NewEnergyNews: 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 23:

  • TTTA Thursday-EVANGELICALS IN ‘CREATION CARE’ CLIMATE FIGHT
  • TTTA Thursday-ADVANCED WIND-MAKERS MAKANI, SHEERWIND READY DEMOS
  • TTTA Thursday-TEA PARTY BACKS SOLAR, ATTACKS UTILITY MONOPOLIES
  • TTTA Thursday-WHAT DRIVERS DON’T KNOW HOLDS BACK THE FUTURE
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE IMPACT ON REAL PEOPLE OF RISING POWER PRICES
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 22: SCHOOLS SAVE W/GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; BUILDING FOR NEXT-GEN U.S. BIOFUELS; ENERGY STORAGE MARKET EMERGING
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    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: WHERE U.S. OFFSHORE WIND WILL CONNECT
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 21: SOLARCITY TO CROWDFUND WITH $1,000 BONDS; NEW JERSEY LOOKS AT OCEAN WIND; SMART LED LIGHTING MRKT TO DOUBLE
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSMISSION
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 20: ELEVEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY; YAHOO BUYS WIND; SMART THERMOSTATS’ BILLION DOLLAR FUTURE
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: The Ocean Speaks Out
  • Weekend Video: Adapting To The Inevitable
  • Weekend Video: The Joy Of Driving EVs Powered By The Sun
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-HOTTEST SEPTEMBER EVER; WORLD’S HOTTEST MONTHS STREAK AT SIX
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU WIND BEATS FOSSIL, NUKE ENERGY PRICES
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-DESERTEC SUCCUMBS TO MIDEAST TURMOIL
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-JAPAN UPS PUSH FOR GEOTHERMAL
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

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    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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  • Saturday, September 30, 2006

    ONE TRILLION DOLLARS!

    $1,000,000,000,000: the cost of capping greenhouse gas emissions
    Philip Thornton, 30 September 2006 (UK Independent)
    - The cost of curbing the soaring emissions of harmful gases that are blamed for causing global warming has been estimated at $1 trillion by a major study of the cost of climate change…The volume of emissions of the gases that cause global warming will double by 2050 unless rich countries agree to take significant policy steps to cut energy use…

    - The report, by PricewaterhouseCoopers, lays bare the potential damage to the environment of the industrial revolution in China and India. It puts a price of $1 trillion (£526bn) on the cost of sorting out the problem spread over the next generation…less than the cost in terms of environmental catastrophe and loss of life that scientists fear will happen as temperatures and sea levels rise…
    - Turbo-charged growth in emerging economies is helping to drag billions of people out of poverty across Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe…But according to PWC, the price will be paid by sharp rises in global energy consumption and carbon emissions...the rich nations that have done most to cause the problem must take more drastic action to reduce their environmental impact…
    PWC's analysis shows its projections for economic growth of the seven largest emerging economies (E7) - Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey - imply global carbon emissions will double by 2050…

    - PWC's report gives a wish list of measures that could deliver lower emissions than exist now by 2050 . These include: energy efficiency improvements beyond the historic trend; road pricing where proceeds are not given back to motorists; investment in hydrogen-based technologies; a major switch from coal to gas, nuclear and renewables, particularly in China and India; and expanding carbon capture and storage - taking carbon at source and storing underground or undersea…
    - China and India have ratified the Kyoto protocol but do not have to meet the targets to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases.

    CHANGE A LIGHT BULB, SAVE THE WORLD

    CHANGE A LIGHT BULB, SAVE THE WORLD
    Program lowers cost of energy-saving bulbs
    Peggy Kreimer, September 28, 2006 (The Cincinnati Post)
    - Duke Energy is putting a new twist on how to lower energy bills - use an energy-saving twisted fluorescent light that screws into conventional lamp sockets.

    - The lights usually sell for $5 or more. Typical utility customers who replace the lights in their five most frequently used light fixtures with the new fluorescent lights can save more than $60 a year in energy costs...
    - Northern Kentucky Duke Energy customers will be able to buy up to 12 of the Energy Star fluorescent lights for 99 cents each through a special program next week called Change a Light, Change the World...The sale price reflects a collaboration among General Electric, Duke Energy and an array of retailers who will be offering the discounted lights...

    - The program is part of Duke Energy's effort to get 40,000 energy efficient lights into Northern Kentucky homes by the end of the year...
    - Special events to sell the lights this spring were held in Ludlow and Alexandria. An event in Covington in 2005 sold 7,000 lights...The lights are available in 60, 75 and 100 watts.

    THEY SAY HE’S GOING TO…HE DOES…AND HERE’S WHY:

    THEY SAY HE’S GOING TO: Bush to speed up alternative energy push: paper
    September 29, 2006 (Reuters via Yahoo News)

    - President Bush said he would speed up his alternative energy push during the remainder of his term, with new spending focused on easing bottlenecks that are slowing the spread of ethanol in the market, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday...


    HE DOES: Bush pushes 'energy diversification' to wean US from oil
    September 29, 2006 (AFP via Yahoo News)

    The US is to put more funding into energy research, especially the development of ethanol, to end its reliance on oil, President George W. Bush said in an interview...
    - Outlining his energy policy for his closing two years in office, Bush said more government money would be spent "to accelerate that which is possible," including making ethanol more widespread as a substitute for gasoline...
    - His ultimate "vision" in energy conservation, Bush said, was developing the hydrogen-powered automobile because "it's clean. It deals with the warming issue."
    However, he dispelled rumors that the government might follow California's example by imposing direct regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming...

    AND HERE’S WHY: Climate demands rapid energy conversion, experts say
    Martin LaMonica, September 29, 2006 (CNET News.com)

    - A panel of energy experts called on industry and government to rapidly embrace technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon sequestration.
    - Growing energy demand, notably from developing nations such as India and China, coupled with climate change caused by global warming have created a situation that requires both technology and new government policies, panelists [on a Massachusetts Institute of Technology “Innovation and the Energy Crisis” panel] said.
    - [M]oderator Robert C. Armstrong, an MIT professor of chemical engineering and the co-director of the MIT Energy Research Council: "The energy infrastructure turnover is on the order of 50 years certainly or greater, driven by the enormous infrastructure and capital costs involved…These are grand challenges that involve science, technology and policy."

    Joseph Romm [founder/executive director for the Center for Energy & Climate Solutions and a former director of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy]: "The answer is we should spend every last dime on technology available today and technology available in the next five years. All the technology in the world won't be worth anything if we don't act now…[science around global warming] has gotten incredibly solid and alarming…"
    - Nathan Lewis, professor at the California Institute of Technology: "This is no longer about science. This is about risk management…If we don't solve this problem in the next 20 years, pure and simple from a scientific point of view, the world will never be the same."

