An End to Eight Years of The Oil Drum

Dear Readers of The Oil Drum,

A few weeks ago the ISEOF board (The Institute for Energy and Our Future that facilitates The Oil Drum), Euan, Super G, JoulesBurn, and Myself, met to discuss the future of The Oil Drum. A discussion we have had several times in the last year, due to scarcity of new content caused by a dwindling number of contributors. Despite our best efforts to fill this gap we have not been able to significantly improve the flow of high quality articles.

Because of this and the high expense of running the site, the board has unanimously decided that the best course of action is to convert the site to a static archive of previously published material as of 31st July 2013. We will continue to post articles up to this date. Afterwards any articles will be held as a public archive into the foreseeable future, so that others can continue to learn from the breadth and depth of knowledge published by our many authors, over the 8+ history of this remarkable volunteer effort.

We sincerely thank everyone who has been part of the TOD community - authors, staff and especially commenter's and readers - for contributing to the success of the site. It is unusual for a site which is based primarily on volunteer effort to continue this long.

No way to just keep on going just with drumbeat ?

And how about a donation button ?

TOD is really a kind of "hub for quality info on PO".

How about more articles of the type "originally published on" (like the ones of Gail)
Seems to me the posts of Tad Patzek, Matt Mushalik, or Deborah Rogers blogs for instance would perfectly "fit the bill" here.

In any case, bravo and many thanks for the work over the years.

I believe some on staff will be continuing with their own personal blogs, and we plan to leave links to those once TOD goes into archive mode.

Alternate site

All - I have setup an alternate site here :

I dont know if it will become popular, but if it does I will continue it and move it to a proper datacenter on a decent server. Currently it is a blank slate with a few empty forums. I hope a few of you will post articles and discussions. I make no money of it and have limited time so I hope some will find it useful and not spam it.
If enough of you move to the new site I will develop it further and make it much better looking (perhaps in time mirroring the TOD format) + add various nice RSS, news feeds etc. I will also register a good domain name for it if there is interest after a month or two.

I am only doing it because I have found TOD incredibly useful and have the necessary technical skills to do so as well as the means to do so. I have offered to host TOD completely on my servers but so far the site admins seem to want to close it rather than let it continue.

I'll give whatever options a try. I've registered and made a post in a forum.

Thanks Zurk, I've signed up and posted a few article and links. Good luck!

Yvest... the DrumBeat was dying as well. It looks as if for various reasons (AND NOT JUST DUE TO SPAM), several of the top bloggers left the Drumbeat.

Actually, I did read some of the excellent articles, but I came to TheOilDrum because I enjoyed reading the comments from these top bloggers in the Drumbeat. In my opinion, they were the PULL for TheOilDrum.

I have to say, its a shame that the site is going down, because we are just getting into some very interesting times as it pertains to peak energy.

Lastly, peak oil is like gold and silver, interest by the public for these two are in the toilet. Articles that I wrote on gold or silver for financial sites would receive 10-20,000 reads each back in 2010-2011. However, by the end of 2012 and now presently, readership has fallen to a fraction of that amount.

The public is fickle. They want hype to keep them interested. I have a new website myself that I explore how energy will impact mining, the precious metals and the overall economy. However, if I put out a quick article on how JP Morgan just lost 61% of its customer gold inventory in one day, I receive a great deal of readers and a huge amount of hits.

On the other hand, if I write a long article on how energy and the EROI will impact the mining of gold and silver, I receive a fraction of the readership.

This is indeed the problem with the very public we try to inform. THEOILDRUM was a big deal back during the time when Stuart Staniford was making his charts and posting here.

Again, it is a real shame that TheOilDrum is shutting down because there won't be a place to provide the alternative view to the Main Stream Media which believes BAU - Business As Usual & that the U.S. will become a net oil exporter.

Thanks all for your work.


How about a link to your site?

LRacine... if you were asking me about my site, it is the SRSrocco Report at the link below:

Precisely. See my longer comments far below -

Put up a donation button. Sell a shirt. Do Not Abandon Ship.


Jeez--- email me, I'll help you promo on Radio. I am asking/inviting the managers to email me and I will put you on air, and help you raise some cash, if that's the issue.

Liam, I so agree with you. PayPal? I mean it. Seriously.

I agree. I would gladly contribute to TOD for all the info I have drawn from here over the years! High cost of running the site...? is that bandwidth from all the readers...?

What if you just asked people to nominate what they would consider donating and see if you get enough dollars / interest to find a way to get through this rough patch? You could just have a drop down box for logged in users to nominate what they would donate if formally asked.

Have you ever considered that "load bearing" staff have expressed a desire to leave and the Board has oped to shut down?

"Have you ever considered that "load bearing" staff have expressed a desire to leave and the Board has oped to shut down?"

Yes, but of course, bargaining is a stage of grief that people usually adept at problem solving might be inclined to perseverate on.

It's terribly sad news you see, terribly sad... this virtual death. Many will now be left hungry for relevant information. And, while I'm sure we all respect the right to retire efforts which we've so appreciated, it is none-the-less upsetting, being forced to imagine the prospect of having to shift for one's self in the future. Ohhh, it can be done (of course) will be done, even if not as thoroughly (in my case I'm sure, could not be done as thoroughly) and probably never again with such a diversity of experts! Seriously doubt I'll ever again be able to find such a dynamic collection of pertinent opinions, and such knowledgeable comments, without the interrupting, incessant, drone, of the typical, extraneous, rubbish.... Sad, sad, sad.

My sincere THANKS to those whose efforts made it possible for so long.

(Have enjoyed lurking here since the Macondo blowout BTW)

My suggestion and those of most others that I have read are not bargaining but actions of members of a community that are putting up their hand because their view of TOD is that this 'is' (was) a community and they didn't realise that something might be lacking.

Something akin perhaps to a family member saying 'I am hungry and I am going out for a meal' and everybody else in the house now just realising/just being made aware of the issue and they suddenly jump up with offers of assistance because they care.

Anyway.... that aside.

Thank you TOD and goodbye.


I have been coming here quite a while now and have contributed little but my eyeballs. My history shows almost 4 years and only 4 comments. I can imagine hundreds of hours spent reading, and mostly with my mouth shut. Am I the kind of reader you hate, or the kind of reader you seek? I don't know. The running and financing of the site has not been transparent to this reader. I would have put the site down to some alchemy of professional expertise, altruism, zeal and a sprinkling of dollars. Beyond that who knows?

Yet this is one of the few sites that I have returned to over the long term. In spite of the "lack of content" or the comings and goings of various members, TOD has still been a site worth reading. This has always been a site where I felt I could learn something, and on a good day as much in the comments as in the article itself.

What I'm hearing in the responses from Leanan and Rembrandt is that it's not really about the money. Offers of financial help are deflected. The board should be hearing that people out here would contribute if asked.

I'm not sure I even believe that it's about the content. The content, in spite of what you might think, has persisted to a high standard throughout. And again I see offers of help with content. For that matter, one quality article per week and as little as one drumbeat per week would have satisfied this reader. I don't need a daily article.

Probably this is about a small group of people who have had an 8 year dash, at times a slog, and to varying degrees they are tired. I understand that. I understand being tired of a good thing. I get birthing something, parenting well, and being uncomfortable through adolescent growing pains. But the idea that TOD is a mature adult with nothing left to offer? I can't go that far.

So I struggle with the decision to walk away. What the board should be seeing is that there are a lot of willing hands out here who would be, or would have been, willing to pitch in and help run TOD. Is the activity so rarefied that only you small lot can do it? I think not. I'm not talking about a volunteer to help delete spam. I'm talking about handing over the reins and walking away. Could you not distill your 8 years of knowledge into a constitution, carefully crafted bylaws, whatever you want to call it, regarding content, governance, elections, terms of office, and change of those very bylaws themselves? I can't help but imagine a site that could exist independently of any three or five people.

This site has a lot going for it - a brand, a standard, and a community that will not be easily replicated. Is "start over some place else" really the best and only option? Obviously I don't think so. You would have to be willing to let this young, healthy adult go forth in the world on its own two feet. Scary at times. But possible.


Thanks dlfj for the logical reasoning and constructive thinking. I think a key consideration in this is what is the purpose of a website like The Oil Drum, and does/can it live up to the stated purpose:

Thank you Oil Drum for 8 years of fantastic service.

In my eyes, it is definitely living up to its mission statement.

It was fundamental in my decision to completely change my life 4 years ago - after 3 years or so of lurking. I slashed my CO2e emissions from 10 to 1 tonnes after leaving the mainstream and moving to a fossil fuel free community, where I campaign about peak oil and climate change - whilst living the life I preach.

I frequently use TOD for reference material and point sceptics in your direction.

Thanks again for all of your work and I'll be sorry to see you go.


Hi Rembrandt,

It seems to me that The Oil Drum has continued to fulfill it's mission. Couldn't the board be replaced (or expanded) with new members who might continue the great work that is done here? Maybe more people to look over submitted work and a slightly lower bar for accepting publications.

Is there someone who could give a brief history of The Oil Drum? It really seems unnecessary to shut it down. I imagine you could find volunteers, or raise money to pay people to run it, it would still be non-profit.

Oh well. It is really a shame to close down the best energy web site in the world.

Dennis Coyne

+ 1

Best Hopes for Changing the Guard, if that is possible,


Five years ago I joined as a fiscally conservative, almost libertarian, engineer who wanted to get better educated about oil and finance. That was achieved.

Based primarily on this site I moved a little to the center, became realistic about energy, changed my life goals, changed my career (now I help produce oil and gas, while it yet flows), and gained respect for a great many people of various ilk. Heck, walking in for an interview I was able to go toe to toe with a CEO and other industry long-timers on topics of shale oil, domestic and international production, the viability of various plays, the future of oil prices, and so forth. We didn't (and still don't) agree on all things, but this site alone helped me change industries as a fairly senior person without even a cut in pay.

I too see why the management team can get tired of the grind, no matter how committed. Sadder still to watch it die than never to have known it? I don't think so. I say better to have loved and lost. The Oil Drum can't save the world, but it has impacted a lot of lives positively, and will leave a legacy that few can match.

Who hasn't latched on to ending their posts with "Best hopes for....", or "Are we smarter than yeast?", or learned the pros and cons of wind, solar, rail, and other technology from this site, or the basics of ELM, or the role of import/export shifts in the fortunes of nations?

I don't pretend to know the answers, but I'll certainly miss the articles and Drumbeat. I will much miss Leanan's sage and balanced perspective, and perpetual good nature and understated humor. For me, Drumbeat was like reading Dilbert and XKCD as daily comics or perusing the morning news -- a little jolt of novelty for a dopamine fix, with a dose of education generally thrown in.

As for, I can't even seem to get a login. For some reason my e-mail won't register, and the admin's don't respond. No place is perfect, but for me, this site was as good as it gets. Probably as good as any will ever get.

Thank you, all, especially Leanan. You will be sorely missed.

This is the burden of knowledge. It is where the wise go to lay their weary bones on their prospective graves and ponder the afterlife. And, well said. Ditto, ditto, and more..., ditto.

As an electrical engineer my aims were similar and the outcomes the same. I too could go to toe to toe with industry insiders and experts quoting volumes, recovery ratios, and prospective plays. I am planning to do the same with electrical system knowledge among the non-engineer coworkers.

I look at this as a positive direction. Our work is done. When I got involved with our local organization the Vancouver Peak Oil Executive (VPOE), started by the likes of the erudite Rex Wyler, a co-founder of Green Peace, I surmised the probable best outcome is we become irrelevant. We would raise the awareness, appropriate changes would be made, and we ride off into the sunset, forgotten and hopefully not reviled.

Have all the appropriate changes been made? Not by a long shot. We may have started turning the corner. Many perceived the consequences of Peak Oil as hitting a wall, or running off a cliff. Hell, I sure did. Then, as the immediate fear passed I too wondered what "turning the corner" looks like. TOD changing modes may be a signal, an indication, a message.

I still think our chances are 50/50. Or 40/40 if we could describe less than 50% odds going either way. I will leave it with my common pithy, yet obtuse statement (quote me on this one, with many a physicist over the ages):

"Thermodynamics doesn't give a damn what you think". (or believe).

I did finally get a login for, and I'll check out Zurk's site too. Hopefully somewhere we'll hit critical mass for the news fix.

Rate of descent is critical. Time gives options for adaptation. 100 years would even permit birth rate reduction to apply. And really, that's the turning point we need to see -- population. Every other issue is secondary, and yet this topic is (even here) the most difficult to effectively raise.

Well writ.

In a similar boat. Long time lurker, infrequent poster. Been visiting the site several times a week since 2007 - when I was introduced to it by a professor teaching a seminar on energy policy - and I'm very sad to see it go. Drumbeats have been my main draw, along with the associated comments by intelligent, articulate individuals. Articles have been great as well. Not sure where I will go to get information and analysis of a similar quality. But the void must be filled. Especially these days, when peak energy is more important than ever.

Best of luck to all of us as we go forward.


You have put many of my conflicted feelings about this into a well written post.

It seems to me that many, if not most, feel that TOD still does provide quality articles, commentary, etc. I am not certain who should get to determine the current value of TOD.

I agree that perhaps some relief from those who have worked or continue to work so hard is in order.

I also agree that perhaps "throttling" back to posting new articles, launching new Drumbeats on, say, a weekly basis may be worth consideration. Of course I assume that relieves some of the effort to run the site - yeah I suppose leaving comments open "all the time" does not mitigate the moderation. And those who have worked so tirelessly here and who have indicated that they will maintain their blogs/sites could also cross post summaries and links to their content.

Perhaps it's a bit of apples to oranges, but I look forward to Monday morning when JHK publishes, Greer every two weeks or so (I found out about them here on TOD), The Automatic Earth, and I'd make it a point to come to TOD as I do the aforementioned sites.

In the end, those who work and have worked so tirelessly here running the site as well as those who have posted many well thought out articles have my enduring gratitude.


5 years 16 weeks

Devastated. I agree with Yves, Drumbeat alone is a reason to come here daily.

I hope that circumstances will lead to a revival of this fantastic resource.

But now I would like to thank you all for the work you have all put in on this site. I have learnt so much, from main posts especially, drumbeats, and comments and will now have to search elsewhere to fill the hole that the freezing of TOD will cause.

Terminal production decline of TOD; to be capped in July, hopefully soon to be reopened.

Yair . . . from my point of view the comments were the site. I have a slow connection and if a story drew comments I would sometimes maybe read it.

The Drupal no B/S format is excellent and always loads quickly on my machine.

The site will be greatly missed by this old bushman and thanks to all who contributed to my enlightenment.

I don't post much because most of the discussion is way above my pay grade but I come here twice daily. Living in isolation as I do I truly feel I have lost a group of friends.

All the best to everyone in the uncertain times ahead


Well, thank you for introducing the concept of "Yair". I don't say it that much, but I catch myself thinking it quite a bit.

Alas, we have Peak TOD. Unbeknownst to us TOD consumers, the production rates plateaued, then, with inexorable fatality, began to drop off, in an unmistakable Hubbert curve...

It is sad, but apropos, I suppose.

A huge loss and a massively under rated resource. Thanks to all the writers, researchers and commentators over the past few years I have been reading The Oil Drum.

What other collaborative sites to people recommend where we can still get some robust technical debate? I find has some great articles but there is a lot of 'noise' for the stuff I'm interested in.

Since mitigation is something everyone needs to be working on, I suggest becoming involved in (or helping start)a Transition Town (or Initiative), so that wherever you are is less affected by the economic collapse. is helpful, but laying the groundwork and executing a local mitigation plan is crucial, so just acquiring information only gets one so far in the long run.

utterly gutted

now the forces fear uncertainty and disinformation will be free to pollute the web / cloud unfettered

a beacon of light has gone out and darkness falls around the free thinking world


PS: I would like to state my thanks for all at the Oil Drum over the years for running and contributing to the site .

flags at half mast and mourning the loss.....

But sites like this exist and I'm sure other people will add to the list:

Come to think of it, they're probably all listed in the blog roll right there on the left.

This Average Joe has learned one hell of lot reading through many of the articles and tremendous comments on this site. A genuinely sad time.

But hey, cheers and best wishes to all.

Matt Blain
Melbourne, Australia

On the decline in readership you can see it here with Google Trends:

The date of Peak oil drum, now clear in the rear view mirror.

Those are useful keyword comparisons, but the overall picture that Google Trends shows is that The Oil Drum never really had a huge spike in popularity.

There was a little peak around June 2010, but for the rest of the long seven-year lifetime of the site, it had a low and steady number of search-term hits.

First came here when a Blogspot and content was excellent.
Content still good early on with great focus on details of fossil energy production.
I Learned a lot and commented a bit back then as the data on decline became public.
Haven't commented for years as nothing new to learn and quality of comments is down.
Contrary to what others say below the noise to information has been high for many years.
TOD served its purpose and I am grateful to the oil insiders who shared their knowledge.
Anyone can post a comment but only those with accurate data can post useful information.
Change is a way of life, people who spend a lot of time posting here need to move on.
Stop moaning and get up and do the things in your day to day life that matter.
I suggest taking the knowledge learned here and make positive changes in your community.

I took this approach 6-7 years ago with my family, my employer and my city. You will be amazed at how much impact you can have if you have the courage to speak up in public.

Best of luck to all in dealing with Peak oil.

wow. So sorry to hear this.

How much $ would it take to keep this place open?

This site is a fantastic educational resource.

thanks for all you've done.

I have never posted on here before, although I have been reading the posts nearly every day for over three years. I will quite lost without having this source of knowledge. I have used the information with friends, colleagues at work and in local politics, and try to make a small impact in changing perceptions.

I am so grateful to the people who have contributed and feel that some even to seem to have become friends in a sort of way. I am disappointed that I have never attended one of your gatherings.

Reading the Oil Drum is an important part of my day - usually as now whilst eating my baguette and a can of drink for lunch.

It will be sorely missed.

Time for a change, I guess. Seems to me it might end up being very poignant timing, too.

“All major changes are like death. You can't see to the other side until you are there.”
― Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park

Peak oil is passing but it would be good to find a way for old timers to add a monthly text.

Seems like it has been longer than 8 years. Oil supply is almost as interesting to me as it was when I first started coming here. A lot of really cool graphs and images over the years like Joules SA drilling map and Rembrandt's Oil Watches. Goodnight and good luck.

The End of an Era. Thanks for all the hard work over the years. I feel like I almost earned a PhD in something.

But, the show is not over. We can now settle back and watch. Pass the popcorn.

Rev. Karl

My thoughts echo yours, Rev Karl.

8 years means The Oil Drum came online in 2005, basically matching the start the current plateau in crude oil production. Seems like it would be fitting if the downside of the plateau and the closure of The Oil Drum also coincided. We'll have to check the rear view mirror in a few years to see if this was the case.

Farewell and thanks to all The Oil Drum contributors, editors, commenters and lurkers. Keep up the good fight of informing the unaware and debating the cornucopians on the subject of the world's energy/climate predicament. I know I will be.

As an old lag I'm of course disappointed in the shuttering of the site. When the subject of future directions, etc. has come up before I've always pushed for a greater concentration on the downslope (since predicting the peak has become less and less interesting as it's got nearer). However I recognise there has been little traction of such system navel gazing, since it's harder to exhibit numeric data.

With the loss of key contributors and commentators - in part because of the spam filters and in part because of the cultural run-ins - it becomes harder to make the level of change required. That goes double if the passion is no longer there in the central core of the contributors.

Personally I think I would have still attempted the necessary changes, better to die trying etc, but I'm sure that one way or another such subjects will get addressed - I'll just have to try and find where that is....

Personally I think I would have still attempted the necessary changes, better to die trying etc,

I think we did. We made some big changes a couple of years back. Probably the most visible to you was the Drumbeat going from daily to four times a week, but there were also major changes behind the scenes. At the time we made those changes...the alternative was shuttering the site. So we did "die trying," as you put it.

As for the spam might have cause and effect reversed there. By the time the spam filter was installed, the handwriting was on the wall. There was no point in putting a lot of time, effort, and money into better solutions when there would soon be no comments to moderate.

My very humble insight is:

This is a topic where changes are probably best measured every 5yrs, or every decade, and the internet somewhat gears readers for much faster changes to their news topics of interest.

So it seems it might be a bit of a mismatch in media to topic, and the site's multi drumbeats per wk: Things are changing, but 'slowly.'

I found out about the site closing out on Twitter. This is ironic because I read the Oil Drum every day and rarely look at Twitter. I think we are at a time when the cornucopians can claim victory because we are at the peak of production. See, no problem. I have been a regular since late 2005. Thanks for the site. If the need arises, something else will take its place. I do believe in free markets after all.


I kind of saw the changes a few years back as doubling down on the same ol' model. The emphasis on 'high quality' translated into a focus on numbers and an excising of adjacent, but not directly PO, articles. Problem is, as above, if you were really looking at what happens at and past peak, you aren't really in the realm where data helps too much. You are much more interested in the softer system interconnections, the dynamics of the changes, and eventually casting the entrails to try and describe a navigable path.

Not a vast degree of graphing in that.

As I think I said at the time, rather than the structure around time based info (drumbeat & articles) an alternative structure which explicitly clusters around subject and subsubjects (with cross connections) is better for having an ongoing conversations that build. Each new thought, idea, piece of data is explicitly built and connected to the existing corpus of knowledge - meaning you get less rehashing of old ideas because new people don't know the history.

It's kind of orthogonal to how "The Oil Drum" is arranged, and would be the level of change that I was talking about.

As Rembrandt also puts you on an ideological path, necessarily. That just wasn't possible for us, for many reasons, and not what we wanted.

You'd have to create new site to do that. Now would be a good time.

As I think I said at the time, rather than the structure around time based info (drumbeat & articles) an alternative structure which explicitly clusters around subject and subsubjects (with cross connections) is better for having an ongoing conversations that build. Each new thought, idea, piece of data is explicitly built and connected to the existing corpus of knowledge - meaning you get less rehashing of old ideas because new people don't know the history.

And that kind of discussion on how to make newTOD to service the hole left by staticTOD could lead to yet another Company in the crowded marketplace of social media.

i´m one the thankful, silent readers from Germany and this is my first posting here. I learned so much at "theoildrum"!
I can´t believe, that the most important website concerning peak oil and the future of energy will be shut down.
Is there any way to stop that?
I work in the german energy business an could write articels about the german "energy transition".
I think, one article per month could be possible! Maybe, we could find some more contributors, so that the page can stay?

What about a donation button?

Dear oildrum team, please don´t let this page die.....


The German energy transition is definitely a subject that interests me.

I am a critic of EnergieWende, pointing out the "better path" followed by France, and the "best path" followed by Denmark (do both the French & German approaches simultaneously).

I had lunch at the French Embassy a couple of weeks ago with the Danish and French environmental attaches and the French transportation attache.

Germany was not without some criticism (not completely unexpected inside the French embassy :-)

Best Hopes for the Danes,


Danish per capita carbon emissions were down -26.5% in five years (2007-12), France -14.2%, Germany -7.8% for the same period

Not sure why you say the Danish approach is best - they've shown good improvement but still have quite a way to go to catch the French.

In absolute #s, the French have slightly over 2/3rds the carbon emissions per capita of the Danes. But this is based on decisions mage before carbon emissions became a factor (i.e nuclear power).

Since the Grenelle Environmental Agreements in France in 2007, French per capita carbon emissions are down -14.8%, Denmark -26.5%.

-3% per year is VERY good, -5.4% is SUPERB ! (compounded %)

Best Hopes for the French and the Danes,


You have some data about this improvement ? Where it comes from would be specifically interesting.
Their wind turbine capacity only expended 30% since 2007, hardly enough for such an improvement.

And when you look beyond the raw numbers, several of their strategies don't scale that well. Their wind turbines have pushed them to the highest electricity price in Europe, in front of the Germans. But the biggest concern might be that their wind production wouldn't be possible without direct access for balancing all over the year to the largest hydro capacity in Europe, Sweden plus Norway :
According to ENTSO-E data, in 2012 they imported an amount of electricity equal to 53% of their consumption, whilst exporting an amount equal to 35%.

The trouble is that if Norway and Sweden hydro capacity looks very large when compared to a small country like Denmark, they are still dwarfs at the scale of the consumption of the whole of Europe. France has actually a hydro capacity that's in the middle between the one of Sweden and the one of Norway, but can only supply 12% of it's electricity production with it.
So the north of Europe doesn't have enough hydro by far to allow scaling the Norwegian strategy to the whole of Europe, or even to just one of the major European economy.

Denmark's also doing a lot of pellets, but has ended up importing 90% of those it burns, with a lot coming from the US. I hope they don't count them as 0 carbon in their stats.

Announced on the day that WTI bounced back through $100.

Truely we will be forgotten as Casandras, as was accurately predicetd a decade ago.

(Orlov, IRRC)

Forgotten until the realization sinks in (to either contemporary observers or future historians) that oil prices were the primary cause of economic malaise. It might take another oil shock, or it could continue on in this slow motion train wreck.

"Americans have only two modes: complacency and panic"
- James Schlesinger, Former CIA director and Energy Secretary

The electorate can not make an informed decision if the facts are kept from them. It seems to me the powers that be are doing just that. If TPTB are afraid the facts will cause panic then it appears they don't have any viable solution to present to the public.

I'd turn that quote around, the American government seems to have only two modes: complacency and panic.

I'll add to dak664's good comment what I've quoted before about distinguishing states/governments from people.

I don't vote and have nothing to do with any state-oligarchy, save for what is forced upon me/us, essentially by violence.

"...I think you are privatizing something that is what essentially sets a nation-state apart, which is the monopoly on violence..." ~ Barack Hussein Obama II

Should that current sociocultural mode persist, it will likely kill us all in time.

...The third mode in dealing with state/government appears as protests; the fourth, civil war. Then what?

We need a fifth or alternative mode or modes especially soon, before the decline of cheap fossil fuels really kicks in.

Maybe Permaea. If not Permaea, then let it inspire you.

