DrumBeat: January 28, 2007

Last warning: 10 years to save world

The world has just 10 years to reverse surging greenhouse gas emissions or risk runaway climate change that could make many parts of the planet uninhabitable.

...The results could include the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, the forced migration of hundreds of millions of people from equatorial regions, and the loss of vast tracts of land under rising seas as the ice caps melt.

Bush Orders Federal Agencies to Slash Energy Consumption

President George W. Bush Wednesday issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to cut their energy consumption, shift federal fleets to alternative fuel and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and expand procurement programs for environmentally friendly products.

The Long Road to Energy Independence

Last year, the United States imported 60 percent of the oil it consumed. If, as Mr. Bush proposes, we cut gasoline consumption 20 percent by 2017 — about 2.1 million barrels a day — then the share of oil imported will fall only by 4 or 5 percentage points.

China vs Japan: FTAs, Oil and Taiwan

The growing competition for oil particularly in East Asia between China and Japan is dragging Taiwan leading to saber-rattling by both countries. The role of Taiwan in this equation adds heat into this growing rivalry that also has military implications.

Facts and impact of oil on Sudanese domestic and International relations

Since its independence of Britain and separation from Egypt in 1956, Sudan has enjoyed only 11 years of relative stability and peace. The oil discoveries in Sudan, in the late 1970’s have additionally aggravated the political and economic situation in Sudan. The oil discoveries played a pivotal role in igniting the second civil war in 1983 and complicated the possibilities for peace between the south and north as it became the central objective for the fighting parties.

With Apologies, Nuclear Power Gets a Second Look

At a time when industrialized countries are wrestling with how to curb carbon dioxide emissions, nuclear energy has one indisputable advantage: unlike coal, oil, natural gas, or even biological fuels, it emits no carbon dioxide. That virtue, in the view of advocates, is enough to offset its well-documented shortcomings.

Blair Backs Nuclear Power

The U.K. needs nuclear power to meet its twin challenges of securing energy supplies and reducing emissions of gases that cause global warming, Prime Minister Tony Blair said.

Ukraine plans to raise uranium output to lower energy cost

Ukraine plans to increase its annual uranium production to 1,400 tons within a period of three years, up 75 percent from the current 800 tons, Energy Minister Yuriy Boiko announced on Friday.

The increase is part of a 10-year plan to lower the cost of nuclear power generation, the minister said.

The search for our oil and gas

The biggest offshore oil and gas drilling effort New Zealand has seen is about to begin.

UN's vast report will end the scientific argument. Now will the world act?

Three year study by panel of experts published this week will kick off tortuous negotiations on new emissions treaty to replace Kyoto agreement in 2012.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett: Energy resources and our future

Introducing the “Cash-Back Plug-In” Concept

Even more compelling is what he calls PHEVs: “The Cash-Back Plug-In Car.” He shows annual fuel costs: $1,200 for a conventional car, $720 for a hybrid, $495 for a PHEV. Next come the important new numbers. After paying for fuel, CAR OWNERS GET $425 NET ANNUAL PAYMENTS for a Cash-Back Plug-In Car that provides “spinning reserves” to utilities (relieving them of having to maintain plants ready to kick in for unexpected demand). And CAR OWNERS NET $2,790 by providing both spinning reserves and “regulation services” (helping utilities maintain the system voltage within narrow ranges. (Not calculated are revenues for providing peak power!)

The heat beneath

Wrestling with how to best heat and cool an expansion to the company's 4,500-square feet of office space, Mark Bancroft, company president, eventually settled on digging a 10-foot hole in the ground.

China admits to climate failings

With a fifth of the world's population, China consumes only 4% of the world's daily oil output, importing about three million barrels a day.

But its unrelenting economic growth will continue to fuel a voracious appetite for energy.

Current plans call for the opening of a new power station every week, most of them coal-fired.

Unlearning Helplessness

We can empower ourselves to be less helpless. Get rid of debts that make you paranoid about job loss, illness or injury. Learn to live on a smaller salary (the average low six-figure income earner would be in financial crisis within a month if that income suddenly ceased). Become less dependent on the electrical grid and on heavily-subsidized oil and food prices. Take charge of your own health so you're not dependent on your doctor for every little thing that happens (and so that fewer little things do happen). Build up your critical technical and social and thinking skills (see the mindmap above), and build reciprocal relationships with handy friends and neighbours, so you don't have to run to the yellow pages or the store every time something breaks down, wears out or falls apart. Buy fewer and more durable things, so they don't break down as often. Learn to 'make your own'. Have fewer possessions that need huge amounts of space and maintenance. In general, make yourself more self-sufficient and resilient and less dependent on others and on infrastructure that can break or break down.

Expensive, wasteful ethanol can't solve our problems

According to the president, ethanol is the magical elixir that will solve virtually every economic, environmental and foreign policy problem on the horizon. In reality, it's enormously expensive and wasteful.

Kudos for Seeing the Problem. Now Do Something.

Ethanol euphoria is out of place

It is clear that if we do not pay for ethanol at the pump, we will pay for it at the supermarket. Farmers I have spoken to are enjoying the high prices but are worried about the long-term impact on agriculture. Particularly, farmers wonder what will happen if cellulose can be converted into fuel. They fear soil depletion when they do not have corn stalks and other waste to plow back into the fields.

The greatest challenge

Although global warming and sustainability have become increasingly common in sermons, not many have included peak oil.

Local lawmaker between coal and a hard place in power plant battle

Protests are planned, lawsuits are pending and the debate continues to rage over one of the hottest issues currently facing Texas: the state’s increasing appetite for electricity and a proliferation of coal-fired power plants proposed to meet that demand.

My Turn: Bush's reign of terror

When Vice President Dick Cheney convened a secret meeting of energy industry executives and government officials in early 2001, it's quite likely that the problem of peak oil was at the top of the agenda. To deal with the problem he apparently only seriously considered one alternative strategy -- taking control of the Middle Eastern supply of oil. His challenge lay in finding a politically correct way to present the idea to the American people and our allies. The 9/11 attacks provided the perfect solution. By placing all of the blame for 9/11 on Muslim fanatics and trading heavily on Americans' fear of terrorism, Team Bush paved the way for a global war with Islam -- a war against Islamofascists. The real target was not Muslims, but rather their oil.

Korean Air overbidding for S-Oil stake

Korean Air and its affiliate Hanjin Shipping Co. have jointly sought a stake in the nation's third largest refinery amid rising oil prices.

Energy crisis as power cuts loom

SCOTLAND is on the brink of a power crisis after an accident at one of the country's biggest electricity plants massively reduced supplies to the national grid.

Emergency legislation will be rushed through the Scottish Parliament early this week to allow Longannet power station, Fife, to burn gas as well as coal in a bid to stave off potential blackouts.

Why life after oil will be better

EXPERTS are predicting that in as little as 12 months' time our global supplies of oil will start to diminish. Demand will exceed supply, prices will rise, and suddenly all of the things we take for granted like commuting from Swansea to Cardiff, buying roses in February and holidaying abroad will be out of the question.

Having achieved a global economy which is dependent on mass production and the mobility of its work force, the change could render us back to a relative dark age where people live and work in small, self-sufficient communities.

A doomsday scenario? Not according to Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, which opened its annual conference in Cardiff yesterday.

Iraqis: Oil law won't favor Americans

Iraqi officials say a hotly debated proposed oil law will not favor Americans but acknowledge that foreign companies will be allowed to take their profits out of the country — an incentive to draw foreign investment.

Bolivia state oil company leader resigns

At a news conference late Friday, Ortiz said he had sent his letter of resignation to Morales, a leftist who has pledged to increase the state's role in the economy.

Blair highlights chasm between global intent and action

Prime Minister Tony Blair warned of "a yawning gap" between an understanding of global challenges like climate change and the capacity to deal with them.

Bush's Climate Remarks Weighed for Policy Shift

It was just a couple of dozen words out of more than 5,000, uttered so fast that many in the audience missed them at first. But President Bush's commitment to fight global warming in his State of the Union address this week has echoed around the world and provoked debate about whether he is shifting his view of climate change.

Solar home in Va. getting high marks

State Sen. Frank Wagner is staying warm at his temporary address, even in below-freezing weather and without a traditional power supply or fireplace.

The Virginia Beach Republican, a proponent of alternative energy sources, is living for a week outside the Science Museum of Virginia in a solar-powered house designed and built by Virginia Tech students. He moved in Wednesday.

Bolivia state oil company leader resigns

The situation in Latin America is quite interessting. After Chavez in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia there is now Correa (I think this is his name) in Ecuador. Alle of them regard themselves as leftist and try to gain more money from their (rich) national endowment with energy ressources.

Maybe I am not right, however, by focusing its international policy on places around the Persian Gulf, the US-american influence in Latin America weakened distinctly within the last 5 to 10 years. This is a clear sign, that the - let me call it - "empire" becomes weaker.

The new political self-confidence is certainly supported by the energy ressources, not only in Venezuela. The same pattern can be seen in Russia, which emerged again as a big power. Combine this with PO and there is a dramatically changed political landscape emerging with winners mainly the oil and natural gas rich places.

This is purely anecdotal, but I think most of Latin America had a reality check when the US and the IMF abandoned Argentina in 2001 and allowed the economy there to crash and burn. Most of Latin America has, to a large extent, lost faith in the US version of the global economy and they are seeking more independence. It just happens that the US is also distracted in the ME at the same time.

I used to live in Argentina and in the 70's and 80's and even the 90's the US Dollar was king. I was there for three weeks in 2003/04 and noticed that the euro seems now the preferred foreign currency for many. It seems as though many in Latin America and especially South America are looking to Europe and Asia and less to the US for investment and cultural influence.

As the traditional energy relationships blur, shift and find a new reality, I think we will see ongoing tremors and realignments in traditional global political and economic arrangements. Latin America will be no exception.

Prior to Argentina going south, the IMF and USA and its Lenders presented the Argentina Gov't with six point plan to clean up. Argentina was warned that its practice of using short term debt instead of the normal mix of short/medium/long term instruments was suicide unless it practised within Fiscal and Monetary Policy norms.

Argentina told the to F>Off.

Argentina refused to balance its Budget etc etc

Argentina's loans (almost all short term) were not renewed. Nobody trusted them. Argentina collapsed. Not because of defaults. But because they had lost Credibility with Int'l Lenders.

The IMF & USA & Int'l Lenders have used Argentina and some lesser known nations as examples. If u practice mickey mouse economics, don't come to us for MONEY.


Do you think Asia or Europe will do business with Argentina, then ?

Doesn't matter. Any new lender is dealing with what we might call a post chapter 11 entity. All the ratios are new since their currency devaluation and accumulation of usdollars for Reserves.

The IMF et al called Argentina's bluff. And Argentina had no Plan B.

They needed outside help three years ago, not now.

But the lesson is, when u have seen someone blowoff a lender, why would u get in line to get f*cked?

Hello Freddy Hutter,

Argentina's loans (almost all short term) were not renewed. Nobody trusted them. Argentina collapsed. Not because of defaults. But because they had lost Credibility with Int'l Lenders.

I think that the United States of America is going to suffer a similar fate to that of poor Argentina. The rest of the world is becoming weary of supporting America's obesity and insatiable appetites. A day will come in which the United States of America becomes the fat man hogging the buffet without any prospects of paying his bill. The world will treat America harshly, and America will collapse, and the world will stand by and watch us suffer.

Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria, and the Middle East should cease exporting oil to the United States of America. I suppose that all of these countries will, too, when the opportunity arises.

Until then, Americans will keep on living like Kings and Queens of the Universe on the money borrowed from the Chinese and the resources stolen from the impoverished people of the world.

The United States of America is the evil empire, now. It also will collapse like the other evil empire.

Such is the fate of the United States of America and the American people. Too bad for America.

David Mathews

David, i enjoy some of your posts but frankly i don't chat with president bashers, american bashers or idiots that don't understand what an empire is. Sorry.

Try asking a question that is vaguely related to Peak Oil.

Strange then - you do realize that most of the oil related professionals/those who have experience of other countries who post here (several of whom you reply to in copious quantity) believe that President Bush has been a true disaster for American interests - or do such fact based opinions not count as bashing, but merely acknowledging reality?

However, if you mean that political posturing or rhetorical emptiness is worth less than factual debate, I would agree.

And strangely, considering that the world's largest unarmed border is about to get armed boats (machine gun only and just a few, admittedly) on the Great Lakes for the first time since America last tried to liberate Canadian soil (pre-oil - since then, America has been very busy liberating people who just happen to have oil - ask the Iranians, who were able to enjoy monarchy again after irresponsibly exercising democracy, or the Iraqis, who have had bloody tyranny replaced with bloody chaos, to cover a good 50 years), will have passport controls implemented (wonder when the fingerprinting and picture taking will start, as with other good allies of America like Great Britain), and already decides who gets to fly into or out of Canada (the U.S. has actually turned back airliners which had passengers who were not landing in the U.S.), I would think you would have a few concrete points to 'bash' the U.S. with. Or are facts not bashing?

As for empire - tricky, tricky, question, but you have read your Thucydides, haven't you? The behavior and rhetoric of Athens through that period has a number of resonances to the America of today. Including the vast cleft between how the Athenians saw themselves, and how the rest of the Greek states experienced Athenian actions.

Pat, if u don't know history (by your comical empire defence), go to a history site. If u want to debate the ineptness of legislators, go to a political site. TOD was set up as a venue for the discussion of Peak Oil and while i appreciate that there are instances where we want to wander, it is no excuse for the ridiculous situation in which we find our forum this month where anything goes. It is very frustrating to go thru upwards of 300 post that are mostly musings ... not debate or discussion. And i don't mean just Drumbeat.

Well, Thucydides is a good historical reference (though I only read translations - I assume with your superior knowledge, you enjoy the classical Greek), and I left off the information about how the U.S. claimed its northern border ended at the 54th Parallel before 1846 (see this link - http://cvic.bc.ca/vancouver_island_history.htm - do note it is 'ca' which means Canadian propaganda) - after all, the U.S. set its southern border between 1846-1848 in a little thing called the Mexican-American War, which just happens to be one of those examples of conquest glossed over in American history books - however, do enjoy reading the information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican-American_War. Ah, Manifest Destiny - I am sure, just like the members of the Athenian dominated Delian League, the entire world now supports American Manifest Destiny as being in their self-interest. As a quick link about the Delian League, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delian_League is quite good, especially with how the Delian League originated - 'They surrendered the leadership of the ongoing campaign to Athens, which was eager to accept it. The Delian League was inaugurated in 477 BC as an offensive and defensive alliance against Persia. The principal cities in the League were Athens, Chios, Samos, and Lesbos, but many of the principal islands and Ionian cities joined the league.' Seeing how the Peloponnesian War developed from that is fascinating - and do especially note the Melian Debate, to get a certain flavor of current American justifications for its actions (the link at http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/GREECE/MELIAN.HTM is fine for the purpose).

