wants to grow solar energy at a very low collection rate in terms of Watt hours per year.

    I’m not against people who have combustible residue from their operations such as dairy or beef farms do (and other domesticated farm livestock (NZ has more of those per capita than any other place on earth; 4 million people and something like 60-75 million sheep) using that material to recover some energy. I know that some dairy producers in the Ca. Central valley have some energy recycling operations.

    But growing farm animals to get energy from their effluent doesn’t make sense to me; nor does putting energy into agriculture to grow ethanol fuel.

    When I first started sport fishing the sea of Cortez back in the late 1960s; there were lots of commercial fishing boats; but they had no refrigeration. They went out with long lines and nets and the simply fished up anything and everything. Sharks, marlin, sailfish, tuna; you name it they caught it and threw it in the hold and brought it ashore; not for food; it didn’t survive the trip. They ground it up to make fertilizer so they could grow corn (maize) to make tortillas.

    Now how dumb is that; to harvest a perfectly good high protein food material; simply to go right back to the very start of the food chain as fertilizer to grow corn.

    Fortunately; recreational sports fishing interests were able to convince the Mexican government that that resource could be better exploited for the people of Mexico, by maintaining its spectacular sport recreational fishing; as well as properly refrigerated commercial food fishing; rather than destroying the whole thing permanently for fertilizer.

    Niche renewable energies make a lot of sense; solar PV energy in remote locations saves a ton of infrastructure; if you use the energy locally (off grid); same goes for some wind energy. Farmers have used wind energy for eons. So do you think the farmer gives a hoot about when his windmill decides to pump water for him. He just needs the correct size storage tank; to keep himself in water. But asking that wind to supply energy on demand; just isn’t realistic; and pumped energy (gravity) storage only works in the right locations.

    I’m still pretty nimble when it comes to tree climbing; and I bet I can outclimb any whippersnapper; if you send us both up the right kind of Pine tree; but I really don’t want to, in my last days go back to competing with the monkeys trying to gather figs up in fig trees like our ancestors used to. So I’ll stay with the reliable plentiful fossil fuels; thank you .

  149. George E. Smith says:
    September 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I agree with your post. I may have misunderstood your point. The summation of my point, I guess, is most land can be kept productive if new techniques are adapted. However, in some cases, it may not be economical. It’s almost economically impossible to reverse alkalinity (salt deposition).

  150. I was so insensed about this wind power baloney, I decided to write a book on the subject. It is titled “Wind Power Fraud: Why Wind Won’t Work”.

    From my calculations, the Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI) is 0.29. That means in the lifetime of a wind power facility it will only produce 29% of the energy that went into its design, manufacture, installation, operation, and decommissioning. Wind Power is unsustainable and a complete waste of resources!

  151. “”” Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
    September 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm
    I was so insensed about this wind power baloney, I decided to write a book on the subject. It is titled “Wind Power Fraud: Why Wind Won’t Work”. “””

    Well Charles all one has to do to prove the viability of “wind power” which you dismiss; is to simply put a fence around the wind farm, to keep contaminations; like other energy sources out, and then use the energy outpur of the farm; plus all the raw materials in the universe, in their natural state; to duplicate the wind farm and make a copy of it.

    Then whatever energy is left over from the first farm; can be sold at whatever the market will bear.

    So you shouldn’t be so negative; when proof of feasibility is so easy to demonstrate.

    Well you can apply the very same self duplication principle to any alternative energy source; to establish the viability of such a process.

  152. “”” Tim Clark says:
    September 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm
    George E. Smith says:
    September 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I agree with your post. I may have misunderstood your point. The summation of my point, I guess, is most land can be kept productive if new techniques are adapted. However, in some cases, it may not be economical. It’s almost economically impossible to reverse alkalinity (salt deposition). “””

    Tim, I’m not sure just where you park your John Deere; but it seems to me (near as I can tell) that farmers in California’s Central valley, seem to have some remedial treatment for the salinity problem. It appears to proceed thusly.

    The central valley is somewhat like a piece of land floating on a lake of primordial subterranean water. Farmers used to hit water just three or four feet down. I believe my 8 inch Agricultural well submersible pump is down 180 feet, and my smaller house well is down 120. And when I wash my car; I get a brand new coat of Calcium paint on it. So do the farmlands when they have to irrigate with well water.

    As the years go by with the relatively normal California drought conditions, the amount of water the farmers can get from the Sierra snow pack melt fluctuates, and they have to make up the difference with well water. They have a choice of pestilence. When they irrigate with “ditch water” they get for free, every native California weed known to Botany; whose seeds come down the canal from all of their neighbors. And when they pump from their wells; well they slowly salt up the surface soil, and they continue changing their crops; till they get to the point where nothing will grow; except cotton; so Californaia grows a hell of a lot of cotton.

    Then it seems just when they are on their last legs; we get a bumper snow fall, and the whole State is awash in spring run-off fresh Sierra melt waters.

    When that happens; the central valley farmers switch tactics; so they flood their lands with the Sierra snow melt (and weed seeds) and the flooding sort of takes care of the weed seeds; and they can plant Rice in the water; and the whole thing turns into new migratory bird habitat; and shrimps appear from simply nowhere to feed all those birds from Africa.

    Well the whole damn valley is laser levelled; with corrections for earth curvature, and soil porosity, so the water can make it to the far corner of the lot, before it is gobbled up in the ground. So they maintain the rice for as long as they have clean mountain water to flood the fields, and most of those surface salts get taken back down below where their crops need to send roots, and whatever rains they get, help with slowly taking the salts even deeper; but eventually the drought conditions return and they have to stop growing Rice (very cheap) and start their whole crop rotation cycle all over again; till they hit the cotton wall again.

    I have found it fascinating to watch as I drive through there on my way from home to Silicon Valley to work. I’ve not talked much to the Armenians about it, to find out what the typical crop sequence seems to be; but one way or another they manage to keep it going year after year.

    When you get further south in the Kern County Bakersfield area which is hotter and somewhat more arid; they seem to have largely lost the salinity battle, and quite large areas are white with salt deposits; and they don’t seem to do much with it most of the time; but leave it as wild life habitat. Wish I knew more about it; but it is interesting to watch the cycling.

    George

  153. GM says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    However, it is entropy that really matters, not energy or matter, we just like to talk about energy and resource because they are more immediate and tangible and because most people are too illiterate to understand entropy anyway.

    Careful. That could be a self deprecating.

    The human body exists in a very low entropy state, human civilization exists in a very low entropy state (think about all those buildings and infrastructure), so you need constant external source of negative entropy to keep things going (this is why the discussion of EROEI is so important BTW).

    I can’t go out and grab a chunk of negentropy. Schrodinger should really be shot for even bringing up the concept it’s just that bad. At least he had the good sense to admit that he should really have been talking about Gibbs free energy instead. The entire entropy of the universe is increasing whether or not we burn fossil fuels or have babies and it’s doing it all of the time. Look up the heat death of the universe sometime.

    The highest entropy state the planet can be in (without breaking up atoms or anything like that) is a homogeneous mass of elements with equal concentration everywhere.

