DrumBeat: February 4, 2007

Worldchanging Interview: Lester Brown

The fortunate thing is that it does not take a lot of energy to build wind turbines, and they last for a long time, and produce an extraordinary amount of energy. But it is important that we start this sooner rather than later, because the longer we wait, the less energy we'll have, and the more difficult it will be to get enough energy to build the new system.

Report: N.Korea considering concessions

North Korea is ready to freeze a key nuclear facility and allow international inspectors limited access to the country in exchange for millions of barrels of oil and an easing of U.S. financial restrictions, a Japanese news report said Sunday.

California: Power plants concern residents

The thought of not just one, but two gas-burning power plants being built in west Hayward unnerves retired schoolteacher Laura Ramsey.

..."Why Hayward?" asked Ramsey, who imagines the worst in the two new plants: rows of dirty smokestacks and noxious air.

9 oil workers kidnapped in Nigeria freed

China's Foreign Ministry announced Sunday that nine Chinese oil workers who were kidnapped last month in Nigeria had been released unharmed by their captors.

Let me explain what they want

They want to survive. They understand Peak Oil better than you. They understand its true implications - the die off. They are planning to do whatever they can to help their elite make it through. What are you doing for your family?

Bolivian forces take control of pipeline

Soldiers and police retook control of a natural gas installation Saturday, using tear gas and rubber bullets to drive out protesters who had forced the closing of a key pipeline serving the nation's two largest cities.

Demonstrators seized the Transredes pumping station near Camiri, 320 miles southeast of La Paz, following five days of protests demanding that President Evo Morales broaden his petroleum nationalization and expand state energy company operations in the area.

Ecuador probes oil companies over pollution

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said on Saturday the government would suspend contracts with any foreign oil company found to have needlessly damaged the environment.

Boxer wants U.S. to host energy summit

"I'm calling on the federal government of the United States of America to be a model of energy efficiency," said Boxer, who was at the United Nations for a briefing on the report and the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

"I'm calling on the president to convene a summit at the White House of the 12 largest global warming emitters. She added that she would bring over some of the scientists who issued the report to brief the Senate.

Scotland: Watt demands think tank on energy crisis

David Watt, director of the Institute of Directors Scotland, said energy production, supply and consumption was at the top of Scotland's agenda but ideological arguments at Holyrood were preventing proper debate.

Praying at the Pump

Simply put, our oil addiction undermines our well-being because the volatility of oil prices threatens our economy. Because we spend so much on oil and there are no short-term substitutes, price spikes wreck household, business and government budgets alike. Our sense of insecurity is magnified because volatility is both unpredictable and generally beyond our control.

For those who would like to see more fossil fuels taxes enacted, you can provide your input. Barbara Boxer is asking for a prioritization of the things we need to do to combat Global Warming. You can also include comments:

Rank the Priorities

She didn’t have taxes listed, so I put a "Cap & Trade" Carbon Emission System as my number 1 priority. This should provide a similar incentive to conserve as a tax. Have other countries successfully implemented a scheme like this? If so, I would like to see the details. I also included in my comments that I thought we needed higher fossil fuels taxes.

Thankyou so much for your leadership on the issues as they may pertain to Peak oil. I read as many of your posts as my schedule allows ....impressive and illuminating... My respect for you WestTexas Stuart Staniford and even Totoneila and the many others cannot be expressed. You all serve your fellow man beyond expectation... thank you all.
Should we collectively consider the formation of hard copy deliverables to the various members of congress in the form of solutions? Proffered in the following manner: 1. one page point paper. 2. three page amplification of same. 3. a white paper similar to a report with findings. 4. a Power Point briefing outlining #3.
Perhaps the collective wisdom of the Oil Drum should take pains to work on a set of deliverables to the main stream.
regards TG80

I think that in terms of getting the most "bang for a buck" what would work best is a book of edited TOD postings. This anthology would be an introduction to the related issues of Peak Oil and climate change--as well as an interesting list of short discussions on topics related to these two main ones.

My guess is it would take about 2,000 hours of work for somebody to put this book together (Co-editors would work.), and in my opinion royalties sould go entirely to the editors (who could if they wished donate some funds to TOD). The book could be put in the form of an annual edition.

Books have credibility. With a book, you can get major TV exposure.

There are no guarantees in the publishing world, but it would not surprise me to see a best-seller titled "The Oil Drum" or something like that.

BTW, I am not volunteering to be an editor because I have another project underway.

