The Last Drumbeat

Is the idea of peak oil a false projection or impending reality?

The world has recently been exposed to many optimistic estimates on the future of oil production and the media has eagerly picked up these projections. International Energy Agency estimates that by 2020, the USA is projected to become the largest global oil producer, to the extent that it is to become a net oil exporter by 2030. These perspectives are offered as an alternative to the pessimistic Hubbert curve projections that imply we are at, or near, maximum global production of oil. But if you dig into the rationales for this optimism, it is based principally on two concepts. There are new developments in the oil industry, specifically directional (horizontal) drilling and fracking, principally in the Eagle Ford play of Texas and the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana. And, stated less frequently, the addition of other fluids to what is called oil, most importantly natural gas liquids, which are expected to increase as a result of fracking for gas. In fact, there has been little, if any, increase in the global production of conventional oil since 2005, and most of that has been in the USA.

Don't Place Your Bets On Peak Oil Demand Just Yet

For some reason, the oil market is always spoken of in hyperbolic terms. A pending dispute between two nations can double oil prices within a matter of months. Or peak oil worries set in and prices will skyrocket as production declines. Today, the new theory is that we are at a point of peak demand, and the decline in OECD demand will lead us to a more rosy energy outlook on the horizon.

There is one thing that we should all give pause to before immediately reacting to news like this: demographics. The sheer size of the global population and the disparity in global economic wealth make the concept of peak oil demand much more difficult to realize than we can possibly imagine.

Another Peak Oil Fad

For 70 years, environmentalists have predicted the world would see diminishing supplies of oil after reaching a peak in production. The peak never occurred and the peak oil fantasy has been put to bed, at least for the foreseeable future, by the emergence of large quantities of unconventional oil as the result of fracking.

Now, environmentalists are suggesting there will be a demand peak instead of a supply peak, where supply outstrips demand.

"Resiliency: How to Survive Peak Oil and Climate Change."

Speaker and author Steve Hallett from Purdue University presents a provocative and humorous talk combining the research from his two books, "Life Without Oil: Why We Must Shift to a New Energy Future" and "The Efficiency Trap: Finding a Better Way to Achieve a Sustainable Energy Future."

So Long, Farewell

Remember Peak Oil? Before fracking opened up vast amounts of gas and shale oil, before the protests against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, before BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout, peak oil was one of environmentalists’ chief concerns. Greens said that, at some point soon, crude oil production would decline, forcing a spike in petroleum prices that would fundamentally alter life as we know it. The prediction was at once a warning and a hope: We had to prepare for an era of oil scarcity, and in those preparations lay the groundwork for a less consumption-driven lifestyle.

The Fossil Fuels War

Only a few years ago governments, corporations, and energy analysts were fixated on the problem of “the end of cheap oil” or “peak oil,” pointing to growing shortages of conventional crude oil due to the depletion of known reserves. The International Energy Agency’s 2010 report devoted a whole section to peak oil. Some climate scientists saw the peaking of conventional crude oil as a silver-lining opportunity to stabilize the climate—provided that countries did not turn to dirtier forms of energy such as coal and “unconventional fossil fuels.”

Today all of this has changed radically with the advent of what some are calling a new energy revolution based on the production of unconventional fossil fuels.3 The emergence in North America—but increasingly elsewhere as well—of what is now termed the “Unconventionals Era” has meant that suddenly the world is awash in new and prospective fossil-fuel supplies.

Michael Lynch: Shale Gas Production And High Decline Rates

In a classic movie scene, a skeptical Sigourney Weaver asks Ghostbuster Bill Murray what the instrument he’s using actually does and he hesitates, then responds, “It’s technical.” This is an old ploy that has been used in public policy debates for many years; the famous physicist Vanevaar Bush, when asked during World War II to justify his budget for research would respond by drawing schematics on a board, causing the Congressmen to quickly terminate the discussion.

This practice is common in many energy debates as well, including the controversy over the impact of hydraulic fracturing of shales. The two technical buzz words/terms often thrown up are ‘decline rates’ and ‘energy return on energy invested’ (EROEI), which are cited as suggesting that conventional petroleum supplies are, or will soon be, declining. Peak oil advocates were quick to seize on these concepts, but those who are merely pessimistic about supply still bring them up.

American energy booming despite Obama's policies

Fossil fuel production on private lands has increased by 27 percent since 2003, according to the EIA. But on government lands, fossil fuel production is down 15 percent since 2003, including a 4 percent drop in 2011 alone. It is Obama’s policies that are directly causing these drops in public land energy production. Immediately after taking office in 2009, Obama canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah. Then in January 2010, Obama issued new regulations further restricting energy development on all federal lands.

Crude Drops as U.S. Weighs Syria Attack

West Texas Intermediate crude fell the most in two weeks as the U.S. considered limiting the scale of military strikes on Syria.

Futures dropped 1.2 percent. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution authorizing the “tailored” use of force. It was the first test of congressional support for President Barack Obama’s plan to attack Syria in response to the alleged deployment of chemical weapons against civilians.

“As the market begins to expect a more limited involvement for the United States in Syria and a more limited potential expansion of the conflict, it’s taking some of the premiums off the top,” said Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics LLC, an Austin, Texas-based energy consultant.

US WCoast Products- Gasoline soars on refinery problems

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Gasoline soared in West Coast refined products spot markets on Wednesday as traders said a San Francisco Bay refinery was having problems recovering from a malfunction earlier in the week.

Fracking Boom Seen Raising Household Incomes by $1,200

Surging oil and natural gas production brought on by hydraulic fracturing is lifting the U.S. economy by lowering energy costs for consumers and manufacturers, according an industry-funded report.

In 2012, the energy boom supported 2.1 million jobs, added almost $75 billion in federal and state revenues, contributed $283 billion to the gross domestic product and lifted household income by more than $1,200, according to the report released today from IHS CERA. The competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers from lower fuel prices will raise industrial production by 3.5 percent by the end of the decade, said the report from CERA, which provides business advice for energy companies.

“What really surprised me was how powerful an impact it is having to such a broad base of the economy,” John Larson, vice president of economics and public sector consulting for IHS CERA and lead author of the report, said in an interview. “It makes it to me a story that all Americans really need to come to grips with and understand.”

Africa's richest man plans refinery, plants worth $9 bn

Africa's richest man announced plans Wednesday to build a refinery as well as petrochemical and fertiliser plants worth some $9 billion, promising to reduce Nigeria's dependency on imported fuel.

Malaysia’s Najib Raises Fuel Prices to Trim Budget Gap

Malaysia raised fuel prices for the first time since 2010, joining neighboring Indonesia in curbing subsidies that have stretched government budgets and threatened investor confidence.

Iraq to provide oil assistance to Jordan worth $25m

AMMAN: Iraq has announced to provide oil assistance to Jordan worth $25 million, media reported.

The spokesperson for Jordanian minister of state for media affairs, Mohammed Al-Momani, said the Iraqi council of ministers has decided to offer the assistance in the form of crude oil, Jordan news agency PETRA reported.

Venezuela's leader blames right-wing saboteurs for power outage

CARACAS, Venezuela — With parts of Venezuela still dark after a mysterious blackout that left the capital and 17 states without electricity, President Nicolas Maduro laid the blame on opposition sabotage as his government scrambled to respond to the power failure.

The power shutdown began midday Tuesday after an apparent failure in high voltage transmission lines in Aragua and Guarico states, which led to total outage in several of the country's most populous areas.

Senate committee approves Syria attack resolution

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize President Obama to use limited force against Syria Wednesday, after adopting amendments from Sen. John McCain designed to urge Obama to "change the military equation on the battlefield."

What's the evidence of Syrian chemical weapons attack?

But despite all the talk about conclusive intelligence, questions remain. A declassified report by the White House does not divulge all details of the evidence the United States is looking at. And it remains unclear what the "streams of intelligence" cited in the report may be and how they were collected.

Russia insists there's no proof. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wants to see evidence that would make the determination "obvious."

Jeff Rubin: Will Syria Bring an Oil Shock?

Is the Middle East about to deliver another oil shock to the global economy? The U.S. military has targets picked out in Syria and President Obama is trying to convince Congress that America needs to intervene. If the U.S. does go ahead with tactical strikes against the Assad regime, oil markets will be caught in the middle. The size of the repercussions, though, is an open question.

History, both recent and more distant, offers a sense of what to expect when the world’s most important oil producing region destabilizes. Syria’s oil production, in terms of physical supply, is inconsequential. What’s more of a concern is how Syria’s neighbours react to any military intervention by the U.S. The Middle East is home to roughly a third of global oil production. The world depends on a steady stream of cheap crude flowing from the region in order to keep the global economy running smoothly.

Impact of war on stocks and oil

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The threat of U.S. military action in Syria has put pressure on stock prices and sent oil higher. But if history holds, the actual start of an intervention would quickly reverse those moves.

Libya PM warns time running out for oil protests

TRIPOLI: Libya’s patience with protesters who have halted its onshore oil output is running out and action against them nearer, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said yesterday.

“The government has been patient,” Zeidan said. “To preserve national unity we saw fit to use all peaceful means to resolve this issue but at some point we may reach a point in which the state should exercise its role seriously to stop this.”

Oil industry executives say Zeidan’s shaky central government risked widening violence that could descend into civil war if it uses force to recapture oilfields.

Medvedev Confident On Russian Gas Role

Russia is unconcerned about natural gas exports from the United States driving down the price European consumers pay for Russian gas, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt.

Owen Paterson echoes David Cameron’s claim that fracking boom can bring down energy bills

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, has held out the prospect that a fracking boom in the UK would lower energy prices – just a day after leading climate change economist Lord Stern dismissed a similar claim by David Cameron as “baseless”.

Taqa seeks green light on Kurdish oil production

Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa), the state utility, is seeking approval to pump 30,000 barrels per day from its field in the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Although the amount would be a fraction of the capacity of more developed fields in the Kurdish area such as Taq Taq and Tawke, plans for extra output add urgency to the semi-autonomous region's case for exporting oil without the involvement of the Iraqi federal government.

Rupee’s Plunge Prompts Refiner to Embrace Iran

India is increasing imports of crude oil from Iran as policy makers risk flouting U.S. trade sanctions in their scramble to halt the slump in the rupee.

Nigeria: Delta youth shut down oil firm’s operations

Youth in Utagba-Ogbe, Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State on Tuesday shut down the flare and drilling rig of Midwestern Oil and Gas Company, grounding its activities.

Six blue chip companies: Midwestern Oil and Gas, Energia, Pillar Gas, Agip, Sterling Global and Platform Petroleum are said to be producing “over 159 barrels of crude oil per day from the community.

Turkmenistan starts pumping natural gas from vast South Yolotan field

Turkmenistan began pumping natural gas Wednesday from a vast field near the Afghan border that will help it more than double exports to China in the coming years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping joined Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov for the start of gas production at the South Yolotan field in the former Soviet republic in Central Asia.

Chesapeake New York gas lease deal expected next week

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp will finalize an agreement next week to drop about 12,000 acres of land leased for energy drilling in New York state, as a moratorium on fracking continues into its sixth year.

ConocoPhillips Continues to Plunge Deeper Into the Gulf

By all accounts, the most recent lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico was a disappointment. The latest auction by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management attracted the second-lowest amount of bids in 30 years. However, for ConocoPhillips the latest auction saw the company wade even deeper into the Gulf as it came up as the high bidder after offering $30.58 million for a tract 200 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas.

Kenya on fast track to join world's exporters

Kenya is ready to join the ranks of oil producing nations, with shipments slated to begin in 2016.

This means Kenya will become the first oil exporter in east Africa.

World panel rules for Conoco in Venezuela oil case

Venezuela failed to fairly compensate ConocoPhillips for its seizure of three crude oil projects in 2007, according to a ruling from a World Bank arbitration panel.

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington concluded in a ruling issued Tuesday that Venezuela "breached its obligation to negotiate in good faith."

The panel has not yet determined what Venezuela owes ConocoPhillips.

PetroChina Sued Over Failure to Disclose Corruption

PetroChina Co. was sued by an investor who claims the oil producer violated U.S. securities laws by failing to disclose corruption that exposed it to government investigations and penalties.

Regulators Still Probing JPMorgan Over Market Manipulations

Through multiple sources familiar with the matter, Reuters learned that U.S. authorities are in the midst of a criminal investigation aimed at discovering whether several employees of JPMorgan tried to impede FERC’s probe.

In particular, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecutors from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office want to determine if those employees — including three individuals who operated out of a Houston office — gave regulators all the information they needed to investigate the bank’s power market deals, the sources told Reuters.

Fracking Practices to Blame for Ohio Earthquakes

Wastewater from the controversial practice of fracking appears to be linked to all the earthquakes in a town in Ohio that had no known past quakes, research now reveals.

New Drilling Rules Reflect Old Problems

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is at a fork in the road to America's public lands. One path offers outdated, inadequate rules — the path that the agency has been following to regulate oil and gas drilling for more than three decades. Down the other path are requirements for oil and gas producers to use today's best-available practices to protect America's clean air, clean water, wild lands and human health. That path would lead toward a future where oil and gas resources are more responsibly developed, in ways that reduce threats to public health and the environment and respect the quality of life in local communities.

Japan's radioactive water leaks: How dangerous?

TOKYO — New revelations of contaminated water leaking from storage tanks at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant have raised alarm, coming just weeks after Japanese officials acknowledged that radioactive water has been seeping into the Pacific from the plant for more than two years, The government announced this week that it would contribute 47 billion yen ($470 million) to build an underground “ice wall” around the reactor and turbine buildings and develop an advanced water treatment system. A look at the problem, and the potential risks to fish and the humans who eat them.

In Eastern Tennessee, The Future Of Electricity Generation Takes Shape

TVA, which brought electricity and running water to much of the Southeast in the decades following the Great Depression, is facing many of the challenges that big utilities across the country face, and it has responded (or has been forced to respond) by beginning to phase out its coal-fired units in favor of gas-fired generation at modern combined cycle plants, including one at the John Sevier power station in Rogersville, Tennessee. In 2011, the TVA signed a landmark agreement with four states, several environmental groups, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that calls for the retirement of 18 units at three power plants, including the huge Johnsonville Fossil Plant in Tennessee, the Widows Creek Fossil Plant in northern Alabama, and the Sevier plant. Two of the four units at Sevier have been idled, and the other two will either be equipped with modern emissions control equipment, converted to biomass-fired generation, or retired by the end of 2015.

Is USA's love affair with the automobile over?

Driving in America has stalled, leading researchers to ask: Is the national love affair with the automobile over?

After rising for decades, total vehicle use in the U.S. — the collective miles people drive — peaked in August 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession and has largely plateaued since, even though the economy is recovering and the population growing. Just this week the Federal Highway Administration reported vehicle miles traveled during the first half of 2013 were down slightly, continuing the trend.

Auto sales rebound to pre-recession levels

DETROIT (AP) -- For the U.S. auto industry, the recession is now clearly in the rear-view mirror.

New car sales jumped 17 percent to 1.5 million in August, their highest level in more than six years. Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Honda, Chrysler and General Motors all posted double-digit gains over last August.

Chart: 2/3rds of Global Solar PV Has Been Installed in the Last 2.5 Years

If you want to understand why people so often compare deployment trends in solar photovoltaics (PV) to Moore's law in computing, consider this statistic: two-thirds of all solar PV capacity in place worldwide has been installed since January 2011.

Let's put that into perspective. It took nearly four decades to install 50 gigawatts of PV capacity worldwide. But in the last 2 1/2 years, the industry jumped from 50 gigawatts of PV capacity to just over 100 gigawatts. At the same time, global module prices have fallen 62 percent since January 2011.

Grid Expansion Delays Won't Derail Germany's Energy Transition, Analysis Finds

LONDON -- Expanding Germany’s transmission grid in order to accommodate increasing amounts of renewable energy will be a crucial element of the nation’s effort to meet its 2020 climate targets. But new analysis suggests that even if grid updates are heavily delayed, the nation could still successfully add large amounts of renewables, albeit with slightly higher costs.

A Bet on the Environment

Called Mosaic, the company functions like a virtual renewable energy bank, soliciting investments for solar projects and making loans to be paid back, typically, over about 10 years. Mosaic collects a fee on every loan. It is similar to the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, a Web site that matches creative ventures with financial supporters. In the case of Mosaic, with a minimum of $25, investors can earn a return.

“Our goal is to build the No. 1 investment platform for clean energy,” Mr. Parish said. Mosaic, he added, allows investors “to not just be passive consumers but to be creators, to be owners, to collaborate to make things happen.”

Thousands of Fish Killed by Waste From Chinese Plant

HONG KONG — Thousands of dead fish floating along a 19-mile stretch of a river in Hubei Province in central China were killed by pollutants emitted by a local chemical plant, provincial environmental officials said Wednesday.

Young Students Against Bad Science

Your parents may have had to walk uphill, both ways, to get to school. But as ideological warfare threatens the teaching of climate science and evolution in many schools, it is clear that today’s students face their own obstacles on the road to a respectable science education — and some are speaking out.

Why New Approaches Will Strengthen African Nations

Africa is poised for the world's next green revolution. Across the continent, there has been a renewed commitment from governments, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to move agriculture from a development challenge to a business opportunity. As a result, countries such as Nigeria are moving to once again become net exporters, rather than importers, of agricultural commodities. Agriculture has become one of the most powerful engines for Africa's economies, many of which have experienced rapid growth over the last decade.

Safeway stores to pay $600K fine for clean air violations, agrees to reduce greenhouse gases

SAN FRANCISCO — Grocery retailer Safeway, Inc. will pay $600,000 and has agreed to a nationwide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from refrigeration equipment at its 659 U.S. stores under terms of a settlement released Wednesday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice said the settlement with the Pleasanton, Calif.-based retailer is the largest ozone protection case ever reached under the Clean Air Act.

World Bank to insist projects it funds include steps to curb air pollution

The World Bank is planning "aggressive action" to help developing nations cut emissions of soot and other air pollutants blamed for causing climate change, in a shift also meant to protect human health and aid crop growth.

Barack Obama should practise what he preaches about climate change

Grand speeches on fighting global warming are meaningless if US keeps blocking EU's efforts to cut carbon emissions.

Finnish study on climate change: Procrastination over mitigation measures could prove costly

Forecasts about global warming and its consequences are shrouded in uncertainty. Research scientists maintain that the risks associated with climate change are high, but are unable to estimate accurately how easily temperature reacts to changes in the levels of carbon dioxide. According to Tommi Ekholm, Research Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, who has modelled the costs of climate change mitigation measures in his recent doctoral dissertation, it is because of this uncertainty that we need to accelerate measures to mitigate global warming rather than hold back.

Keystone Delays Seen Giving Time for Climate Concessions

A decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline may slip into next year, giving opponents time to marshal efforts against it while offering President Barack Obama a chance to wring concessions from Canada.

Arctic Drilling Risks Threaten Inupiat Traditions

Earlier this summer, I walked along the spit of land where the Chukchi Sea meets the Beaufort Sea at the top of Alaska. As our group looked out at pack-ice sculpted by wind and water currents, our local guide told us about the Inupiat whaling crew captained by his grandmother. Such crews use small sealskin boats, and when he was a young boy, he sat at the back, but as he grew in seniority, he moved up toward the front where he could shoot the harpoon. The community hosts games to strengthen people's hunting skills, and whenever one of the 40 whaling crews gets a bowhead, they work together to pull the whale ashore and share the riches.

These traditions have nurtured families and sustained Inupiat culture for thousands of years. Even today, the traditions provide one of the community's main sources of food for the year. But these traditions depend on healthy oceans, plentiful bowheads and predictable migration routes, all of which are threatened by proposed oil and gas drilling just offshore.

Lessons From the Yellowstone Fires of 1988

While even little children know that Smokey Bear can spot a fire before it starts to flame, whether to douse that fire or let it burn out on its own is hard for even the best trained grownups to get right.

Each strategy has its own peril.

Wildfires and Climate Change

SAN FRANCISCO — The huge wildfire scorching one of America’s most beloved national parks, Yosemite, has rained ash on San Francisco’s water supply and jolted the nation.

Experts say this is just a foretaste of major fires to come, in the United States and much of the world.

Why Climate Change May Be Responsible for the Horrors in Syria

Syria has been convulsed by civil war since climate change came to Syria with a vengeance. Drought devastated the country from 2006 to 2011. Rainfall in most of the country fell below eight inches (20 cm) a year, the absolute minimum needed to sustain un-irrigated farming. Desperate for water, farmers began to tap aquifers with tens of thousands of new well. But, as they did, the water table quickly dropped to a level below which their pumps could lift it.

In some areas, all agriculture ceased. In others crop failures reached 75%. And generally as much as 85% of livestock died of thirst or hunger. Hundreds of thousands of Syria’s farmers gave up, abandoned their farms and fled to the cities and towns in search of almost non-existent jobs and severely short food supplies. Outside observers including UN experts estimated that between 2 and 3 million of Syria’s 10 million rural inhabitants were reduced to “extreme poverty.”

As promised, here is a list of other peak oil forums and blogs, submitted by users. (Last updated: September 7, 2013)


TOD Registry - Tell fellow TOD members where they can find you in the future.

● ASPO-USA: The Energy Xchange

The Doomstead Diner

● Facebook: Peak Oil Group

Llamedos - a LATOC successor site

Malthusia - left-leaning peak oil forum

The Oil Age - Another LATOC successor site


● The Post Carbon Institute: - Formerly

● Reddit: r/peakoil, r/energy

Silent Country - yet another LATOC succesor.

The Oil Drums

● Other Yahoogroups of possible interest: AlasBabylon, EnergyResources, RunningOnEmpty2

Personal Blogs:

● Ugo Bardi: Cassandra's Legacy

● Big Gav Peak Energy and Our Clean Energy Future

● Alan Drake: Oil Free Transport

● Engineer-Poet: The Ergosphere

● Heading Out: Bit Tooth Energy

● K. McDonald: Big Picture Agriculture

● Glenn Mcananama Streetsblog

● Matt Mushalik: Crude Oil Peak

● Leanan: The Blog At the End of the World

● Ron Patterson: Peak Oil Barrel

● Robert Rapier: Energy Trends Insider

● Stuart Staniford: Early Warning

● Gail Tverberg: Our Finite World

(note: we have 6 more posts to run in the queue, each, including this Drumbeat, will be open for comments for 7 days from when they are posted)

Thank you Leanan. You have done a great service.

I too want to thank Leanan for her extraordinary efforts in bringing us PO related news over the years. It is one thing for the feature posts to make distant projections, but it is quite another thing to see the stirrings and impending signs of the same buried in the everyday news stream. Her service has truly been a blessing to us, and I have been fortunate to have had the benefit of her newsfeed from our time before TOD when we were moderators on (I was Skyemoor).

"I too want to thank Leanan for her extraordinary efforts in bringing us PO related news over the years."

She definitely deserves credit for being the "face" of the operation, keeping the cats herded, and relentless scouring of the Internetz and Drumbeatage but I'd like to give a shout-out to the mechanic keeping the wheels from falling off...SuperG. Keeping the hackers off everyone's back and keeping the glitches at bay - the site has been maintained pretty much flawlessly.

Yes, add another big thank you to Leanan and all the others who have worked to make TOD what was for me a breath of fresh air in world heavily polluted with industry propaganda. We can only hope that awareness of the reality the world's energy situation has been spread far enough to have an effect before TSHTF, although we are continually reminded otherwise.

For me, it's been a long 6+ year diversion, so now I suppose that I will go back to living like a hermit in the wilds of Western NC. Maybe I'll finish my solar house and some of the other projects which await my attention. I just picked up some new valves to change the plumbing, an an effort to improve the efficiency...