As for overflights, do read here - http://web.nbaa.org/public/ops/airspace/restrictions/2006/200608237435.php or for a quicker overview, here http://web.nbaa.org/public/ops/faq/cache/120.html - do note the 'Are operating under an approved TSA aviation security program or have applied for and received written TSA authorization through the security authorization process.' which means a direct flight between Mexico City and Ottawa requires American approval of its passenger list. Cat Stevens won't be flying between those two capital cities any time soon, since Yusuf Islam is a very, very dangerous man in the eyes of the American government (http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/09/22/plane.diverted.stevens/).

As for Iran having a monarchy restored, to have that monarchy then in turn overthrown by theocratic mullahs, or Iraq being a bloody chaos, I'm pretty sure links won't be required.

And though you may have missed it, in the case of Iraq, Iran, Canada, and Mexico, I have just mentioned four of the world's largest oil exporters - or is the fact that all four of those countries have experienced American terms being dictated, whether 'covert' (Iran of the 1950s), 'overt' (Iraq today), or something along the lines of free association (NAFTA in let us say the 1980s) mean they have nothing to do with peak oil.

As you wish.

But at least in Germany, the understanding (and fear) of Ressourcenkrieg is just a part of a normal understanding of how the world works. And watching it happen in real time is just another one of those little diversions of 2007.

You may note the article above the Drumbeat about Russian gas - or is that sort of thing also not really relevant? I think that most TOD:Europe readers would disagree. And somehow, the TOD:Europe discussions seem full of factual information discussed in a fairly rational manner.

(edit - added the Cat Stevens info, corrected a couple of spelling mistakes, etc.)

I am not interested in discussing History and the definition of Empire with somebody that knows nothing about the topic except what has been gleaned at anti-american disinformation websites.

If u have a question wrt Peak Oil, i'm available. Bye.

As an American citizen, whose mother worked for the CIA and whose father worked for the NSA, I find it fairly amusing to be told that the overthrow of a democratically elected leader in favor of a monarch to rule an oil rich country is a figment of some anti-American web site, or that such historical information has nothing to do with peak oil today. If you actually know any Iranians (I have known Persians, Assyrians, and Armenians from Iran, and Americans who worked in Iran training military units and worked in the oil fields - the country is quite interesting, actually, and what Iranians can do with rice is fantastic), ask them about such unimportant and utterly irrelevant historical trivia in terms of how they view current events, especially in light of the fact that Iran seems quite honest in accepting the fact that the oil will run out, regardless of what anyone else may think about it.

As it seems unlikely you read any of the links provided to such anti-American web sites as Wikipedia or CNN, here is an excerpt from a debate held about 2500 years ago, written by an Athenian -

It may be your interest to be our masters, but how can it be ours to be your slaves?

To you the gain will be that by submission you will avert the worst; and we shall be all the richer for your preservation.

But must we be your enemies? Will you not receive us as friends if we are neutral and remain at peace with you?

No, your enmity is not half so mischievous to us as your friendship; for the one is in the eyes of our subjects an argument of our power, the other of our weakness.

But are your subjects really unable to distinguish between states in which you have no concern, and those which are chiefly your own colonies, and in some cases have revolted and been subdued by you?

Why, they do not doubt that both of them have a good deal to say for themselves on the score of justice, but they think that states like yours are left free because they are able to defend themselves, and that we do not attack them because we dare not. So that your subjection will give us an increase of security, as well as an extension of empire. For we are masters of the sea, and you who are islanders, and insignificant islanders, at that, must not be allowed to escape us.

But do you not recognize another danger? For, once more, since you drive us from the plea of justice and press upon us your doctrine of expediency, we must show you what is for our interest, and, if it be for yours also, may hope to convince you:, Will you not be making enemies of all who are now neutrals? When they see how you are treating us they will expect you some day to turn against them; and if so, are you not strengthening the enemies whom you already have, and bringing upon you others who, if they could help, would never dream of being your enemies at all?

We do not consider our really dangerous enemies to be any of the peoples inhabiting the mainland who, secure in their freedom, may defer indefinitely any measures of precaution which they take against us, but islanders who, like you, happen to be under no control, and who may be already irritated by the necessity of submission to our empire, these are our real enemies, for they are the most reckless and most likely to bring themselves as well as us into a danger which they cannot but foresee.

Surely then, if you and your subjects will brave all this risk, you to preserve your empire and they to be quit of it, how base and cowardly would it be in us, who retain our freedom, not to do and suffer anything rather than be your slaves.


For anyone interested in how the story turns out - the Melians decide to fight to preserve their freedom, which leads to 'The Athenians starv(ing) out the Melians, who finally capitulate. In punishment for not surrendering in the first place, the Athenian generals put to death every male citizen of Melos and cart off the women and children into slavery.' Thucydides can be hard to read, since what he unsparingly describes is a generation of death and destruction, leading to the end of Athens as a democracy and as a free state, for no good reason but its own folly.

Hello Freddy,

David, i enjoy some of your posts but frankly i don't chat with president bashers, american bashers or idiots that don't understand what an empire is. Sorry.

Are you a Canadian, Freddy? If so ... I can understand what you are saying. As an American I appreciate the submission of America's colony to the North, Canada.

Is this an accurate statement of your opinion of environmentalism, Freddy:

Sept 22nd: In short, beware of false prophets. The gloom merchants that would have Yukoners believe that catastrophic events will befall us and the rest of the globe. While we dearly need advice on timelines, mitigation and training with respect to new construction methods wrt infrastructure, we are besieged weekly by alarmist emails from the Northern Climate ExChange that describe flooding oceans, melting ice caps and blaming everything (hurricanes, earthquakes, hot spells, cold spells, wet seasons, dry seasons, etc etc all on global warming.

And their fav target is the Conservative Gov't. The one that is thrashing the Kyoto Protocol.

Why do we have a greenhouse gas problem. It is partly because of this same vocal group. I call them the Coalition of Anti's. They seem to be "anti everything" but never offer up their own solutions to issues. This green group won alotta battles and ultimately lost the war. They are responsible for the shut down of the budding nuclear industry in the 70's & 80's. Because they were scared sh*tless of meltdowns. And forgeddabout those hydro-electric dams. With an ever growing population, each nation had to make up electrical production demand instead with coal, oil & natural gas. Carbon emissions exploded across the globe. And now those same greenies want us to shut down these coal, gas & diesel facilities and go ... nuclear. They have little credibiity.

And it gets worse. Their false god ... the Kyoto Protocol. High emission user nations pay the low ones. In our case, to meet the 2012 targets, we can shut down Metro Toronto or pay Russian $7-Billion for carbon credits. $7-billion that should be used for hospitals, education or paying down the National Debt of $490 Billion ... goes to Russia's general revenues. And at this point, it begs the question "isn't it worth it to save the Earth? Well here's the scary part. If every one of the 67 countries that signed up to Kyoto all do their part, the UN has determined that the rise in ocean levels of 26cm by 2100AD, the increase in temp's by 2.3C by 2100AD, the increase in hurricanes by 2100AD ... all this and more ... is merely postponed to 2007. Seven years. And for Canadians we have that satisfaction for $7-Billion. And the Liberal Party and the NDP and the Green Party are all ok with that. Thank goodness we had Regime Change in January and clearer heads will prevail.

Isn't it a bit ridiculous to draw attention to Canada's trifling national debt of $490 billion and yet insist that everything is ok with the United States of America in spite of its $8,000,000,000,000 debt?

I am pleased that you are opposed to the Kyoto Protocol. Canada' cannot possibly maintain America's cheap gasoline via its tar sands while abiding by Kyoto. Canada's a good colony of the United States of America. I appreciate it, I love to drive, and I don't mind the oceans rising up to swallow Florida. You know, the oceans won't rise up until after I am dead, so why should I care about the pollution generated by the oil & auto industries right now?

But you are right about one thing: You do live in an extraordinarily beautiful place. Those mountains and lakes of Canada are awesome. Too bad that they also are suffering from humankind's pollution and environmental degradation. In a perfect world none of these things would ever happen, but in a perfect world Homo sapiens would never have evolved.

David Mathews

Last week I posted a comment stating that the correlation between this winters avg temperatures and NG consumption showed an excess of about 6 billion cu ft per day of NG consumption compared to last season, and was showing up in the weekly NG draw.
Temp sources: Add a k initially to the normal airport code except for Deadhorse Ak.

So I have been doing some data mining. I collected the daily January 06 and 07 temperatures for the following cities: Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, NYC, and Washington. The High and Low temp was then averaged for each day. The sum of all the avg temp’s were then averaged for each week corresponding to the weekly NG draw from EIA. With the following results.

The week of Jan 6-12 showed no difference in avg temp for 06 to 07 but an increase in NG draw from 46 to 89 Billion Cu ft. 06 to 07 An increase of 43 Billion Cu ft.

The week of Jan 13-19 showed a decrease of avg temp of 5 degrees for 06 to 07 and an increase in NG draw from 81 to 179 Billion Cu ft. 06 to 07 An increase of 98 Billion Cu ft.

The week of Jan 20-26 showed a decrease of avg temp of 12 degrees for 06 to 07. I therefore suspect that the week of Jan 20-26 will show a draw from 88 Billion Cu ft to an excess of 250 Billion Cu ft. 06 to 07 An increase of more than 150 billion Cu ft.

I also suspect that this increased draw will continue even if future 06 to 07 temp differences are zero.

it would be nice if noaa's website was a little easier to use, but they have a goldmine of data. the latest heating degree days table shows that we are about 1 cold week away from a colder than normal winter. not a big deal but this is what the old farmer's almanac said would happen (although their timing was a little off - about 3 weeks late). noaa is forcasting a return to warmer than normal over the next 30 days.

Nice summary.

Last summer, we saw a few rare midsummer NG inventory drawdowns. If 2007 is slated to become warmest year in modern history, as some well known scientists state, we may see more frequent – and larger - midsummer draws.

Warm weather combined with falling Canadian NG imports and increased utility demand (as more and more utilities have switched from heavy heating oil to NG) will increasingly drain inventories until in just a few years or so we may have a real NG winter shortage in the US.

I understand lower temp and increased usage but your first weeks data. with 0 deg. difference but increased useage. Did more people convert to heating with gas? Price differences? More connections- we have had a housing boom. Curious...

Drawdowns are not usage. They represent the difference between usage and injection into storage.

In the winter we consume more NG than we import or produce so the deficit is drawn from storage. Last summer we drew NG from storage at the peak of the cooling season. So it is IMO that we are producing less and consuming more. 43/7days = about 6.
6 billion Cu ft/day is less than 10% of daily consumption. So if production is down 6-7% and consumption is up 3-4% that could be the 10%. Then again the deficit may only be 3 or 4 Billion Cu ft/day.
In any event 6 billion Cu ft/day Requires an additional 2 Trillion Cu ft of storage and we currently have about 3.5 Trillion Cu ft of storage. Then we also need to find the production to provide the additional 2 Trillion cu ft. How much more NG is being consumed producing low sulfur diesel, all the additional NG electric generating capacity for heat and AC and also used to provide increased yield while refining heavier crudes?


How soon do you see this all leading to an empty US storage tank?


We are a long way from exhausting ng inventory. It is looking like a record carry-out after this winter, and, despite the possibility of a draw this summer, we will have plenty for next winter too.

Before inventory is exhausted, prices will rise sufficiently so that further demand destruction in the industrial sector will occur.

Under our present market system, inventory exhaustion is surely years away, if ever. The question will be whether or not you will be able to afford it.

Ah missed that detail, thanks!

Dante over at PO.com thinks the OPEC cuts are bigger than reported. In particular, he thinks the media has screwed up (what a shock), and is misreporting the situation.

He also points to this article.

"Part of the rally was psychological with the cold weather, and you had the Lloyds reports that the OPEC cuts are pretty significant," said Edward Meir, an analyst at brokerage Man Financial in New York.

Tanker tracker Lloyds MIU reported that crude oil exports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries fell to below 23 million barrels a day in December from under 24 million barrels a day in November.

The tanker tracker also said OPEC crude exports in November were down 700,000 barrels a day from October levels.

The report eased lingering questions over OPEC's adherence to an October agreement to cut output by 1.2 million barrels a day from November.

Independent surveys show the cartel has implemented just half of the promised cut. Oil Movements, another closely followed tanker tracker, said Thursday that seaborne exports from OPEC countries are expected to rise by 270,000 barrels a day to 24.56 million barrels a day in the four weeks ending Feb. 10.

But OPEC President Mohammed al-Hamli said this week that OPEC was "happy" with the level of compliance with the October agreement.

He added that OPEC will go ahead with a December agreement to remove an additional 500,000 barrels a day of oil from the market beginning Feb. 1.

"I think the cuts are bigger than we think," Flynn of Alaron said.

My opinion remains that the American economy is doing much, much worse than most people seem to be able to grasp - and as one of America's last remaining major industries, petrochemicals, continues to offshore itself, there won't be much left to destruct, except for pure consumption.

Which is the one thing that is considered political suicide in America to even discuss.

There really has been little discussion over the last few months about oil 'demand' and economic conditions - like a number of discussions, it just fades so quietly from view, no one notices.

A hint can be found among those who circle the housing bubble blogs - the sudden drying up of orders among suppliers of things like building supplies is astonishing - and let's face it, a modern American house represents a lot of fossil fuel, from the exterior to its fittings to its interior decoration. Not mention the infrastructure, like roads.

It remains my belief that America is pretty much in a Wile E. Coyote moment right now - off the cliff, but still thinking that success is within grasp.

An interesting discussion is to what extent America's fate determines what happens to everyone else sharing the planet.

I might add, being aware of the fall is generally what makes Wile E. Coyote, certified supergenius, fall - not the fact that he is actually in mid-air. Sometimes, you get the feeling that those cartoons had a much deeper impact on social beliefs than anyone could have ever imagined.

Walking on air is easy, as long as you remain unaware of the fact. Which is why so many people are deeply frightened of even looking around at this point - the canyon floor is a long, long way down.

I might add, being aware of the fall is generally what makes Wile E. Coyote, certified supergenius, fall - not the fact that he is actually in mid-air.

Very nice, expat. Since this is Sunday, it makes me think about how Jesus walked on water. But since this is Sunday, we'll let everyone make their own connection between Wile E., Jesus, growing up with cartoons and ending up as a reborn Christian.

The worst thing about the US being broke is the suapicion that it's a set-up. Lower your interest rates from 6% to 1%, and double the money supply in 5 years. Then start pushing the idea that it's great to own your own home, even if, or especailly if, you're an unemployed alcoholic who failed his kindergarten diploma. Are we to believe that Washington, the Fed and the banks didn't see that one coming?

I'm afraid the way to finish it off, and create a country of debt-ridden serfs, will lead through Iran.

There was a story in the news the other day, about new home sales dropping in 2006 by the largest percentage since 1990. It was being reported as, "But there are signs of a rebound." Because December sales weren't bad. (Never mind the bizarrely warm weather, which may have encouraged home buyers during a usually very slow period.)

It's housing that has been powering the economy, and now that rising interest rates have shut down the home equity ATM, people are hurting. Not as much as they would have been if energy prices hadn't dropped, though.

And if things really start to bite, they'll probably try lowering interest rates again. We could continue walking on air for quite awhile.

And if things really start to bite, they'll probably try lowering interest rates again. We could continue walking on air for quite awhile.

