Category Archives: Oil

Horses to automobiles in NYC: 13 years

This is how fast energy sources can change: from all horses but one automobile in the 1900 New York Easter Parade to all automobiles but one horse in the 1913 Easter Parade.

horses in 1900

The automobile above is easier to spot than the horse below, 13 years later. Continue reading

The real worst and best cases of climate change

What do you want? The planet Venus? The current degraded Earth? Or a better world we know how to create?

What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?
Joel Pett, Lexington Herald Leader, 18 March 2012, The cartoon seen ’round the world

Mostly I post about solar and wind power winning, which is what I think is happening. But sometimes it’s worth a reminder of what could happen if we do nothing about climate change, and I posted on my facebook page a story about that. Which actually didn’t go far enough to the real worst case. Nonetheless, that story has been attacked by numerous parties of all political and scientific and unscientific stripes for being too doom and gloom. Yet none of the attackers bothered to mention a best case beyond “the same world we have now”. I have news for you: the world we have now is an ecological catastrophe, and we can do a lot better. So here’s the real worst case, the current case, which is far from the best of all possible worlds, and the real best case, as I see it. Plus what we can do to head for the best case.

grinning fossilized skull

First, the story I posted: David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 9 July 2017, The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. Notice that word “could”, which a lot of his critics seem to have ignored. He didn’t say “will”, and he clearly labeled what he was presenting as worst case scenarios.

In case anybody thinks he was making any of that stuff up, Wallace-Wells has also linked to an annotated version with footnotes for every substantial assertion. The annotated version notes at the top: Continue reading

U.S. electric power source projections: solar still most by 2023

According to FERC’s own figures from 2012 and 2016, my solar projections from 2013 (and former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff’s) were pretty good, and more U.S. electricity will still come from solar power by 2023. LAKE Solar Table 2017 Since coal and nuclear are already crashing, and natural gas isn’t increasing even as fast as formerly projected, solar could win even faster.

I constructed table below from the 2012 and 2016 summaries of total U.S. electric power generation from all sources, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Look at the 2012 column: only coal and natural gas generated more than 25% of total U.S. electricity.

But in 2016 it’s only natural gas, because coal’s growth rate actually turned negative: utilities are shutting down coal plants, not building them. Back in 2013 I did not predict that to happen so quickly.

Now look at the growth rates, both Continue reading

Pipelines companies don’t detect corrosion or stop explosions

A reminder of why to stop pipeline companies from burying investors’ money in the ground and get on with solar power: the pipeline that exploded in Texas last week was half owned by Spectra Energy, the pipeline company behind Sabal Trail, AIM, Penneast, and numerous other fracked methane invasions and behind thirty years of undetected corrosion resulting in leaks, explosions, property damage, and deaths. The pipeline company didn’t detect it and couldn’t even turn it off quickly. Want to bet that it, like Spectra’s Pennsylvania explosion last spring, was corrosion?

A very Texas report said “no people or cattle were injured” and also notice: “The fire is under control and will burn itself out.” Continue reading

Solar price drops setting invisible price limit for ever-dirtier fossil fuel extraction

A fairly insightful piece on the how oil price rises drive more fossil fuel production, currently fueled by debt because wages of most workers have been falling, still misses two big points: solar prices continually plumetting now undercut all fossil fuel prices, and dirtier fossil fuel extraction and its massive colonial invasion of pipelines are meeting resistance everywhere, including at the regulatory-captured puppet agencies like FERC.

“Tyler Durden”, ZeroHedge, 13 May 2016, Submitted by Gail Tverberg via Our Finite World blog, The Real Oil Limits Story – What Other Researchers Missed, Continue reading

Halliburton says fossil fuels unsustainable, lays off a third worldwide, including management

You know things are bad for fossil fuels when the biggest profiteer of them all takes an axe to itself. The fewer fossil fuel boondoggles (including more pipeline projects going belly-up), the faster investment will keep moving to renewable sun, wind, and water power, for profits, and we get clean air and water and less global warming.