    Gravity gets in the way of that unless you want to wait until the entire universe decays to a diffuse iron soup. But then, you really don’t have a planet then, do you? Oh, and your fully mixed planet would also have to be at a uniform temperature.

    The planet doesn’t exist in such a state, there are pockets of rock with much higher concentrations of certain elements, which what we call ores. Those are in a low entropy state which we can input more negative entropy into and take them to an even lower entropy state of near purity. However, when we use them up and they end up in the ocean, their concentration decreases greatly, and their entropy goes up. To get them back to a low entropy state that’s useful for us, or to use lower grade (higher entropy) ores you need a lot of negative entropy, much more than you would need for high grade ores.

    Repeat after me. Free energy. How about all of that low grade CO2 being turned into chunky plant goodness? Damn you, photosynthesis! Stop using up my negentropy!

    Ultimately, the only reliable source of negative entropy we have (unless a technological miracle occurs very soon) is the sun, but the flow is very limited and diffuse.

    Well at least you understand that we need nuclear power of some kind. Hey, how ’bout fission? Lots and lots of fertile material with proven cycles once we have the need and the resulting political will. And no, I don’t even have to go to thorium, but there’s no physical reason it can’t be made to work. Oh, and since the sun is increasing the entropy of the universe, where is it getting its negentropy from again?

    So things like infinite economic growth are absolutely impossible,

    Well given that the universe is finite, that’s kind of a tautology, isn’t it? Unless you’re a Hoyle-ist or one of those M-theory guys and think you could be around for the next big squish/ripple/plunk (what DO they call it?). But then again, I don’t think many people are too worried about infinite growth and there is that pesky heat death thing that kinda doesn’t care how many of us are ever around anyway.

    and it doesn’t take much knowledge or understanding to figure that out, yet the people (usually economists) who like to talk about the “base of the resource pyramid” don’t possess even that rudimentary understanding of things

    Absolutely hilarious. Here you are whining about all of the entropy humanity is producing and you’re completely oblivious to the entropy the sun is producing. Here’s a hint: it makes far more entropy in 1 sec than humanity has in it’s entire history. An MIT and Caltech grad should be able to comprehend that…

    Until you’re willing to actually produce some real physical limitations –maybe prot rot, haven’t heard about that one in a while; or would you prefer the Big Rip?– to proven nuclear power for the foreseeable future and back up these claims of lack of economy and time, it’s just so much hot air.

    Oh, and trying to resort to degree pedigree really is a sign of desperation.

  154. Energy is what we make of it. Consider Climate Science, totally discredited as they cannot even maintain a simple temperature record and analyse it. Similarly Economics, very detailed very exact but they cannot nor will not discuss the source of their “science’ money, for to do so would totally destroy their whole field.

    Do we have the same situation with Energy. What is energy? The answer to that question has some very interesting but disturbing implications.

    Physics has a lot to answer for.

  155. GM;
    Should you still be following this thread I would like to relate a personal story to you.

    The smartest man I have ever known was a guy named John Carlson, long since passed. He had a grade six education. Though never having apprenticed, he made his living in my home town mostly as a welder. But he could walk into a machine shop and fabricate parts when he needed to as well. Sometimes he did electrical work, and he was a pretty good auto mechanic as well. The oil patch knew him well, he could solve almost any problem.

    In the 1970’s, we started to see oil wells producing heavier (thicker) oil. At coffee row one day, the oil patch boys were complaining that standard pump jacks weren’t designed for heavy oil. They went up and down at a constant rate. Since the downstroke relied on the weight of the sucker rod in the well to push the assembly down, in a heavy oil well it would often descend only a few inches before the upstroke started. Pinning the assembly to the pump jack head wouldn’t work as the motors they used had no where near the power required to drive the assembly downward, and would have crushed it any any event if they did have the power to drive the assembly downward at the same rate as it went upward.

    John figured he could fix that. He said he’d need a lot of specialized parts, access to a machine shop, but he could build a pump jack that went down at one speed and up at another. Keep in mind that this was the 1970’s, programmable controllers hadn’t emerged yet, so this was a feat unto itself.

    Some of the oil patch boys decided to fund a prototype, and over the next few weeks he built it. There were other companies trying to do the same thing and it was agreed to do testing on all the models at the same well to see how they performed versus a standard pump jack and versus each other.

    The “big oil” pump jacks arrived on semi-trailer flat beds. John’s arrived in a pickup truck. The other pump jacks performed with various results, but only marginal improvements to production and well pressure. John’s pump jack blew them all away. It was all hydraulic, and the speed of the upstroke and downstroke could be adjusted independantly. Within a few hours it had built more well pressure than any of the other models had in two weeks. They never found out how much pressure it could build, the bottom of the well blew out first. The oil companies were lined up around the block with orders.

    Interesting thing about John, he was a highly religious man. He advised one morning that he had a vision the night before in which his deity had advised him that his invention was evil. He’d gone to the shop later that night and destroyed his own pump jack.

    I remember the engineers from various oil companies sifting through the parts, trying to reconstruct how the darn thing worked. One guy, a mechanical engineer with more letters behind his name than the alphabet, showed me a part he was looking at. I remember what he said. “Not only can I not figure out what this thing was for, it wouldn’t matter if I could. I can’t for the life of me even figure out how he machined these channels in this valve.”

    There are two morals to this story GM. The first is that there is a gulf of difference between theory and practice. John with his grade six education had done what big oil, with millions of dollars in R&D, and expertise out the yinyang could not. The second is that John truly believed that he had a vision and was visited by his god. Despite being a self taught metallurgist/engineer/machinist/welder/physicist whose practical knowledge easily outstripped the state of the art in industry as well as academia, John believed his vision was real. Perhaps it was, but I am betting someone like you GM would attribute it to some deep rooted psychological fear of success. I’d tend to agree with you. The point however, is that degrees don’t make you smart any more than not having them makes you stupid, and there is no telling what oddities people as intelligent as John Carlson believe to be true.

    You sir remind me of John. Highly intelligent, articulate, and though you hold the degrees John did not have, your belief system if firmly rooted in a notion that is based mostly on faith and theory, not on practical knowledge.

  156. It didn’t become clear to me what your view of Peak Oil is, but because your story had a lot to do with it, let me just state the obvious which is that no amount of people like your John could put more oil in the ground. It could increase the fraction of recoverable reserves by some percentage, but that merely delays the inevitable.

    The point however, is that degrees don’t make you smart any more than not having them makes you stupid

    I didn’t mention the credentials because I like to boast with them, in fact I get very annoyed when people use the argument from authority to support any position, the most egregious case being using Nobel laureates who hold some cranky views as a support for those cranky views (Nobel laureate X believes in God, therefore God exists, Nobel laureate Y is an AGW skeptic, therefore AGW is BS, etc.).

    The only reason I mentioned them was because I was making the point that in our anti-intellectual society that sort of credentials does not help at all when you are trying to communicate to the common folk truths that are in contradiction with his beliefs and require some sacrifice from him. In such cases the “who are you to tell me” knee jerk reaction boosted by the deeply-rooted distrust of intellect and education kicks in and no amount of evidence you present can help you at that point.