Eric Swanson, MsME, Stanford '67, AAAS, AGU

Hard to believe this moment has come. Net energy per capita is the metric that determines our economic fate. But regarding our more holistic fate, of course there's watts per square meter of radiative forcing above the pre-industrial background, i.e. AGW. Then there's biodiversity, or the relentless diminsihment thereof by, well, there we are again, Homo (not so) sapiens. Fare thee well on the descent. Hope to see you on those other sites, as long as the electrons allow.

"of course there's watts per square meter of radiative forcing above the pre-industrial background"...why of course there is, why didn't I think of it? Now that is what I will miss! Where but The Oil Drum will you find sentences like that? WHERE?

Here's a quote that Fmagyar posted in June:

The total energy imbalance now is about six-tenths of a watt per square meter. That may not sound like much, but when added up over the whole world, it's enormous. It's about 20 times greater than the rate of energy use by all of humanity. It's equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year. That's how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day.

From TED TALK, James Hansen: "Why I must speak out on climate change."

And while I'm at it, here's one from Dopamine:

Considering a world consumption of 8 billion short tons of coal per year, and using 65ft. long, 100-ton hopper cars, the train to feed that annual consumption would encircle the earth 39.5 times at the equator (no space between hopper cars). If all of that coal were consumed at a single point, a single giant maw of a furnace, the train cars would be propelled into it at 136 miles per hour, day and night, all year long and the speed is increasing.

Carbon tax, carbon credits, clean coal, switching cars to electric – all political smoke and mirrors, there isn’t enough time to massage half measures into place. There are over 1,000 new coal fired power stations being planned now

It's astonishing to me that anyone could argue that human activity can't have an impact on the climate. We're having a huge impact.

The late L.F Ivanhoe began his second newsletter (97-1) "The question is not WHETHER but WHEN...

Noticed this headline in the NYT:

"Is New York Fashion Week Near the End of the Runway?"
(about the possibility of the end of NY Fashion Week)

It's the same thing that the editors of TOD were mentioning: is the energy, time, and effort worth it?
It makes me wonder when things like Facebook, Twitter etc. will have similar debates and reach similar conclusions.

...or how about the US military??

This sucks. But I know it must be so. Still sucks, though.

It sucks that such a great comments section will disappear. But I wonder, in the years TOD has run, has anything really changed in the world of man (of significance). Honestly?

"So long and thanks for all the fish".

Cheers, Matt

But I wonder, in the years TOD has run, has anything really changed in the world of man (of significance).

Joe, I was just thinking the same thing.

It appears that TOD has been a classic case of "preaching to the choir," as a look at current events shows that:

oil is fluxuating around $108-110/bbl; the MSM are preaching that the way to have low cost fuel is to spend more per barrel to pump more oil; most MSM source show little if any understanding of the concepts of limits in a closed system, and fewer seem to comprehend either the math or the consequences of exponential growth (of atmospheric CO2 or of human population on planet Earth, for instance).

All this time. Just pissing into the wind. It didn't help a whole lot, but it felt good, I guess. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

The epitath for humanity: "They screwed up a planet. But it sure felt good."

Strange species, Homo Sapiens, sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed.


While contemplating the loss of community here and all that a good community embodies; camaraderie, support, free exchange of ideas and ideals, I wandered back to the mission statement:

Conventional political, economic, and media institutions have yet to recognize energy’s role as a key contributor to society, and its importance as a driver for all of our physical processes and economic transactions. The Oil Drum seeks to facilitate civil, evidence-based discussions about energy and its impacts on the future of humanity, as well as serve as a leading online knowledge-base for energy-related topics.

1. Raise awareness

Most people are not aware of society’s profound dependency on energy and the magnitude of the problems we may face if energy becomes either too expensive or scarce. Politicians and the traditional media have tended to overlook the these issues, out of ignorance or due to conflicts of interest. We seek to fill this information gap, disseminating under-reported facts and analysis and providing an educational forum for those interested and engaged in energy’s role in society....

I'm left wondering how much the site succeeded in fulfilling it's original mission, or if it actually succeeded in ways we've yet to realize. Regarding the original mission, I find myself revisiting something Daniel Ellsberg said in a radio interview in 1972 while awaiting charges and trial after releasing the Pentagon Papers with the goals of exposing the lies and deceit of those in high office, past and present, and hoping to get the Nixon administration to stop the bombing in Viet Nam by making the American public aware. After destroying a bright career, losing many friends and colleagues, being called a traitor, and risking his own freedom...

...on a gamble: If the American people knew the truth about how they had been lied to, about the myths that had led them to endorse this butchery for twenty five years, that they would choose against it.

And the risk that you take when you do that is that you'll learn something, ultimately, about your fellow citizens that you won't like to hear. And that is that they hear it, they learn from it, they understand it, and they proceed to ignore it.

Of course, Nixon was re-elected in a landslide, and the bombing proceeded at an increasing pace.

Not to be discouraged, Ellsberg continues to be an activist to expose lies and tyranny in government. As I've often said, we get the government we deserve, and the problem is us. If many (most?) of the American people could understand and apply just a fraction of what I've learned here, the changes would be remarkable, though I fear that it will take something truly catastrophic to get their attention, so they will no longer have the luxury of ignoring it.

I think that The Oildrum has achieved far more than its regular residents realize. I noticed downthread that the site is around 15,000 page views per day? Even if that is an overestimate, that is 15,000 seeds planted every day. You never know what will sprout up. Sometimes ideas only have to be planted in the right place only once. If they find exactly the right soil, they will thrive. Good ideas are not usually recognized in their own time. They often come into their own later, after blowing in the wind for a while and finally landing in the right place. Then they become part of the zeitgeist of the present and flower as if suddenly new and exciting, and yet never recognized for the wise old travelers they have become, patiently waiting for their day in the sun.
The time for:

frugal, low impact living
equal parts self-reliance and community sharing
caring for the earth and each other
giving a damn about the future
expressing the million other values needed to soften our boot print on the neck of the planet and yet raise our own happiness with life...

has not yet arrived. We are still in the middle of the wild party. Kunstler's "fossil fuel fiesta" brawls on. But not much longer. The music is slowing. The band is getting tired. People are looking up and starting to notice. I hear people talking, and some of them really surprise me. They are tired of the ride to nowhere. More people than you or I realize want to get off and are looking for the exits. People really are not the sheeple that too many cynical bloggers paint them to be. Beneath every inscrutable public face, there is a private person that wants something better, and though most people may not see the "right" path yet, they grow more and more certain that we are on the wrong one. TOD's ideas will have their day. Churchill once jibed that Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after we have exhausted all the other possibilities. I think you can pretty much extend that sentiment to just about everyone, and yes, the other possibilities are beginning to run out. Just be patient. People are tired of feeding the beast. When their cheaper than dirt Wally World microwave quits just one month out of the box, they will suddenly have the epiphany that they can just spare the cash; stuff probably tastes better cold anyway. Join me in starving the beast. I have better things to do with my money, my time, and my life than go chasing after more imported, brought-to-you-by-slave-labor crapola. Thank you TOD for helping me finally see the light. (Oh, I can't see it just to get that solar PV system hooked up!) I will forget none of you. Long time lurker, tentative poster, GEORGE NEIL (aka, Joules for Tools).

I am another lurker. I was drawn to the live feed of the Macando well spewing oil out of the bottom of the gulf. I stuck around for the well-informed discussion. I'm just now beginning my second career as a middle-school science teacher. Although it may take a while to germinate- classroom management is an skill that takes time to acquire- you can consider a seed planted in me.

Thank you!

-Brett Gibson

It appears that TOD has been a classic case of "preaching to the choir,"

I think, for some of us at least, that is the reason we are going on hiatus. We did not set up this site to preach to the choir. We did not set it up as a money-making venture, or a social hangout. We set it up to make a difference, and we've gone about as far as we can go with that. It doesn't mean we've given up. It means that future efforts will take a different tack.

We set it up to make a difference, and we've gone about as far as we can go with that.

Like Jack Nicholson said, maybe this is "As Good as it Gets."

On both the issues of peak oil and climate change, I don't see a messiah coming that will lead man to a solution. No government or academic think tank or corporate tech breakthrough. The solution is found individually, all doing their small part.

There are few different tacks that could realistically achieve more than this site, in "recharging" so many batteries through it's interactions. Keeping all these people focused, venting problems, reaching others, and slowly bringing new folks around. All accomplished by a handful of volunteers.

I can think of a few different tacks to try.

Some on staff want to appeal to the science establishment. I know, many believe that is fruitless. But if you're a scientist, well, you probably don't see it that way, or you wouldn't be in the business.

TOD as it was could not do that. The division over climate change within the staff was not personally contentious. But I think it was a barrier to going a more scientific route (publishing our own science journal).

The popular appeal of the site, such as it was, didn't help, either. The mainstream is just not going to take you seriously when your site features discussions about cannibalism and how you're going to shoot people who trespass on your doomstead.

Some on staff still think political influence can work, and want to go that route. If, say, Barack Obama is willing to give you a few hours to brief him, and Bill Gates has a few million to back you...that might give you more of a chance to exert influence than this site. But having Bill's and Barack's people Google you and find your name associated with a site where they're talking about mass dieoff and the end of the world as we know it...well, that's probably not what you want.

On a less ambitious level...maybe you want to aim for wider appeal. Newbies who wandered in here often were not treated well. Some regulars were downright abusive.

I understand why that happens. When you've studied something awhile, you get bored and want to move on. I think holds true for many of us, on staff and in the rank and file. But when you do that, you leave the average person behind. The solution might be a site whose purpose is not research, but outreach.

The popular appeal of the site, such as it was, didn't help, either. The mainstream is just not going to take you seriously when your site features discussions about cannibalism and how you're going to shoot people who trespass on your doomstead.

Some on staff still think political influence can work, and want to go that route. If, say, Barack Obama is willing to give you a few hours to brief him, and Bill Gates has a few million to back you...that might give you more of a chance to exert influence than this site. But having Bill's and Barack's people Google you and find your name associated with a site where they're talking about mass dieoff and the end of the world as we know it...well, that's probably not what you want.


Now I think I begin to see why you all want to archive TOD. While much of the discussion on TOD has been interesting, enlightening, and at a relatively high level, there have also been some really bizzare tangents. I know that on several occasions I have nearly stopped going to TOD because of some of the really strange discussions that went on. I recall once there was a crazy debate by some truthers about the 9-11 World Trade Center attack, which seemed to go on forever. It does provide lots of ammunition for those who would discredit the concept of peak oil.

And probably most of us regulars, if we are honest with ourselves, will admit to going off topic now and then. Such is the nature of discussion.

Anyhow, like everyone else has said, thanks to all of you for doing this as long as you have. We will all have to see what comes next.

The one thing that has always disappointed me with the site has been the "preaching to the choir" aspect of the comments and the failure of the members to realize that while it feels great to poke a little fun, or toss some invective, at those not so well favored in the lottery of life (- the less well educated, the uneducated, those who spent years at university without learning any math and science- those who thru no fault of their own are in another political camp .) this poking fun and tossing invective only solidifies resistance to change and 'salvation' on the part of the "sinners".

Nearly all of the members here today would be fundamentalists if they had grown up in the same place ,and at the same time, that I grew up.

I didn't choose my parents, or my community, or my culture. Nobody chooses these things during their formative years.

Long term members with really good memories may recall that I have flown under false colors here to prevent distressing my local friends and family,in the event that one of them might stumble onto this site by accident. Most of them take the KJB as seriously as a heart attack.

it is only due to great good luck that I haven't (figuratively) spent my life breathing mule farts and thumping my KJB.

I just happened to luck out in the genetic cpu lottery, and I really liked to read, and so school was very easy for me, a joke really.

I got lucky again, had a great teacher or two, teachers who had time for a poor farmers kid, and got signed up for testing, and talked into applying to our local land grant u.

The paperwork came back early with a more than generous scholarship. More luck.

So I was the first person in my family, ever, to get a degree .

Can I take credit for this? In a sense, maybe,partly, but in another sense certainly not.

Is Kate Upton a hot model because she worked at it? Maybe,partly, but her good looks are simply an accident.

I made the transition from  impoverished hillbilly kid to middle class thru this series of lucky accidents.

I know many very well educated people.

Only a very mall portion of them have ever really changed; they are still at heart the same people they were made into by their families and peers.

Born a democrat , die a democrat, likewise born a republican, die as one.This generalization is painting too fast with too broad a brush, but it is intended to make a point rather than be accepted as literal fact..

I like to flatter myself that I am even capable of serious , independent, critical thinking.

Maybe I can take credit for this, since it is something I taught myself.

If we are to make the best of our poor chances of avoiding a very hard crash, we MUST reach out to the "sinners", and win them over to our way of seeing things.

Badmouthing them is about the worst thing we could ever do.

A fundamental rule followed by any good teacher is that she never criticizes a student, , personally, but rather she criticizes unwanted and undesirable behaviors displayed by the student, and explains gently, and without rancor, why and how it is to the advantage of the student to change.

A forum such as this one will never attract the attention and respect of many millions of technically educated social conservatives so long as the members attack their culture .

These millions are often in positions of influence, and often well to do, and often politically active.

I number most of my real world friends among them.

I have been able to convince some of them,one on one, that global warming and climate change, ff depletion, etc, are very real problems that must be tackled in the short term if we are to have a viable future.

But in four years of trying, I have not been able to get even one of them to visit this site more than a couple of times.

Thanks indeed for all the fish!

Mac Mcmillian.

Enough of the ones that matter are now dead or senile to "come out" as a lost soul , especially as the site is shutting down.

But...the type of site you wanted would be a different site, and would attract different people. This is something that has been an issue from the early days of the site. The type of people who are good at research are generally not the type who are good at outreach.

I'd guess most of the people who come here regularly would not bother if this were an outreach-type site. That is why trying to change our mission or expand it was a no-go. You'd have to start over, with an entirely new site and new people.

Striking the right balance between academic respectability and appeal to the interested layman is always difficult. The only person to get it consistently right IMO was the late Stephen Jay Gould, although in a different field.

I understand and agree that you can't be everything to every body.

Bu the sniping at social conservatives could have been kept to a minimum had the audience been willing to think about one of the primary reasons why we are now in such dire straights, ecologically.

Nobody is making a realistic effort to communicate with them at a human level.

If we want carbon taxes, gasoline taxes, subsidies for growing out renewables, updated zoning and building codes , etc, etc, etc, all taking into account efficiency and conservation, then SOMEBODY must reach out to these people.

The "they " in this world greatly outnumber the "us" when it comes to such things.

There is some hope for change as my generation dies off, as we see in the reform of marijauna laws, younger folk giving up cars for electronic media, and so forth.

But there will be enough social conservatives around for a very long time, no matter what, to block the needed changes.

This need not be so, since there are enough of them who are well educated, technically, to see the light, and lead the move for change from within their political camp.

Even here in one of the most backward portion of the backwoods of the Bible Belt, there are engineers and science teachers, nurses, doctors, and other educated people, who can become leaders from within.

There are a dozen at least just in the single congregation of three hundred where I used to take my parents for services.

Ask them in private if they believe in evolution, and if you are good at reading body language, you will see that they do,if they know you well enough to allow you to ask them such a question.

All that is necessary is that they be lead in some fashion, by somebody, to give serious thought to the issues we have studied and debated here.

They know how to work within the confines of the local culture.

I will be a very tiny minnow indeed, myself, blogging in a sea of countless big and still bigger fish, but i intend to write about all the things debated here in such a way as to avoid the political sniping that destroys any hope of getting thru to this huge audience- this critical audience.

Getting such people to change their attitudes quickly is almost impossible, but it IS possible to bring them around a little at a time.

My email is in my profile, and my blog will be

There is nothing up yet, but by the end of the week I will have a lead article about electric vehicles that is written in such a way as not to tee off a social and/ or fiscal conservative before he or she finishes the first paragraph.

Thanks again for all the hard work!

And the fish, and the companionship, and the opportunity to expand my own horizons!

I am one of those undcercover evangelicals, although on the right side of the pond.I was rised by my single mother to be a young earth creationist but over a period of 15 years found my way out of that.

In my experience there are a generational shift going on. Last year at the bible camp we had a discussion evening about it, and roughly half of the teen agers was openly pro science. But it is an other environment here in Europe. Virtually everyone accept climate change, and so called "prosperity gospel" (God want you to be rich) is scorned upon.

Speaking on this is tricky. You need to make it individual, and take in account the individual persons ability to take in what you say. I have been accused of denying the existense of God. Talking to a crowd from a platform over this is probably not a good idea. It takes some skills I learnt the very hard way, and I don't wanna do it again.

I am not interested in winning an argument and losing a person. But I am confident a new tide is comming in and over time we may see some results. I guess the US is 30 years or so behind in the development.

If we want carbon taxes, gasoline taxes, subsidies for growing out renewables, updated zoning and building codes , etc, etc, etc, all taking into account efficiency and conservation, then SOMEBODY must reach out to these people.

I used to think that. Now I'm not so sure.

A truckload of change has happened, over conservative opposition. People alive now (maybe even you) have seen "Whites Only" water fountains and civil rights workers murdered...and Barack Obama elected, and re-elected, President of the Unites States. I honestly did not expect to live to see a black president.

And I would have bet my bottom dollar that gay marriage would not happen in the U.S. in my lifetime. Everyone, even many leftwingers, said it was a huge mistake to push for gay marriage, that it would only undermine support for progressives, and create a backlash that would sweep the right to power and hurt gay rights in the long run.

Hasn't turned out that way. I dunno, maybe there's something to be said for just doing what you think is right. Plenty of people still believe blacks don't belong in the White House and gays should not be allowed to marry, but that doesn't mean you have to pander to them.

I agree with you about the extraordinary extent of the changes we have seen over the last fifty years.Yes, I have seen a whites only water fountain, and eaten in a whites only restaurant.Fortunately though all I know of the murder of civil rights workers is what I have learned from the news.

I still know a few hard core racists, but the worst of them are gone- dead of tobacco ,liquor,violence and old age.The rest of the hard core will be gone soon enough, although the potential for a resurgence of racism cannot be dismissed out of hand.

But as I see it, we can't afford the easier approach of just waiting for the the tides of change to finish the job; time is too short on too many fronts, most particularly the ones we have focused on here- fossil fuel depletion and the various problems associated with ff such as climate disruption.

I'm afraid that if we don't do all the outreach we can, it will be too late to save our collective butts from a very hard economic crash due to ff issues ( supply, prices, and eroeri entangled) and climate change, etc, within the next few decades, and as I see it, hot war between major powers will then be a certainty.WWIII could literally wipe industrial civilization, and 99 percent of the human species, right off the face of the earth.

I'm afraid the odds of our avoiding such a fate are not very good, but we might- with some luck and some savvy politicking on the grand scale.

Success is potentially within our grasp- all it takes to turn a so called close election into a so called landslide in a country such as ours is a change of mind of a mere five percent(net) of the people who go to the polls- the election goes from fifty fifty to 55 / 45.

For a long time my mindset was mostly cornucopian, but I have never really felt intellectually " at home" any where on any issue- my mindset is that of doubt and skepticism more so than otherwise.

But I have little doubt that if old man BAU were to have another hundred years of good health in prospect, we would by then have solved all our problems relating to natural resources.The Invisible Hand so often ridiculed here is not omnipotent, but it is extraordinarily powerful when it comes to solving problems over time.

People here hate Lomborg's guts to the extent that they have never read him ,and never will, but I will quote him, paraphrased. Rich counties can afford to look after the environment , and are generally making great efforts to do so, and succeeding, in large part. Poor countries simply can't afford to do much if anything at all on the environmental front.

After another hundred years of (hypothetical) bau, the whole world would be rich- and given the mostly unanticipated dramatic decline in birth rates in prosperous countries world wide- probably even sustainable,given the awesome potential of renewable energy and efficient recycling of essential resources.

If nobody had ever thought of the first solar cell as anything other than a laboratory curiosity, and nothing done to develop this discovery ( invention?) as a useful device- we could (knowing what we know today in physics, etc, that we didn't know then, and what we know today about manufacturing high tech materials and devices such as computer chips ) probably bring the pv cell up to it's current state of theory and design in four or five years, rather than the fifty pus it has taken to get there. .

If I had never heard of a "gun" , but I happened to want a powerful weapon, i could invent and build one - a simple one of course- in my own work shop from materials on hand , in a matter of hours- because in the course of work I have done over the years as a rolling stone, I learned about explosives and what happens when for instance a hole drilled to pack a charge in stone to break it up instead propells the loose debris used to contain the explosion out of the hole - instant accidental gun!

We need to find the five percent net of voters needed to change the political calculus, and we need to find them in a hell of a hurry, while Old Man Bau is still on his feet.

They can easily be found inside conventional conservative circles if they are approached properly.

the potential for a resurgence of racism cannot be dismissed out of hand.

All depends on what one wants to call racism. Many times classism is called racism by people who want to find racism.

Then you have places that want to justify their existence by finding racism everywhere so they can go to donors and ask for money.

If one wants to think about the topic of X finds Y to justify their jobs and not use the emotionally charged topic of racism, try substituting the idea of security theater and the TSA or laws and Congress.

I got cut off in editing, somehow, so this reply is a continuation of my previous comment at 6:04

A man who for instance supports his country maintaining a large military establishment , due to legitimate fears for the safety of his country, can be educated about our continued dependence of oil imports, and gently lead to CONCLUDE FOR HIMSELF that tough fuel economy standards are a necessity, just a as a military draft is sometimes a necessity.

A builder of subdivisions who likes to fish can be lead , gently, TO CONCLUDE FOR HIMSELF . that without a strong policy of maintaining clean waters, his only opportunity to fish will be in a farm pond someplace.

Cracks in intellectual walls bring them down, in time.

I got cut off in editing, somehow,

That is because a reply got posted. If one does not limit the ability to edit then the original can be changed so that the the replies look like faked quotes or, worse yet, something on-topic can be changed to off-topic spam.

Imagine, say, west textas's posts all converted to posts about handbags.

But you said in your previous post that "time is too short." I think it might be faster to go with the "tides of change" than to wait for people to be "led gently, and conclude for themselves." If time is an issue...well, those gay marriage activists got what they wanted, very quickly, without leading opponents to conclude anything for themselves.

In any case, it would be impossible for a site like this to be what you wanted. You said "sniping at social conservatives could have been kept to a minimum had the audience been willing to think about one of the primary reasons why we are now in such dire straights, ecologically."

Um, no. One, not everyone agrees with you, and two, even if they did, they can't help themselves. It's like those people who insist that trolls should not be blocked, everyone should just ignore them. That never works, because people can't resist responding, and newcomers are constantly showing up, not realizing that said poster is a troll and should be ignored.

I, personally wish there were a lot less politics here, and a lot less religion, but there's only so much you can do. People who are entrenched at either end of the political spectrum often do not even realize what they are saying is seen political partisanship. To them, it's just normal.

And we are not the only site to be confronted with this issue, as a casual scan of Yahoo comments quickly reveals. The only way to achieve the kind of site you want would be moderate every comment and allow only a few through.

That is possible, and probably if I were doing another blog, that is the tack I'd take. But it would not be anything like TOD. The social aspect of site would be completely gone.

One of the amazing things about TOD was how quite a few really knowledgeable people would participate in discussions along with the trolls and people with extreme views. My experience with Usenet discussion groups was that once they became available to a much larger base of people via an AOL membership or Internet service provider, the really knowledgeable people tended to disappear from the discussion groups as the signal to noise ratio had simply gotten too low.

That has been my experience as well. Nate called it "Gresham's Law" - the bad drives out the good. It's something we were keenly aware of.