Lowering interest rates risks sending the dollar to tbe bottom of the pit, making imported goods prohibitively expensive. And that's a big chunk of the economy by now.

With 2.2 million homes expected to foreclose in 2007, $1.5 trillion in mortgages to be reset way upwards, and a few million jobs lost in construction, home financing, Home Depot, car sales, and all that trickles down after it, there will be millions of people no longer walking on air. And they will make others look down, and so on. Of course, there's already millions of Americans not walking on air, let's not kid ourselves.

Wandering off topic, but lowering interest rates will pretty much cause the dollar to drop, which is the other shoe waiting to drop. To fix various problems requires change, but changing anything will cause the entire structure to crash - a balancing act doomed to failure, as trying to maintain balance ensures it will be lost in the end. No complexity arguments here, though - this is merely the same as a plane which has stalled, is heading earthwards, and is spinning - at some point, no recovery is possible, because the actions are simply too extreme - pulling out of the dive before hitting the earth rips the wings off, for example - which also means hitting the earth.

Basically, America is reaching the end of the party, and will have little but a truly epic hangover to show for it.

There is were Kunstler has some true insights - reality is approaching, though the dimly seen haze surrounding America's daily driving dream. And that reality looks really, really implacable.

leanan - (I like your links btw - better than the papers)

Are we in a catch 22 with the dollar?
Biggest reason to increase the rate. Who will buy our debt if we don't offer a good rate of return especially if they are concerned about our economy or that the value of the dollar is being "liquidated" by increases in the money supply.
Biggest reason to decrease the rate. To stimulate the economy via debt creation especially if the housing ATM and associated job creation goes down the drain.

I can't see clearly here what direction we will take at this time. History would say inflation.

I think that the real problem facing us now has nothing to do with the economy but servicing debt. The last job creation of a service based economy :)

If you think about it the latest economic bubble has been in debt creation and servicing the housing market is almost a side show to the real bubble.

Now that this is coming to a close some debtors will not be able to service some debt thus the choice is which debtors are going to get screwed by macro-economic manipulation.

If you lower interest rates the big debtors banks and the government are screwed since they need high interest rates to attract debt purchase and they have created far to much liquidity in todays markets so they need to slough off in a sense bad or under performing debt to both protect their debt and allow themselves to borrow more.

So basically I think the Fed and the Central Bank will act in the best interest of the Fed. This means they want two things a weaker dollar that reflects the nature of the US as a debtor nation and a strong interest rate to protect continued debt at the highest levels. Its the spread between the interest rate and the relative strength of the dollar that they will maintain to protect themselves.

Local economic issues such as housing and the US economy are not important if the line up with the feds moves fine if not too bad.

In any case I doubt you will see interest rates lower my call is that you will see gradual increases in interest rates and a falling dollar plus local US inflation caused by increasingly more expensive imports.

It's not a completely nefarious move since it will entice large holders of US dollars to convert to US denominated assets. This means that the world is forced into a buying spree of both safe US debt via decent interest rates and US goods/land/services as they try to reduce their US dollar holdings as the currency weakens. China will of course buy a lot of oil with its dollars but the ME nations will be forced to invest into the US itself to unload the slowly devaluing dollar.

The tie to peak oil is that I believe that economic policy will work to ensure that the fast wealth flowing into the ME will be converted into either debt controlled by the US or US goods or other purchases that the US can control. In short the money will flow back here and although it means we give up nominal ownership of assets to ME companies we control the assets with our military and ownership of the bulk of the world banks.

This means the local US economy will continue to grow in areas that export goods and services needed by our large creditors while the "local" economy will probably tank since its concentrated in exports and local discretionary services which are not needed
by a nation that is focused on servicing debt and protecting the credit of its government.

If I'm right you will see the interest rate move to ensure that the government can continue to borrow and ensure that the dollar does not weaken to fast. This mean slowly rising interest rates in general but probably not any lowering or certainly not enough to stimulate the internal economy. This nice thing about this approach is that for the sectors that are healthy and booming as petro-dollars are eventually sent back home is that they will be forced to borrow money at relatively unfavorable rates so a lot of their profits will be eaten servicing debt needed to grow.

At the end of the day this means the US economy converts to a export centric economy similar to the Asian economies with a focus on producing whatever we are still good at building.

In a sense the World economy has been in a bubble caused by consumer spending using debt derived from asset inflation this is blowing off and with this excess consumer wealth gone we now move to the last stage of globalization with each economy export centric in regions of expertise. Now for the US because of its size exporting ownership of land/homes to the highest buyer will be a part of this. So expect a lot of RE to be bought up by foreign buyers both individual and companies.

A new aspect brought on by globalization that is important and overlooked is that the only requirement is that the money end up in US banks thus the sell of goods manufactured in China by US corporations meets the requirement that the dollars need to come home. The actual place the goods are manufactured is not important just that the dollars flow back into US controlled bank accounts and out of the control of foreign central banks. The key is that eventually a lot of this money needs to always end up being converted into new "big" us debt i.e stocks treasuries etc. In any case the key is control of the debt/money and maintaining a good credit rating for the US.

In any case now that the middle class has reached the point that it can no longer borrow any more money its health is not relevant to future financial moves. The Macro picture is simple the US will pay down its debt via exports or pseudo (Chinese manufacturing at US company controlled plants) and also it will maintain a high enough interest rate to ensure that big debt is enticing.

The end result is of course that the US government ultra wealthy individuals will end up controlling a lot of the "real" wealth in the world either directly or via the ability to physically seize finacial and real assets from foreign owners that displease it.
So expect the foreign fire sale to be a temporary measure on a longer time scale.

And finally the driving force is of course that the wealthiest individuals in the US control enough of the worlds wealth that they can in collusion with the US government actually force the world economy to move in a way beneficial to them and the government.
And this is not some sort of conspiracy theory its simply the way that the big players in the US can leverage the current debt to their best interest. If we did not have this large debt they would act differently maybe by making as much money as they could by producing a large debt :)

Rome lasted for thousands of years basically as a bankrupt empire with a powerful military with the side effect that the empire polarized and lost its middle class I expect the same result in the US.

Unfortunately for your debt recycling scenario there's evidence of outright dumping of Treasuries in favor of Euro based instruments--even Ruble and Yuan too. There's also the issue of corporate debt, which is related to the huge current account imbalance, for which over $2 billion in debt needs "buyers" on a daily basis.

Long ago I put forth the notion that it would be rather easy for the rest of the world to stop US hegemony if their central banks stopped financing US gov debt, and it's now clear that a movement in this direction has started. This will accelerate as oil & NG are denominated in non-dollar currencies and the petrodollar recycling you describe slows. Then we also have the profits from illicit narcotics that are a not-to-well recognized part of the whole aspect of debt finance recycling.

One aspect of the localization movement is the creation of local currencies that cycle within the community and thus retain what wealth that's created locally. This same idea works at national levels through currency and capital-flow controls, which are not surprisingly a basic target of the neoliberal/globalization project pushed by the US and its junior partners the UK and Australia. As more countries revolt against this imposed neocolonial system, the ability of the Empire to finance its debt is hindered, which of course makes the Empire more desperate; thus the turn to the older form of "bi-lateral" trade "agreements" modeled on "Dollar Diplomacy" and outright "physical" colonialism as with Iraq.

It's interesting to note amid the discussion of Cantarell's crash that if Mexico sought payment for its oil in Pesos its fundamental financial base would be far stronger than it is currently; the same is true of Canada, which puts into focus the real triumph of NAFTA was making Canada and Mexico subserviant to US financal capitalists.

I don't agree and agree with you at the same time :)

Your right that the end result is the need to create local currencies so that the US can get control of its currency for its internal economy. I guess I need to add that yes this is the end result of my scenario. Globalization needs to result in a dual monetary scheme one is a global currency used for international needs and the other is a local currency used to manage regional economic needs. Right now we use the US dollar for both which is not a stable situation. Initially you need to see a balance of globalization debt/payments moving to a basket of currencies then you need to see this basket indexed agianst a new global currency not controlled by any one government. In the big picture this means that the US central bank along with all others will eventually be subservient to a true international bank controlled by international companies. True globalization leads to this result. So I agree with you but only after the US dollar has devalued and global intrest rates have normalized. Note the big problem here is actually the moves by asian central banks to protect their economies and subsidize US debt.

The intrinsic problem is exactly the same as happened during the first globalization attempt in the 1920's producers could not afford the goods they produced. Now its the fact that asian workers cannot buy the goods they make. The recent bubbles in credit where simply a side effect of this intrinsic problem.

Also the movement of wealth into the purchase of luxury goods by the wealthy is highly deflationary since nominal cost of the production of luxury items and the ability of the wealthy to consume is far lower than the middle class. For example the production 6 10,000 dollar cars results in far more economic activity and real wealth than one 60,000 luxury car.

So lately we have seen the dual effects of a economy that is no longer in balance the lack of a core consumer base that can absorb the products of manufacturing.

In time the deflationary effects of wealth concentration and low wages force the economy to contract.

The recent consumer debt bubbles are just a trick to stave off this inevitable balancing.

Basically at the end of the day 3 things have to happen.
1.) Asian production needs to be balanced with asian consumption
2.) The US needs to control its money so it can manage its local economy.
3.) The world needs to convert to a stable currency that cannot be manipulated by CB for
political reasons.

Now with that said a economy can stabilize in two basic forms.
1.) A generally middle class society with goods purchased by the workers ( Communism/Pure capitalism)
2.) A wealthy elite with production/services geared to support this elite group.

I believe that globalization will lead to the latter form mainly because peak oil/climate change and other resource constraints will prevent the creation of a global middle class. So our economies because of resource constraints can only produce 1 500,000 car and not 6 economy cars. So we are going to see massive deflation through wealth concentration we will never see a large middle class in China or India along with balanced trade.

As we move down the peak resource curve this means that the world will eventually focus on the creation of enclaves catering to these wealthy and a lot of people that are basically serfs serving this elite. In general this means the world will look a lot like KSA in the future. Note it does not matter if your a resource producer or consumer country instead its a matter of the combination of resources and value add geared towards the needs of this new global elite class.

Resource producing nations will tend to move to this model first followed by the consumer nations. The reason is actually the WT export land model as exports shrink the logical conclusion is that the exporting countries must eventually crash their local economies so they have more to export. I don't think a lot of people have thought through the implications of the WT export land model. Exports will not decline past a certain level this means the internal economies of exporting countries will deflate to a
ultra-rich/serf model to ensure exports.

West Texas's export land model is in my opinion critical to understanding the effects of global peak resources on economies. I just don't think many people have realized that exports will not decline past a certain level and the devastating effect this will have on exporting countries economies. And finally this will force importers to the elite economic model.

So I don't expect for example Mexican exports to decrease below a certain level instead their economy will implode to ensure the wealthy get the oil.

I would say we're both on the same page but with different font size. I agree that understanding WT's exportland model is crucial; when I read it the first time, I looked for additional data to underpin my understanding. What I found was that overall export amounts need to be segregated into what's being exported in response to bilateral export contracts and what remains to enter the spot market because it's this latter amount that moves price (or should since the former captures a fixed price through the contract).

Having an international "trade" currency IMO won't happen until we have a major international financial crisis brought on by the great imbalances caused by the unsustainable US debt load; and even then, implementing such a currency depends on how the crisis plays out (for example, if world war is the result, we won't need it).

I would suggest for those reading this thread that if they want to learn more they should dig into the history of WW1's aftermath and the Depression's onset. I'm biased as an historian, but IMO a deep holistic understanding of the first fifty years of 20th century history is essential to finding a way out of our current predicament.

Perhaps that historical understanding should include the first 75 years of the 20th century. Certain fundamentals changed in the mid 70s that have led to a persistent decline in the purchasing power of over 80% American working families. Perhaps it was the entrance of large numbers of baby boomers into the workplace. Perhaps it was the production of integrated circuits which in turn accelerated the automation of manufacturing and finance. Perhaps it was the steady drop in domestic oil extraction. Perhaps it was the unrestricted immigration policy. Perhaps it was our unilateral free trade policy.
As the gauranteed customer for whatever any other country had for export means they must continue to accept US dollars as payment. As much as they hate the policies of the current White House misfits they still long for the Yankee dollar.

The decline in the middle class purchasing power DIRECTLY correlates to the dramatic increase in immigration in the 1970s. We used to allow around 200,000 immigrants in every year legally. Congress increased that amount to over a million in the 1970s. Ever since then we have had a downward pressure on real rages due to the massive influx of low wage immigrants, legal and illegal alike.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Hello memmel,

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Do you know how poor Americans would be if they didn't access to the rest of the world's natural resources virtually for free?

Do you know how poor Americans will become once these natural resources are no longer made available for America's gluttonous consumption?

The United States of America is going to become an impoverished nation. The American people are going to experience true poverty.

This is a just punishment for the crimes committed for America by the American government and corporations. Too bad that the punishment will fall upon the guiltless youth of a future generation rather than on the gluttonous generation who consumed the Earth for its own good pleasure, status, and the sheer joy of wastefulness.

David Mathews

Certain fundamentals changed in the mid 70s that have led to a persistent decline in the purchasing power of over 80% American working families.

Displacement of US production by lower cost, higher quality products from Japan. Sudden acknowledgment of global production possibilities and fear of competition. Commencement of move to relocate production offshore. Debasement of blue collar skills, end of corporate loyalty (apart from lip service). Start of the hollowing out of the US production base and investment in the Tigers, Taiwan, Philippines and China (initiated by high tech industry although some firms like TI in Dallas sought to retain local workforces longer then HP, Motorola and Intel.) Huge increase in the wage gap between payments to management and payments to blue collar. Range climbed from 40 to 1 ratio to current 4000 to 1 (suspect this was due to the wealth creation evidenced in Silicon Valley which all of corporate America sought to emulate - greed is good). Complete breakdown in social solidarity and start of attempts to dismantle social entitlements and reduce transfers. US came to be operated for the benefit of the top 20% and it has continued like that up to the present.

Yes, there's something to be said in favor of adding another 25 years. However, the precursors to that 25 years were already at work in the political economy and the socio-cultural spheres. Further, for those wanting to know how life can go on post-peak, understanding how life was before the age of exuberence really took off--post WW2--can be helpful in planning. The causitive nature of historical events makes it very hard to separate one time period from another as prior events always impact the time period being studied. Then of course there're all the things you didn't learn in Grad school and only find out about through your lifelong learning process. If I had my way, people would go to school for life; why watch TV when there's so much knowledge to be gained?

RE the WT export land model. Following is a homey country analogy to this export model as described by memmel.

When I lived in Southern Appalachia in the 70's, I knew some real back-in-the-woods mountain folks. Many of them would keep a milk cow and sell milk to a local jobber (until regulations put a stop to this on health related reasons). They would also raise a hog or two. When the hog was butchered, the loin cuts and hams- the prime parts of the pig- were sold to bring in needed cash. The family would get along on the 'hog-souse' (head cheese) and other less desirable parts of the hog.

You can see this now in many third-world agrarian countries where multinational fruit companies extract the prime agricultural output while the local people live on often less than subsistence production.

Some wonder why there are discontented 'terrorist' types in the world.