I have several quality articles that I could have posted here, but after an article was rejected too quickly to have been read, I did not bother submitting more. Heading Out later reviewed that article in a post of his own here on TOD,

If you would reconsider, I could contribute at least one article every few weeks.

Best Hopes for More,


I also have submitted articles only to either hear nothing back or be told that they were OT -something I obviously disagreed with.
It's all good.

I'd like to echo everyone's sentiments. Pretty much a daily reader since Macondo, but don't have a lot of information to contribute - other than perhaps, my opinions. I am going to be sad to see this valuable resource go, but I'd also like to say thank-you to the oildrum staff for your time and effort!

I would like to add my appreciation as well. I found TOD during Macondo, and read it daily (or multi-times daily) for the duration, learning an incredible amount from the posters and commenters here. Every other source paled compared to TOD.

Thanks very much - I've especially appreciated articles by ABerman and Rockman's comments.

Oh, no. This is terrible. No more analysis based on new data would help people claim that the problem is not real.

New content contributions were sufficient for me to keep TOD in the browser tab and reload it daily.

Expense? Running a site is cheap, perhaps you should switch the host. And add a donation button, if it really helps to keep the site alive.

Interesting how when one door closes another door opens. I've read TOD for about 7 years, been a member for 5 or so and it has been immensely helpful to me in not just understanding energy related issues but it also forced me to sharpen my critical thinking skills.
My opinion with respect to PO specifically has changed from "we are doomed" to "we are doomed if we choose to be doomed" because the problem is primarily a political one. Humans are smart and creative and come up with all kinds of clever solutions. Implementing those solutions takes (political) willpower and that is completely lacking, at least in the US.

I am professionally about to make a big change - which should happen somewhere around the end of the month - and as I don't believe in coincidences I can only hope that my new path is going to be as transformative as spending time on TOD is/has been.

Like others here I'd be more than happy to open up my wallet to keep TOD going - has a paid membership model been considered?


Humans are smart and creative and come up with all kinds of clever solutions.

WeekendPeak, I am saddened by the news. I remain upbeat about the future eventhough there are many challenges ahead. I will miss TOD.

As people get used to the inevitable, they don't feel the need to read or write more about it. I think the world understands the oil is finite, the government is full of ridiculous people that deny it, and the oil companies conspire to make more and more money.

In other words, "We got used to it."

Alternative fuels are slowly growing and compensating for this finite resource. Ethanol, electricity, and others.

Some always think the end is near, and others work to overcome the end that is coming.

Humans destroy and create like nothing else on earth. Hopefully the creative aspect will win out over the other.

Some always think the end is near, and others work to overcome the end that is coming.

Or, "Some always think the end will never come, and others work to overcome the denial that the end is near." (Just the end of BAU of course. - At least 10% of us will survive for a few extra decades! ...Right?)

Love this site.
And I will very much miss it.
(Long time lurker, seldom comment, learned much..)
Thanks all.

Maybe I can talk my friend into starting up his "TheGreatDecline" site...
Hope to 'see' some of you around.

- Enzwell

To me, this is the proverbial light going out as the world maddeningly disbelieves and kills the messenger. I too feel like I did a Ph.D by hanging out here with this uber diverse and clueful crowd. Thanks everyone for enlightening me but I'm not willing to believe we'll be gone? Can't we all regroup into some other virtual community where we can socially share and learn about (peak) oil/resources related events from around the world?

You say you had trouble attracting content. Just for the record, I sent in a few pieces over the years since I left as editor here. They didn't run because apparently they were controversial, but isn't that the point? In TOD's early years, when I started participating here, TOD was in the forefront of developing and disseminating cutting edge knowledge. That's what made it so exciting and dynamic. Why make it more like academia when academia has become so hopelessly backward looking and stuck in received wisdom (and I say that as a former academic)?

There is still so much to say on energy, especially in the context of the bigger picture. Peak oil is every bit as relevant as ever, even though attention is elsewhere at the moment. All the alternatives to oil are highly flawed at best, or an outright fantasy at worst. Financial crisis, while paramount for the time being, is not the story of the longer term. That will always be energy. The implications are huge and it is a shame not to explore them for the sake of not wanting to appear controversial.

After you left I found myself more at the automatic earth than TOD.

That TOD went this long is great from what I have seen in other areas of my own personal volunteerism. Just reading articles could be a full time job.

Thank all of you at TOD, past and present, for what you have done over the years!!


Controversy -as opposed to reading the daily paper- bring it!!

You say you had trouble attracting content. Just for the record, I sent in a few pieces over the years since I left as editor here. They didn't run because apparently they were controversial, but isn't that the point? In TOD's early years, when I started participating here, TOD was in the forefront of developing and disseminating cutting edge knowledge. That's what made it so exciting and dynamic. Why make it more like academia when academia has become so hopelessly backward looking and stuck in received wisdom (and I say that as a former academic)?

Not taking articles from Stoneleigh?! Gail Tvorborg also mentioned on occasion trouble getting articles posted. Maybe it's the nature of things to change from welcoming one and all in an 'open' forum to having a more narrow, controlling position, but I for one was on TOD originally because it was a wildly intellectual, interactive website on the cutting edge of a topic MSM seems to mostly report as peak oil 'Theory' DOA because of non-conventional sources (irrespective of lower EROEI).

As far as the money part goes, what a huge missed opportunity. Millions of people are trying to find ways to get people to come to their website to sell ad space, then sell the website for millions. Look a the cashola Arianna Huffington scooped up by selling the Huffington Post, which was something 150 million bucks! That is just a news/op-ed website, but it attracts enough people ad space sells for a premium. Surely ad space could have been sold on TOD? If all these posters are talking about giving money to keep the website going, it has value. All that has to happen is find ways to translate that into profit.

I think TOD staffers should transfer the website to Darwinian. He's off trying to start his own website on peak oil. Please email him, which can be found on his TOD account information.

Thanks to all the wonderfully interesting posters and to the staff for a great website while it lasted, Perk Earl

You probably haven't been around long enough to remember this...but we started out as a Blogspot blog, and after we moved to our own domain, we were supported by advertising. Eventually, we became a nonprofit organization and removed the ads.

Money really isn't the main issue, and we aren't in this for the money.

And no, we are not going to transfer the site to anyone.

its a pity you prefer to destroy a community resource rather than keep it going but that is your choice.
i could easily host and run this for the forseeable future. shoot me an email if you change your mind.

We are not destroying a community resource. That's the reason we are archiving the site: we want it to remain a community resource. The material here will remain, available to anyone with an Internet connection. And perhaps, to be resurrected some day, should circumstances call for it.

If we gave the site away, or sold it, we would have no control of what was done with it. The new owner could fail to pay the server bills, and it would be gone forever. Or they could turn it into something we don't want. A site pushing Big Oil propaganda, say, or a site seeded with malware.

There's also the issue of who to give it to. One of the reasons we have not changed our focus to "future directions" is that there's no agreement among the staff on what those would be. We were selected for our diversity of viewpoints, and while that is in many ways a strength, it's a real barrier when moving into the speculative realm of possible futures. So, there would be no consensus on who to pick for a proper new owner. Should we pick a doomer or a cornucopian? Pro or anti nuclear power? Climate activist or skeptic? Someone who wants to influence politicians, or someone who thinks that's a waste of time?

archiving a site is destroying it. do you really think you will have daily readers once you archive it ? Sure people might come in the future and look at it as they would an old painting. the facts will be long since obsolete, the content gone or irrelevant as new data is added daily. what good is it sitting there gathering dust ? nothing. Eventually the non profit who hosts the static site will run out of funding and volunteers and the static site will be gone too.

yes if you gave the site to me i could fail to pay the server bills and it would be gone. I expect the site can be self sustaining in a year or two though. Few funding drives and the bandwidth bill is covered. I have a few dozen empty servers doing nothing which can easily handle the load. fears the site will go dark are all valid fears. but better than letting it sit and rot ? I dont think so. agreement on future directions ? bah. do you really think the world agrees on the future and goes there ? is there any consensus among people that say this is what the future should be ? what a boring view of life. let the community decide the future direction. let THEM decide what the future should be as THEY live in the world. its not up to you or me to unilaterally decide a future direction of any site.

All i can bring to the table is a stable platform for hosting TOD, dedicated servers and a knowledge of running drupal/LAMP stacks. I dont hold any views nor do i care too much about anything other than the technical bits of running forum sites. I would rely on the community moderation/editorial similar to slashdot to handle the rest. Like i said, if you are interested, email me. you have a good thing going - dont destroy it due to fears of loss of control and ego.

running drupal/LAMP stacks.

Given the site is running on the far superior FreeBSD (and a PostgreSQL backend if my memory is correct) the L and M portion won't help.

you have a good thing going - dont destroy it due to fears of loss of control and ego.

And in the tradition of Open Source - nothing stopping you from going and getting a name like and putting together your own thing.

i dont care which unix it runs. or which database. i have administered openbsd (rare) and freebsd servers. I have also used postgreseql and have a few boxes running with it right now.

and in the tradition of open source it would be nice for TOD to share its code, database, domain name and readership so another maintainer can take over, dont you think ?

in the tradition of open source it would be nice for TOD to share its code

I wouldn't mind seeing the code released. I'd like to see someone do The Water Barrel - discussions about potable water and why you'll be thirsty.

The database, domain name and readership - not so much.

A contradictory/incoherent argument:

a) - that the site is So Vitally Important that it must be encased in Amber, installed in a time capsule,

b) - that the Site has lost a significant share of its readership and new content and is not worth the trouble to keep it running.

One or the other, not both at the same time: if the site is important, then new operators need to be found who have the energy and vision to keep it going. There are no technical reasons why this site cannot be moved or the staff replaced. There are thousands of internet sites about every silly thing that run forums and threaded comments while posting new content, .

If the site is unimportant, put the Domain up for sale and see who bites. If antsy about who might buy (Koch Brothers) offer the site to readers and allow them to make pitches.

Yes, the site might indeed turn into a peak oil denial site but life is filled with risks, so does your ambition to preserve the past ... the risk there is that no one will care. Make it care: add commentary/analysis of related finance and climate change. Peak Oil effects both, real life does not respect arbitrary distinctions.

The public at large is generally not interested in dry, highly technical articles unless there is a recognizable 'bottom line' conclusion that is meaningful to them.

Right now it looks as if TOD has surrendered to the Maugeris and Exxon-Mobil ... and wishful popular opinion. That isn't the message that TOD means to offer. Far better is, 'The Oil Drum will soon be a part of ....X' or 'Coming soon, the New Improved Oil Drum'. Always advance, never quit. Take vacations but find substitutes, first. To vanish without backup is to negate everything has gone on before, even if that work is installed in Fort Knox under guard.

The heyday of TOD was during the Macondo blowout, there was information from workers, engineers, people living on the Gulf and arguments from every direction. Shortly afterward, TOD blew itself up and began its slide toward irrelevancy. Why did this blow-up, exactly?

I can only guess at the inner politics of TOD but the number of academics involved the atmosphere is likely poisonous - to - fatal. A good place to start is for half the board to follow J. Gould's advice and fire the other half. Replace them with non-academics. .

A contradictory/incoherent argument:

Or gosh, one can consider the arrow of time and SOME stuff in the past is worth keeping but the effort to keep things going is no longer worth it. Thus BOTH of your observations are true.

A design issue noted is the database and its size. If you had the money to modify the code to run the dynamicTOD part as a ramdisk with a second PostgreSQL instance on separate hardware writing to a disk would get speed, up to the bloated code limits of OS/Apache/PHP/Drupal + whatever else stack. But to get there you'd need more hardware and the money to pay people to set that up.

As for "amber":
How, exactly, does one for almost no labor keep the past and sort out the cruft? And what is cruft? If you remember some *****ss who'd posted a few times a DIY Solar site that had a solar powered pressure cooker and you want/need that cooker info - is that cruft on a website that talks about oil?

Right now it looks as if TOD has surrendered to the Maugeris and Exxon-Mobil

TOD is the people who've used the site. I doubt there has been a surrender. Zurg's has a software-function wise replacement up and running in under 3 days - perhaps without code help of the TOD staff, perhaps with. Will zurg's site be able to replicate the human moderation part that helped to make TOD the TOD we know....who knows.

To vanish without backup is to negate everything has gone on before,

What has been pitched is there is a "backup" of dynamicTOD - staticTOD. As for a place for the "community" of TOD - some will stop participating, some will start and a few will do their own thing via their own blog or whatever. Plenty of readers/posters on the topic read someplace else and post there also.

I can understand being upset - but we were at someone elses place and they are done letting others play in the playbox. If you want a playbox to not be taken away - then you need to own the playbox. Otherwise - their sandbox - their rules.

I have and do appreciate your input and sharing, Steve.

Thank you.

You make good rational coherent arguments and observations.

Blair sez:

"A design issue noted is the database and its size. If you had the money to modify the code to run the dynamicTOD part as a ramdisk with a second PostgreSQL instance on separate hardware writing to a disk would get speed, up to the bloated code limits of OS/Apache/PHP/Drupal + whatever else stack. But to get there you'd need more hardware and the money to pay people to set that up."

Does that gibberish come with sex? Good grief! Whatever the site is running on now is the same as millions of other websites.

Any Justin Bieber fan site is orders of magnitude more complex than this one. You are making an excuse.

The problem isn't the tech, instead, it's the idea ... to take the ball home and pout.

TOD staff ought to be ashamed of themselves, cutting and running, basically.

I reckon if they are going to have a impact on this issue in future they need to distance themselves from PO! bit counter-intuitive but etc....

I don't think that's it, really, at least for most of us. One reason we are mothballing the site rather than selling it off is we want to have the option of resurrecting it in the future. We see it as more of a hiatus than an end.

We also feel we have an obligation to our contributors, who include not just staff but guest posters like Vinod Khosla and Joseph Tainter. Many of them used their real names, unlike most of us commenting here. TOD still shows up as one of the first hits if you search on, say, Stuart Staniford. We feel we have an obligation to keep the site at least somewhat as it was when they agreed to give us their work to publish.

Really, Leanan?? Mothballing TOD?

Chances of restart - basically zero. Chances anyone will be there if you do: zero. Chances anyone will come back if you do restart? Zero. Or close enough to zero to not matter much.

I don't really care what justification you made to yourselves - most of us will think that losing Rockman, et al, was too much of a negative to overcome. Whether true or not, that is the general impression I have received.

Your comments about the impact of Mocando were interesting. I remember you mentioning another time that you had that problem of noise/signal and having to severely redact the comments. That with the impact of recent efforts to limit spam are a better reason for quitting than any gratuitous statement that you "see it as more of a hiatus than an end." Factually, this is the end... July 31st. That's it, and there ain't no more.

One question for the general readership, though. Has anyone (else) ever gone to any of the other sites that were shut down and archived? I did, once. It was nothing I would do again.

I do hope you all continue to be active in changing people's views, and in preparing others of the future we wish was not upon us. Keep the faith, Leanan, and thank you for all you have done over the past 8 years or so.


Chances of restart - basically zero. Chances anyone will be there if you do: zero. Chances anyone will come back if you do restart? Zero. Or close enough to zero to not matter much.

I disagree with this. But if I'm wrong, it won't keep me up nights.

I don't really care what justification you made to yourselves - most of us will think that losing Rockman, et al, was too much of a negative to overcome.

Think that if you want, but it's completely wrong. The handwriting was already on the wall before Rockman, et. al. left, and before the surge of spam. Honestly, most of the staff doesn't even know who's posting in the Drumbeats. This is not about spam or who's posting comments and who isn't. It is, as it says up top, about the key posts.

Chances of restart - basically zero.

Given the post in the Drumbeat - the database and the web site will be kept running and therefore it will have to be patched.

If the site was going be converted into a static site and being rid of the database backend and the dynamic page generation your position would be better supported.

Has anyone (else) ever gone to any of the other sites that were shut down and archived? I did, once. It was nothing I would do again.

And yet is nothing BUT that.
(and Yes, I have used archived sites - not often but I do.)

I really don't get this "take the ball home and pout" thing. We are not upset or pouting. If we're taking the ball home, it's because it's time to go home.

There's plenty of free balls and bats out there. You just have to get off your duff, go to the dugout, and get one. Or join in one of the many games going on on adjacent fields.

If someone's pouting, it ain't us.

Also, I disagree that Macondo was peak TOD. I thought the site was at its best before then. 2008 or earlier. Macondo brought a lot of new people, many of whom have proved worthy additions, but overall, the discussion was terrible. Though that might not have been visible to the ordinary user. Hundreds of posts were deleted. We never had to do that before.

Does that gibberish come with sex?

Perhaps you should pay someone to explain it to you. You should be familiar with having to pay for it.

Good grief!

Oh wait. Perhaps you don't need to pay, you are just trolling.

TOD staff ought to be ashamed of themselves, cutting and running, basically.

Yup trolling. At least Zurg stepped up and did something. Great that he has the time to at least put up the functioning technology. The extra month may help get more stabilized there.

The problem isn't the tech,

If they claim they are having issues with the size of the database backend, I have no reason to disbelieve them.

But why don't YOU step up and show 'em how to implement newTOD - proving that technology is not the issue?

Just for the record...the "inner politics" of TOD are hardly "poisonous," and I'm sorry if I gave that impression. We disagree about many things, yes, but without hostility or acrimony. There's a lot of respect, appreciation, and friendship. No poison that I've ever noticed.

This is not about internecine politics tearing an organization apart. And the academics on staff are most definitely not the problem.

do you really think you will have daily readers once you archive it ?

If you mean a readership who visits daily, of course not. It will be an archive, not a news site.

the facts will be long since obsolete, the content gone or irrelevant as new data is added daily.

It will still be of interest to those who want to see what we got right...and laugh at what we got wrong.

All i can bring to the table is a stable platform for hosting TOD, dedicated servers and a knowledge of running drupal/LAMP stacks.

Why does it have to be Start your own site. There will be people looking for a new hangout. You'll have a ready-made audience.

it wont be an archive site. it will be a graveyard of dead pages where no one will visit. and no -- no one cares whether you got your facts right or wrong. no one is going to go back and check -- it will be in the dustbin of history like geocities, tripod etc all of which are "archive" sites. im sure someone may go back to check my old geocities webpage to see if i got the "facts right" but it wont be me.

oh please. you know as well as I do that starting a site and building readership is a long slow process -- TOD has guaranteed readership until the 31st, a good domain name, well tested software, everything in one package. after that its toast. its easy to say "wave a magic wand" and start your own site. doesnt work like that. need a good codebase, well tested systems, decent database setup, good readership etc etc.

The community resource is the new posts and the comments/discussions. Stopping those does destroy the community resource. Once that happens, don't expect to see any visitors ever again.

I came here during the BP oil "spill" for info on what was happening and stayed because of all the current info and discussions. Once the site effectively goes dark, there will be no reason to return.

I truly thank all the people who made this site what it currently is, once new posts and discussions cease, the site is no more.


I wonder if this is just another example of the ongoing slow collapse?

The community resource is the new posts and the comments/discussions. Stopping those does destroy the community resource. Once that happens, don't expect to see any visitors ever again.

A little over the top, don't you think? Of course we're expecting traffic to drop. But no visitors ever again?

My mental model for the future of TOD is what happened with the sports humor site Fire Joe Morgan. It was a very successful site, but as its creators aged into the family and kids stage, and were increasingly successful in their real life careers (I think it turned out they were all TV comedy writers), they just didn't have time for it any more. Rather than put up substandard material, they decided to mothball it. The site is still up, but as an archive. Occasionally, the writers make special return appearances on Deadspin, another sports humor site. And when Joe Morgan actually was fired, the media got comments from the Fire Joe Morgan guys, even though their web site had been mothballed for two years by then.

While I think the content of this site is infinitely greater importance/intelligence than a sports humor site, you can't be seriously comparing the staying power of stagnant TOD web site to that of a popular sports humor site??!

Even today, with all it's current content TOD might as well be an unknown to the vast majority of people, even among those in the know. My guess is that visitors will drop to the area of <<1% of current levels.

My guess is that visitors will drop to the area of <<1% of current levels.

Probably. I'm pretty sure that's what happened with Fire Joe Morgan.

We understand this, and expect it happen.

When you slice somebody's arteries that person dies.
"We understand this and expect it (to) happen."

That doesn't make it right.


We're giving you a month to find or create an alternate forum. Push comes to shove, there's always Yahoo. I think you get a message board if you create a group there (what used to be called a mailing list, in the old days). And their spam controls are excellent.

We aren't the first peak oil site to shut down, and I'm guessing we won't be the last.

I'm actually thinking that a subreddit on "reddit" might be the optimum solution for a hub on peak oil. Quite a lot of control underlying it, but with less inherent centralisation and obviously, cost. Could do a drumbeat type solution quite easily, and thus integrate more detailed articles in that form.

Anyone else think its a good idea?


exists but isn't used much so far.

is the biggest subreddit I know of that addresses these types of issues.

Kind of the issue. There's no point creating an "/r/theoildrum" unless a good few hundred people want it. There's a definite critical mass issue, wherever or whatever it is.

First comment has been posted.

weakend peak wrote:

When you slice somebody's arteries that person dies.
"We understand this and expect it (to) happen."
That doesn't make it right.


The problem here is that the oildrum community is a real thing, and it is much bigger than the nominal "owners". The so-called "owners" do not own it, even though they are acting like they do. This is a serious problem with fora. They are started by individuals or small groups, and could be said to be owned by them at the very start, but as they grow, organically, they come to be owned by a larger circle, often a much larger circle. They become a sort of public trust, certainly NOT owned by the nominal "owners", but by the whole community of participants, whose contributions over the months and years have really made the thing what it is -- whose contributions have really constituted the thing. The old "owners" may still have a special role, but for them to think of themselves as clearcut and sole owners of the forum, in the same way that one is the sole owner of a personal object, is ridiculous. And so, for the "owners" to up and announce, suddenly, after all this, that they are shutting the thing down, and there is no possibility of succession, no passing of the baton, no discussion with the community as to how things might be worked out and passed forward, and to summarily reject suggestions as to how things might be worked out and passed forward is -- forgive me for saying -- outrageous. Inexcusable. Arrogant in the extreme. A cyber-crime.

I'm sure those comments will get me blacklisted at TOD. But then, I guess that doesn't matter much now, does it?

That is why we are giving you a month's notice and encouraging you to find or create a new forum. You're right, we don't own the community. So go somewhere and built a new site for yourselves.

As Euan said, we feel we have an obligation to those who gave us their work to publish. That is why we aren't turning over the keys to someone else.

You're right, we don't own the community.

While this is true on the surface, it's not the whole story (and let me make clear right now I respect your right to close the site.)
I have a little axiom I use when talking about Information Architecture and navigation design for websites (and on a site like the Oil Drum, how the user generated content comes about can be legitimately called part of the IA.)

"Your users are what you make them."

Everything from the language you publish in to the branding you use affects the type of user you get, and the strictures you put on them force them to mould to the environment, or leave.

You had a core group -your board- with a shared vision and mission. The Oil Drum posting community was an accidental offshoot of that mission, not the main purpose, and I believe that is the reason it has survived this long. The conditions of membership - intellectual rigour, staying on topic - made it a self-selecting group of limited size that knew what the rules were. The staff modeled the behaviour, and we fell into line (or got canned.)

This group was not precisely created by the Oil Drum's board, but it was encouraged. You put the agar in the petri dish, and kept replenishing it.

I'm pretty certain you don't know precisely what's in the agar.

I'm also certain that we will know when it's different.

As for the alternatives being suggested, I lean toward Alan's ASPO-USA website suggestion.


This is something I've given some thought to. My theory on what's in the agar: 1/3 is the content you offer, 1/3 is the gatekeeping (enforcing rules, keeping out undesirables, etc.), and 1/3 is chance - the people who wander in.

That agar would change no matter what we do. If we handed over the site to someone else, having different people providing content and doing the gatekeeping duties would result in a change in the community anyway. Even if the site continued unchanged, the agar would change. The people who post here today are not the people who posted in 2005, when I joined this site.

The often overlooked weighty factor is events as they unfold. Katrina, Macondo, EOR and fracking due to higher prices, climate change, etc., all pull the discussion along in ways that can only be accounted for in hindsight. TOD's format, especially Drumbeat, gives it a receptivity and responsivenesss to events that's hard to match. The community here tends to cast a wide net and gets pulled along by the currents. Your moderation hasn't excluded much, as long as the discussion was honest and relevant. Systemically, it's all relevant somehow, where the collective goal is clarity.

Those who go to church, staff professional organizations, or attend social organizations will understand of what you speak. Changes in the paid or volunteer staff will subtly or significantly redirect the organization, with resulting shifts in the membership. Orgs split as charismatic leaders strike out on their own, or due to disagreements (often seemingly minor to outsiders).

The feeling of group membership and acceptance is a fairly universal need, and for any org a newcomer has to feel included, as well as receiving some value. Information is only part of it; the personal ranking or acknowledgement (member since, number of posts), banter style, handling of disagreements, and even the little dopamine splash with each "]new[" when you do a refresh makes a difference. I don't think TOD would be TOD without the article landing page, the threaded comments, and "new" displays, though those seem like minor technical details.

Even without much mgmt change, shifts in the environment of participants affects membership as well. People mature in their careers and families, and their focus and time priorities change. Even the way we collectively view organizations changes across the culture over time (the US as a nation is less trusting of the gov't and corps today than in 1995, for example).

What we individually need from our chosen orgs also changes. Site visitors during Katrina and the Gulf Spill had pointed needs; others over the years have been led here by low-key worries, curiosity, or other motivators. Sometimes people get what they need and are done, and until a new set of needs arises it's hard to offer a lot of value. Unfortunately, mere information and understanding is not a high-value commodity for the masses. You can see Doomers on TV does TOD compete with that with the bread and circuses crowd, and the portrayal of such people?

Apparently, San Francisco sour dough starter, if brought to New York, will slowly change into New York sour dough starter. Changed (not only in flavor because of the water, but) because of the local microbes in the air / environment.

