Archive for the ‘News’ Category


Hybrids vs. Nonhybrids: The 5-Year Equation

February 24, 2011

Here is a very good quick read into the main issue that I believe exists with hybrid cars as replacements for non-hybrids.  The underlying fact is that hybrid cars (and trucks)  are more expensive to purchase than for non-hybrids; often by several thousands of dollars.  To recoup the additional cost, gasoline (and diesel) fuel costs would have to be significantly higher that any projected short-term future price (say…within the next 10 years).  Some might refer to the federal (and sometimes state) tax breaks given to first time purchasers that can make this price difference less of an issue, but what really is happening with these “incentives” is taking money (taxes) from one person and giving it(a gift) to another to make what is really a bad deal look better.   I don’t think that most Americans believe that it is a good thing to give their hard earned money to help support what is essentially a product that would be produced at a loss.  When looked at at the rate of replacement (called market penetration) of non-hybrid  with hybrids, the Toyota Prius – the most successful and longest marketed hybrid has taken 10 years to put 1 million cars in the US market (US car/truck ownership exceeds 200 million) . There is no doubt that these hybrids are, and will remain for the foreseeable future, essentially a “boutique” item, purchased mostly for that “hybrid” badge, by well-to-do folks that the additional cost is justified in the prestige of owning these expensive cars.  Like those people that spend $100s on a Louis Vuitton handbag that is actually a cheap $25  plastic bag; its all in the appearance, having the right label. This type of “keeping up with the Jones” doesn’t make sound economic thinking and, unfortunately, will only lead to more subsidies (and tax money squandered) for a market that cannot be supported.

By MATTHEW L. WALD –  NYT -February 23, 2011, 7:45 AM

A car buyer who lays out an extra $6,200 extra to buy the hybrid version of the Lexus RX will get the money back in gas savings within five years, according to Consumer Reports magazine, but only if gasoline averages $8.77 a gallon. Otherwise, the nonhybrid RX 350 is a better buy than the Hybrid 450h, the magazine says. The hybrid gets 26 miles per gallon, and the nonhybrid, 21, in the magazine’s calculation.

The magazine’s annual New Car Buying Guide includes a table that compares several hybrid cars with their nonhybrid versions, or, in the case of cars that come only in hybrid models, to similar cars by the same manufacturer that are not hybrids.

For example, the Honda Insight comes only in a hybrid version, so it was compared with the nonhybrid Honda Fit; gasoline would have to rise to $10.08 to even out the extra expense, Consumer Reports said. The Insight sells for $22,010 and the Fit for $16,260.

The researchers use a five-year payback period because that is a typical duration for car ownership. It assumed that the driver would log 12,000 miles a year and pay $2.80 a gallon, a price that now looks a bit on the low side.

The Toyota Prius, the most popular hybrid, did far better in the magazine’s comparison. Consumer Reports paired it with the Toyota Corolla LE, comparing the hybrid’s 44 miles per gallon and purchase price of $22,950 with the Corolla’s $17,950 list price and 32 miles per gallon. The Prius will cost less over a five-year period as long as the price of gasoline averages only 80 cents a gallon, the magazine calculated.

For some models, the choice is close to neutral from a financial point of view. The Ford Escape hybrid would cost $500 more over five years, but would break even if gasoline prices averaged $3.60. The Toyota Camry hybrid would save $500 over five years by comparison with the Camry LE 4-cylinder and remains a better deal if the price of gasoline averages just $1.92.

The magazine also compared diesel and gasoline versions of some models. The Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec diesel, at $66,925 and 19 miles per gallon, will save $8,000 over five years compared with the gasoline GL450 version, which sells for $69,035 and gets 15 miles per gallon. It is cheaper than gasoline at any price, the magazine said.

Some people who bought last year will see different economics because of tax breaks that were still in place then. And some states offer access to HOV lanes, special parking or other perks for hybrids.

But of course, money might not be the major motivator when it comes to hybrids, said Jonathan D. Linkov, the managing editor of the magazine’s auto section. There’s also “that green feeling,” he said.


Big Energy Stories of 2010

December 28, 2010

This from Energy Tribune online

By Geoffrey Styles
Posted on Dec. 27, 2010

Ed. note: This piece first appeared on Energy Outlook, Geoffrey Styles’ blog.
Many of the main energy trends of 2010 were predictable at the year’s start, including the growing reliance of renewable energy on government assistance in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the debate over US greenhouse gas legislation, the emphasis on green jobs and competition with China, the delayed arrival of cellulosic biofuels, and the anticipation surrounding the product launches of the first mass-market electric vehicles. As interesting as all this was, the year in energy was dominated by two transformative events: the Deepwater Horizon accident and the multi-million barrel leak that ensued, and the less spectacular but no less profound awakening to the possibilities of the shale gas revolution.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster has been the subject of such extensive coverage and investigation that there’s little I can add concerning the facts, other than to note that we have not heard the last word on just how much oil actually leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. The consequences of our response to the spill will be with us for a long time, both in terms of reduced offshore drilling activity and the decline in US oil output that must inevitably follow. The impact will reach far beyond the tens of thousands of workers whose livelihoods are directly or indirectly linked to the US offshore industry. Early in 2010 it looked like the industry would finally be offered access to areas that had been off-limits for decades, and by year-end not only has drilling in the central and western Gulf come to a near standstill, but the prospect of leases in the eastern Gulf and the mid-Atlantic coast has been foreclosed, perhaps permanently.
The psychological impact of the event could extend even farther than its physical and economic fallout. Whatever misgivings many people had about offshore drilling before the accident, the industry had built up trust through an impressive string of technical achievements–pushing the boundaries of resource accessibility from depths of a few hundred feet into nearly two miles of inhospitable ocean–and a solid reputation for safety. In the space of one day and the following weeks, that trust was shattered. Coming on the heels of a financial crisis that destroyed the trust of millions of Americans in the nation’s largest financial institutions and markets likely amplified the effect. As fickle as we Americans sometimes seem, I wouldn’t bet that this trust can be restored quickly, or to the same degree.
The shale gas revolution is a completely different kind of story, though it, too, has arguably been tainted by Deepwater Horizon. As it unlocks a resource that has converted the US natural gas supply outlook from one of scarcity and growing import dependence to expected abundance for decades, the gas industry can’t assume it will receive the benefit of the doubt concerning the environmental impact of the drilling techniques that have made this turnabout possible.