  157. GM

    Titan, (The moon) no dinosaurs there but loads of hydrocarbons plus loads of deadly global warming methane but guess what, no global warming.

    A distraction, i think, not but firm evidence that all is not as it is expressed to be.

    And as an aside, denying evidence, is in common law, a fatal flaw.

  158. GM;
    I was making the point that in our anti-intellectual society that sort of credentials does not help at all when you are trying to communicate to the common folk truths that are in contradiction with his beliefs and require some sacrifice from him.>>

    Despite your protestations in regard to flaunting your credentials, your comments about “the common folk” and the manner in which you present your arguments clearly suggest that you consider yourself to be of superior intellect, at once looking down your nose at the lower intelligence of the great unwashed and at the same time frustrated that they cannot grasp what is such an obvious truth to you. You have concluded that the rejection of your arguments is rooted both in distrust of the intellectual class to which you belong, and in an inability of the “common folk” to put aside their belief systems when confronted with the facts of your theory. You have missed my point.

    In theory, the problem you propose is real. Resources are finite and will be depleted. In practice however, the problem doesn’t exist. The solution that your propose works in theory. In practice it is immoral at best, and a descent into the worst inhumanities in history at worst.

    The first moral of my story was that there is a vast gulf between theory and practice. You argue from theory. The rejection you get from the common folk whose intelligence you casually dismiss is rooted in practice. Is there an end to entropy? Of course. Shall we regulate our population today because the universe will run out of energy in 100 billion years or so? Don’t be silly. The sun which provides our planet with energy will die long before that. Should we regulate our population today because our sun will die 5 billion years from now? Don’t be silly. Is there peak oil and can guys like John put more in the ground? Of course there is and of course they can’t. But as many in this thread have pointed out to you, we are not limited to oil alone. Is the energy we can extract from this planet finite? Of course it is. Shall we regulate our population today because we will run out of oil/coal/uranium/thorium and a host of other alternatives 1,000 years from now? Don’t be silly. For practical purposes, there is little difference between 100 billion years and 1,000 when it comes to planning the collective future of the human race. The distinction between the two exists almost exclusively in theory. The common folk live their lives almost exclusively in practice.

    The second moral of my story was that despite a towering intellect, John believed with every fiber of his being in a deity for which he had no evidence actually existed. It was the guiding principle in his life, and he threw away more than one opportunity to capitalize on his inventions, each time because he had a vision in which his deity gave him guidance to destroy what he had built. The only thing in John’s life that was theoretical was his faith, and it trumped his practical knowledge every time.

    GM, you are as wedded to your theory that civilization will collapse due to resource depletion as John was to his belief that he was being visited by god. You can see clearly the truth of your theory, you despair, as John did about his religion, that others cannot see the same thing. John would have scoffed at your theory for many of the reasons presented to you by others in this thread. It is meaningless in practice. You no doubt would have scoffed at John’s belief in his regular visits from god. Having passed on some time ago, I expect that John’s theory regarding life after death has met with practice and been either vindicated or falsified. Your theory may one day too be vindicated or falsified. But it will make little difference to you because you will have tested John’s theory regarding life after death for yourself centuries before that.

    You are wedded to a theoretical problem to which you propose an impractical and immoral solution. The common folk reject you on that basis. As we should.

  159. davidmhoffer says:
    September 23, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Despite your protestations in regard to flaunting your credentials, your comments about “the common folk” and the manner in which you present your arguments clearly suggest that you consider yourself to be of superior intellect, at once looking down your nose at the lower intelligence of the great unwashed and at the same time frustrated that they cannot grasp what is such an obvious truth to you. You have concluded that the rejection of your arguments is rooted both in distrust of the intellectual class to which you belong, and in an inability of the “common folk” to put aside their belief systems when confronted with the facts of your theory. You have missed my point.

    Far from it. I come from exactly the same common folk background that you accuse me of despising. As I said, it is very easy to misunderstand people who are worried about the intellectual level of the masses as being elitist. In fact what those people usually want is to eliminate that difference by elevating the masses to the level they need to be at. That’s no elitism at all. Nobody has solved any problem whose existence hasn’t even been mentioned.

    In theory, the problem you propose is real. Resources are finite and will be depleted. In practice however, the problem doesn’t exist. The solution that your propose works in theory. In practice it is immoral at best, and a descent into the worst inhumanities in history at worst.

    1. What exactly is the solution that you think I am proposing?
    2. What exactly do you propose? I never said I like what has to be done (and for the 1758696th time, nobody is suggesting lining up people and shooting them, that’s only what completely deranged lunatics with absolutely no reading comprehension skills think I am suggesting, and it, ironically, what’s going to happen if we don’t get our act together)
    3. You can only claim that there is a problem “in theory but not in practice” if you have absolutely no clue about the state of the world. I will be very surprised if there are no serious disruption to the social order in the next few decades. The food riots had already started in 2008 when the recession hit, what makes you think two years from now it will be better? Will we have solved Peak Oil in 2 years?

    The first moral of my story was that there is a vast gulf between theory and practice. You argue from theory.

    I don’t argue from theory, I argue from data. The US peaked in 1970 exactly as predicted by the models applied to the data. Those same models predict a world peak between 2000 and 2010 (given that discovery peaked in the 1960s), we have been on a plateau since 2005. When the US peaked, it became an importer, the planet, however, has nowhere to import oil from. The consequences are clear. What here is “theory”. What is “theory” about civilizational collapse? All civilizations that had existed on this planet before have collapsed. A large number of them have done so for reasons that very clearly have a lot to do with them overshooting the carrying capacity of their environment, and in most of those cases the collapse has been real ugly. Few of them ever recovered to a level anywhere close to their former glory.

    You can only type up all that nonsense if you have absolutely no idea what scientists mean when they use the word “theory”. I am not going to waste my time explaining it to you, I will only say that the “theory is useless, practice matters” approach to thing is a manifestation of exactly the same knee-jerk anti-intellectualism I so often complain about.

  160. JustAJoe:
    Ok, that’s a number that I can agree with. As you can see from the Florida data, it’s probably a relatively good number. Thanks.

  161. GM;
    I never said I like what has to be done (and for the 1758696th time, nobody is suggesting lining up people and shooting them, that’s only what completely deranged lunatics with absolutely no reading comprehension skills think I am suggesting>>

    For someone who accuses me of having no clue about the world, you display a remarkable ignorance of history. You may not be proposing that people be lined up and shot, but you are proposing doing “what has to be done”. Consider the history of those with good intentions who set out to do just that. Lenin paved the way for Stalin and Kruschev whose murder of tens of millions pales in comparison to the fall out from Mao’s revolution. Must I go on?

    And you can throw all the data about peak oil around that you want. You seem oblivious to what so many people keep trying to tell you. Technology doesn’t stand still, there are alternatives to oil, rising living standards by themselves will result in birth rate decreases, and the food riots to which you refer are the consequence of poor regional management not a lack of supply.

  162. I see GW is continuing his never ending saga of paranoia about the future. Guess he can’t read as the links I’ve given him a half dozen times now have several examples of things that will power the entire planet, renewably or not.