It's a balancing act, allowing people freedom of speech while also keeping them from driving away other posters with the tone or sheer volume of their posts. It was the most difficult part of my job here.


I'm so happy to see you've returned to give us your thoughts and the back story in these waning days of the site. I have yet to make an entry in Nate's 'what are you doing' post, and I'm hoping to see you post something as well. What are you doing next? (Kate, you too...) In being the unwitting recipient of tens of thousands of opinion pieces, you must undoubtedly been changed by the process. What gems have you to share?

I haven't decided what I'm doing next.

As for what I've learned...mostly, that Niels Bohr was right. "It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future."

Research has shown that everyone is terrible at predicting the future, even the so-called experts. The people who are least certain about their predictions are most likely to be right, perhaps because they are more open to data that might not match their views. But people tend to believe those who are most certain, even if they have been wrong in the past.

We saw this play out in many ways here. Those who were the most certain tended to get the most support, no matter how many times they had been wrong in the past.

Even for those of us in the reality-based community...personalities are more important than data.

Leanan, you are as usual, on the ball.

I need to clarify my position a bit.

You may well be right, it might be too late to lead any body gently anyplace.

But maybe- just maybe- there are enough people out there who are unsettled and uneasy in their current political home, and ready to switch sides or move to the center.

Greenish has taught me a lot, here , about activism, by responding to my many questions over the last few years.

His basic technique is to apply a crowbar at a sensitive point - not an iron one, but a psychological one designed to change the course of events from that point forward.

As I understand it, most such attempts fail, but one succeeds occasionally, with impressive results, very impressive results, considering the small expenditure in money and effort involved.

It could be that the butterfly wing flapping can really change the course of a storm on the other side of the earth a month later.

Maybe an environmental and energy blog that attracts conservatives-or at least doesn't drive them away- could move a few thousand to the center , insofar as environmental legislation is concerned.

Sometimes elections turn on a handful of votes..... and legislation sometimes passes and fails by a less than a half dozen votes in washington.


I, personally wish there were a lot less politics here, and a lot less religion, but there's only so much you can do...

That is possible, and probably if I were doing another blog, that is the tack I'd take. [...] The social aspect of site would be completely gone.

Sounds sort of sterile; unlikely to achieve the emergent qualities that greenish and others refer to when describing TOD's evolution. What good is information and analysis without the soul sauce? This story needs to write itself with all of its human qualities included, and I don't agree that the format is no longer valid. I think you're just tired.

I'm sure that there are others that could moderate Drumbeat effectively according to guidelines, but it wouldn't be your baby anymore. Better to kill it than to set it free, eh? I, for one, can understand that. I've walked away from some pretty good work, simply because it was time.

There are several efforts to pick up where the Drumbeat left off. If I did my own blog, it would just be another one. And it would not be the same. The Drumbeat without any keyposts would not have the secret sauce.

Also, I think we have very, very different ideas on what was good about the Drumbeat. All the more reason having several successors is probably a good thing.

Personally, I think social media has taken over much of the socializing aspect of forums, and that is probably where people will end up. That's why I created a Tumblr. Facebook is creepy, Twitter only allows 140 characters, so that left Tumblr. Which has been bought out by Yahoo, which is creepy in its own way, but what can you do.

This is why car companies launch different brands: Toyota has itself as a foundation and middle-of-the road brand, Lexus as a luxury extension, and Scion as a development platform.

While TOD could have remained open as the R&D department of a broader organization it's decided to shut the doors and the talent it attracted will vaporize. A hiatus, or "furloughing" would have seemed a more appropriate route for the sake of burn-out...but, I guess it is what it is. Phooey.

While TOD could have remained open as the R&D department of a broader organization

No, it couldn't. It just couldn't. We considered it, believe me, but in the end came to the conclusion that being part of some other organization just wasn't going to work.

The talent it attracted will not vaporize. We're all still here. Most of us plan to continue in some manner or another. Some professionally, some in personal blogs, some perhaps to create new web sites on those new tracks.

The vaporization I speak of is more the "Special Sauce" that TOD is, bringing together a vast array of different backgrounds and visions. One should never underestimate special sauces. It's the kind of thing that gave TOD not only a specialist stance, but a system level understanding - such as where one person might come up with a particular solution, and then proceed to be shot down by half a dozen people from different fields of expertise explaining how that solution would foul up their particular niche.

Anywho, many thanks to all who kept this place going over the years.

7 Years, 19 weeks and lurking prior to that. It's been interesting.

The vaporization I speak of is more the "Special Sauce" that TOD is, bringing together a vast array of different backgrounds and visions.

But...I think that is also why we did not fit in with any other organizations, and could not become the Lexus division of Toyota.

Our strengths, in the long run, proved limiting.

The "special sauce" is the thing.

The problem is, there's really no better term for it than that, so it doesn't fit well into narratives.

The TOD comment section, in my opinion, achieved a sort of critical mass of systems-level functionality that I simply haven't seen elsewhere. If there were a word for it, an award for it, then it might I think have been more valued.

That emergent quality, the passing of that undefined threshold, will evaporate and probably not quickly coalesce again elsewhere. We don't really understand what happened, nor have the vocabulary to value it properly, though many of us feel the impending loss of the "special sauce", and feel it viscerally.

Each participant added a pinch of this and a dash of that... then it was all simmered slowly over an open campfire in a large pot. Which upon occasion called would end up calling the kettle black. However what was produced was a very special sauce indeed! I for one will certainly miss it!

Thank you all!

And, unlike society in general, the pot was stirred frequently, to prevent the scum from rising to the top!

I will miss this place.

A terrific extension of the outstanding "sauce" metaphor. Thanks for that "scum" image. So apt!


Hi doug fir


re: "I don't see a messiah" - that's for sure. (Especially because there is a not a "solution" in the sense of "solution that will make infinite growth possible.")

OTOH, a few of us hope(d) the idea of putting the peak oil question - especially the "impacts" - before the US National Academy of Sciences, would be an approach that is neither "government or academic think tank." Not exactly. ( (See below for NAS Mission Statement.)

It would, at the least, provide a reference point to the public. The results can lay out options for policies that address the basics. So the individuals you speak about are at least informed, in case they can take individual and community action.

To my way of thinking, there is so much "we" have learned about our situation itself, about what better paths are possible, in terms of say, basic needs: water, agriculture, emergency planning, conflict resolution. And how to make these more...what is the word..."resilient" or "sustainable."

Also, we got here via large-scale infrastructure projects (in part) and it seems that the dissolution of same might that is likely to occur might be helped. There are some basic conundrums many peak oil writers avoid, eg. that major curtailment of oil use appears to lead to a deliberate crashing of (sectors of) the economy, versus "just waiting" for the economy to decline/collapse. However, even laying this out is a step towards understanding the impacts of what we face.

QUOTE: The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research.

I didn't intend to reply, either here, or to Leanan. Let sleeping dogs lay. However...

Getting NAS on board, publishing your own science journal, getting to Gates or the POTUS, the name dropping, it rings too much of glory, of vanity. I hope I'm wrong. Effecting real change may be just as well achieved in steering this site as before. Did Al Gore, or James Hansen, really move us any closer to lowering individual carbon footprints? Or with all considered, did they move us farther away with the numbers of people alienated. I think it's hard to say.

I personally known have 2 NAS members. What immediately comes to mind is Thomas Kuhn's "Structure of Scientific Revolutions, of paradigms.

Just for the record...the names dropped were just fer-instances.

As for the doubt there's some glory and vanity involved. There is here, too. We're sure not doing this for the money.

Maybe the world would be better off if Barack Obama remained a community activist. Or if James Hansen never spoke publically and let his research do the talking. Or if you gave away all your possessions and moved to Africa to help the poor.

But there's no way to know for sure, and you can't make that decision for other people. It's natural for people to want to move on and try something else after a few years. And who knows, maybe it will actually work.

In all seriousness, I wish you all the best of luck in your new endeavors. Motivation is simple only in some detective sleuthing.

The collective "you" running TOD may be underestimating the value of the connections made here.

I have co-authored a paper (to be updated and improved soon) with a member of the National Academy of Sciences (one of their invited foreign members) that suggests, through modeling, that a combined policy of renewable energy and electrified rail (urban and inter-city) could, in 20 years (vs. BAU for 20 years) result in. Our update will include bicycling as well.

GDP +13% (vs. BAU in 20 years)
CO2 -38% (vs. BAU in 20 years)
Oil Use -22% (vs. BAU in 20 years, and with slightly lower prices)
Unemployment -4% (vs. BAU ...)
And a larger middle class than BAU, but smaller than today.

This paper, plus other efforts, will be presented to a multi-billionaire in a bid to motivate him to become an "environmental Koch".

Failing this (probability >90%) we will use the concepts in other ways to influence people.

It is this sort of effort that TOD has made possible. I suspect that I am not the only one so enabled.

Best Hopes for the TOD Community :-)


Alan, unsure how much you think of your projections, but "appealing" to billionaires, class mindsets, the high-and-mighty GDP, so-called employment (wage-slavery), fancy-sounding Academies, etc. just depresses me more. It feels like a BAU Kludge. Like trying to revive or sustain the comatose patient with new procedures so that they can be less comatose for longer.

Best hopes (for me at least) that we find ourselves back in small, regenerative-- not just sustainable-- human-scaled bands/tribes/communities again. Soon. Where we belong.

The path there seems likely to involve removing 99+% of the population. The trauma of that population reduction will affect the society of survivors, and likely not in positive humanistic ways. Perhaps that might evolve in additional millennium.

On my fan fiction, Star's Reach Scandinavia - I just wrote a first draft of the ecology of Tasmania in 2350 or so, titled "Rats & Cats Ecology".

My vision is a bit darker.


It may come to that in any case, where 85% of the population removes itself... It's a conundrum/predicament for sure, but one wonders if appealing to billionaires and the slave setup, etc., will help or fundamentally hinder that soft/cushy landing we all presumably want, or just extend the misery and ultimately allow the reconfiguring of BAU into something washed with green, white or puke.

I'll keep in touch if you like, and if you're predisposed, some ex-TOD members might like to co-own and operate (and live on) a sailing boat/yacht to Hobart, etc.. A cooperative. (I might be able to acquire one if I can get some help with its transport/storage/repair/maintenance. Should be easily feasible in a cooperative context.)
By the way, I was going to write, for the Permaculture Research Institute's (PRI) site, an article about that boatbuilding school in Franklin that was for sale. I even contacted the previous owner by email.
I thought it would have been a good investment for the PRI, such as for permaculture-related education and networking, etc.. The school ultimately got sold, hopefully to someone with more sense than money.

Maybe you can finish "Rats & Cats Ecology" or somesuch on the boat's deck in Hobart's harbor. BTW, what shall we name the boat? 'The Oil Drum'? (Well they do float when they're empty.)

some ex-TOD members might like to co-own and operate (and live on) a sailing boat/yacht to Hobart, etc.. A cooperative.

Others have posted links to the C-realm. Before anyone thinks about doing the above, what is being made is a form of intentional community.

And somewhere around there was a discussion about The Farm and The Hog Farm Collective.

It's a shared sailboat. Good for sustainably moving people, things and ideas around in, and keeping in touch, etc., such as where the net goes down, flights become prohibitive, or civil unrest or Vesuvius needs to be fled from, etc..

In twenty years Saudi Arabia probably won't be exporting oil. Shale oil will have run dry so expecting a 20% decrease in oil use and CO2 emissions could be reasonable to assume. Maintaining the ability to sustain the consumer population is important, no better way at this stage than to promote BAU with "renewable" energy like ethanol, solar and wind mills. Electric trains and cars require that energy.

Peak burning requires a consumer market. So also no better way to ensure that than maintain the energy flow to support it. It might be a little unpleasant for the remaining undomesticated fauna but such is life, better them than us.

We can run with the "could's" until we are blue in the face but in the end it will be "should have" or probably more precisely "should not have".

You have to export something to get money to buy imports. If Saudi Arabia is not selling oil (or oil products) exactly what is it selling?

You tell me.
Then again they may have abiotic oil or more oil than we know they have or they might even reduce their internal consumption so they can export for longer. My opinion is they are shot ducks..........but in the end no different to every other country while we pursue the current BAU dictum.

Well, it certainly seems they are making new, long term investments in education, solar, water, farming. While the rest could be viewed as "me-too" actions of an up-and-coming country, their investment in solar makes it hard for me to believe they are unaware of a peak, at least in their own production.

Their LEED-certified King Abdullah University ( is fascinating to me, such a hint of their world view. I know it has been discussed on TOD but I can't find the posting.

Our ranking might have slipped a bit to 34,000th place (US), and we might be down to 15,000 page views a day, but I like to think that is 15,000 little peak oil memes rippling out from TOD, every day for years, nudging the most important people's behavior in the right direction.


Page views:

Doing a bit more digging, I calculate unofficially there have been approx 6,520 pages with 530,000 comments in 3,080 days at an average of 170 comments/day on TOD.

This thread is probably going to be in use for another week or so, so I'm going to ask you all to exercise some self-restraint. In particular - please, no songs/YouTube videos.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
Also one more site : The Planet Beat

I did not include that as a separate link because as I understand it, it's being folded into the ASPO-USA site.

I assume that the same is true for Tom Whipple's Peak Oil News.

There is a node someplace here on TOD that provides a good summary of the many acronyms and definitions one needs to understand the energy story. Please, somebody post the link to it in this last Drumbeat. A list of the key words used on the site would also be very useful for research purposes.

As I understand it, The Planet Beat is hosting The Energy Xchange until ASPO creates something more permanent. I hope zurk does not eliminate the blogs because mine is a good place to post monthly oil watches using EIA data and keep them organized.

Mea culpa, I was the one who posted a youtube song.

It was the last bit of "Dr. Strangelove", the song "We'll meet again", set to nuclear explosions, which spontaneously came to mind when thinking about posting to the final drumbeat. But hey, you all know it, sing along with me in your minds.

And I noted that "Discussions About Energy and/or Future" would make a good theme for a successor TOD-themed website.

Thanks Leanan, and thanks gang, for being a good community; the only online one I've ever been tempted to participate in. Hugs all around.

Gratis from me as well, amazing work you've done over the years, and always first thing in the morning, too. Pteranodons must be early risers, eh? ;) I'll always think of your anecdote about someone in the fossil fuels industry saying that your Drumbeats were superior news roundups to paid subscriptions they'd had. Quite a treat to have such a resource around, free of charge.

theDude, it is a pterodactyl. Please no debate, just give me the final word.

This is likewise my favorite intellectual home away from home, the only place I could go to find an intelligent conversation about the things that really matter.

I have made cyber friends here who are far better intellectual companions than any I have left in my real life.

(That could change of course as my personal circumstances change. But I have reached the age where my friends are mostly dead or scattered beyond reach.)

I posted a comment a few minutes ago on the Swan Song comments section, about the nature of communication,there because it is my own swan song type of comment , other than this one. It will be at or near the bottom.

I also tried to post a youtube song, by Dandy Don Meredith, you know his legendary Monday Night Football 'turn out the lights the party's over. All good things must come to an end.' I thought it was apropos but rules are rules.

Anyway have very much enjoyed TOD. Miss the heyday of Darwinian, westexas, Rockman, Ghung and all the other posters that engaged in back and forth banter with links on peak oil as well as how it relates to the economy, with many other topics discussed like AGW, philosophy, PV's etc.

The Drumbeat format works and hope some other site does something very similar. Peak oil dot com has too many different threads to get the quick reply effect Drumbeat has, but is probably next in line on peak oil. Zero hedge is more about the economy but the posts are mostly one liners. Stoneleigh and Gail are great sites but only post something new about every two weeks. Darwinian's is good, but needs more traffic.

In any case it was a memorable experience, a captivating chapter in the ongoing book of life. appears to be an effort to emulate TOD's format, with 3x weekly newsaggregations called 'The Pipeline' similar to the Drumbeats, and with additional articles apparently to come in the fall. All it really needs is all of us to generate critical mass...

Edit to note that while I've been flogging The Energy eXchange as a TOD successor, atm (11 pm EDT) that link takes one to a site that looks like an energy site (although not the Pipeline I've been checking the last few days) yet any text is in Latin! Weird. I do get to the Pipeline via Perhaps Jan will clarify what's going on.

2nd edit - This has been fixed. See you over there.

Some Australian energy developments
- if the opinion polls are correct this Saturday Australians will vote out the carbon tax and elect a new Prime Minister who says 'climate change is crap'. An alternative emissions reduction scheme is vague on details and funding. If the Senate stonewalls on the tax amendment bill we are promised another full election next year to clear the way.
- new coal mines will be dug including a new province the Galilee Basin. Hundreds of kilometres of rail track will laid and coal ports expanded to take a greater tonnage. The iconic Great Barrier Reef seems certain to suffer from ship damage and increased coastal runoff/dredging as well as climate change.
- in 2014/15 for the first time LNG will be exported from the Australia east coast with a doubling of the wholesale gas price expected. Most of the current major gas reserves are in offshore western Australia with no pipeline all the way to the populous east coast.

I suspect things will go a little crazy Down Under. Hopefully it will all be posted on an international energy news website.

Leanan: thank you for the very useful Drumbeats over these past several years (and the other TOD editors and contributors for their articles).

Leanan, I was hoping for a list integrated with the Blogroll (which needs to be updated) and generally a broader list of forums. For example
TheAutomatic Earth:
The Energy Collective:

This post is probably just a stopgap. We still have not decided what we are going to do with the front page.

I didn't see a lot of value in duplicating the links on the sidebar, though if they decide to remove them, that could change. I did include those that might be TOD substitutes.

You're a cool lady. Thank you for your pragmaticism:)

Our soon-to-be Prime Minister isn't too clued up on Peak Oil either. From - "Video of the Day: Tony Abbott doesn’t know what 'peak oil' is".
That was a few years ago, maybe he has sussed it out since..

I can't believe the end of an active TOD is almost here. It's a bit of a one off site IMO, I guess I hope something will pick up the hole that's going to be left.

Congratulations on your fine efforts over the years on TOD Leanan.

Australia Trade Bal Posts Bigger Deficit As Oil Imports Rise

Released today

What a surprise, they were expecting a surplus and got a deficit. Just because oil went up a little and the AUD dropped a little. With our production continuing to fall and refineries closing, I wonder what that will do to the balance of trade.

No politician talks about oil supply here, mainly because every commuter thinks the price of fuel is too high and every politician, including the Greens think there is an endless supply and it will sort itself out.

I wonder when they will all wake up and hear the music?
I think it is going to take awhile, me thinks, unfortunately.

"Video of the Day: Tony Abbott doesn’t know what 'peak oil' is"

2 years later the new Australian Prime Minister was proud to know about peak oil:

TONY ABBOTT: ...... So, look, I know about the concept of peak oil. I don’t claim to be the world’s greatest expert in it, but I’m sceptical as to its value as a tool for policy makers because at the right price, we’ve got a lot more reserves than we currently think. With better technology, we’ve got a lot more reserves than we currently think.

As a result of this lack of value we'll see the roads for the 21st century built:

Melbourne's East West Link tunnel proposal has low benefit cost ratio and high oil price risk

Australia's future Infrastructure Prime Minister will increase our oil vulnerability

As this is the last Drumbeat, which contains a list of peak oil related websites I think that in this occasion I should disclose that there is a new peak oil related website about to be launched: WikiPeaks.

WikiPeaks logo

WikiPeaks shall be a wiki based website and use a new, cooperative approach to deal with the issue, in order to serve several purposes:

  • Connect the dots between the maze of information that has been published so far in a structured manner and thus rovide a one-stop-shop for ready-to-use information.
  • Create, as far as possible, a unified and agreed view about peak oil and the future outlook of the supply and demand situation of fossil fuels, including alternatives and mitigation solutions. This may become the basis for attempts to create outlook models charting the post peak era.

Why WikiPeaks?
I think that a major problem why there is so little public awareness about peak oil (and even less political action in order to cope with it) compared to other sustainability issues (like e. g. climate change) is that most information about peak oil (and the related issues) is dispersed about a vast multitude of studies, blog articles and comments that present a broad array of views and outlooks. This dispersedness may be due to the grassroots provenience of the peak oil idea, but it is a significant disadvantage to the energy reports from „official“ agencies like the IEA or the EIA (or the IPPC‘s reports about climate change), which present a unique and undisputed "authoritative" view, so that these are being preferred as a basis for all sorts of studies and government plans. In contrast, so far there is no such thing like an "official", unified and regularly updated report about peak oil. Whereas diverging findings are something normal for scientists, among the general public the lack of a unified message may be considered as doubts about the peak oil theory as such – and in fact this is being used to discredit the peak oil concept.
A unified document would also help to connect the dots between the large array of technical subjects, ranging from oil extraction to transportation technologies or building weatherizing in order to create a holistic view about how the post peak period might look like.
This may even help to create an advanced energy outlook model, which pioneers into the uncharted waters of the post peak era. This model might even be able to assess the future price of oil from future demand-supply-equilibriums, considering dynamic price elasticities as well as above ground issues.
At present WikiPeaks is still in its very beginning, but those who are interested may already have a look and are encouraged to participate.

Thanks a lot for the work over the years Leanan.
Really a pity that TOD is closing ...

About the list of sites and forums, a few could be added :

Blogs :

Antonio Turiel (Spanish) :
Ugo Bardi blog (English) :
Matthieu Auzanneau (French) :
Matt Mushalik (English) :
Tad Patzek :

Forums :

powerswitch (UK) :
Oleocene (French) :
Forum tribune pic pétrolier (French) :

I did include Powerswitch. I don't think I'm qualified to pick foreign language forums, alas, since I only speak English. Probably should have included Matt's blog. I'll probably update this post later, since there are no doubtless many other sites I overlooked.

Ah yes, sorry for powerswitch.

And thanks again for the work over the years !

One article that I found quite caracteristic recently, aknowledging the role of oil in previous recessions, but avoiding the peak oil aspect, not sure it was listed before :

"The Recessions of 1973,1980,1991,2001,2008 Were Caused By High Oil Prices"

Right. My blog is in Swedish. Mainly the reason I never link to it here other than the occasional .png link. Mail me using my bio if interested.

After procrastinating until the last minute , I have activated a blog of my own.

There is nothing on it , as yet, except a couple of test posts, but I will have my first real post up sometime tonight.

I will post links to subjects of interest , and original work by the members of this forum if anyone sends some.

Hey OFM, I've bookmarked it and I'll try and stop by every once in a while.

Thanks everyone :)

Just a Reminder

Please add your eMail address to your profile if you want others to contact you after TOD is archived.

And Thanks to Leanan for her herculean efforts.

Best Hopes to All,


HercuLeanan, and Modzilla... and SuperG. Of course. ;)

On another tack, I'm feeling forced to consider that all the spoon-fed, sugar-coated, pre-chewed baby-food in the world may not save us-- bold-faced willful ignorance and all that, and I've endured buckets.
Serious change can take genuine care, open-mindedness, courage, effort, fortitude and commitment, including, paradoxically, the willingness to die for our ultimate survival-- say, beyond/against those with the maniacal clutches, of which there are far too many. The idea is to cease infinite dialogues with them, and to simply push them off the cultural Titanic into the rising waters before they sink it. Leave the limited lifeboats to the others. As for the maniacal and/or willfully ignorant, despite many people's best efforts, may their drownings come swift and mercifully, perhaps at the teeth of some (of their own) sharks.