    - Lewis said that the scale of shifting the energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels while meeting growing demand worldwide means that people should focus on techniques that will have the biggest impact on reducing greenhouse gases, notably those involving carbon dioxide...He advocated conservation efforts to reduce energy consumption. But even with those, the planet has only "four cards" left to consider when addressing a problem of this scale, Lewis argued...He recommended "clean coal," where carbon dioxide from coal is captured during extraction and sequestered underground or at the bottom of the sea to reduce its impact on the atmosphere.
    He also advocated nuclear power at a large scale. And he urged use of solar electricity and cheap storage of renewable energy through chemical fuels.
    All panelists called on the federal government to establish policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions...

    Pick the square for President Bush, the square for the academics and the square you belong in.

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    87: PART 2

    Continuing the assessment from September 27:

    Opponents: “Prop. 87 creates a new state bureaucracy with 50 political appointees.”

    - The proposition designates a nine person “authority” to administer the revenues. These are to be experts in renewable energy, allocating venture capital, research programs and so on. Each member is allowed a deputy. Members of the government, such as state Treasurer and state Attorney General, serve the authority. Advisory review committees for expert analysis are provided for, on a per diem basis only. The 50 political appointees may eventually materialize, but only in rigid service to the greater goals of the proposition. Creating and administering a $4 billion program requires the best and the brightest and that is all this proposition allows for. A provision rigidly delineates administrative cost expenditure to no more than 2.5% of total revenues.

    Opponents: “ Prop. 87 lets the new bureaucracy keep spending even if they’re not producing results.”

    - The proposition caps collections at $4 billion dollars over an estimated 10 year period. The voters or the legislature would be forced to renew the program after that, no matter how clean our air is in 2017.

    Opponents: “Prop 87 robs schools of their fair share of revenues.”

    - After assessing Land Property Tax revenues, State Income Tax revenues, oil production revenues and Fuel Excise Tax and Sales Tax revenues, the Secretary of State’s “Official Voter Information Guide” estimates no more than $25 million dollars in total reductions. Total. Schools wouldn’t get much of that 25 mil and the proposition mandates up to $4 million to go into public education, $10 million to go into community college vocational training and more than $100 million to go into California university research programs. So I guess it all depends on which schools you’re talking about.

    - The proposition specifically does NOT affect money allotted to California schools by previous electoral measures.
    - There would probably be some budget “hurt” in districts where present oil taxes support local school systems. Representatives of those districts can and should seek compensation from the new energy authority.
    - Regarding economic impacts, the Secretary of State’s “Official Voter Information Guide” says this: Taken together, these economic factors could have mixed impacts on state and local tax revenues. So it is entirely possible the impact of the programs born of this proposition alone would have a beneficial effect on California schools’ revenues.

    - And I suspect there is research somewhere showing that children learn better when they can breathe.

    Update from 87 (posted September 27)
    “87 is not a tax on consumers, it a tax on oil producers.”
    California is the only oil-producing state that does not have such a tax:

  • Texas: 385.1 million barrels, 4.8% tax

  • Alaska: 315.4 million barrels, 15.0% tax

  • California: 230.0 million barrels, 0.0% tax

  • Louisiana: 72.8 million barrels, 12.5% tax

  • Oklahoma: 61.5 million barrels, 7.0% tax

  • New Mexico: 60.6 million barrels, 3.75% tax

  • Wyoming: 50.9 million barrels, 6.0% tax

  • North Dakota: 34.7 million barrels, 6.5% tax

  • Kansas: 33.6 million barrels, 8.0% tax

  • Montana: 33.0 million barrels, 14.8% tax

  • (from California Budget Project analysis)

    To Be Continued

    RENEWABLES COMPETITIVE

    With extensive statistical analysis based on sound research,The Renewable Path to Energy Security is a report from highly respected think tanks World Watch Institute and Center for American Progress emphasizing the economic viability of New Energies:

    -We as a nation have the ingenuity, know-how and determination necessary to create an energy-secure America. By capturing the energy of the wind and the light of the sun, the power of a mighty river or heat stored in the crust of the Earth, we can find new, untapped resources that create jobs, improve our security and improve the health of our people, our planet and our economy…

    - [A]n energy future based on abundant and clean renewable sources is not only urgently needed, but achievable. The time is ripe for a strong national commitment to enacting new policies at the federal, state and local levels that will allow the United States to become a world leader in building a 21st Century energy system. Meeting that challenge will require concerted efforts by governments, businesses and citizens across our nation…

    - If there was ever a time when a major shift in the U.S. energy economy was possible, it is now. Three decades of pioneering research and development by both the government and the private sector have yielded a host of promising new technologies that turn abundant domestic energy sources-including solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, biomass, and ocean energy-into transportation fuels, electricity, and heat…

    CUTTING EDGE HYDROGEN?

    Israeli researcher: Forget gas, fill your tanks with water
    Nicky Blackburn, September 17, 2006 (Israel 21c)
    - With fears for the environment growing and the price of fossil fuels rising, a team of Israeli researchers working in Israel and the US is working on a new emission-free method to run your car - with water…

    - Dr. Tareq Abu-Hamed, an Israeli scientist currently at the University of Minnesota, and colleagues, Professor Jacob Karni, and Michael Epstein, head of the Solar Facility at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, have developed a new method to produce hydrogen fuel cheaply, efficiently and safely while at the same time addressing current onboard storage or transportation problems…The scientists use the element boron, a lightweight semi-metallic element, to react with water to produce hydrogen that can be burnt in an internal combustion engine or fed to a fuel cell to generate electricity. The goal is to create hydrogen on demand - enough hydrogen to match the needs of the car's engine…
    - Hydrogen-on-demand removes the need for costly hydrogen pipelines and distribution infrastructure, and also makes hydrogen vehicles safer…According to Abu-Hamed, an Israeli Arab from east Jerusalem, there are no CO2 emissions from this process. The only by-product is boron oxide, which can be removed from the car, and converted back into boron for re-use…Abu-Hamed and his team estimate that to create the same energy content as a 10 gallon tank of gasoline, the car would have to carry 40 pounds of boron and 12 gallons of water. Together they would produce 11 pounds of hydrogen - enough to fuel an average car for 220 miles…still only at research stage, a functioning prototype is expected by 2009…efforts to commercialize the technology will begin in the next one to two years…
    - One of the problems with this method is that boron is expensive, but Abu-Hamed believes that the use of solar energy to recycle the boron, will reduce costs…

    - Abu-Hamed was born in the village of Sur Bahir in east Jerusalem. During his youth, he spent his summers picking fruit on nearby kibbutzim, working side by side with people from all over the world. There he learned how to speak English, and discovered other cultures…joined the environmental sciences and energy research department at the Weizmann Institute some three years ago, after taking his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Ankara University in Turkey…joined Weizmann at the height of the intifada, but despite the worsening political climate, he found the staff welcoming. "At the Weizmann Institute, science is the only thing that matters," he admits…

    - Abu-Hamed moved to Minnesota earlier this year, where he is taking second post-doctoral fellowship…he plans to continue working on the hydrogen research with his Israeli colleagues…worked hard to promote Israeli-Palestinian understanding. Every summer he organized and accompanied tours of the Clore Garden of Science on the Weizmann campus for Palestinian children attending summer programs in his village. Some 300 children aged between nine and 15 took part in these tours… Abu Hamed believes that the future holds more cooperation, but it will require change and a new generation willing to support it…

    Thursday, September 28, 2006

    LOCKYER GOES FOR THE DEEP POCKETS

    Forbes Bagatellle-Black's assessment of California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's move to sue the big car companies for emissions harms:
    Experts Weigh In on the Lockyer Lawsuit
    Forbes Bagatelle-Black, September 22, 2006 (EV World)
    - California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a lawsuit against Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Toyota of North America, Honda of North America and Nissan North America. The lawsuit alleges that emissions from vehicles manufactured by these companies have created a public nuisance which has caused quantifiable damages to California residents...