Perhaps one reason the impact of cheap natural gas hasn’t sunk in yet is that the main market price for gas, the futures price at the Henry Hub in Louisiana, doesn’t have much relevance for the average consumer. Residential gas customers don’t buy their gas in the million-BTU (MMBTU) lots in which the futures contract is denominated; we buy gas in therms–one tenth of an MMBTU–and by the time we see it on our bills all sorts of handling and distribution fees and mark-ups have been added on. But when you compare the price of traded gas in barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) to the price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the remarkable divergence of the last two years becomes obvious, as shown in the chart above. Between 2000 and 2006 gas and oil tracked each other closely, allowing for the greater seasonal volatility of the former. There were even periods when a barrel-equivalent of gas was worth more than a barrel of oil (take the MMCF price for gas times 6 to get oil equivalent in BBls; MMCF$ X 6= price of oil $/BBl). Yet while oil and gas prices fell precipitously when the recession and financial crisis burst the various asset bubbles, they have diverged sharply since then, with oil advancing back up to today’s $91/bbl and gas settling into the $20-25/bbl range in which we were accustomed to see oil prices a decade ago. Adjust that for inflation and you’re looking at an average natural gas price for 2010 equivalent to $20/bbl in 2000.

That might help explain why the developers of renewable electricity sources such as wind have struggled so much this year, despite receiving $3.9 billion in direct cash grants from the US Treasury. They’re not competing with less than 1% of its electricity from petroleum this year, through September. Instead, they’re competing with gas at an effective price of $25/bbl or less. But if this is a new obstacle for some renewables, it surely represents a huge opportunity for the country as a whole, as we struggle to find our way out of the fiscal and competitive pit we’ve dug. Cheap energy has always been a key to growth, and right now, gas is the only energy source offering that without requiring an enormous up-front investment. It’s no panacea, and it can’t take on every burden without being spread so thin that its price advantage would disappear. But I’d much rather be looking at the possibilities this presents than at the constraints that high-priced oil and natural gas imposed only a couple of years ago.

That’s probably as good a note as any on which to end the year. New postings will resume the week of January 3, 2011. In the meantime, I wish my readers a happy holiday season.


U.S. Rare Earth Mine Resumes Active Mining

December 28, 2010

By Michael Kan, IDG News

A major U.S. mine for rare earth metals has gone back into operation, adding a much needed source to offset China’s control of the unique group of materials necessary to build tech gadgets like smart phones and laptops.

Colorado-based Molycorp (  resumed active mining of the rare earth metal facility at Mountain Pass, California last week. The site had been shutdown in 2002 amid environmental concerns and the low costs for rare earth metals provided by mining operations based in China.
Rare earths encompass a group of 17 metals that are vital to the miniaturizing of electronic components such as magnets and capacitors. China mines more than 90 percent of the world’s current demand for them, according to analysts. But the country has been tightening control of its supplies, causing concerns among countries like the U.S. and Japan, which import rare earth metals.

Those fears came into the spotlight when in September media outlets reported that China had stopped exporting rare earths to Japan following a diplomatic spat. While Chinese officials have said the country will not use the resources as a bargaining chip, the government announced earlier this month it was raising export tariffs on certain rare earths.

Molycorp, the owner of the Mountain Pass mine, is seeking to free the U.S. from it’s dependence on China for rare earth metals. By the end of 2012, the company is aiming to produce 20,000 tons of rare earths, likely enough to start meeting U.S. demand. Molycorp also plans on breaking ground to the construction of a new rare earths manufacturing facility at the site next month.

China, on the other hand, produced about 124,000 tons of rare earths in 2009, according to analysts reports. The country is also the biggest manufacturer of products that use the metals.


The (Shale) Gas Renaissance

December 24, 2010

This from the Energy Tribune on-line

The (Shale) Gas Renaissance
By Peter C Glover and Michael J. Economides
Posted on Dec. 24, 2010

The (Shale) Gas Renaissance

Arguably the biggest story in the United States energy scene, and de facto for the rest of the world, has been the development of shale gas. Natural gas production in the United States was flat from about 1995 to 2005, standing at about 2 Tcf per month. But over the last five years, production started going up (see graph) moving to around 2.3 Tcf per month. The entire increase is because of shale gas, contributing at least 17 percent of domestic production. This is remarkable, considering that shale gas accounted for an estimated 2 percent just a few years ago.

The (Shale) Gas Renaissance

U.S. gas reserves double

In its latest updateU.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves, a summary of its Annual Energy Outlook 2011, the EIA reports U.S. natural gas reserves, driven almost entirely by shale gas additions, increased by 11 percent in 2009 to 284 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). That’s the highest level since 1971. The EIA now projects technically recoverable unproven shale reserves standing at around 827 Tcf, 474 tcf above its 2009 projection – twice as much as previously estimated.

Elizabeth Campbell, associate policy fellow at the Americans for Energy Leadership project, suggests that this is, “enough to power every American household’s electricity consumption for over 73 years.” The US Geological Survey agrees. A spokesman for the USGS confirms, “Assuming one per cent recovery, these deposits [in U.S. territory] could meet the natural gas needs of the country [at current rates of consumption] for 100 years.”