“Tyler Durden”, Zerohedge, 22 April 2016, Halliburton Fires One Third Of Global Staff: “What We Are Experiencing Today Is Unsustainable”,

In a brutally frank and painfully honest first quarter operational update, Halliburton president Jeff Miller poured freezing cold water all over the “oil is stabilizing, and everything is going to be awesome” narrative. After explaining that the firm has laid off one-third of its global employees, and pointing to the collapse in sequential revenues across every business unit, Miller exclaimed: “What we are experiencing today is far beyond headwinds; it is
unsustainable.”

Due to the deadline of its merger agreement with Baker Hughes Halliburtion has delayed its earnings conference call until May 3rd and so gave an operational update. The healdlines were horrific:

Federal court rules fossil fuels violate constitutional rights 2016-04-08

Our Children’s Trust, Press Release, 9 April 2016, Judge Denies Motions by Fossil Fuel Industry and Federal Government in Landmark Climate Change Case,

Today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the federal District Court in Eugene, OR, decided in favor of 21 young Plaintiffs, and Dr. James Hansen on behalf of future generations, in their landmark constitutional climate change case brought against the federal government and the fossil fuel industry. The Court’s ruling is a major victory for the 21 youth Plaintiffs, ages 8-19, from across the U.S. in what Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein call the “most important lawsuit on the planet right now.” These plaintiffs sued the federal government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property, and their right to essential public trust resources, by permitting, encouraging, and otherwise enabling continued exploitation, production, and combustion of fossil fuels.

Full press release and court order.

In denying the motions of the federal government and the fossil fuel industry, the court’s decision framed the issue as follows:

“Plaintiffs are suing the United States … because the government has known for decades that carbon dioxide (C02) pollution has been causing catastrophic climate change and has failed to take necessary action to curtail fossil fuel emissions. Moreover, Continue reading

Wind and Solar are winning by 2 to 1 over gas and coal

Guess what’s really inevitable, pipeline companies? Solar and wind power.

Utility scare tactics that no coal means pipelines are so much hot air. Scare tactics that no pipelines would mean LNG trains are burnt up by solar power. Stop pipelnes or fracking and stop the other and LNG export along with it. And we’re winning!

Tom Randall, Bloomberg, 6 April 2016, Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels: Record clean energy investment outpaces gas and coal 2 to 1. Continue reading

Moratorium on Palmetto Pipeline goes to GA Gov. for signature on HB 1036

We all won twice against invading pipelines this week in the Georgia legislature. Yes, pipeline companies, advocates of water, air, and property rights work together, too A smashing 34-128 defeat of Spectra Energy’s invading Sabal “Sinkhole” Trail natural gas pipeline, by WWALS, Flint Riverkeeper, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Georgia Sierra Club, Georgia Water Coalition, SpectraBusters, and many others, wasn’t the only win for landowners, environmentalists, and the people in the Georgia legislature this week. Push Back the Pipeline‘s petroleum products moratorium passed the final legislative hurdle in the House and is on its way to Gov. Nathan Deal to sign. You know, if Deal had stood up for the people against Sabal Trail, too, its easements to drill under Georgia rivers including our Withlacoochee River and Okapilco Creek, would have been defeated in the State Land Commission of which he is chair before they ever got to the legislature. But we all won, and won again! Spectra, Kinder Morgan, and even ALEC lost this time.

Walter C. Jones, jacksonville.com, 23 March 2016, Bill to stall pipeline from Belton, S.C., to Jacksonville awaits Georgia governor’s signature: Georgia House adopted moratorium that would impose moratorium on licensing and permitting until July 2017, Continue reading

GA House passes moratorium on eminent domain for petroleum pipelines in HB 1036 at last minute

A moratorium on eminent domain for petroleum pipelines until June 30, 2017 pending study of land use rights, Moratorium on eminent domain for petroleum pipelines a change throughout of right to power of eminent domain, and “natural resources, environment, and vital areas of the state” now mentioned first, in HB 1036, passed yesterday, the last day for either half of the Georgia legislature to adopt a bill before sending it to the other half. A small change from the Georgia Senate could also affect natural gas pipelines.

See also Walter C. Jones, jacksonville.com, 24 February 2016, Senate subcommittee approves moratorium on eminent domain for petroleum pipelines in Georgia, Continue reading