    - Deputy Attorney General Harrison Pollak...is an attorney [Environment Section/Public Rights Division/Office of the California Attorney General] working on the case...
    - I asked Pollak if the state was going to seek damages. “...Exactly right...we are also seeking a declaration that the auto companies are liable for present and future damages resulting from emissions of greenhouse gasses from their vehicles...There is $40M in the state budget this year allocated to dealing with the effects of global warming. This type of expense can be directly associated with emissions such as those described in the lawsuit...Public nuisance theory goes back hundreds of years. It has been used in environmental cases for more than a century. Part of the definition of a public nuisance is that it causes harm to life, health and property..."
    - Why just the car companies? Why not go after all sources of greenhouse gas emissions? Pollak had obviously pondered these questions prior to my asking, “You have to start somewhere. Car companies are huge contributors to global warming. Also, there is great potential to introduce better technologies into the transportation industry, but car companies have historically dragged their feet at every proposed advance in automotive safety or pollution control...It is not the focus of our lawsuit to find out what they can do to fix the problem. We want them to pay for the damage they have done...”
    - This reporter knows many people who are not afraid to offer answers to question regarding greenhouse gas emissions...
    - Tom Gage, president of the electric vehicle company AC Propulsion...“To me, it is a typical deal with legislators who have no technical understanding. It’s not clear what Lockyer would have the car companies do instead. The only way to comply would be to generate all power through renewables...This should be done through the legislative branch, not the judicial branch...It does not reflect well on the environmental movement to support something like this. It does not address the crux of the issue.”
    - Gail Slocum, former mayor of Menlo Park and senior policy advisor to the electric vehicle advocacy group CalCars...“I’m encouraged to see the pressure being brought which could cause a sea change similar to what happened with tobacco litigation several years ago. The tobacco lobby was so firmly entrenched in Washington that the federal government would not or could not take any action against tobacco companies. However, when the litigators won a few cases, big tobacco gave up. Lawsuits like this could cause something similar to happen in the automotive industry.”

    - CalCars founder Felix Kramer...“I don't know if precedents apply, and it may be a difficult case to prove. But it's great to the extent that it motivates auto-makers to factor carbon dioxide emissions into their business models. Increasingly, car-buyers are asking for ‘environmental features’ in the face of critics who use traditional criteria for what is ‘economically viable.’ They and auto-makers are starting to recognize the negative global paybacks we get from cars. Of course the first company to start manufacturing a plug-in hybrid, with half the CO2 emissions of the equivalent car, merits a prize, not a summons.”
    - Herman Trabish, publisher of the “New Energy News” blog...“Lockyer is trying to be like Elliot Spitzer and more power to both. A settlement would do what Branson is trying to do with his three billion dollar gift this morning. It would begin making the biggest carbon burners a little more carbon neutral. Smart people know we've got to have a carbon tax, one way or another, because we've got to stop burning carbon.”

    - Chelsea Sexton, Executive Director of the group Plug-In America...“I think it is an example of one more way this issue is being dealt with in the national conversation. It represents one more way theses issues are being addressed. The auto makers need to realize that consumers are focusing more on emissions. They need to respond to consumer demand and offer more choices and cleaner choices.”
    - Pete Nortman, president of EnergyCS, a company developing a conversion kit which turns a Toyota Prius into a plug-in hybrid...“I think many people could easily be persuaded to take the side of the auto companies on this because it is the status quo, even though it's not in their best interest to do so...We need to make change, and to do this, we need to make courageous choices to live differently - live within nature instead of living off nature. Our western standard of living is built upon two things, plentiful and inexpensive energy, and science. Now science is telling us that we can't spend the energy at the rate we are doing it and remain sustainable. We need to respect our limits.”
    - ...Those of us who saw the California EV mandate come and go have grown skeptical to transportation solutions proposed by the government...most agree that this lawsuit has the potential to do some good, at least. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    87

    California Official Voter Information Guide: Proposition 87

    The questions they are many and the facts they are few,
    I’ll tell you what I know but you’ll have to figure out what to do:


    Opponents: “Do we really want to increase oil taxes by another $4 billion?”
    - This is not a tax on consumers. It taxes oil producers.

    Opponents: “Higher taxes on domestic oil = more dependence on foreign oil.”
    - Only if California oil producers decide to let a maximum 6% tax on a 60 dollar barrel of oil stop them from selling it. How likely is that?
    Opponents: “Higher oil taxes = higher gas prices.”
    - This is a really interesting economic question and therefore economists are split over whether it is true or not. The proposition makes it illegal for oil sellers to pass the tax along but the market’s invisible hand works in mysterious ways.
    - A more interesting aspect of this question is: Are consumers aware enough of the need to develop non-carbon sources and infrastructures for energy to be willing to bear the burden of higher prices?

    - If nothing else, 87 might be an expensive advertising campaign for that need because, interestingly, even opponents agree it is pressing.

    More coming soon.

    YES folks
    NO folks

    WHAT ABOUT ALL THAT SUGAR ETHANOL?

    Despite all the hoopla, Brazil only gets about 9-10% of its energy from sugar ethanol. The rest comes from old-fashioned oleaginous hydrocarbons.

    Brazil to invest heavily in gas production, LNG imports
    Peter Howard Wertheim, September 15, 2006 (Oil and Gas Journal)
    - Heavy investment in Brazil's natural gas industry by state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) is resulting in a growing use of gas in the country's energy mix, particularly in gas-fired thermoelectric plants.

    - Gas use rose to 8.9% in 2004 from 7.7% in 2003 and underwent a further hike to 9.3% in 2005. Projections are that it will represent 11% in 2010 and 15% in 2015...investments and the importation of LNG will prevent a gas supply shortfall...
    - Petrobras and its partners will invest up to $22 billion in the gas chain in Brazil during 2007-11. Of this amount, about 14.9 billion will be spent on gas exploration and production...

    THE HYDROGEN SOLUTION?

    GM developing home hydrogen fueling device
    Chris Woodyard, September 25 2006 (USA Today)
    - General Motors is building a prototype for a home hydrogen refueling unit in hope of selling fuel-cell cars by 2011.