LOL. Modzilla - love it! :D

Small Hydro on Existing Dams

A non-profit hydroelectric Swiss engineering firm has a good idea. To eliminate the cost of a large diameter valve, and to avoid having to rework the dam, use a siphon (metal or wood pipe over the dam) for heads from 1 to 3.5 meters. Generators in 3 MW to 10 kW range or so,

Start the turbine, and water flow, by priming the "pump" and shut it off by letting air into the apex of the siphon.

Reduced cost makes more projects viable.

Best Hopes for the "Forgotten" Renewable,


So long, and thanks for all the fish..

It remains to be seen where people here are going to land.

Tram Line opens in Tours, France

Population - 135,218 Metro Population - 286,218

Expected daily ridership 54,900 (see population above, most people take zero or two rides/day, so about 26,000 people will be regular tram riders).

With the second line they are planning, and some EV delivery trucks, etc. I wonder how well Tours et al will do post-Peak Oil ? Or in the aftermath of an Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia ?

Ridership will surely jump in an oil crisis - and more people will just crowd aboard at first. Capacity can be increased in a year or so by buying more trams and increasing the electrical supply.

My earlier article on Tours tram

and an article on the opening

Note that they are consdiering a second tram line in this town.

Best Hopes for those that Prepare,


Have to say that whilst I am very much in favour or railways (railroads) I am not very keen on trams from my limited experience of them. What I especially do not like is the fact that they run on a fixed route, so are unable to swerve like a motor vehicle or presumably stop that quickly, but unlike a railway they run down a street rather than on a fenced off dedicated right of way. Admittedly my only experience of them was on a trip to Amsterdam where I found walking the streets to be a real nightmare what with trying to avoid the trams, cars on the wrong (other) side of the road, and masses of cyclists (also repeated hard luck stories/requests for money).We did have trams in Exeter UK but they were all gone by about 1930 I believe. Have not heard any proposals yet to reintroduce them.
I have just read in a local paper that Exeter is to get two more railway stations in a year or so, making eight altogether within a few miles of the city centre, not bad for a place with a population of just over 100,000. It also has a Walk Score of 97.

I had no idea Douglas Adams was so appreciated. Good.

Thank you very much.

Don't forget your towel

And for Pete's sake don't panic.

I plan on running the HOG by after a while to pick up any stray dolphins. Meanwhile will be looking for regulars at various of the sites mentioned in this series. I might show up on any one of them at any given time. There are many listed, and I only have so much time. That's why losing TOD is such a bug-a-bear for me. Whatever that means. :>)



Some TOD refugees might be interested in the International Society for the Advancement of Emergy Research.(Emergy not Energy). I have joined, in part due to my longstanding interest in the late Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen.

Article from Resilience says peak phosphorus likely to come in 2027:

Yet, "Estimates of URR values for phosphorus currently range from 1,000 to 36,700 Mt"

Would love to hear the takes of WebHT, RR and others on the methodology & projections in this article.

It's just more Hubbert Linearization style analysis applied to phosphorus production.

I never liked HL applied to oil or gas and I don't think it will have much predictive value for other minerals either. Hubbert Linearization is a statistically flawed technique that has no way to account for increased extraction effort due to increased prices. It can only work if there is no political upheaval in the country of interest and there is enough global supply to keep prices constant over the period of extraction in that country. That's why it worked for the continental US for a while.

But I think HL methods have been pretty well debunked by now. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that people will stop using them.

I think that HL has been a useful tool to predict major inflection points in production, and regarding the increased extraction efforts due to increased price, the question remains as to whether increased extraction efforts will make a material difference globally, or just an incremental difference. Note that US crude oil production remains well below the (so far) 1970 peak rate of 9.6 mbpd.

My first guest post on The Oil Drum was the following, in early 2006:

Hubbert Linearization Analysis of the Top Three Net Oil Exporters*
*At the time, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway

As predicted by Hubbert Linearization, two of the three top net oil exporters are producing below their peak production level. The third country, Saudi Arabia, is probably on the verge of a permanent and irreversible decline. Both Russia and Saudi Arabia are probably going to show significant increases in consumption going forward. It would seem from this case that these factors could interact this year produce to an unprecedented--and probably permanent--net oil export crisis.**

**Original draft of this read as follows (edited by Kyle, and I agreed):

It would seem from this case that these factors will interact this year produce to an unprecedented--and probably permanent--net oil export crisis.

From 2005 to 2012:

As expected Norway, continued to decline. Note that Norway's ECI ratio (ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption) fell from 13.7 in 2005 to 7.4 in 2012. Of course, at an ECI ratio of 1.0, net exports = zero.

Saudi annual production did decline, until they finally slightly exceeded the 2005 annual crude oil production rate in 2012, although their total petroleum liquids production exceeded their 2005 annual rate in 2011 and 2012. However, their net exports (total petroleum liquids) have been below their 2005 annual rate for seven straight years. Saudi Arabia's ECI ratio fell from 5.7 in 2005 to 4.0 in 2012.

Russian production did show an inflection point in production in 2007, with a much slower rate of increase in production after 2007, but they have not yet declined. However, their net exports were flat in 2007 and 2012, with lower values in intervening years. Russia's ECI ratio fell from 3.7 in 2007 to 3.3 in 2012.

In any case, the three countries' combined net exports were 15.3 mbpd in 2002 and 18.6 mbpd in 2005, a 6.5%/year rate of increase (EIA). This is what we were seeing when I wrote the above brief article. At this rate of increase, their combined net exports in 2012 would have been in excess of 29 mbpd, versus the actual value of 17.5 mbpd, a decline relative to 2005, and a gap of about 12 mbpd between where they would have been at the 2002 to 2005 rate of increase in combined net exports and the actual value in 2012.

Note that the combined net exports from the (2005) Top 33 net exporters were increasing at 5.4%/year from 2002 to 2005, versus a slight decline from 2005 to 2012 (0.5%/year, EIA), and I estimate that post-2005 Global CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) may already be about 20% depleted.

Regarding phosphorus, it might be a very worthwhile exercise to apply "Net Export Math" to the phosphorus EUR numbers, especially the ECI concept, i.e. the ratio of production to consumption. A rough, but pretty consistent rule of thumb for oil supplies has been that about one-half of post-net export peak CNE are shipped about one-third of the way into the net export decline period. This has obvious, and quite troubling, implications for post-net export peak CNE of phosphorous.

Ag heavy India is the largest importer of phosphate, 75% of its needs and almost half of global imports in 2010, and imports virtually all of it's potash. Phosphate is so important that they stockpile huge amounts. I'm sure they're watching this closely. Planetary scale limits to growth.

Bat poop has lots of phosphorus. Wonder if penguin poop does as well. What with global warming, the penguins will be dying off and where they nested should be loaded with the stuff!

Maybe all that's white in Antarctica is not just snow and ice?


In The Oil Conundrum book, I have an analysis on phosphates.

The issue is that there is the easily available surface phosphates on islands due to birds -- this goes through a very rapid depletion.
The slower depletion is mined phosphates.

Link to updated "Gap Chart," through 2012, for Global Net Exports of oil:

I first met the McGill biologist N.J. Berrill and his family during the winter of 1956-7. Dr. Berrill was the first person that I ever heard discuss what is now called peak oil. He also mentioned a prevailing theory that the availability of phosphorus might be a limiting factor for the total volume of human life. I had the opportunity to meet and hear Julian Huxley when he was a visiting lecturer at McGill. This was the beginning of my long time intermittent interest in energy and material resources. Circa 1960 I met Aldous Huxley at a weekend symposium sponsored by Robert C. Cook at the Population Reference Bureau. Aldous Huxley had mentioned phosphorus as far back as 1928. His interest probably arose from the depletion of guano deposits in South America.

The only site dedicated to analytical modeling and knowledge

This was where I learned so much (the basic physics was so tough at first for me, an English Lit major) and started to focus on some efforts to do "ELP".

And then I tried to join English Lit with energy. Yes, it worked out, since I had gotten used to asking "how much energy do we need to get this?" In this case "this" was a short story or a play or a poem.

And then I started seeing the themes---competition, cooperation, complexity, etc. in the works themselves. And even how some writers were interested in the topic of energy per se.

I think, actually, that I owe a lot to TOD. I have a college degree but the education I got on TOD was far, far more valuable. I don't mean "valuable" in terms of money. I mean "valuable" in non-material terms. As in where am I in this universe and what do I need to go on and who else is here and what do they need.....basic questions. These are the questions that have been really ignored in academia, with its competitive rush to impress and publish what is trendy ASAP.

In so many ways, not just in academia, we have been in a huge rush, more like a race, to run right off the edge of a cliff. I suppose I must be using that old Thelma and Louise image that I read about here; I did not see the movie, however.

But there is a good point to not join those in this competitive race. Whether you would become a community-oriented farmer and leave a job in finance to do so, or whether you would choose a different interpretive methodology for literature, one you believe in and that is based on the physical issues of life, and not what the others are choosing......these are the same stances in the end. At least I think so....

Good-bye, TOD and everyone.


I will miss your fascinating perspectives regarding life, language and literature. And your invaluable insights into Japanese culture, especially amidst the Fukushima 'event'. And though I have not yet, I shall read your book, 'Juliet is the Sun'. But this doesn't have to be good-bye. C'mon over to TEX.



I will have a look around at the other sites. I did find difficult to manage, though.'s getting worse, not better. There are some people saying privately that the whole thing will collapse in a huge heap and sink into the wet ground.

And others want to encase it in a cement sarcophagus and let one generation pass (40 years) at least before allowing any people back to live in the exclusion zone.

Then--get this---government people have said "if we do that, then NO ONE is ever going to allow nuclear power generation in Japan again." Hey, now THERE'S AN IDEA!!!

But I (luckily) live far away from Fukushima. Now I do, anyway.

My novel "Juliet is the Sun" is based on my experience fleeing Fukushima. It's semi-autobiographical. Then I added Shakespeare's ghost, just for fun.

And now I'm writing another novel, a kind of eco-thriller also set in the mountains of Japan, with another Shakespearean-Brunian link.

Yeah, thanks all of you, you, TOD, taught me how to see literature in a new way (not just literature, of course)'s kind of impossible to thank you enough.

---pi a.k.a Gemma Nishiyama

Just wanted to add that both TOD and Shakespeare (amng others of course) make me think that indeed we humans are smarter than yeast.

Yes, the answer is "yes".

Shakespeare, in particular, foresaw a lot of this (not the details just the rough outlines).

He had enough knowledge based on his observations of coal use in London. Indeed, he must have been concerned that we were about as smart as yeast. And he decided to do something about it. Make the information available for someone far in the future.

Hi, pi
How many CEU's should TODsters get and how should they be awarded? Every ten hours of participation is recognized as one unit so, a Doctorate for all! Or most.
I found TOD via a link from (?) during the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and have learned so much from the site. Thank you staff and contributors, editors, posters and tech support. Best Information Ever.


Hi Tom,

Back in July, I had made a comment about awarding at least a certificate of participation to everyone who had been here for at least four years. It has been quite an educational experience to say the least!
Here's the link to my mockup certificate, Feel free to print it out and add your name to it >;-)
Cheers and farewell TOD. Till we all meet again somewhere else.
Special thanks to Leanan and TOD staff!


Jeez, Fred.... 3 years 51 weeks (does lurking for a couple of years count?)

You definitely qualify, Ghung! Veterans committee and all that...

Speaking of veterans, where is Don Sailorman?

Hi Ghung, I think we can give you a little extra credit. BTW I just checked my own status, 5 years 50 weeks. Never thought I'd spend almost 6 years at a site about energy >;-)

It sure changed a lot in how I now view the world. At least the blinders are gone and the scales have fallen from my eyes.

Be well my friend!


Szia Fred!

5 years 40 weeks for me. I have enjoyed your posts, especially your dedication to Wylie Coyote!



The Cold Hard Realities of Arctic Shipping

Stephen Carmel, a senior vice president with of Maersk Line, argues in the US Naval Institute's July 2013 issue of "Proceedings" why commercial cargo shipping through the arctic is unlikely to be competitive anytime soon.

There is no question that the Arctic is becoming more ice-free. There will be an attendant increase in commercial presence in the Arctic that should not be ignored. But a proper understanding of what type of activity there will be, and a realistic assessment of the volume of that activity are necessary to ensure proper policy and investments are made. For commercial shipping, and particularly the types that drive globalization today, Arctic routes do not now offer an attractive alternative to the more traditional maritime avenues, and are highly unlikely to do so in the future.

Perhaps the fate of TOD could have been foretold -- from wikepedia:

In Celtic folklore, ... The leanan sídhe is generally depicted as a beautiful muse, who offers inspiration to an artist in exchange for their love and devotion; however, this frequently results in madness for the artist, as well as premature death.
Many thanks to Leanan and all the regular commenters. Now if I can just get past denial, I'll have an extra hour per day for other pursuits.

I would like to Thank all the people who spent so much time and money to keep this site available for all the rest of us to use and learn from.
Thank You!

Thankyou Leanan. The Drumbeat will be sorely missed. I still recall when you hot-linked the painting on one of my first DB comments, that of CM Russell's "Last of the 5000" Thanks.


Short bit on the significance of that painting. In much the same way as the 1910 burn changed policy on forest fires, to trying to extinguish them all, the winter of '86-'87 changed cattle production. Western ranchers going forward would shift their practice, to put up hay for winter feeding. Barbed wire often gets credit, but it was the economics of that winter that shifted attitudes.

Should you be traveling I-90, trying to get to the other coast, try stopping at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch. Right off the highway, it's a National Park with alot of history.

People are thanking for fish. To the best of my knowledge I have not received any fish from anyone so either I am implicitly an outcast or I'm not getting something - wouldn't be the first time.


From Wikipedia:

"So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" is the fourth book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "series" written by Douglas Adams. Its title is the message left by the dolphins when they departed Planet Earth just before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, as described in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The phrase has since been adopted by some science fiction fans as a humorous way to say "goodbye" and a song of the same name was featured in the 2005 film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.*

*If so inclined, you can search Youtube for "So long and thanks for all the fish" song.

Final post on the WSJ Environmental Capital blog, January, 2010:

So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish
By Keith Johnson

After more than two years and over 2,000 posts, Environmental Capital is closing its virtual doors.

It’s been, in equal measure, a fun, grueling, and educational ride.

On a slightly related note, Futurama, the beloved TV series of many geeks, nerds and other inquisitive minds, ended yesterday, after 13 years. It truly feels like the world's end today.

"To the best of my knowledge I have not received any fish..."

I sent them in the mail about 3 weeks ago. You should be getting them soon. You will recognize the package by the smell.

Annoyed clients of banks used to do that - rent a deposit box and put a fish in it, then disappear.
I think some law had to be passed for banks to be allowed to open a box like that...


it means "Thanks for all the anxiety". I think Weekendpeak explained it another way.

Since we've often discussed privacy issues here, and some posters have expressed concern about who knows what (Todd ending his news letter, etc.), just a quick tip: Acxiom has a new portal where you can view the data they've collected on you (or their evaluation of it). Search for You can correct the data or opt out (supposedly of their collecting or selling your info).

Their data on me was largely incorrect. My ethnicity is Asian based on my surname (there's nothing Asian about my surname; maybe they latched onto Ghung), and I'm an 82-83 year old (born in 1930) "Financial Professional".

I'm actually a 55 year old, white, Anglo-Saxon house-husband/tinker/farmer wannabe who doesn't spend much money. They have me as donating to charities and non-profits, which is likely the cause of all of the phone calls we get from such.

My average online purchase amount is $13 (sounds about right, and I can deduce that Walmart, Amazon and Lowes, Home Depot maybe, are selling my data. They're showing that most purchases are made with a debit card or credit card, neither of which I have. My guess is that my occasional use of a check is counted as credit/debit, though it's clear that my habit of using cash is limiting their ability to track my purchases.

I was planning to opt out, but it may be better to leave them with so much incorrect data. Most of the annoying phone calls are now getting shunted to a spam folder by my phonebot.

"They" believe that I am Arab (based on my surname, which is Welsh) and that I have a high school-level "formal" education.

Hmm... wants your data too. It looks to me like AboutTheData is a data gathering site so that they too can monetize your data. Their privacy policy is long and is subject to change over which you will only be notified about. And even if they do not sell your data with PII (personally identifiable information) data, statistical and data analysis system can fairly easily still combine data AboutTheData collects with all your other data.

I'm not biting!

Thanks Seraph,

I was aware of the information in your second link. I am really angered by this stuff and the violation of the Constitution . What people should be concerned about is that it seems likely that there are algorithms to categorize people's communications based upon key words or internet sites visited. In other words, people could end up on a "list" simply by using the wrong words in an email or visiting a site the .gov doesn't like.

Everyone should be worried, very worried; and as more information comes out, it's not paranoia to be worried.


There is no authority but yourself and the laws of the universe. Forget constitution and state. It's a religion. Take steps to reverse the worry. Snowden, Assange and Manning have, and they are, all three, relatively young. Let's honor and join them and those who came before in the kinds of steps we take. Solidarity.

"Behind Boetie's thinking was the assumption, later spelled out in great detail by David Hume, that states cannot rule by force alone. This is because the agents of government power are always outnumbered by those they rule. To insure compliance with their dictates, it is essential to convince the people that their servitude is somehow in their own interest. They do this by manufacturing ideological systems..."
~ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

I second all the thank you's - Leanan,you really enabled a wonderful discussion forum and gathered so much news that it often took me 2-3 sittings daily to digest it all! :-) I never posted, because I never felt I had the expertise, but I have read and enjoyed so much of the news and discussion. The Drumbeat was the Oil Drum for me, for the most part. I will miss you all, but hope to follow you on the other sites.


"And it is said that, when this whole yesterdays' world started to unrelentingly crumble on its foundations, our grandfathers promptly lose the ability to even understand why things were falling apart all around them.

Once at the pinnacle of the glory of being the dominant ones, unknowing of the chaos that was awaiting in lie, wrapped in the fallacies and the foolishly egotic assumptions of their self value, they did fall into the abyss. After raping our planet, our grandfathers fell helpless against our species raping itself.

The varnish of their grand civilization all cracked appart, revealing the brutal and uncontrollable pulsion of life.

The more it cracked, the least they could figure out why.

Being there tonight hearing this, is the very reason you may live without the fear of being killed each other day.

Our fathers tried and managed to escape this storm of fury, and we have been since wandering the remainings of the steppas."

Nomadic oral wise tale, somewhere on Earth, circa 2083 -

Well, last Drumbeat, time for me to adress my warmest thanks to the TOD community. I was one of the few French here, although I did very little comment, since I was here to learn. I cannot remember exactly how I discovered the Oil Drum, in 2008 or 2009. Back in those days, I was working as a PhD in a cancerology lab in Burgundy, and I came PO aware right in the middle of the doom and gloom exuberance. Is has been a pain to finish my work until the defense of my thesis, being almost depressed by all these news things...

But I am nevertheless proud of having succeedly presented my thesis. This year is am taking a 10-months training in ecologic building, energy efficiency, and renewables. Of course, even if I have learnt a tremendous amount from a tehcnical point of view, this did not change my feeling about these matters. Sadly I feel that the (wonderful) people I met during the first 6 months of this year don't have a cue, and what's worse even the people in charge of the educational content do not seem to care very much. I was disappointed to see that they are in a fantasy world...

But anyway, this was just to find a new job which should be closer to what really matters to me, and could help realize something at my scale to help people without them having ever heard of Hubbert. We'll see how long the plan will succeed. I'd like to work in the field of resource management, and I am in a 4-month internship to study firewood consumption in a french department (one of your counties).

I have not so the time to write what I have done in the past years in a more personal fashion, but I want to learn new hand skills, find a place with good-minded people, etc.

TOD has been the greatest educational source of my whole (short) life, it completely helped me to reshape my life and define new objectives. I don't regret even one single secondhaving met TOD. I will thoroughly miss the Drumbeat for the place was an invaluable collective intelligence, and seemed to agregate the finest of thoughts on a wide array of matters, even remotely related to pure energy subjects. I have been reading TOD almost everyday for 5 years, and it's now time to thank all of you, the staff and the commenters, for what *i have learnt here.

In case someone wants to communicate with me (perhaps the other frenchies, Burgundy and Yt?), write me at sebastien.maurel at gmail dot com.

Though these days I have a bad gut feeling, I have always liked the very humanist state of mind of some of you, despite doom inclinations. It really helps to hope.

Thanks again, I will have the pleasure to read you again on various TOD successors.

Hi youbati

Thanks for your comments and perhaps...could you please put your email in your user profile? (Easier to find.)

Here is one of my favorite sites for the humanist, practical skills of the sort that helps people all around (if one presumes connection of mind/body, decision-making w. resource use, etc) and towards a better path: It's been a while since I've posted it. (Here's another: Free material on both.

Yes, it's better you put your e-mail in your profile. Not only is it easier to'll be able to edit it later if you wish.

You cannot edit a comment here once it has been replied to, or once the thread "times out" and no new comments are allowed. So if you post your addy in a comment, and want to change it later, or remove it, you will not be able to.

If you put it in your profile, you can edit it or remove it any time you want. To add it to your profile, click on your name (as it appears above one of your comments), or click on "My Account" on the right sidebar. Click on the "Edit" tab. Then click on "Personal Information." There are spaces to put an e-mail address and webpage. You can fill in one or both - or remove them, if you decide you don't want your info displayed. Click "Save," and you're done.

Your e-mail address will then be viewable - but only to members of TOD who are logged in, which should lower the risk of spam.

Speaking of should go without saying, but past experience suggests I have to say this anyway. Thou Shalt Not Spam. Do not scrape e-mail addresses here in order to send strangers e-mail asking them to buy into your peak oil planned community, tell them about your god(s), or request investment in your perpetual motion machine. If I find out you are doing stuff like this, you will get the boot.

Also, if we want to contact anyone to see if they would like to join our possible seaworthy sailboat project, or at least be picked up once and awhile by the crew-- such as if jet fuel price really takes off-- it will be easier/surer via your profile.

@clifman; At the end of 'What a Way to Go: Life at The End of Empire', I seem to recall the filmmaker and friends gathering on the beach with an overlayed song about a boat.

Yes - thanks to the magic of filmmaking, I was several of those friends...

Cool! I'll have to take a look again. Incidentally, ages ago, I decided that, if I was going to watch films, it would be to focus mainly on documentaries, and your friend's is way up there for favorites. Have you or he ever heard of End:Civ? It's another good documentary in the same vein, with more of an edgy style perhaps, apparently by the same person, Frank Lopez, who runs Submedia TV, and produces the short (and also edgy) show It's The End of The World As We Know It, and I Feel Fine.

Leanan, thanks for all you've done and everyone else at TOD, you'll be greatly missed, especially by me. It's been educational.

I've updated my profile if anyone wants to get in touch or let me know where everyone's going.

Well, I guess its time to go, so ... revoir a tout le monde! Et encore merci!

Danger on the tracks: Unsafe rail cars carry oil through US towns

The number of freight trains carrying oil across America has soared in the past five years, but federal officials warn that the massive steel tank cars that carry most of that oil through towns and past schools – the same cars that exploded in Quebec this summer, killing 47 -- may be unsafe and prone to rupture.

“The clock is ticking,” said Jim Arie, fire chief of the Chicago suburb of Barrington, Ill., where the number of trains that rumble across Main Street has grown from five a day to nearly one an hour. “As long as these rail cars are out there and they’re being used, potential exists for a major disaster.”

So Professor Goose does not have a comment?

He was asked. Last I heard, he wasn't planning to submit anything. If he changes his mind at the last minute, I'm sure he'll be accommodated.

Cool, good luck guys. I have become closer to my environment because of this site. Thanks.


As a former student of his, I hope he does change his mind. I'd love to hear where he's at on peak oil/peak energy these days.