Well, then you expect it to die. When a site has traffic drop to much less than 1% of previous levels, it's effectively dead, especially when it's a pretty much unknown place even before the drop.

If somebody resurrects/creates a site that has an interface as useful as the TOD one and is able to keep s/n at a decent level, it will quite an attraction for those currently here. That's something that's missing at any other place that covers the wide variety of topics found here in the past.

At this point, my main interests are in what things are being done by those like ghung, todd, HereinHalifax, wimbi, jokuhl, etc. I understand the problems we're facing, I want to see and exchange ideas with those who are doing things in their own lives.

Perhaps a TOD alumni Facebook page would be a good gathering place for people to stay in contact and exchange ideas. Or a Yahoo group / listserv.

I don't think Facebook would work for this crowd. Facebook's attitude toward privacy is way creepy, and a lot of peak oil types don't want anything to do with them.

Way creepy is right.

I'm having a go-round with FB right now with my business site and false accusations of posting something against their rules, which is ridiculous. I did no such thing and we're on almost two weeks of ignoring my messages to them. I think someone tagged me maliciously or some stray word set off their filters or something. So you're probably right. I've not had any issues with my personal page, but don't particularly post much personal there and use it more to catch up to news and stuff - it cuts way down on e-mail to use their newsfeed.

Agreed, although most, if not all, world governments are beyond creepy. ;) (Apparently Facebook was involved in PRISM too, among other issues.)

I'm exploring the creation of a Yahoo group now, but need some suggestions. There are already some peak oil groups, mostly inactive, under the subgroup "Cultures & Community > Issues and Causes". Hoping for ideas: Resource Depletion? TOD Refugees? OilDrum Geezers and Geezettes? Really just a stop-gap site for members to stay in touch until....

..or TOD could maintain a message ticker for current members to get news, email addresses, etc. via the current "" address. Once we all lose touch,, "All The Kings Horses", and all that.

..or we could join/revive one of the existing Yahoo PO groups.

It's our anniversary. Got to go play chef (she loves red, rare meat).

she loves red, rare meat

Going with the family version of a response.

I've got a nesco controlled by that micro-controller, works fine.

Yahoo sites that I am currently familiar with include energyresourcesgroup, thelongemergency and alasbabylon. I have seen others in the past. The quality of these is poor compared to TOD. One might have a look at the first two to gauge moderated vs unmoderated. Yahoo boards can be dominated by single poster obsessed with communism, mysticism or whatever. Energyresources was started by Jay Hanson about 13 years ago. Previously he had posted on USENET. Thelongemergency has some interest in Kunstler. Alas Babylon is for dedicated doomers. It might be useful to have a NEW loosely moderated site primarily for TOD aficionados to stay in touch

Yes, one of the old Yahoo boards dedicated to peak oil topics was moderated beyond belief. I commented on some innocuous bicycling topic about 9 years ago and was squelched. That was that.

The peak oil oriented Yahoo group I'm most familiar with is RunningOnEmpty2
( )

Focus is peak oil including broad-scale concepts (ie permaculture, population issues), as well as how individuals are taking action in their own lives (gardens, off-grid energy, etc). Less of a focus on current events, but there is no reason that couldn't be included, to the degree of interest, as long as peak oil-related.

Owned by Bob Waldrop, moderated by a small crew.

It bounces between busy and quiet (medium quiet at the moment), mostly peaceful, occasionally contentious.

Fairly strongly moderated to keep on topic, which seems understandable given the potential chaos otherwise (a 7000+ member community, although of course only a handful post).

I'm not suggesting the TOD crowd move there, nor am I *not* suggesting that. Just showing what's already out there.

Perhaps a new Yahoo Group that gets some awareness spread around via ROE and other existing groups? I'm sure there are already plenty of ROE members who have also been TOD frequenters.

That was the one that was pretty horrible as I recall. Scared to get too many comments.

Dunbar's Number is between 150 to 230

This heuristic explains how these group social interactions are self-limiting,

In other words, there is no need to put controls as they will self-limit in any case.

There might be exceptions to Dunbar's number, as in the comments at a place like HuffPo, where the number of comments will range past 10,000. At those sites, the commenters themselves have "fans" so there is obviously some multiplying effect going on, where the social interactions are further bifurcated by fanbases.

7 yrs, 40 months--almost back to the beginning of time.

Ghung. Thanks much for all your good info on PV. I am now a total convert and even fanatic, rushing around here spreading the gospel- which, fortunately, seems to be eagerly received by the local multitudes.

I have learned much here, but have to recognize that this long experience has in fact merely hardened my original position- FF is poison, we gotta get clean off of it, solar is here and is the only way forward, and all that is self evident and hardly worth discussing, and it has sorta bothered me that people here have talked so much about supply, costs, and all that when obviously the only thing to do was drop the whole thing right now, or sooner.

So just do it. Now, where do I go for reasonably intelligent discussion on how to do it? Would be very happy to hear of some place that wouldn't immediately revolt me with toomanytoostupidtobear remarks.

Many thanks to Leanan and all the good folks here.

I second the request for:

"Now, where do I go for reasonably intelligent discussion on how to do it? Would be very happy to hear of some place that wouldn't immediately revolt me with toomanytoostupidtobear remarks."

I want to talk with people who have something intelligent to say. I don't mind some asking questions that seem dumb when they are trying to learn but it really frosts me when those same un-educated people are telling others how to do something and are really arrogant about the fact that "They know it all".

Ghung, some years back I was looking for/at a free hosting site that could host a Drupal system like what TOD appears to be based on. What do you or others think about that?
Perhaps TOD or part of it could be directly ported over?

Creating a discussion forum is no issue. I can create a PHPBB forum with free hosting in a few clicks - I've done it before, I'm used to it and I believe I can use the same discussion structure that's used here. Really, this forum could exist tonight if I wished and could be divided in in 4-5 areas - News, Fossil Fuels, Sustainability or whatever.

The trouble is content and moderation. I'm not a native English speaker and I don't write very quickly in English. Also, I'm not very knowledgeable about oil, apart from what I learned here. So really, I can help with the setup and show a team how to use the system, but I don't really what to moderate it - I did it for too long before and I need a break. We would also need contributors for news, etc.

If there is enough interest, I could create a test site in short order, see if people are interested, improve it based on the comments, and then, possibly, recruit some admins and moderators. Then, the entire TOD community could move there at the end of July. A PHPBB system might look full of bells of whistles for some, but the possibility to share articles directly with FB is a great way to attract new readers.

Any interest for the administration of such a site? Ghung? Others?

Many computer literate people block FB from their systems.


No. Facebook. Ever. Please. Death is a better option.

De gustibus non est disputandum
I enjoy Facebook. I keep up with relatives and with FB available peak oil experts

I agree. Facebook is for some, not for all. There are two girls in my church youth group who can not use social media because their family have a stalker who is totally obsessed with the mother because she divorsed him 30 years ago when she fond out how manipulative he was. Extreme case, but some can't use FB, some refuse to do so. I am planning to quit myself one day.

Facebook have control over Facebook. They have a nasty habit of changing stuff and we would not be in control over our own forum.

No Facebook. Ever.

Thank you all for what has been the most illuminating site. The Oil Drum has been invaluable at communicating the facts of energy production and consumption in a way that is also accessible to the inexpert, who have been able to use it as an unequalled learning resource. There is no other like it.

I suppose we had taken it for granted, but it seems that all the fracking and tar sands are altering the original Peak Oil understanding. My feeling is that The Oil Drum will just go underground until the current smug energy euphoria is proven to be a chimera, and then it will return, stronger than ever.

I will miss it, a lot. Very many thanks to all of you.

And perhaps, to be resurrected some day, should circumstances call for it.

That may not be in the too distant future when looking e.g. how Egypt in year 20 after its peak is sliding into permanent fuel shortages, with yet unknown geo-political consequences. I have just written something on my website.

Declining patronage should not be a reason to discontinue a non-profit web-site. As peak oil grows like a cancer from one country to another it is actually very important to keep abreast with developments. Resuming a website later will be hard, with a lot of pieces missing. Moreover, when the crunch comes you won't have the time to play catch-up with all the data which will have accumulated in the meantime. IMHO it is a wrong decision to discontinue the Oildrum. The Drumbeat had a valuable collection of links which we will miss.

We need voices to debunk the shale oil hype propaganda which is the root cause for sliding interest in peak oil. The public belief that the US will become an exporter of oil is now widespread and entrenched. You hear it every day. This can only be stopped by monitoring the shale oil peak. We had some valuable contributions here on this topic. Why should that not continue?

As far as I am concerned the global peaking is a process which started in 2005. For some it is obviously too frustratingly long.

For many countries like Egypt and Indonesia for example it is irrelevant whether the maximum global crude oil production was in 2005, 2012 or in 20xx. The problem has already hit us. Instead of closing down it would be the job of the Oildrum to open the eyes of readers what is actually happening. Car factories and refineries are closing in many countries. Social unrest, too.

And by the way, was this a lonely decision by the editors? Why was this not discussed in the Drumbeat to get a response like the ones which can be found now here in these comments?

Declining patronage should not be a reason to discontinue a non-profit web-site.

It's not. Trust me, it's not.

And by the way, was this a lonely decision by the editors? Why was this not discussed in the Drumbeat to get a response like the ones which can be found now here in these comments?

It was made by the board, as described up top.

There was some public discussion, two years back when we made the decision to go for quality over quantity and post fewer articles, but in the end, this site has never been a democracy, and decisions about it are not going to be made by people who have no understanding of what's involved in running it.

this site has never been a democracy

Exactly. "we" are here by the good graces of "the MGT".

Does Darwinian have a site running yet? If so, what is its URL?

Agreed - why not loosen editorial control a bit and let the site have some new blood flow, ideas, discussion?


I don't think it is as simple as that, as the noise/signal ratio is important. Too little control and content will shift towards more opinion instead of factual based content. In my view the internet has too much opinion and too little factual based content related to energy and our future.

Signal/noise is to some extend a POV issue - one man's noise is another man's signal.

As I have mentioned before, perhaps a forum extension, where certain people can beat certain topics until they are deader than a doorknob may make sense. And have the champion of whatever topic that is be the day to day moderator with board oversight.

Energy is something which requires many inputs be captured/extracted and is an input in many processes/goods/services.
All those inputs and process of both sides (production and consumption) of energy are based in facts, and as different people have different levels of expertise and interest in those factors it would make sense to explore them separately. There are quite literally 100's of factors to be explored.

Stopping TOD because of a low hit rate and too little content which meets the un-articulated requirements of a pretty invisible board makes no sense, especially as money does not seem to be the problem.


"the internet has too much opinion and too little factual based content related to energy and our future."

Precisely. Turning TOD into yet another rumor mill would destroy it's reputation, far worse than becoming an archive.

They were controversial because they were highly unrealistic. TOD did the right thing to exclude them.

The following makes it very clear: "All the alternatives to oil are highly flawed at best, or an outright fantasy at worst". This is a gross distortion of reality - it gives comfort to Climate Change deniers, and discourages people from taking practical and productive action.


This is, of course, a nice illustration of Leanan's point: this is a hard site to run, and given the diversity of views it's even harder to give it a direction.

The following makes it very clear: "All the alternatives to oil are highly flawed at best, or an outright fantasy at worst". This is a gross distortion of reality

Nick, I've no real quibbles with your point from where I sit but from some seats (many millions) there may be more than a small ring of truth in that quote.

I found the charts in a paper on non oil export growth for the Middle East and North Africa (1.46 MB PDF)

Looks to be quite a bit in it, but I've yet to give it more than quick a glance.

This is, of course, a nice illustration of Leanan's point: this is a hard site to run, and given the diversity of views it's even harder to give it a direction

No doubt running TOD has sometimes been near the ultimate excercise in herding very spirited cats, but once the cats were neutered and driven into a few single files the vibrance evaporated. I do wonder just how many waning sites that new 'spam filter' has laid to rest.

Glad I happened in while TOD was still really hitting its stride. The deeper I dug to inform my comments the more I got out of it, it really has been good learning from and engaging with you and everyone else here.

Happy Trails...?-)


Again, you have cause and effect reversed. The fate of this site was sealed long before we installed the spam filter.

No to the contrary again you have misinterpreted one my comments. When I first encountered the new spam filter I assumed it to be the final TOD throttle down mechanism, the Kevorkian IV to reduce the suffering and hasten the end of the already terminal patient. Anything with a link or graphic was held back giving comments containing such all the immediacy of pieces of snail mail, not many have patience for that slow a conversation these days.

Of course that effect of the filter may have been unintended, the spamming itself may have become so aggressive that a much more extreme filter was needed just to keep the 'print electrons' flowing--the timing however does make me suspect the Dr. D intent.

Don't get me wrong I've long appreciated TOD's willingness to extend the bandwidth and storage space graphics require and I tried to use them responsibly once I learned how to shrink image file data footprint (I really didn't mean to post that giant file of the Chicago rapid transit map on Drumbeat years ago). And thanks to the staff for allowing the occasional whimsy to go through, those could sometimes brighten a day. Again very hard stuff to balance. It is difficult to be a truly effective 'edutainer'--I fell flat in my attempt at the head of a classroom.

No doubt any long time reader knew TOD was considering shutting or at least redirecting traffic at the doors years back when there was a key post about keeping the name 'The Oil Drum' or some such. Not long after that the number of new key posts per week was reduced to what I assume was felt to be the critical minimum needed to keep the page fresh.

Then came Macondo and the ensuing explosion of interest in a TOD. The forum handling it marvelously. Fukushima followed and then the little North Sea gas leak. Each created a surge of interest, brought new posters to the comment board and likely brought new eyes to the sight.

Time moves forward, the landscape changes. Much of the message that TOD got out into the light has taken root. When I tell American 20-30 year olds to plan for $7/gallon gas when they make their next move or buy their next rig I don't get incredulous responses I once did.

Believe me, the spam filter was necessary. We were getting as many as 200 spam comments for every real one.

However, if we had not already decided to mothball the site, we would have put more effort into finding a less intrusive method of dealing with spam. It was a stopgap only. One that was a bigger pain for me than for you.

Just curious, but what are the odds this was a denial of service attack?

It wasn't. It's just mindless spambots. They key on words like "comment" and pick sites that way.

Why didn't you immediately inform the community when you decided to mothball the site--instead of waiting until there was less than a month's notice?

I'm not sure. It wasn't up to me. I did not make the decision to shut down, nor did I choose the date the announcement would be made.

I assume the board wanted some time to nail down the details after the decision was official (in May) and before the public announcement was made (originally scheduled for July 1, date slipped a little). One month's notice is probably as much time as is reasonable for an Internet site, anyway. Originally the plan was to continue until the end of August, but I guess someone decided that limping on that long after announcing the site was being mothballed was just too much, and I'm inclined to agree.

Thanks - that's a good way of putting it - I've enjoyed digging, learning, and engaging with you and everyone else.

As far as oil exporters (and the FF industry) goes - I agree: eventually they're going to have a very hard time. It's really a shame. I'd like to see the ME be a vibrant and prosperous place. Oil exports have brought the oil curse, but it's hard to see how things are going to go well without them.

I agree. I believe that that was the beginning of the end of TOD. But I understand the reasoning. You only have to look at the political war that was going on at to see what they were trying to avoid. has become Denier central with a decidedly right-wing bent, as most of other persuasions have left. Paid shills disrupted threads and imposed their ideology. Though some die-hard warriors for truth remain.

Many moved to to avoid that. But it is impossible to keep it out without serious restrictions in membership and strong moderation.

If you want in at Malthusia, contact General Doom(Shanny).

Turtle, Eastbay and Davep I believe are moderators at both PO and Malthusia. You could also talk to them. has become Denier central

Do you mean

I can not find an operating website at

He means It's a commonly used abbreviation.

Too sad. It is true that the lost a some key contributors (rockman, westtexas, fractionalflow, darwinian to cite a few), which did lower the interrest of the site. But it is still a major source of information, and trying to get them back would be so much better than closing the site. Where else can you find C+C world production figures? A centralised place with good attempts at modeling (even if as any modelling, it can be proven right or wrong as we saw so many times)? I remember years ago that wonderful analysis of Ghawar...and then the satelite analysis on drilling rigs conforting it.

Btw, I read the oildrum since 2005, and it changed my dailly life. Going to heat pumps instead of gas central heating. Gettting rid of my car and using a folding bike and now that my son is growing, an electric bike. Sparing some money "just in case" instead of living at the upper limit, and getting out of debt (mission nearly accomplished).

Theoildrum, I will miss you.

And thank you to all the editor team for all the work,
Mehdi Rahman

Do you know where rockman, westtexas, fractionalflow, darwinian etc. went?

Darwinian (Ron) has started his own site: It's up but won't be fully active for about a month.

I got express permission from Rockman to publish this private eMail.

Doing fine. I've not been on TOD since I was banned for being 'redundant'. I hang out at these days. Different than TOD but a better spot in some ways. You might like it: you're free to start you own discussion group. Not a lot of posters but a lot of readers.

Best Hopes,


He is not banned, as anyone who clicks his user name can see, and yes, he knows this.

Not that it matters at this point...

Thanks for sharing the news.

Maybe someone emailed him claiming to be a moderator or administrator. Gave him false information. Possible.

Interesting. I had been a moderator on for a few years, but the "anything goes" free speech policy meant that it became too nasty, gratuitous, and vicious at times, which incurred far too much noise and rancor. I'll have to see what's changed....

I think it can be nicely summed up as follows.

The Oil Drum has been without a doubt the most informative source of inormation of the global state of energy there has ever been. Long time readers like myself have spent 8 years digesting this info; assimilating it into our everyday life and equating it to real world events.

The Oil Drum Uni is finished and I along with many other readers here have graduated. You have learned more than simple facts on energy. You have learned more about the environment, human nature and interaction&psycology, politics, resource (mis)management, debating techniques than this list gives credit for....

Take what you will into the world with what you have learned here and apply it wisely.


Thank You! Very, very much enjoyed the ride.

The signal to noise ratio on this site was not only the highest for Energy and PO related topics, but probably for almost any information/discussion board on any topic.

TOD has been a daily read for me since 2005; I will be immensely sad to see it go.

I find it a hugely important source of information, an opinion which I know is shared by a surprisingly large number of people in the financial world (banking and hedge funds - the owner of one of the largest HFs in the world pointed me to TOD in the first place). One HF guy I know reasonably well told me recently that TOD is the one of the most important websites he reads in terms of accessing non-mainstream (i.e. real) information, research and opinion...

I would certainly pay a monthly subscription to continue to be able to access what TOD provides - the Drumbeat alone is unrivalled as a concentrated source of information.

How much does it cost to run (if that's not a rude question)?


Funding is not the decisive factor here, human cost to maintain a high quality website with balanced views is. It is relatively "easy" to run a site with a lot of posts with low to very low quality content, but much more difficult to do the opposite (on primarily a voluntary basis). The view on what quality constitutes of course highly depends on what the objectives/aims are, which vary substantially among the group here (as well as among the staff involved) when you look at more detailed aspects (i.e. going into detail on what providing an educational resource on energy entails).

Thanks, Rembrandt. Are the site's electronic bones up for sale or adoption? The format here has been key to success, IMO; the flow enabled by Drupal and the layout. The layouts of most other site's seem to inhibit the flow of ideas. Any successor sites would do well to clone what you've built here.


Not as such, we are keen to transform the website into an archive such that its content remains accessible (a large % of readership comes from people searching for energy topics in google).

I was more interested in the possibility of cloning the Drupal structure, a sort of "Son of TOD" (with appologies to the daughters out there), so others who may be interested wouldn't have to start from scratch with new operating systems. Since Drupal is open-source, sharing some of your code shouldn't be a problem (unless there are agreements preventing that). Require it be not-for-profit, and, of course, the content could never be matched. Even if TOD gets dusted off and reborn at some point, having an ongoing legacy would provide some resilience to the mission.

I was thinking that if Randy Udall is never found, his legacy is clearly established. Not so sure about TOD. It wouldn't hurt to help promote the bearing of more offspring before flipping the switch, assuming there may be those that are motivated and have the courage and skills. The content and character of TOD will always be unique, IMO.

Just some thoughts...


That could be a possibility, but it highly depends on the seriousness of any proposal. It is easy to say lets build a new website or place, but difficult to meaningfully execute it, especially on a volunteer basis.

Thanks, Rembrandt.

Thanks to all the editors for helping create & maintain a high quality (s/n ratio) site, and thanks to all the intelligent and informed posters here over the years. I've been mostly a lurker here over the past 5-6 years or so, but have been peak oil "aware" since the early 90's. This site has kept me motivated these last few years to assess my own energy and resourse use lifestyle & get onto a pathway of greater "ecosystem friendliness" in my own small ways.

I must say the general lack of peak resource denialism/propoganda and AGW denialism/propoganda at this site has provided the uncluttered "mindspace" to make me feel comfortable lurking and reading regularly, even if I didn't usually have the courage or time to stick my neck out with my own posts. I give great credit to the editors here for creating a place like this and helping out wimps like me!

As for the "Son of TOD", even just an occasional DrumBeat would be good. The centralization of so many energy related articles is extremely helpful and the discussions in comments are still great (albeit not quite what they were in their heyday). Moderation is obviously the tricky part, wouldn't want the comments to devolve into the swamp that is ZeroHedge or any Yahoo article.

Hey Ghung,

I would be interested in helping with this.


Thanks, Paul. My e-mail is at my profile. Hanging loose for now, see what I can 'drum' up.

If you need a co-admin to squash spam, drop me a line ( or ).

Are the site's electronic bones up for sale or adoption? The format here has been key to success, IMO

As Rembrandt says upthread:
human cost to maintain a high quality website with balanced views is.

Having talented volunteers to not only moderate but quality IT people to keep the bank end running are also needed.

I recommend that TOD convene a special post to assess interest in legacy sites. If there is to be an Oil Drum Jr. what does the readership want it to look like? Who is willing and able to volunteer for to run it?

The beauty of TOD has always been the people. The people who run it, the people who post, the commenters that constitute its gristmill. TOD is a community of folks that share a mutual interest in our energy predicament and pursuit of high quality information. And it was a brilliant success! Easily the best site for understanding and discussion anywhere in the world.

The loss of that community and resource is very unfortunate for all involved. However, since the site is powered by the people any replacement must have enough interest to administer it, populate it with content, pay for it, and generate worthwhile discussion. The announcement to close TOD confirms that there is not sufficient interest to support what we have had here for the last 8 years.

Perhaps TOD Jr. could be scaled back to accommodate a lower, but persistent, level of interest. Or, perhaps it needs to move in a new direction. I'll start. I find this site to be very valuable. I am willing to volunteer ~10 hours a week to keep it running. As for new direction I think preparing for an unplanned energy descent is the most realistic topic and likely to generate the most interest.

Thank you very much for the last 8 years,

Or, perhaps it needs to move in a new direction. I'll start. I find this site to be very valuable. I am willing to volunteer ~10 hours a week to keep it running.

I've seen plenty of "want to do right" sites attempting to be done on a $0 or near $0 budget. 3 of them have went through programmers. "having trouble" with 1 person/1st site, "programmer abandonment" and "programmer found paying work" with 2 people/the 3rd site and "programmer abandonment", "programmer found paying work", "programmer kept adding/changing things we didn't want" for 3 different people on the 2nd site.

Its nice to see "members of the community" step forward and want to keep the site up as it exists. But that existence is a lot of hard work AND as others have noted - TOD has changed in its 8 years so any ownership switch will mean more change. For example - the lazy man's way of user authentication would be via Facebook login and I won't get a Facebook login so that change would result in my non-participation.

Hey hey eric,

I'm not exactly sure what you are saying. I find this site valuable. I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is and pay for it in time and or money to keep it going. If it is a question of resources I will give what I can to keep it up and running. Not all of the work is programming though I have done some of that and would learn how to do more if needs be.

The direction it goes in is another matter and needs to be thought out. I recommended an introspective post toward that end.

Facebook, could agree with you more. If I need facebook to do something I am happier not doing it.


I'm not exactly sure what you are saying.

I happen to think the effort to keep TOD going far exceeds what the people stepping forward can put forth along with the skills needed to manage a herd of volunteers.

"we" the readers and posters got 8 years and that should be seen for the blessing it is.

The direction it goes in is another matter and needs to be thought out. I recommended an introspective post toward that end.

Perhaps Prezi would be a good tool for that? Again, nothing stopping you from setting up the Prezi and acting as the herder of cats to do that fleshing out.

speak for yourself. i manage sites with a ten times the weekly traffic of TOD per day.
I could easily manage this site (heck even one VM on one of my servers could handle the load with tons of spare overhead, most of my servers are Dell R81x boxes with 512GB of RAM, 48 cores and several TB of RAID-6 15K RPM disk space all on redundant gigabit links to the net).
the only reason for TOD to die is because a super secret group got together and decided its not worth the hassle and their ego wont let them select anyone else to run the show either on the off chance that someone else might actually do a better job and get decent traffic flow to the site.

i manage sites with a ten times the weekly traffic of TOD per day.

Ok if you say you do.

I could easily manage this site

Ok, if you say so. But it is rare to find bar card lawyers who are sysadmins.

do a better job and get decent traffic flow to the site.

And there is nothing stopping you from taking any of the existing Open Source software and doing just that.

and nothing prevents me from going into the forest and building my own house from the wood found there....
hint: it takes months to get a site up to the level of TOD.

But if TOD leadership has done such a bad job, why do you want the taint of their failure?

The domain name and database has economic value via online advertising - why should a non-profit just hand that over to a 4 letter 3rd party? In fact such an action might be in violation of IRS rules - its why Open Source based 501(c)3's got tea-party level of loving from the IRS.