    - The unit, which would make hydrogen using either electricity or sunlight, would help sidestep one of the most vexing problems surrounding the creation of the pollution-free, alternative-power cars: how to persuade oil companies to invest in expensive new hydrogen stations that would compete with their core product, gasoline.
    - The automaker's goal is an affordable, compact unit that would allow customers to fill their cars overnight in their own garages...
    - GM would join Honda, which has already created a model for a home refueling hydrogen unit.
    - Home refueling makes the possibility of fuel-cell cars "much more real," especially since building hydrogen fueling stations would be a "massive undertaking," says Ron Cogan, publisher of the Green Car Journal.

    - GM is starting to seriously plan a business case for hydrogen vehicles, which up to now has been a long-range research project eclipsed by more market-ready fuel-saving alternatives, such as gas-electric hybrids...
    Vice Chairman Bob Lutz recently predicted that GM fuel-cell-powered vehicles could go on sale in as few as five years from now, beating previous forecasts by a decade.
    - He said fuel cells could create a new golden age for GM hearkening back to the 1950s and 1960s.
    - Fueling is a problem. California, with the most hydrogen filling stations of any state, has just 23 and another 15 on the drawing boards. Even GM's oil company partner, Shell, has immediate plans for only six, two outside New York and four on the drawing board in Los Angeles.
    - One big reason: expense. Shell's only existing hydrogen filling station, in the Washington, D.C., area, cost $2 million...
    - GM isn't alone in home refueling. Honda unveiled the third generation of its home unit last year, created in conjunction with a fuel-cell company called Plug Power. It produces enough hydrogen from natural gas to power both a car and a home.
    - Honda also has a solar-powered refueling station in operation at its test center in Torrance, Calif. It makes enough hydrogen for 30 miles of driving a day...its next-generation hydrogen car in Japan...with a smaller, lighter fuel cell, has a range of more than 270 miles. It's due to arrive in the USA in 2008...

    THE OIL SANDBOX

    Edwards sees threat to oil sands projects
    Dave Ebner, 22 September 2006 (Toronto Globe and Mail)

    - High costs will likely derail some projects in the oil sands, according to Murray Edwards, the reclusive vice-chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., one of many firms working in the overheated Fort McMurray region of Alberta…It was the strongest public declaration yet from a senior industry executive that some projects may not go ahead as planned…"These projects, long term, need prices higher than $50 [U.S. a barrel]," Mr. Edwards told reporters after in a rare public appearance yesterday afternoon at the Alberta Global Business Forum…
    - A tally of industry projects suggests that oil sands production could quadruple to as much as four million barrels a day in 2020, up from about one million today.
    Such growth would make Canada one of the world's most significant oil producers…
    - Pressures around Fort McMurray -- competition for labour, construction materials such as steel and the region's overstretched infrastructure -- have already forced one global player to amend its plan. Paris-based Total SA, which bought into the oil sands a year ago, had hoped to see some production in 2010 but in August revealed first production is now set for 2013…

    - While Mr. Edwards was skeptical that the industry could deliver on heady forecasts for production gains, he was bullish about the prices of crude oil and natural gas.
    He said supply-and-demand fundamentals for both commodities indicate oil could stay higher than $60 a barrel through the end of the decade and natural gas could average at least $8 for a 1,000 cubic feet…
    - Among the pressures in the oil sands, Mr. Edwards highlighted the demand for labour…
    - Cost escalation in the oil sands has been and remains extreme. In just the past five years, Mr. Edwards said the price to build a project has doubled. The trend remains intact…

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    OIL INDUSTRY FOLKLORE

    Just published in the 2006 issue of the Petroleum History Institute's OIL-INDUSTRY HISTORY:

    A BRIEF SUMMARY OF OIL INDUSTRY FOLKLORE
    by Herman K. Trabish

    - ABSTRACT: Sometime in the late nineteenth century, There’s GOLD in them thar hills!” transmuted into There’s OIL out there! As the oilfield pioneers left the Pennsylvania and Baku regions and took the industry to the farthest corners of the world, they created their own legends and lore. The premier chronicler of oil’s lore was historian and folklorist Mody Coggin Boatright. Building on field research which recorded the realities of oilfield life, he documented the tales that grew around the realities and how they grew taller as time passed. If not every well came in, each had its story. Real people transmuted into indelible character types. Finally, the real life of Gilbert Morgan of Callensburg, Clarion County, Pennsylvania, gave forth Gib Morgan, the greatest oil industry hero of them all.

    - INTRODUCTION
    Sometime in the late nineteenth century, There’s GOLD in them thar hills! became There’s OIL out there! Dreams of success turned ordinary men into oilmen ready to roam where ever they thought they might find a producing well. There is a tale about an oilman who arrives at a small isolated town where there is an oil boom. It might be Texas or California or Sumatra. He can find no accommodations. Not wanting to sleep outside, he begins making the rounds of the public houses, asking everyone if they have heard about the strike elsewhere. Eventually, his invented rumor takes hold and he encounters men who ask him about the elsewhere strike. By midnight the public houses are clearing and there is a lot of traffic leaving town. Accommodations become available. But our oilman does not take a room. Unable to resist even his own invented rumor, he is off to see about the strike elsewhere.

    Eventually, that story turned into one about an oilman who, on dying and going to heaven, is told by Saint Peter at the Heavenly Gates that he will have to go to Purgatory and wait because all the oilmen’s places in Heaven are filled. The oilman smiles sadly and accepts this dictate but requests and is granted temporary admission for a visit with his friends. While chatting with the oilmen in Heaven, he casually mentions rumors of oil discoveries in Purgatory. Soon, his invented rumor spreads and eventually comes back to him. He notices movement in the crowd and, then, space clearing. Finally, he decides it is time to move on. At the Pearly Gates, he meets Saint Peter, who tells him there is now room for him. Sorry, the oilman says, I’ve heard a rumor and I think I’ll go Downstairs and explore. (Boatright 1963, p. 196).

    As the oilfield pioneers left the Pennsylvania and Baku regions and took the industry to the farthest corners of the world, they created their own legends and lore. The premier chronicler of oil’s lore was historian and folklorist Mody Coggin Boatright (Fig. 1) of the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Folklore Society. He built on field research done in the 1920s and 1930s by numerous folklorists and colleagues. They took notes and audio taped the recollections of men who had worked the oilfields all the way back to the days of Colonel Drake. Amid a storehouse of oilfield tales, characters, themes, types and lore, Boatright found and chronicled oil’s greatest hero, Gib Morgan (Fig. 2). He called the Gib Morgan folklore:
    …equal to the best in the Crockett Almanacs and superior to the best in the Paul Bunyan legend. This lore, richly imaginative and often satirical, is known…wherever oil is produced in the United States. It is known…wherever American oil crews and technicians have gone. (Speck 1973, p. 62).


    - In the Gib Morgan lore, oil region humor was transmuted...