    But I’ll give it one more try… I’ll even use CAPS like he does so he will feel at home…

    In short, if you can’t power the economy with renewables, and if the renewable in their current form depend on fossil fuels and on rare earth elements in short supply, this means that the economy is TOO BIG TO BE SUSTAINABLE and has to SHRINK until it’s safely within the carrying capacity of the planet. It shouldn’t take much brain power to figure that out, yet for most people it seems to be an impossible feat of logical reasoning.

    First off, your predicate is broken. We can power the world with renewables. It’s just much more expensive than with fossil fuels and so load of people die and everyone has a loss of living standards if you IMMEDIATELY cut over to them rather then letting them build up over time as their cost curve drops.

    The Rare Earth’s panic is just another paranoia panic based on not understanding the economics of resources. Look, there’s LOADS of rare earths all over the planet. Most of it is not mined for the simple reason that is is mined CHEAPER in China. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a heck of a lot more in California and Colorado (we do). It just means that we won’t mine it until China raises the price too high. Until then the definition of RESERVES says it does not exist. That does not mean there is none, it means it’s not CHEAP ENOUGH yet. So no, we don’t run out of rare earths and we don’t have a problem getting much more of them.

    Reserves are always a question of PRICE not of existence.

    And per “peak oil”: Two major issues.

    1) IF we run out in 150 years, we can just go use coal (400 years) or Uranium / Thorium ( somewhat north of 30,000 years to 3 Billion years.)

    2) There is good evidence that deep pressure and heat is turning subducted carbonate rocks into oil (not dino juice) and refilling some wells. Oil may, in fact, be renewable.

    One minor issue:

    I can grow algae and make “oil” and very good Diesel today at about 200 TONS of fuel per acre per year. So about a 10 x 100 mile patch of dirt for the USA. We don’t do it because the fuel costs about $4 / gallon instead of $3. Not going to be the end of the world if my Diesel rises from $3 to $4 and comes from a Texas pond instead of Saudi.

    So please put away the panic and repeat after me: “There is no energy shortage and there never will be”.

    Unless, of course, people like you get to shut down our economy and return us to an energy dark ages…

  163. GM says:
    “Biofuels come in for a lot of stick but they can be really nice. For example just using 30% of the land set aside as unproductive in New Zealand since 1998, would be sufficient to grow all there liquid fuel needs.”

    At a negative EROEI, it will be sufficient for absolutely nothing. Not to mention the soil destruction that will result from that and the general environmental devastation

    Oh gawd, the EROI foible again. But first:

    It would seem that you don’t garden, either. I suggest starting with a small 4 x 4 food double dug bed and you can learn some soil science fairly easily. “Soil Destruction” will not be part of the curriculum. Take whatever weeds are on top, and put them on the bottom as you turn the first shovel depth layer back into the hole, then put the bottom shovel depth back on top. This is called ’tilling the soil’. After a couple of years of this, even hard clay with poor content gains “tilth”. Adding some earthworms helps it along, but they tend to show up on their own anyway.

    It make this happen in one year instead of 4, take any plant “waste” you have and compost it, then blend that in. This is called “building the soil”. EVERY farmer knows how to do this (though not all do).

    What to say about “environmental devastation”. Sorry, best spend less time on the SciFi channel. In my backyard garden I have 4 species of birds not present when I first started (including some hummingbirds that nest here now – they LOVE the runnerbean flowers). There are 4 types of bee ( 3 native California) and I’ve got possums and doves nesting here too. I’ve also enjoyed watching the development of the wasp diversity ( I’ve got two large predatory types that eat the big pest and a few micro-size ones that predate the smaller pests. Yes, I run it as a sort of organic system.) There is nothing to prevent a bio-fuels system having similar diversity (though it isn’t needed). The Eucalyptus based systems are often pesticide free as are many of the others.

    Sure, a fresh ploughed field is pretty barren, but a mature field of thorns does not support much life either… (I’ve trodden many of each). Often life thrives at the edges of farmed fields where the water and food are much better than the native conditions.

    Frankly, your characterization of farming as “devastation” leads me to suspect a life spent largely in cities looking at picture books of the country.

    “This will provide both employment and environmental gains cutting out imports of liquid fuels and reducing abiotic oil use.”

    So what exactly are going to be the environmental gain given that you just suggested converting another 30% of whatever (semi)wilderness was left into feeding lot for more humans?

    Well, for starters, all the fuel burned to move Arab Oil via tanker from Arabia to New Zealand. Oil spills from wells comes to mind too.

    Oh, and one side bar point: Back on EROI. You seem to have bought the line that corn is a negative energy gain and then extrapolated it to all biofuels. Very silly. First off, corn is a net positive energy gain (about 1.3 : 1 ) and you still get to feed the distillers grains and silage to cattle. Not bad at all. But yes, others are better. The best, IMHO, is algae. You can get 54 tons / acre of wood but about 10 x the productivity with algae. And some algae can be up to 1/2 oil when raised nitrogen deficient. Fairly trivial to turn into bioDiesel. Several companies have competing processes to do it. Not a theoretical lab thing at all. So to the extent that turning grain into fuel is a bit daft (it is) given the alternatives; yeah, we ought to let the markets elevate the better choices.

    Oh, and in case you missed it, in the original statement it looked to me like that land was called ‘unproductive’ and that often means it was farmed once but taken out of use for economic reasons. Not typically pristine forest or savanna. So unless you really like weed fields… not the best thing to ‘preserve’. Better to turn it back to a natural planting or move it back into production.

    Finally, the fundamental brokenness of EROI is the fact that it ignores that one FORM of energy may have a large benefit relative to another form. Refining Oil has a negative EROI. So does mining and refining Uranium. In the end, though, one gives us a motor fuel we desire (gasoline / Diesel) at economical prices while the other gives us electricity we desire. Nothing at all prevents me using our nearly infinity Uranium supply lifetime to make electricity and use THAT to put fuel in my tank via a process with a negative EROI. Like, oh, Coal to Liquids.

    EROI is just irrelevant to real energy SUPPLIES. As long as I have a lot of any energy, it just becomes a question of turning what I HAVE into what I WANT. So give me 100 years of oil with a ‘negative EROI on lifting costs’ from “depleted” wells, but with cheap nuclear power, and I’ll be driving my car on $4 / gallon fuel for 100 more years. (No, that’s not a theoretical. About 1/2 of all oil is still in the ‘depleted’ oil fields. Put an electric pump on them and you still get oil, at a price. It’s just that the price is about $100 / bbl and right now is not below the cost of Saudi crude.)

    BTW, this is why it’s really stupid that the Obama admin has ordered the cementing in of 1200 ‘unproductive’ wells in the gulf. When oil rises back to $130 / bbl instead of just starting up the pumps again, we will need to re-drill at much higher costs.