The PHP code that runs the site - why not give that out at the end and lets see who's mouth has been writing checks their actions can't cash. (and the people who had other moderation ideas could get 'em tested in case dynamicTOD comes back along with bug fixes for more modern attacks which come into existence while staticTOD exists)


Thanks for the insightful comment. Finally I realize I am part of a super secret group and all my efforts and decisions in relation to The Oil Drum were part of my ego. On a more serious note, perhaps you may want to consider launching a serious proposal instead of revealing personal insights in the status of my being (that also counts for others reading here).

how would you suggest i launch it ? some insight on how to get you the data you need to make a decision is welcome.
what sort of format for the proposal and what should be in it ?
at the end of the day i will need : root access to the servers, existing stable environment for 15 days and a domain transfer. now how do i go about getting this so i can get TOD to survive ?


I suggest to start with the goal, not with the means as these are secondary, at least in my view.

great. so the goal is to keep TOD alive.
now how about giving me some insight into the secret handshake required to join your little inner circle (at least for the two weeks required) so i can get it done.

I happen to think the effort to keep TOD going far exceeds what the people stepping forward can put forth along with the skills needed to manage a herd of volunteers.

Fair enough. What are we looking at then? What do we actually need in terms of human resources to keep the site running?


What do we actually need in terms of human resources to keep the site running?

The bio's page list 8 board and 9 contributors.

If you are going the 501(c)3 route and have the work on the back of "your own" people:
0) $400+ for the IRS filing fees.
1) Mentioning Open Source means your approval will be delayed. (per latest IRS scandal)
2) at least 3 people to be on the board.
3) IT staffing that understands the software and operations (could be 1 person, could be many)
4) Moderators (TOD seems to have at least 3)
5) Non profit status will take months to get and if one wishes to be sponsored, most sponsors want 10%+ of the cash flow.
6) Power and a place to run the site along with a machine.
6a) Some level of backup - more hardware.
6b) There appears to be at least 2 load levelers in front machine wise.

The "system" will have to be designed so that humans can be replaced as they need be - no "load bearing" staff. This "load bearing staff" problem can be fatal to whatever is created to be NewTOD.

all rubbish.
1. you need a corp. not a nonprofit. or just use an existing corp. make it profit neutral.
2. you dont need a board. you need one guy who is the dev ops guy (runs the servers and backend).
3. you need a slot in an existing machine. basically a VM with IP address and some bandwidth. Cost is $100/month tops. more like $50. you can recover that via advertising/donations/whatever.
4. you dont need backup or load levelers machine wise. for less than 100K of traffic a week you can run it native and the load will be sitting at around 0. heck even if you quadruple the traffic the load on a modern machine will be bupkis. zero. squat.
5. you DO need a community -- which is already here and a bunch of mods to moderate the crap. maybe an editor or three which are already in the community. thats it. you also need the software and database. which again already exists and is here.

all rubbish.

And yet my memory says that "rubbish" is how TOD exists now.

you can recover that via advertising/donations/whatever. you DO need a community

And that, ladies and gents is why zerg wants the xfer to profit ($) from the TOD software, TOD Community and TOD traffic.

Oh and no reason for the non-profit to even transfer the domain name - they can just point it at where it needs to go. Thus the non-profit can, at any time, transfer the "community" to a different provider of "community" service.

at 100K visitors a week i hate to tell you that there is practically ZERO profit to running TOD. in fact TOD will run at a net LOSS for a good 2 years at least before it so much as breaks even.
if you think i am here to grab the domain name and run that is silly. the value of TOD is you can GROW and make the site self sustaining. and maybe make a profit 5 years from now if by some stroke of luck that actually happens. ive done it before.

and yes there is a reason to transfer the domain name. no one in their right minds is going to do something which can be yanked from them at any time by a secret group of non profit board members.
if you prefer to let TOD get shut down -- its your opinion. i would like it to continue. maybe others would too. if enough members of this board were to be convinced and transfer it to me, i could make it happen. but it would be on my terms.

if you think i am here to grab the domain name and run that is silly. .... transfer it to me

But that is what you are asking for - to get the domain name, along with other stuff.

And while you speak of how 'moderators exist' - what happens when they pack up and leave?

by a secret group of non profit board members

Just because you say they are secret doesn't make it so.

at 100K visitors a week i hate to tell you that there is practically ZERO profit to running TOD

Then where will the funds come from to fix TOD code when the new version of PHP globals set to off for security breaks the TOD code?

And as an aside:
How much would pro-nuke or pro-coal moderator power be worth to nuke/coal PR firms?

look here man - i dont know what your problem is. i do forum sites for a living. im asking for the domain name and code as a bare minimum so i can do my job and keep the site running. now if that is too much -- go shut the site down, find someone else, whatever and see if i care. this is a nice little side project i can run purely out of goodwill towards the nice community developed here. ive been here 2 years and learnt a lot. i can give something back if the boneheads in charge let me. kapiche ?

from your own link : Revenue and expense data are not available for this organization.
Board Chair
Board of Directors
Officers for Fiscal Year
Highest Paid Employees & Their Compensation
Nothing shows up.

If that isnt a secret it should be posted openly (Mr X Y Z from the nonprofit voted to make it so...) instead of a generic institute blah decided to shutter the site behind closed doors. i dont see a list of people who voted to shutter TOD at the top.

Then where will the funds come from to fix TOD code when the new version of PHP globals set to off for security breaks the TOD code? From my existing client base, who will ALL have the same problem and ALL have the same code to be fixed anyway. I can just add TOD to my list of sites to be upgraded. Its trivial for me because i have a system to handle all these security issues on a DAILY basis. I do this everyday. its nothing special. there is no separate funding or extra programmers required to fix security issues or upgrades. i run over 40 physical servers. adding one more vm slice is trivial for me particularly on a low traffic site like this one.

How much would pro-nuke or pro-coal moderator power be worth to nuke/coal PR firms? I dont know. probably zero considering youre getting less than 100K views a week, half of which are from random search engines and spam bots as usual. no one cares for a tiny little forum. TOD isnt important or even on the radar for any large corp. Anyway, its easy to institute a community based moderator rating system or something else to mitigate the effects of pro whatever stances.

ASPO-USA was about to launch their own much improved website. The Advisory Committee (I am a member) is now searching for options regarding TOD.

If there is an existing organization that can keep the spirit of TOD alive it is ASPO and/or ASPO-USA. And keeping the spirit alive is the essence of TOD IMHO.

I can see possibilities in combining ASPO-USA (or the mothership ASPO) and your offer plus a revised & enlarged set of volunteers.

Best Hopes for Imaginative Solutions,


This sounds like a viable alternative. I would hope that TPTB here at TOD would agree. To just say they're taking their bat and their ball and going home seems very shortsighted at this critical juncture in the peak oil discussion.

zurk wrote:

look here man - i dont know what your problem is.

Hard to say what Eric's problem is, Zurk. Maybe he just really dislikes TOD, and hence his lashing-out against your sensible suggestions.

cash wrote:

This sounds like a viable alternative. I would hope that TPTB here at TOD would agree. To just say they're taking their bat and their ball and going home seems very shortsighted at this critical juncture in the peak oil discussion.

Yes, to put it very mildly and very charitably.

The only thing here that's hard to reproduce is the community, and that's why shutting the place down on a month's notice without any effort to protect the community strikes so many of us as "crude."

This seems a good fit - I hope it works.

I like this idea Alan. ASPO-USA was the first place I looked after contemplating this change. I hear lots of anger toward TOD staff for their decision. It is understandable because the decision is not what many people here want. I am glad to know that the site will continue for a month to allow for some kind of groundswell to create something else. I think that the most difficulty for TOD in achieving its mission has to do with providing quality research. There was a period of creative productivity from several posters who had a very good understanding of research. Some of those posters said what they had to say and have modified what they have to say, but don't have a lot more to add. I haven't seen a lot that is new or stimulating of late.

I can also understand TOD board decision to shutter rather than give over the keys to someone else. It makes sense to create something new. I know that ASPO would have some of the best folks to help us stay informed about what is actually happening. There are many possible paths for peak oil to unfold depending on numerous variables (undiscovered cheap oil, mitigation efforts, climate change interaction effects, etc). Predictions are interesting, data is invaluable. We may be headed toward a cliff, bump along for many years before a slow decline, or still on a bumpy upswing with an 8 year lull in increasing productivity. Whatever is true, I want to know and have a place to discuss what the outcomes are and what possible individual and collective responses would be helpful.

i dont know what your problem is

What makes you believe there is a problem?

i do forum sites for a living.

So? I've got a sub 10000 AS number, blocks of IP in the swamp, with my main internet resources sitting at a NAP. The resources one has doesn't mean much in this discussion as the resources needed to pull off TOD far exceed 1 person.

from your own link : Revenue and expense data are not available for this organization.
Board Chair
Board of Directors
Officers for Fiscal Year
Highest Paid Employees & Their Compensation
Nothing shows up.

And you did not bother to sign up for Guidestar?

From the site:

Forms 990 from IRS Additional Information
Sign in or create an account to view Forms 990 for 2011, 2010, and 2009.

The 990 form want exactly the info you ask for.

Oh another a reason to BE a non-profit - Google will give you $0 cost advertising in their network. Up to $2 an add placement these days.

From my existing client base, who will ALL have the same problem and ALL have the same code to be fixed anyway.

For someone who's never seen the code - a bold claim.

Anyway, its easy to institute a community based moderator rating system or something else to mitigate the effects of pro whatever stances.

Again, for someone who hasn't seen the code, a bold statement. Elsewhere it has been stated that community based moderation won't work for a small a site as TOD.

TOD isn't that large, it could probably run off of a decently sized VPS.

This site as a resource to understanding the energy crisis ahead is vital. Mostly the info here is not presented in a sensational way like the Stock Market investment junk mail I receive everyday hyping the U.S. fracking opportunities. Hope you haven't been pressured by those forces.
Please have the deciders reconsider closing this great site. As mentioned here many times, we'll make contributions to keep things going. Like many regulars here we come a few times a day and forward articles to friends, coworkers and others to get the maximum exposure for the articles here. Perhaps it was the fault of the readers in not drumming up enough word-of-mouth to keep the Google numbers up. Anyway please consider a donation option and if necessary trim back a bit of the expensive stuff.
Websites like has survived with smaller Google numbers but with contributions. They provide (guessing) 30+ articles per day with comments.
Please try again to keep things going.
Or start something new!

Guys, we need to use this thread to find a successor platform which at least would allow comments to keep going, and maybe accept occasional new articles.

There is still almost a month left to do so.

I could contribute at least one quality article per month.

As a farewell to TOD I just submitted "A Revolution in Paris - Developing an Oil Optional Metropolis".

Best Hopes for More,


Thanks Alan. I always enjoyed your comments. I will follow your blog.

John (7 years 44 weeks)

PS Thanks to all who have made TOD such an amazing place!

You may also use the Drumbeats for this purpose; I plan to continue them until the end. Discuss setting up a new forum, debate the merits of other sites as possible new hangouts, or just leave a message saying where you can be found (e-mail address, blog, Twitter handle, etc.).

I administer the Peak Oil group on Facebook. Anyone who wants to use it as a discussion place/hangout is welcome. I take a light hand at moderation, and only delete spam, abusive posts, and stuff that is completely off topic. Campfire topics are welcome. Stop in, if you like!

Sorry, any successor to TOD has to be (self-)hosted on a neutral platform, and content should not be roach-motelled.

With thanks to pt, above, I agree. Many of us refuse to sell our souls to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and TOD's relative independence is essential, IMO.

I've been considering opening a site, one which has at least a totally off-grid base; servers, et al, powered by solar; in-house rather than cloud-based storage, etc.. One problem would be bandwidth, though there is fiber within a mile of us now. My wife has experience managing a non-profit and is currently employed in software support. My previous IT experience is grossly out-of-date though. That said, there's a nice set of blade servers that just became available from a nearby company that failed; could be had for pennies on the dollar, and I do have 1.5 Kw of uninstalled PV yet to find a purpose. Alot to think about... and I'm getting more used to thinking small, locally, avoiding complexity.

Anyone gotten a progress report from Ron (Darwinian)?

About the time this post came up, the rain started coming down hard, forecasted to continue for several days. Seems poetic somehow.

I find it inconceivable that TOD is completely voluntary.

This site has value, if others can create a small blog and make a nice supplement to their income? I'm thinking of MMM.

When we made the changes a couple of years ago, we did hire a couple of people to help with formatting articles, and Kate, to help with moderation. But they don't get paid a lot.

The vast majority of this site was created on a purely voluntary basis. We are non-profit, we aren't making money off this, and we're doing it because it's something we believe is important. That's a big part of what TOD is. It's also one of the reasons we have had trouble attracting new contributors. A lot of people who express interest and seem like they might be good fits vanish once they find out there's no pay involved.

So, uhm. Duh. Put up a shingle, take donations, do a fund drive once a year. Jeez, guys. This Bolshevik death march thing is self-defeating and depressing.

SELL T-SHIRTS and POSTERS. People manage to do that. It generates some income.

Funding is not a problem. And a for-profit website would not be TOD.

Why not pay contributors?

I used to think non-paid crowd-sourcing was a great idea, and then I read some good thoughts about it (I can't remember the author) - he feels that honest journalists and many others are being made unemployed by this whole thing, and that it's a big mistake.

Consumer Reports is union run, and doesn't accept advertising, but it pays it's staff!

So, why not pay writers for their work??

Ghung. Unused PV. Following your hints, I took all my old random PV's lying around doing nothing and dumped their juice into the water heater. Brutally crude, but good result. Wife never asks me to fire up the wood heater. The hot water solar heater has got a leak in it, so I am now able to forget it for the nonce.

I sure would like to see a site for us primitive brute force hardware guys to bounce around experiences.

Thanks, wimbi. I'm already dumping 3500 watts into our tank after the batteries are at full charge; usually around noon on a good day. I'll find a use for them or pass them on at cost. As for a hardware site, I'm looking at options. Will post more soon.

I'll be interested in what you come up with for a "hardware" site. I'm on Greer's "Green Wizards" site as it covers a lot of my interests, but it doesn't get much activity. Maybe the name puts many people off?


How do you like is a good place to find info, after all I've been a subscriber of HomePower Magazine since issue #1 (when it was free!) but as time has passed, they've moved away from the type of DIY stuff that ghung, wimbi, jokuhl, myself and others here are doing. I'm not talking about just DIY stuff, but the out of the box thinking that nobody in the mainstream is experimenting with.

Yes, they had a mention of somebody building an electric tiller recently, but those are few and far between. The site also doesn't have the free-flowing discussions we're used to here, and they're only covering the energy sector of things, not how gardening, community, energy, etc. all go together.

I managed to pick up a pallet of 40 235 watt panels and hopefully I'll be able to do some of what wimbi has been doing in getting them distributed at cost to others. It's neat seeing the 6-ft tall stack! Now I want to find time to make that stack shrink and do some work!

Totally agree about Homepower. I used to scour Mag racks to find an issue.. they had a section called 'guerrilla solar' for a while, but demurred probably in the face of the responsible folks who advertise their gear and don't want to be associated with any dangerous experiments or even the suggestion of it.

I'm afraid it got to be a little too neat and obedient for my wild/woolly approach to things. I'm glad they've done well, and have helped to Mainstream PV and other renewable power into respectability. I'll let them tend that part of the field.. I'll be over in the untrimmed thickets with Mowgli and the Wolves..

could we group links for other sites/blogs and emails, etc in one place?


That will be done in a closing article at the end of the month

Like the others, I'm sorry to see TOD go. I appreciate all the information I've gleaned as well as the friends I have made.

I really do fault the editors for this closure because of their focus upon being the "go to" site for energy and cutting off information from the periphery like Campfire. I'm also sure that funds could have been raised to pay for the overhead.

I ,too, had articles I planned on submitting prior to the "energy only" emphasis. I thought they were valuable but I didn't feel like wasting my time to see if they would be accepted.

I do understand that there comes a time when everything that needs to be said is said. I'm debating the same thing with my weekly Update newsletter. But still...

Goodbye all; I'll miss you.

Todd; a Realist

I totally agree with you about the editorial changes, so, instead of going on a rant, I'll go public with my little contribution to the "solution", while I still have a chance.

I had some money set aside for a construction project was cancelled a few months ago, so I started talking to the school district about a solar project. At first, they were thinking it could be part of a major green reconstruction project at the elementary school; it's so outdated that it has plexiglass windows in the classrooms.
That, however, means bonds, which means elections, which means... 5 years from now?
Last week, I met with the superintendent and her AA (my daughter Mall Rat), and we decided to add on the existing tiny (1.4 Kw)demo project at the high school,
which was donated by PG&E.

They have July off, but, when they return in Aug, they'll start trying to find some matching grants. Depending on the cost of the mount, and maybe an additional invertor, they might be able to add another 2Kw, even without grants.

Having been a member for 7 years and 45 weeks, I'm sad but not surprised to see such a remarkable resource fade into the Twilight in the Desert. I've learned a lot from the contributors here, both positive and negative.

The one thing I regret is that the focus of the site stayed so narrowly technological and conventional. While some commenters tried their best to inject a broader, deeper note into the conversation, there has been little support for such an opening in the keyposts themselves. On the other hand, a site can't be all things to all people and the Internet has become a very big tent indeed.

A deep thank you to all who contributed both keyposts and comments. It was a very good run!

Paul Chefurka


There is a lot to say about the choice that was made to be stricter on the energy focus. Especially because there is a fine line between having a reasonable discussion (and educational push) on energy, and opening up a discussion on all types of interrelated facets (finance, environment, structure of society). It is tremendously difficult to do the latter in a sensible approach in my view (without steering towards a certain ideological spectrum). Also because of the overhead involved of people running the site to have balanced and good content.

That is of course an editorial decision that the site owners must make, and have every right to make.

I tend to be a little (?) more wild and woolly than the TOD editorial board, and don't see barrel-counting as a useful activity, at least past a certain point. Once people know what's going on, there's less enthusiasm for combing the fleece ever finer. I do see the stricter energy focus that TOD adopted as an ideological position though. It's one that validates, reinforces and perpetuates a technocratic value system - a value system that a growing number of us out here now understand to be significant part of the problem.

I'm unhappy largely because this site was a springboard for my own awareness of global issues that ended up far transcending fuel problems. Those larger issues caught my attention, and PO was revealed to be just one piece in the thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle of civilization. Frankly, I ended up feeling that TOD's viewpoint was parochial. In recognition of both your rights as editors and mine as a reader, I moved on.

That's why I'm sad but not surprised by this turn of events.


I'm glad I met you here Paul. See you back in Ottawa someday :)

Hey, Nicole, keep up the good work with your videos. I appreciate your smooth, eloquent, no-nonsense, easy-to-follow-and-understand delivery and insights.

~ Caelan

Hey Paul,

Just yesterday I forwarded a link to your Thermodynamic Footprints page to a Brazilian economist who doesn't quite accept limits yet. Being that I tried to explain to him that what was happening in Brazil and around the world was due in large part to expectations colliding withn the reality of physical limits it was good to be able to link to your site as a resource to a clear and concise explanation.

A big thank you!


An insightful summation, and in saying that I mean no disrespect for the TOD staff.


I think your comment sums up my feelings also. While on the one hand i so want to thank everyone who made this site happen and to honor all the work that went into it, when Campfire was shut down, slow death was baked in the cake.

Campfire was the balance. Without it, sure the site provided great information on the nature of our situation but the way more important question, to me at least, was what does all this knowledge tell us about our possible futures.

Yes, a campfire type discussion is way more difficult to manage and to keep relevant but I feel a great opportunity was lost when it was shut down.

thanks and blessings to all...

ryeguy says:
"when Campfire was shut down, slow death was baked in the cake."
Spot on. That was about the time that my TOD visits dwindled from every day, to once a week, to once every couple of months to see if there was anything fresh.
I can understand that those running TOD wanted to keep it real, and technically accurate, so that it wouldn't descend in its accuracy status. But the campfire, was by definition a place to hang out with others who had read all the 'dry' data and analysis, but wanted to expand ideas of strategy at the personal, local and national level. Campfire gave it humanity, and was in no way a reflection on TOD's desire for accuracy.
When you are around a Campfire with a beer in your hand, people expect a bit of bull****, nonsense, and wild ideas, but it's fun.
When you stamped out the campfire, we all sobered up. And it all got technically accurate, to within a thousandth of an inch,... and very,...very dry.

I've just submitted a domain registration for [something related to campfire].***. We'll see where it leads. I'm also looking at Drupal distributions. Perhaps SuperG can let me know which distribution TOD uses, or at least point me in the right direction. I would like to mimic the flow of TOD. This may lead nowhere, but nothing ventured....

Look forward to seeing what new thing you'll do.

You would think it would be possible to spinoff the campfire concept into it's own site. What seems to have killed it at TOD was a failure to be able to agree to disagree, sad.

I have not a clue about the nuts and bolts on how to setup such a site, but i feel that i could, would be willing, to help with the effective moderation aspect.

My "agenda", is that we are at a transition from a resource flush world to a resource constrained world. What is not understood and needs to be is how our mindset needs to change in order to deal with this reality.

If this sound like something you can work with, let me know.

rylan @ earthlink dot net

You can bet I'll be looking forward to what you come up with. I know you understand what's been good about the conversations that have taken place on TOD. I wish I had more time to actually assist but I'm busy now getting new garden established, greenhouse built, fruit trees established, PV system re-installed, etc., after a move cross country from Alabama to Northern CA. I keep hoping that I'll eventually find some time to take a drive and meet Todd.

I'm always glad to have visitors!!


"I would like to mimic the flow of TOD."

Thank you for that, Ghung. It is that "flow" that differentiates TOD, I think. I like the flow -- I think it contributes to minimizing arrogance. Instead of just a bunch of people comparing what they know (or think they know), it is a conversation -- and as conversations tend to do, the thinkers/speakers minds wander into associated thoughts, which has been allowed graciously by moderators and readers alike. The real and the fantastic aren't really all that different.

Well, now time passed and now it seems
Everybody's having them dreams.
Everybody sees themselves walkin' around with no one else.
Half of the people can be part right all of the time,
Some of the people can be all right part of the time.
I think Abraham Lincoln said that.
"I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours,"
I said that. --Bob Dylan

Meanwhile, I've set up a Yahoo group for "TOD Refugees" to stay in touch:

One doesn't need a Yahoo account to join or post their contact info. We may do discussions there if anyone is interested.

The technical focus was what was so special about TOD. I liked it. There are lots of sites that offer general doom, fewer ones that offer cornucopia, but the rational, technical focus of TOD was unique.

Yes, the technical focus is what a lot of people like about TOD. I've had to realize that I'm a poet not an engineer; a synthesist rather than an analyst; a broad-stroke painter rather than a detail sniffer. Once I understood the mechanism and reality of PO I wanted to spread that understanding out into the rest of life. Rather than doom, I want to explore the spectrum of personal and social possibilities, of which doom and cornucopia are the Manichean end-points.

Engineers and their ilk should be quite happy with TOD's focus, poets perhaps less so.

The rational, technical focus is what I liked, also. The quality was important, too. (Leanan, et al get my thanks for moderating so well.) Furthermore, a good engineer likes to see his/her work pass the inspection of another competent engineer. In this case, The Oil Drum provided a platform where the "numbers" could be checked independently. Another benefit was having eyes look at the data from outside the United States, to avoid a cultural bias. Thanks to all the international posters for providing this welcome check.

"Fracking killed theoildrum - with a little help from Bernanke who is in the process of killing the economy" - Sad but true...

Hopefully TOD will just go into some sort of hibernation - ready to be kick-started again when TSHTF and 'fracking finally stands nude out in the fields'..
If an average human lifespan was 500 years - we would be deep in preparations for Peak Oil or Peak Fossils for that matter to set in ...

Thx to all - for all I have learned over here. HIP. (Hibernate in peace)

Bad news - especially with the reality of US shale land banking coming to the fore.. The 'end' of the Oil Drum and rising of dodgy Wall Street shale deals couldn't have come at a worse time.

This is almost the equivalent of wikipedia going kaput. I'm searching for words. Crestfallen comes to mind.


Truly, the passing of an era...

I guess while I have the chance I should thank everyone that has contributed to making this the preemminent Energy side on the web. I learned a lot here, many ideas and concepts that I had be hitherto completely unaware of. Thanks again..


Member 6 years 33 weeks....

For me, the greatest value has been the community and the connections I have made. It is very unlikely that this can be replicated.

And some great good may come from those connections, and what I have learned here. I am preparing a "one pager" (actually 1.5 pages) for a multi-billionaire outlining how the conversation on Climate might be changed. Koch Brothers in reverse.

I want to expand Climate mitigation beyond renewables and "point-of-use" efficiency to include transportation and Transit Orientated Development.

I use the examples of Denmark & France to show the impact of this on carbon emissions. There are many more emotional hooks with transportation than renewables (public health, national security, social isolation, stranded w/o a driver license when one gets old, etc.) so that a well funded multi-front effort could create a coalition of varied interests.

This would not have been possible without The Oil Drum.

Best Hopes for More,


member 7 years, 30 weeks

It's a bit like Randy Udall wandering off into the wilderness, yet to return.

The Elves are leaving Middle Earth before the battle is won.

My sincere thanks to you, Rembrandt, and the rest of the ISEOF board, and the various posters through the years (especially Leanan, who's done such an admirable job with the Drumbeat, and Heading Out, whose technical posts are wonderful). I remade my career around the energy industry following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and what I learned on The Oil Drum, so I'll always have a warm spot in my heart and a sense of sincere gratitude to the people who made this site.

Don't cry because it's over.

Smile because it happened.

It's been a great 7+ years. Changed my life for sure. I work in the energy biz. now, thanks to TOD. "Get yourself to the non-discretionary side of the economy" a wise man once said. I traveled the world, knowing that the economy and airlines would not forever allow such. Factoring in access to food and distances in my choice of where to reside. Something new will rise from the ashes, it always does.

Thanks everybody.

Sorry to see it go
It is has been an enormous source of education
Thanks to all the wonderful contributors and commentators

Long time reader and lurker. I think the beginning of the end started with the removal of the campfire stuff. I know I didn't read the site as much after that change.

I've learned a lot from this site and I thank everyone who shared their content, thoughts and ideas here. I'll definitely be following the personal blogs of the people who will continue on.