    - I. THE MYTH, THE TALL TALES, AND THE STORIES
    According to Boatright, a myth in very general terms may be taken to be a story whether true or not that is …associated with the most cherished values of the believers. (Speck 1973, p. 108). The singular myth of the oil industry, around which all the others grew, was the myth of the man and his well. Remarkably, it was sometimes a true story. After many retellings, it was essentially the same story, whether told of Drake in Titusville (Fig. 3), of Patillo Huggins (Fig. 4) and Captain Lucas at Spindletop (Fig. 5), D’arcy in Persia (Fig. 6) or Dad Joiner (Fig. 7) in East Texas: An unlikely man falls into a search for oil. (Drake was a retired train conductor drafted because he had a free railroad pass. Huggins was a Sunday school teacher who observed gas vents on picnics. D’arcy (Brice 2004) was a patriotic gold miner drafted into the service of Great Britain. Dad Joiner was a gigolo.) Fate taps the man on the shoulder. He becomes convinced and then obsessed, yet he finds no oil. Time and funds are expended. Those who hold the power and the purse call off the search. Just past the eleventh hour, the obsessed hero brings home the gusher. It is the stuff of melodrama, but it really happened, in Pennsylvania, in Texas, in Persia and in oil country all over the world. Tales grew around these realities and they grew taller as time passed. Indelible character types were born: the Geologist and the Doodlebugologist, the Promoter-Trickster, the brave Shooter, the cowboy Driller, the newly rich Landowner, the Oil Field Dove. And from the real life of Gilbert Morgan of Callensburg, Clarion County, Pennsylvania, came the greatest oil industry Hero of them all.

    Tall tales often begin as jokes and often these jokes remain in the tale. An example would be an episode from Texas tall tale character Pecos Bill’s infancy...


    Two favorite excerpts:

    1.
    Long after the originator of the Gib Morgan stories had died, journalist Harry Botsford heard a modern-day Gid Morgan in a bar telling a yet wilder tall tale. This Gid allows his female canary, Jen, to escape and mate with a bumblebee …almost as big as a hummin’bird… For a while there are no consequences.

    Then the wells started to go dry, alarmingly. One day I heard buzzing and the beating of thousands of wings. There they was—whickles, thousands of them. A whickle is a cross between a bumblebee and a canary. Two divisions of the critters was streaming out of the casing head of an old well. Then I remembered my history. Whickles, unlike birds or insects, live on oil, and that was why the wells had been goin’ dry. Fact! They had been sippin’ thousands of barrels of oil right out from under our noses.

    He spots the canary and the bumblebee, remembers Jen’s fondness for applejack and spills some, trying to lure them to capture. They escape. That night six horses, three cows and a travelin’ evangelist was stang to death. He goes to Harrisburg, gets a bounty put on whickles and sets out to

    …save this great industry from further depredations of these dastardly whickles…All I need is a gallon of applejack, which I sprinkle on the bushes. As a rule, I get a dozen or so whickles. Of course, I lose some of the applejack. I scalp the whickles and mail the scalps to the governor, and right now he owes me round eighty thousand dollars. (Botsford 1942, p. 72)

    This may or may not constitute real literature. …[T]he westward-moving men of action, Boatright wrote, unhampered by any high-falutin' theories of art, created their own literature. (Speck 1973, p. 70). If what we find in what comes down to us of oil industry humor and legend is not a sophisticated literature, it is a kind of lore. Like the pioneers before them, the early oilmen were primarily interested in the facts surrounding them. The shortcomings of the stories were due less to mean-spiritedness than to self-centeredness. As an academic, Boatright wrote books and essays, as have others, finely defining mythology, folklore and legend. But he left no doubt that there was something intrinsically valuable in what his research discovered. Each occupation he observed, has its lore—partly belief, partly custom, partly skills—expressed in anecdotes, sagas, tales and the like…Our culture is the richer for this… (Speck 1973, p. 118-19).

    2.
    The Tales Move West

    The boomtowns in Texas, Oklahoma, California and around the world after the turn of the century gave a new flavor to oil industry legend and lore. Each of the great booms had its own circumstances, its own personalities, its own distinctive
    impact,
    Ruth Sheldon Knowles wrote. (Knowles 1978, p. 120). But the makeshift towns where they boomed had many similarities. They were tough, rugged places, famous for a plenitude of hard drink, bad water, muddy oily streets, few toilets and fewer rentable places to sleep. And the stories moved from town to town with the men and the booms.

    In the absence of law and order, oilmen made their own justice and told stories about it. W. H. (Bill) Bryant told a tale of boomtown justice when remembering a saloon that incurred the wrath of the oilfield workers:

    If they could get your money, they’d get you drunk…So then we got tired of that. There was a railroad running beside of it where they hauled logs. And one night we got a bailing line and put it around it and put a clamp on it, and when the log train come by, we hooked it on to the log train and scattered that slab saloon about four hundred yards right down the railroad track. That’s the way we tore that one up, because it was trimming the roughnecks. (Boatright and Owens 1970, p. 71).

    Batson, Texas, undertaker Plummer M. Barfield remembered a grimmer instance of boomtown justice:

    It was dark and had been raining…There was a roughneck killed in the field. I forgot now how…I went in the field and loaded the body…halfway back, why I met a bunch of men with lanterns…Says, ‘Well, throw him out. We got some more work for you to do.’ Well…there was a dead woman and a baby. I loaded them up and went on and unloaded them…

    About the time I got that done, why, a couple of roughnecks come in and…says, ‘you can go back down there in the bushes about one hundred yards from where you were and…you’ll find two more.’

    …And in the meantime I’d learned why there were two more down there. This lady’s baby had taken sick, and she’d got up to give it a dose of medicine or tend to it, and some rattlebrain drunks shot at the light, see, through the tent. Killed her and the child both. And these roughnecks and rig runners around there, they caught those two guys and hung them to a sweet gum tree. And them was the two men I went back and got…
    (Boatright and Owens 1970, p. 75).



    And don't miss this:

    - 6. The Oil-Field Doves: There were few examples of women doing actual production work:

    If it was, reported oilman H.C. Sloop, it was only an isolated case of a woman coming on the job to help her husband when he wanted to go to rest…I remember one or two women who ran boilers. But their husbands were working, running these boilers, and the women folks would come down and bring him lunch or bring him a change of clothing or something of that kind. And they had been there often enough for him to tell them how to handle the boiler and how to look after it. And he could go home and lie down…And outside of that I don’t know of anything. (Boatright and Owens 1970, p. 113).

    You’d have what you called these oil-field doves—the gals that hung around the oil fields, recalled oilman Landon Haynes Cullum, and there was plenty of them around…there were really some woolies, and they had all kinds of names for them. Some of them wouldn’t be very good to repeat. (Boatright and Owens 1970, p. 162).