    So look, get out a bit more. Turn off the SciFi and go visit a farm. Start a little garden and maybe even try your hand at taking your used french fry oil and making bioDiesel in your kitchen (I have). It’s not hard. 19% Methanol, 1% lye as catalyst, 80% warm filtered oil. Put it all in a Mason Jar with a tight sealing lid. Shake it 30 seconds every 5 minutes for an hour. Let it set overnight. Now which is better, pouring that used cooking oil down the drain or into a landfill, or putting it in the fuel tank? Now go fishing. Look at the pond scum. Realize it can make BioDiesel too. Look around. Pleasant isn’t it….

    Biology can be your friend. If you let it.

    PS. On rare earths et.al. notice that the article says the SUDDEN onset of demand. It’s all about lead times and reasonable adoption rates. It’s not that we can’t use alternatives, the article correctly points out that the rapid adoption when we’ve put our own resources out of reach is daft. So we could, but we will be buying from China due to stupidity on our part…

  164. E.M.Smith says:
    September 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Your proposal of I can grow algae and make “oil” and very good Diesel today at about 200 TONS of fuel per acre per year. So about a 10 x 100 mile patch of dirt for the USA.
    would be boring as it would disappear wars, so where is the fun with it?

  165. GM says: And there are three ways to bring ourselves within the carrying capacity of the planet – increase death rates, reduce birth rates, reduce per capita resource consumption.

    Ah, and here we have he core of the error. Those 3 and only those 3.

    How about:

    1) Find more sources of resources. (Exploration and production).

    2) Rising prices bring new sources into “reserves” (definition of reserves).

    3) Change what is a resource over time (technology improvement. When was the last time you used a mechanical typewriter? When did ‘veneer’ replace solid hardwoods for most furniture needs? Ever hear of “strawboard”? CarbonCarbon Fiber?)

    4) More efficient use (better designs). (My old ’56 Olds had about 10 to 20 pounds of chrome in it if the bumpers are to be believed, and got about 12 mpg. My present similar sized Mercedes gets 32 mpg. The smaller Honda even more. We used about 1 oz Platinum for catalysts at the start, now many use mineral / oxide catalysts.)

    5) Change what we do. (My present commute is 0 miles. Used to be 40. I now trade stock over the internet from my living room. I’m still being ‘carried’…)

    6) Change how we live. (My Dad needed a whole farm, I grew up on 1/4 acre, my kids are happier in a Condo nearer to the shops and shows.)

    7) Recycle. (Endless reuse for many / most resources is possible)

    8) Invent new techniques: For example, there is no limit on fresh water. The whole running out of fresh water is just lunacy. A recent development in pressure recovery reduced energy to the point where it’s fine for domestic use and even some farming. Saudi Arabia has a greenhouse using desalinized sea water for vegetables)

    9) Farm more and catch less: We’ve had rapid growth of fish farming as the ocean harvest level has peaked. Now 30% of “seafood” is farmed. We can farm a heck of a lot more.

    There is a lot more I could add to the list, but I fear you never bother to read and learn, so I’ll stop here.

    There may well be some ultimate carrying capacity limit, but it’s a few thousand years in the future and by then I expect us to be moving out into space. At least as long as we continue our technological growth and development.

  166. Dave says: What people neglect to mention is that we don’t need air-con in most of Europe. The other big difference is that we drive more fuel efficient vehicles.

    Well, I’d also point out that crossing Denmark is a minor day trip, crossing Texas is a career… ( 1/3 the coast to coast distance on the long axis…)

    And that’s the problem with these kinds of fuzzy “my kid is cuter than your kid” comparisons. Living in Texas with A/C at 110 F in the shade (and thar aint no shade) with the drive from home to work in Dallas being 60 miles (30 miles of it just crossing the downtown urban area…) is a CHOICE, not a child of green dreams ;-)

    But I’d take that (and Texas BBQ!) over the insanity of downtown London any day.

    The stupidly huge US trucks are one of those things, I reckon. Then again, the big cars over here with just the driver inside are nearly as bad.

    Don’t know if you mean the large personal Pick-Up Truck or the “lorries” delivering all the goods. The economics are such that very large trucks are more efficient at delivering goods under about 400 miles, and rail beyond that. Since we have the land to put in the roads to use large 18 wheeler semi’s, we capture that advantage. Where at one time ‘rail spurs’ were into most industrial areas, they have largely been ripped out as large trucks are cheaper.

    Per Pickup-Trucks. We need them to carry all the beer and camping equipment when we go out to hunt “nature” ;-)

  167. It should also be noted about the rarity of rare earths that…
    “The term “rare earth” arises from the rare earth minerals from which they were first isolated, which were uncommon oxide-type minerals (earths) found in Gadolinite extracted from one mine in the village of Ytterby, Sweden. However, with the exception of the highly-unstable promethium, rare earth elements are found in relatively high concentrations in the earth’s crust, with cerium being the 25th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust at 68 parts per million.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_earths

  168. How someone can be so wrong so often is a puzzlement. In response to a statement about Uranium / Thorium cycle rectors, GM says:

    The Uranium-Thorium breeder cycle has the capacity to provide all the necessary energy for billions of years with no long term accumulation of nuclear waste whatsoever.

    This is probably the 25th time I have to explain on this blog that:

    1. If we are the plateau of oil production and it will take another 20-30 years just to develop the technology (and it isn’t clear at all whether it is possible to develop it, people like to believe in magic, because that’s how it is in the movies – everything is possible, but real life ain’t like the movies), then that technology will do nothing to help solve the crisis.

    Well, let me help you out a bit here with the big numbers. Notice the poster said “billions of years” that’s a really big number. Even bigger than millions and thousands and a lot longer than 30 years. So he is looking at solving the problem essentially forever. You are worried about 30 years. Yet if we were at peak oil now it would take about that long for production to drop off. Yup. Bell curves work like that. 200 years to reach peak, 200 years down the back side. Decades at the top. So we have no problem for the length of time you are worried will be a problem. That’s called a logical inconsistency.

    BTW, Thorium and mixed Thorium / Uranium fuel bundles are in burn-up now in reactors in various countries. India is doing it (as they have mountains of Thorium sands) and I own stock in a company that has bundles in for certification testing now. The design work is done, folks are moving to production. I’ve posted the link to that, too, before, but you seem hell bent on hanging on to your delusions rather than seeing facts on the ground and real products today.

    http://www.ltbridge.com/technologyservices/fueltechnology/designs

    So sorry to disappoint, but we have the technology today, no waiting…

    From:

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf62.html


    Thorite (ThSiO4) is another common mineral. A large vein deposit of thorium and rare earth metals is in Idaho.

    The 2007 IAEA-NEA publication Uranium 2007: Resources, Production and Demand (often referred to as the ‘Red Book’) gives a figure of 4.4 million tonnes of total known and estimated resources, but this excludes data from much of the world. Data for reasonably assured and inferred resources recoverable at a cost of $80/kg Th or less are given in the table below. Some of the figures are based on assumptions and surrogate data for mineral sands, not direct geological data in the same way as most mineral resources.