Thanks again for all the knowledge.


Agreed re Campfire. Once you grokked the general backdrop of energy inputs to society gradually going away, Campfire posts were the most interesting and relevant to me. And while it ran, it (mostly) was frequented by great systems thinkers who had an anonymous sandbox to share their opinions. Its not real helpful to know whether depletion rate is 2% or 3% when society is flying blind towards a cliff and bringing biodiversity with it -
Integration...understanding...synthesis....change. The synthesis part is where we are at. Congrats on keeping the volunteer site going this long. Truly an accomplishment

I agree 100%. Systems thinking and a broader synthesis are essential now. We understand the bricks and the mortar, now what is the nature of the house we've built with them?

For example, one of the areas I'm investigating now is whether human civilization as a whole can be usefully viewed as a thermodynamic heat engine, one that implements the self-organizing qualities inherent to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I'm treating human civilization as an open, non-equilibrium system with the energy gradient we're dissipating defined by the ERoEI of our dominant fuel sources. I would not have been able to do this without the input over the years from people here like Rembrandt, westexas, Ron Patterson and Charlie Hall.

Unfortunately, this interpretation so far looks sound, and the outcome is the same one I had when I published my first keypost on population decline here 7 years ago: "We're screwed."

If you wish for peace of mind in today's world, be cautious about casting your net too wide...

Hey Hey GilderGuider,

There is a nice paper on this you might be interested in: Are there basic physical constraints on future anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide by Timothy J. Garrett

From the abstract: Here, it is shown both theoretically and observationally how the evolution of the human system can be considered from a surprisingly simple thermodynamic perspective in which it is unnecessary to explicitly model two of the emissions drivers: population and standard of living. Specifically, the human system grows through a self-perpetuating feedback loop in which the consumption rate of primary energy resources stays tied to the historical accumulation of global economic production—or p×g—through a time-independent factor of 9.7±0.3 mW per inflation-adjusted 1990 US dollar.

I've read the whole thing and I think you will like it. Google scholar will fint the free download for you.


Thanks team10tim! Garrett is one of the bright thinkers in this area right now. I discovered his work a few months ago, and got in touch with him while trying to validate that 9.7 mw/$ constant. He has a new paper just out that takes the thermodynamic idea much further. Here is the abstract:

Thermodynamics of long-run economic innovation and growth

This article derives prognostic expressions for the evolution of globally aggregated economic wealth, productivity, inflation, technological change, innovation and growth. The approach is to treat civilization as an open, non-equilibrium thermodynamic system that dissipates energy and diffuses matter in order to sustain existing circulations and to further its material growth. Appealing to a prior result that established a fixed relationship between a very general representation of global economic wealth and rates of global primary energy consumption, physically derived expressions for economic quantities follow. The analysis suggests that wealth can be expressed in terms of the length density of civilization’s networks and the availability of energy resources. Rates of return on wealth are accelerated by energy reserve discovery, improvements to human and infrastructure longevity, and a more common culture, or a lowering of the amount of energy required to diffuse raw materials into civilization’s bulk. According to a logistic equation, rates of return are slowed by past growth, and if rates of return approach zero, such “slowing down” makes civilization fragile with respect to externally imposed network decay. If past technological change has been especially rapid, then civilization is particularly vulnerable to newly unfavorable conditions that might force a switch into a mode of accelerating collapse.

I’m more interested in using the thermodynamic perspective to examine the deterministic roots of human growth-hunger – behavior that has led us ineluctably toward this unfolding extinction event since before our distant ancestors were prokaryotes. Tim’s work lays down more stepping stones on that path.

This is why I think there are no real solutions. There never were, there was just new, yet still finite, space to expand into. We are now running out of territorial, resource and energetic spaces to expand into at the same moment that the entropic byproducts of our previous expansion are set to overwhelm us.

So it goes...

Well, see, this is where you need to be an engineer first when you're building your "model", before you put on your poet hat and look at your overall synthesis.

You're assuming the decline of energy inputs, and with plentiful, affordable, scalable, high-EROEI renewables that's unrealistic.

Garbage In means Garbage Out (GIGO): if you assume decline, then your model of the world will project decline.

Remember the quantitative model you developed several years ago for the transition from FF to renewables? I spend quite some time with you, showing how the model assumed that renewable were inadequate by using an exponential function for FF, but only a polynomial function for renewables.


I suspect TOD stagnated because it was unable to process the idea that FFs had good substitutes in the form of renewable power and electrical HVAC & transportation. People who were more realistic, like Engineer-Poet and Stuart Staniford left, leaving more pessimistic people.

Campfire was a bad idea because it assumed "energy descent". "ideological" is a generous word for such an unrealistic view.

People who were more realistic, like Engineer-Poet

A poor example of realism.

To support the idea of 'we've got lots of Zinc! Lets make Carbon Zinc batteries!' his model consisted of:

1) No price increase in Zinc.
2) Using wood 'waste' in the forest.

When #1 was pointed out - silence.

When #2 was pointed out as flawed due to how the wood left in the woods helps provide for better topsoil due to the taking of material 30+ foot deep and placing it in the top layer and how one need to close the loop to provide soil fertility his answer was 'Bah, if that is needed the market will provide'.

Engineer poet stopped doing his own blog thing during the Google buyout/password failure events and his restarted blog died in 2011 due to neglect. So his involvement with dynamicTOD may have followed the involvement with his own blogging.

Campfire was a bad idea because it assumed "energy descent"

But we do have an energy descent. Show me where I can get the $5 a barrel oil. Or $20 a barrel oil. Energy at pricepoint X has descended.

To support the idea of 'we've got lots of Zinc! Lets make Carbon Zinc batteries!' his model consisted of...

EP made mistakes, as do we all - I had some debates with him. I believe, though that his central point about batteries was that there are many different chemistries which could be made to work, and that it's unrealistic to suggest that material limitations will be a serious barrier to EVs (and other electrical replacements for FF devices).

That was entirely correct.

Show me where I can get the $5 a barrel oil. Or $20 a barrel oil.

First, oil was never at $20/bbl, if you included the pollution, CO2, oil wars, etc, etc.

2nd, $20/bbl oil gives $.75/gallon fuel. That's $.03 per mile, with the average US vehicle (22mpg). At 280Whrs per mile and 11 cents per kWh, an EV costs 3 cents per mile (or less, if it's charged at night).

So, energy is actually getting cheaper. Seriously.

I believe, though that his central point about batteries was that there are many different chemistries which could be made to work,

No, he was citing Zinc and Carbon, not magic batteries made with other stuff. A 'wordsmithing poet' should have been more clear in his meaning no?

First, oil was never at $20/bbl, if you included the pollution, CO2, oil wars, etc, etc.

Funny thing is those were not included and best I can tell no one has a price tag on what you are rightly claiming should have been included. If you want to argue what those costs should have been, please feel free to write up something for one of the newTODs.

Because that discussion of what oil should have cost is FAR FAR a field of the topic of TOD is closing. And the reality is $20 a barrel oil is long gone. (Unless you want to define $20 as some other thing like Gold but again, that is fodder for newTOD someplace else)

Perhaps you can call that masterwork "Ha Ha! TOD sucked and is now gone. It was bad and you should feel bad for having spent time there." The campfires correctly called energy descent at this time with the technologies deployed.

he was citing Zinc and Carbon

Well, I remember him making the argument about diverse chemistries - he also argued for advanced lead-acid.

The campfires correctly called energy descent at this time with the technologies deployed.

You've got to think outside the FF box.

I'm sorry to see TOD go, but I do think it stagnated a bit - I suspect due to the difficulty the founders had in coming to a consensus on the transition from FF to renewables.

I suspect due to the difficulty the founders had in coming to a consensus on the transition from FF to renewables.

The biggest use of liquid FFs is transport but the most important would be making "stuff"* and powering the food system.

A fine example would be the 'lets power the tractors with batteries' discussion. 800 HP tractors just arn't going to be battery powered for long.

* Ok, ok. Some stuff is less important...the plastic bobble in the Happy Meal as an example. But there are a few things the industrial chemists could name that would really hurt if they went POOF! and I'm guessing the amount of biomass and energy input to do them the non-oil stock way might be more impactful than conversion of, say, grain into ethanol. Perhaps a newTOD topic for someone someplace.

the most important would be making "stuff"* and powering the food system.

Well, manufacturing is almost entirely electrically driven, so that's easy. Chemical feedstocks can be recycled. Food production takes relatively little liquid fuel, and that can be synthesized - synthetic fuel is a little more expensive, but it doesn't matter because the need is relatively small.

800 HP tractors just arn't going to be battery powered for long.

I agree - seasonal ag is likely to work best with liquid fuel. I changed my mind on that when people pointed out the need for seasonally very intense work. Of course, you could use swappable battery packs - it would work, but it would be a pain.

Chemical feedstocks can be recycled.


And recycled into what?

Of course, you could use swappable battery packs - it would work,

No it would not. Perhaps with the proposed Hydrino batteries by Blacklight Power. But they were supposed to be shipping 10 years ago.

But go ahead, show how. Show what battery chemistry will work. And once you are done showing how it would work for an 800 HP tractor harvesting sections of land in, say, Nebraska then show your calculations how the tractors would get that power over 100/200 amp 220 volt service in rural Nebraska and still be able to harvest in the small window of time.

recycled into what?

Plastics, mostly.

show how. Show what battery chemistry will work.

Look at Better Place and Tesla.

s how the tractors would get that power over 100/200 amp 220 volt service in rural Nebraska

First, I agree that liquid fuels are much more convenient. I don't know why we'd want to focus on this first.

2nd, the batteries could be charged quite a distance away and shipped by rail to a nearby point.

FYI, 800hp is 588kW. 200A * 220V is 44kW. I think providing the electric service to all the fields in America's breadbasket is difficult. Many times, I have seen pictures of several 800hp monsters working in a single field, so electric service for one tractor per field isn't enough for the way agriculture is done in America today.

The same kind of calculation makes long distance travel in personal electric vehicles very troubling. Surely one wants the stop for a recharge to be much shorter than the time it took to drive from the last recharge station. This need for speed was the justification for Better Place swapable battery packs. But ...

providing the electric service to all the fields in America's breadbasket is difficult.

I agree - seasonal ag (which is what those 800hp monsters are) don't make sense to "feed" locally. Seasonal ag probably only uses about 1% of our liquid fuel supply, so synthetic liquid fuels (or synthetic methane or somesuch) or biofuels would be workable. Swappable batteries from a central location would work, bu the others make much more sense.

The same kind of calculation makes long distance travel in personal electric vehicles very troubling.

I agree. I think Extended Range EVs, like the Volt, make much more sense than pure EVs. They'd reduce the need for liquid fuels for personal transportation by 90%, which is enough for the moment. Eventually long distances could be handled by rail, or synthetics, biofuels or swappable batteries.

Better Place wasn't really the optimal solution at this time, though I thought it might succeed in very small places, like Israel or Denmark.

show how. Show what battery chemistry will work.

And your response is:

Look at Better Place and Tesla.

Thank you for insisting that one should look at "Better Place". For those not in the know less than a month ago
But on Sunday, Better Place announced that its venture, a flagship enterprise of Israel’s image as a start-up hub, was coming to an end.

Is there a good reason to cite a company that is stopping operation?

Sure. You asked for technical information on a viable solution, and Better Place created one.

Now, was Better Place's business plan viable? Apparently not. That's the thing - there are a lot of solutions and substitutes, and some will win the competition, some won't. Often, there is no prize for 2nd place, even if the winning edge is small.

Uh, you've got transportation getting cheaper, not energy, in that model.

1 BOE is about 1600 kWH. Your .11c/kWH is thus about $176/BOE. The energy is more, but the efficiency of EVs more than make up for it.

I mostly bypass commenting on your posts, because your arguments are so rarely quantitative, and your perspective is sufficiently orthogonal to mine that I struggle to comprehend.

For solar or wind, the cost per hour calculation is a function of the cost of capital and solar intensity, among others. Fortunately the gov't and others have done lifecycle estimates.

Interestingly they include overall current prices plus new generation estimates, including a table for 2017.

So, energy is apparently getting more expensive.

Best hopes for efficient usage, though.

you've got transportation getting cheaper, not energy, in that model.

Well, it's applied energy (roughly speaking, exergy). The energy cost per mile for an EV is much lower than for an oil-powered ICE.

Interestingly they include overall current prices plus new generation estimates, including a table for 2017. So, energy is apparently getting more expensive.

You need tables from comparable sources, over time, with comparable assumptions (such as cost estimates for criteria pollution, CO2, etc).

For instance, new coal is much more expensive than wind, as well as more expensive than old coal plants. That's not because coal is getting more expensive to dig up, it's because we now require coal plants to emit fewer pollutants.

Energy is ability to do work. Exergy of a system is the maximum useful work possible during a process that brings the system into equilibrium with a heat reservoir.

Sure, we all know that wind and solar are getting cheaper via economies of scale, technology, and competition, but the whole notion of "cost" is somewhat subjective anyway. In what currency (local relative cost matters, a lot)? With which externalities included, you ask? New coal IS getting more difficult to dig up, especially when we skip high-sulfur reserves.

Even if you exclude the externalities, it is still getting increasingly difficult to recover pretty much every resource -- the good, easy stuff gets used first. Worse, the energy value of the coal recovered has been going down.

Of course "easier" is really a measure of EROEI rather EROI. Cost over the long term is a decent proxy, but of course each source has pricing signal components.

Overall, energy HAS gotten cheaper for the average worker, as his productive (efficiency) has risen over the centuries, but since 2000 that is changing. Is it a blip? To soon to know for sure.

Oil and gas are more pronounced in their effort and cost increases. Nuclear has it's own set of externalities. No form of energy is cheap or easy, really.

Edit: I won't respond further. It is patronizing for you to tell others "you need to" go fetch rocks -- you're not the prof giving homework assignments. Go fetch data yourself to support your arguments, and I might notice. See Jokuhl's comment up-thread.

Exergy of a system is the maximum useful work

Well, that's why I said "roughly speaking". See the work of Ayres, if you want more info on how I'm using the word.

we all know that wind and solar are getting cheaper

Well, that's the main thing. The gyrations of coal prices are less important. OTOH, if you want more info on my views (including the kind of data I've been presenting less, lately as it didn't seem to further the discussions), see and

to tell others "you need to"

That's not how I meant it. Substitute "we need" or "one needs".

For more detailed info on many of these things, please look at my blog:

"A poor example of realism."

This is an example of a fundamental problem for me with TOD discussion. The discussion was among smart people who were more interested in finding fault than in finding refinements of ideas that were sound thinking, but poorly worked out. I was guilty of that, but I also found it in others. There also was too much reasoning from economic theory, which only works for incremental departures from BAU, and we all know that the end of fossil fuel dominance is likely to be incremental. Constant re-demonstration of the proposition that BAU cannot continue got to be a bore. No consensus could be developed as to the broad outlines of what would replace BAU. The discussion of a new day could not build on conclusions drawn during the discussion of the previous day.

And I think Rembrandt was being a bit disingenuous about the governing boards reasons. As I recall during the time of the last change of direction there was discussion of locating closer to the Washington beltway in order to have more influence "serious people". I put "serious people" in quotes because turned out that serious people were capable of finding reasons to ignore serious facts, as Paul Krugman continually reminds his readers on econ matters. I hypothesize that TOD management recognized that it didn't have access to the people in charge. The TOD site became a bone yard of reasons for serious people to not take the issues raised seriously. This because of too many ordinary people using ordinary language to express difficult concepts imprecisely. (Multiple meanings for 'serious' is intended.) Whatever happens in future, there is little likelihood of serious leadership by the elite of the country, IMHO. If any of you think 'ordinary people' is somewhat derogatory, I use it in contrast to 'serious people' as used by Paul Krugman. If the world ever goes rightly again, it will go that way because of the sound thinking of ordinary people, IMHO.

Paul C.

I hypothesize that TOD management recognized that it didn't have access to the people in charge.

Actually...I kind of think it's the opposite. Those who were interested in that kind of thing now DO have that access, and so don't have the time to spend here any more.

Thanks, Leanan, for the comforting thought.

Yes, I can't believe how wrong I was in those days! Today I'm just thrilled with how renewable energy has reversed the rise in atmospheric CO2, and now even the acidification of the oceans is reversing. I foolishly expected that renewable energy would be additive to fossil fuels, instead of massively displacing them as we're seeing now. I'm so happy to have been wrong!

Wait, what? Oh, nevermind.

Seriously, about those early projections of mine, I was indeed assuming my conclusions and tailoring my model to fit. My bad. On the other hand, the Global Cluster**** turned out to be a lot bigger than a few windmills could fix, and we're still in the soup. And CO2 levels are still rising...

I agree very much with you that Climate Change is not being addressed properly, and that's an enormous problem.

On the other hand....

CO2 emissions could indeed by greatly reduced by windmills (and solar). The problem isn't technical or biophysical (in the usual sense), it's political.

Right? And doesn't the difference matter a great deal?

Actually, I no longer think the problem is technical or political. I now think it's genetic, and below that it's built into the fabric of life itself.

After some months of reading and thought, I'm now convinced that much of the irresistible growth-hunger of human civilization can be traced back to how our collective social behavior is shaped by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The operation of "2LoT" in non-equilibrium open systems gives rise to both inanimate structures and living organisms. It also endows all organisms with their "prime directives" of survival (in the form of a constant search for energy) and reproduction (to keep the dissipation of energy gradients going for as long as possible). Because of these requirements, the innate behavior of all organisms - from bacteria to human beings - is shaped by thermodynamics to achieve these goals reliably.

Because of this influence of thermodynamics, the emergent collective behavior of Homo sapiens is "statistically deterministic". Individual people retain free will, but the group as a whole does not. The larger the group, the more pronounced this effect becomes. We can see this happening even in small groups, as our innate desire to fit in culminates in the sort of corporate groupthink that precipitated the Challenger space shuttle disaster, for example.

Our collective inability to apply the brakes to our excessive growth in numbers, activity and consumption, even in the face of clear and present existential dangers, points to a problem with the control and coordination mechanisms humanity has available at the moment. They are all too easily overridden by the sheer force of 7 billion people all unconsciously executing their thermodynamic algorithms.

This is why I think low-carbon energy will always be additive so long as there are fossil fuels to be used - or at least until after the damage done by CO2 is so great that we are forced to stop using them out of fear for our species' survival. Conscious, volitional humans are not in control of the collective decisions regarding energy use. Those "decisions" are being driven deterministically by the nature of life itself. It appears to be a political problem because politics is an emergent organizational behavior that simply expresses the operation of 2LoT in human society.

Well, there appear to be two separate questions here.

1) do humans have a genetic imperative to "grow" their dissipation of energy in the form of resources, such as food, or primary energy (FF, nuclear, wind, solar, etc)? and,

2) do humans as a group have the intelligence to manage their environment (reduce CO2, reduce extinctions, etc).

The answer to 1 is clearly no. Fertility rates in the majority of the world have crashed. Clearly, as people become more secure, more educated, more affluent, they stop trying to grow the population. 2nd, goods vs services: the US and Europe stopped growing their s consumption of hard goods quite a while ago: car sales, home building, washer/dryer sales have all plateaued. Services are still growing, but that's different.

The answer to two is much harder. I don't know. But, it's helpful for humans, in the middle of the process of trying to raise the level of collective intelligence, to know that we're facing political barriers, not technical ones.

Interesting. I see the answer to 1 as being an unequivocal yes. The issue is not growth in numbers, but growth in our dissipative capacity. As we gain technology we need fewer people, so population growth rates fall. At the same time, our consumption of resources keeps climbing.

I don't see the answer to 2 as having anything to do with intelligence. We're clearly smart enough. It has much more to do with the way we coordinate collective decisions. Those decisions are not intellectually based, they are emotional. think of how much national pride is expressed through a robust, growing economy, military might or a growing population, and how much national shame is attached to a shrinking economy, declining population or military defeat. Those are the emotions that drive growth. Intelligence just provides us with the tools to implement it.

FWIW, I don't expect you to agree with me, or even understand why I think this way. It took a particular mental attitude, a lot of work and an epiphany or two for me to arrive here. I'm still working out how to express this insight in language that's going to be more accessible to engineers or humanists. On the other hand, it doesn't make any difference to the world, so I'm in no great hurry.

our consumption of resources keeps climbing.

Well, yes, but they reach a limit. It looks like a gaussian/logistics curve. Look at US and EU per capita consumption of food, primary energy, metals, etc.

I don't see the answer to 2 as having anything to do with intelligence.

Well, broadly speaking: emotional IQ, or social IQ, perhaps. The emotions you speak of I would describe as flaws in our intelligence.

FWIW, I don't expect you to agree with me, or even understand why I think this way.

Oh, I understand completely. I just don't see it, at least in terms of gross energy dissipation. Now, if you want to describe it as a drive/instinct towards reducing entropy, I might see it. I see energy dissipation and self-organizing systems as moving towards greater order.

I see it as a drive towards increasing the overall entropy by enhancing the local entropy reduction made possible by the existence of the gradients. We create order in our open system by exporting entropy to its environment. I tend to see the entropy export as the object of the game, with the use of energy as the mechanism by which we make that happen, but they're really the same thing, you can't have one without the other.

I also don't see our inability to reduce our growth voluntarily as a flaw. It's an essential part of the operation of the system, it just doesn't feel very comfortable to humans after a certain point.

Now, here I think I see an example of the kind of difficulty that stalled progress on TOD. Discussions don't seem to progress to conclusions. We have the same discussions over and over. We don't seem to communicate.

So, let me try again - what did you think of what I said about food, metal and primary energy consumption leveling off?


Who cares that it has leveled off? Its at an astronomical level in the west. What the problem is now the rest of the world aspires to even a fraction of the level. That is overshoot.

Who cares that it has leveled off?

Well, Paul (gliderguider") cares, cause he's trying to test an hypothesis.

I agree that CO2 emissions are way, way too high, and that the rest of the world following that example would be a disaster.

That's why "we" need to push wind and solar ASAP.

I can't argue for GG.

But I'll state that all growth eventually hits limits.

You may be entirety correct that growth in resource usage has leveled off in the west. And GG is entirely correct that resource usage for the world is still growing.

You are cherry picking a data point for whatever reasons you want. And you continue to ignore the point I just made that even if the west has plateaued in resource usage, its still well into overshoot. And the rest of the world aspiring to even a fraction of that lifestyle will push us even farther into overshoot. (I didn't say anything about co2)

I stopped commenting on TOD because of too many who think if they win an argument on the internet then they can change the world.

all growth eventually hits limits

I agree - at least for goods (as opposed to services).

You are cherry picking a data point for whatever reasons you want.

See my discussion of hypothesis testing.

the rest of the world aspiring to even a fraction of that lifestyle will push us even farther into overshoot. (I didn't say anything about co2)

Well, CO2 is the main problem. Extinctions are big as well, of course, but that's an unclear risk, while CO2 is very clear.

who think if they win an argument on the internet then they can change the world.

I don't care about winning an argument - why should anyone care about debating points? It's a matter of education, and building consensus around social change. And, of course, it's interesting to learn new things, when people bring them...

I don't care about winning an argument - why should anyone care about debating points? It's a matter of education, and building consensus around social change. And, of course, it's interesting to learn new things, when people bring them...

In other words winning an argument on the internet changes the world.

If only you can educate enough people on an internet forum then the GM Volt will magically become a success...

It got old.

So, you're arguing on the Internet that....arguing on the Internet is not a good idea.



Well, whatcha doing out in the "real word"? Seriously, I agree that ultimately that's essential, so I think we'd all like to hear some inspiring thinking in that direction.

I never said arguing on the internet is a bad idea. Heck I do it all the time, its fun (most of the time).

What I find tiresome are people who think they can change the world by winning an argument. Largely because people like that don't argue from good faith, they have an agenda. You come across as a guy who can never concede a point as you are too afraid of disheartening any readers.

As to what I do in the real world? Who cares?

Actually, it makes my day when someone responds to what I say with something new (and realistic). Makes things a lot more interesting. That doesn't happen nearly often enough lately.

No doubt.

You'd think that after 7+ years your arguments would have won more of us over...

Actually, I think it was helpful for a very large number of people, the vast majority of whom didn't write comments. Those who weren't won over were those who argued, thus presenting a "teachable moment" for yet more lurkers.

Many people just left TOD, when they saw it wasn't progressing in a realistic way, leaving the pessimists.

So, over those years, YOU are the total judge of what's "realistic"? God, you have a huge ego!

hhmm. I thought "In my opinion" was always understood.

Clearly, you disagree...

Yes, in my opinion, TOD was unable to progress to a realistic exploration of the transition away from oil - it became stuck in quantitative analysis of oil and other FFs, because it's editors could not come to a consensus what would come after. It was stuck between unrealistic pessimists, and more realistic people who saw a sensible transition away from FF/oil.

I'd say that the idea that the transition away from oil/FF is necessarily bad is like the idea that quitting smoking is bad for you.

In my opinion.


You just illustrated why I always thought you were one of the most doomerish guys on the forum. If what you argued was the most sensible and realistic transition away from oil then we are so screwed.

Well, you'll have to explain that.

Again, Germany is justifiedly proud of it's very competent and hard-headed engineers. They've concluded that renewables are very practical.

Oh sure, very practical. Just head on over to Egypt and let them know all they have to do is build up some wind and match that with EVs charging at night. Problem solved.

So very practical.

It's extremely practical.

Egypt has good wind and solar resources. Electric bikes and cars would be extremely practical in Cairo.

E-bikes outsell anything else in China.

You'd better get over there and tell them!

Well, you buy the tickets, I'll reserve the hotel rooms. Bring your earplugs, cuz Cairo's incredibly noisy. And, bring your riot gear, cuz they're gettin' busy!

Alas, poor Egypt didn't have blogger Nick to tell them the most practical and realistic ways to transition away from oil.

But for the want of a blogger...

Good thing we have you Nick! The english speaking world has been saved. Nick the blogger has educated us all via TOD!

Oh wait, nevermind. You are full of crap.