Thanks everyone for opening my eyes. TOD volunteers, contributors, commenting squad and whoever else I'm missing.

Good luck and godspeed to all of you in the days ahead.

The Wet One

Good luck to every one, I've learnt so many things here it's hard to keep track of. I am young and plan to enjoy life as much as possible while applying the information I gathered here, no point in sulking, life goes on.

That's how I grew up and that's what I plan to do.

In my life (60 years and counting):

There have been only a few places where I have learned this much.
There have been only a few arguments that have been as worthwhile having.

And there have been no on-line folks who I will miss as much, or remember as often.

Thank you all.

R. De Young

For me, the question is not whether people can change, but the conditions under which they change.

Goodbye, I will miss this place.

Bye all. Thanks to everyone who made useful or entertaining contributions over the years.

Might need a rain coat for this one ...

The student loan bubble is starting to burst

.. The largest bank in the United States will stop making student loans in a few weeks.

JPMorgan Chase has sent a memorandum to colleges notifying them that the bank will stop making new student loans in October, according to Reuters.

The official reason is quite bland.

"We just don't see this as a market that we can significantly grow," Thasunda Duckett tells Reuters. Duckett is the chief executive for auto and student loans at Chase, which means she's basically delivering the news that a large part of her business is getting closed down.

The move is eerily reminiscent of the subprime shutdown that happened in 2007. Each time a bank shuttered its subprime unit, the news was presented in much the same way that JPMorgan is spinning the end of its student lending.

"It's no longer sustainable and not the right place to allocate capital in the future," HSBC Holdings Group Chief Executive Michael Geoghegan said in a statement the day HSBC shut down its subprime unit in 2007. "Lehman Brothers announced today that market conditions have necessitated a substantial reduction in its resources and capacity in the subprime space," the press release issued in August 2007 said.

There is over $1 trillion in outstanding student loans, making it the second largest source of household debt after mortgages.

It's been a while since my last comment. Just wanted to express my sincere gratitude to all at the Oil Drum for their years of tireless effort. Your absence from this sphere will be hard-felt I'm sure.

Good-by to everyone - for now.

Everyone else has already said it better than me - but I will sure miss this little part of life.

I am just settling in to observe the Long Emergency - if I can survive it.

Texas Engineer
Mike Ervin
Austin, Texas

I notice that my blog was left off the list of sites at the end of Drumbeat, but for those interested in ongoing energy conversations with a number of good writers, come visit: Robert Rapier at Energy Trends Insider

That is now on my list of favorites, Robert! Thanks for all you have contributed. It's been a blast!

Craig Crosby, Sr.

Fair winds and following seas, y'all. I'll be stepping up my participation in ASPO-USA and pestering my politicians in Massachusetts. You won't be seeing me on discussion sites, hopefully. At this point I've learned enough on TOD to know what I should do, and yammering amens to my choir mates on a like minded web site is not it.

Being half Irish, thought this was appropriate. I'm not so religious, but this saying hung on my father's wall until his death:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

This has been a melancholy day for me. There are many endings to old status quos leading, hopefully, to new beginnings. A dear friend, employed for 24 years at my company, was laid off today. She was the "underperformer" of my group of 5. She also had seniority and was most highly paid. Have your plans in place people, because reality is close behind you.

Take care everyone. Thanks TOD for focusing my reality. Leanan is an unsung hero in my book as well as the rest of the TOD contributors and staff. May history see you for what you are.

Long time lurker here on the Drum. Very sad to see it go. Since I've been visiting the oil drum, my family has switched our old diesel Golf to B100, made a concerted effort to buy local food, insulate our house to reduce bills substantially, and grown some of our own food in a garden. I now take the train downtown (Dallas, TX) to work, and when we finally had to buckle down and buy a new car for my wife, we made sure it had a plug. We take the kids to Grandma and Grandpa's house on electricity, and we charge it there on my Dad's 7.2KW PV system to make the trip home. It may not be the most sustainable lifestyle we lead, but we're trying. Maybe we'll at least be able to weather through a few oil shock storms in the coming years.

I will miss reading new Drumbeat stories. Thanks, Leanan for your years of work.

During my 8+ years as a Drumhead, I've had TOD as my homepage. Don't know what I'll use to replace it. TOD is one of the best educational websites of all time. The cesation of its publications is a shame, and they will be sorely missed. Aloha!!

If anyone has a problem getting to The Energy Xchange try:

There is are comments there about the problem:
augjohnson — 2013, September 5 - 10:28pm

Well, something has changed. When I go to I don't end up here but at a new page with no forums. I can click on the Forum Read More link there but it just takes me back to the main page.

augjohnson — 2013, September 5 - 10:30pm

In fact, all the "stories" there just have gibberish text.

zurk — 2013, September 5 - 11:30pm

ya someone at aspo messed up the dns settings. jan will fix it probably.

It's hard to believe it's been 3 years, and 5 weeks since I joined- during when the Macondo well was spewing its noisome goo into the GOM. I've learned much from TOD, but mostly, I've learned how hopeless everyone's including my situation is.

I've not got any big bank account or inheritance to spend and try to manage my way out of what's bound to be a terminal future - I've realized there's no point in trying to save money, buy gold or silver (since I've got no money). One hope I've got are who will hopefully be chaste daughters who will be able through their desirability help the family achieve some status among the new aristocrats who will have their fanciful tastes. Perhaps the US government will be able, through some yet found magic, to pull the US citizenry through the spasms of oil scarcity - but I don't think it will happen.

Before TOD, I hadn't even considered Oil as being the driver of everything - I knew that Oil was what makes us live the way we do, but not how vital it was to the human race's surviving its overshoot. Now, I realize it is the root of everything we have become - Gods of our own destinies - as long as it lasts. Here's what I imagine will happen locally as Oil products begin to no longer arrive in this part of the World:

1. The stores will empty. 3 days (another TOD tidbit of knowledge) is all it's supposed to take.
2. Families will gather - as in a natural disaster - to wait out the shortage. They'll eat the canned goods and cereals.
3. The shortage won't end. The ones with what were the fullest tanks will run out of fuel or be smart and park their cars.
4. TV stations will fade out as the newscasters no longer have their own reserve - their reknown will be worthless.
5. Families and later, groups of families (gangs) who have run out of food will begin to raid others.
6. Those who have emergency stores, such as the Mormons, will run out, if they're not robbed and/or killed first.
7. Cities will teem with the mindless hungry, who will spill from the cities in a ravenous search for food, raiding and killing as they go along.
8. Cannibalism will become commonplace. A deathly hungry human has no conscience or reason.
9. Those who live in the countryside will be raided, the bodies at those well defended farms will pile up.
... etc ...

By 2150, the world population will be back to equilibrium with what's left of the environment, 1.5B or less souls will remain. The environment will be toast in many parts of the World, particularly the Old World, but even here in the US there will be badlands. The journey will be fraught with horror, and sorrow, as it begins with the people of the Bay of Bengal waving their arms frantically into the cameras that watch their suffering as the nations and ethnicities of the World withdraws into their own individual borders to fight in their own ways what they had known would come - the end of the addiction to Oil.

"The Horror. The Horror ... It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies!" - Marlon Brando, _Apocalypse Now_

This is why I in a fast collapse scenario I often describe the cities in a collapse situation as “roach motels”, you check in but you don’t check out. As far as leaving the cities to look for food, where? Most of the countryside is a “food desert”. The only thing Old McDonald has on his farm now is not chickens, not pigs, not a cow to be seen, but lots of beans or corn in the bins that are inedible without much processing. Raiding us rurals? Not a chance of being successful. Were very armed, know each other very well in our small community, a lot of seasoned vets who hate city slickers, and by the time you get to us you’ll look like graduates of Auschwitz U. Why would a central government let you out of the cities anyway? Think Paris 1871 or Warsaw 1944 where the armies surrounded the city and let the residents do the dirty work. Easier than trying to feed them.

This is just a mental exercise in response to your post, however. I suspect collapse will be slower more protracted over a period of a decade, one area at a time falling apart a’ la Detroit, Gary, or any rural small town you choose to pick. Impossible to call the “winners”. This is not a view I’ve always held, but hey, As Keynes said, one must adjust theory to observation.

I don't think the hungry will be much of a threat.

In Africa, with its frequent famines, it's usually the opposite of your scenario: the starving leave their rural farms and migrate to the cities. But they don't do any raiding or killing along the way. There wasn't a lot of raiding and killing during the Irish potato famine, either. Just a lot of people leaving the country.

I appreciate the passion of your concerns, but I really don't see any patterns in history that justify the sustained horrors that you describe. I do certainly realize that we are in an unprecedented situation as well, but these visions of rampaging cannibals, upheaval and brigandry seem to occur more as 'Flash Blazes', not as ongoing ways of life.

From sporadic periods of chaos, humans tend to grab at anything that will restabilize the environment. Often enough it means moving into subservience, but it takes other forms too. But the picture that you paint seems to be more an expression of our fear of the unknown as we see that the present model is really not working, and seems to be headed for inevitable change.

I'll drop in the Ian Malcolm lines again, from the Novel of Jurassic Park, as I think Crichton nails the Psychology of it perfectly.

'All major changes are like death. You can't see to the other side until you are there.'

.. I think such visceral dread is one of the things that makes our predictions so poor, as Leanan has often pointed out. One of my own fears is that the number of people who will insist on such a dismal future are helping to create a self-fulfilling prophecy out of it. Luckily for my anticipation, I think people's actual tendency to pull together in a crisis is far stronger and will have a louder voice when the time comes.

I suppose we'll see bits and pieces of that answer, here and there.

Best of luck to you all.. and Courage!

Bob Fiske

By 2150 Peak Oil will be an as important news as the Black Death. Climate change will have taken over the role as the driving disaster factor long before that.

I don't think I've been super active lately... In any case, I'll miss this site. I came over the GOM oil spill and just kept coming. Before, I never thought of oil and energy in general as being a major driver of civilization (as obvious as it is), but now I see it. It's a "what has been seen cannot be unseen" situations. Both Macondo and Fukushima Daiichi were terrible tragedies, but both were the result of a certain human need and greed - our desire for more, which is probably as much instinct as anything. Being here brought on a change in perspective that helped place our modern civilization on a timeline and in scale with the past - I feel very much as though we are on the crest of a wave which is breaking, but due to our short lifetimes we cannot properly gauge how absurd and ephemeral it all is.

A special thanks to Leanan and the other people who actually ran the site, but thanks to everyone just for being around. I learned a lot. I think of everyone here as friends and comrades, despite many differences we all can at least see that there IS an issue, and one deeper than "those evil oil companies / speculators / governments are making gas expensive!".

It's a shame I never got to meet anyone here in person, though I may have passed someone on the street or in the store (I know at least a few on this site other than me are in Hawaii). I don't have expertise in energy fields, so I gained much more than I could give. It was fun.

We should wear 'TOD' baseball hats when so inclined .. no explanation, except maybe a Gaussian curve or Operatic little Sharkfin graph running over top of it.. then there's a chance that kindred spirits can give us the secret handshake and a smirky wink, or share a Beer and chat..

Is 'The Oil Drum' trademarked? Everyone will wonder who Tod is.

Well, if they were to wind up here... wouldn't be a bad thing.

Tim Bennett, whom I met at the same time as coming to TOD, was perhaps the biggest single influence on broadening my thinking on societal/LTG/collapse issues.

Alan suggested email info in user profile. In case. :)

Thank you to all the people who have made this site possible and all those who have added their professional knowledge, insights, anecdotes and personal experiences to it.
Dr. Bartlett's video lecture brought me here initially. I wish I had been able to "join up the dots" in his manner many years prior.

Many thanks again.

How prepared are you for a cyberattack?

A column usually devoted to topics like what tablet to buy for your kid discusses what to do if there's a cyberattack and the power goes out.

A nation of doomsday preppers? I know folks who don't even keep three days worth of food. They eat out most of the time, or pick something up on the way home.

A dog show friend manages the computer/network-based distribution system for a regional supermarket chain and was trying to get the company PTB to do a major security overhaul of their inventory/distribution systems. "Like pulling teeth", he said. His (very qualified) assessment was that if these systems get hacked and go down, the stores would be empty in 48-72 hours; there is simply no backup, no way to do it manually. Even their voice communications with the stores and warehouses (such as they are) is VOIP based.

Your link suggests keeping cash on hand, though there may not be much stuff left to spend it on. A major, concerted cyber attack, if successful, means that pretty much everything stops, not good in a just-in-time economy that services a population which is largely, woefully unprepared. Quoting Matt from "Live Free or Die Hard", "how do you reboot an entire country?"

From the link:

Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano gave her farewell speech last week. She had quite a bit to say, but there was one thing that caught my attention: She warned that a major cyberattack is on the way....

...Of course, Napolitano wasn't just talking about American business. She was talking about America's infrastructure: power grid, communications, banking and so forth.

That's quite a parting shot.

Somewhat related, our local school system is going book-free this year; cloud-based teaching with laptops - all grade levels. I think this is going to be fun to watch.

Regarding the situation in Syria, based on news reports this morning even as Congressional support for an attack on Syria seems to be waning, the Obama Administration seems to be talking about expanding the scope of an attack.

I don't seem to be able to get any link through the selection process, so I'll just say there's an article today stating 4 Russian war ships are headed for Syria and also Putin saying he'll back up Assad. Uh, is Obama taking notes on any of this?

The senate has give their consent but the numbers are not looking good as you mention for Congressional approval. What is he thinking now discussing a bigger war effort in Syria? For once in my life I'm with Rand Paul who asks what if Syria bombs Israel, Israel bombs Syria, Iran then bombs Israel, the US retaliates against Iran and or Russia also bombs Israel or even the US ships for bombing Syria and or Iran? This situation has the potential to get out of hand very fast, and even if it goes decently well (which I doubt) the price of oil rising will put a ding in the world economy (as China has pointed out).

Obama's dug himself a hole on this red line bit he can still get out of if Congress nixes it. I hope for everybody's sake they do. Not long from now starts the domestic battle over the debt ceiling and QE needs to start tapering. That really ought to be enough to keep Obama busy.

According to this report, the warship info is older.

"In recent weeks, the Russian navy has also sent three warships to the Mediterranean off Syria. Russian reports suggest a fourth vessel, carrying a “special cargo”, is now on the way to the area. "

Today's Telegraph from England...Syria-Russia-will-stand-by-Assad-over-any-US-strikes-warns-Putin.html

Thanks for the clarification doug fir. 'special' cargo? It just keeps getting more interesting by the minute.

The stories coming out today as the G-20 summit winds down are quite inflammatory. The latest Telegraph piece basically has Obama-Putin daring the other, both saying the other out to lunch.

"President Vladimir Putin gave warning that Russia would stand with Syria if America launches military strikes against the country."

Special cargo and the MV Iran Deyanat is a fine example of what we don't know and weird "games" played just outside what we can see.

As an American, I'll be blunt. Whether true or not, I do not care if Assad gasses rebels or his own citizens. Let them fight their own war.

I must say that I'm a bit shocked how isolationist the USA has become. We've gone from a Ghung Ho invasion of Iraq to being too timid to even just launch a few cruise missiles at Syria. I view that as good & bad. It is great if we are more reflective and careful in our actions. But it is not so great if this is just a knee-jerk flip over to the other extreme after having had a bad experience in Iraq.

It is starting to look like this won't pass in the House. A combination of anti-war Democrats and neo-isolationist Republicans . . . but mainly the fact that the American people seem to be against it. But it is hard to know if this is a real long-term change in USA policies or something that is more of a temporary effect.

Not unilaterally launching punitive attacks against the wishes of Congress, the UN, and the world at large is hardly what I would call "isolationist". It is a bad idea, and I'm sure Obama wished he'd never uttered the words "red line".

C'mon, Spec, the invasion of Iraq was one thing I demonstrated against, for all the good it did. Over a decade later, we still have people there, and my nephew leaves Sunday for another (#2) tour in Afghanistan, after 3 tours in Iraq. At least his profession seems secure for now.

So what's the (real) plan for Syria? Welcome to the Empire.

Iraq was definitely a huge blunder IMHO. But I find it rather odd how we have such a major change of view without people even admitting that they've changed their view.

What's the real play for Syria? . . . I think just what they said it was . . . a punitive strike against a regime that used chemical weapons with the intention of deterring future chemical weapon usage and degrading his ability to do so. But apparently, people don't seem to believe that and instead feel there is a secret plan to try to get into the war or think it could accidentally escalate. I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory view since we've been quite satisfied with ignoring Syria for a couple years now. I guess I see something in the escalation argument.

I'm trying to understand how the American view changed so drastically. But I guess it is a combination of things . . . war-weariness, Anti-Obama-anything from some, austerity psychology, etc. Overall, I think this is much better than being so willing to invade but if we are not even going to launch a few missiles in response to chemical weapons usage then we should slash the defense budget massively instead of paying for something we won't be using. I guess sequestration is partially doing that.

I think your war-weariness theory is the correct one. Basically, Iraq had the opposite effect of the one hoped for by the neocons. Vietnam made Americans very wary of getting involved in overseas wars. The neocons thought Iraq would fix that. It was supposed to be low-hanging fruit - an easy mark that would change people's view of war, and let them "project our power" overseas.

Didn't work out that way. Nobody wants another Iraq. Nobody wants to lose their son or daughter to an IED. It's hard to call it a success. It did not lower gas prices. Nor did it transform the Middle East. And it's been wicked expensive.

WSJ OpEd: Peggy Noonan: Why America Is Saying 'No'

A point on how quickly public opinion has jelled. There is something going on here, a new distance between Washington and America that the Syria debate has forced into focus. The Syria debate isn't, really, a struggle between libertarians and neoconservatives, or left and right, or Democrats and Republicans. That's not its shape. It looks more like a fight between the country and Washington, between the broad American public and Washington's central governing assumptions.

I've been thinking of the "wise men," the foreign policy mandarins of the 1950s and '60s, who so often and frustratingly counseled moderation, while a more passionate public, on right and left, was looking for action. "Ban the Bomb!" "Get Castro Out of Cuba."

In the Syria argument, the moderating influence is the public, which doesn't seem to have even basic confidence in Washington's higher wisdom.

Note that the WSJ editorial page is solidly in favor of an attack.

Yes. I have the impression, the foreign policy establishment has lost almost all credibility. Simultaneously exhilarating, and frightening, at the same time. Maybe the country is about to change in some fundamental way, and its not at all clear where it is leading to.

Interesting that Local US Congressman had 150 people stop by at his gathering and 100% were against military action against Syria, But - well read the story - sigh

What do you do with sophisticated military might ? The US generals probably figured that engaging in Iraq let them look like they were doing something (with the associated income of being employed) with a possibility of significantly increasing Iraqi oil production and holding off increasing dissatisfaction with government at home.
Demonstrations as much by the general public have no effect on military activities in the US, you could say they are a separate group.

My post isn't in support of US military action in the Middle East - I'm just trying to trace out a reasonable thought process by the US military commanders. The situation in Iraq has become a huge mess with guerrillas repeatedly bombing Iraqi oil facilities.

In a strategic / risk of nuclear war analysis or escalation of war analysis, the situation in the Middle East brings US forces closer to Russia and China, both of which I'm sure don't like them being there. US presence in the Middle east significantly increases the risk of either China or Russia becoming involved against US forces and that could lead to a nuclear strike or larger scale conventional war with Russia or China being drawn in against the US. I'm really wondering what the US executive branch is thinking wishing to become increasingly militarily involved in the Middle East.

I didn't even think they wanted to become more militarily involved. In some sense, this is what I've heard happens in world rulers type games, where the idealistic anti-war types get so upset at the immoral way the others are playing the game, that they become ultra-hawks, and take outrageous risks.

How can one operate in a world with significant evil and hatred, without some it it rubbing off?

I generally have an aversion to conspiracy theories as well and have described what some have considered conspiracies as artifacts of a culture of corruption and deception. That said, our government, especially the executive branch, likely qualifies as an elected/appointed and sanctioned conspiracy. Definition of conspiracy from Wikipedia:

Conspiracy (civil), an agreement between persons to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of their legal rights, or to gain an unfair advantage.

When they take an oath of secrecy, even when it involves lying to the citizens who elected them, are they conspiring? Ellsberg, again, from Wikipedia:

Reflecting on his time in government, Ellsberg has said the following, based on his extensive access to classified material:

"The public is lied to every day by the President, by his spokespeople, by his officers. If you can't handle the thought that the President lies to the public for all kinds of reasons, you couldn't stay in the government at that level, or you're made aware of it, a week. ... The fact is Presidents rarely say the whole truth—essentially, never say the whole truth—of what they expect and what they're doing and what they believe and why they're doing it and rarely refrain from lying, actually, about these matters."

He was, of course, speaking from experience, and especially from his intimate knowledge of the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. I, for one, don't think that's changed, even if we collectively ignore it, which means on one level, it can't be a conspiracy since "we all know that they are lying to us". There is no deception. Oh my, it's all just theater isn't it?

Tell me you love me, Baby, even if it ain't so!
I'll believe it 'til the morning comes.

I have read that the term "conspiracy theory" was invented by someone at the CIA for exactly the purpose it is typically used for - to discredit ideas, and those that propose them, so that discussion and consideration of them can be stopped. It works very well, as no one wants to be tarred as a quack and so people self-censor.

Clearly the term is meaningless - people conspire every day, it is a normal human social trait. Therefore theories about conspiracies should be quite often true. But the term does not mean that at all. You just group the thing you don't want discussed in with a couple of really nuts other ideas, and thereby discredit it along with those who propose it.

Well said. I remember some intense diatribes against Conspiracy Theories here, where it always felt to me that the objection was that anyone suspecting foul play and collusion in some power structure, be it corporate, finance sector, governmental, or all of the above was being inherently unreasonable for not being more 'trusting of the system', not playing ball, not on the team.

I think the implicit threat of getting that label is like being handed the dunce cap in school, and having everyone encouraged to laugh you out of your views.

Ghung, I don't disagree with your following argument, but that doesn't really address the kinds of games that ARE consciously played in the halls of power, even if the actions are fairly mundane and blindly systemic at this point. To call them out is still needed if we are to try to provide some counterbalance that might correct our course, little bits at a time.

About Obama and the truth.. 'it's complicated' seems to be a useful place to start, no? Not Angels or Demons, but a zesty and challenging mix of forces pushing and pulling, acting out of habit, fear, hope and sometimes worthy ideals and concern for the long-term plight of one another.

Well, as one example of a real well-known conspiracy there was the gunpowder plot to blow up the English Parliament Hill and King James I with it in 1605. I think the group Anonymous has some "thing" for this historical event, although I have no idea why, good guess would be they don't like British monarchy.

A lot of humans do run off into the Delta zone with conspiracy theories of various types. So there are lots of straw-men, and straw-women, to compare to anyone who comes up with an explanation the powers don't like. And most of the time, they are right, -its just someone who has gone off on a wild mental tangent, and can't see how foolish he looks. And even the legitimate and careful dissenters, attract some nut cases to their cause. And these nutcases can be used to discredit the whole movement.

Are you referring to some specific group or conspiracy ?


Wow. A Jedi Knight, is this you ?

When I came here I worked as a welder. Now I do more social stuff. To truly master welding, you need to learn to be one with the arc/flame. You must be able to manipulate the melt pool with your mind, passively watching your hands working while you just focus on the light. Welding without thinking, welding beeing the arc/flame. When you have mastered that art, you are one with the welding process and have achieved welding enlightment. That is when you are a Jedi Welder.

I was good at that.

It is the same in all trade crafts. As a master cabinetmaker I often surprised myself what I could do with a saw, plane, or chisel without even thinking about it. When I retire in 3 months I’m going back to it.