    Estimated world thorium resources1

    (Reasonably assured and inferred resources recoverable at up to $80/kg Th)
    Country Tonnes % of total
    Australia 489,000 19
    USA 400,000 15
    Turkey 344,000 13
    India 319,000 12
    Venezuela 300,000 12
    Brazil 302,000 12
    Norway 132,000 5
    Egypt 100,000 4
    Russia 75,0003
    Greenland 54,000 2
    Canada 44,000 2
    South Africa 18,000 1
    Other countries 33,000 1
    World total 2,610,000

    And we’ve been doing it for a while:


    Between 1967 and 1988, the AVR (Atom Versuchs Reaktor, Nuclear Test Reactor) experimental pebble bed reactor at Jülich, Germany, operated for over 750 weeks at 15 MWe, about 95% of the time with thorium-based fuel. The fuel used consisted of about 100,000 billiard ball-sized fuel elements. Overall a total of 1360 kg of thorium was used, mixed with high-enriched uranium (HEU). Burn-ups of 150,000 MWd/t were achieved.
    Thorium fuel elements with a 10:1 Th/U (HEU) ratio were irradiated in the 20 MWth Dragon reactor at Winfrith, UK, for 741 full power days. Dragon was run as an OECD/Euratom cooperation project, involving Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland in addition to the UK, from 1964 to 1973. The Th/U fuel was used to ‘breed and feed’, so that the U-233 formed replaced the U-235 at about the same rate, and fuel could be left in the reactor for about six years.
    General Atomics’ Peach Bottom high-temperature, graphite-moderated, helium-cooled reactor in the USA operated between 1967 and 1974 at 110 MWth, using high-enriched uranium with thorium.
    In Canada, AECL has more than 50 years experience with thorium-based fuels, including burn-up to 47 GWd/t. Some 25 tests were performed to 1987 in three research reactors and one pre-commercial reactor (NPD), with fuels ranging from ThO2 to that with 30% UO2, though most were with 1-3% UO2, the U being high-enriched.
    In India, the Kamini 30 kWth experimental neutron-source research reactor using U-233, recovered from ThO2 fuel irradiated in another reactor, started up in 1996 near Kalpakkam. The reactor was built adjacent to the 40 MWt Fast Breeder Test Reactor, in which the ThO2 is irradiated.
    In the Netherlands, an aqueous homogenous suspension reactor operated at 1MWth for three years in the mid-1970s. The HEU/Th fuel was circulated in solution and reprocessing occurred continuously to remove fission products, resulting in a high conversion rate to U-233.

    And we still are using it:


    CANDU-type reactors – AECL is researching the thorium fuel cycle application to Enhanced Candu 6 and ACR-1000 reactors with 5% plutonium (reactor grade) plus thorium. In the closed fuel cycle, the driver fuel required for starting off is progressively replaced with recycled U-233, so that on reaching equilibrium 80% of the energy comes from thorium. Fissile drive fuel could be LEU, plutonium, or recycled uranium from LWR. AECL envisages fleets of CANDU reactors with near-self-sufficient equilibrium thorium (SSET) fuel cycles and a few fast breeder reactors to provide plutonium. AECL is also working closely with Third Qinshan Nuclear Power Company (TQNPC), China North Nuclear Fuel Corporation and Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC) at Chengdu to develop and demonstrate the use of thorium fuel and to study the commercial and technical feasibility of its full-scale use in Candu units such as at Qinshan.
    Advanced heavy water reactor (AHWR) – India is working on this and, like the Canadian ACR design, the 300 MWe AHWR design is light water cooled. The main part of the core is subcritical with Th/U-233 oxide and Th/Pu-239 oxide, mixed so that the system is self-sustaining in U-233. The initial core will be entirely Th-Pu-239 oxide fuel assemblies, but as U-233 is available, 30 of the fuel pins in each assembly will be Th-U-233 oxide, arranged in concentric rings. It is designed for 100-year plant life and is expected to utilise 65% of the energy of the fuel. About 75% of the power will come from the thorium.
    Fast breeder reactor (FBRs), along with the AHWRs, play an essential role in India’s three-stage nuclear power programme (see section on India’s plans for thorium cycle below). A 500 MWe prototype FBR under construction in Kalpakkam is designed to breed U-233 from thorium.

    So, per your 30 years to develop it and doom is near: The phrase you are looking for is “Sorry, that was wrong”.

    The only problem is that there is do darned much dirt cheap coal and oil it’s hard to get folks interested in all the other massive energy supply options.

    I presume the rest of your opinions rest on equally high quality work.

  169. OK, GM claims Geothermal is just a nit. What does MIT say?

    The MIT report calculated the world’s total EGS resources to be over 13 YJ, of which over 200 ZJ would be extractable, with the potential to increase this to over 2 YJ with technology improvements – sufficient to provide all the world’s energy needs for several millennia. The total heat content of the Earth is 13,000,000 YJ.[32]

    Now that is one mighty big nit… just so it’s clear, it says “ALL the world’s energy needs” followed by “for several millennia”.

    And that, in a nutshell, is the real “energy problem”. We have intense GLUT, not shortage. You can power the world for thousands and thousands of years on any of Uranium, Geothermal, Thorium, Algae, Solar, Waves,…

    And that means that only the cheapest ones will be economically interesting and the rest will not appear in the chart of “reserves”…

    But at least he did admit that he didn’t know what he was talking about this time:

    GM says:
    Grey Lensman said on Unsustainable cow manure
    “The simplest easiest cheapest fastest and most environment friendly solution is geothermal.”

    And what happens when the temperature starts to drop due to overproduction (as has happened in real life).

    You reduce your production rate slightly and it warms back up. Normal part of operations management.

    Geothermal isn’t infinite, in fact it is very limited – we can only harvest as much energy as the Earth releases into space, and I don’t know the number, but given that this is flow over the whole surface of the planet, the harvestable amount isn’t very big.

    Not very big. Just enough to power the whole planet.

    Do you just make stuff up as you go along? Not even bothering a simple Google? I got the MIT report from “Geothermal reserves global estimate”. Not exactly a hard search term to think up… The quote is from the wiki, Here’s the pdf:

    http://geothermal.inel.gov/publications/future_of_geothermal_energy.pdf

    GM says: … the society we have built has absolutely no mechanism to make sure that in situation, where a tiny minority understands something of such impact for everyone that drastic action by everyone is required in order to preent a catastrophe, that drastic action is taken. Exactly the opposite –

    And thank GOD and John Browning we have!

    I see you are a bit weak on history as well. History is full of folks who think themselves possessed of Special Insight desiring to grasp after power and make The Big Decisions for the good of everyone else. Nero, Atilla, Alexander, Caesar, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Min, …. usually to the tune of millions of innocents killed.

    Since you have already stated you think we ought to kill off all but 100,000 million or so folks, you would make the tally of your benevolent wisdom 6 Billion or so.

    But the common folks know their history now, and they understand the need to keep folks with that desire under close control. “For their own good”.

    So my MIT+Caltech education and total lack of desire to sugarcoat things don’t work in my favor.

    Most likely not. I’d suggest spending some time developing those social skills, and then go work on a farm or ranch for about 2 years. Then you will have a much better grounding in reality. Oh, and I suggest visiting Ashland Oregon for the Shakespeare festival in Lithia Park. Avail yourself freely of the lithia water fountains, as often as possible. While the taste is a bit mineraly, it will lift your spirits…

    Which I am perfectly aware of, but I will keep saying it as it is in the vain hope of changing some minds, as hopeless as it is.