You see I'm quite sure there were quite a few bloggers in Egypt pointing out their reliance on oil exports and subsidized food imports. I'm sure they were crying out about EVs and Wind and how well they matched loads at night.

But then the real world still happened.

Nick, No doubt you soothed a few souls who wanted to be convinced. Whatever good that does. The US isn't Egypt and our fate is not theirs. But neither is ours Wind and EVs.

If you are the best we got, We are so screwed.


"Keyboards dipped in vitriol" is a pretty good description.

For what it's worth: Egypt has listened to creative thoughts about energy, and was in the middle of the process of moving away from across-the-board energy & food subsidies when the military took over.

On the other hand, energy is very far from the only reason for the fate of nations, and it certainly doesn't give anything like a complete explanation for why Egypt is going through it's current convulsions.


I've actually been to China and many of the electric bikes' batteries have worn out after a short while. Like all my laptops'.

I've heard that Chinese E-bikes very often have lead-acid batteries, which have to be treated very carefully. Similarly, laptop batteries typically don't have temperature control or charge-management, so they overheat, run hot, and get over and under charged.

There's an old saying in the industry: "Batteries don't die, they're murdered."

But, if you're at all careful they're still cheaper than gas, they're legal in the big (very polluted) Chinese cities (gas increasingly isn't).

And, in car-type EVs you have temp and charge management.

We've been down this road before, Nick...

The promises of better futures on this path with and for such things as batteries, nuclear fusion or whatever, as JH Kunstler puts it, techo-narcissism, have you, are effectively handwavings for rosier futures that will likely never come.

Perhaps, paradoxically, this is because the disorienting, distancing, damaging effects of our technologies place us "there". Place us where we only realize later, or somewhere else, and often too late, how they inevitably affect our reality.

We very much appear psychically out-of-synch with time and space... Déjà vu and technological boomerangs we've forgotten we've thrown on the road to and geography of...


Wow, we have been down this path before. And yet, we've made no progress. The problem of TOD writ small.

I'm not really getting this mystical vision. Of course, Kunstler knows very little about energy or technology, and when challenged about that, he describes himself as a entertainer.

I've no problem with the idea that we've spent too much time on the first couple of rungs of Maslow's hierarchy. But, sheesh, it's a long way from that to some kind of vague anti-tech nihilism.

"But I'll state that all growth eventually hits limits."

Recent results in astrophysics indicate that the growth rate of the universe is actually increasing over time. Maybe, just maybe, when theoretical astrophysicists come up with an explanation of this counterintuitive observation, it will be seen to apply to human population growth as well ;-)

But maybe they won't find a workable explanation before the end of history. Oh wait, that has already happened a decade or more ago. ;-)

My point is that this discussion is a hairball of wooly headed speculation, and very much the sort of thing that TOD management wants very much to avoid. Personally, I like wooly headed speculation. But this venue is being closed by the management.

Peace and be of good cheer.

"what did you think of what I said about food, metal and primary energy consumption leveling off?"

I think you're cherry-picking small portions of the planet to make an ideological point. Globally there is no such trend.

Globally since 2000:

  • Primary energy consumption has risen at a steady 2.5% per annum;
  • Steel production has risen an average of 5.5% pa;
  • Copper production has grown by 2.5% pa;
  • cement production by a whopping 7.5% pa;
  • cereal production by just over 1% pa (in line with population growth);
  • meat production by 2.2% pa; and
  • CO2 emissions by 2.6% pa.

We've created a global cybernetic exoskeleton for ourselves, in the form of a world-wide industrial/technological civilization with rapid global transportation of materials, energy, food, finances and control/status information. It's the behavior of the whole system that's important.

Energy and CO2 numbers are from BP, metals from USGS and food production from FAO.

I think, in microcosm, this demonstrates why TOD stagnated - it didn't use the scientific method, as generally understood and practiced by the scientific community, to make progress. People made arguments endlessly, but never tested them in ways that would be generally accepted, or they didn't rely on the results of the tests to modify their arguments.

Ok, how do we test the hypothesis that growth in energy and commodity consumption never ends? by looking at the point where we might expect it to end: groups that have grown quite a lot, and might "have enough".

If we look at those groups, we see that their consumption is leveling off.

If that's cherrypicking, then cherry picking is the essence of the scientific method for disciplines that can't run tests in the lab: choose real-world examples of your hypothesis, and see what happened.

There's a great example at James Hamilton's blog, in the June 26th 2013 entry: a woman who tests an economic hypothesis by looking at historical examples.

I'm looking at the behaviour of the entire system, which is now global. The hypothesis I'm working with is that the whole system keeps growing despite the behaviour of some regional sub-systems, until it hits a limit either in resources or complexity. Because of that, declines in some countries' activity levels while the global system keeps on growing, is confirmatory evidence.

A very large portion of global growth in resource consumption has been in China. China, of course, is relatively poor, and wants to change that. There's nothing there that supports the idea of an irrationally endless appetite for growth.

Look close at China, and you'll see that the majority of it's economy isn't even consumption, it's capital expenditure: building roads, rail, airports, cities (residential, commercial, industrial), ports, bridges, dams, etc, etc, etc.

That kind of growth clearly has an end date, as the Japanese have discovered over the last 20 years.

I think, in microcosm, this demonstrates why TOD stagnated - it didn't use the scientific method, as generally understood and practiced by the scientific community, to make progress. People made arguments endlessly, but never tested them in ways that would be generally accepted, or they didn't rely on the results of the tests to modify their arguments.

Nick you want scientific method?

I suggested you watch a 23 minute video titled RETHINKING SUSTAINABILITY Growth has an Expiration Date
It's a presentation by Tom Murphy, Associate Professor of Physics, University of California San Diego.
He also writes the Do The Math Blog...

It's very hard to argue with the math and the physics that he presents. The concepts are not all that difficult to grasp. It's just that most people absolutely do not or can not believe the implications.

There is no magic formula that will do away with physical limits or repeal the laws of thermodynamics.
So there is zero chance that we will not end up with a steady state instead of a growth based economy.
That is a quite a paradigm change that we are in for. I don't expect very many of the 7 billion humans already on the planet are going to be driving Nissan Leafs and Chevy volts powered by wind and solar. That's going to make for a lot of very unhappy campers when they finally figure out that they've been taken for a ride.

Expect lot's of social unrest and much worse for a long time yet to come. I think what is happening in Egypt today is just the tip of the iceberg. Hope I'm as wrong as everybody seems to be convinced that Malthus was...

“The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

Winston Churchill

I've read most of Tom's blog articles.

As I told Tom (and he didn't disagree with me) and I've been saying to Paul, the idea of infinite growth in resource consumption is one might call a strawman - something that no one (at least in the mainstream) is really arguing will happen.

That kind of growth has already ended in the core OECD countries (due to lack of demand).

"due to lack of demand"

Do you have any proof that this supposed "lack of demand" is not due to external pressure caused by resource scarcity?

Sure. Talk to European and US car makers, home builders, home appliance makers - they'll tell you that over the last 30 years all of these markets have matured, and have become primarily replacement and maintenance markets.

That's even more true now, despite the recent recession. For instance, young people are choosing iPhones over cars - Facebook is replacing "cruising"*.

*Yes, young people are relatively more unemployed at the moment - but, the affluent employed ones are staying away from cars just as much as their poorer friends.

the idea of infinite growth in resource consumption is one might call a strawman - something that no one (at least in the mainstream) is really arguing will happen.

You are kidding? Right?

If that is true then please provide some proof, because while obviously no one in their right mind is ever going to argue for infinite growth in a literal sense, 'GROWTH' is still the only solution that is being offered. I have yet to hear from any politician, economist, banker, business owner etc... anywhere on the face of this planet anything other than some pie in the sky scheme that we are going to 'GROW', That is the only thing that is going to solve our problems.

All I hear are statements such as this:


The United States economy will reach a 3 percent growth rate by the end of 2013, Larry Summers, former US Treasury secretary, predicted Wednesday night.

Speaking on a panel of distinguished economists and thinkers at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, Summers praised US President Barack Obama for policies that are beginning to bear fruit in the economy.


In 2040, the Chinese economy will reach $123 trillion, or nearly three times the economic output of the entire globe in 2000. China's per capita income will hit $85,000, more than double the forecast for the European Union, and also much higher than that of India and Japan. In other words, the average Chinese megacity dweller will be living twice as well as the average Frenchman when China goes from a poor country in 2000 to a superrich country in 2040.


The German economy, Europe’s biggest, may grow as much as 2.4 percent next year as unemployment declines, two of the country’s leading economic research bodies said.

German growth will accelerate in 2014 from 1.3 percent in 2013, the Halle-based IWH institute and Kiel Economics said in a joint forecast. Earlier today in a separate report, the Kiel- based IfW institute said the expansion will speed to 1.5 percent in 2014 from 0.6 percent this year.

I could provide similar statements about every country and business in every corner of the planet. This is the MSM view! It is GROW GROW GROW GROW! How pray is that not endorsing for all practical purposes, INFINITE GROWTH?!! Sure all of these people accept that the sun will burn out in a couple of billion years but we are hitting thermodynamic and physical limits right here on our planet today!

If you truly grasp what Tom and others like him are saying you can't possibly ignore the fact that a continuation of something as seemingly innocent as a 3% growth rate has devastating consequences in a relatively short time.

How is this a strawman?

while obviously no one in their right mind is ever going to argue for infinite growth in a literal sense, 'GROWTH' is still the only solution that is being offered.

First, I think in an odd way you can kind've see my point. Everyone wants growth in the short term. That's not at all the same thing as arguing that we need to have it forever.

2nd, that quote about China sure looks like someone is kidding. That's the kind of relentless extrapolation that put Japan conquering the world. No one thinks that scenario will play out - the question these days is whether the Chinese government will manage a "soft landing" from very high growth rates.


3rd, and most importantly, there's a big difference between growth in goods, and growth in services. Germany, for example, wants to reduce it's consumption of primary energy, even as it increases efficiency, slashes FF consumption, maintains goods output very roughly level, and increases services.

Yeah, sure Nick. We all want growth for the short term (while it benefits us). And we recognize that it must end some day (after we are gone and buried).

Run any equation that shows exponential growth. They all are "Hockey Stick" graphs. And that is because they all assume infinite growth. The problem, as Fred pointed out (I think) is that no one is willing to put their views about limited growth into practice so long as that might make them uncomfortable.

Of course intuitively everyone knows it can't last forever. And, there is an instinctive fear that "the end is neigh" as they say. Politicians capitalize on this fear to get votes, and none of them ever intimate, much less acknowledge, that "we" must change, and that if "we" don't, many of "us" will die.

There comes a time when nature will force the issue. Even soft landings can be hard when you refuse to stop trying to gain altitude. The higher you grow, the harder you fall.


We all want growth until we have a comfortable roof over our heads, a decent education and income, etc, etc. When we have those things, we're not really all that desperate for more stuff. At this point, people in the US and Europe mostly want more and better services: healthcare, childcare, eldercare, education, etc.

We don't live in an exponential world, we live in a gaussian/logistical world. Do you know what I mean?

With respect to

As I told Tom (and he didn't disagree with me)....

Master List of Logical Fallacies

See Argumentum ex Silentio:

The fallacy that if sources remain silent or say nothing about a given subject or question this in itself proves something about the truth of the matter.

We had an explicit conversation about it. I think he conceded the point, even though he didn't see it as that important (the conversation is in the comments on his blog, if you're curious).

Heck, we could see a reference to Tom as an Appeal To Authority, if we wished.

Ultimately, the important thing here is thinking through the basic ideas for ourselves, rather than splitting hairs.

"Clearly, as people become more secure, more educated, more affluent, they stop trying to grow the population."

I would hardly call the current situation in the western societies "secure". The 1950s in the USA were truly secure, and that has caused a massive baby boom. Why would anyone call today's situation, when people are forced to take up 30-years mortgages just to have somewhere to live, "secure" is beyond me. I believe that if todays "educated and affluent" population were put a situation of a true resource- and living space-abundance (comparable to 1950s USA), they would start breeding like rabbits.

I would hardly call the current situation in the western societies "secure".

I'd say that's hindsight.

The 1950s in the USA were truly secure, and that has caused a massive baby boom.

They were catching up after 20 years of depression and wartime. Further, contraception was bad, and women's education was bad.

if todays "educated and affluent" population were put a situation of a true resource- and living space-abundance (comparable to 1950s USA), they would start breeding like rabbits.

The same thing is happening around the world: Asia, Europe, S. America: as women become educated and have access to contraception, as retirement is no longer provided by your children on a farm, etc, etc....women choose to have fewer children - fewer than replacement fertility levels.

But again, is there any example of an affluent society that is also truly resource- and living-space-abundant (comparable to the 1950s USA), where a voluntary population delicne is happening? I don't know of any. All of those (supposedly) affluent societies are actually suffering from severe housing bubbles, which make actual comfortable living space a very scarce commodity. Not to mention all the other sharply rising costs of living.

All of these societies have much more residential living space per person than they did in the 1950's.

Italy is suffering because sons are so comfortable living with their mothers that they don't move out and start families - women choose not to move in.

Japan is in a very similar situation: they're indeed suffering from a shortage of living space, but that's nothing new. The difference: women have careers and choices, and they choose not to live with overbearing mothers-in-law in cramped quarters.

Regarding housing bubbles making living space scarce - housing bubbles create an excess of living space. A small portion of that excess space may be unused, but that's because it's...excess.

Housing bubbles are possible precisely because the market is saturated. In the US and Europe, the market is mature, and an attempt to make it grow will just cause a bubble.

Agreed. Here's my take on the effects of scale: Scale Matters. Dimitri Orlov also had a good article on the topic of functional stupidity as a result of scale: Understanding Organizational Stupidity.

I think you confuse Nature with Nurture.

There are societies that appear not to follow your rules (as I understand them). Much of current Scandinavian behavior for example.

Denmark (an oil exporter BTW) has cut per capita carbon emissions by -26.5% in five years (2007-2012).


My point is about aggregation. Individuals, even individual societies, can buck a global trend, but the global trend exists nonetheless. The fact that "I" can do something doesn't mean that "We" can do something, because in this case the larger "we" is more than just a collection of individuals. The whole system displays emergent properties that are not predictable from the behaviour of system elements. Scandinavia is a minuscule portion of the global picture.

However, the EU is not a minuscule portion of the global picture. And they are going against your trend.

And even Scandinavia is large enough for the impact of individuals to be drowned out by the collective society.

You have a valid point, but there are significant exceptions. Exceptions that can expand. They are not immutable. Nature vs. Nurture.


It's a global system. Be cautious about how you draw boundaries around portions of it. The EU's aggregate GDP was on a linear tear up from ~$4 trillion in 1970 to ~$10T in 2007 (in constant 2005 dollars), until the economic wheels fell off in 2008. The EU's primary energy consumption is not declining, it's on a bumpy plateau around 1700 mtoe/yr. Any evidence that the EU is a poster child for voluntary reductions in anything (except maybe kids) is lacking.

That last point is pretty significant. Couple that with immigration and it will prove to be the dominant factor in the EU future 100 years hence, I suspect.

Your opening statement included I no longer think the problem is technical or political. I now think it's genetic, and below that it's built into the fabric of life itself.

If a large subset bucks your trend, then it is not genetic but caused by culture. Which is not immutable.


PS: The EU is down in carbon emissions. You may not discern this in the signal to noise data at the gross level, but carbon per capita, carbon per euro of GDP, absolute carbon are all falling in the EU.

These are good trends. People like Amory Lovins (a rather cornucopian technocrat) have long said such was possible.

You transportation focus is a great starting point. I think residential insulation is another, with better standards for new homes being the natural starting point (stop digging the hole deeper first, then fill it in).

I was at a high-end charity house raffle two weeks back. $500K house, in a cheap area, equals really nice house. Besides the granite counters and Sub-zero fridge, I was pleasantly surprised to see full foam insulation, high-eff zoned AC, and a heat-recovery ventilator. It was a tight, managed-air-exchanged house. With the foaming, even the attic was still barely-uncomfortable mid-afternoon. My attic would be 120F at the same time.

Of course most people could/should have a much smaller domicile, but if the wealthy are getting to the point that efficiency is a selling point, then it's only a matter of time for the rest.

It's hard to discern where culture ends and genetics begins. I was made aware of an interesting approach (Iceberg diagram) to create corporate cultural change. It was from a continuous improvement perspective, with four steps to gain understanding:
1) Look for occurrences or events of interest (problems, issues, etc. that are visible)
2) Identify patterns in the events -- recurring behaviors

Those top two are the tip of the iceberg. The next two are the larger base of the iceberg.

3) Find the structures that generate the issue patterns. These may be organizational, process, people, technological, operational, or other types of structures (hint: they always involve people).
4) Identify the underlying beliefs (mental models) and culture that drive and support the structures. These will often be long-held perspectives, perhaps of the current or past CEOs or leaders, and may be intertwined with the organizational self-image and identity.

Closing the loop is the tricky part. You can't really fix the problems by addressing the issues from the top (that's just fire-fighting -- necessary, but insufficient). You also can't change the culture by any amount of arguing and discussion -- it pushes back as hard as you push.

The key is to take purposeful action a the structures layer. Create projects and take actions that change a specific piece of the structure - a new process, a changed org, etc. Over time, changes at that layer can provide a path for the mental models to change, and the culture to adapt. If you're in a position to make changes, changing the org first and then processes is often easier than changing the process with the old org. If you're not in a position of authority, changing how things are done may be the best tack.

Change carries its own momentum, and success examples from small initial changes will help engender larger changes.

You also can't change the culture by any amount of arguing and discussion -- it pushes back as hard as you push.

Sounds a lot like Donella Meadows', Leverage Points.

The highest leverage of all is to keep oneself unattached in the arena of paradigms, to realize that NO paradigm is "true," that even the one that sweetly shapes one's comfortable worldview is a tremendously limited understanding of an immense and amazing universe. It is to "get" at a gut level the paradigm that there are paradigms, and to see that that itself is a paradigm, and to regard that whole realization as devastatingly funny. It is to let go into Not Knowing.


I found your iceberg analysis interesting. It kind of dovetails with what I am proposing to change the Climate discussion in the US.

When I am further along with my draft, I will send it to you.

Too bad TOD is going away - these are insights worth having.


I'll give both and PlanetBeat a fair shake. Hopefully one or the other will pan out.

I might even do my own Systems Engr blog at PlanetBeat. Here, SE topics are a bit tangential, and honestly, SE in general is "softer" than most Engr disciplines as it deals so much with orgs, people, and processes as well as things like efficiency. SE comes across as heuristics to hard-math sorts, and psychology to softer sorts, and the value of interfaces, information flows, architecture, and interactions is hard to get across.

There are several "iceberg" techniques, since it's such an attractive metaphor, but I'm sure I can find a link for a deeper explanation if you're interested. I'm applying the notions at work now, so I'll have some empircal view of success and failure modes before long.


I thought that I had your eMail address, but I could not find it in my address book.

My old eMail is [ alan_drake at ju no dott conn ] (anti-spam coded) and I am migrating to [ alansdrake at g mail dott conn ].

Best Hopes,


The EU is down in carbon emissions.

As is the US. Natural gas had something to do with it, but so did good public policy that promoted wind and suppressed coal. Plus, CTL is economic now, and would be expanding fast if it hadn't been squelched.


We seem to agree in a good number of ways, but I really think you've been the Pot calling the Kettle black when you call others views 'Ideological'.. your comments have been as starkly resistant to ideas of decline and privation as some others are to growth and abundance, and you become a pitbull with a thread when you really get on a tear, with some very inflexible responses about the balances of positives to negatives that we are likely driving towards. But not in a good way, I have to say.. it becomes a bit of a rant on many occasions, and the quality of discussion and conversation is lost in this excessive and adamant advocacy.

I often wish I could count on your lobbying for the things I also am encouraged by, but you fail to moderate your expectations with a humble set of balances, and I end up having to distance myself from your remarks.

You know, I put garbage into my compost bin, and get a fine treasure in return.. and I lustily dive into other folk's 'Garbage', and emerge with a fine bounty of great
'raw' (ripe?) materials and products.. while a lot of things that are fresh, pretty and new on the shelves are, to me, lower than filth. Find a balance.. there will be fresh growth in the declines and collapses, and there will be new desolation and disaster in the coming bubbles and bulls.



I didn't mean to call others' views 'Ideological'. That was Leanan's word with regard to when TOD chose to discontinue Campfire. I was speculating that she was talking about an unwillingness on the part of TOD to embrace "energy descent".

adamant advocacy.

hhhmmm. Good point. I see people making life decisions on the info presented here, and I really want to get stuff out there. I feel I'm doing something meaningful in the push towards social consensus on reducing CO2 emissions and preventing future oil wars. So, I argue points until they're resolved, as best I can.

Yeah, I agree, people can't hear stuff when it's pushed too hard.


On the other hand......

I think you and I have a bit of disagreement about the likely arc of the near future. I really don't see energy problems as likely to cause economic decline. I do agree that PO will make things harder than they would be otherwise, and create additional stress for everyone - if growth rates decline by 1% over the status-quo-ante, that's a big deal.

I see climate change as a much bigger deal, and I'm eager to communicate that there are perfectly good technical solutions....

I was speculating that she was talking about an unwillingness on the part of TOD to embrace "energy descent".

No, that's not it at all. The problem is once you get past "counting barrels," as someone put it, you're in the realm of ideology. And we don't have one in common.

We all have very different views of the future, from "we're all gonna die in a couple of years" to "business as usual will continue, just with nuclear, wind, and solar instead of oil" - and just about everything in between. With such differing ideologies, it's impossible to get on the same page about what to do about energy descent. Someone who thinks we're in for a fast, hard crash might want an article about raising your own food. Someone who is sure industrial agriculture will continue for generations hence thinks that's embarrassing and makes us look like nuts.

The narrower focus was how we got around these conflicting ideologies.

We all have very different views of the future

Which is why there was such a wide swing on what was allowed to be posted in Drumbeats.

Blogs of different individuals won't typically have that wide swing that helped make dynamicTOD.

fast, hard crash might want an article about raising your own food.

Or perhaps it is a good idea, given the commercial food system.

The narrower focus was how we got around these conflicting ideologies.

I figured it was because you'd declared drumbeats 'a safety valve' to prevent the focused topics from going off topic.

But figuring out how to move forward is now someone else's problem.

Which is why there was such a wide swing on what was allowed to be posted in Drumbeats.

No, not really. They basically left the Drumbeats up to me. Though every once in awhile, one of the editors would step in and ask me to crack down on the conspiracy theories or something.

They basically left the Drumbeats up to me.

Then my worry about you getting burned out was a very valid concern.

You did a fine job, even if I'd have rather seen more talk about theories about who was doing what for a certain why. I can understand why to limit such talk due to it getting WAY out of control.

Ah. Well, I think that's what I meant to say: TOD was unable to come to a consensus on what lay "beyond oil", or "beyond FF".

I think you and I have a bit of disagreement about the likely arc of the near future. I really don't see energy problems as likely to cause economic decline. I do agree that PO will make things harder than they would be otherwise, and create additional stress for everyone - if growth rates decline by 1% over the status-quo-ante, that's a big deal.

In my view 'Economic Growth' is Dead, Kaput, C'est fini... If you haven't seen it, google Tom Murphy's 'Growth has an Expiration Date' It is physically and mathematically impossible for it to continue for much longer, that is, if we haven't already run smack into the brick wall of resource and thermodynamic limits.

I see climate change as a much bigger deal, and I'm eager to communicate that there are perfectly good technical solutions....

While I certainly hope thatsome of us will be able to use some technology to mitigate the consequences of climate change thereby allowing a small group of our descendants to carry on
I'm just going to quote Paul Chefurka here.

From his stage five in Climbing the Ladder of Awarenes:

Awareness that the predicament encompasses all aspects of life. This includes everything we do, how we do it, our relationships with each other, as well as our treatment of the rest of the biosphere and the physical planet. With this realization, the floodgates open, and no problem is exempt from consideration or acceptance. The very concept of a "Solution" is seen through, and cast aside as a waste of effort.

I Agree with Paul, looking for solutions at this juncture is to totally miss the point. What we are faced with are multiple interconnected predicaments wrapped within a multilayered dilemma.

The best any of us can do now is make peace with ourselves and try to carve out a niche and a path that will allow us to live out our remaining years as best we can. If possible helping out our friends and our families.

To be clear the last thing I want in my life right now is a wind or solar charged Leaf or Volt so I can commute with the masses to a job or a shopping mall. I'll be happy if I can go for long walks,ride my bike, kayak, enjoy a cold beer now and then and have a good conversation with my son and my friends.

Nick, I wish you well but I don't share what I think (based on your posts) is your vision of the future. I don't think it is sustainable and it simply no longer has any appeal for me.



Well, I like your vision of life (I agree that consumerism isn't satisfying beyond a certain point), but we disagree on sustainability.

Oh, well.

Thanks for the response. In it are, as you also said, a pair of very good examples of where our views diverge..

"I really don't see energy problems as likely to cause economic decline."

- I think there is a very real danger of just that. As with Climate, I don't pretend to KNOW which way anything is going to go, while I do listen to those studying it.. but our dependence on FF is not just a calorie-count. The transition, like a cautionary number of fundamental ( & forced and 'unexpected') system shifts has every likelihood of hitting serious tripping points. It's hardly extreme to suggest, for example, that the longest hot war in US history, Afghanistan and it's semi-concluded sister war in Iraq are in no small way a part of that, and have clearly had a considerable effect on the US economy by now, not to mention our collective mental state and our morale..

"I'm eager to communicate that there are perfectly good technical solutions...."

- To which I way WHAT? There are some possible routes that we Really need to be trying, but it takes just an incredible amount of hubris to claim that we have 'Perfectly Good Technical Solutions..' That's about as flawed a conceit as my Video Engineer friend who was baffled in the 90's by my troublesome PC, saying 'But computers aren't supposed to break!..' I can tell you are eager to trumpet such promises, but it really makes it seem like you grossly underestimate how large and complex each of these problems is, and that it's not a choice between one or the other.. it doesn't matter which is worse, they are coming in simultaneously, and they intersect in countless ways..