Apart from the obvious benefit of reducing, what only a few years ago was considered as certainty in the near future, massive liquid natural gas (LNG) imports to meet declining domestic production, natural gas has many other positives. It is certainly the cleanest of all fossil fuels and, for those concerned about greenhouse gases, natural gas means a reduction of between 20 and 50 percent over coal emissions. Though it won’t be enough to keep the Planet Gore eco-warriors happy (little would), it represents a quantum leap over the feeble achievements of bureaucratic interference amidst the wreckage of the carbon credit market. Texas oil magnate T. Boone Pickens has even described how abundant gas reserves could make the U.S. the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas”.

EIA’s Administrator, Richard Newell, identifies, “Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania [as] leading states in adding new proved reserves of shale gas in 2009”. Louisiana announced a net increase of 9.2 Tcf (77 percent), mostly through its Haynesville Shale development. Arkansas’s Fayetteville Shale and Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale developments both almost doubled their reserves with increases, respectively, of 5.2 and 3.4 Tcf.

Less than a decade ago, an economically viable reservoir exploitation strategy of gas extraction from shale rock remained elusive. But drilling horizontal wells with a very large number of transverse fractures, properly spaced and with proper zonal isolation, has made shale both accessible and economically attractive. Although some have lamented the impact that lower natural gas prices, hovering around $4 per MMBtu, might have had on shale gas production, the industry has responded admirably. Range Resources published the break even prices for natural gas production in a number of US shale formations, many of which fall below $4.


Click to enlarge

But the shale gas revolution not only offers the power to help refloat the U.S. economy – it is good news for the world, too.

European energy ‘Grinches’

Global shale gas is looking set to be the energy story of the 21st century, and for a very good reason. Overnight, it has changed the global natural gas and energy narrative from lack to glut, switching focus from supply to demand. By 2014, Canada will be a major producer and exporter of shale gas. Within just a few years, the U.S. could (and if it has its energy act together, it should) join Canada as a key natural gas exporter.

The impact on Europe, suffering under Russian dominance for natural gas supplies, could come even quicker – if it were not for environmental ‘concerns’ which all too often paralyzes EU energy thinking. Poland, in particular, has potentially large reserves of shale gas. Analysts Wood Mackenzie predicts that Polish shale deposits alone could increase European gas reserves by as much as 50 percent. An additional problem for Europe derives from much higher costs for drilling and hydraulic fracturing than the streamlined and optimized costs in North America. Europe would need a massive re-orientation both politically and logistically to exploit its shale gas resources.

The UK has in recent weeks discovered a “substantial flow” of shale gas a few miles from its ‘Dancing with the Stars’ capital, Blackpool, on the north-west coast of England. But other English counties further south are believed to be sitting atop their own shale gas reserves.

Typical of the ‘let’s highlight the risks and downplay the benefits’ thinking endemic in European energy circles, the British Geological Survey report plays up the possibleenvironmental risks to such an extent that the government is not likely to back serious exploitation anytime soon. The reality is, as one report suggests however, that the UK could save over $46 billion on current gas imports from places like Qatar. Currently the UK is forced to import more than half of its gas needs.

In October, Schlumberger’s CEO, Andrew F. Gould, confirmed how the development of shale gas and oil would likely meet with far more political and environmental roadblocks in Europe than in America. If true, it won’t be the first time Eurocrat ‘Grinches’ have got their energy priorities wrong. Elsewhere, however, the scramble to check out domestic reserves is on.

In early December, Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced a huge shale gas find that could supply the country’s gas needs for 50 years. A Moroccan delegation has already called upon U.S. shale expertise to help develop its resources. And, speaking at the World Shale Gas Conference in Dallas-Fort Worth in November 2010, Ukraine Government ministers proudly proclaimed their country had “the biggest shale gas deposits in the world”.

Meanwhile, China and India have been quick to spot the game-changing qualities of domestic shale gas development. China’s deposits could exceed 1000 Tcf (Wang and Economides, Paper SPE 133458, 2010.) Last year, China signed the U.S.-China Shale Gas Resource Initiative, the latter already perceiving the U.S. as the world leader in shale gas technology.

That the global energy landscape is switching in favour of gas is also confirmed by developments at the energy majors. In an interview with Fortune magazine, asked about the future strategy of Big Oil, Shell President Marvin Odum stated that by 2012 Shell would be producing more gas than oil.

We will return to this theme in the near future and we will address a number of issues including the topic of hydraulic fracturing, one that has generated controversy from environmental groups.


The Cloud Obscuring Green-Tech’s Revolution Road

October 29, 2010

More on REEs as promised.

This has a good overview of some of the main issues.  I’m not entirely sure; however,  what Chameides means at the end of this article.  Perhaps he is more optimistic than me.  I tend to see rampant government incompetence regarding the understanding of issues like the lack of domestic or even “friendly” foreign supplies for these critical metals.  Instead of throwing money at pseudoscience, government could be providing both incentives to restart existing but mothballed domestic mining ops (this includes muzzling some of the more outlandish anti-everything enviro wackos), promoting mining of new sources, and creating a market of post usage recycling to recover REEs.


by Bill Chameides | Mar 31, 2010

The Mountain Pass mine in California’s Mojave Desert once dominated the mining of rare earths, essential ingredients in many green technologies. Now China dominates, but could others make inroads? (USGS) –(Photo didn’t make the transfer)

The road to the new low-carbon economy might require a detour through China.
They say every cloud has a silver lining. Well, in the case of energy, it seems that every silver lining has a cloud.
Fossil fuels are great sources of energy — they have high-energy density, transportability, relative abundance, and are easily burned [pdf]. But alas, as we all know, there are problems: mining devastation, oil spills, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions. And so the search for other, cleaner energy sources is on.
So Far, No Perfect Alternative

  • Hydropower? Clean as a mountain stream, but the dams can cause serious ecological problems.
  • Nuclear? Really hot — all that high-voltage power without greenhouse gas pollution. But what about sticky little issues like safety, nuclear waste, and nuclear proliferation?
  • Biomass and biofuels? They look good on paper, but the specter of accelerated deforestation and competition with the production of foodstuffs have added a lot of caveats to the story.
  • Electric cars? Zippy, but mass production will require lots of lithium for their batteries.
  • Wind turbines? A gas, so to speak, but what about the noise and the birds and the eyesore factor.
  • Some say there’s always fusion, but what they really mean is always sometime in the way, way future.