    One female name that was repeated so often it became a slang expression was Ruby Darby. She began in a Dallas chorus line, honed her act in World War I army camps and made her mark as one of the first to sing the blues in the southwest boomtowns. Known in the 1920s as the toast of the oil-field workers, this brazen sensuous showgirl toured the oil camps in a big red flashy chauffeur-driven automobile, coming in wearing only a fur coat and a smile to guarantee a packed house for the night’s performance. Her trademark song was W.C. Handy’s Memphis Blues but more popular than her sultry voice was her exotic dancing. They said she would strip at the drop of a driller’s hat; had ridden a hoss completely nekkid down the mud- and oil-splashed streets of Keifer, and had danced bare-skinned on a tool shack roof as men tossed silver dollars at her feet. She packed a pistol, wore silk stockings and would try anything once… and an acquaintance called her a natural adventurer. There was a popular couplet warning, If you’ve got a good man keep him home tonight/for Ruby Darby’s in town and she’s your daddy’s delight. (Wallis 1988, p. 187).

    She was so highly loved in some of the Oklahoma oilfields that when a gusher came in the men would call it a Ruby Darby. Eventually, to call something a Darb was to say it could get no higher praise. In Ernest Hemingway’s (Fig. 14) The Sun Also Rises, the main character suggests his companion has some excellent acquaintances: You’ve got some fine ones yourself. The listener agrees that his acquaintances are good ones. Oh, yes. I’ve got some darbs. (Hemingway 1926, p. 107).

    As Cullum pointed out, not all the women in the camps were so highly thought of, though many were respected for unique qualities:

    There were women of every type, all types, from the smallest to the largest, and from the tenderest to the toughest, and we had lots of fighting among the women; of course, I don’t remember any women getting killed, recalled W.H. (Bill) Bryant. They generally got beat up, somebody would separate them. I believe Nella Dale and Grace Ashley put on the best bout I ever seen. I think they fought an hour and fifteen minutes before they were separated. And when they quit fighting they didn’t have on enough clothes to wipe out a twenty-two.

    This fight taken place here in Sour Lake, and that woman was the best fighter I ever saw. I never did know what her real name was. We called her ‘Mooch.’ And she was from Cripple Creek, Colorado, and she was kind of every man’s pet hero because she could always come out under her own power when she was drinking, and she was a good fist fighter. (Boatright and Owens 1970, p. 70).

    …And I want to tell you something, Bryant was elsewhere quoted, the best hearts I have seen in people is in the underworld. I seen prostitutes after they commit suicide and maybe the girl didn’t have anything much. I’ve seen the other women take off their diamond rings and sell them…and help bury this particular woman…some of the women were taking care of their mother back home, and some of them was probably taking care of a baby where a sorry husband had walked out on them, and when you get right down she had a clean heart…some of them was tough as a boot and don’t you think they wasn’t. Some of them would pick your pocket, and they were just as low as they ever got, and others had lots of pride left. Now I know one woman—she was a fine-looking woman and she killed her husband and later married a field man. That woman straightened out and I believe she lived a clean life from then on. (Boatright and Owens 1970, p. 118).

    Oilman Frank Hamilton remembered more about Mooch:

    Mooch was a gambler’s—supposed to be his wife. She’d sit up there with him at all times…And a low bunch was following so that you had to watch them. But this Mooch…was very pretty at the time that I first saw her in Sour Lake, Texas…The reason she got that name…was because if any roughneck or pipe liner would get sick, didn’t have any money, anything like that, why she’d go out and mooch all the oilmen…if a boy got sick or anything, why Mooch would start out. Wouldn’t be long until she’d have a quack doctor there, medicine, and plenty to eat.

    Well, Mooch, she died in jail in Shreveport, Louisiana…She had a heart—a big heart—so they give her a respectful good burial…
    (Boatright and Owens 1970, p. 118)

    Corsicana boomtown veteran Carl F. Mirus thought Bob from Fort Worth got it right when he told an attorney from Corsicana who confirmed to Bob that the respectable Fort Worth woman he had married had indeed been a prostitute in Corsicana:

    ‘Well,’ he says, ‘you know people talk about me marrying a whore.’ Says, ‘I think it’s something to be proud of.’ He said, ‘Any man can go out with a girl that’s never been married and never had a sweetheart and persuade her to marry him, but,’ he says, ‘you take a man that takes a girl that has had ten thousand sweethearts and gets her to pick him out of all the rest and marry him,’ says, ‘now that’s really doing something.’ (Boatright and Owens 1970, p. 119).

    In any pantheon of oil industry angels, a special place must go to Daisy Bradford and the many women who wittingly or otherwise funded Dad Joiner’s drilling venture. Joiner, it is said, obtained investments by reading the newspaper obituaries and courting widows of means. Using their money, Joiner drilled, on Ms. Bradford’s farm in 1931, the first well in what became known as the East Texas Black Giant. Playing the other side of the fence were the psychics and fortune tellers always in and around the boomtown camps, such as Zara of Beaumont, Madame Virginia of Abilene and Annie Jackson of Mexia. These were women who, like Dad Joiner, used what they had of insight and persuasiveness to induce oilmen to share their wealth.

    Contributing to legend and lore in ways that require separate research essays were two other women. Ida Tarbell (Fig. 15) was a journalist and novelist who grew up in the mid- and late nineteenth century Pennsylvania oil regions, the daughter of an unsuccessful wildcatter. Ms. Tarbell was among the progressive journalists at McClure’s Magazine dubbed muckrakers by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Perhaps motivated by her father’s failure or perhaps by what she saw around her, Ms. Tarbell wrote a series of articles for McClure’s in 1902-03 which eventually became The History of the Standard Oil Company, published in book form in 1904. It was instrumental in rallying public and political sentiment for the legal reorganization of Standard Oil in 1911. Arguably, Daniel Yergin wrote, it was the single most influential book on business ever published in the United States. (Yergin 1991/92, p. 105).

    Lydia Bragatouni (a.k.a. Lydia Pavlova) was another kind of woman entirely. A White Russian princess living in post-World War I Paris and working with other anti-Leninists to take back control of her country, she became a mistress of both Royal Dutch/Shell’s Henri Deterding and Turkish Petroleum’s Calouste Gulbenkian. She was perhaps the only neutral ground as these men wrestled for control of Mesopotamian oil in the 1920s. Eventually, as her political hopes faded, she rejected Gulbenkian and became Mrs. Deterding. Though the men reached a Red Line Agreement in Mesopotamia, there remained ever after a personal enmity between them over Lydia Pavlova. As Mrs. Deterding, she inspired a strong anti-Communist stance at Royal Dutch/Shell. (Yergin 1991/92, pp. 202 & 242).

    Women essentially do not appear in the Gib Morgan tales...

    - III GIB MORGAN
    Paul Bunyan (Fig. 16), Pecos Bill (Fig. 17 and Davy Crockett (Fig. 18) are today thought of as Disney characters but they came out of regional oral traditions and lived for decades before Disney. They probably emerged into the national consciousness because academic chronicles in the 1920s bridged their passage into the popular media that emerged in that same period. Because they did transition

    from folklore to Disney, they remain famous. As chronicled in Boatright’s work, Gib Morgan was to the oil industry what Crockett was to the frontier, what Bunyan was to logging, what John Henry was to railroad building, what Casey Jones was to railroading and what Pecos Bill was to cattlemen. Because post-World War I academics did not bring the Gib Morgan oral tradition into print in that era, it was not widely heralded and remains folklore almost forgotten to today’s popular culture.