If I'm reading you correctly I think you just said the US economy, and the sages who pull its' strings, have mastered the art of walking on air.
It sounds ridiculous but it often seems to me that's just what's been happening for decades.

We have had a almost infinite printing press for many decades.
We are still the worlds third largest producer of oil.
A large NG producer.
The second largest coal producer.
Iron other metals wood and water in abundance.
The breadbasket of the world.
Nafta gives us access to rich Canadian resources and cheap Mexican labor.
The best schools technology in the world.
The worlds largest military.

And we somehow managed to blow it.

The collective arrogance stupidity and waste of America astounds me.

What sad is thinking what America could have been with just a bit
of constraint and forward thinking.

We could have had gleaming electric cities full of safe parks
and small quaint villages dedicated to local production to with robots and humans
working together to build a better life for all.
And high speed rail stitching together the country. With vast areas reserved as nature parks and retirement and vacation enclaves for the retired worker and wealthy alike.

Any chance of this is probably gone traded for a automobile and debt on a look alike house crowded next to your neighbor.

It is certainly hard to find the ground on which the American economy is based, where in the 1970s, it was easy to see how it was disappearing. Somehow, what is gone no longer counts in assessing the dynamic miracle which is the American economy, the one where people work more on average than in 1975, have less health care, and where company pensions have been plundered to help fund a bright future for semi-slaves in China. Oh, and an economy where the rich have truly become richer - I guess that is the only measure that really matters, in the end. Unless you want to be called a socialist or something equally degrading, like liberal.

"Ain't no hearses with luggage racks."
"In the long run, we're all dead."

I think it helps to work backwards from the GDP figure to see what underpins the US economy, or at least the figures used to show the growth in GDP. You would then want to subtract all the negatives counted as positives for GDP, or to estimate them as best you can. Having done that, you would end up with something like the GPI--Genuine Progress Indicator. Fortunately, a group of economists at Reinventing Progress http://www.redefiningprogress.org/ have done that for us already.

the way i see it, as i have been looking for a place to live recently, and i am tired of this one bedroom apt. I have looked in Maryland, Tennessee and Texas, especially west of Austin, in the hill country. This is just an observation, but i am noticing "master planned communities" popping up everywhere, ie. Dallas/Fort Worth texas, Houston (north/south/east and west), Austin, especially in the outlying areas toward Lake Travis, then on to Tennessee north and south of Nashville, as well as in Maryland, south of Baltimore.
these master planned communities may seem ideal, but there is a catch, you MUST use the ultilites provided or approved by the home owners association to service the area. example: your not allowed to install your own self sufficient energy system, such as solar, wind muchless drill your own septic. and we are not entitled to the mineral rights of the property either. that is signed away at closing of the house.

I think Kunstler has it right, we are DOOMED!
Suburbia will be very ugly!

I noticed that in the 1980s - you pay to have less freedom. And Americans think this is a good bargain.

However, at least in theory at that time, such purchase contracts were only enforceable with the first buyer - this seems to have something to do with all those deed covenants forbidding sale of property to non-whites, and how such covenants, in general, could no longer be enforced.

It has been a good 15 years since the last time I looked at such things in a legal perspective - it wouldn't surprise me in the least if such terms are now binding on all purchasers of what used to be considered your land, which was your home, which entitled you as an American citizen to enjoy 'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects....'

The US is in denial about how bad the housing downturn can get.

Even dropping to the 2000 level of new housing starts is something like 60% of the level now.

In Boston, amongst other places, in the early 90s, housing prices dropped 40%. It could well happen in places in the US this cycle.


It's interesting to think about what the "natural" rate of housing expansion should be. Assuming for the moment zero homelessness, such a natural rate would be about equal to population expansion, or a little more than 1% per year. IMO, it's upon this "reef" that the housing doomers arguments break-up. Certainly, the recent boom in construction was and is a prime economic mover; but just because the rate of expansion levels off doesn't mean it's depression time soon. A prime example is from the turn of the 1980s when Volker's war on inflation almost killed the housing and S&L markets though his imposition of almost 20% interest rates.

1. US residential construction sector was 4.5% of GDP pre 2000 recession, it has now reached 6.5%.

2. relative to any measure of expense (price to rent, price to income) US houses are now, in many markets, more expensive than they have ever been

3. housing prices have risen by more in real terms in this boom than in any, save the immediate post war boom (when the GIs returned, and government policy opened up mortgages to working class people). Actually it has now surpassed that boom.

4. there has been an unpredented explosion both in home equity withdrawal, and in sub prime lending. In a market where financial institutions don't hold mortgages, they 'securitise' them in return for fees, there has been every incentive to be lax on mortgage lending standards, and let someone else take the risk.

And if we look who is holding these mortgage backed securities, it is typically highly leveraged hedge funds- -who themselves have borrowed to finance those positions. A forced liquidation by those funds could cause some very serious corrections in the MBS market (read: big rise in mortgage rates, very suddenly).

Adding to my discomfort, a major holder of MBS is Far Eastern central banks. Not your logical long term holders.

My conclusion is that whilst population growth will continue, and housing starts aren't going to go away, and household sizes will likely to continue getting smaller, the housing construction sector is not going to stop


there is a long way to fall to get back to 'normal' levels of activity.

Bubbles typically go up for a lot longer than we think they will, and then take a lot longer deflating than we think they will. This is especially true of real estate, where sellers usually refuse to sell if they don't get the prices. So volume dries up, rather than prices (at least in the first phase).

My view is the US is in the first phase (volumes fall, prices don't do much).

you know little, but write much
wrong order
go inform yourself

Think about what a downturn to the world oil supply might do to homebilding activity. We might expect a spike in oil prices and quite a few major bankruptcies. This would be followed by families moving in together, (or childeren back with their parents) to save on fuel costs, or because of layoffs. I could imagine a lot of empty existing homes, plus little new home activity.

If, in addition, the government raises interest rates to attract investors in US debt, there is a further reason for the US economy to tank, and homebuilding to drop to near zero.

Over the last ten years or so (as I'm aware) there's been a growing movement in the major urban areas of occupying abandoned housing and making it habitable for the homeless, which has been covered by the IndyMedia folks.

Where housing is going points to what economists call stagnation--close to zero growth rate. A question I've had for some time is, Who needs growth if one has what one needs, materially, and can produce the items one needs to consume to survive. An example I used in school: If everyone owns a toaster built to last 100 years, what will happen to the toaster manufacturers and their workers when the market only expands as fast as additional households are created to buy toasters? I know how the manufacturers answered the question, planned obsolescense; but that isn't sustainable.

I think a steady-state or very slow growth economy can work; they did for thousands of years before now. I know people can be enculturated/socialized to prosper in such an economy. But how do we evolve to such a state from where we are today without massive upheval, death and destruction?

I agree, there is a housing bubble in U.S. ---but likewise there is a big bubble in Europe and even big cities in China.

I think there is too much irrational hate and gloom over large-scale "collapse" of the US (as if that's a good thing).

The USA is not George W. Bush as much as Bush might believe it is.

Like 49% (or more perhaps) of the voters, I didn't vote for Bush in 2004, and even fewer would vote for him again. Bush will be gone formally in 2 years; in practical terms much of his real power has already evaporated in the recent legislative elections.

Spain has a larger fraction of its economy dependent on construction and an even more extreme property bubble. Why no glee over its impending "collapse"?

Spain is like 30 million people. And it is a fairly cheap place for European manufacturing. Also I think the housing bubble in Spain is a bit different concentrated in condo's that can readily be turned into reasonable rental units once the bubble bursts.
The same for a lot of the other European bubble eras I'm sure the Asian bubble is similar.

The problem is the single family home makes a poor rental property with relatively high cost to income ratio so a collapse in America is a quite a bit nastier. The condo half of the collapse is quickly solved with conversion of the units and buildings to rental units at a reasonable price/cost ratio. So although the primary or initial owner takes a fairly large loss on condo's the second buyer turn them into profitable affordable housing.

Going from condo owner to renter again is not generally a huge loss and often the condo's are not way out of line in price to the rental rates. Condo prices have historically been very volatile in the US not sure about the rest of the world without a major impact on the economies. Simply I think because the loss can quickly be isolated and the property turned productive erasing the overall economic loss in a few years.
Also in general the owner of apt buildings is forced to maintain them by law and also since it ensures better rentals for some time. Eventually of course they often degrade but generally only after decades of providing decent cheap and relatively safe living.
Revitalization and refurbishment is still cost effective if the building is sound generally to another attempt at condos :)

SFH ( Single family homes ) in regions that become predominantly rentals suffer disrepair and fairly quick deterioration of the neighborhood as the homes are generally only sought after by poorer people with large families that cannot afford to purchase a home. Often the homes are broken up into poorly designed apartments that again rent lower than communities designed for apt living.

Eventually of course the homes are torn down and replaced with apts or rarer revitalized but this takes decades and modern home construction at least in the US probably does not have near the same high quality as it did in past decades. Most of the homes will barely last 30 years with good maintenance before needing major refurbishment and thats being kind. This is a downward spiral causing land values of surrounding homes to drop in a generally losing battle of lost taxes repairs and increased crime rates.

Also in Europe and Asia the higher land values and taxes generally ensure that neighborhoods don't deteriorate and become abandoned like they do in the US were cheap land is available either filled with past failed housing tracts are empty farmland.
We tend to let them fall apart then come back bulldoze the homes down and build new ones.

Certainly regions of European and Asian cities fail but in general they do better than the US. Thus housing bubbles that consist primarily of condos don't have near the effect of the American SFH bubbles if they did the historically volatile condo market would have shown this in the past.

The issue of the US housing bubble is the size of it-- I've seen estimates that houses are as much as $6 trillion more in value than fundamentals would predict. That's a lot of shock for the financial system to take, if it deflates.

Similarly, residential housing to GDP has risen from a previous peak of 4.5% to 6.5% now. And the US is the world's largest economy. Retracing that 2% could be a very painful process for all of us.

2% of GDP is roughly $250bn off the world economy. And there would be feedback effects to other countries.

Some European countries look overextended: Spain and Netherlands in particular. Others do not: France and Germany. So my sense is that whilst the 'periphery' economies of Europe may take a pounding on this, the overall impact on Europe will be muted by the diversity.

The good news is that the US bubble looks (mostly) less overinflated than the British bubble, to take an example.

The bad news is that some parts of the US appear to have as bad a bubble as southern England.

There are some unique factors in Spain (basically, the demographics in Spain have gone nuts, due to Latin American immigration; also the alignment with the Euro has caused a complete restructuring of the mortgage marketplace and there is very little of a rental market).

I don't have 'glee' re the US situation, it is just the US housing market is the biggest in the world, in dollar terms. So the downturn will have correspondingly large impacts.

The rest of the US economy is quite robust *although* Bush has had the fastest rise in government expenditure since the Lyndon Johnson/ Vietnam years: a combination of fast rising civilian spending and higher military spending (Iraq and Afghanistan).

This growth will come to an end at the same time as the housing market-- the potential for a double whammy is there (and the current shape of the yield curve is a harbinger of recession).

I know its a very touchy topic and was spoken of quite a bit at the end of yesterdays Drumbeat(Jan 27).

The issue was trolls and disruptions. The further issue was the angst suffered by the contributers on TOD, both senior and otherwise. One has felt that he was being cyber-stalked and issued a strong warning to the offender.It appeared to not have had much effect.

I used to run a board/forum/discussion group that was powered by YABB.
YetAnotherBulletinBoard. I chose it because it was Open Source,written to a large degree in Perl and was easily modifiable by myself and others who continually worked to increase the functionally. One problem was that it was not overly responive as thread grew in length. By using many forum/board that was mostly mitigated. The data(posts) resided in the areas it needed to be allocated to. Moderators had the ability to move a single post or whole threads to other locations/forums.

I set it up for professionals who were retired or active in the company I used to work for. Its purpose was manifold and so I created several boards under the main home page. One for consultants or wannabe consultants where knowledge of consulting could be discussed. I set up another for benefits issues, one for investing and so forth.

One board was created just for chit-chat. One was for newcomers. You get the idea.

Anyway some of the boards were hidden to those who did not have the proper authority to view them. Others were view only , others had view and post ability.The ability to assign values to the Users Profiles was what enabled me to allow them access by keying that to the various boards/forums. Sort of like Guest/Administrator in Windows Xp and Windows 2000 only far more functional and with a greater range of values.

As a member gained more status as a worthy poster he was given more authority to view more of the various fora. If he engaged in endless drivel that authority was removed and he was then allowed to only use the lower level boards and forums.

In particuliar there was a volunteer moderator for each board. There was even a board for moderators where they could discuss how to run the various boards. Higher level moderators could override the ones with lower levels.

It all worked very well and finally became able to be run pretty much "hands off". As owner I just had to manage the moderators or let one highly ranked volunteer do that job and then spent my time implementing more changes and improvements.

The problem was eventually that most of the members came from the ranks of Yahoo User Groups and for some reason had no desire to understand the functionality of the site. They were used to a single board with only one forum where everything was single threaded and enormously easy for trolls to constantly trash. It appeared to me that many of the members actually craved fighting with the trolls, shills and posers(imposters).

I closed it down then and used the site for other purposes. Sadly these were supposedly people who worked in a very hightech IT industry but sadly they just didn't have the initiative to do much more that gossip and argue with each other. It must have been what they craved all along.

TOD has a very good board medium except for the inabilty to follow ones own postings/comments. To me this is causing a huge problem dealing with bandwidth. In the near future I will be on a very fast DSL in N. Carolina but presently it is a problem that I have learned to live with since the rewards outweigh the risk.

Currently there is one unique poster named dmathew1 who has been very destructive in causing great pain for two or possibly more of the very valuable contributers to this site. It would be a shame to see one miscreant chase away those who contribute so very much to this site and to the data we all desperately need and require in order to make judgements as to our future lifestyles and decisions. There are a few others as well who tend to lower the value of the dialogues by constant heckling,massive offtopic postings and detrimental attacks. Hothgar and IP to put a name to them.

They appear to come to the site,read enough of the detailed information posted and then begin to attack contributors or other members, portraying themselves as experts ,when they then frequently cannot sustain the debate they cease and hie themselves to another thread to start over again. When asked to defend their statements usually they cannot and do not reply except with the same worn out defenses and methods of disruption, name calling,etc.

With good technology I don't believe that its impossible to remove disruptive posters or deal with them properly.

Thanks for the work of all who make this site so worthwhile. Please do not leave. This work is too valuable.

I fear that I have gone out on a limb here but I think it needed to
be said.

To the extent that I have been part of the problem I apologize. You have the right to revoke my membership at any time and at your discretion. Admittedly I do have a low anger threshold.

I Mod on another forum that uses vBulletin software. It gives the Mods the ability to do almost anything from deleting posts to moving them to other subforums and it automatically *** "bad words. There is a lot of flexibility. It has sub-forums that are open to non-members and ones that are members only.

Having said that, it takes a lot of effort by the Mods to be handle everything from trolling to personal attacks to... The Mods spend a lot of time in the Staff Lounge discussing what to do about so and so or where to move a thread (For example, one sub-forum is called Take It Outside where members can pretty much dump on each other to their heart's delight.). One thing that is rigidly enforced is to stop thread hijacking where a member posts something that is off topic to the specific thread. There's also a point warning system and on and on.