Now another problem with the new green technologies is emerging — rare earth elements.

The Elements Known as Rare Earths
Depending upon which chemist you ask, rare earth elements consist of either:

  • the so-called lanthanide series (elements having atomic numbers from 57 [corresponding to lanthanum] to 71 [corresponding to lutetium]) or
  • the actinide (elements 89 to 103) and lanthanide series.

For our story, only the lanthanides are relevant, so let’s focus on those, along with scandium and yttrium. Despite their name, these elements are not rare. They are orders of magnitude more abundant than the really rare gold and platinum, say.  Their rare-earth moniker comes from the fact they rarely show up in concentrated form in a specific mineral or vein. Instead, they are found in very small concentrations just about everywhere, making it very difficult to extract them in large amounts without lots of expense.

Source: USGS
In the 1950s and 1960s most rare-earth mining occurred in South Africa, India and Brazil where the elements were primarily extracted from the mineral monazite (see photo). But starting in about 1965, the United States began to dominate the rare-earth production from mines inMountain Pass, California.
Two decades later, China became the dominant player in rare-earth mining — at great environmental cost. Today, China is responsible for about 97 percent of the globe’s rare-earth production, according to a recentreport in the journal Science.

Rare Earths and Green Tech
As luck would have it, rare earths are essential to many of the new green technologies we’re betting on to launch the new low-carbon economy. For example:

  • A Prius uses more than two pounds of neodymium in its electric engine and roughly 20-30 pounds of lanthanum in its battery.
  • Samarium and neodymium are essential materials for high-powered magnets used in electrical generators used by wind turbines.
  • Europium and terbium are used in electronic displays like LEDs.

And here’s the rub. As the applications — and thus the demand — for rare earths have grown, their production has not.
One consequence: the price of rare earths has skyrocketed. (Terbium for example can sell for as much as ~$150 a pound.)
Another consequence: China is gaining more and more control over the world’s ability to go the green-energy route through its total dominance of the rare-earth-element market.
To meet its own growing need for the stuff, Beijing has restricted exporting rare earths — shrinking them from 75 percent of total domestic production in the early 2000s to about 25 percent today. Between 2002 and 2008 China’s total production of rare earths grew from about 85 to 140 thousand metric tons per year from but their export declined from about 60 to 40 thousand metric tons per year.

American Response?
Could we be trading a dependence on Middle Eastern oil for a dependence on Chinese rare earths? Not necessarily.
For one, China doesn’t have to have a rare earth monopoly. While most of the world’s oil lies under Middle Eastern sands, we’ve got rare earths (see for here example) — the problem is getting at them economically.
With rising demand and prices, interest in mining for rare earths here in the USA is growing, In fact, ramped-up mining operations for rare earths in Mountain Pass are scheduled to resume in 2012, while exploration of other domestic sources is picking up.  But their extraction and processing, like all mining, have environmental costs — such as the creation of moonscapes, tailing ponds and toxic-waste streams, to name a few. A longer term solution most likely lies with research and development.  And how well are we doing on energy R&D? Not so well — just check out Tom Friedman’s columns on the subject.
And here’s what Karl A. Gschneidner Jr., from the Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, had to say in a recent Congressional panel hearing: “rare-earth research in the USA on mineral extraction, rare-earth separation, processing of the oxides into metallic alloys and other useful forms, substitution, and recycling is virtually zero.”
The good news is that “virtually zero” is not literally zero. And there’s that silver lining.


Kvanefjeld Project – Rare Earth Elements, Uranium, Sodium Fluoride

October 28, 2010

From – One of the largest rare earth projects currently moving towards production is the Kvanefjeld Project near the southern tip of Greenland. They have drilled over 45,000 meters of diamond core into the Ilimaussaq Intrusive Complex to identify rare earth metals, sodium fluoride,uranium and zinc resources.

Kvanefjeld is an emerging multi-element deposit hosted within marginal phases of the Ilimaussaq Intrusive Complex, located near the southwest tip of Greenland. The deposit is exposed at surface along a series of undulating bluffs on a broad peninsula surrounded by deepwater fjords that run directly out to the Atlantic Ocean. Greenland Minerals and Energy acquired the project in mid-2007 and immediately launched a field program that included airborne radiometric and magnetic surveys, environmental studies, geological investigations and a 10,000m diamond drill program.

The 2007 drill program and geological work formed the basis for a first JORC-compliant resource estimation for the Kvanefjeld deposit that was announced to the Australian Securities Exchange in May, 2008. The resource was subsequently updated in August 2008 as more assay data from the 2007 drill program became available. The results of the 2007 field program were considered extremely encouraging, and in 2008 the company undertook a second large-scale exploration program during which a further 19,300 m of core were drilled. The majority of these meters were drilled into Kvanefjeld, with the aim to improve the JORC resource category from “Inferred” to “Indicated”, as well as increasing the overall resource base. This aim was certainly acheived, and Kvanefjeld is now clearly one of the largest multi-element deposits of its kind globally. During the 2008 field season, a number of new multi-element targets were also drill tested (see “New Multi-Element Targets and Overall Resource Potential”).

The latest resource statement was released to the Australian Securities Exchange in June, 2009 (see below). Zinc has been included in the resource statement after indicative metallurgical test-work suggests that the metal will report with the rare earth elements, where it could be recovered as a separate product.