No. I was being more general. I think these phenomena are not that uncommon.

Well, I made a post about a group called Anonymous .. I notice that most of the posters here never use their real names in these posts or in their profiles.. so are most of the posters on the theoildrum anonymous.. or this anonymity issue some kind of conspiracy theory of mine ?

What gets me is when people cite a conspiracy theory as the cause of something when often a simpler explanation is that it is just the system. NSA snooping is just the latest example. It is our entire tech world that is collecting your data and trying to monetize it. Your private data is the new gold and the NSA is just one of many potential buyers. And the number of buyers is expanding.

A new trend is for startups to base their company on monetizing your private data. For example, a recent article pointed out that schools will pay for companies to monitor students and faculty Facebook pages and other social media. This has the potential to be far more damaging to most individuals than what the NSA is doing. And I fear that this is just the beginning.

Note: By saying that it is the system, I am not approving. And I am not saying that the NSA is the good guy, it is not. What I am saying is that the problem is much larger than the NSA. I find the trend quite disturbing and do not know how to respond. As we often say on this site, it looks more like a predicament without a clear solution.

I can't help but think the Anti-Obama anything is playing a huge role also. Had he held as before, said we "need more time to study it" the press and country would be on his back. Throw in Obama-Care starting Oct 1, and QEx ending this fall also for good measure. I'm not a fan, but he couldn't endorse Christmas anymore.

I think that is true. If Obama said we will stay out of Syria, Faux News would say we should be doing more and that Obama is a lefty peacenik. On the other hand if Obama takes us into Syria, Faux News will say he is a war mongering Nazi who want to waste American lives and treasure.

If Obama gave a speech tomorrow and said "Generally speaking water flows down hill.." the Republicans would say it it's his commy leftist sociallist plot to deny water its freedom to go where it wants.

Why do you think it's Obama's fault ? Is it the military-industrial complex that pulls his strings - i.e - they are his puppet master ? Isn't the US president just a figurehead, really more like the Queen in England ?

I didn't say it was Obama's fault. I said that no matter what choice he makes, he will be attacked by the right.

Of course he would be, that's the nature of the adversarial US political system and similar to most parliamentary commonwealth systems, however unlike, e.g, the British parliamentary system the US has a presidential system, where the head of state is also the head of government. There is a positive point to be made that with greater powers a presidential system can react more quickly to a given situation, the negative side is that there is less of a check and balance.

Actually, the WSJ editorial page has been solidly in favor of attacking Syria, and of course the WSJ is part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

I'm trying to understand how the American view changed so drastically.

It's hard to understand why it took so long. The public of most Western nations have become aware, especially with recent revelations, of how they're deceived, lied to, manipulated and pauperised by the institutions they trust. A denouement has come about, the façade of legitimacy has collapsed to show a self-serving, insidious and corrupt Establishment that is out of control. People no longer believe in or trust the system in which they have to live, they're no longer participating.

No uprisings or protests, because the system is rotten to the core and cannot be reformed, a fact which is becoming self-evident to most, its no longer worth the effort. People are essentially turning their back on institutions that no longer serve them. They're getting on with their lives by alternate means... in the periphery (90 million Americans are no longer in the labor force).

We've fallen for some skillful distractions. Support our troops, was easily turned into -support our warlike policies. And a plurality (I think) had fallen for the meritocracy theory of rich versus poor, "the 1% deserve what they have, because they are better" (I am better too, and any day now I will join them on Elysium). because of that later glass of coolaide, we don't mind using what government we have to transfer more and more wealth and power to the 1%, and eliminate more and more services for the 99%.

So, now, maybe we've slipped out of our control programming? But, have we only slipped when it comes to military adventures? Or is it going to encompass other things as well? Or maybe, Tuesday night Obama will reel us back in?

It is not just Iraq. It is decades of misdirected, wasteful, and murderous adventures that in the end accomplished nothing but misery, waste of billions of dollars,mass death, and incapacitation.

Many of us think it is long past time that we shed our empire and quit running the world. There are no doubt dozens of situations in the world that call for humanitarian action but where does it end. Somehow, the deaths of 100,000 Syrians did not merit a response but now the death of 1100 Syrians by chemical means merits a response. And what if Assad doesn't make the appropriate response? Do we just keep bombing until he yells uncle?

And, further, if this is part of a strategy to replace the Assad government, what will end up in its place. There is a very good chance that those who take over from Assad will be as bad or worse.

I'm sure the contractors are waiting impatiently in the wings to help rebuild Syria, the same as in Iraq, and in Afghanistan they got paid billions to do a lot of nothing. Try to be more positive. Some folks make a killing off of this stuff.

It is not the death of the 1400 Syrians, it is principle of chemical weapons. Chemical are relatively cheap and inexpensive to make. If Assad uses them and gets no punishment then he could use them again AND so could any other dictator around the world. And granted . . . one can call the USA hypocrites for not doing anything about Saddam using chemical weapons back in the 80's. But two wrongs don't make a right.

So I worry about more chemical weapons being used in the future as there are more uprisings around the world due to oil depletion, climate change, economic upheaval, water depletion, ethnic fighting, etc.

Then again . . . one could take a very callous view and feel that nature has found a way to deal with populations growing too fast for regions that cannot support the population growth. :-( (Yeah, that sounds awful but read the comments after Syrian stories and it seems a lot of people are quite happy to 'just let them kill each other'.)

And how do you respond to this:

Finally, the elephant in the room is that even if Congress authorizes Obama's strike on Syria, it will still be in violation of the United Nations Charter. The war will still be illegal under international law.

Under the U.N. Charter, it is illegal for member states to attack each other because they claim another state is violating international law unless they are acting in self-defense or unless they are authorized to do so by a Security Council resolution. There is no such resolution with respect to Syria. The whole point of the Charter is to keep (for example) Russia from attacking (for example) Israel because Russia claims that Israel is violating international law. What goes for Russia attacking Israel also goes for the United States attacking Syria.

Thank you aug. This is the ref. I was hoping to find without having to look for it.:)

A crucial piece of info. against the "bomb-Syria" argument.

Notice that there won't be any replies? When something uncomfortable is pointed out, it will be just ignored... Just like CC...

Except our history post Korea at least has been that we only follow the rules when it suits us. It comes with having the biggest stick (and ego) in the neighborhood. You are allowed to get away with violating the rules, because no-one wants to get pummeled. And, you think you are so much better than the others, that you are unique, and shouldn't have to follow those pesky rules.

I know it is the principle of chemical weapons but then what do I make of the thousands lingering in hospitals, if lucky, and those who will spend the rest of their lives debilitated, crippled, paralyzed, and incapable of making a living. Chemical weapons, compared to the horrific results of all the bombs and missiles, may be a blessing. I may be a horrible death, but at least the death is a blessing compared to the horrors that people will have to endure going forward.

Syria is heavily impacted by climate change which has contributed to severe food shortages which has led to dissatisfaction. Combine this with population, and this problem will just get worse throughout the region and especially impacts those countries.

Continuing civil war has become a feature of the region and will only get worse given the lack of balance between population and resources.

I am not happy to have people kill each other but I feel the problem is too big and complex for us to fix.

Years ago my dad let out a room to a WWI vet who had been gassed. He was still coughing, fifty years later. Chemicals can maim as well as kill.

I shared an office space with a guy who had a horrible, constant hack, painful just to listen to. He knew where he acquired it:

Agent Orange or Herbicide Orange (HO) is one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its chemical warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of its use.[1][2] The Red Cross of Vietnam estimates that up to 1 million people are disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange.[3] The United States government has dismissed these figures as unreliable and unrealistically high.

A 50:50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, it was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical. The 2,4,5-T used to produce Agent Orange was contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), an extremely toxic dioxin compound. It was given its name from the color of the orange-striped 55 US gallon (208 l) barrels in which it was shipped, and was by far the most widely used of the so-called "Rainbow Herbicides".[6]

During the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the United States military sprayed nearly 20,000,000 US gallons (76,000,000 l) of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia, as part of Operation Ranch Hand....

[see wikipedia: agent orange]

My nephew's buddy has no doubts about where he acquired his chronic hack, after 4 tours in Iraq firing off tens of thousands of depleted uranium rounds.

Chemical warfare is where you find it, not what we say it is. My office mate died about 20 years ago from respiratory failure of some sort. He also had severe neurological symptoms that the VA blamed on ALS, "unrelated to his service". A little dioxin goes a long way.

Just trying to keep things in perspective.

Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of its use.

And now they complain about Assad in Syria ? huh.

It is not the death of the 1400 Syrians, it is principle of chemical weapons.

And what do you think explosives are? Minerals? Metals? Heck no, They are all chemical weapons and they are the major chemical weapon that is used by every country's military to kill other people.

What makes one chemical good and another bad? Is there really that much difference between having your body blown to bits by one chemical or having your body shut down by another chemical? You are just as dead either way!

It's certainly a nuancesd distinction, but I think that a reasonable explanation is that Chemical and Nerve agents seem particularly brutal in that they are not only to kill, but it seems clear that the intent is also to inflict great amounts of torture and misery upon the victims.. while they have also been notorious since they have repeatedly been used to torment particularly civilian populations.

Having seen people endure lengthy suffering, it's really no surprise that we do have some level of gratitude or respect for the 'gift' of a quick, deliberate death over one intended to create massive misery before the end.

Of course, today is the fourth anniversary of my mom's quick passing, where we had been hiking in the woods weeks before, and the cancer 'announced itself' and took her away from us in a matter of days, really. It was brutal, but also a 'clean break'.

Chemical and Nerve agents seem particularly brutal in that they are not only to kill, but it seems clear that the intent is also to inflict great amounts of torture and misery upon the victims..

Then what of the long term heavy metal effects of DU? Where are the cries out outrage over depleted Uranium by the same group who decry a lack of action over the use of "chemical" agents?

It's all putting out fires, Eric. Keeping countless worthy plates spinning..

You surely know there is a contingent that's vocal about DU, about AntiPersonnel Landmines, against Cluster Munitions, etc, etc..

Are you disputing the idea, or just complaining that each of these only gets to strut their 15 seconds upon the World Plaintive's Box before one of the others has to get up there and be ignored in their turn?

I'm just pointing out what seems to make Chemical attacks rate as particularly egregious in the eyes of many. Something about playing with your food before killing it, or your food's kids, I suppose.

Are you disputing the idea,

I'm more looking to collaterally estop one from expressing a concern about the action in one nation with environmental toxins and demand some other nation do something when some other nation is busy spreading long term environmental toxins.

Umm.. just because the US is doing something that is also wrong doesn't mean that there's no reason to be concerned about chemical warfare being targeted at a civilian population.

Who does it help to try to squelch the discussion because you can point out one or another hypocrisy by the claimant? For the current issue with Syria, that's simply a different discussion.

If we see another Rwanda happening, do we have to wait until the US is unassailable before choosing to either condemn or possibly react to the situation? I don't favor any of the military responses I've heard.. I think there could be far more creative and constructive ways to handle such a problem.. but of course with this one, I doubt we even have been given a very clear picture of what's really been making all this mess happen in the first place.

just because the US is doing something that is also wrong doesn't mean that there's no reason to be concerned about chemical warfare being targeted at a civilian population.

But that is not the discussion point at issue, is it?

If one is going to claim one has some kind of moral authority to act between 2 parties happening inside their sovereign borders over an attack with a material that causes harm to civilians that is a fine argument to make. There is an entire rabbit warren one can wander in about the right of Nation States to be sovereign and what that means.

But when the Nation making the 'we have a moral responsibility' is also using a weapon like Depleted Uranium which causes long term harm to civilian populations due to its heavy metal toxicity and all it would take to not cause THAT harm is just not use DU - the ability to claim a moral high ground evaporates does it not?

Having the chairman of the committee making the 1st pass at the decision loosing at electronic poker (which is illegal is it not?) while making the decision should have people asking questions about the decision making process.

Then there is the issue of correctly identifying if the use of the weapons actually happened (seems to) and if Assad gave the order to use them (this has conflicting reporting).

If we see another Rwanda happening

I do hope everyone puts in an answer to this question - was the source of the strife some kind of racism between the parties?

I doubt we even have been given a very clear picture of what's really been making all this mess happen in the first place.

Hence my asking for a clarification as to the background on Rwanda. Already I've pointed out that perhaps Assad is not to blame for the attack cited.

We Humans are easily mislead - Edward Bernays demonstrated that. There are other reasons at play here beyond durf-hurf moral high ground/protect civilians.

Who cares about Assad.

The state is fundamentally unethical if it operates coercively (by force/violence), which it does.

The kool-aid is people buying into its legitimacy. We are all anarchists. (Save, perhaps, for those into S&M.) Many, if not all, of the talking heads in the news, for example, appear to talk essentially under the influence of kool-aid. They usually, if not always, conflate/confuse 'we' with 'the governmobs'-- their pimps, not their reps. (Some abusive relationships are hard to leave.)

Russia Today's folks can't talk much about anarchism or Russia's own governmob activities perhaps in large part because it is funded by it. It's all propaganda. You can swallow your own, but don't expect me to. At least not without sufficient bombing, torture, solitary confinement, intimidation, spying & blackmailing, etc., and coverup.

Manning is in prison, Assange is in prison and Snowden is in prison.

"Give me back my broken night
My mirrored room, my secret life
It's lonely here,
There's no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
Over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
That's an order!" ~ 'The Future', by Leonard Cohen

Who cares about Assad.

I'm guessing the people who wrote the below do:
"And it is now very strongly believed inside the Beltway that Syria is planning to use BW in the event of a US attack. It is known that she has smallpox virus that was stolen from a Swiss vaccine lab some time ago."

Ah well anyway, perhaps one or two of the predicted effects of this post peak oil thing-- resource wars and die off-- might be kicking in... 100 000 in Syria alone so far? But, hey, didn't prince william have a kid recently?
So where are you headed in the mean time? ASPO's TOD clone? Your own site? South Chile? At this rate, Bouvet Island is starting to look better every day. You should contact me about the boat too. Just about no idea/plan seems as psychotic as what we already live with.

BTW, my all-time favorite TOD quote from my 3+ years here goes to bryantheresa, on April 4, 2012 (April 2 Drumbeat):



"O.o I like Carl Sagan too, but what are you trying to say with this?
that a home energy generator would be something that pulls energy from the 4th dimension into the third?"


"We are all made of star-stuff."


"I'm made of Oreo cookie centre stuff."

So where are you headed in the mean time? ASPO's TOD clone? Your own site?

Thank you for asking but no where. If any of the sites I regularly posted were of value to any of the TOD diaspora they will show up on the new places.

I may lurk but I have no intention of posting at this time on any of the TOD replacements. And I doubt HIGHLY that the management of any of the new places want me showing up.

Fair enough about that, but what was meant by 'your own site' was one you coded and/or created yourself, such as perhaps in Drupal? Give me a shout also if you might want to provide some input to Permaea's Drupal site and maybe it will actually materialize.

As for your last point, well, take a look at zurk, who has been or was apparently banned here, and yet who seems to be hosting the TOD alternative and temporarily hosting ASPO's Pipeline/Exchange/?. ...I guess one obvious point is that everyone's going to grok online intercourse differently and once and awhile, some will fall off the bed, or push others off, or hog the blankets, etc.. Maybe you snore. Do you like text, computers? For me, it's love-hate.

And then there's real life, such as aboard a boat. Maybe some are better at that-- at their best on deck in a storm, while others are at their best in the doldrums. Maybe if you pad a big enough crow's nest, one or two might even want to sleep up there, even in a gale. Post your email to your account.

Permaea's Drupal site

And this is? (never heard of it)

hosting the TOD alternative and temporarily hosting ASPO's Pipeline/Exchange/?

Good for him that he stepped up and gave the ASPO effort a home. ASPO has a better chance of attracting the moderators - with getting the human talent being the biggest issue I foresaw with Zurk's full automation effort. Now "we" get to see if the moderation makes a big difference in what happens on NewTOD AKA ASPO's effort.

Permaea, which I mention very occasionally over at The Permaculture Research Institute's Permaculture News site (and here on TOD), is a portmanteau of Pangaea and Permaculture, which is, itself, a portmanteau of permanent and culture. It only exists so far as an idea, but as we all know, ideas are bullet-proof. ;)
I'm half happy TOD is haitusing because it might get me and hopefully others to move more on Permaea. Permaea is anyone's who wants it to be.
It is expected to be a decentralized 'glocal' self-governing hyperdemocratic-cum-anarchic 'country', so to speak, or, if you will, a kind of 'set of local area nodes within a peer-to-peer network of self-governing locales'. Maybe someone else might arrive at a better description.

Eric, is that a CIA tweet? Where'd you get that?

I got it from a web site/source that was claiming there was gonna be a nuking of Houston back a decade ago.

This web site later provided some historical references that I found interesting so I've kept reading it.

And it is not like one is going to find an opensource'd reference beyond 'these countries and companies are known to have smallpox for research purposes' for verification. You might find an announcement to 'taking the smallpox DNA sequence the virus has been recreated with a DNA printer'. So verification will be hard to do, unless one has deep top secret access and go to the right database.

Said site also functions as an aggregation point and some of those articles have proven interesting.

If you wish to find the website, typing in the phrase into a search engine will get you there. Following that breadcrumb will lead to another:
" It was possible to find many solutions and to boost the immune system using unknown substances to protect against bioweapons. "

Now one might ask "Hey, why follow that trail of breadcrumbs?" How about

The new flu which has emerged in China has unique traits, say scientists.

It is able to infect both the nose, giving it the potential to spread easily, and penetrate deep in the lungs where it causes pneumonia

So understanding what one can do to boot immune systems has value.

Eric: Thanks. Glad I asked. Sounds like you, too, got the "detective" gene. If you want to talk breadcrumb trails sometime, drop me a note (address at profile page). 2003 (a decade ago) was a year of much intrigue. I keep turning up trails that lead back to that year. I honestly don't know why people read "fiction" intrigue when the real stuff is so fascinating. Maybe just because it can have an ending.


Eric: Thanks. Glad I asked.

You are quite welcome.

If your breadcrumbs are public, why not post them in public?

I honestly don't know why people read "fiction" intrigue when the real stuff is so fascinating.

Many times fiction is based in a real life fact.

In my opinion, The U.S expending stand-off weapons (cruise missiles, specifically, the AGM-86C Alr Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) and the Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile/Tactical Tomahawk (TLAM/TacTom), the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile, and the Standoff Land Attack missile (SLAM), as well as gravity bombs (various types of Joint Direct Attack Munitions [JDAMs] will cause a lot of excitement for the cable and internet news operations, cause some profits to replenish weapons stocks, and ultimately won't be any more effective than dumping hundreds of buckets of warm spit over Syria.

We don't know the 'good guys' from the 'bad guys'.

All we will do is blow wads more of our resources and cause eventual blowback to us.

Like Alaska said, Obama won't be judged to do anything right by the folks who hate him a priori.

Besides, the U.S. has looked the other way when chem weapons were used before, when we thought it suited our larger interests, IMO:

'We won't get fooled again'...hopefully so this time...we shall see...or maybe we do what we typically do...the proles will succumb to the yellow-dog flag-waivers and demand 'action'...or the deciders will do whatever they want otherwise any rate none of this foderol helps us prepare successfully for future resources constraints.

I hope people finally get tired of all these entangling foreign engagements and the 'Team America' global cop drumbeat.

See ya 'round the internet

principle of chemical weapons. Chemical are relatively cheap and inexpensive to make. If Assad uses them and gets no punishment

And what if the parties who used them were not Assad ordered to do such?

In such case it would be possible to attack any country with enough criminals. As the situation is nowadays it is more likely used by someone try to lurk USA to help.

I must say that I'm a bit shocked how isolationist the USA has become. We've gone from a Ghung Ho invasion of Iraq to being too timid to even just launch a few cruise missiles at Syria.

US policy is driven not by 'isolation' but by money.

Would there be an interest if there was no oil at stake?

Some prefer to replace the term isolationist with non-interventionalist
See Scheuer's blog non-interventiondotcom

According to news reports, Obama is going to do a prime time address to the nation, regarding Syria, on Tuesday night.

Most likely to drum up national support for an attack on Syria, so constituents call their reps to vote in favor of military action. I don't think anything at this point will change their minds, because they don't want Obama to have an out, a legitimate distraction from upcoming debt ceiling negotiations or the potential pitfalls of opposing Putin.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear references to the failure of appeasement in the Thirties, prior to Germany invading Poland in 1939. Churchill said, after the Munich Agreement in 1938, "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war." Russia (or more accurately the Soviet Union) had a mutual defense pact with Czechoslovakia, and they were disgusted with Great Britain and France over the Munich Agreement. The Soviet Union was only too happy to divide up Poland with Germany, in 1939. What if Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union had all jointly threatened war with Germany over Czechoslovakia?

On the other hand, following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist in 1914, Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia, an ally of Russia, triggering the First World War--indirectly contributing to the Second World War. What if Austria-Hungary had not attacked Serbia?

Was it Mark Twain who said that history does not repeat, but it rhymes? I would think that a US attack on Syria, an ally of Russia, would be more similar to 1914 than to 1938.


I heard from somewhere: since Russia is an ally, really all they'd have to do now is to simply put a couple of MIGs (or whatever the latest is) on the ground. The fact they have not already done this means they won't respond with escalating force.

(At least, I hope not. Given that the use of nukes by folks who actually have the nukes...words insufficient.)

Anyway, what do you make of the above argument?

You are probably right, but on the other hand, there is always a strong possibility of unintended consequences, and Russia has a small naval base in Syria. In any case, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister appears to have made some carefully constructed statements that are somewhat contradictory.

Reuters: Russia sends more naval ships to Syrian coast

The Defence Ministry declined to comment on the reports but Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Thursday the Russian navy currently had a "pretty strong group" there.

"The Russian navy does not intend to take part directly or indirectly in a possible regional conflict," he told the state Rossiya 24 broadcaster. "Our navy vessels are a guarantee of stability, guarantee of peace, an attempt to hold back other forces ready to start military action in the region."

Landing ships Minsk and Novocherkassk and the reconnaissance ship Prirazovye passed through the Bosphorus on September 5. on their way to the Mediterranean and Moscow has also sent missile cruiser Moskva and destroyer Admiral Panteleyev there. Russia has a small naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartous, its only naval base outside the former Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union was only too happy to divide up Poland with Germany, in 1939.

And it is interesting that England declared war against Germany for invading Poland, but did not declare war against the Soviet Union for invading Poland. Why?

Also, England had the same mutual defense pact with Finland that they had with Poland. When the Soviet Union invaded Finland at the start of WWII which of the two countries did England declare war on? Well Finland - of course.

And, of course, this is the England that attacked and conquered Scotland and Ireland. Took over Australia and New Zealand from the locals at bayonet point and forced China to buy drugs like cocaine from the British drug merchants. (And I am NOT against England, but I think that their declaration of war on Germany was more because Germany was becoming too powerful in international affairs and England was afraid of losing some of their Global Power status to Germany and they could not accept that?)

It all goes to show that you can not trust any Government to tell the truth, keep their agreements or anything else that is civilized?

I stand by my statement that Government is the problem, not the solution.

As Churchill famously said' "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.". The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I'm not sure I like to hear things like "this is the England that attacked and conquered Scotland and Ireland...", when no-one in living memory knew anyone who had living memory of those events. I do think time can change nations.

They also built brittish museum with stuff from all around the globe.

Imagine if Britain had tried to be consistent, and declared war on both Germany and Russia in 39? There is no way Britain could beat either foe alone, but the combo. Hitler was perceived as a direct existential threat by Britain (and rightly so). They darn near were defeated in 40, in fact. Would Hitler have gone ahead with Barbarosa if Stalin was fighting the Brits at the time?