    Boatright, who died in 1970, described the tall tale as a kind of everyday art. He went to great lengths to precisely define tall tales with academic rigor. Gilbert Morgan was merely a practitioner of tale telling. As Boatright wrote in the The Art of Tall Lying …[I]n any group there will be those who know a good story when they hear one, and are not too strictly bound by facts to alter them if it makes the story better… (Speck 1973, p. 105). In the same essay, Boatright used the example of a character called Pie Biter to show how the Gib Morgan tall tales grew out of a familiar frontier style of storytelling. Pie Biter really was a Texas ranch cook named Jim Baker who won a bet by stacking five pies and eating them. Eventually, tales made Pie-Biter a cook for the Texas Rangers who could not only hunt buffalo from his chuck wagon, but also, in the absence of kindling, chase down prairie wildfires to cook the buffalo meat (Speck 1973, p. 78).

    - The Real Gib Morgan
    The real Gilbert Morgan was born July 14, 1842, in Callensburg, Clarion County, in western Pennsylvania...

    They used to say that he was ‘the biggest liar in the oil country.’ I don’t think this is the proper title for him. I would say that ‘the best entertainer in the oil country’ would have been a much better title. (GM, #36).


    Even in his last decade, he was able to obtain room, board and drinks at inns where he stayed with his entertaining, imaginative tall tales.

    - The Tales of Gib
    Gilbert Morgan’s hero, Gib, was a practical man...

    Maybe Gib’s was the kind of attitude that sees a man through four years as a foot soldier in the Civil War...

    - CONCLUSION

    Boatright and others have compared the best of the Gib tales to some of Mark Twain’s work. Like the tales of Twain and other of Gilbert Morgan’s more well-known contemporaries, there are instances of xenophobia, naïvete and cliché here. But at their best, they are imaginative and funny. They have the frankness and playfulness of the storytelling tradition out of which they grew and they remain an essential part of an invaluable record of a time and an industry.

    The entire essay is at the journal blog.

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    AROUND THE WORLD: FIRST STOP, THE BANK

    Stop work on financing clean energy, World Bank told
    September 18, 2006 Reuters via Yahoo News
    - The World Bank should stop exploring options for financing the development of clean energy because it does not have enough strength in the field, South Korea said on Monday.
    - "The Bank's ideas would seem to be poor value to developing countries," Finance Minister Kwon O-kyu told the Development Committee of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
    - British finance minister Gordon Brown first raised the idea of fresh cash for cleaner energy in April, calling for a seed fund of $20 billion for alternative energy.

    - The World Bank has since prepared a draft of two proposed funds: the Clean Energy Financing Vehicle consists of low-interest loans; the Clean Energy Support Fund would be based on grants...
    - Both ideas endorse low-carbon technologies and carbon emission reductions.
    - Kwon said spending so much money on carbon credits would pose large but unquantifiable financial risks…Kwon was speaking for a group of Asia-Pacific nations including Australia…
    - Japan chimed in… “…[A]s demand for energy is expected to increase and improved energy efficiency is becoming a challenge, it is imperative for the World Bank to focus on the development of existing technology for energy efficiency."
    - Brown's drive for new cash follows a request by the Group of Eight in July 2005 to the World Bank to develop a new global framework for climate change that would remain effective long beyond the 2012 expiration of the Kyoto Protocol…

    CHINA: BIG DOG BARKS

    China calls for stable international environment for energy security
    Xinhua, September 17, 2006 (People’s Daily Online via Yahoo News)
    - Governor of the Peoples Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan Sunday called on all sides involved to strengthen negotiation to promote the resolution of international and regional disputes, and create a stable international environment to ensure energy security.

    - Speaking at the 14th meeting of International Monetary and Financial Committee of the Board of Governors of IMF held in Singapore Sunday, Zhou said that the global economy is expected to remain robust growth in 2007, but there are downside risks, including the high oil and raw material prices, high pressure of inflation...

    - Zhou called for all countries involved to take their responsibilities to facilitate an early resumption of the negotiations with stronger political will…he also urged developed countries to pace up their aid to low-income countries, and bring their official development aid to poor countries to 0.7 percent of their GNP, as set by the United Nations…He noted that China will continue to provide assistance to other low-income developing countries commensurate with its capacity…

    ENGLAND: PERFECT PUSHES BACK GOOD

    Ramblers demand an end to spread of wind farms
    Victory in Scotland prompts full-scale attack on energy policy

    Rob Sharp, September 17, 2006 (The UK Observer via UK Guardian)
    - The Ramblers' Association is set to announce its opposition to the construction of onshore wind farms across the country. The move is a major blow for the government, which is struggling to maintain its pledge to increase the amount of electricity generated by renewable energy sources.

    - The decision to try to block large wind farms in Britain follows the association's role in persuading the Scottish Executive to stop construction of a group of turbines in Perthshire on the grounds that the development would damage the environment…
    - In a policy document to be published next month, the association - which has almost 140,000 members and whose president is Labour peer Chris Smith - pledges its commitment to pushing the government towards other forms of non-fossil energy, including nuclear power. The move is a radical departure from the stance of groups such as Greenpeace, which welcome wind farms and criticise plans to increase use of nuclear power…
    - [T]he Ramblers' Association decision goes against the stance of Godfrey Boyle, one of Britain's leading experts on renewable energy…'The United Kingdom is the Saudi Arabia of wind energy,' he said. 'The resource is huge, like off shore oil and gas was. We should be going for it with enthusiasm, rather than timidly as we are now.'

    SPAIN: CRAWLING BABY TO START WALKING

    Spain government plans wind energy remuneration cap
    September 18, 2006 (AFX via Forbes)
    - Spain's Ministry of Industry is planning to impose a ceiling on the remuneration electricity generators receive for their wind farm production, La Gaceta de los Negocios reported…the government plans to impose the ceiling to curb the advantages wind farm operators are taking of high oil prices, which in turn have sent pool prices soaring…

    - [I]n the case of wind installation with capacity of over 5 megawatts, if the average wholesale price for electricity over a month rises above 0.061 eur per kilowatt hours, companies will be allowed to receive a maximum of 0.0615 eur per Kwh, including the premium for wind generation…
    - [C]ompanies will still receive a wind energy incentive on top of this ceiling, which the draft bill cites as 0.0077 eur per Kwh, higher than the 0.00733 eur they received last year.

    TEXAS: HOUSTON PAPER ADVOCATES GAS TAX

    The future is ours to lose; this is a gas tax to save it
    Offset higher fuel prices with other tax reductions

    STEVE YETIV, September 17, 2006 (Houston Chronicle)
    - Across the country, politicians and ordinary citizens want to lower taxes on gasoline to ease pain at the pump. This idea is tempting, but it is precisely wrong: There is no better time to raise the national gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon than now, if done correctly...