    Please stop. It is hopeless. Entirely and utterly hopeless. We are all doomed, you see, because the world is dominated by people like ME. Mindless drones that can never understand your wisdom. We’ve been genetically selected by generations to be resistant to your sound reasoning. We are just incapable of it. It’s all a plot to get you to waste your precious time and pollute your Precious Bodily Fluids in the trying. They have developed us, just to thwart you. Remember that a stroll though the ocean of most mens souls will scarcely get your feet wet. Give up.

    /sarcoff> and apologies to Deteriorata and Dr. Strangelove fans…


    Give me numbers. How big an eruption and how much energy?

    Well, the MIT report has enough power for the planet, with numbers. I’d just suggest if you want a volcano, try Yellowstone. About 1,000,000 atomic bombs worth at one go, plus or minus a few hundred thousand…

    And assuming you are correct, what does geothermal do to address the problems of topsoil loss, aquifer depletion, exhaustion of various mineral resources, general ecosystem collapse, etc.?

    Non sequitur alert, non sequitur alert!

    Those are addressed by other means. Aqifer via dealinizers and less water demanding crops (already developed, but continuing advancement), topsoil is easily rebuilt in a couple of years. Look at any old town, the dirt will be a few inches above the cement fixtures. That’s added soil. I trucked 8 inches of it out of my parkway when we moved in 25 years ago. It’s now back to 8 inches above the sidewalk near the tree, only 2 inches over away from it. And decent gardener can show you how to increase soil tilth in a year or two. Less if you compost. Minerals has already been endlessly addressed, but basically you change your technique. More gold now comes from crappier ore via “heap leach” than was ever pulled out in nuggets, for example.

    Phosphates? 11-22 BILLION tons of resource. 125 Million tons mined last year. So in 100 years we might need to answer that question. (At which time I expect the answer will be “the ocean” and the only question will be if it is via Algae as a concentrator, via a permeable membrane molecular filter, or via some as yet undetermined technology). Source:

    http://www.imphos.org/download/jena/cisse_prb-15.pdf

    That we mine easy rock now does not mean we can’t mine other sources later. Historically we mined bird poo from birds that nicely collected it from the ocean in their food. Nothing to prevent US from taking the phosphate out of OUR poo instead of letting it run back into the ocean as treated sewage.

    Of course, given the time it would take to build all those geothermal plants, collapse due to Peak Oil + Peak Water, Soil, Phosphorus and others will occur long before geothermal (in the unlikely case you are correct) makes any significant contribution to the energy mix.

    Let’s see. Peak Oil IFF it is true, we’ve got 30 to 60 years of gradual decline as we make more coal to liquids plants (already done in South Africa and China), then it’s a couple of hundred years more on coal, then, OOPS! Forgot about the Thorium, we’ll be on nukes way before then… OK, so not a problem.

    Peak Water? With desalinizing and nukes that happens, er, um, NEVER.

    Soil you can build up in a year or two, if you need it. But aeroponics and hydroponics don’t even need soil. Not an issue.

    Phosphorus we just covered. 100 years until we need to start capturing poo and /or doing ocean extraction (which we already do as we harvest sea food, we just pitch out the bones now).

    And when you have drilled all sediment basins of the world, where do you drill next? Everest?

    Well, given the deep oil found by Std.Oil and Shell, and the deep oil finds by Petrobras, the immediate answer is “go back and drill deeper”. We’ve found monster fields at depth. Where theory said there can be no oil. Other folks pointed this out up thread, but you ignored it.

    The other minor issue is that Russia is finding oil in crystalline rocks with the abiotic thesis. So ‘sediment basins’ is looking a mite overly restrictive. Not to mention that with trivial effort the TRILLIONS of cubic feet of natural gas we’ve found (that has crashed prices) can be turned into gasoline, Diesel, and oil.

    http://www.gasresources.net/DDBflds2.htm

    The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins is by no means simply an academic proposition. After its first enunciation by N. A. Kudryavtsev in 1951, the modern theory was extensively debated and exhaustively tested. Significantly, the modern theory not only withstood all tests put to it, but also it settled many previously unresolved problems in petroleum science, such as that of the intrinsic component of optical activity observed in natural petroleum, and also it has demonstrated new patterns in petroleum, previously unrecognized, such as the paleonological and trace-element characteristics of reservoirs at different depths. Most importantly, the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins has played a central role in the transformation of Russia (then the U.S.S.R.) from being a “petroleum poor” entity in 1951 to the largest petroleum producing and exporting nation on Earth.

    […]
    The Dnieper-Donets Basin runs in a NW-SE direction between 30.6°E-40.5°E; its northern and southern borders are traced from 50.0°N-51.8°N and 47.8°N-50.0°N, respectively. For the first 45 year period of the geological study of the Northern Monoclinal Flank of the Dnieper-Donets Basin, its sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rock had been condemned as possessing no potential for petroleum production for reasons of the complete absence of any “source rock” (so-called) and the presence of active, strongly-circulating artesian waters. Recently the area was reexamined according to the perspective of the modern theory of deep, abiotic hydrocarbon origins.
    […]
    During the first five years of exploration, in the early 1990’s, of the northern flank of the Dnieper-Donets Basin, a total number of 61 wells were drilled, of which 37 are commercially productive, an exploration success rate of 57%. A number of the fields discovered are shown in the map in Fig. 1, together with their designation and type of petroleum fluids produced. The initial flows from the productive wells varied between 40-350 metric tons per day of oil and 100,000-1,600,000 cubic meters of gas per day.

    See that’s how folks do things in the real world. They drop their preconceived biases and learn new tricks. The explore, advance, and invent. They fix problems and they move on.

  170. @Steve Schaper : Well done. Though I thought I saw a fair amount of sorghum in Texas, and you could always raise cattle on the grasses that grow so well in those states. (But corn most likely pays more…) Seem to remember some other grains a bit to the northing edge of the corn belt. Wheat? Barley? Oats? They ought to grow in other states too, but probably not a big infrastructure for marketing. Yeah, the midwest is ideal for wind. Few raptors cruising the ridge lift like we have in California.

    And it looks like you have a good handle on the actual economics of corn ethanol. Leaner higher profit beef, side crop of ethanol, bioDiesel from the corn oil for running the ‘ol tractor and trucks. Brewers Yeast as a high vitamin high protein feed supplement. Saw one site, that I can’t find my reference for a the moment, that co-locates cattle with the ethanol facility. Ferments the cow poo to power the distiller. Whole thing pretty much closed cycle on fuels. Net energy gain…

    JimF says: I’m not sure that Big Oil is much, or even any, invested in geothermal energy now.

    There’s some. But the potential is far larger than the current production.

    http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Geothermal_Oil_Wells

  171. E.M.Smith

    Thank you for your excellent and detailed posts above. A man after my own heart. The BBC no less trumpeted the launch of the latest Saudi Mega Oilfield. They waxed lyrical regarding the massive cost of the development, the quantity of oil produced and the length of time that it would produce. They aimed directly to frighten the life out of people regarding the cost and effort.