Sometimes you gotta choose your friends and enemies based on something other than merit.

The US did a deal with the mafia, that paid big dividends during the invasion of Sicily, but which obviously hurt the Italians after the war. As Churchill said, if the devil had declared himself an enemy of Hitler, he would have had to consider him in a favorable light.

As I heard the story about the battle of Britain a German bomber accidently bombed London, Churchill got pistoff and bombed Berlin, Hitler got pistoff and bombed London instead of military targets. As Hitler choosed the civilian targets the RAF could build in strength and eventually the balance shifted.

In the east he redirected forces on the way to oil rich caucasus to Stalinggrad there he also stubbornly stayed. If had succeeded with caucasus half of the forces trapped in Stalinggrad may very well have done a major difference in the west.

To team up with the mafia is really like team up with the devil.

My prediction is that this action ultimately will happen, regardless of the vote or the speech. This is because I don't think the various actors have as much choice in any of this as seems to be assumed by most. This is the kind of thing that drives the cycles of the rise and fall of civilizations, and why the patterns repeat in ways that are often uncanny. Humans will not give up power willingly, and even if you wanted to how do you let go of the crocodile's tail?

I think there exist fallback positions. We are already training some of the rebels (in Jordan), and could step up that sort of activity. That seems to fly under the media radar. But missile attacks, apparently no-longer do -at least if we have a debate about before the attack. In the past we launched such attacks, without debate -or warning, and the public was presented with a fait-accompli. This is far more deliberative.

We don't live in 1960 BNW ((b)efore (n)uclear (w)eapons) anymore. From a destructive standpoint, nuclear weapons delivered to the target via land-based silo ICBM's or submarines (SSBN) equipped with ICBM's sitting off the coastline make conventional warfare (including fighter jets, conventional explosives, and cruise missiles) look like children throwing sticks at each other, relatively speaking. Please review the terms nuclear and strategic deterrence, and deterrence theory. Keep in mind that deterrence theory is possibly flawed.
We live in a world where the US, France, Britain, China and Russia have full nuclear strike capabilities, and getting involved in the Middle East must be making Russia and China annoyed with the US increasing the risk of global nuclear war. It really is a miracle that hasn't happened already, with the possibility of any of the five detecting incoming ICBM's (whether real or false) and initiating a real counter-attack.

I really don't think the countries that became the allies, were at all ready for war in 38. Not mentally, and the military preparedness wasn't there either. So they could well have turned on the government, rather than enthusiastically signing up to fight. It probably would have ended badly.

What is the point of your post ? It's just that I detect some kind of emotional appeal in it .. not that that's always a bad thing. Come on now, you can do better than that. :-)

No. Its that appeals to Munich to make the case for an early military response, don't hold up to scrutiny.

And I have dashed off a short pithy speech for him. Here it is;

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for a few moments of your attention. After a chance consultation with an old geezer in the hills, I have decided to make a complete turnabout in US international strategy. Here it is, short and simple
A bad situation arises, We think it over and decide who is the bad guy. Then we make things really miserable for him, nobody else- since after all, everybody is just people like you and me. And if somehow he keeps being a bad guy, we kill him, nobody else.

take Saddam, as an easy demonstration example. We decide he was a bad guy, so, from our new policy, Saddam wakes up one morning and finds his breakfast is loaded with sand, his mercedes won't start, and all his goons have gone off to have a high time in their favorite sin cities,heavily funded, seemingly out of nowhere. So he tries to go on the air to denounce satan who has done all that, and - out comes nothing but advertisements for soda pop,

He also finds that if he wishes, he too, can go off, heavily funded, to sincity. He goes. Now, all we gotta do is find a good guy. Real cheap, nobody gets hurt, fun.

I thank you for your kind attention. Have a good century.

Ok here's an odd thought. Let's say we know future lack of fuel would make our military much less able to project force at a distance in the near future.

Would it make sense, while we have enough ourselves, to bump off the major assets of all the potential foes, so we can maintain relative strength?

Just a thought.

Ironically, a lack of fuel would still permit the most severe projection of military might but limit proxy wars.

They told Lebanese embassy staff and family to leave.

US refiners no longer care @ Keystone XL pipeline

They think the tar sands producers will get hit with the higher cost of transport by rail, But the oil will flow !


I found TOD during Katrina and lurked for three years. I was too intimidated by the quality of the comments to dare venture an opinion. In those days TOD was very much into concrete numbers. It has broadened into a more speculative look at energy issues and how to cope with diminishing fossil fuel use.

Commenters fell into various classes and I learned from all of them:

- The doers, actually building and living a low-energy life.

- The professionals, bringing industry knowledge and insight.

- The analysers, planners, academics, and activists.

- A wider perspective from different places, generations, and professions.

- Even the kibitzers and kvetchers like myself.

And especially Leanan and the staff who compiled the articles and kept things going for more than eight years and 6,500 posts.

Thank you all for making me a more informed and I hope socially responsible person.

Couple of transportation links...

Lighter cars add weight to repair costs

More use of weight-saving materials such as aluminum, carbon fiber and high-strength steel are boosting gas-mileage in new cars, but also are complicating and adding cost to repairing them after accidents.

Automakers are under intense pressure both to save weight for gas mileage and to meet stricter crash-test standards. But the sometimes exotic materials needed to meet those goals mean replacement parts not only cost more, but often require elaborate repair techniques that are taxing skills in some body shops.

They also raise concern about dangerous repair shortcuts or substitution of cheap steel parts instead of costly ones that came with the car.

New electric bike can haul 100 pounds of cargo

The bike, a cross between a bicycle, motorcycle and beast of burden, is the brainchild of California bike designer Neal Saiki. He hopes the $4,800 2X4 will catch on with regular people running errands, as well as companies that deliver packages, fruit boxes, pizzas and other goods in urban areas.

Especially in the beginning, I marveled at how the staff and commenters here could be so fast...rapid feedback, the meat grinder aspect...I thought most here didn't have a paid job. That changed, but still you wonder how some could hold the fort together. Work, family and TOD.

Though never stated, I saw you as a civil engineer for the state of New York with a love for baseball. That correct? Maybe someone will send a pr of tickets to the series.

I'm amazed by the price tag!! I saw the photo of it and it doesn't look like $4800 worth of technology and design. Good heavens....

I have a Miyata, it costed $600, very rugged and sturdy. I can carry easily 60 pounds total in the front and back baskets. However, when it is fully loaded then I walk it home; too heavy to pedal easily.

But by walking I avoid the battery and the elecricity usage and the fitness club.

Yeah, I agree. I'm not sure what that bike offers that other electric assist bikes do not. That guy from the Chicago area said he used an e-bike with a trailer to lug hundreds of pounds of stuff from Home Depot to renovate his house - everything from sheet rock to bathroom fixtures.

Maybe it handles hills better. It also looks to be very sturdy, which is something I am willing to pay for. I will pay more for something that lasts a long time, vs. something that will end up in the landfill in a few months or years. It's more convenient for me not to have to replace it, and it's better for the environment.

Many of the fancier e-bikes out there cost around $3000 - $7000. It's partly a matter of small-scale production (hand-made?), and partly a matter of what the (small) market will bear. Sort of why organic local food costs as much as it does. It's a good thing there is some sort of market, so the designs keep advancing (and the small farms get established). Meanwhile I stick to the "Giant Lite" e-bike that I bought 3 years old for $900, 8 years ago - and put 5000 miles on thus far. It was IMO the best design available then for not much more than $1000, and still is - but they stopped making them in 2008 since the low-end market pushed for even cheaper (but inferior) designs. Markets are finicky. VHS beat Beta.

Mariners love Prodeco's eBikes. Hold up well in the Marine Environment. Possibly the best value. Example: Made in Sunny Florida.

Three peak energy pioneers. (bottom row). Walter Youngquist wrote the classic GeoDestinies. (1997). He also provided editorial assistance for Ivanhoe's Hubbert Center Newsletter. What can one say about Garrett Hardin? At Ivanhoe's request, Hardin submitted an article for the newsletter. It dealt primarily with coal and - unfortunately - was not published. I believe that the HCN helped inspire organizations such as ASPO and TOD

And let's not forget M. King Hubbert, an early Technocrat who helped write their study guide in the 1930s

True, Hubbert should be eulogized in this final Drumbeat. Ivanhoe did feature Hubbert in the first two issues of the Hubbert Center Newsletter. He did not have the space to cover the interesting depression era technocracy movement. (96-1 and 97-1)

Thank you, Leanan, for all that you have done for us TOD readers. I have always been impressed with your breadth of knowledge, insights into human behavior, and how you are able to find all these articles and references.

Thank you and good fortune to all, with special thanks to Leanan for overseeing the madness! It should be an interesting ride.

Funny quote from Margaret Atwood's latest novel MaddAddam: "Heart like shale. What you need is a good fracking."

I love her work. Her dystopic novels about possible Earth futures are humorous and well worth a read.

Was just flipping back through the pages of old Drumbeats. All show 0 new messages. There's no way I 'cleaned out' all of 'em by going back and reading all messages 'till they were dead. I do that sometimes, but I looked over several months worth. So, is the 'new message' function somehow disabled on older threads? Thought that for awhile I'd be able to fill the void by reading fresh material, even if months (years?) old. But now perhaps I can't see what's new to me? Leanan, Kate, SuperG...?

Looks like it is disabled on older threads. I'm guessing once the threads are closed to comments, the new flags go, too.

I thought this was an individual situatioin - that if you hadn't read what's new to you that the tags don't disappear.

But I am just an egg. :}


It used to be that way. Not anymore. I'm guessing SuperG is gearing down.

Thanks... bummer.

The Oil Drum is one of my favorite sites in the history of the Web. Best wishes to all.

U.S. birth rate hits record low

The Great Recession and the slow recovery have been quite the romantic buzzkill.

The U.S. fertility rate fell to another record low in 2012, with 63.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's down slightly from the previous low of 63.2 in 2011.
us birthrate vertical

It marked the fifth year in a row the U.S. birth rate has declined, and the lowest rate on record since the government started tracking the fertility rate in 1909. In 2007, the rate was 69.3.

In 1909 the US birthrate was twice last year's at 127 births per 1000 women.

According to CBS news, the 1909 statistic may be unreliable and -

The U.S. birth rate's peak was in 1957 during the "Baby Boom," reaching 122.7 births per 1,000 women -- almost double today's rate.

The birth rate had held steady at around 65 to 70 births per 1,000 women since the mid-1970s, but has been falling since 2007, likely due to the recession, according to the report.

They also report that abortions have fallen 5% during the "Great Recession".

As TOD fades into history...

Last Hitler bodyguard Rochus Misch dies

A former bodyguard of Adolf Hitler who witnessed the Nazi dictator's final hours has died in Germany aged 96.

Rochus Misch was the last survivor from Hitler's bunker in Berlin.

The former SS man had operated the telephones in the bunker and had proudly reminisced about his wartime duties for the "boss".

Are humans smarter than yeast as totoneila (Bob Shaw in Phx,Az) used to ask?

Best hopes for no WW3.

Things feel decidedly weird. Perhaps half the parties in the Australian election promise to repeal the carbon tax. That will probably win the day despite the warmest winter (June, July, August) on record. Since I promised to vote for the brother of my garbage collector (I'm grateful, I live on a steep gravel road) I filled out the Senate voting ticket the long way that required numbering the boxes 1-54. It was hard to put any number against the Climate Sceptics Party but it had to be done for the vote to count. There was no Wikileaks candidate in my state.

My feeling is that the public is in a phase of denial about climate change, peak oil, limits-to-growth and so on. Maybe some sort of accept it but think it's being handled the wrong way. It's like that game musical chairs; when the music stops everybody wants to be securely positioned. It could be even more weird when everybody 'gets it'.

They probably think, somebody else created this problem. And they want me to pay! Well to heck with that!

Leanan: Thanks for you dedication to getting the members of the oil drum community the best information on energy and related topics. I have learned a great deal from the Drumbeat and have enjoyed the dialog with other bloggers.

I think the effect of The Oil Drum on serious thinkers will be shown soon. The fact that oil prices are slowly rising even with slightly higher supply are evidence that we are near world peak oil. In two or three years the media will not be hyping the US course for "energy Independence", IMO.

The Oil Drum will be missed by many.

Thanks all.

Well, this site has been a good ride. All you guys who made it happen, contributors, managers and commenters, thank you all.

Hopefully we will meet again on some other site.

I hoped somebody else would bring this up, before we disperse.

But since no one has, how about some comments on the best recent books involving our areas of interest?

Books are expensive these days, and only a few of the sort we are most interested in can be found at the local library or Barnes and Noble .

I much prefer to spend my limited funds on books recommended by friends such as I have made here to ordering them at retail almost at random.

A book may not be worth the time it takes to skim it, never mind the price.

It seems rather likely many others here are similarly situated in respect to both time and money.

My current read is John Keegans book "The first world war". Best I read on the subject. He spend lots of pages explaining how they got into that mess. Wich has some parallells to todays political situation. In a worrying kind of way.

Interesting book. I just downloaded it.

An excerpt:

The First World War was a tragic and unnecessary conflict. Unnecessary because the train of events that led to its outbreak might have been broken any any point during the five weeks of crisis that preceded the first clash of arms, had prudence or common goodwill found a voice; tragic because the consequences of the first clash ended the lives of ten million human beings, tortured the emotional lives of millions more, destroyed the benevolent and optimistic culture of the European continent and left, when the guns at last fell silent four years later, a legacy of political rancour and racial hatred so intense that no explanation of the causes of the Second World War can stand without reference to these roots.

Yes. That war has always seemed peculiar. Like why did it happen. And how did it get so intense and large. Its like two side with minor grievances could find no way out other than escalation. And escalation included doing whatever it took to bring another country into that war. Often that whatever took the form of offering them territorial spoils of your now joint enemy. So the stakes kept getting higher and higher, for more and more. It didn't help that some players (Germans) were spoiling to create a colonial empire, and were willing to use violence to do so. I wish I could understand, how people could let it go so wrong.

If I were only going to read one book it would be Hall and Klitgaard. However there are several other admirable authors - actually more than I have the time or sufficient commitment to read.

Our beautiful earth might have a chance if, in fact, the villan/hero of Dan Brown's novel "Inferno" accomplished his goal. I will not do a "spoiler alert" and tell the surprising end....but I wish it could be.

Leanne, et al: You are breaking my heart, but I understand your(group) decision. I've been a member for 6+ years and never missed a day of
enlightenment.I have rarely commented. I will certainly miss Rockman (already do), westexas, ghung, Todd,etc etc etc etc.

I will comment on one of the other threads about 'what I've learned...what I'm doing," etc

Nature's Metropolis

Chicago and the Great West

William Cronon (Author)

Awarded the 1992 Bancroft Prize and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award for Best Nonfiction Book of 1991.

In this groundbreaking work, William Cronon gives us an environmental perspective on the history of nineteenth-century America. By exploring the ecological and economic changes that made Chicago America's most dynamic city and the Great West its hinterland, Mr. Cronon opens a new window onto our national past. This is the story of city and country becoming ever more tightly bound in a system so powerful that it reshaped the American landscape and transformed American culture. The world that emerged is our own.

After reading this I now have a sense of why North America became the economic entity it is, the importance of affordable and reliable transportation, and why capital and liquidity are fundamental to the functioning of the economy.

I read it because I kept coming across recommendations for the book. Among other blogs I recall someone here on the Drumbeat recommending it, and Paul Krugman as well. Here's what he had to say...

As it happens, I’m rereading William Cronon’s Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West — yes, on my Kindle, which has made a serious improvement in my life. And everyone with any interest in economics should read his account of the rise of the Chicago Board of Trade. Railroads changed everything. It wasn’t just the fact that stuff could be shipped further, faster, cheaper; the railroad also led to the replacement of concrete with abstract forms of ownership (the farmer owned a receipt for a bushel of grain, not a particular sack), standard-setting, futures markets, and on and on. If you’ve read Marc Levinson’s The Box, about containerization (which you should), it’s startling to see how many of the themes were prefigured by the grain trade, as standard-sized rail cars replaced flatboats, as grain elevators essentially began treating grain as a fluid rather than a solid, as conveyor belts replaced stevedores toting sacks.

This is it, the last Drumbeat. I will miss getting these news updates, and the community that comments on them, including the people I may not agree with. Thanks, Leanan, for your years of work. Thanks to readers.


Leanan, thank you for all of the hard work on this excellent resource. Your efforts will be sorely missed.

All things pass, great or small. To me, this is a great passing, for I have greatly benefitted from this site. I thank all the admins, moderators, contributors, and commenters. Though I did not agree with everything I saw here, I learned something from each. I go on with renewed strength, knowing there are at least a few ethical, compassionate, caring and competent people in this, our only world, and that world is the better for them. I look forward to hearing of their achievements in other venues and other times to come.

May fortune attend us all.


Wanted to take this last oppo to thank Leanan and all the staff at TOD for their work over the years.

I, and many others to whom I recommended the site, pointed to articles, and so on, have learnt a tremendous amount, were amazed at something new to discuss, see the debates, and so on. I’ve even put some of your articles to not really-Eng. speaking teenagers... Your work ...spread.... and will not be forgotten.

All best wishes for the future to all of you.

8 years 2 weeks. I'm a better, if more melancholy man for time I've spent here.

Leanan, thank you for your work over the years. The Drumbeats are the highest signal to noise comment forms I've ever encountered.

I suppose comedian Dara O'Briain's comments on science might be applied to TOD: "Science doesn't know everything, if it did, it would know, and it would stop."

'Melancholy Man'... sounds like a film. Have you or anyone else ever seen the recent film, Melancholia? It's about the story of some people immediately before a rogue planet smashes into Earth.

Spoiler (dedicated to AlanfromBigEasy): The planet eventually slingshots past the Earth, but not fast enough to escape its gravity, and so it resumes its trajectory back toward Earth.
(Good fun. Bring the whole family.)

I read this on Rigzone, "Oil Firms Rein in Spending to Save Cash for Dividends" and thought, just as TOD is shutting down comes this further evidence of peak oil. I mean, if capital is cut back how does the meme of rising output survive. Negative cash flow. Borrowing to pay dividends. These are not good signs.

Goodbye dear TOD

I came to TOD as a cornucopian many years ago. There is plenty of shale, sunshine, wind, etc. It was the facts and figures from the many experts here that made me research.

What I discovered horrified me. As I looked into the details of every future energy supply, all I could find were roadblocks, especially the more detail I studied.

We have many cornucopians at this site who are yet to realise the coming problems and disasters. It is here that TOD has failed. If we can't convince our own, then the message will not be accepted by outsiders.

We here at TOD are the boy(s and girls) who cried WOLF. What society fails to remember is that eventually the wolf devoured the sheep. The wolf has been at the door for 40 years since The Club of Rome days.

The BAU conspiracy, via the media, will one day blame all the wrong people for the disaster when it is occurring.

Thankyou TOD and all the many contributors, both in the articles and the drumbeats.

Good Heavens!! Tokyo was voted in for the 2020 Olympics. Now all the huge construction companies, car companies etc. are all saying "YAY!!!"

The newspaper (which we don't even subscribe to) was delivered to EVERYONE today (like it or not) with a huge headline "TOKYO CHOSEN!!!"

And Toyota had an enormous ad "It'll be JUST like when you were 20 again!"

With a photo of the phallic wonders SkyTree and Tokyo Tower.

The construction companies are gearing up to build an enormous Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay.

Fun! Fun! Fun!

It looks like an enormous case of DENIAL.
Many people probably just feel sad at the spectacle. But on the other hand, fossil fuels are tough masters and addictive and to stop using them is pretty darn tough. Better to weather pollution, economic depression, a cement wonderland and cognitive dissonance. Not to mention hideous radiation.....

But I'm lucky, 'cause I live quite far away from Tokyo. By choice....

I think mainly that the generation in power (men in their 60s) are really feeling sad at how their achievements are shrugged off of even disliked by the younger generation. Cement? Yuck. Cars? Who needs one. A family? No money so not this year.

The ones in power must feel that they will be blamed or made to feel shame for being so religious about highways, cars and building cement structures. And they just hate this. More than anything else like poverty or economic depression, they hate the feeling that they failed to be the heroes they imagined they were.

As a man who just hit 60, though I'm definitely not in any power, I heard that news and wondered when we would see peak Olympics. I've been watching the preparations for the World soccer cup to be held here in Brazil next year and also the 2016 Olympics I can best describe the whole fiasco as denial to the nth degree multiplied by insanity cubed!

Be well, pi!

A look at the Japanese population pyramid really brings home your point about young people not starting families.

You can see how the 55-65 bulge had children 25 years later, leading to the 30-40 bulge. You'd expect them in turn to produce a 5-15 bulge. It's just not there. They are not having kids.

Japan scored in the past by having a high percentage of working age people driving the economy, but it is becoming very different, with many old people needing care and few energetic young workers. Not looking good.

Also see how the WWII generation have lost half of their men...

Not looking good.

I understand the concern about the challenges of having a larger-than-historically-normal percentage of older people in the Japanese, or indeed, any population...

...However, surely you do not advocate Japan (or any country for that matter) trying to have a higher birth rate, and hence a growing population, in order to maintaining the ultimately unsustainable pyramid scheme of propping up BAU, do you?

Please understand the size of Japan's population, and recall that Japan is an island, with not as many resources per capita as say, the U.S.

Japan will have to manage its demographic transition of having a higher-than normal/desired percentage of old people in its population as the unavoidable (No Logan's Run) consequence of achieving the promised land of an eventually lower and hopefully eventually sustainable population in the post-easy-and-cheap fossil fuel era.

I have hope that is there is one culture/nation/polity on Earth that can somewhat successfully mange this transition, it will be Japan. Their people seem to have a certain ability to work together and make individual sacrifices for their perceived common good.

TOD has hosted this very conversation before, about Japan's future...some here have speculated that Japan's sustainable population may be similar to that of the Edo era.

I urge you to reconsider your notions of not good...the ways of BAU simply cannot continue...nothing grows forever!

From a global point of view population decline is good. But to live in a declining society is not so wonderful. Pi has described a sense of hopelessness and economic malaise leading to people not having kids. In my lifetime Japan has gone from a maker of "Jap cr#p" to a world-leading manufacturing society and now to a rather sad nation in decline. Older people in particular must be worried whether they'll have a dignified old age. The economy might not generate enough of a surplus to ensure their care.

In an ideal world, we would gradually reduce the birth rate to avoid having a small population of young people supporting a large population of old people. However, given the resource limits we are starting to run into and the fact that Japan is particularily deficient in terms of resources, they may in fact be better having sharply reduced their birth rate. If they had more young people there is no guarantee the economy would have been able to provide all of them with a reasonable standard of living. Just take a look at a country with the opposite situation such as Egypt. Those that believe in perpetual population growth would say that Egypt is well positioned to support their older generations because they have such a large group of young people. The reality is that the economy is completely incapable of gainfully employing all of these young people and everyone both young and old would be better off if the birthrate had been significantly lower.

It seems to me that people discussing Japan's declining population tend to miss the sliver lining of this particular cloud.

Wealth isn't money, in any sense except that money is a claim on wealth.

Wealth is many things, one of the most important being useful infrastructure.
Japan has an enormous amount of wealth in this form which will help cushion the impact of having so many old folks relative to the young folks.

A house in good condition for instance has a useful life of fifty years a t least, and often a hundred or more.
As the population declines , the need for many sorts of infrastructure will decline with it, so that old inefficient housing can be abandoned, while currently existing better houses will become much more affordable to young people.
This argument can be extended to many other resources such as highways. Existing highways are far cheaper to maintain than new highways are to build.