But, all of this takes effort and mistakes are occassionally made by coming down too hard on a poster. And, then there are issues of what might be called personal belief, that is, is the post appropriate for the forum at all. For example, what would TOD Mods do about a poster who continually, and verbosly (sp), argues that oil will last 500 years and cites a bunch of garbage references? Or, how about posts that reference religion in some way. As I'm sure you (Airdale) know, it gets really messy.

What attracted me to TOD was the civility and staying on topic. As is being argued, that seems to be slipping away. Were I a PTB on TOD, I think I'd start by posting the forum rules as a header at the top of the opening page. At least it would give formal notice of what is acceptable and what is not.

As a Mod I can say that TOD doesn't want Mods if it can be avoided.



By assigning Profile values to a user his ability to post in certain forums (or in this case of topics,drumbeat or otherwise) can be curtailed an controlled without very much moderator activity.

A poster who is showing very little concern by continuing to go way off topic will simply by assigning them a different level now have his ability to disrupt in important areas diminished.

It can remain that way until they clean up their act yet it still gives them a place to communciate if they wish and prove themselves.

Call it a free-for-all or in my case I termed it CatFights. I would remove their posts to the CatFights arena by simply making a few mouse clicks. Nothing was erased and no one was banned. The CatFights was recycled into a bit bucket (dev null in Linux) to regain the storage on a time basis(every week or so).

Only important fora were kept alive for some predetermined archival time.

Likewise mine had a word substitution liberary. Various obscene words were readily and automatically translated into something more acceptable. They could cuss all they wished but it never saw the light of day.All built in and you just added the words as required or took the standard default.

The moderating was mostly just a control feature and many posts did not have to be debated endlessly as to conformity. When you label a forum as OtherViews then visitors to the site can at least have a choice as to what they wish to view. It was called IIRC a category.
The breakdown was Site/Board/Category/Forum..in that order.

It appears that Drumbeats are not controlled as to staying on-topic. Therefore only the Brumbeats would require watching. I rarely banned anyone because just setting their profile with a parameter that allowed them only access to lowlevel and unimportant areas mainly kept them out of the mainstream. Again the lowlevel forums had a short half-life. Trivia went away then and didn't clog the mainstream.

If you wished to remain able to post in the upper levels you had to insure that your commenting/posting had at least some worthy value to the discussion/topic/thread.

Respected posters with a good history of course were given far more leeway as well as newcomers who didn't understand the rules.

Its a waste for newcomers to venture to a site and immediately start a thread that has previously been beaten into the ground. 'Stickies' handled that fairly well. Admonishions to read the mission statement and rules were advertised via a News Bulletin Banner.

One caveat. In any discussion group you need a very good and very responsive database. MySql was what I used. Again open source.

As someone who's made liberal use of bad words at times, I think that's a brilliant idea. Even better if the substitution library is really...... fey.

Imagine the F-word turning into "shoe-fly pie", the S-word becoming "shirtwaist" etc.

Too good an idea not to use!

Confoundit. Flummery. Drivel. Poppycock.

English is rich with words far more colorful than the usual expletives.

Captain Haddock in 'Tintin' has a great repertoire.

Active moderation of individual posts is very demanding so I advocate a tough love approach to posters who demonstrate that they constantly put a personal agenda above that of the community. As this is a solutions oriented forum, I would strengthen the mission statement and posting policy, and provide a bit of education about the merits of peer review and constructive posting standards (to the extent this is seen as core to the mission). This would provide the objective criteria required for banning chronic violators evenhandedly. Basically, anyone not contributing in the spirit of the mission would know what kind of behavior would result in banning or suspension. Claims of censorship might be bandied about, but would have no credibility. This is pretty standard "user agreement" stuff for when folks register.

Of the chronic offenders identified above by airdale above, it is clear that at least one is not in anyway solution oriented or forward looking. Efforts to disrupt and destroy this community mirror his stated desire to undue humanity. I could care less if he is right or wrong; the agenda he wishes to advance is his own with no relevance to this site. He is his own undoing. Folks that post to advance their own agenda at the expense of this community should be shunned by all and dealt with openly and decisively by the editors. 3 strikes and you are out would be more than fair.

I support this, make it as simple as possible --- a few warnings to the offender and then ban (or suspend account for a week). There is a precedent already (OilCEO).
I would also made it open, keeping a separate page with a list of banned users, so that anyone could examine the comments of aforementioned users and come to its own conclusions.

In my opinion an ignore function would be the best approach. This would not require moderators. Everybody would control their own ignore list.

I have not really been too bothered by things here because I only have time to skim through anyhow. I probably only read 10%.

That would not address what to many of the contributors is the main issue: our appearance to outsiders, who don't know whom to ignore.

The drumbeats could be removed from the main page and put into a forum section. Outsiders would first see the main articles which have the Oil Drum stamp of approval. Those could be moderated to delete off topic posts. I don't think many outsiders are going to sift through 200 posts everyday in the drumbeats.

I don't know. I'm just brainstorming for no particular reason.

That wouldn't help what many see as the main problem: the trolling and flaming that spill over into the non-DrumBeat posts.

Some things under consideration: getting rid of open threads (so DrumBeat comments would have to be on the news articles I post). Setting up a message board off the front page, instead of open threads. Having two TOD sites, one with comments, one without.

There are 3 or 4 people who cause this entire discussion, and who make OilCeo look like an appreciated member of the community. Do you ever have the notion that maybe you're looking in the wrong direction? If Oil Ceo can be banned, so can others, am i right?

You are talking about changing the entire format over nothing.

A guy named Infinite something can be shut down by limiting his number of words and posts, simple. DMathews should be thrown out directly, he's a freak with nothing to say, in a million words. Hothgor is not that bad, just make it impossible for him to react to WT's posts, and tell him you're watching his repetitive posts, and will throw them away. Yeah, he's juvenile, but so's LipstickKneecap. That is NOT the issue. The issue is endless repetition and personal attacks, and it's just a few posters. Is that hard to get rid of? Man, it should have been done right away.

The longer you wait with these simple things, the harder it gets. Right now, because nobody does anything, you're attracting fools. You have lost a lot of serious readers and posters in the meantime. What's the problem?

Throw out 2.5 nuts to leave a good forum for 2000 people, or redesign and make it hard for everyone. Take your pick, but don't say you don't have a choice, you do.

I *do* hate to see everyone punished for the sins of the few, but it isn't as if TOD can simply fire or evict miscreants. It is too easy to come back with a new name. Limiting the number of posts also fails if someone assumes multiple extra usernames. Killfiles seem to be little more than face-saving devices. I've never seen a troll that really cared about being ignored. Leanan would be a fine moderator, but she contributes more than enough already.

I've posted on Usenet for a decade and have been through my share of flame wars. I scroll past certain names already and this rating system promises to make that easier for me, so I'm all for it.

Hello HeIsSoFly,

DMathews should be thrown out directly, he's a freak with nothing to say, in a million words.

Oh my, are you trying to upset me? "HeIsSoFly" ... eh, what sort of ridiculous name is that, anyway?

Anyhow, I have followed the discussions on this blog for over a year and can assure you that nothing of any real value is said by anyone. The only content which possesses any merit whatsoever are the links to newspaper articles, editorials and audiovisual materials located elsewhere. Leanan does an excellent job in compiling these news sources, but her conduct in the "discussions" leaves a lot to be desired otherwise.

There was no golden age in which the discussions at The Oil Drum possessed merit, were informative, objective, and praiseworthy. The discussions here have always varied between terrible and really horrendous. The arguments are always repetitive, maybe unavoidably so because The Oil Drum has such a narrow focus that it ignores 99.999% if what is happening in the Universe.

Really, I do wonder what goal The Oil Drum was created in order to accomplish? Does this website want to become the best peak oil blog or the the best source of allegedly objective information regarding the world'd energy problems or does it want to lead the world to the solution of the peak oil problem? Whatever goal inspired the blog's founders it has consistently failed to attain it for several years. But that is life.

You know, there's a lot more to this Universe than The Oil Drum. People who become excessively attached to a blog need to find other interests. People who become enraged by what they read in a discussion need to learn how to calm down: If you cannot endure hearing contrary viewpoints how will you possibly survive the collapse of civilization?

The Oil Drum is only a blog. Keep that in mind. the Oil Drum isn't saving the world. It is only a blog. These daily threads don't serve the interests of humankind. Nothing said here will be remembered by anyone. In a hundred years no one will remember that a website named "the Oil Drum" existed. There is nothing great happening here. The world moves on regardless of what happens or is not allowed to happen here.

So you can all do yourselves a big favor by relaxing. Those people who control the world still remain in control, the nobodies have no choice except to talk and complain about meaningless things.

David Mathews

In a hundred years no one will remember that a website named "the Oil Drum" existed.

If the people who run this site would have any sense at all, it would take less than a hundred hours for you to be forgotten. Fortunately for you, they are asleep behind the wheel. You can kill this entire site, all by yourself, and they're letting you. Isn't that a great feeling?

There are places where people can be forced to take their daily drugs. You should go look for one. It's all the hope you have left.

If the people who run this site would have any sense at all, it would take less than a hundred hours for you to be forgotten. Fortunately for you, they are asleep behind the wheel. You can kill this entire site, all by yourself, and they're letting you. Isn't that a great feeling?

If the request for minimal ethics is sufficient to kill The Oil Drum blog then the website might as well not exist. If there are certain people here who are employed by oil corporations they should explicitly say so, and so say often. Such individuals compromise the nonexistent objectivity of The Oil Drum and also completely demolish the website's potential for providing reliable, trustworthy information regarding Peak Oil, its impacts and its solutions.

What is the goal of The Oil Drum? Does it seek the serve the uninformed public or would it rather serve the oil corporations? That is the choice which this website must make, and I hope that it chooses wisely.

I think it should be obvious to anyone who has eyes that oil futures traders and anonymous investment advisors have no place on a Peak Oil blog. This is just plain common sense: If Peak Oil is humankind's greatest catastrophe (as some here claim) it is obscene for people to salivate over the profits that they intend to glean from it. Wealth generated from a catastrophe is blood money, plain and simple.

If The Oil Drum wants to attain objectivity it must find some means of isolating itself from the (vile) corporate, trader and investment crowd. Maybe this is impossible.

David Mathews

Right now TOD is a sanctuary for delude freaks who refuse to take their drugs.

Yeah, let's call that objectivity, why don't we.

Let you go for a few more days, and there'll be no more TOD, and no-one sees it.

Hello "HeIsSoFly",

Don't you see how these words are utterly weak & pathetic.

If you are angry, you are angry for your own self; if you are happy, you are happy for your own self. Your emotions are your own concern, not mine.

Ethics and objectivity must mutually coincide or otherwise neither exists.

Those whose business is lying hide their identity and employment. Those who have a real concern for the fate of humankind (all 6.5 billion of us) will not conceal their corporate, career or greed interests.

We are here talking about the end of civilization, are we not? If that is the case, the serious people must behave seriously, the ethical people must behave ethically, and the honest people must behave honestly.

I know, it is a lot to ask. Too much. But it is only the bare minimum.

David Mathews


not to worry, I do see how weak you are
that's not the problem here

do you touch yourself while writing this drivel?

Actually. HeIsSoFly, you're the one who has been talking drivel, and you are falling into the flamer category in this thread. I might not agree with all of dMathews, and deplore his insults, but many of his points have merit as do yours, so quit with the flame war both of you.

Hello ImSceptical,

> quit with the flame war both of you

Amen. Excellent advice. There's no argument between myself and HeIsSoFly.

David Mathews

Coming back to real reality:

the action of oil traders who recognize Peak Oil will serve to price long-dated oil futures sufficiently high that even Big Establishment Types will get off their ass and recognize that there is a major problem.

It might make people even buy fewer gas guzzlers.

In the end, this will be more helpful than pan-doomer rhetoric.

Peak Oil is not the greatest catastrophe for human civilization, but uncontrolled climate change could be. Now it is important that mitigation doesn't make other problems worse.

OOPS.Am not reading your posts much but as I scrolled a keyword popped out
Insulting us all collectively only makes us weary at this point.
Insulting Leanan could make us angry.

A personal attack (and a dumb one) on the Editor should be enough to ban you, for the life of me I don't know why you're still here

Hello Oldhippie,

OOPS.Am not reading your posts much but as I scrolled a keyword popped out
Insulting us all collectively only makes us weary at this point.
Insulting Leanan could make us angry.

If you want to be angry, Oldhippie, be angry. I am not here in order to praise anyone. If anyone here was praiseworthy, I'd be busy praising that person(s).

I am certain that Leanan knows why I have such a low view of her postings (as opposed to her news clippings). Criticism which is earned is not an insult.

David Mathews

Keep digging that hole.

It's not that easy to kick people off, unfortunately. SuperG is swamped, and just doesn't have the time. And they only come back, with new sock puppets and fake IP addresses.

And we're looking toward the future. We hope to continue to grow as a site. Now it may just be three or four people, but that won't be the case in the future, if history means anything.

If frustrations over content boil over for the editors...

My $.02 worth...
Make a seperate section that is "view only" even if that puts me on the outside. A way for the main posters to include guest questions as they relate to the topic, and at the option of the main posters, would provide interaction to the outsider group, which would allow education to those who know nothing about this topic(s)
I know absolutly nothing about oil but find TOD a daily read, it would be a shame to loose access completely yet posters like Hothgor, dmathews1, etc take too much space and I find I select harder who I read. Debates between people who really know what they are talking about should rule this portion.


Thats funny. More and more older posters seem to be agreeing with me. I guess when faced with the fact that a large portion of your viewers are tired of hearing the same old stuff that has little to no scientific merit, and they begin supporting dissenting opinions, its time to talk about censorship and 'exclusivity'.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: a popularity contest does nothing to further the dialog about peak oil on TOD. It serves only to show outsiders how close minded doomers are on the subject. The day we start excluding posters is the day TOD joins the PO fringe group. A rational scientific debate can not be one sided, as there is no evidence what so ever to support an imminent destruction to our way of life.

This will be my only post on this subject today. I'm sure I will continue to get a lot more flak for going against the trend, and I'm sure people will try to bait and goad me back out. But go ahead and prove to the world how distruptive I am with a series of baseless ad homenin attacks.

I'll take the high ground on this one.


I understand your trouble with certain posters. But I think that, instead of having individual moderators (who can be accused of bias, being shrills etc...) we should adopt a digg like model, where you digg up comments you agree with, bury others (but in this case you only have say 5 points per thread).

Like that the problem will resolve itself.

Since we're going to start making technical innovations to TOD, it's the right time to make suggestions.


Currently there is one unique poster named dmathew1 who has been very destructive in causing great pain for two or possibly more of the very valuable contributers to this site.

Oh. I see. If I knew that Robert Rapier was a sacred cow I would have thrown flowers at his feet. Not that he needs praise & adulation, I am certain that his employer has rewarded him handsomely for his little hobby which happens to support the oil industry's interests.