Kvanefjeld multi-element resource statement, June, 2009

At U3O8%
U3O8 lb/t
cutoff grades1

1 – There is greater coverage of assays for uranium than other elements owing to historic spectral assays. U3O8 has therefore been used to define the cutoff grades to maximise the confidence in the resource calculations.
2 – Additional decimal places do not imply an added level of precision.
3 – Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) refers to the rare earth elements in the Lanthanide series plus yttrium.
Note:Figures quoted may not sum due to rounding.

Inferred resources of sodium fluoride (NaF)

At NaF%
cutoff grades

1- Sodium fluoride remains under sampled in comparison to REOs, zinc and uranium, and, therefore the resource category is only inferred. The NaF resource is contained within the same geological model as that used to calculate the TREO, U3O8, and Zn resources.

This new resource statement estimates the inventory of contained metal within a 457 Mt ore body to be:

4.91 Mt of Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO), 0.99 Mt and Zinc, 0.12 Mt of Uranium Oxide (283 Mlbs), and 3.09 Mt of NaF

All resource figures are JORC compliant. Resource estimates were calculated by Hellman and Schofield Pty Ltd (

The Kvanefeld REE-U deposit is hosted within the Ilimaussaq Complex, southern Greenland. The Ilimaussaq Complex is a layered alkaline intrusive complex that formed in a continental rift setting approximately 1.16 billion years ago. It has been the subject of many scientific studies and is considered to represent the type-example of a rare group of rocks that are referred to as agpaitic; the term ascribed to an unusual suite of peralkaline nepheline syenites. The intrusion is roughly 17 x 8 km and features distinct magmatic layering. Block faulting has disrupted the continuity of the layering across the intrusion such that different levels are exposed at different locations.

Formation of the intrusion is attributed to four successive pulses of magma. The first produced an augite syenite, which now forms a marginal shell. This was followed by intrusion of a sheet of peralkaline granite. The third and fourth stages make up the bulk of the intrusion and are peralkaline to agpaitic in composition. The third batch of magma differentiated to produce pulaskite, foyaite and naujaite. Stage four produced the agpaitic kakortokites and lujavrites, which are the units of particular economic significance. These rock types formed from volatile-rich alkaline magmas that were extremely enriched in incompatible elements such as rare earth elements, uranium, and high-field-strength elements such as niobium and tantalum. Economic concentrations of rare earth elements and uranium generally occur in the upper most lujavrite sections.

The majority of multi-element mineralisation (REEs, U, Zn and NaF) occurs as disseminations within the lujavrite, with a small component hosted in veins and disseminations in wallrocks adjacent to the lujavrite. Steenstrupine, an unusual phospho-silicate mineral, is the dominant host to both REEs and uranium, with the minerals cerite and vitusite also hosting REEs in portions of the deposit. Sodium fluoride is largely hosted by the mineral villuamite that is disseminated through some lujavrites. Zinc is hosted in the mineral sphalerite that also occurs as disseminations within lujavrite.

Kvanefjeld occurs inside the northwestern margin of the Ilimaussaq Complex where a thick interval of upper lujavrite outcrops along a series bluffs. Locally, other occurrences of upper lujavrite have been identified, and these are being evaluated by geophysical surveys, geological mapping, and diamond drilling, and have the potential to be significant new multi-element deposits. As multi-element ores are largely formed from a specific magmatic unit, they have very good continuity and consistency.

Map of the Ilimaussaq Complex highlighting the location of the Kvanefjeld REE-U deposit, as well as a series of new multi-element exploration targets labeled K2 through to K8.

Bailey, J.C., Sorensen, H., Andersen, T., Kogarko, L.N., Rose-Hansen, J., 2006. On the origin of microrhythmic layering in arfvedsonite lujavrite from the Ilimaussaq alkaline complex, South Greenland. Lithos,  v. 91, p 301-318.

Ferguson, J., 1964. Geology of the Ilímaussaq alkaline intrusion, South Greenland. Bulletin Grønlands Geologiske Undersøgelse v. 39, p. 82. (also Meddelelser om Grønland 172(4)).

Rose-Hansen, J., Sørensen, H., 2002. Geology of lujavrites from the Ilímaussaq alkaline complex, South Greenland with information from seven bore holes. Greenland Geoscience v. 40 p. 58.

Sørensen, H., 1962. On the occurrence of steenstrupine in the Ilímaussaq massif, southwest Greenland. Bulletin Grønlands Geologiske Undersøgelse v. 32, p. 251. (also Meddelelser om Grønland 167(1)).

Sørensen, H., 1992. Agpaitic nepheline syenites: a potential source of rare elements. Applied Geochemistry, v. 7, p. 417-427.

Sørensen, H., 2001. Brief introduction to the geology of the Ilímaussaq alkaline complex, South Greenland, and its exploration history. Geology of Greenland Survey Bulletin v. 190, p. 7–24.

Sørensen, H., Bohse, H., Bailey, J.C., 2006. The origin and mode of emplacement of lujavrites in the Ilímaussaq alkaline complex, South Greenland. Lithos, v. 91, p. 286-300.

Steenfelt, A., 1991. High-technology metals in alkaline and carbonatitic rocks in Greenland: recognition and exploration. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, v. 40, p. 263-279.


IPCC: International Pack of Climate Crooks

February 7, 2010

From Marc Sheppard c/o American Thinker

Unquestionably the world’s final authority on the subject, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings and recommendations have formed the bedrock of literally every climate-related initiative worldwide for more than a decade. Likewise, virtually all such future endeavors — be they Kyoto II, domestic cap-and-tax, or EPA carbon regulation, would inexorably be built upon the credibility of the same U.N. panel’s “expert” counsel. But a glut of ongoing recent discoveries of systemic fraud has rocked that foundation, and the entire man-made global warming house of cards is now teetering on the verge of complete collapse.
Simply stated, we’ve been swindled. We’ve been set up as marks by a gang of opportunistic hucksters who have exploited the naïvely altruistic intentions of the environmental movement in an effort to control international energy consumption while redistributing global wealth and (in many cases) greedily lining their own pockets in the process.