Seven years and 19 weeks since I became a member here; though I've not posted much in the last two years I have appreciated Leanan's effort to broaden the horizon and look at the impact of resource constraints in the larger picture.

TOD was a mix of technical specialists and catastrophists and now I suspect that the different blogs to which TOD readers will migrate will separate the crowd into smaller and more like-minded groups. I wonder what future blogs on energy and energy resources will become, in 5, 10, and 20 years?

Well, some things have changed in the past 8 years. Michael Lynch spews his cornucopian nonsense in an article posted above by Leanan and doesn’t get challenged? Actually, this Forbes article is a very weak rebuttal to “the Red Queen” problem – decline rates don’t matter because technology makes all the difference! I also suspect he’s disingenuously substituting the term “depletion” with “decline”. There, I got a kick in before I pull up the plank to the lifeboat, knock the dirt off my sandals, and mutter “Sic transit TOD”.

Two peak oil sites of limited interest. They started around 1999 on ezboard which became yuku in 2004. They are extremely low volume but were somewhat busier in the distant past. I find the low volume useful on occasion. One can warehouse and contemplate a link. The second is a far right site with an emphasis on guns and gold.


#1 Oil Is Not Well: Peak Oil, Petroleum and Energy Markets

#2 New World Order: Natural Resource Investing

This is my 16,661st TOD post, out of about 530,000 total (mentioned elsewhere). About 3.14% of the total. 7 years, 39 weeks.

Have I contributed 3% of the sum total value of TOD ? I doubt it, although I have tried to have a positive impact.

I have gained an enormous amount, and it has improved the course of my life.

I will have little internet time as TOD winds down. I leave for a Climate Change conference near DC tomorrow morning. My paper on using transportation policy (and indirectly urban form) to reduce carbon emissions was accepted, but I could not complete it in time while taking care of my father.

That paper derived from concepts forged on TOD.

So a few more posts before this site goes silent.

So much has gone past here, almost all of it for the good. But the future is before us, not behind.

My history here has made me better prepared for the future, and I hope I have helped others.

Many thanks to all involved (including the often overlooked Super G).

Best Hopes to All :-)


It's getting closer to the end and I want to say my goodbyes. I've been a member for about 7 1/2 years and lurked before that. It's sad to see so many people I now consider friends vanish. I hope we re-group some place but it won't be the same. I still haven't decided on a new home. I hope there is one last key post of alternative sites.

I want to thank Leanan, Kate and all the other people who made TOD possible. Thanks to all the authors of the articles over the years who enlightened us on petroleum and energy.

I don't know if my email shows up in my profile so here it is detz2 at willitsonline dot com. I don't know if anyone wants to correspond so let me forewarn you, I'm always behind on email; often weeks.

Until we meet again.


Todd; A Realist.

May as well put it here, I guess.

I hate curtain calls.. and I'm sure I'll try to post until the little dialog boxes step in and pull me over to the side of the thread and take my keys and registration..

But for what it's worth, this has been a great ride, and without any graphs or links to support the assertion, I feel like you folks are friends, fellow travelers, and very good company to be associated with.

Leanan and Kate and Super G.. my sincerest respect and thanks for your efforts and patience.

Kyle, Dave, Nate and all the other principals and founding voices, you might have felt the whole thing wandered, withered and failed, but the civility and persistence of the membership here tells me that it did not.. just that the results might have merely been different than the creators' purpose.

I hope another equally affable and well managed discussion of geographically and intellectually diverse people will grow out of this experience!

Best of luck to all!


I am touched to be included in all the thanks - it seems to me that all the academic / scientific writers, editors, Super G, Leanan, and all of you who debate and share your observations day after day and month after month are the ones deserving of thanks.

It's been a great honor to observe and to serve!

Best to all,

In what could well be my last comment to on this last Drumbeat, I would like to present a story from the usual source, my local rag:

T&T Energy Chamber calls on gov't to maintain or increase oil and gas production

PORT OF SPAIN,Trinidad, Sept. 7, CMC - The Energy Chamber, one of the most powerful groups in the country, has called on the Government to ensure that oil and gas production is maintained or increased each year.

In the comments section I penned the following:

This call by the chamber assumes that the decline currently being experienced is due to a lack of investment. Why would oil production have increased from 140,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2004 when the average price of oil was $37.66 per barrel, to 163,300 b/d in 2007 when the price was $64.20 per barrel and then subsequently declined each year when the only year when the price went down was 2009?

Is the chamber suggesting that while the price is now more than 30% higher than it was in 2007, there is a dearth of investment? Is it not possible that their oil production has peaked as has the production of the UK (1999 peak), Australia (2000), Norway (2001), Mexico (2005) and a total of some 65 of the 105 oil producing nations? A March 21, 2012 story in the Trinidad Express newspaper web site states "Trinidad and Tobago's plummeting crude oil production situation is not just alarming. It is terrifying."

Trinidad and Tobago's highest level of oil production was in 1978 when they produced an average of 229,589 b/d. Can T&T actually stem the decline?

This comment has not been approved by the newspaper's moderators up to the time of this post but, the thing is, for them to decide not to post it they are first going to have to read it and try and understand it. IMO, in just 198 words, I have given them a lot to chew on. Someone here described it as bending their ears, something I must continue to do until the cows come home.

I credit my ability to be able to craft little pieces like the above to each one of you, every single person who's articles and comments I have read, from the incredulous to the insightful. By extension the founders and entire staff who have facilitated this wonderful, educational discussion. I hesitate to name names as I would not want anyone to feel their contributions are not appreciated but, I don't think anyone can begrudge Leanan for all the praise that has been heaped on her for her contribution. I would also like to thank Super G for fixing a problem I had with my username when I had just registered. No fuss, no criticism, just help. It is these little things that help to engender that sense of belonging to a community.

It's my hope that we will be able to carry on this conversation somewhere else, maybe The Energy Xchange. That is where I'm hoping to be able to post the update to my 2009 key post "Electric Commercial Vehicles". At first I thought it would be a quick little thing, I could post on a Drumbeat but, after finding out some pretty depressing stuff about some of the developments in the original article, I realized that I have become aware of a lot more stuff and a lot of developments are happening.including a couple that were announced over the past few days.

So, for those who will be congregating elsewhere, see you on the other side and for those who won't farewell.

Alan from the islands

Member 6 years and 4 weeks. But I know that I had been reading TOD long before I registered. Mostly a lurker but have commented more recently under the name OldTech.

I too want to thank everybody for a good site. I have visited most everyday since I found TOD and sometimes more than once a day. I will really miss it.

For your listening pleasure:

Economix is a graphic novel by Michael Goodwin, illustrated by Dan E. Burr, that explains the economy. More than a cartoon version of a textbook, Economix gives the whole story of the economy, from the rise of capitalism to Occupy Wall Street. Economix is published by Abrams Comic Arts.

Praise for Economix

“I just cannot stress enough how amazing this book is.”
–James Floyd Kelly,

“It’s simply phenomenal.”
– David Bach, author of Debt Free for Life and The Automatic Millionaire

“Goodwin has done the seemingly impossible–he has made economics comprehensible and funny.”
– Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

“An amazing lesson in true-world economics! Delightfully presented, powerful, insightful, and important information. What a fun way to fathom a deep and often dark subject”
– John Perkins, author of Hoodwinked and the New York Times bestseller Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

“Economix is a lively, cheerfully opinionated romp through the historical and intellectual foundations of our current economy and our current economic problems. Goodwin has a knack for distilling complex ideas and events in ways that invite the reader to follow the big picture without losing track of what actually happened. Any reader wondering how our economy got to where it is today will find this a refreshing overview.”
– Timothy W. Guinnane, Philip Golden Bartlett Professor of Economic History, Yale University

Some business will keep on going also without TOD:
Gail made a nuclear update post 2011, and here comes the latest
data, especially concerning the unfinished bet between
Dittmar and Wang (going to 2018).

The 2012 data of nuclear electricity production is 2346 TWh (from WNA). Dittmar has won 3 out of 4.
Currently, the halfyear 2013 news releases indicate ( similar figures for 2013,
thus Dittmar seems to earn a slight edge.
The future will tell for the following years, however, the midpoint of the bets
are increasing substantially for the years 2016 (10%), 2017 (5%), 2018 (5%), so these might be going to Dittmar.

The Uranium production has been substantially higher the last 4 years, as Wang correctly predicted, for instance 58394 tonnes 2012.
Wang has won all uranium production bets until now (5). Wang could win all 11 too, except maybe the
last 4 years, where the midpoint is again increasing substanstially.

My conclusion: There seems to be enough uranium to run current reactors, but total world nuclear power electricity production is not increasing up until 2018 (higher than past peak production). Will be interesting times to see what happens onwards...

Good luck to both contestants!

Bye to all...
There are 3 bets going.

1. World Uranium production (2010-2018, 9 years)
2. World Nuclear power generation bets going from 2009 to 2018 (10 years, each year counts for shutout (8 or more out of 10 years))
3. Uranium production in Kazakhstan (2010, 2011)

- See more at:

A complete update from Wang:

Nuclear power production

        Dittmar              Brian                  Midpoint        Actual

2009   2575 TWhe            2600                    2587.5        2558
2010   2550                 2630                    2590          2630
2011   2550                 2650                    2600          2518
2012   2550                 2700                    2625          2346
2013   2525                 2750                    2637.5
2014   2250                 2800                    2525
2015   2250                 2900                    2575
2016   2250                 3200                    2725
2017   2250                 3500                    2875
2018   2250                 3800                    3025

Latest update from Wang:
scroll down to point 10

Details of bet

Each year there is a bottle of wine or $20 exchanged. Each year the loser states
"I lost $20 to ___ because _____ was more accurate in predicting nuclear power generation."
Winner gets to add 200 words on why they were right that gets included with the loser statement.

Mostly this has been informally updated on Wang's website, links above.

Before the end of TOD, I'd like to mention one man whose very early work on solar energy was considered so heretical that he was burned at the stake: Giordano Bruno.

Rather than Copernicus' narrower mathematical focus on the earth's orbit, Giordano Bruno (using Copernicus' work) posited that the sun's light and heat were the important generative issues for the earth. Bruno posited a unitary system, all one, for the universe.

TOD has many thinkers who like to think in system terms. And I wonder if Bruno would (if he were alive today) be a TOD member. Somehow I think so. There is something iconoclastic and non-mainstream about both TOD and Giordano Bruno. And both mixed philosophy and science.

His execution took place on February 17, 1600. On YouTube you can see his statue where people bring tributes and flowers in his memory.

~~Grazie, Giordano Bruno.

Documentary profile of Ridgway Banks, inventor of the world's first solid-state alternative energy heat engine.

*coff* and where's the patent? The copies?

Outsourcing oil refinery components; apparently it can be better to build a significant bit offshore, then ship mostly-complete buildings from overseas.

Time to say good-bye...

I came to TOD in 2007 after watching an episode of Extreme Engineering (Season 4, Episode 4 - "Sakhalin Oil and Ice") on TV. The episode profiled two rigs being constructed in South Korea for use under extreme conditions in the Russian Sakhalin field. I was taken aback by the statement that the next 30 years of production were already spoken for. What? TOD helped me figure it out, and then some, of course.

Thanks to all, staff, contributors, and commenters, for a analytical harbor in a sea of uninformed sleepwalking optimists. Can't be too harsh...I was one.

I lack the expertise to have added anything useful to the conversation, but the critical thinking of others certainly broke my spell.

My best suggestion going forward: read "Too Smart for our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Humankind" ( First heard about it here.

"It's the VCP, Stupid!", (the Vicious Circle Principle). Comprehend this and you need not contemplate any other tenet of the human condition.

Sweet Dreams...


Jon Stewart has an interesting interview with the author of "Five Days at Memorial," about the five days at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans, after Katrina. The author, "Be prepared for everything to fail in a disaster."

So from your 'behind the cloak' perspective, so to speak - what does this mean? How well were the policies in place likely to have worked, and how much worse will emissions be under the new policies? Wasn't Australia already gearing up their ongoing export of coal to China anyway, for example?

I just posted that link since it seemed timely and typically human, as the last DB winds down.

I have no inside information on Australia's shameful & appalling coal-export policies.

My perspective isn't all that nuanced: I think it's hugely doubtful that any political process will ramp down the burning of carbon. Yet if it continues increasing, the conditions which have enabled us to exist in significant numbers on the planet will end.

That's the deal.

So what else is out there?

Are there game moves of any kind which will allow humans to thrive on a planet with living seas and forests? If so, we'd better figure 'em out and get to 'em, even if they aren't nice, cute, inspiring, egalitarian, or win-win.

Near as I can tell, nothing serious has yet been done to slow the killing of our world by CO2.

The more comfortable we are, the less urgent things seem.

The more people feel stressed by life, the less weight is given to long-term abstract considerations. Like, say, the existence of a living world in the future.

I hope to see some oildrum expatriates coming up with some good game moves in the future. It's a rigged game, but it's one we're stuck with.

And as a personal comment, I've always found it surreal to be moving within a population of beings who have easy access to this information and are unaffected by it.

best hopes from the evaporating "greenish" persona, former oil geologist turned enviro campaigner

"I've always found it surreal to be moving within a population of beings who have easy access to this information and are unaffected by it."

Yeah, it sucks. Daniel Ellsberg, after releasing the 'Pentagon Papers':

If the American people knew the truth about how they had been lied to, about the myths that had led them to endorse this butchery for twenty five years, that they would choose against it.

And the risk that you take when you do that is that you'll learn something, ultimately, about your fellow citizens that you won't like to hear. And that is that they hear it, they learn from it, they understand it, and they proceed to ignore it.

Surreal indeed. Still, I'm feeling audacious.

" hopes from the evaporating "greenish" persona.."

You are one of many ghosts that will continue to haunt me as the Elves of TOD disperse. Let us not diminish into the West before our time.

Things certainly are surreal. Like Obama attending the 911 remembrance while being fully aware the US is covertly backing Al-Qaeda in Syria. Cynicism knows no bounds with these people.

Some other surreal things that caught my attention this week:

Hitler's Brown Shirts and snappy black SS uniforms where designed and produced by Hugo Boss;

Gerald Ford gave all the profits from Ford car sales in Germany to the Nazi party;

Both the Christian and Islam religions believe the apocalypse will begin in Syria (Sham) and Christ will return to fight the anti-Christ;

Ghouta, the area in which the gas attacks took place is seemingly mentioned in Islamic writings in connection with the apocalypse. The rebels are into all this eschatology stuff seemingly as well as Christian right-wingers.

Ghouta is also a heavily contested area as its the rebels main supply route for weapons and supplies coming in from Jordan. The Syrian forces have been making headway to secure the area, cutting off supplies to the rebels. No wonder the US started to panic and insisted upon an immediate attack.

What a complicated and surreal world we live in.

Here's an interesting article on the eschatological connection with Syria: Intervening (in Syria) Like It's The End of the World?. And probably why Assad has no choice but fight to the death and the jihads won't give up. Its scary stuff, not because its believable, but because those doing the fighting believe it.

Imagine when Peak Oil gets the below treatment in 20 years.

Our Mission:

How often does a great story dominate the headlines, only to be dropped from the news cycle? How often do journalists tell us of a looming danger or important discovery – only to move quickly to the next new thing? What really happened? How did these events change us? And what are the lingering consequences that may affect our society to this day?

These are the questions we are answering at Retro Report, an innovative documentary news organization launched in 2013 as a timely online counterweight to today’s 24/7 news cycle. Combining documentary techniques with shoe-leather reporting, we peel back the layers of some of the most perplexing news stories of our past with the goal of encouraging the public to think more critically about current events and the media.

Just heard that Al Bartlett passed away at age 90.

Yet another end of an era. I always felt he was a very decent man, and I appreciated his work with the "exponential thinking" thing - used it in my teaching quite a bit.

My respect to the man, and condolences to family and friends...

- Steve

Here's an article. And I see his personal web site has already been updated with the news.

Al Bartlett, retired CU-Boulder professor, dies at age 90

He found out in June/July that the lymphoma he beat in 2008 had recurred. He made plans to have his lecture live after him.

Leanan: Can you find out the exact time additional comments to Drumbeat will be no longer be allowed? It should be some time tomorrow (7 days), correct?

I might extend it, since there's still some life in this thread and we're still well short of 500 comments.

I might extend it, since there's still some life in this thread ...

Heck, Leanan, there's still some life to the whole Drumbeat concept. Why not just keep doing more drumbeats? Not too late for the TPTB at TOD to change their minds.

Basically, because I don't want to. If I wanted to, they'd have made me my own site. I also got offers from several other peak oil sites. Even offers of money.

But I don't think the Drumbeat is worth it any more. A lot of people saw Macondo as "peak TOD." I agree, but probably not the way most of them mean it. Macondo, IMO, was the peak because it brought a lot of mainstream users, and someone said, it's like when AOL added a Usenet group, back on the day. No offense to those who joined during Macondo - some of you are very worthy posters indeed. Overall, however, the quality of the discussion has dropped very noticeably.

It's not just the Macondo influx, though. Partly, it's that peak oil is just not as compelling these days. It no longer provides a center of gravity for this site, so people end up filling the threads with chit-chat.

Also, as I've said before, I think the growth of smartphone and tablet use has had a very bad impact on intelligent online discussion. They are made to consume media, not create it, and it's so difficult to write a thoughtful post or provide links that people end up posting silly one-liners.

And I find those a lot harder to deal with than spam or trolls. If someone's being a jerk, it's not difficult to lower the boom on them. But if they're just joking around or making friendly but really stupid have to lower the boom on them, or they'll drive out the serious posters, but it's so much more difficult.

I have not ruled out one day returning to doing something like the Drumbeat, but if I do, it will probably be more like Greer's site: all comments moderated, and only the best posted.

Well, I tried, but it's not "sticking." Keep reverting back to read-only. I'd guess it's part of SuperG's winding things down.

That's OK - we were given the heads-up, and it's time to move on. Don't even know if you or anyone will see this, Leanan, but just one last thank-you and good-bye. It's been a fabulous run, and hopefully we'll cross paths again someday. You've earned yourself a lot of respect from a lot of people, and maybe a bit of affection, too, along the way :-) - you should be proud and happy about your work at TOD.


- Steve

Energy East pipeline retrofit could cause natural gas shortages during Ottawa winters, Enbridge warns

By Vito Pilieci, OTTAWA CITIZEN September 9, 2013

OTTAWA — Enbridge Gas Distribution is voicing concerns over TransCanada Corp.’s planned Energy East Pipeline project, warning the conversion of an existing natural gas line could send winter heating bills higher and leave many in the city without heat during the coldest months.

According to the City of Ottawa’s lobbying registry, on Aug. 22 Jamie LeBlanc, Enbridge Distribution’s director, energy supply and policy, and Michelle Wasylyshen, manager of government relations, met with three Ottawa city councillors and the City of Ottawa’s general manager of planning and growth management, John Moser, to express reservations about TransCanada’s proposal. The Energy East project would retrofit the company’s 3,000-kilometre Canadian Mainline natural gas pipeline, which runs through rural areas in the south end of Ottawa and across the Rideau River, so it can carry more than 1.1 million barrels of crude oil a day to refineries and oil tankers on the east coast.

The line is currently underused, TransCanada has said, and altering it to carry crude oil alongside natural gas will the allow the company to more fully use its existing infrastructure.

However according to a copy of the presentation Enbridge delivered to Moser and councillors Marianne Wilkinson, Doug Thompson and Eli El-Chantiry, “As it stands now for example, post conversion, Enbridge would be as much as 25 per cent short of capacity needed to serve the Ottawa area on the coldest days of winter.

“TransCanada is creating the impression that most or all of the pipe they are considering for re-deployment is excess capacity — this is far from the case for the Eastern Triangle (east of North Bay).”

Energy East is an act of desperation on TCP's part!


It has been suggested that nobody will care to read the archive. There is SO MUCH here that I can guarantee that I'll be spending time here for some long time to come. I never read all of Heading Out's series on coal mining -- and years worth of posted articles and Drumbeats were before my time -- there will still be much to learn.

Still, I do hope that many will gather at some virtual place often. I don't say much, but I've come to value many of you highly -- your knowledge about so many things, and your opinions so well stated (but sometimes not :) and well argued (but not always :). It has been a pleasure to know you -- virtually speaking -- and now, before I turn in for the night, I lift my glass (containing some "good" beer) to you all in a virtual clink (toast), like Lotus and I and a few others did when the FailBop sailed into New Orleans and when the drillers finally broke through to the Chilean miners. I will definitely be reviewing those earliest Drumbeats I followed, because now I have a more complete frame of reference for some of the explanations there and will enjoy reviewing that chronology of events that is recorded there.

ROCKMAN, WT, Ghung, FredM, Seraph, Jokuhl, Pi, Tribe, Alans from Big Easy and Jamaica, OFM, and so many more -- you have lit up my life, and I shall never forget this experience of the past three years and 13 weeks plus a few pure-lurker weeks. For the record, no one at TOD was EVER rude to me because I was an ignorant newbie.

MY PLEA? Get thee, all of you, to another web site and take up the discussions again. There is still much to watch and say.

Kate and Leanan? You've done a special job and done it extraordinarily well -- to have kept this bunch in line most of the time and allowed the line to have blurred some under special circumstances.

Pi, it is Shakespeare's (and the Greeks', too, of course) "tragedies" that have stuck with me over all the many years -- and often came to mind as I read discussions here about the effects of "just plain human nature" on our current circumstances, which do tend to seem grim and unsolvable. If only we could rid ourselves of that dad-gummed tragic flaw!

Thank you, one and all. In our endings are also our beginnings. Or something like that....


Thank you, Lizzie. My pleasure.

Mine is not the best internet connection, but I can only hope that the trouble I'm having logging on to right now is because it's swamped by the stampede of TODers moving over there...

(as we are in the final minutes, here, now, unless Leanan extends it as she suggested she might.)

to have kept this bunch in line

Indeed, it would have a similarity to hearding cats! Good job, all.


Over on Metafilter a fine summary of Japan and Fission power.

Abe's Nuclear Energy Policy and Japan's Future: "Japan has nearly doubled spending on solar power projects to $20 bn and ramped up renewable energy capacity equivalent to six nuclear reactors, pointing the way to a sustainable and cheaper alternative to nuclear energy."

-Feed-in tariffs ready to make Japan world No. 2 solar market after China
-Japan Domestic Solar Shipments Leap by Most in at Least 30 Years
-Japan Set to Overtake Germany as World's Largest Solar Market
-Japan Approves 19GW of Commercial Solar in 2012 After Incentives
-Grid Congestion for Renewable Energy May Expand to South Japan
-Japan Fuel Cell Market Ripe After Fukushima, Bloom Energy Says

note: "when the last active reactor at the Ohi plant shuts down for scheduled maintenance on Sept. 15, Japan will be without nuclear power"

From the article, "Japan Domestic Solar Shipments Leap by Most in at Least 30 Years", Bloomberg, May 31, 2013:

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry approved 12,258 megawatts worth of solar projects -- both residential and non-residential -- by the end of February.

Japan’s tariff for solar, reduced in April to 37.8 yen (37.5 cents) per kilowatt hour from 42 yen, is still more than twice those of China and Germany, at 1 yuan (16 cents) per kilowatt hour and 0.1082 euro (14 cents) per kilowatt hour, respectively.

A solar tariff of $.375 /kWh, more than a grid-tied PV system costs over 20 years, explains the massive demand for PV in Japan.

According to the U.S. DOE, the prime energy sources of the 2040 future will be oil, NG, and coal:

EIA International Enegry Outlook:

The beat goes on...