    So I crunched the numbers. Seems the cost of production over the life of the field was usd 1.00 per barrel, yes one dollar per barrel. At the price then prevailing, the multibillion investment repaid itself in 46 days, yes 46 days. I did not take that into account in calculating the lifetime production cost.

  172. E.M.Smith

    That really bugs me, just how do we get rid of that EROI nonsense, for thats exactly what it is. The fact that the so called super efficient USA uses corn to make ethanol and excludes ethanol from much more efficient sources does not help.

    They tried to wipe put Brazilian ethanol, kept the price of oil at usd 10 for years. When most users changed back to oil, the oil price exploded and they thought ethanol was dead. Well they just re-opened the refineries.

    When you restore land to productive use, provide employment and income and cut out imports, those are very real positive benefits.

  173. Grey Lensman says:
    September 24, 2010 at 1:27 am
    E.M.Smith

    That really bugs me, just how do we get rid of that EROI nonsense, for thats exactly what it is. The fact that the so called super efficient USA uses corn to make ethanol and excludes ethanol from much more efficient sources does not help.

    The fact that the USA uses corn is due to the infinite wisdom of decoupling cost as measured in $ signs from the actual energy costs of things. This is the only reason.

    The existence of a sufficiently large mass of [snip] who don’t understand the importance of EROEI is the other.

  174. One of the most amazing things I have seen in my years on the internet is that a pretty good indicator of the amount of censoring is how loudly the website touts freedom and democracy as highest virtues (and how loudly those that are perceived as threats to them are attacked). Very interesting observation…

  175. Pity GM cannot apply his skills to economics, even worse than climate change.

    Ah and he slips in a little name calling.

    Never mind, he will get over it.

  176. davidmhoffer says:
    September 23, 2010 at 2:41 am “In theory, the problem you propose is real. Resources are finite and will be depleted. … Is there an end to entropy? Of course. … Is there peak oil and can guys like John put more in the ground? Of course there is and of course they can’t. ”

    You give too much ground. I realise this wasn’t your main point, but the above statements are not correct. In an open universe, entropy can continue to increase for ever, without limit. The observational evidence suggests that our universe is of this type; that it is infinite in extent and will expand for ever. Such a universe can avoid the so-called “heat death”.

    Peak oil was – and is – the theory that cumulative production follows a bell-shaped mathematical curve (the Hubbert curve), and that total production can be predicted from past production. Like AGW, the theory was soon disproved; it made predictions that proved false. It is false because it fundamentally misunderstands the economic and political nature of oil exploration and production. It is not a physical law.

    The amount of oil we produce is and will always be determined by how much we want to proeduce (where “want” is some sort of resultant of all the economic and political demands, in conjunction with the fashionable technologies of the day). There is no physical limit. If we want to put more oil in the ground, we can do so. We probably will, at some stage, as a convenient way of storing reserves. My guess is that on Earth oil+gas production will plateau at a level rather higher than now, then slowly fall off as consumer demand shifts towards other technologies, mainly electric. There will be significant production for specialised purposes indefinitely. Off Earth, though, it will probably never become very important outside those specialised uses, other technologies being used from the outset.

  177. @Grey Lensman: Glad you like it. Way more work than justified by the ‘stimulus’ but I figured it ought to help the lurkers who didn’t know it already.

    GM says: One of the most amazing things I have seen in my years on the internet is that a pretty good indicator of the amount of censoring is how loudly the website touts freedom and democracy as highest virtues (and how loudly those that are perceived as threats to them are attacked).

    Um, one of the most interesting things I’ve seen is how hard it is for some folks to be civil and follow the rules. There are not that many here. BTW, last I looked, this was not ‘touted as a democracy’ but rather a benevolent dictatorship. It IS Anthony’s site… If you don’t like the rules about word use and being civil, you could always leave. If you troll through the comments on various threads, you will find not that many ‘snips’. I’ve had one (and I was being a bit rude and deserved it.)

    BTW, speaking as just one of the folks here, I don’t perceive you as a threat at all. That is just self aggrandizement on your part. PITA? Sure. Misguided? Certainly. But a threat? Laughable. BTW, it’s a sign of a certain degree of paranoia to misconstrue ‘guidance and correction’ as ‘personal attack’. So, for example, the 10th time I’ve pointed you at validated sources showing you are flat out wrong on something, like the availability of functionally unlimited nuclear power, and how that makes EROEI pointless, to then call it an ‘attack’ is just [ self snip] behaviour.

    So perhaps you ought to take a moment to contemplate how much patience and tolerance has been dolled out in your direction as you endlessly prattle on spouting things that are trivially refuted with papers from name organizations and little things like existence proofs (say those Thorium nuke plants we’ve run for decades). Which you adamantly refuse to learn the smallest of things from reading.

    Throwing a tantrum over being required to follow a couple of rules is hardly building a case for your positions.

    Very interesting observation…

    Yes, especially if you have any background in psychology and diagnosis…

    Grey Lensman says:
    Pity GM cannot apply his skills to economics, even worse than climate change.

    I suspect he flunked an econ class. Has a tendency to rant against ‘economists’, but couldn’t learn that Malthus IS an economist and is the iconic center of his belief system. Strange, that.

    Ah and he slips in a little name calling.

    I think you meant ‘Ah and he SNIPS in a little…’ ;-)

    Never mind, he will get over it.

    No, he won’t. IMHO: Brittle behaviour patterns, inability to learn and change, self affected grandeur, messiah complex, persecution complex. Nope, not the kind to get over it.

  178. If you have to go there, self aggrandizement…that is unverifiable btw, then you’ve already lost.

    So my MIT+Caltech education and total lack of desire to sugarcoat things don’t work in my favor.

  179. Trying to figure out which South Park episode fits GM best is it #94 or #162…”GM you ARE the record”.

  180. What does GM stand for anyway? I think the G is for Gloom, not sure about M.

    Frankly GM, every position you have taken has been shredded, hats off to EM Smith in particular. I have never had a comment snipped but I have gotten away with some pretty serious put downs, though clever wording was required. If you are getting snipped then you’ve descended into name calling. If you, with your certitude in your superior intellect which provides you with the vision to see what most others don’t, are unable to calm down and articulate your position in terms acceptable to Anthony’s rules of common courtesy, then I must ask if your arguments have a factual and logical basis at all. Certainly you have not responded to any of EMSmiths highly compelling cases which would require no vulgar terms to dispute had you the evidence and ability to do so.

    You remain wedded to your vision, that only you and a small number of other people can see, of a future so dark that you see a cloud behind every silver lining. You say society has no mechanism for dealing with a situation where a small number of intellectuals can see a problem that the rest of us can’t. In fact we have a long standing process on this issue. When people “see things” that other people can’t, and refuse to even consider that they may not be seeing what they think they did when presented with massive evidence to the contrary, we submit them to professionals trained in large medical instituations to assess the person, determine the nature of their psychosis and if it results in them being a danger to themselves or others.

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