Perhaps now, more people will finally understand what many have known for years: Man-made climate change was never really a problem — but rather, a solution.  For just as the science of the IPCC has been exposed as fraudulent, so have its apparent motives. The true ones became strikingly evident when the negotiating text for the “last chance to save the planet” International Climate Accord [PDF], put forth in Copenhagen in December, was found to contain as many paragraphs outlining the payment of “climate debt” reparations by Western nations under the watchful eye of a U.N.-controlled global government as it did emission reduction schemes.
Then again, neither stratagem should come as any real surprise to those who’ve paid attention. Here’s a recap for those who have, and a long-overdue wake-up call for those who haven’t. [See also The CFC Ban: Global Warming’s Pilot Episode]
The Perfect Problem to the Imperfect Solution

The U.N. signaled its intent to politicize science as far back as 1972 at its Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) in Stockholm, Sweden. There, an unlikely mélange of legitimate environmental activists, dyed-in-the-wool Marxists, and assorted anti-establishment ’60s leftovers were delighted to hear not only the usual complaints about “industrialized” environmental problems, but also a long list of international inequities. Among the many human responsibilities condemned were overpopulation, misuse of resources and technology, unbalanced development, and the worldwide dilemma of urbanization. And from that marriage of global, environmental, and social justice concerns was born the IPCC’s parent organization — the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) — and the fortune-cookie like prose of its socialist-environmentalist manifesto, the Stockholm Declaration.
It was seven years later that UNEP was handed the ideal villain to fuel its counterfeit crusade. That was the year (1979) in which NASA’s James Hansen’s team of climate modelers convinced a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel to report [PDF] that doubling atmospheric CO2 — which had risen from 280 ppmv in the pre-industrial 1800s to over 335 ppmv — would cause nearly 3°C of global warming. And although the figure was wildly speculative, many funding-minded scientists — including some previously predicting that aerosols and orbital shifts would lead to catastrophic global cooling — suddenly embraced greenhouse gas theory and the inevitability of global warming.  It was at that moment that it became clear that the long-held scientific position that the Earth’s ecosystem has always and will always maintain CO2 equilibrium could be easily swayed toward a more exploitable belief system. And the UNEP now had the perfect problem to its solution: anthropogenic global warming (AGW).  After all, both its abatement and adaptation require huge expansion of government controls and taxation. Furthermore, it makes industry and capitalism look bad while affording endless visuals of animals and third-world humans suffering at the hands of wealthy Westerners. And most importantly, by fomenting accusations that “rich” countries have effectively violated the human rights of hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people by selfishly causing climate-based global suffering, it helps promote the promise of international wealth redistribution to help less fortunate nations adapt to its consequences.
Best of all, being driven by junk-science that easily metamorphoses as required, it appeared to be endlessly self-sustaining.   But it needed to be packaged for widespread consumption. And packaged it they surely have. Here’s an early classic.
The year was 1988, and Colorado Senator Tim Wirth had arranged for Hansen to testify on the subject before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to help sell the dire need to enact national environmental legislation. As Wirth has since admitted, he intentionally scheduled Hansen’s appearance on what was forecasted to be the hottest day of the hearings. And in a brilliantly underhanded marketing ploy, he and his cohorts actually snuck into the hearing room the night before and opened the windows, rendering the air conditioning all but useless.
Imagine the devious beauty of the scene that unfolded in front of the cameras the next day — a NASA scientist preaching fire and brimstone, warning of “unprecedented global warming” and a potential “runaway greenhouse effect,” all the while wiping the dripping sweat off his brow. No wonder the resultant NY Times headline screamed, “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how climate hysteria and not one, but two of its shining stars were born. For coincidentally, that was the same year the IPCC was established by the U.N. Its mandate: to assess “the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.”  How perfect: an organization formed not to prove or disprove AGW, but merely to assess its risks and recommend an appropriate response.  Now it was time to really get to work.

Testing the “Global Warming as Social Injustice” Waters

In 1990, the IPCC issued its First Assessment Report, warning of a natural greenhouse effect being enhanced by human emission activities. Apparently not quite ready to show its cards, the IPCC even admitted that the still-little-understood effects of such factors as carbon sinks, ocean currents, and clouds left many uncertainties as to timing and magnitude.
Meanwhile, the politics pushed forward in earnest. At the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (aka Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, the event’s Secretary-General, Maurice Strong, told the opening session that industrialized countries had “developed and benefited from the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption which have produced our present dilemma.” The veteran U.N. puppeteer blamed the “lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class,” which included “high meat consumption and large amounts of frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and workplace air-conditioning, and suburban housing” for the world’s environment ills. The solution: “[A] vast strengthening of the multilateral system, including the United Nations.”
From that meeting sprouted the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty. Absent specific numbers, the highly-touted Kyoto precursor nonetheless promised to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” But much less fanfare accompanied the essentially concurrent adoption of Agenda 21: a global contract that bound governments around the world to a U.N. plan to change the way people “live, eat, learn and communicate,” all in the name of “saving the earth” from mankind’s mistakes, particularly global warming.
Again we saw a U.N.-crafted convergence of climate “science” and social “justice.” While the signing of the UNFCCC would be a gradual process, 178 governments voted to adopt the Agenda 21 on the spot. This was quite a victory, especially in light of the IPCC’s complete control over just exactly how such planetary salvation was best realized.  And in 1995, its Second Assessment Report (SAR) upped that ante a bit, stating that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” Oddly, SAR slightly toned down previous projections for future warming and sea level rise based on the newly-considered cooling effects of anthropogenic atmospheric aerosols — a move the U.N. brass likely regretted two years later.
In 1997, a protocol was added to UNFCCC that attempted to enact national commitments to emission reductions based on SAR recommendations. Fully 160 countries agreed to the legally binding Kyoto Protocol, under which industrialized countries would reduce their collective emissions by 5.2%. However, although a signatory, the United States made ratification all but impossible when its Senate unanimously passed a resolution that year prohibiting U.S involvement in “any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing nations as well as industrialized nations.”  It appeared time to ratchet up the rhetoric — truth be damned.