Are there any more people here who are also employed by oil corporations and happen to coincidentally have a hobby which promotes the interests of their employer? Believe me, I love the oil corporations & the oil industry. Every time I see smog in the air or an oily film of pollution in the water, I cannot help but think: "Thank God for the Oil Industry! May the ice caps all melt, may the oceans rise, may all the ports succumb to the oceans, may civilization itself collapse, and may the Homo sapiens attain utopia both on the Earth and in Space!"

I love big oil. I love America. Bring me a flag and I'll wave it. How many Muslim civilians have we killed today? Shouldn't we bring Freedom & Democracy to Venezuela? The Nigerians need our help -- let's pump their oil quickly because the shareholders demand it! Don't mind the dying Nigerians, they aren't shareholders ... if you catch my drift!

Oil is Nature's gift to humanity. Nature cooked this mineral in the Earth specifically in order to power humankind's destruction of Nature. After four billion years isn't it great to know that a primate is in charge of the Earth now? Let's pave the entire Earth in asphalt and drive Hummers everywhere!

Isn't oil wonderful? I'd have to say ... oil is the most wonderful substance. And it is more valuable than blood and life itself.

David Mathews

From the mission statement of The OilDrum:

This real and tangible crisis of supply and demand is now inevitable. Whether the coming crisis arrives in six months or in four years, whether the crisis arrives in a slow, secular fashion or as a cataclysmic "shock," our purpose is the same: we are here to raise awareness of the reality of the current problem and to attempt to address the real issues that are often hidden by political pandering.

We are here to talk about ideas. We're all learning here about ourselves and from each other. No perspective will be punished as long as evidence and logic are present. We want to bring brain power to bear on all of these issues; we may not come up with a solution…but we can at least say we tried.

Did you notice that according to the mission statement, the Peak Oil crisis is not in doubt and that

we are to raise awareness of the reality of the current problem and to attempt to address the real issues that are often hidden by political pandering


I would take that to mean that the continual debate about deciding if Peak Oil is real or not, is not the reason for The Oil Drum. The Peak Oil crisis is assumed

whether the coming crisis arrives in six months or in four years


I for one, am very tired of the "debate".



" copy that, I agree, etc.

RickD wrote:

I for one, am very tired of the "debate".

On the other hand, I am not at all tired of it. At least not tired of that part of it that is of decent quality.

Here's why:

Any individual contemplating making changes to their lives based on peak oil has to get a fix on the timing of the peak and the likely consequences of it (for themselves) when it does occur.

Reason: change can be very expensive. There are always opportunity costs for any such change. And they can be severe. For instance: leaving an established career in tourism because you think peak oil will eliminate the industry.

I see no danger that governments will overestimate the problem of peak oil.

Individuals, however, are a different matter. They can and do overreact.

The cure for this is to frequently reappraise your position based on new information and new analysis resulting from ongoing debate.

So, I come to TOD because new info is available and the debate, which may rage for many years, is alive and well.

The repeated "debate" is useful as it tends to sharpen the analysis as the debate progresses. Also, there is continuously new information available which allows for a shifting and growing debate on the issue of peak oil. I, for one, find it an honor to be involved with TOD and to be able to participate in the debate here. Before 2005, I was absolutely clueless about the peak oil debate. Before the advent of blogs, we'd be left with non-interactive websites, books and journals. The debate would solely be among the experts. As a non-expert, I find it refreshing and truly an honor to participate.

I, for one, find it an honor to be involved with TOD and to be able to participate in the debate here.

Before the advent of blogs, we'd be left with non-interactive websites, books and journals.


The opportunity to participate is a huge plus. A big boost to the whole learning process, in my view.

That is why I think an option for the main posters to add your comments or questions and then respond would be nice. There is a need for education. Given the mission statement it would be easy to toss (isolate?)the worst offenders. It might make others more willing to ask questions if they didn't see the miles of flamming arguements.

I sent the following to the NY Times, concerning an article that appears on their front page today:

In response to "Saudi Officials Seek to Temper the Price of Oil", what the Saudis say, and what they do, are completely different. Oil production from Saudi Arabia plateaued as high as 9.5 million barrels per day in Fall 2005 and Spring 2006. Based on OPEC pronouncements, the Saudi quota for February 2007 is 8.3 million barrels per day. All indications are they will easily meet that quota – and perhaps produce even less than that amount.

Other OPEC countries are falling into line and also adjusting production to meet their quotas. Oil tankers tracking firms Petrologistics and Lloyd's Marine Intelligence Unit already note that OPEC has met its first quota cut goal. There is no reason to call another emergency OPEC meeting when another cut is going into effect February 1 and winter increases world oil demand.

The Saudis actions very clearly indicate that they have no intention to keep prices down around the low $50s, and no half-baked plan of cutting their own oil revenue in hopes of crippling Iran’s economy.

The recent drop in OPEC oil supplies will eventually, if not soon, push prices much higher.

The Saudis should learn the fine art of keeping their mouths shut. They are starting to look as silly as King Dumbo putting a positive spin on Iraq every other day.

The Discovery Channel is airing a show about the Ice Age now. It claims that back then, the climate was much more variable year-to-year than it now (due to disruptions in the Gulf Stream). It was like moving from Italy to Moscow...without actually moving.

That would put a damper on farming...

The effects of extreme weather on farming are hardly mentioned anywhere. People just talk about what crops they will be able to grow, vines in Scotland and the like. but viable agriculture does rely on reliable weather. Having severe storms and floods and droughts destroy one out of every two or three crops will make land effectively uninhabitable.

We may be able to grow some crops further north into Canada, but first, a large part of that would be the Prairies, for which a desert climate is in the offing, and second, the Southern states will lose much of their cropland due to heat and lack of water, same as Europe around the Mediterranean.

Which reminds me, for some reason, of the article Leanan posted from Wales. God, are these people clueless. Yes, good idea, buddies, just tell people that 3% less of something is all they have to give up per year. That's the same as giving them a sleeping pill. Either Hopkins and Holden have no idea whatsoever, or they like the attention from the faithful too much to scare them away.

You know what that's like? Telling someone who has to have her leg amputated that you'll need to clip her toenails.

They may be nice organic farmers, but I wouldn't give them a year of survival, food and all. And the weather is not their biggest problem. It's their brains.

Why life after oil will be better
"After the peak oil year, every year each of us is going to have to manage on 3% less fossil fuel than we did the year before. By 2030 that's nearly half of what we are using now."

Extreme weather events within continental regions are already ocurring and causing crop failures/decreased yields. The best current example of this is Australia, but there were many examples within the US just last year and this winter (the freeze in California). For the speculator, buying grain and soybean futures seems basic.

After yesterday's news on the White House' tampering with the upcoming IPCC climate report, it's good to see scientists are already starting to voice their dissent. And it's valuable too to see American scientists among them.

For many individual governments, as well as UN departments, the once-every-five-years report is what is used for policy and decisions. Might as well get it as right as we can.

say some experts who warn it'll be even worse

Later this week in Paris, climate scientists will issue a dire forecast for the planet that warns of slowly rising sea levels and higher temperatures.

But that may be the sugarcoated version.

Early and changeable drafts of their upcoming authoritative report on climate change foresee smaller sea level rises than were projected in 2001 in the last report. Many top U.S. scientists reject these rosier numbers. Those calculations don't include the recent, and dramatic, melt-off of big ice sheets in two crucial locations:

They "don't take into account the gorillas — Greenland and Antarctica," said Ohio State University earth sciences professor Lonnie Thompson, a polar ice specialist. "I think there are unpleasant surprises as we move into the 21st century."

Michael MacCracken, who until 2001 coordinated the official U.S. government reviews of the international climate report on global warming, has fired off a letter of protest over the omission.

The melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are a fairly recent development that has taken scientists by surprise. They don't know how to predict its effects in their computer models. But many fear it will mean the world's coastlines are swamped much earlier than most predict.

Assuming the Iranians believe the World has seen, or is very close to, Peak Oil Production... .

Is Iran's president Ahmadinejad a "prophet" (so to speak) in that he recognizes the extremely precarious position of the West (the US in particular)?

Demise of US, Israel Imminent

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem here on Tuesday assured that the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives.


In the last Great Depression the US acted as the world's lender of last resort. This time around the US is the world's largest debtor and is completely and utterly dependent upon the Other People's Energy and Matter.

1. Is this purely "propaganda" or is Ahmadinejad simply stating what appears to him to be obvious about the fate of US and Israel (ie. he is not threatening to cause the demise of either - but like the former USSR believes the West is destined to "die" on their own)?

2. How "soon" and by what mechanism(s) might the US "die?"

3. How "soon" and by what mechanims might the Zionist state of Israel "die?"

4. Considering the limited number of years left for Iranian oil exports, is Nuclear Independence a necessity for Iran?

[EDIT - this was posted in the drumbeat two days ago but the discussion denigrated to attacks on motivations for posting it, and attacks on sources (Jerusalem post). I wanted to try again and hopefully hear what others think about the actual subject this time]

Your news link should be a must read...Scary stuff

1: don't know but i think it might be half and half.
2: once the country can no longer out bid people on oil to ensure it's lifeblood it will start to die.
3: when number 2 happens it might be decided to cast aside the virtual colony of israel(i say that because if one were to look on how deeply the israel lobby has influence in our government it might as well be considered out 51st state.)
4:if they want to keep the lights on and their people happy so that they are not in danger of being over thrown then setting up nuke reactors to keep the lights on even if it is only for a few more years as compared to the current way. is very important.

"3: when number 2 happens (US collapse) it might be decided to cast aside the virtual colony of israel"

Good point. See the MS Word Document for more on this subject:
Prof. Alan Dershowitz – “Israel must be ready to lose U.S. support in the coming years”


"4: if they (Iran) want to keep the lights on and their people happy ..."

Another good point. I believe many of us here are starting to liberate ourselves from the Electric Grid and the International Food Chain. We do this because we have very little confidence in the reliability of either in the future.

I doubt Iran has much confidence in the Russian/international offer of nuclear fuel and think there concerns are well founded (I wonder what price the russians would exact if/when Iran was at their mercy... look to the Russian disputes with their former allies and I think Iran's concerns are genuine).

The biggest thing that everyone misses in this report is that the media translations are plain wrong. Translators have cried foul over this numerous times. Ahmadinejad has cited an end to the zionist regime that includes it's followers - not the death of them. The whole world falls this this piece of big brother manipulation every time.


I think it is very important to point out that President Ahmadinejad does not have the same powers that our Constitution gives to the executive (let alone the powers that “The Decider” claims to have). In the Iranian Republic, control over the armed forces and much of the control over foreign policy rests with the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamene'i. Ahmadinejad was a popular, but very naïve, local politician who the conservative faction thought they could control to their advantage. He promised the have-nots more money, better services and less corruption but he has not been able to deliver any of that. His foreign policy grandstanding is a huge embarrassment to the educated elites and he is now engaged in a power struggle with the reformist and moderates. His faction lost badly in recent local elections. ( See Pepe Escobar’s “Ahmadinejad be Dammed” from Asia Times. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IA19Ak03.html)

Because the Bush Administration seeks regime change they are trying to present Ahmadinejad as a powerful, dangerous leader when he is nothing of the sort.

Misunderstandings due to translations or due cultural differences of expressions could certainly be a part of this problem.

You make a good point about differentiating between the end of the State vs the genocide that some people might infer or believe is implied.

BUT questioning the motivations of the Iranians seems reasonable.

Consider Ahmadinejad's referencing the "return of the 12th Imam" and frequent "predictions" of the demise of Israel.

And consider what recent Iranian presidents have said:

Rafsanjani: "If one day the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel's possession [meaning nuclear weapons] , the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam. "


This is off-topic:

Differentiating the end of the state versus genocide:

Have the profoundly anti-Zionists proffered any constructive and practical alternative --- not to Western leftist audiences but their own --- as a useful and feasible solution?

Specifically, how will the Jews in Israel live? What reason would they have to believe they will be treated fairly in a minority?

I have seen none.

Given that mass religious and ethnic cleansing is completely unacceptable to Israeli Jews, what other practical, non-genocidal, solutions do the anti-Zionists have in mind, and what is the best way to achieve that?

Very good questions mb. As far as I know the only alternative offered by the Iranian president is relocation of Israeli Jews to Europe or the US ;).

People forget that the U.S is the 3rd biggest oil producer after Russia and Saudi Arabia. We also have an enormous amount of room to improve as far as energy efficiency goes while countries like Japan and the EU are already about as efficient as they can be and any reduction in the world's ability to produce exports is going to curtail much more important activities than commuting 100 miles to work each day in a hummer.

Besides, Bush hasn't even mentioned improving rail transport yet. When he does, I'll know they're really terrified. There's got to be a better canary in the coal mine than the U.S. I'm far more worried about Mexico and what the Cantarell collapse is going to do to their economy.

As far as the U.S dollar collapse that's in the Asian central bankers hands and has been since the 80s when we started running big trade deficits. Now that China has said they will diversify, it could be time for a new down-leg.

" Bush hasn't even mentioned improving rail transport yet. "

Bush seems to be little more than just another politician in this sense. He is gung-ho to send the military to defend oil-interests and transport but makes only half-hearted and half-baked attempts to decrease our dependency at home.

I agree with you about the bleak prospects for the Dollar. I think the Iranian leadership sees this as one of the mechanisms for the demise of the US (or at least the demise of US influence in the middle east).

Israel is wholy dependent on US largess, as is Egypt. It's rather simple: If the patron falls ill, what will become of its suplicants? I would also include Colombia in this equation. Mind you, I'm speaking of the political regimes and to some degree their underlying politcal economy. If popular democracy were to breakout in the US and overthrow our current elite democracy, the empire would experience rapid rollback as resources are redirected to the majority. Note that this isn't a return to what the elites denigrate as "isolationism;" we would certainly maintain and likely increase our cooperation with the world as the great inhibiting factor--the Empire--becomes extinct. As I've noted before on several occasions, Imperial rollback would free up about $1 Trillion/year to use on much more productive pursuits--given current levels of expenditures.

I think at some point these events will happen; just when I think relates to our ability to overcome what I call the "illusion drug" that was detailed not long ago by our extraterrestial visitor thread--which might be an interesting one to revisit. There's a sociological team I heard at a SolFest several years back that called those who have already overcome the illusion drug "cultural creatives." http://www.culturalcreatives.org/ When people like us become the majority is when real change for a better future will occur.

Wow! That Washington Post column is hard hitting. (Kudos for Seeing the Problem. Now Do Something.)

I mean, seriously, does anyone anywhere believe that we are expending enormous amounts of blood and money in those places in the altruistic pursuit of freedom?

Get real, these wars aren't ideological. These are business-case conflicts.


On CBS Sunday Morning, Ben Stein supported Bush because even though the war is going badly, we have a booming economy, full employment, etc.

His deadpan demeanor sure comes in handy for making stuff up.

Is the current Iranian Leadership really a "messianic totalitarian government" preparing for an Apocalypse?

Herzliya Conference: In a word: Iran

Panel after panel declaimed, ad nauseum, the "existential threat" emanating from the "messianic totalitarian" government in Teheran...

According to renowned Princeton Scholar of Islamic History professor Bernard Lewis, "Ahmadinejad truly believes in the apocalyptic message he is bringing [of the imminent return of the Messianic Mahdi]. This makes him very dangerous. 'Mutually Assured Destruction' is not a deterrent, but an inducement to him."