The way you pust the advocacy for solutions as above brings ruefully to mind a snarky line from Rob Newman's "A History of Oil"

"The level of naivety necessary before you can talk about 'an American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East' cannot be found anywhere outside of 1970s porno films. 'You mean the time machine only works if I take off all my clothes?'"

"I really don't see energy problems as likely to cause economic decline." - I think there is a very real danger of just that.

Actually, those two statements aren't that far apart. I don't see energy problems as **likely** to cause economic decline. I agree that human systems are somewhat chaotic and fragile, and that increased stress increases the likelihood of serious systemic problems. For example, the 2008 credit crunch is generally agreed as having had the *potential* to cause another Great Depression.

This is one of the major reasons I like wind, solar, EVs, etc. They make things much more resilient.

the longest hot war in US history...

I agree. I see that war(s) as very socially stressful oil wars, and I'd like to avoid another.

it takes just an incredible amount of hubris to claim that we have 'Perfectly Good Technical Solutions.

Well, Germany as a country disagrees with you. Germany has a well founded reputation for hard-headed engineers. I think Europeans would describe the US approach to energy as having that kind of naivete.

Yes, we seem to disagree on this point. It seems clear to me that wind, solar, rail, EVs, heat pumps, etc are extremely well tested, practical, affordable, scalable, etc, etc.

In fact, it baffles me that this is hard to see, if one looks hard. I guess that's my blind spot: I've been doing this stuff professionally and personally for 35 years, and it just seems like old hat to me. I started out quite alarmed by Limits to Growth when it first came out in the 1970's, and over much time it's become clear to me what it's value and limitations are: the overshoot model is helpful, but the lack of understanding of economic basics aren't (like substitution, and industrial transition).

There's a huge difference between 'good technical responses' (eg, Wind, Hydro, Solar), and Perfectly Good Solutions.

We do both seem to feel that these are absolutely essential steps that must be taken, yet you are willing to make predictive assurances that these and other 'substitutions' will get us there no problem.

Those 'Economic Basics' are used to cover any number of sins with promises that only ever get paid by offering further such promises. They are part and parcel of the growth and usury psychology that thinks that Resource Growth will be created with Interest and Stock Growth.. and it seems to remain 'proven' as long as we ignore the great and yawning voids we've dug into the Earth, the Air, the Fisheries, the Topsoil, the Rainforests, the Aquifers, the Pensions, the Education of the Population, the Nutrient levels of our food..

We keep spackling over unsightly cracks and flaws with these economic theories, ignoring the real foundations that a society and a culture and an ecosystem needs to survive, with the blandly confident allusions to the S&P performance and a highly selective GDP.

'What, me worry?'

Well, It helps to resist the temptation to expect perfection, rather than just improvement: I'm not always going to communicate perfectly.

And, just because wind, hydro & solar are improvements on fossil fuels doesn't mean they'll fix all of our problems. They may be able to eliminate energy-related CO2 emissions, but they won't eliminate cow methane, or prevent species extinctions, etc, etc, etc.

So, renewables can fix energy-related problems, but not non-energy problems. And, of course, they're "technical solutions", which means that we still have to make our not-very-democratic society implement them before they'll help.

But, fixing PO and CO2 emissions would fix our biggest problems...

Thanks for site: I learned a lot over the years.

I would greatly appreciate a list of the other blogs associated with people who are or have been frequent contributors here.

Leanan, what are your plans with regard to Drumbeat after the site closes? Do you have a site of your own? Are you moving Drumbeat elsewhere?

I think the ISEOF board and I were in agreement that a Drumbeat-only TOD just wouldn't be a good idea.

I am not planning to move the Drumbeat elsewhere. The rest of the staff has been very considerate and some of them even offered to set me up with a site of my own, but I don't want that. The parts are lesser than the whole, and a Drumbeat-only site would be just another blog. I've also had offers from other sites, so it's not like I've been rudely kicked to the curb or anything. ;-)

However, I don't want to jump into anything right now.

Take the time off from babysitting part of the Internet. You deserve the break from your past efforts.

You have put in an incredible effort Leanan! Thanks for your work here, you have kept us all informed.

Just thought I'd chime in here: thanks for the amazing effort you've put in, Leanan! Good luck in your endeavors going forward.

I think all of us are going to have our hands full, attempting to prepare for the decline. 'Nuff sed.

My writing partner and I ran The Oil Drum Canada until January 2008. We set up on our own after being requested not to write about finance here. Since then, our work has been available at The Automatic Earth ( Our primary focus is finance, but we have written a number of articles updating our views on the energy front, particularly as it relates to financial crisis (due to relative immediacy of effect). I have written on unconventional fossil fuels, EROEI, renewable energy, and power systems. TAE is a big picture site, integrating finance, energy, geopolitics, environment, collective psychology, carrying capacity etc.

Just some thoughts, Nicole:

I visit TAE daily looking for new content. TAE is on my bookmarks task bar next to TOD, Orlov, JHK, Greer, etc. While I love TAE's pespective, the world moves much faster than any weekly commentary can address, and the Drumbeat flows much better in near real-time; it's the real-time discussion that seems to be the main attraction at TOD. I can always find a lively discussion here, vs. discussions that may be days old at the other sites I've listed. TOD is sort of a fast food outlet for energy, climate, finance, etc. discourse, and the menu is fresh, high quality, always changing, and often eclectic. We, here, have been spoiled as much as modern day consumers have been spoiled in their food choices. No offense intended, but I suspect TODers won't react well to weekly variations of meat and potatoes, the same way that western consumers won't react well to certain limitations they'll be presented with in the (near, IMO) future.

Promoting an active, ongoing, often contentious exchange of ideas on a broad range of subjects is a neat trick that TOD has pulled of in a remarkable way. Cudos! Doing this clearly requires resources, commitment, talent, and an ever changing group of regulars.

I'll continue to look to TAE for perspective and wisdom, to JHK for his humor, and even drop in to the Archdruid holding court each week for his keen insights (though he doesn't seem so keen on my inputs), but will grieve a bit for the loss of TOD. Best hopes that other sites can adopt some of the flow and exchange techniques that TOD has mastered.

Interesting that I see many former regulars suddenly posting again today, now that TOD has anounced it is closing to active participation. You usually don't know what you had 'til it's gone. Too bad more of you haven't been more dedicated to keeping the discussion going.

From, Mar 25, 2013 (updated):

The Oil Drum: Discussions About Energy and Our Future

For those who become frustrated at the random, shallow, hit-and-miss nature of event coverage on the internet, a website such as The Oil Drum is a true haven. This is a collaborative site that focuses on oil issues, and is thickly populated with people who actually know what they are talking about.

There is in depth coverage, opinion, and speculation about the current Deepwater Horizon disaster, including information that is available in few other places on the internet. There is a wealth of information about the oil industry, peak oil, and related subjects. In addition, there are valuable links to other websites that cover issues of resource depletion, post-industrialism, and sustainability.

What is not on this website is just as good as what is. No ads, no inane pop-ups interrupting research, no horrible and unreadable hashes of conflicting hyper-text, and no endless babbling comments by people who spell "you" with one letter.

Given the critically important nature of the issues that are addressed on The Oil Drum, it should be read by far more people. As peak oil becomes a more imposing reality, the readership of the The Oil Drum will no doubt expand.....

Perhaps not. Waiting for the PO and climate deniers to claim victory; my home page may be blank in the near future.

...bookmarks task bar next to TOD, Orlov, JHK, Greer, etc. While I love TAE's pespective, the world moves much faster ...


Damn, the same here. And JMG has not always welcomed my input, either. I guess it's hard work starting a new (old) religion and all.

Yes, and I've followed TAE for quite a while, too. But kind of drifting away now. I guess the human attention span isn't meant for decade-long stretches (much less 500 year stretches *cough* nuclear industry *cough*, ...)

I went from TOD to TAE back in 2008 or so, when the Drummers were guessing that the price of oil would go up an up and up, and Stoneleigh came along and said "No, it won't. And here's why: ..." and it didn't. So she was right.

Still trying to figure out what to do about it.

"Interesting that I see many former regulars suddenly posting again today, now that TOD has anounced it is closing to active participation. You usually don't know what you had 'til it's gone. Too bad more of you haven't been more dedicated to keeping the discussion going."

As noted by several of those former regulars, they pulled back after being told their contributions were no longer "appropriate" for TOD, not because they lost interest in the site.

I've never tried to contribute much here because, frankly, I lack the technical expertise to comment intelligently. But TOD has certainly been a regular stop and has educated me on the intricacies of the discussion. TOD will be sorely missed, because offhand I know of no other peak oil site that offers its advantages.

FWIW, you're not the only person who has run afoul of the Archdruid's ego. I no longer post there either.

The contributors of this site,including the commentators, are above my pay grade.
Do not scatter in the wind.
The next few years will require more not less of your expertise.

Wow, I've learned so much here. Amazing to see it go. Interesting timing though, since it seems we are nearing the end of the financial era, which will trigger the shark fin drop in oil production. Seems this place is shutting down just when things are getting exciting! I have a feeling it may get resurrected in some form when the post-PO transition happens though...

I wish, however, that there was more content linking the financial system / economy to energy, rather than just a pure energy focus. As someone said above, it's harder to maintain a site with that wider focus, but it would have been a nice direction to move, since I see a real disconnect between financial people and technical people.

Come and see us over at The Automatic Earth. That's what we do ;) Most of the energy/finance articles are in the primers section.

Yeah, but you're deflationists...

I'd be happy to debate that with you ;)


Very sorry to see you go. Reminds me of Google Reader terminating on Monday, and the frantic search for alternatives. I hope to see alternate suggestions here for The Oil Drum.

It's unfortunate but I guess it was meant to happen at some point. Thanks to all the contributors and editors, I learned a lot.

Sam, you also taught a lot!

"I know nothing stays the same
But if you're willing to play the game
It's coming around again
So don't mind if I fall apart
There's more room in a broken heart"

Carly Simon

For me, it's truly sad to see The Oil Drum go away.

I became interested in alternative energy more than 40 years ago, having installed a "modern" wind energy system in 1973 before the Arab/OPEC Oil Embargo hit the US. Over the years, I have been continually frustrated in my efforts to communicate what I perceive to be the seriousness of our global energy situation, including efforts at political action. Given the massive spending on propaganda by various energy interests, I found TOD to be a breath of fresh air, a ray of hope in an increasingly dark future. My contributions to Drumbeat, both good and bad, have reflected my failure to find similar places to express my world view. I write that as a moderator on the Google Group Globalchange, which has been essentially dead for many months, perhaps the result of the format which required moderation before posts were posted.

Energy is the foundation of our Western industrial nations and the future of our energy supply can not be properly discussed without also discussing the impacts of energy supply and consumption on the Earth. That there are so many people who do not yet understand these basic facts is a symptom of the larger lack of education which pervades society. Worse, there are many people with technical educations who do not understand the larger situation or who refuse to accept the findings of science which describe our dilemma. In my engineering education, there was no requirement for study of biology or ecology, a situation which may still pertain today. My knowledge of ecological problems was the result of my own efforts at self education, beginning in the 1970's as I found I could not live in the smog of the Silicon Valley with it's population of 4 million, most of whom drove cars for transport. The more I have learned about the functioning of economics and politics, the stronger my feelings of doom have become.

It is especially sad to see TOD fade, as it would appear that the world's oil production may be at a plateau and approaching the inexorable decline which we have discussed here numerous times. Another energy crisis will surely appear and TOD's Drumbeat could provide a valuable forum when the time arrives, if it could be "reactivated" in time of crisis...

E. Swanson, AAAS, AGU

Another energy crisis will surely appear and TOD's Drumbeat could provide a valuable forum when the time arrives, if it could be "reactivated" in time of crisis...

That remains a possibility, and IMO is one reason we are doing this: to preserve our "social capital," in case we want to reactivate the site at a future date.

Energy crisis are all over these days, just read Drumbeat ! :)

Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, etc, not to mention this little thing usually refered to as "the financial crisis" ...

Send Me an e-mail if the site is reactivated. It's in My profile.

Also I'm not sure I want to leave it there after shutdown. Should I remove it before 7/31, or will it remain editable?

I'm not sure. I'll ask SuperG if he doesn't weigh in.

However, profiles are not viewable if you're not a member and logged in, so it's not like it would be open to the whole Internet or anything.

After a 4 month absence, I come back to find TOD shutting down....Not sure if it has been discussed, but you might consider changing publication to quarterly, maybe a proceedings, instead of shutting down unless something major occurs.

Papers could be presented on current state of world oil production--I know there are plenty here to summarize it, along with commentary by staff who choose to do so. Just to keep a concise spot open for discussion, for perhaps several days. Or no open commentary, just the quarterly publication.

I echo your excellent points Eric. I too come from an engineering background and before this, an extensive ecology background as well. I am staggered by the near complete lack of understanding of the basic links between energy, ecology, technology, and finance in the general populace, and even amongst professionals such as engineers. It is very sad to see this site go since it really was a breath of fresh air. I also feel that this is a bit premature for the site's founders to be packing it in, I'd almost go so far as to say that they should have had more resilience and a tougher stomach. Stick it out! We are just now entering some very difficult times; events will soon be unfolding that have been predicted by those in the know for over a decade now. I think there is more of a need now for The Oil Drum than at any time previously, as the massive media propaganda misinformation campaign swings into full force and we enter our Orwellian 1984 future where freedom of speech and thought will very likely be severely restricted.

I was afraid TOD couldn't make it through this "calm before the storm".

Relative stability of gasoline prices for the last 5 years have left interest in peak oil in the dust.

The protests in Egypt could be the beginning. Or not.

I have TOD to thank for many things, like confidence to take on any CC denier any place. Where else would have told you the Macondo spill wasn't that big of catastrophe in relation to the natural seeps.

I agree with Ghung above that the layout and flow are worlds above anything else on the web. Other sites seem like one man shows, while TOD came across as a team effort.

Paul Malloy, Member for 4 years 25 weeks

Just want to express my heartfelt thanks to all the Oil Drum volunteers for their work over the years. Sad to see it go, but all things must pass. The future cannot be accurately predicted, and must be experienced instead, now without the Oil Drum for context. Thanks Again!

I'm very sorry to hear this, the IQ of the internet will certainly drop with this loss. This has been an extremely valuable and educational site, and us 'lurkers' will sorely miss it.

There does not have to be a lot of articles all the time. A few whenever there are something interesting to write about would be more than enough.

Unfortunately oil is not my business so I have very little to contribute.

Thank you for giving all of us the front view during a pivotal time in history.

so sorry to see this. i've been a member for 7 yrs. 38wks, and i must say this was the most interesting and informative site on the internet. i sincerely thank all the many contributors to this site, both authors and kibbitzers, i learned a lot. but at least, now i know the exact date of peak oil...7/31/13!!

Like Peak Oil, Climate Chaos, and Econapocalypse, the end of TOD just can't be happening.

But, alas, it appears it is. My great and many thanks to all who created and contributed. I'm with everyone else who stated they felt they were doing their PhD while reading here. The content and commentary were simply superb.

I'm also kind of hoping, with others, that TOD goes into hibernation, rather than extinction. Because when TSHTF, as others have said, we'll need a place to actually get folks informed and clued in again. Only at that point it'll be needed quickly.

I'm going to post my email address in my profile now, in case the community does move on to another locale, and someone is looking to notify TODsters of the move.

Thanks to All, again. I will miss my daily dose of reality in a world gone insane.

I also want to thank everyone at TOD for an incredible education and for demonstrating how to have intelligent disucssion on the internet. I had hoped to contribute more over the past year more but the growth of my business has kept me too busy to write. Best wishes to all the staff, authors, commenters and invisible readers. I do believe that TOD have been successful at educating a large number of people in decision making positions about our energy predicament. Our transition away from fossil fuels will be easier because of the wisdom TOD has contributed.

Another lurker who would happily donate something to keep the drumbeat going, along with the tech talks at least. I don't think it's time to close up shop -- far from it..

i can host and run the site. i have tons of servers and bandwidth. let me know if i can take over to run it.

I'm not going to offer servers and admining, but if you need a moderator to kill spam, drop a line to

it's an honorable and great offer - but do you have "an Leanan" to produce and moderate the 'beats ?

I don't understand why they just can't make a list of accepted posters and do away with the spam post filtering, like when you sign up for Zerohedge you can't post for a few days to make sure you are real. A real person adds you to the list and if you spam, you get deleted by a real person. Not a big deal.

The spam-problem could be handled as you say - but finding a person(s) willing to crawl the Internet every single day to generate up to date Drumbeats is a whole other matter - and doing it relevantly and with a broad range of themes notches the bid even higher up.

Give Leanan a hand - shall we?

That is actually a minor part of my job. The biggest pain is dealing with the "keyboards dripped in vitriol," as Mikel put it.

But why would you need to moderate if you only allowed in real people who answer a questionnaire to ensure they are real people. It could be a self-moderating board. If someone goes offensive then enough people hit the "alert moderator" button and every once in a while you discipline some poster. Plus that fact would make people more careful about mouthing off.

But why would you need to moderate if you only allowed in real people who answer a questionnaire to ensure they are real people.

Just look at the comments found on sites like Yahoo for your answer to that.

It could be a self-moderating board.

We tried that. That's what the "flag as inappropriate" button is for.

We don't have enough traffic for community moderation. That works on huge sites like Slashdot or DailyKos. It doesn't work for smaller sites like ours.

i run other sites with more traffic than TOD. i do have a dozen or so moderators who can get the job done.

Then it's time to pony up, sir. Register the domain, post drumbeats, open for comments (we're all really just lurking here to have [usually] intelligent discussions after all), and watch the exodus enfold...but you'd probably better be serious about those moderators - office buildings full of people cracking captchas for $0.001 USD each has got to be a *itch.


while i have no problem running an existing turnkey site and making improvements, a site from scratch is waaay more than i can take on at this point. i run several dozen sites and have limited time at best. it takes months of effort to get to the point where you have a stable platform and decent database. i doubt any of the regulars or the community will be around at that point anyway.
turnkey yes, from scratch no.
i dont think the existing board is going to transfer it anyway. they are too set on making this an oil painting to showcase their achievements for the future (useful for a resume addition i suppose). they dont really care about the community.

With the tone you've taken, as sincere as your offer may be, I doubt many in the community or among the TOD leadership would be inclined to take you up on it.

As far as caring for the community (such as it is), I think you said you're a long time lurker, and maybe this site means a lot to you, but having never seen your name before (your moniker, actually) .. it's hard not to be a little guarded about your part in the community. That is really not to dismiss the lurkers, but what has made this a valuable place for me is that people have connected and engaged here. It has been a place to get to exchange ideas that we often can't really share that fully anywhere else.

Sorry for putting it this way, but who are you?

I was on a bus trying to type that out, and should put a finer point on it.

I am truly glad to see you and others stepping up and trying to find a way to create or support what might be the continuation of the things we have appreciated at TOD, but I found your comments about how easy a 'turnkey' site would be to operate possibly a bit naive as to the amount of effort Leanan and Kate (not to mention many others) have put into making and keeping the tone and nature of this place what it has been.. so to have you paint your offer as if you could do it with minimal effort and time doesn't sound like TOD would be going into hands that were ready for the real effort that it demands and deserves.

What with the comments suggesting that the site leadership 'doesn't care about the community'.. I have to say your intro to the possible solutions of this problem has come off a bit brusque and glib.

Bob Fiske

naive as to the amount of effort Leanan and Kate (not to mention many others) have put into making and keeping the tone and nature of this place what it has been.


newTOD can be built elsewhere if there is the collective will of others to do such.

but having never seen your name before

2 posts. 1 discussing about how she is not your lawyer, implying a bar card carrying lawyer.

As of today, I've been here for seven years, 41 weeks. TOD has taught me much, and I'm forever grateful for the education. TOD has had a tremendous impact when it comes to furthering understanding of energy and its interrelationship with everything. All the principals and those that posted frequently have achieved more than we will ever know -- even though, at times, it seemed like many of us have been screaming from the wilderness, calling for open and honest discussion of our energy situation.

Thank you all, again,

Eric Dubin
aka "ziggy" / aka "Flying Wombat"

Despite that I haven't contributed here in a longish while, this news hits me like the impending death of an old friend with whom I had fallen out of touch.

While there are many people, from Big Easy Alan to Stoneleigh, that I will miss, I would like to especially say thanks for the interactions I've had with Leanan, Stuart, Nate, and Gail. I learned a lot from you, your contributions, and the site you all worked so hard on.

"Most people can't think, most of the remainder won't think, the small fraction who do think mostly can't do it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion — in the long run these are the only people who count ... and they are the very ones who migrate when it is physically possible to do so."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

It looks like it is soon time for all the great creative thinkers found here to migrate.

In addition to the quote from Heinlein's "Lazarus Long"; as I recall, one of Larry Niven's characters, Beowulf Schaeffer, also had a good fall back line which will be quite applicable after the the peak oil warnings have been given here (and blissfully ignored by the MSM)..."I told you so", and repeated often if it didn't sink-in the first time. Once the final realization (and the screaming and panic sets in (we panic really really well...)). I shall take extreme pleasure in repeating "I told you so"...

It's been said that the curse of the scientist is to be able to say:
"I told you so"...

E. Swanson

TANJ as well (There Aint No Justice).

Love the Heinlein quote. fantastic. sharing it now with friends. (need to dust off the Notebooks of Lazarus Long for a spell). Followed this site since late 2005, after reading Heinberg's, The Party's Over, and listening to a Julian Darley/JHK audio interview. Looking forward to the emergency drumbeat activations!

Just created an account to say how sorry I am to find this out...I discovered this page about a year ago and refer to it almost daily. Drumbeat is one of my favorite places to check for Peak Oil updates.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Will you re-open the ability for the members with many posts to place links in their profile one time only so that those who want to summarize what we felt was important can make that summary part of the "permanent" record?

No way to just keep on going just with drumbeat ?

Given the time it takes to moderate, the effort it takes to harden and defend a dynamic system from attack and other labor - just keeping the drumbeats won't stop the pain of running the dynamic site.

From me, a round of applause for Super G and the other techs for keeping this FreeBSD/jails/PHP/Drupal site running.

Well, I asked about it, and apparently the archived version of TOD will not have active profile links. So your profile will no longer be readable after July 31. Basically, the version of the site you'll see will be the version you see if you're logged out.

I'm not really involved in the tech end of things, but it sounds like we will be moving to a different hosting service or plan, which won't support logging in and such. People have commented that this site is insanely slow for what seems like a relatively small number of visitors. Apparently, running our database is the problem. It's huge. The server load is much larger than you'd think from the traffic.

I'm looking at various hosting services, including GAIA (TOD's current), and monthly costs go up quite a bit with the number of available accounts on discussion boards. Just having a discussion feature adds to costs. Hopefully we can get a user group set up somewhere just for users to leave their contact info.

I'm looking at various hosting services, including GAIA (TOD's current), and monthly costs go up quite a bit with the number of available accounts on discussion boards.

What? You mean we paid extra for those 70,000+ spam accounts? Grrrr.....

paid extra for those 70,000+ spam accounts

I believe that is for a 'they provide your discussion board' site. One can pay a provider or one can pay your own staff to do the deed.

Ok now I'm confused. This site uses Drupal. User accounts are just records in a user table. I could understand being charged for database traffic but how does the number of users have anything to do with it? A small site I host accumulated nearly 18000 spam user records (until I got around to dealing with them) and it didn't change the hosting cost.

Oh whatever. I'm terribly sorry to see TOD go away, and incredibly thankful for its dedicated staff.

Apparently, running our database is the problem.

And that problem would only get worse if the site was more popular or the site continued.

Can The MGT tell us what was the end hardware configuration or the most complex hardware config was?

Correction. SuperG has weighed in, and says his plan is to keep the ability to log in and see people's profiles. You will also be able to edit your profile. However, you will not be able to post comments once we are 7 days past the archive date, and no new accounts can be created.

This is positive news IMHO in that people who are a part of TOD can then go ahead and place contact info along with links in their profile to the interesting, repetitive answers, or other things.

I figured there would be a run of the wget --mirror and the output would be staticTOD.

Good to know, guys, good work and thanks.

I wonder if this is the ultimate example of a contrary indicator - peak oil sites faltering just before TSHTF. TOD has been a great site. I would be willing to donate to keep it going along.

It has been mentioned above that financing isn't the issue. While eight years is a long time in the blogosphere, the repercussions of resource depletion are virtually permanent. We'll all bow down to reality at some point. While TOD may retire, the discussions won't.

This was just a great place for the more fearless to come in from the cold.

global warming accompanied by social/cultural/intellectual freezing...

With my Ph.D. in engineering, I understood from the beginning the concept and consequences of Peak Oil. Nonetheless, while I read avidly and learned constantly, I didn't have anything new to add to the conversations.

As the peak approached and is probably upon us, and the data sources have been stabilized, the interest has really changed to a score-keeping function. That hardly gains the attention that controversy attracted.

I am sorry to see it go.

I am sad to see TOD go, but I will take what I have learned here any carry on. I recently started my own energy blog but mostly just linking to content that was posted on TOD with my own commentary so I guess if I want to keep it going I will have to do a lot more of my own research. Unfortunately this blog is attached to my personal site:

However, I have additional space on my server so if anyone is interested in starting something up while TOD is on hiatus let me know! Anyways, thanks so much for all the TOD contributors and great articles and discussions, I will surely miss it.

Agh. Some kind of internet first for me, at least, to witness a web site going into hibernation.

I came to TOD in 2008 desperate to gain understanding on what was happening in oil markets. TOD contributors provided the most plausible set of explanations for oil topping out at $147/bbl and the political crises that followed. I still firmly believe that 2008 was the Year that Changed Everything, and even if Peak Oil is on the wane as a meme it provides a powerful framework for understanding:

1) Why oil prices remain high despite the highly-touted post-2008 abundance of tight oil (WTI testing $100 today);
2) Why democracy has not, of itself, brought prosperity to the post Arab Spring governments of Egypt, Tunisia, or even Iraq.
3) Why European economies struggle despite efforts to reduce their dependence on oil.

the list could go on....