    - Each day, the world uses about 84 million barrels of oil. The United States uses one-fourth of that, yet has one-twentieth of the world's population. Using oil worsens global warming, supports oil-rich autocrats, funds terrorism and makes America more inclined to be stuck in the Persian Gulf...
    - According to the International Center for Technology Assessment, the real price of gasoline is $5.60 to $15.14 per gallon, when taking into account environmental, health, social and defense costs associated with protecting and using oil...gas taxes work better than anything else in reducing oil consumption and spurring innovation in alternative energies...
    - In Europe, high gas taxes have prompted mass adoption of hybrid vehicles that get 30 to 55 miles per gallon. America should join Europe in this regard and, in the process, set an example for India and China...
    - The future is ours to lose; answers are available. We can target oil using taxes without hurting the average consumer, and this can be a key piece of the solution to our nation's energy puzzle.

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    BRANSON GIVES BILLIONS TO COOL

    Mogul pledges billions against warming
    Deepti Hajela, September 21, 2006 (AP via Yahoo News)
    - British business mogul Richard Branson said Thursday he would invest about $3 billion to combat global warming over the next decade.

    - Branson, the billionaire behind the multi-platform Virgin brand, said the money would come from 100 percent of the profits generated by his transportation and airline sectors. It will then be invested in efforts to find renewable, sustainable energy sources in an effort to wean the world off of oil and coal.
    - Branson made the announcement on the second day of the Clinton Global Initiative, a conference of business, political and nonprofit leaders hosted by former President Clinton that debuted last year.
    - "Our generation has inherited an incredibly beautiful world from our parents and they from their parents," Branson said at a news conference with Clinton at his side. "We must not be the generation responsible for irreversibly damaging the environment."

    - Clinton praised Branson as one of the most "creative" and "committed" people he had ever known…
    - The commitment ensures that the conference, which brings people together to brainstorm on solutions to global issues, would more than meet its goal of matching last year's pledges of more than $2 billion…The initiative began Wednesday with a slew of world figures, from first lady Laura Bush to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.
    - The Thursday session featured Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Queen Rania al-Abdullah of Jordan…

    FUELISH WISDOM

    Sampling the delights of “The Motley Fool”:

    A Bright Day for Solar?
    Jack Uldrich, September 18, 2006 (The Motley Fool)
    - Last week, fellow Fool Stephen Ellis wrote a persuasive article…investors might want to proceed with caution when considering an investment in Energy Conversion Devices…the company was trading at a value of eight times its sales…When I considered this news in conjunction with the fact that a number of other solar companies…are trading at high valuations…I concluded that solar might not be as "hot" of an investment as its proponents claim…An uncanny series of events, however, has caused me to reconsider…Let me explain.

    - The first item that caught my attention was a little story about a new video making on the rounds on YouTube…"970 trillion kilowatt hours of energy fall from the skies every day" and it's unfortunate that, as a planet, we haven't figured out how to make better use of this clean, cheap, and sustainable energy source…
    - [A]nother story from earlier in the week about how Energy Photovoltaics was installing a series of photovoltaic windows in Microsoft's new "School of the Future" in Philadelphia…
    - [A] big picture of astronauts from the Space Shuttle Atlantis unfurling a massive 240-foot solar array manufactured by Lockheed Martin…when it's fully operational in 2010, it will provide the International Space Station with one-quarter of its power -- 110 kilowatts of electricity, or enough to power 55 regular households…
    - I squeezed into my seat for the first leg of the international flight, I was startled to see the gentleman across the aisle from me reading a book titled Got Sun? Go Solar! It was a primer on the benefits of installing solar power…because he was seriously thinking about installing solar cells on his house…"green" tendencies but was still more concerned with that other type of green -- the almighty dollar…

    - The Financial Times…an article titled "Building a Greener House," which prominently featured solar power…
    - [T]he passenger next to me…had just left his job at Siemens and was now working for a private U.S.-based company that was developing solar fabrics…
    - I'm going to get serious about doing my due diligence on companies such as Suntech Power Holdings -- which appears to be trading at a much more reasonable valuation -- because something tells me brighter days are ahead for the burgeoning solar industry…

    BP SEES THE FUTURE

    BP says transition from fossil fuels presents 'huge business opportunity'
    Sept 18 2006 (AP via International Herald Tribune)
    - Skeptics doubt that the U.S. should respond to global warming, but…BP is reacting the old fashion way — by looking to make money…

    - "We think this is a huge business opportunity," said Charles A. Christopher, carbon dioxide program manager for BP in Houston.
    - Energy can be provided in a way that is economically responsible and secure during the transition away from fossil fuels, Christopher said.
    - "The transition will provide many business opportunities," he said. "A lot of people are going to make a lot of money during this transition and it won't be the same people that you're familiar with."
    - A continuing ["Strengthening Our Cities] conference theme has been that cities can save money by cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. BP intends to take that a step further during the transition from a fossil fuel-driven system to alternatives…BP believes the risks from climate change are real and the science valid, Christopher said…

    - The reduction of greenhouse gases is important but energy security could drive changes in the near future, he said. Alternatives to coal-generating power plants are more expensive, but that could change with a carbon dioxide tax…BP is creating a new businesses, he said. The company is the third largest producer of solar cells and plans to expand…
    - "We're going to triple the amount of solar cells we produce in three years," he said.
    - By 2008, BP will have two wind turbine farms and plans for more in Europe and the United States. BP also by that year will build the world's first two commercial plants generating electricity from hydrogen.
    - "Our commitment is to show that the set of technologies being used are commercially available, can be used at scale and will produce pollution-free free electricity," he said…

    About that Alaska pipeline thing, they're workin' on it:

    BP seeks DOT nod to resume Prudhoe Bay production
    September 15, 2006 (Oil and Gas Journal)
    - BP PLC submitted an application Sept. 13 to the US Department of Transportation requesting authorization to resume production in the Eastern Operating Area (EOA) of Prudhoe Bay for the purposes of pigging.

    - Although this is an encouraging development, it is the first step of many," BP said. 'Work continues on a number of bypass projects, and we expect these to be ready by the end of October. BP has also committed to completely replace 16 miles of Prudhoe Bay OTLs [oil transit lines] this winter."
    - Meanwhile, Prudhoe Bay's production is up to about 250,000 b/d. Part of the field has been shut-down since early August because of severe corrosion problems discovered in OTLs...
    - Inspection of the integrity of the oil transit lines in Prudhoe Bay continues to advance. BP has completed more than 6,662 ft (26%) of ultrasonic (UT) inspections in the EOA. The company excavated three caribou crossings and a number of culverts for additional Western Operating Area (WOA) inspections...
    - "In both EOA and WOA inspections, our results continue to show no significant anomalies have been found, outside of those identified in the original pig run," the company said.

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