{{Note - again, this was brought up in the drumbeat two days ago but discussion On Topic was sabotaged by attacks on the motivation for posting it and attacks on the credibility of article's source (Jerusalem Post). The following links may be helpful to avoiding wasting time on this nonsense:

CONFERENCE SPEAKERS: http://www.herzliyaconference.org/Eng/_Articles/Article.asp?CategoryID=2...

Discussions from the Conference: http://www.herzliyaconference.org/Eng/_Articles/Article.asp?CategoryID=2...

Press Releases from the conference:
http://www.herzliyaconference.org/Eng/_Articles/Article.asp?ArticleID=16... }}

In your first post, it looked like you had gotten some sense, but now the ginslingerer is back, That's a shame. Tell us what your agenda is.
I unraveled your rants once already, why try again?

The question is whether or not Lewis is correct.

The only thing "unraveled" the other day was your paranoid ego and it's ignorance. You personal attacks only distract from the discussion.

You're a dangerous little critter, boy.

If people would post excerpts from the Iranian press here with the same attitude that you post your beliefs, this would be a whole different forum. I find it necessart to say something about that, because you're a fanatic with blinds on. For months you've been posting here about Iran wanting to do terrible things, and so far it's all without one shred of proof. Nothing.

All you have are things that A. is supposed to have said, and that, as Marco pointed out, are not correctly translated even. You are obsessed with ideas that you don't even understand.

But if TOD lets you post your delusions, that by now would fit right in with where this forum is headed. Religious nuts rule.

Is Mr. Lewis being misquoted?

Do you think Lewis is misrepresenting what the Iranians?

Do you have anything at all worth sharing On Topic?

Bernard Lewis has zero credibility . In his dotage now and more foolish than ever.

So Bernard Lewis is your whole case now, all the others have fallen by the wayside? All those guys you said were quoted in the article, that were not?

In case you don't know, Lewis is just another neo-con nut, go check him out.
I know, there's people who think this Administration is a second coming of the twelve apostles, but I don't think that's accurate. And neo-con nut is my own personal description of Lewis, that's true too, and I'm sure there's people who think he's a visionary.

He's the man who coined the term "clash of civilizations" for George W., the neoconservative apologist for painting everything Muslim in dark colors and evil lights. He's been on that job for 50 years. Lewis hates Muslims. Period.

The only people and the only sources you manage to present are one-sided. And that is not nearly enough. At least do your homework. Go read your sources, from both sides, and come back with a balanced case. Our mainstream media will very soon be full enough of scare-mongering tales, We don't need you for that, and moreover, that's not what an intelligent forum should be for.

For now, Iran has no nuclear weapons, and all sides agree on that, even the White House. Most people say that it will take them a decade or more (IAEA), but there's a few who say one year. They're the ones trying to provoke war.

There are at least as many folks dreaming of rapture in the White House as there are in the Tehran cabinet. This is neither a joke nor a remote possibility. And one-sided ranting at TOD doean't help anyone. Except W. and Wolfowitz and those fine lads. If you're on their side, say so, that way we'll know who we're talking to. But don't come with so-called objective stories that in reality merely depict obscure right-wing meetings.

I don't want the US to go to war, and certainly not on false information cooked up by the likes of Cheney, Eichorn and Lewis. Saddam Hussein was no threat to the US, and neither is Iran at this point in time. Is A. a perfectly sane man? Hell no. But is W.?

You have two half-wits shouting each other down. And I personally object to the fact that thousands of American kids have to die for that. And you should think about that. Time is running out.

Instead of attacking me for posting, or ad hom attacks on Lewis, why don't you or oldhippie post something credible to the contrary?

Or "is that all you have" .... ???

I for one would like to hear credible refutation of what Lewis has to say.

It's better to know about the argument and discuss it. I sincerely doubt censoring the discussion, or trying to sabatoge the discussion here at TOD, will have any affect on The Real World.

Preventing people from reading or discussing the issue at TOD won't make it go away.

You have no idea who Lewis is, do you?

Ah, yes, I do.

You have no idea who runs Iran do you ;)

I think it's funny that you have not yet recognized yourself as being one of the "Trolls" you seem so worried about policing here at TOD.

and that took you 2,5 hours?

ok if you know who Lewis is, which i doubt, but allah,

and you cite him as a somewhat credible source on whatever it is

then we know who you are, don't we?

youi still haven't come with anything else but a few biased not-quite-quotes

and you call me a troll? go right ahead little boy

You obviously are ignorant of the subject, you add nothing of substance On Topic, and offer only angry ad homs.

I think that qualifies as "Troll" behavior.

Maybe when you take a break from TOD (2.5 hours away seems like a long time to you ???) you might spend some time researching the subject so as not to embarrass yourself again.

Maybe start with TOD - do a search or check the archives.

Does Lewis say anything without condemning himself? Years past he may have had the surface credibility of media celebrity at the level of Alan Dershowitz or Billy Kristol -- at this point you may as well cite Glenn Beck or Pat Robertson. And those four at least have audiences. Lewis speaks to an ever smaller crowd of true believers
If you can read any passage from Lewis more than a few paragraphs long from any point in his career and not recoil you've already made up your mind. He never argues from fact, can't present any case without invoking the Arab "mind". Accept the propaganda, drink the Kool-Aid.

Yes oldhippie, again you offer nothing but ad homs and nothing On Topic.

You and fly have a lot in common.

Lewis has made a career of ad homs. Except you call it something else when it's applied to religious and racial groups.
Yes, I'm more flip here than klee. I would point out that what you don't like in my post is the only thing Lewis ever does. And that I figured that out 35 years ago. Have since met the clown. That he's been well trashed on this page before. My way and klee's way. And the only source of his cred is that some like what he says. Which is mongrel Arabs are violent infidels who deserve to die.

No comment

Actually Klee, I am interested in your "Yes" response about Lewis misrepresenting the Iranians.

Is there a reason, or any source of information, that leads you to believe Lewis is lying or mistaken?

Lewis is the main proponent of a school of Middle East Studies called "Orientalism" that sees Islamic culture as inherently backward and incapable of change. This school of analysis has been the fundamental source of so much misunderstanding of the Middle East by our current policy makers. Lewis was very influential in providing the theoretical foundations for the neoconservative war on terror and the Iraqi debacle. Lewis is not seen as really credible because he has such a clear ax to grind - that is an implacable Islamic foe that must be forced to confrom to Western standards. He sees the Islamic world as a uniform block not as multiple nations with multiple motivations and interests. Lewis' view is overly simplistic and misleading.

I teach Comparative Politics and Iran is a focus of comparative studies as what is called an experimental developer. As an Islamic Republic it is attempting to mix representative government (albeit limited) with a specific religious outlook.

The Islamic government is far from perfect and may well be seeking to develop nuclear weapons. However, while it does pose a regional threat to US control it is not a suicidal regime. Moreover its whack-job of a President may spout all sorts of nonsense, he doesn't call the shots when it comes to the nuclear program, missile technology, or aggression against Iran's neighbors.

To get a better handle on the events in the Middle East I really would reccomend Asia Times. There one can find articles written by academics and journalists with first hand (rather than purely theoretical)knowledge of the Middle East. Also, Political Scientist Marc Lynch of William's College has a great blog called Abu Aardvark -http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/ A fluent Arabic speaker, he covers the Islamic media in an unbiased, pro reform and democracy perspective.

I hope this is helpful.

Thank you Klee. So you, a teacher of political science, do not find Lewis to be credible.

But when you answered "yes" to the second question above, were you suggesting Lewis is mistaken or lying?

Specifically, do you think Lewis is wrong, or that he is lying, about the "whack-job of a president" believing the apocalypse is near and that the 12th Imam is coming to town?

Do you think the Iranian Mullahs who are actually in control share the same view of the 12th Imam as the Iranian president?


I just wrote a detailed response and lost it and I have a date with the dinner dishes. sooo the brief version
Lewis is mistaken not lying. He has made lotes of money and become famous for his views which means he gets to advise people like W so its not easy for him to see any other perspective.

The leaders of Iraq are realists not idealists like Mahmoud. They seek strategic advantage for their nation and hope to forstall US action against them. They are acutely aware of their declining oil reserves and the demographic time bomb they face of a young population that wants to live a energy intensive lifestyle.

The US accepts a nuclear Pakistan, promises nuclear India more nuclear technology and embraces a nuclear Israel. This is not lost upon the Iranians who see themselves surrounded by US bases and denouced as a charter member in the Axis of evil. Nearly every Iranian is aware of the fact that a CIA arranged coup removed a democratically elected prime minister (who wished to nationalize the oil indurstry) and replaced him with the autocratic Shah in 1953. What do you think you would do under those crcumstances?

Hi Klee,

I'd send you an email, but you've no addy in your profile.

I think it would be of great value to compare Iran with Saudi Arabia, since the former is purported to be our enemy and the latter our friend. Perhaps if the audience were shown that when compared Iran is very open, modern and liberal, while Saudi is close to totalitarian, they would start to gain a new perspective and dismiss the conventional wisdom about the two countries that's allowing the neocon propaganda to gain the upper hand.

Perhaps we could have a thread column devoted to this topic so other lurkers with expertise could join the discussion (hint, hint, wink, wink, to Prof Goose, et al)?

Klee, thank you very much for expanding on your post - and sorry you lost time and the original response.

I think you made some excellent points and all should be discussed further to help us understand the Iranian point of view as well as the point of view of other muslim countries in the region.

One thing you did not address. You note that the Iranian leadership is more pragmatic than fanatic. There are recentp press reports that would seem to substantiate this (e.g. the president is being snubbed by various leaders). But do they also share the presidents religious if not apocalyptic views ???

I think Karloff has a very good idea - compare and contrast the differing idiologies and governance for the various countries in the region.

Hopefully this sort of topic will not seem too politically/religiously sensitive for TOD. Hopefully TOD could put together a Main Topic post on the subject with points of view from several middle east/islamic scholars (including but certainly not limited to Bernard Lewis).

Thanks for the perspective. I wonder if you could offer your take on the coverage we get from Robert Fisk at the Independent. He seems solid and with a good rep, but I want to hear if there are any dissenters to this and why.

He had an op-ed about 4wks ago regarding the Distorted view that US citizens have/get of the whole context of the MEast, also mentioning briefly his take on Carter's Jerusalem;Apartheid book and his respect for Carter.. No surprise the reception that one gets in the press, while selling in the top 5, I recall.

"It's a good, strong read by the only American president approaching sainthood."

Bob Fiske (No relation)

Interesting commentary today in my local paper about uranium mining:
Uranium boom in the West

As recently as 2004, no uranium interests were among the largest mineral claimholders in the West. Now, government data show that uranium interests are among the biggest claimholders across the region - in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

According to Interior records, mining interests staked just 300 claims for uranium in Colorado in fiscal year 2004. But in the two years since, uranium interests have staked almost 3,500 claims in the state.

What seems worrisome is there are few, if any, provisions for clean-up or minimizing ecological damage and the laws governing uranium are anachronistic:

Also complicating the matter is the antiquated federal mining law, written in 1872, that governs much of the new uranium mining. Under the law, filing a claim for as little as $1 an acre allows companies to mine on federal land - a right the government has rarely challenged despite the fact that metals mining is the nation's leading source of toxic pollution.

Mining interests routinely leave behind multimillion-dollar cleanups, yet - unlike timber, oil and gas and every other extractive industry operating on public land - they pay no royalties to taxpayers. There is no federal fund to clean up abandoned metal mines.

Example of clean-up costs passed on to taxpayers:

The Department of Energy has begun a decade-long project to clean up 12 million tons of radioactive uranium mine waste near Moab, Utah, that have contaminated land near the Colorado River. The waste is a threat that could pollute drinking water for millions. Cleanup estimates range between $412 million and $697 million.

And there are also health care costs to consider...

heh and people think coal is as dirty as it gets.. they know /nothing/ about how badly the most efficient way of getting uranium is.

Nuclear Energy - Too cheap to sweep up!

I wonder how much we've managed to shrink the waste piles by turning them into ammunition for foreign kids to clean up for us, too..

Aparently, neither do you.

Consider that you have to mine 170 tons of uranium for a GW year from a light water reactor. Its very small, yet coal you have to burn 10000 tons a day. You emit more uranium and thorium up the smokestack (because its a component of coal) in a year than you will ever do release of waste throuout the entire nuclear fuel cycle.

A little corn-ethanol levity from Don Asmussen's "Bad Reporter":

We are addicted to snake oil! (Picture of Bush in his State of the Union speech and his head replaced with an ear of corn). Voters approve funding for "Politician Alternatives" research. New "Ethapol" offers less damaging politicians made from corn.

Now that is some GMO research I just might support. ;)

Regarding abnormally cold/hot summers/winters and the prognostications of the Almanac, it is rarely mentioned that the earth is only 93 million miles from the sun on average. The orbit is elliptical and varies from 90 to 96. because of the inverse square law, the variation in heat input is about 15%. The orbital distortion is mostly the result of Jupiter; if it is 'behind us' we are far away and if it is behind the sun we are closer.

I'm not sure where we are at present, but if the anomaly maximizes at the solstices rather than the equinoxes we can get a cold winter followed by a hot summer. My sense is that we are currently far from the sun and will be close next summer. Astronomers are most welcome to debunk or update me. Thus this winter should have been colder than normal and next summer hotter - again. ??

Being further from the sun or closer has little effect on the high arctic as the sun barely rises if at all in winter, but the inverse applies in summer. This is why anecdotal evidence of short term anomalies is just noise. There is also the effect of sunspots on the solar output which falls if there are many or no sunspots, and falls on an 11 year cycle - following Jupiter.

Given that there is negligible input to the arctic in winter, the 4 to 8 C anomaly that has been persistent recently - that's about 7 to 15F - probably is due to increased heat retention and the increase in open water. The evidence is becoming quite incontrovertible lately, and whether or not it is one way or the other in Denver or Atlanta recently is pretty much irrelevant.

Temperatures of minus 40 - same either system - were common enough in the 50s through 80s that the term 40 below was used for when the arctic air mass slumped into Alberta, and that could be from November through February. This year the only place I've noticed to get that far down has been the Baffin island, Ellesmere Island, North Greenland area. All we get in the 'south' is maybe -20. Also, it was common for a stationary high centered on Alaska to develop with -40 to -50 total darkness ongoing. Delightful, but haven't heard of that for a while, and the one a few weeks ago only got to -20 as I recall.

Sure, the jetstream still does its goofy loop down to California every few years and freezes the crops, but the temperature at the other end isn't as low it used to be. And where I live in southern B.C. we've gone from worrying about whether it is warm enough for peaches, to vitculture [grapes] being the dominant crop. In Vino Veritas.

Actually the dominant crop in BC is what is dubbed Mary Jane, I think ;-).

You can grow it in your basement with some hydroponics and artificial lighting... allegedly ;-).

I don't think the orbital peturbation factor you mention works on anything less than a 20,000 year timescale (Milunkovitch effect). We are about due another ice age, in 8,000 years or so.