The Dawn of Outright Climate Fraud

Back in 1989, future Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) Working Group 2 (WG2) lead author Stephen Schneider disclosed several tricks of the trade to Discover magazine:

To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.

And according to MIT’s Richard Lindzen’s 2001 Senate subcommittee testimony, that’s precisely what he witnessed as a Third Assessment Report (TAR) lead author. Among the atmospheric physicist’s revelations was the fact that contributing TAR scientists — already facing the threat of disappearing grant funds and derision as industry stooges — were also met with ad hominem attacks from IPCC “coordinators” if they refused to tone down criticism of faulty climate models or otherwise questioned AGW dogma. I suppose that’s one way to achieve the “consensus” the IPCC loudly boasts of.

As previously discussed here and here, it was in the same 2001 TAR that the IPCC suddenly and inexplicably scrapped its long-held position that global temperatures had fluctuated drastically over the previous millennium and replaced it with a chart depicting relatively flat temperatures prior to a sharp rise beginning in 1900. This, of course, removed the pesky higher-than-present-day temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period of 900-1300 AD, the existence of which obstructed the unprecedented-warming sales pitch.  Truth be told, this little bit of hocus-pocus alone should have marked the end of the panel’s scientific credibility, particularly after Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick uncovered the corruption behind it. But thanks to a hugely successful campaign to demonize all critics as big-oil shills, the “Hockey Stick Graph” (aka MBH98) not only survived, but — after receiving a prominent role in Al Gore’s 2006 grossly exaggerated “scary scenarios” sci-fi movie — actually went on to become a global warming icon. Even after McIntyre finally got his hands on one scientist’s data last September and proved that Keith Briffa had cherry-picked data to create his MBH98-supporting series, the MSM paid McIntyre and others reporting the hoax little heed.
Consequently, TAR’s false declaration of the 20th as the hottest century of the millennium was widely accepted as fact, right along with its proclamation that the 1990’s were the hottest decade and 1998 the hottest year since measurements began in 1861…as was the replacement of “discernible human influence” described six years earlier with the claim of “new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”

So by the time AR4 rolled out in 2007, in which they significantly raised not only the threat level, but also the degree of anthropogenic certitude (to 90%), the IPCC’s word was all but gospel to the MSM, left-leaning policymakers, and an increasingly large portion of the population. Indeed, everywhere you turned, you’d hear that “the IPCC said this” or “the IPCC said that.” The need to address “climate change” had quickly become a foregone and inarguable conclusion in most public discourse.  At that moment, Kyoto II seemed as inevitable as the next insufferable NBC Green is Universal week, and with it, the U.N.’s place as steward of the planet, which would surely be ratified at the pending 2009 Climate Conference in Copenhagen.
…Until, that is, the mind-boggling magnitude of AR4’s deception became glaringly apparent.
Caught with their Green Thumbs on the Scale

Most readers are likely aware that in November of last year, a folder containing documents, source code, data, and e-mails was somehow misappropriated from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU). The so-called “Climategate” emails disclosed an arrogant mockery of the peer review process as well a widespread complicity in and acceptance among climate researchers to hiding and manipulating data unfriendly to the global warming agenda. The modeling source code — as I reported here — contained routines which employed a number of “fudge factors” to modify the results of data series — again, to bias results to the desired outcome. And this, coupled with the disclosure of the Jones “hide the decline” e-mail, provided more evidence that MBH98 — and ergo unprecedented 20th-century warming — is a fraud.
The following month, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change had probably tampered with Russian climate data. Apparently, Hadley ignored data submitted by 75% of Russian stations, effectively omitting over 40% of Russian territory from global temperature calculations — not coincidentally, areas that didn’t “show any substantial warming in the late 20th-century and the early 21st-century.”