A few things that I have been surprised by since 2008:
1) Economies seem to break when prices go >$125/bbl, limiting how high prices can go and for how long;
2) High oil prices did not usher in a 'Green Revolution' although perhaps the start of a Green Transition;
3) Neither has growing evidence of the effects of human-caused climate change.

Best, Steve

I found TOD during the Macondo blowout - I think through that infamous Dougr comment - and it immediately became indispensable reading. I learned an immense amount about energy production & use, and more importantly, found the information necessary to leave AGW skepticism behind.

For all the contributors, commenters, aggregaters, editors, moderators, and admins, thank you.

Longtime lurker... A big thanks to all the volunteers, I learned so much, and learned to think of things in different ways. Anyway, whatever happens, good luck in the future everyone.

All things must pass - and TOD is just as subject to entropy as oil supplies. And I agree that the Peak is here and we now need to focus on our own communities and organizing the new localized economies.

Thanks to Rembrandt, Heading Out, Leanan and all the others who have contributed to the success of TOD. You guys really had a great run! I must admit, I will miss Rockman - he had the most informative and down to earth posts. Does anyone know if he has a blog or posts elsewhere?

You will see it elsewhere; just wanted to place it where you are most likely to look:

Rockman is at

See the post above from AlanfromBigEasy.


I am going to miss y'all so much! Thanks for everything - this has been a real treasure, and I appreciate the time and effort so many have put into making it excellent. I would be very much interested in any "child-of-drumbeat" that may evolve. tortiseshell at gmail etc

We sincerely thank everyone who has been part of the TOD community - authors, staff and especially commenter's and readers - for contributing to the success of the site.

Thank you!

I have learned a lot from coming to TOD to read the articles and discussions for the past 4+yrs, and appreciate all the effort and work that has been done.


Goddamn it! Damn it! Get the .. what?

Come on.

Jeez, Louise.

I've just gotten here, you ... you!

You keeping up the pages? Say YES. Say YES.

Man. Dammit. Crap.


The suffering of impermanance. : /

Fold those legs!

WP (no longer a pretzel)

I'm sorry to hear that TOD is stopping publication. It has been a rich resource for all of us, and I've enjoyed working with the various writers and editors. The work that you put into TOD will not be forgotten.
Resilience / Energy Bulletin

I just want to thank the operators of TOD and the commentariat for my education over the last few years.

This has been the finest source of knowledge I have ever come across on the Web. It will be sorely missed.

I fear that I am now forging ahead blindly into dangerous waters without a navigator to guide my way. At least I was a given a warning and for that, I am thankful.

I have no doubt that I will have the critical additional lens of energy through which to see and understand events in our world and what the future holds.

Thank you all so very much. Your wisdom, kindness and generosity has been invaluable in expanding my understanding of the world and in driving back the veils of ignorance that shroud my sight.

The Wet One

This has been the finest source of knowledge I have ever come across on the Web. It will be sorely missed.

Agreed. The only problem I ever had with The Oil Drum was that it contained so much useful information that it was almost impossible for me to keep up.

I hope The Drum -- or some site very much like it -- will be back some day. I believe it will: If The Oil Drum does not exist, it will be necessary to reinvent it.

As someone who's been very late to the Oil Drum game, I just saw Ugo Bardi's mention of this on G+.

I'd only really discovered this site in the past few months. It, along with a number of others (many themselves alums of TOD, Gail and Nicole in particular) have been hugely influential in getting me back up to speed on energy and environmental issues -- stuff I'd been aware of since the 1970s but had somehow allowed to slip off my radar.

I'd like to thank all who've contributed here, and I really can't say how disappointed I am that you're not going to continue the effort, though I truly do appreciate how difficult it is to produce high-quality, high-content sites on an ongoing basis, especially in the face of an MSM which exhibits both apathy and overt disinformation on the subject.

I wish there were some way to change your minds. You'll be very, very sorely missed.

Precisely. Exactly.

Look - I don't know the managers of the site personally - but, I think you're making a mistake.

Peak Oil is just on the brink of discovery by a great many people. I'm a journalist. I'm just digging in deeply now, having covered US govt, pharma, 9/11 and more (go to my webpage, read my book "Official Stories," etc.)

I am bringing new people in to discuss this topic.

I'm giving the shale gas/oil explosion 7 to 10 years of mayhem before the costs become so apparent that we realize it's no solution. With Saudi Arabia peaking now -

You're really going bloody offline NOW??


Do you just not WANT to reach as many people as you can?

Please rethink it. Find some subordinates or up-and-comers to do some of the work. Do not abandon ship. We need you.

I can see the stories now in the cornucopian blogs, newsletters, etc.:

Peak Oil is Really Dead!

The final nail has been driven in to the coffin of those fanatics and Chicken Littles who screamed about peak oil. They are the ones related to the members of the flat earth society that had their heads stuck in the sand when so much evidence was mounting that oil is not finite at least for any time scale we humans need to consider.

However, with all the new, huge oil finds that have been discovered plus the exploitation of older slightly more difficult to recover resources using the new innovations of fracking & horizontal drilling have presented the peak oil doomers with just too many facts that oil is abundant and our supply is still expanding exponentially. So now one of the major voices of the peak oil theory, The Oil Drum, is shutting down in the face of all the new oil growth.

Of course they won’t admit that publicly, but as they say, “The writing was on the wall”.

Wow. How forward thinking! We'll get a few years of toxic, diminishing returns out of oil and gas shale. Water tables will be destroyed. Areas will be rendered uninhabitable. It's already happened, and happening.

So, peak oil is dead because Texas has some oil trapped in rock?

Cornucopians are funny animals. What can replace 90 million barrels of light, sweet crude per day?

Dirty shale?

Well, you'll be back online, with a vengeance, in 7 years. Not your fault for being ahead of the curve, I guess.

What can replace 90 million barrels of light, sweet crude per day?

just for the records - the light sweet crude part is today probably down in the 60+something mbd - the rest of the Volume is A) something other than oil or B) the "new expensive" heavy/tight/sand kind of oil

Of course, we'll still be able to have oil when when none of the 90 million barrels are from light sweet crude. We'll eventually be able to burn sand.

The problem is, the Gibbs Free Energy of burning sand is so much less, we'll probably run out of sand in only a year or two.

Anybody who wants to burn sand better "get it while you can."

I wanted to thank all the contributors, and most especially the staff, for their efforts. The drum has been a part of my life for almost 7 years now. I've learned so much and have truly enjoyed the ride.

Best wishes to all.


I would like to add my thanks and appreciation for TOD. Of the many aspects that were notable, the most outstanding part for me has been the standard of the comments and quality of the debate.

One only has to go elsewhere to see 'keyboards dipped in vitriol.'

You will be sorely missed.

Thank you all very much. I'll miss the resource, and the posters I've developed affection for.

Best wishes to everyone involved. Thanks for the ride.

Hi all,

This is very disappointing, I appreciate all the work that has been put into this website, it has been great and I have learned a lot. My blog has some scenarios concerning future bakken output, eagle ford output, and world output using Webhubbletelescopes Shock Model.

When the oil drum is gone maybe people can move to where Rockman and West Texas hang out. If editors at the oil drum are interested in any of my posts, I can edit any of them for appropriate length for TOD.

I am not sure how to submit a post, contact me at my e-mail in my user profile.

TOD will be greatly missed.


DC, good time to explore how to consolidate lots of these ideas.

One of the very odd realities of science and tech blogging is that the most misguided and crackpot of sites seem to get the largest readerships.

I only have to mention the infamous WUWT blog ( as evidence of the skewed relationship between popularity and worthiness.

So if one doesn't try to reach for the stars and associate popularity for worth, one can find a niche. Getting the right eyeballs is more important than getting more eyeballs.

The WUWT blog is very worthy... if you're interested in delaying meaningful policy on climate change by any means necessary.

Back on topic:
I'm very sorry to hear of these plans. TOD has been very valuable for me over the years and I enjoyed the discussions on energy and climate. Many thanks to all the contributors, admins, moderators and participants!

Hi everyone: I too am deeply appreciative of all the effort that has gone into making this a superb site, and am deeply thankful to all the great contributors, articles and commentary alike, from whom I have learned an enormous amount. I have given back so little in return for what really has been like a second PhD experience. This has been a special community, and it's comforting to know there are smart people out there committed to positive change. I thank David Fridley for directing me to this site years ago.

I have enjoyed the informed and at times irreverent commentary, even as I had hoped to move the discussion in other directions, particularly the role of religion in both thwarting and hastening change. But that was not to be, perhaps given the community makeup but also because of the "technocratic turn" the site took a couple of years ago.

Before everyone leaves, I hope we'll all check back and see what might be birthed from this wonderful effort. I'd like to think Ghung may be on to something.

Might ASPO take over TOD, and we pay Ghung or Leanan to continue moderation?

And like many, I'd be very willing to contribute to keep a "son/daughter of TOD" alive.

Best wishes to you all in the already unfolding transition out of the fossil fuel era, and may you make a difference in the circles in which you're enmeshed.

Tom Love
member 7 years, 3 weeks

I am still a regular Drumbeat reader. It's what I will miss the most at this point. We have been kicking around ideas for how to keep something like Drumbeat going on my site:

all things must pass...
the clarity, the quality, the care, the passion...

thank you.


Thank you to the board for a wonderful site. I also particularly appreciated Dave Summers' contributions and Kyle Saunders' work in starting the Oil Drum.

And prayers for Randy Udall.


I have read theoildrum weekly since the summer of 2008. This is my first post here. I live in Bergen on the southwest coast of Norway - northern Europe. From 3-6 hundred meters high mountain tops here in the area can 1 see out to the platforms to the country's largest gas field Troll (containing approximately half of the country's remaining gas reserves). It was an eye opener to find this webpage. I agree that it is just as often it is something very new good quality as before. But it is nevertheless a good deal of critical analysis of deep sea oil, shale oil and shale gas as published on this page. Something that is very important as this is discussed in the media now, and will continue to do so. Deep sea oil and shale oil now referred to by many in the mainstream media as that it prevents peak oil for the foreseeable future. There is therefore a great loss when we no longer find such new articles on theoildrum that discusses this critical. Because, still this is the best website about energyresources and the importance of them. I´ve learned a lot reading through many of the articles and tremendous comments on this site. So this is a genuinely sad time. I will take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped that I have learned very much important. As I have also told and distributed further in my circle of acquaintances.

Oeystein Boenes

I will not mourn the passage of The Oil Drum.

As a very early member, during the years our organization was busy creating renewable
energy sources for Namibia,






Thanks for the sincerity. Makes me wonder why you are posting this/still spend time here after all these years.

I have been a longtime reader, and greatly appreciate what I have learned through this site. Much of the information presented here has not been available anywhere else, or in such a lucid manner. There are too many excellent articles to recall, though Jeffrey Brown's (westexas) and Sam Foucher's posts on the implications of declines in global net oil exports has been truly mind-boggling; and Stuart Staniford's 2007 "Water in the Gas Tank" post, the forensic study of Saudi Arabia's Ghawar field, was a masterpiece at explaining the mechanics of a water-drive field, and the concept of fractional flow. Thank you all for the enormous amount of time and work that went into maintaining this site.

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish.

It really has hit a point where we all need to stop talking about things and get into action. You all have done a great service to further the knowledge of many of us and have allowed us to make intelligent decisions going forward. For that, I am very thankful.

It was also nice to have a community of like-minded folks to talk to and not feel like a lunatic.

Best to all as we navigate the choppy waters ahead.

Wow! Dang! [This will teach me to read the front page before I jump to the Drumbeat]

Thank you, Leanan and all the staff for creating this site and for putting up with my incessant 'off-topic' posts and my apologies to anyone who found them irrelavent.

I've learned so very much from each of you contributors and commentators over the years and I wish I had a fraction of your individual and collective wisdom.

TOD helped move me through those 5 stages of grief and learn to accept [without surrender] our collective 'predicament'.

7 years 29 weeks

Paul Sankowski [at] g*m*a*i*l [dot] c*o*m

Second Law of Thermodynamics - Anything that can't go on forever, Won't

Seraph, thanks a bunch for lending your aggregating talents to complement Leanan's. It sure worked for me. Lizzie

Seraph, I agree with erainh2o that the additional news items that you add to Drumbeats are quite valuable. Where do you find such interesting news? Also, do you now or do you plan to participate in a web community elsewhere, possibly in a similar capacity? I am quite interested in continuing to follow your aggregating efforts, wherever you may end up!

Thanks Lizzie & John for the thumbs-up. I'll keep posting - just havn't figured-out where. I'll keep you posted

Please keep those of us posted at the TOD registry groups dot yahoo dot com group TODRegistry

I've been a reader for over four years and will greatly miss this site. You taught this old country boy a lot. Thanks for all the effort!

Even though I only started lurking here some 15 months ago, the end of TOD makes me feel like an orphan. I really learned a lot on energy issues from you all and I really wonder where I'll hang out from now on to find relevant information and comments - even though it might appear limited in scope, the drumbeat is very informative - the critical assessment of each article by TODsters is also invaluable.

I kind of share the opinion that peak oil is due to rebound as a major subject in a few years and that TOD is closing a bit too early. On the other hand, I ran a few communities/discussion forums and I can see why it doesn't look worth the effort right now, I hope this site can be revived in due time, even though each passing year will make this a bit more unlikely. Still, many thanks to the dedicated team of administrators/moderators.

Now, I'm probably about to start a blog (in French) about energy and environment for a local paper and I was counting on TOD to keep me fed with news and ideas. Any ideas where I could find a substitute to the Drumbeat? Many of the best known blogs are entertaining, but too much into gloom and doom to appeal to a wide audience. There is a learning curve in these matters.

I posted this on one of the other forums I participate in, and I thought it would be appropos here as well:

"I used to be a regular poster at TOD, so much in fact that I got my balls busted, big time, right here over it. It seems they put up a topic at TOD about it being sold to the Koch Brothers and I went totally ballistic. NYLongbow came back and replied that "Today is not a good day to be a news addict", or something to that affect! I looked, and, sure enough, it was April 1st. That being said, a short time later, after Matt Simmons died and the peak of oil production had been reached, I stopped being a regular over there. The reason for my diminishing interest was not due to the site's content. Quite the opposite. It was always right on the mark, and full of good information. However, after looking at the overall situation, it was obvious that the only thing that those excellent articles did was to reinforce my belief that no matter what was being said about PO, or how valid the data was, nobody in a position of power was listening, nor did they even give a damn, so what was the point in continuing the discussion?

It is, indeed, a sad day to see them fold up, as I have been with them almost from the day they started, lurking long before I finally became a member. I suppose their closure was inevitable, and I'm under the impression that the reason I stopped posting is the same reason why so many of the good authors who posted articles over there have dropped out. Why bother? They may have had a good local following, but their goal was never to create a 'private' forum like this one, but to create a source for valuable, legitimate information in the hopes that those in control would pay attention and take action to mitigate the affects of PO on society. From what we have all seen with the massive increases in fracking, offshore drilling, and shale oil production, it's more than obvious that their words fell on deaf ears. One gets rather tired of talking to a wall. I fear that "The Energy Bulletin", and the "Post Carbon Institute" may, very well, be the next fatalities as a result of our social complacency.

So, RIP, TOD, and a special goodbye to Leanan, whose 'once daily' Drumbeat was, at one time, my first stop on my way to other places on the Internet, I bid you a fond farewell. I extend to you all my best wishes, and thank you for your efforts over the years. While the rest of the world may not have paid attention, I did, as I know all of your other members did as well."

Dear 'Rembrandt' 'AEBerman, 'HeadingOut,' 'Gail_The_Actuary' and all of the admins and members at The Oil Drum,
I am honestly saddened to learn that TheOilDrum is closing down,
ref: "An End to Eight Years of The Oil Drum
Posted by Rembrandt on July 3, 2013 - 5:47am "
May I please state how grateful I was to your members' meticulous and skilled teamwork, shared around the clock, as the BP/ Halliburton / Anadarko et al. Deepwater Horizon oilspill disaster unfolded. I sought out your site to learn -- and not snipe at -- the people working feverishly to try to safely stem this nightmare.
TheOilDrum's discussions -- and their moderation! -- were devoid of industry 'dis-information,' and the members dealt with the facts and shared their deep knowledge. I learned so very much.
A thought to share: if ever there was a text worth keeping in the Library of Congress of events unfolding, as they happened, it is TheOilDrum's record of the relentless pursuit of solutions sought for this oil spill disaster.
[tags: #TheOilDrum #science #DeepwaterHorizon #business #cooperation ]
Yours, bleuz00m

How extremely sad.

Paul (SolarHouse)

I come not to bury TOD, but to praise it.

I cannot measure what this community, and especially its many volunteer (and underpaid) staff and contributors, have given me. A new career, good friends, essential colleagues, exposure, and a PhD-level education, among other things. It has been invaluable, and will be irreplaceable.

I only hope that my very modest contributions have in some small measure repaid what I have gained from TOD.

My little love letter to my fellow peakists, from January this year, will have to serve as my TOD farewell.

Thank you all. Sincerely, and profusely. And please do stay in touch.


Before there was TOD and ASPO, there was the Hubbert Center Newsletter. It was funded and managed by the late L. F. Ivanhoe (aka Buz or Buzz) with some editorial assistance from Walter Youngquist.

I wish to sincerely thank all the TOD staff for their efforts, you guys did a fantastic job, well done to each of you and the very best of luck.

Really guys, I agree with all the sentiment here, thanks to all for where we're at, but enough swooning - are we all moving to or what? This works because of the community, so I think it would be helpful for the community to have some consensus about where it's emigrating to...if not, TOD really is done for. I've learned more from drumbeat comments that I ever did from a featured article (Rock never wrote one [IIRC] for some reason ;) Where else do we get to see discussions of biological drivers of overshoot vs. human psychology, for instance? It's intense. It's like when Neo gets a braindump. I'm going to have a severe cognitive dissonance over no one intelligent to talk things over with for some time to come. Not to mention this crap is really scary without a community to share in it. And, as many have observed, TAE, JHK, ADR, etc. just doesn't have this community - good people to be sure, but kinda light on the advanced degrees if you will - no one to bring Roman history, and physics w/ equations, and a quote from Smedley Butler or Heinlen or Feynman, right into the conversation in a completely offhand manner. Beyond compare. I'd like to give an even louder thanks to all those who've commented over the years - you all will be missed as much or more than TOD itself, because you are much more (collectively).

As for the archive, it's good to have libraries around, but no one's going to visit here once it's static except via google search - we'd better have a better plan in a rush before it closes. 'Suspect in the highly unlikely event it ever reopens it'll be some time before most of us hear of it, unless we remain that community. I'm all ears...


No, I won't be moving to any other PO websites. Peak oil is irrelevant now. We're not only going over the Hubbert bell curve's downward slope, but we are headed down on a much more important slope, one regarding the continuation of the human species. So, you go talk about your Peak Oil initiatives and listen to all of the opinions being bandied about for all they're worth.

As for me, the end of TOD is a viable signal that tells of the end of an era, and your sentiment for all the hard work they put into it is truly heartwarming. I'll be sure to remember that when goes down the tubes.

You appear to have reached Kübler-Ross Stage 5 more quickly than many. ;-)

In addition to, there's that site that the Latoc readers created after Matt Savinar shut down Life After the Oil Crash. I think Energy Bulletin shut down their forum; dunno if there are any message boards at Post Carbon. Anyone know?

Creating a new site is also a possibility. Perhaps on a free platform, like Blogger or Yahoo.

Yup! You're right about Stage 5 Leanan! That's one of problems with being a realist. :)

As far as the new forums, they were and, both of which I joined after LATOC shut down. However, we are the doomiest of the doomers there, so if you come to visit, be sure to keep your psychological shields up! Hahahahaha! I'm sorry about the confusion about Energy Bulletin. They didn't shut down, they just renamed their site ''

Take care. I've really enjoyed your work in the past, and really hope that you don't drop into the pit of obscurity. If you start a new site, please make sure that, as a parting gift, you give us the URL. That would really be appreciated.


There is also - but used to be $0. The want $99 a month for a 'larger' community.

If one is a non-profit


DreamHost offers a FREE hosting plan to non-profit, charitable organizations registered in the United States.

Energy Bulletin is now I've posted a bit of stuff there. There a few people that comment and it would be my number one pick for people to move to.

They have a much broader scope than the TOD but I think that is perhaps what is needed now we are on the plateau. Not even more analysis but real solutions.

This is like hearing a good friend is about to enter a coma. So long and thanks for all you have taught me.

I would likely be making better use of my time viewing TOD archival material and extracting the most useful material, than reading the daily Drumbeat. Turning TOD into an archival site could be a good thing, at least in the short run.

Member for 6 years 27 weeks. And one of the regular 28,000 plus regular readers. Being retired I had the time, this was the best site for my interests.

I will have to find something else to do with my time.

Thanks to all for the entertainment.

Six years, seventeen weeks.
TOD has been my primary source of news about the important stuff.

There have been so many contributors who understood complex systems and generously shared their knowledge. Even the curmudgeons (Ron, Todd, Airdale, etc) were smart as whips.

The site is well-formatted and user-friendly, easy on the eyes.
And, Leanan, Leanan... wherever you go, I wanna know. Ever the voice of reason, a gifted writer and the best moderator in Internet history.

Well, we all know the issue isn't dead. The future of world oil production is not bound up with fracking any more than the future of US oil production was bound up with Prudhoe Bay.
Future world oil production is still bound up with the super-giants and when Ghawar finally starts to sputter we may all meet again.

Six years, seventeen weeks and 3 days. Gotcha ;-)

7 years 38 weeks.

7 years 45 weeks.

In the past 3 years, most articles had nothing to do with oil and gas related issues. The site was in the hands of a group of people needing an outlet for opinions on a variety of far-off issues that should not have been published when following the mission statement. It is a good decision to discontinue the site because, in my opinion, it was a disgrace to call it theoildrum.

Its a good thing that you went ahead and created your own web site to show us all how it is done.

Say, what's the link to this better place you are running?

I am deeply saddened by this announcement. The oildrum was a fantastic resource for energy issues. I didn't post a lot but I read nearly every day and looked forward to seeing what was new and interesting. I will miss the comments by HereInHalifax, WestTexas, AlanFromBigEasy, and many others who were informative and helpful, as well as the careful tending by Leanan.
I wish everyone an ultimately satisfying future; I know it won't be easy but it is a rare thing that doesn't have some form of silver lining, even though we may not recognize it at the time.


With 500 comments on this topic already, along with the others, I would like to thank the maintainers of this site for the work they did keeping this up. As an ex-Chevron engineer, a lot of stuff discussed here mirrored the discussions we had in the lab. I felt I was among colleagues here; colleagues who were watching the same indicators I did, and were drawing the same conclusions. Many here saw other indicators, reporting their take on it. I highly appreciate having this forum where we could intelligently discuss our observations.

It was not a welcome piece of news to load this site up to discover this topic being posted. I have been here for over six years, but did not post all that much unless I felt I had something of value to post or archive.

I will sorely miss reading the articles and posts on this site. I do not find that kind of information in trade magazines.

I still sincerely believe this oil dilemma is far from over.

As I have been suspecting, I'd say that we are now in fact viewing peak oil from the rear view mirror, a situation that was consistently commented on during the past 10 years or so, ie, we will only know peak oil has happened looking back.

I'd say that point was crossed a few years ago, and most certainly is where we are now, except for the delusional and those who can't distinguish stock pumping spin from reality, ie, shale oil 'revolution' etc.

The oil drum shutting down makes sense in this context, as a volunteer effort, the job is already done, though as a go to resource it will be a loss I think, so in a sense, it's just doing more of the same over and over, and as anyone who does actual year in and year out volunteer work, which I've also done in different areas, there reaches a point where it's just not interesting or fun, particularly when the core problem is essentially solved. After that it's just unpaid work, nothing more. I am at this point in several projects I run, and if I could walk away from them I would, with zero regrets, it's done.

I will miss Leanan's drumbeat, but not a lot else, heading out's sunday columns were always good reads too, but in terms of the other content, I can see why you're shutting down, it just hasn't been happening for many years now. although in some ways much harder to read due to the forum format has given rockman and some others the freedom to explore ideas in a way that a comment thread here never let them do, and that has been very interesting, but also much harder to follow and read.

I am glad to see that I also have been the proverbial rat leaving the sinking ship before it actually went down, heh heh, but the reality is that the peak oil thing is not a future event, it's here, and that is really the story that tod was built on, the approach of peak oil production globally.

If you want to follow the POD rockman is exploring, just go to, or MADOR, or other interesting concepts that seem to fit the dynamic of global action and reaction to peaked oil production.

Thanks leanan, I will miss your drumbeat news feeds, these were the best source of news anywhere on the internet, seraph too for his non stop and generally unthanked additions to the drumbeat, that combination won't be replaced anywhere, but that's how change is, it means change, not staying the same.

For those of you who have not volunteered your time in a project requiring serious commitment for 5 to 8 years running, I suggest you display a bit less enthusiasm for that idea, it's a drag, it's a drain, it really has a lot of negative impacts on your life, it's much easier for the consumers of that year in and year out donation of time to consume it than it is to produce it, so if you have never volunteered say 20 hours a week for 7 years in one project, I suggest you just say thanks and let it go at that.

On the bright side, no more nate hagens, no more darwinian, both of whom had the most devilish time distinguishing what they know from what they do not know... And, even better, no more idiot nuclear industry shills who were/are as transparent as the light of day. Of course, those will move whereever they get paid to move, so it's hard to escape them, but tod taught me well how to spot them.

Seraph, why not join, they have sections that would benefit from your mini news feeds, I'd certainly appreciate seeing them somewhere, same for leanan, though I understand her wanting to walk away as well.