This isn't the Milankovich cycle or the 'procession of the eqiunoxes' or all that; just the cyclical and averaged out differences in distance from the sun. It isn't cliamatically relevant as it averages out to, well, the average. But it can make a temporary difference and a predictable one to the probability of weather. Thus, when weather obstinately refutes solar input variations or acts in the opposite manner, we must look for other causes. Even GWB seems to have recognized the science now.

We are about neutral on the longterm cycles and are a few thousand years from a big down, but the last peak was about 12000 years ago, and that did in a lot of ice. It hasn't been that long, really, since sea levels were stories lower than now. Still rising.

The Earth is closest to the sun around Jan 3 or 4 and furthest around July 2 or 3. Also the eccentricity of Earth's orbit is about half of what you stated.


Did I just witness a topic suddenly disappear? I was all set to join the latest ethanol fray and it went away.


OK how about ethanol from hydroponic corn?

If you are going to use hydroponics you might as well grow sugar cane or Jerusalem artichokes.

News of US positioning for a possible attack on Iran continues to drizzle into the media like night mist on a chilly London street or tule fog on the wintry floor of the San Joaquin Valley. The latest is an article from the Scotland Sunday Herald that reports US military build up in Bulgaria and Romania in preparations for an attack before the end of April.


I am not convinced that the US is about to strike Iran, although the signs could be interpreted that way. It could also be argued that the US is simply tightening the noose around the ME in order to secure access to as much ME oil as possible. It is certainly interesting, to say the least, to observe the current geopolitical evolution in the face of changing energy and resource realities as the various spheres of influence seek to control events. The emergence of the Shanghai Coop as a potential counter to the US is one example as they struggle to maintain control of the Central Asian resources and extend their influence into the ME via Iran. On the other hand, the US and its ME allies are pushing back. This pushing back could mean an attack on Iran, or it could take the shape of severe economic and political pressure to change Iranian attempts at enlarging its regional plans of hegemony. We should know more by the summer of 2007.

Thank you for the post and link.

This part is especially worrisome:

"Russia, however, does not see the chain of new US bases on its doorstep as a "defensive ring". Russia's defence chief has branded the planned US anti-missile missile sites on Czech and Polish soil as "an open threat to Russia".

The danger of misunderstandings and miscalculation during Peak Resources will only get worse as the participants get more and more desperate.

One terrible mistake in this Comedy of Errors and it could be TimezUP for Homo Sap's Great Adventure...

All last year I heard people saying the Iran attack was imminent. I always told them we're not going to attack Iran. Why? With both Russia and China on Iran's side it will be very difficult to setup at least the appearance of the legitimization of the Iran attack via the U.N as was done in Iraq 1 and 2 and Afghanistan. I think the neo-cons acknowledge that they want to at least have all the right paperwork filled out at the U.N -- bogus reasons, or not -- before they go invading countries overtly-- at least outside of the western hemisphere.

Besides, the Russians are selling very advanced weaponry to the Iranians that will make the Iranian Invasion more perilous than the Iraq invasion, at least as far as the large scale planes and tanks warfare goes.

What is in prospect is an air attack, not a ground one, except for some commandos. So ground equipment to the Iranians is almost irrelevant.

On the air defence side, I reckon the US Air Force thinks it can defeat any air defence system the Russians have cobbled up-- the Serbians and the Iraqis also had the benefit of Russian help, but it didn't stop the USAF.

As to UN Legitimacy, it would be best for Bush domestically if he goes through the proper channels, and the UN says 'no' and he can then say to his domestic audience 'you see, just like Iraq, the UN is not an effective international body'. You have to understand how much mainstream America hates the UN.

Running the rule over Stern's numbers

When the Stern Review into the Economics of Climate Change came out last year, it was showered with praise.

But expert critics of the review now claim that it overestimates the risk of severe global warming, and underestimates the cost of acting to stop it. The report may have been loved by the politicians and headline writers but when climate scientists and environmental economists read the 670-page review, many said there were serious flaws.

These critics are not climate change sceptics, but researchers with years of experience who believe that human-induced climate change is real and that we need to act now.

Richard Tol is a professor at both Hamburg and Carnegie Mellon Universities, and is one of the world's leading environmental economists.

"There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make," he told The Investigation on BBC Radio 4.

At the core of the Stern Review is an economic comparison between the damage caused by climate change with the costs of cutting our greenhouse gases.

Professor Tol believes the figures for damage are exaggerated.

"Stern consistently picks the most pessimistic for every choice that one can make. He overestimates through cherry-picking, he double counts particularly the risks and he underestimates what development and adaptation will do to impacts," he said.

Many economists are also sceptical about the figures Stern uses to estimate the costs of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

The review suggests this will cost only 1% of GDP but according to Yale University Economist Robert Mendelsohn, this is far too optimistic and the figure could easily be much higher.

"One of the depressing things about the greenhouse gas problem is that the cost of eliminating [it] is quite high. We will actually have to sacrifice a great deal to cut emissions dramatically," he said.


Did anyone see Sunday's piece in the WaPo:

"5 Myths About Suburbia and Our Car-Happy Culture"

Nothing new there for the TOD crowd, but I find it interesting to read after having read Stuart's posts on transportion and the economy, produced late last year and posted here on TOD.

Their conclusion may be sound: " It may well be that dealing with global warming by building resilience against its possible effects is more productive -- and more realistic -- than trying to solve the problem by driving our automobiles less."

However, their arguments to get there are a bit empty.

My own reaction was one of dissatisfaction, with the WaPo. They could have produced a much better, detailed and analytical piece, rather than publish the short essay from a couple of individuals from reason.org, (not that I think there is anything wrong with getting articles written by various viewpoints.)

Credit the web, and particularly blogs, specifically also TOD, for having more information available, and deeper discussion, than mainstream newspapers, even those "of record."

Note this wasn't a WP reported piece, it was an op ed by 2 commentators for a libertarian magazine.

It makes some good points, then you get to the usual libertarian 'global warming isn't a problem and we can't do anything about it anyways' screed at the end.

They achieve this by the usual tactics:

- picking an arbitrary date, and a conservative increase in global temperatures forecast for that date eg 0.7 degrees centigrade in this case

Of course, that doesn't sound that bad (however the changes we have seen in the world to date, have only come from a 0.6 degree rise to date-- yes that includes record breaking hurricane seasons, ocean acidification, dying of coral reefs, Greenland ice melt etc.).

What they ignore is worse case scenarios (which are gaining increasing credence) and what happens *after* their chosen date: answer, a global rise in temperatures of at least 1.3 degrees, and possibly as much as 5 degrees (or more).

- saying we could use the money in much better ways (which of course we won't do). Saving $100bn by being more efficient users of energy is *not* the same thing as spending $100bn curing malaria.

Readers of the Peak Oil debate will sense a repeat of the same tactics, from many of the same sources, regarding Peak Oil ('it isn't happening'/ 'it doesn't matter if it is'/ 'there is lots more oil out there, there always has been'/ 'the market will look after us'/ 'we have much greater problems to worry about').

Albeit the usa is at a near record unemployment rate this month and just set another goods export record; and sea level only rose 4mm in the last three years, we have 47 noisy posts and fringe news source items to rummage thru telling us that the usa is near financial collapse and global warming will kill us all before the anti christ arrives.

Another rewarding day with the lunatics at TOD...


Hello Freddy Hutter,

Albeit the usa is at a near record unemployment rate this month and just set another goods export record; and sea level only rose 4mm in the last three years, we have 47 noisy posts and fringe news source items to rummage thru telling us that the usa is near financial collapse and global warming will kill us all before the anti christ arrives.

You are correct, Mr. Hutter. Those soulless people mindlessly shopping at the mall like capitalism's zombies are still doing their job. They are keeping this country alive. They are such patriots as they continue to buy so much worthless crap for their own self.

There's a pretty good chance that the United States of America is an eternal nation, an immortal nation, perhaps even Heaven-on-Earth. Rome only last for a thousand years, but the United States of America will last forever.

Do you suppose that gasoline will cost $3 a gallon circa 2107 A.D.? Will the Iraqis have their own Freedom Square and a statue of George W. Bush, the Liberator? Will China have $10 trillion worth of worthless American dollars collecting dust in their bank vaults?

How many Americans will live permanently on the moon in 2107, Freddy? Will we have a Mars base by then?

We all know that The United States of America will last forever. America is a nation which has earned immortality by virtue of its many virtues. Long live the United States of America.

David Mathews

The americans put a man on the moon. Not France. The americans won WW2. Not Germany. The americans own most patents. Not china. The americans know the value of education and work ethic. Not mexico. The americans are the only ones that can make a good movie. Not india. The americans have defined free enterprise and democracy. Not russia. The americans are the new world cop. Not England.

everybody hates their boss. everybody hates the landlord. everybody hates bill gates cuz he emobodies everything american.

When other countries show me that they got balls, i'll work and play with them instead of my friends south of 49th. Americans work and play hard and they deserve the riches they have and their lifestyles. Nobody said life was fair. It is everyone's right to be jealous of the americans and other like them that live the good life. Living to excess is a term used by those that don't have it.

We call them LOSERS. Not all americans are perfect. Just look at most of the posters at TOD.

Hello Freddy,

You come across as a well-meaning but excessively nationalistic person. I am an American but I do not worship the United States of America. I am an American but I do not value the luxurious lifestyles of 300 million people over the survival of the Earth's remaining 6.2 billion people.

The americans put a man on the moon. Not France. The americans won WW2. Not Germany. The americans own most patents. Not china. The americans know the value of education and work ethic. Not mexico. The americans are the only ones that can make a good movie. Not india. The americans have defined free enterprise and democracy. Not russia. The americans are the new world cop. Not England.

Wonderful. America has accomplished all these things but none of these serve to guarantee that the United States of America has become an immortal empire.

everybody hates their boss. everybody hates the landlord. everybody hates bill gates cuz he emobodies everything american.

Empires don't collapse merely because they are hated. Empires collapse for the same reason that people die: The laws of Nature forbid immortality.

When other countries show me that they got balls, i'll work and play with them instead of my friends south of 49th. Americans work and play hard and they deserve the riches they have and their lifestyles. Nobody said life was fair. It is everyone's right to be jealous of the americans and other like them that live the good life. Living to excess is a term used by those that don't have it.

Another country will certainly stand up to this challege, Freddy, and that country will certainly knock the United States of America down. The American empire is weak, the American empire has a mortal wound, the American empire will collapse, and the United States of America will cease to exist as a nation. That's the future whether you like it or not.

We call them LOSERS.

You cannot call the 6,200,000,000 non-Americans of the Earth "losers" and expect their cooperation over the next several decades for the purpose of protecting America's greed, gluttony, obesity and extreme military violence.

Freddy, don't you know that the American people will become impoverished losers once our empire collapses? If you want to appreciate how Americans will suffer after America's collapse just look at the suffering of the Russians after the Soviet Union collapsed.

That's America's future. Except that America will not collapse peacefully. Americans are not peaceful primates. When America collapses this nation will descend into violent anarchy.

Too bad for the United States of America. I wish that this punishment was not earned. Those who live by the sword die by the sword.

David Mathews

Actually the Russians won World War II.

There was no way Nazi Germany could have been defeated without them.

To be fair, it was American industrial might (and oil!) and Russian manpower (and womanpower, and industrial power). But the Red Army defeated Nazi Germany.

We now have access to the US and Russian archives which document this quite closely.

You have to keep up on your history, if you are going to make such broadsweeping statements.

To be fair, it was American industrial . . .

Not sure how you can substantiate this. Russia retained her own oil supply out of Baku with transhipment via the Volga. Russian armaments were designed and fabricated with Russian industrial facilities. This includes infantry weapons, tanks (T37, JSU) and aircraft (Yak). Transport echelons may have used some American trucks and there were shipments of aircraft and US armour to Russia but little of this shows up in any of the major battles.

US armaments were critcal to the British but the Russians did a remarkable job of responding to an unexpected attack, relocating their industrial base and implementing the prodcution capacity needed to defeat the Wehrmacht.

And Freddy,

I guess you will tell me that it was a figment of my imagination that I was unemployed for five years in Bush's Amerika.

I will be brutally honest. Nobody owes u a living. U chose to live in the usa. If u want a job, go to norway. They believe in giving any idiot a job. Full employment. It's called socialism. It's a f*ckup as the 20th century proved.

If u don't have a job and are not a loser, it tells me that u were not willing to signup for continued education during your career; u refused retraining; or u refuse to relocate. For the recent past, the Unemployment rate was between 3.8% and 6%. Anyone that is not working in that environment doesn't want to.

During the dotcom ere alotta losers got hired that cuz they were at the right place at the right time. When they lost those phoney jobs, it was hard to get another cuz they had few credentials and developed bad work habits. Nobody will hire them again.

In non socialist countries we have what is called structural unemployment. It's about 3.5% Some of those folks are in trasition. But most are losers, stubborn or retarded. Even the physically disabled get jobs if they want them so i have little pity for whiners. Having said that, every sector has its cycles and job growth comes and goes. But if one is not flexible, one sits at home and watches Oprah (or types on TOD all day).

In the Yukon, our U/Rate has dropped from 12% to 2.6% and i still see folks that won't work. It frustrates me and pisses me off. But it's a free country, eh.

If u recognize yourself within my rant i hope u will take it as advice. If u are back to work, congrat's. In that case, take heed 'cuz u can get your pink slip next week again.

If u want a job, go to norway. They believe in giving any idiot a job. Full employment. It's called socialism. It's a f*ckup as the 20th century proved.

Minior correction:
Norwegians prefer the label socialdemocratic governance to socialist. And i have no clue what makes you refer to such governance as "f*ckup". We try to combine individual freedom and universial social security.

Do I smell some Rand and Nozick?

If so; best hopes for your future liberation :)


You live in the Yukon, yet you extol the US of A?

Move there, then. Get out of that socialised healthcare, plus the massive subsidies the Feds loll onto northern Canada.

You are nothing but a parasite drinking at Ottawa's breast, if you choose to live in northern Canada.

Another rewarding day with the lunatics at TOD...

...and later in the day...Freddy looks in the mirror stunned with the realization he is addicted to trying to save them from themselves, or otherwise he would be doing something better with his short time here on earth.

aren't we all lunatics...


No i don't want to save anybody. I come to discuss Peak Oil. I don't come to listen to dickheads that know nothing about economics and climate change. i don't come to listen to depressed Democrats, vegetarians, pacifists, the clincally depressed defeatists or all the wacko's who hate cars, planes and cities and want all of us to live like mennonites. TOD was a nice place over a year ago. Now it is the soapbox for dozens of agenda driven idiots.

It is one of many sites where one must persevere thru the noise to get the special gems from those few excellent posters. I normally enjoy sites that allow discussion of current events and off topic tangents. But it is encumbent with that liberty to be professional. Neither moderation nor Peer pressure at TOD enforce the raising of the bar at TOD in those instances or the main topic of PO. And thus the situation deteriorates...

TOD is deteriorating fast. This is depressing.

It appears that the poster in question doesn't even live in the US of A, but in socialist Canada.

He extols American virtues, but he has no intention of taking it on the chin and living there.

"There is a point in the life of every problem where you can change the outcome before but not after"