But Climategate was only the tip of the iceberg. An AR4 warning that unchecked climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was found to be lifted from an erroneous World Wildlife Federation (WWF) report and misrepresented as peer-reviewed science. IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri attempted to parry this “mistake” by accusing the accusers at the Indian environment ministry of “arrogance” and practicing “voodoo science” in issuing a report [PDF] disputing the IPCC. But one in his own ranks, Dr Murari Lal, the coordinating lead author of the chapter making the claim, had the astoundingly bad manners to admit that he knew all along that it “did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.” Apparently, so had Pachauri, who continued to lie about it for months so as not to sully the exalted AR4 immediately prior to Copenhagen.  And “Glaciergate” opened the floodgates to other serious misrepresentations in AR4, including a boatload of additional non-peer-reviewed projections pulled directly from WWF reports. These included discussions on the effects of melting glaciers on mudflows and avalanches, the significant damages climate change will have on selected marine fish and shellfish, and even assessing global-average per-capita “ecological footprints.” It should be noted here that IPCC rules specifically disqualify all non-peer-reviewed primary sources.
Nonetheless, Chapter 13 of the WG2 report stated that forty percent of Amazonian forests are threatened by climate change. And it also cited a WWF piece as its source — this one by two so-called “experts,” who incidentally are actually environmental activists. What’s more, the WWF study dealt with anthropogenic forest fires, not global warming, and barely made mention of Amazonian forests at all. Additionally, the WWF’s figures were themselves based on a Nature paper [PDF] studying neither global warming nor forest fires, but rather the effects of logging on rain forests. So the IPCC predicted climate change-caused 40% forest destruction based on a report two steps upstream which concluded that “[l]ogging companies in Amazonia kill or damage 10-40% of the living biomass of forests through the harvest process.”
Adding to the glacial egg on the AR4 authors’ faces was the statement that observed reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps, and Africa were being caused by global warming. It turns out that one of the two source papers cited was actually a mountain-climbers’ magazine. Actually, this is a relatively authoritative source compared to the other: a dissertation from a Swiss college student based on his interviews with mountain guides in the Alps.
The 2007 green bible also contained a gross exaggeration in its citation of Muir-Wood et al., 2006‘s study on global warming and natural disasters. The original stated that “a small statistically significant trend was found for an increase in annual catastrophe loss since 1970 of 2% per year.” But the AR4 synthesis report stated that more “heavy precipitation” is “very likely” and that an “increase in tropical cyclone intensity” is “likely” as temperatures rise.
Perhaps the most dumbfounding AR4 citation (so far) was recently discovered by It appears that a WG2 warning that “[t]he multiple stresses of climate change and increasing human activity on the Antarctic Peninsula represent a clear vulnerability and have necessitated the implementation of stringent clothing decontamination guidelines for tourist landings on the Antarctic Peninsula” originated from and was attributed to a guide for Antarctica tour operators on decontaminating boots and clothing. Really.  And here’s one you may not have heard yet. A paper published last December by Lockart, Kavetski, and Franks rebuts the AR4 WG1 assertion that CO2-driven higher temperatures drive higher evaporation and thereby cause droughts. The study claims they got it backwards, as higher air temperatures are in fact driven by the lack of evaporation (as occurs during drought). I smell another “-gate” in the works.
And yet, perhaps the greatest undermining of IPCC integrity comes from a recent study, which I’ve summarized here, challenging the global temperature data reported by its two most important American allies: NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As these represent the readings used by most climate analysis agencies, including the IPCC, the discovery by meteorologist Joe D’Aleo and computer expert E.M. Smith that they’ve been intentionally biased to the warm side since 1990 puts literally every temperature-related climate report released since then into question.  …Along with, of course, any policy decisions based on their content.

It’s Time for some Real Climate Justice

Here in the states, left-leaning policymakers and their cohorts in the MSM have thus far all but ignored both the reality and implications of the fraud unveiled by Climategate, Glaciergate, Amazongate, and the myriad other AGW-hyping scandals that seem to surface almost daily. Remarkably, most continue to discuss “climate pollution” and “carbon footprints” and the “tragedy” of Copenhagen’s failure, even as the global warming fever of their own contagion plunges precipitously. The president appears equally deluded, as passing a “comprehensive energy and climate bill” (as though the climate might somehow be managed by parliamentary edict) was one of the many goals he set forth in his State of the Union address last week.
But their denial will be short-lived as even the last vestiges of the green lie they so desperately cling to evaporate under the heat of the spotlight suddenly shining upon them.  For outside of the U.S., many news organizations and politicians already get it. Some are calling for Pachauri’s resignation, and others for a full investigation into his possible financial conflicts of interest. There have also been demands for a complete reassessment of all IPCC reports, including a suggestion from the Financial Times that, given the IPCC’s “central role in climate science,” an independent auditor must be commissioned to “look at all the claims in the 2007 report and remove any that were not soundly based.”
At least one American, AGW believer Walter Russell Mead of American Interest Online, agrees: “A highly publicized effort that includes serious skeptics and has bipartisan backing is the only way to get American public opinion on board the climate change train.” And China’s lead climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, suggested that “contrarian views” be included in 2014’s AR5.

But when the Australian suddenly recommended “applying a healthy degree of scepticism to scientific claims that drive policy,” paleoclimatologist Bob Carter told me he just couldn’t help laughingly writing the editors to welcome them to the ranks of the majority of scientists who “practice exactly the technique that [they] belatedly recommend” — the skeptics.

Indeed, this abrupt challenge to their own “consensus” mantra that they’ve spoon-fed the public for years rings decidedly hollow. Those “serious skeptics” and the holders of those “contrarian views” are the same scientists the IPCC deliberately excluded from its proceedings with impunity. They’re the same people whom the media have ignored or ridiculed for years, along with their conventions — like Heartland’s ICCC 1, 2, and 3 — and innumerable contrarian reports. In fact, a superb rebuttal to AR4, Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) — produced by Dr. S. Fred Singer, Dr. Craig Idso, and thirty fellow scientists — has received no MSM attention whatsoever, despite its availability here since last June.  Besides, the time for credibility makeovers has long passed. As U.K. Professor Phillip Stott recently observed:

[A]s ever, capitalism has read the runes, with carbon-trading posts quietly being shed, ‘Green’ jobs sidelined, and even big insurance companies starting to hedge their own bets against the future of the Global Warming Grand Narrative. These rats are leaving the sinking ship far faster than any politician, many of whom are going to be abandoned, left, still clinging to the masts, as the Good Ship ‘Global Warming’ founders on titanic icebergs in the raging oceans of doubt and delusion.

Stott compared the IPCC’s fall to that of the Berlin Wall. And he’s spot-on — for just as the latter symbolized the doom of European communism, so does the former signal the death knell for global socialist-environmentalism.
Let’s get real — given the enormousness of the booty these grifters attempted to extort from the entire developed world, not to mention the extraordinary depth of their hubris, it isn’t rehabilitation that’s required here, but swift justice. In 2006, IPCC cheerleader Grist Magazine‘s staff writer David Roberts received a pass when he called for the Nuremberg-style war-crimes trials for the “bastards” who were members of the global warming “denial industry.” Surely, it’s now clear that the members of the global warming “fraud industry” are the true “bastards” who should be hauled before an international tribunal for crimes against humanity…any tribunal, that is, other than the U.N.’s own International Criminal Court in The Hague.
We’ll deal with their accessories-after-the-fact in the Congress, the White House — and consequently, the EPA — in due time.

And the first such judgment is already scheduled — for November.