Don Sailorman,
The reason for my suggestion is based upon my experience. The volume of digestable information in the halls of Gov't is less than that actually consumed. The point paper, white paper, power point briefing material are examples of documents that consolidate information to the consumable and digestable level. Imagine the mass of reading material that comes across the desk of a congressman.
I do not however disagree with your suggestion that a book is in order. This is a great suggestion and one that must be persued! I've of course read Kunstler and Simmons and use them as constant sources of reference and fact checking esp. Simmons. I have considerable knowledge about the Intelligence community and find that analysts in particular long for more data and are loath to submit findings ....always waiting for more information. However, I find the Oil Drum opinion and analysis quite mature and ready to approach the main. Decision makers and the analysts that support them would be hard pressed to wade through the stream of information on this august site. As I am not a frequent contributer to the Oil Drum but prefer to let the tempest rage my comments are given with hesitation. Moreover, the time may be right. Shall we "strike while the iron is hot" as it were? My successes were always limited by timing. My own desires were limited by the desires of the collective and decision makers who had other priorites the merit of the idea notwithstanding.
Regards TG80 sends

RR -- a very strange thing.

I noticed that Senator Boxer's list did not include investment in transit or walk-able, bike-able communities.

It appears to me that she is stuck in the "same old, same old" mentality of trying to continue and expand the very same infrastructure that we have now, just finding different fuel sources to continue "easy motoring" and "cheap air conditioning" and such.

I'm a bit disillusioned by this.

BTW, I did put the carbon cap and trade high on my list, and added a sentence about "carbon tax" and also one about "transit" in the comments.

Any other folks notice the ommission of transit?

Any thoughts?

I don't really find this so terribly strange. This biking-and-walking stuff is mainly for athletic people in their twenties and thirties, who are nowadays a minority.

As a Senator, she represents the State of California. Much of the interior of the state, especially in the south, is uninhabitable without inexpensive air conditioning, and was only very very sparsely populated before it came along. Biking and walking are potentially deadly activities for many people when the temperature approaches 120F/49C, as happens every summer in places like Palm Springs. If such places are to be inhabited, "easy motoring" must be available for the summer season, so the infrastructure must be there.

And these days, those places - as well as similar places like Phoenix, which is just as unlivable without A/C so that the old downtown is just a very few blocks - are inhabited by older people, who moved there because their doctors told them to stay indoors whenever it is icy. It is icy a lot in the North, so following that instruction is tantamount to placing oneself under weeks-long house arrest. And in addition, shoveling snow is a very hazardous activity for many people. We keep conveniently forgetting that in the nineteenth century, the population was mainly younger people, as the older ones often did not survive. And no one was having dangerous "medicines" that wreck thermal regulation shoved down their throats by doctors tweaking numbers arbitrarily and destroying quality-of-life for fear of massive lawsuits over statistically insignificant increments to lifespan.

As Ms. Boxer is an elected politician who is supposed to represent the whole of California, I really can't expect her to promote socioeconomic suicide for large swathes of that State.

Very good post.

I met a friend at the library yesterday, who is a bit older than me, maybe 10 years, and they asked me if I was cold, since I was just wearing a t-shirt. I said no, actually it's quite nice. Then I observed to him that if I exercise, the general temperature of my body goes up, and that when I moved recently, the long days of intense exercise that entailed meant I was walking around in a t-shirt at night when it was really rather cold and most people were bundled up. So, since I've been exercising lately, I reasoned that this is why I was OK in a t-shirt.

Good point about the older folks dying more often in the old days, but it was not necessarily THAT bad, remember the Bible gives us 3-score and ten, and a fair number made it that far circa 1900.

This is nonsense. That's pretty pathetic if you think that biking and walking somehow is ended after your thirties. I still run, bike, hike, snowshoe, ski, etc. and I am 60. And I am hardly what you would call a naturally gifted athlete. I'd hate to think what sort of shape I would be in if I had quitted exercising in my 40s. If those who bike and walk are in a minority, that is simply a function of being lazy, not a function of age.

Most of Californians live on or near the coast where the climate is quite mild, so walking and biking would be a perfect solution for most of California.

As long as we are talking about infrastructure, let's make sure the infrastructure for walking and biking is available everywhere, for those days, even in the hotter areas, where biking and walking is feasible.

Snow shoveling is hazardous mostly for people who are out of shape. Yeh, if you sit on your ass all year and then go out and try to shovel snow, you are a candidate for a heart attack. But if you stay in good shape, which you should be able to do for your whole life, barring serious illness, you shouldn't have any problem with a reasonable amount of shoveling.

If you are older and out of shape, it is primarily a function of inactivity, not your age.

"But if you stay in good shape, which you should be able to do for your whole life, barring serious illness,"

That's a big exception. A lot of people can't bicycle due to health (illness or disability). Bicycling is a great option, but it can't be mandatory.

No one is asking for biking to be mandatory - just more convenient for those that are willing to do it.

Well, that's great. I wholeheartedly agree that we need infrastructure for safe and convenient walking and biking. I'm not sure everyone is quite as clear as you on the need for personal vehicles as well.

This was part of the original post:

"It appears to me that she is stuck in the "same old, same old" mentality of trying to continue and expand the very same infrastructure that we have now, just finding different fuel sources to continue "easy motoring" and "cheap air conditioning" and such."

That "very same infrastructure" for "easy motoring" is what people with illness and disability need to have "continue and expand".

Actually, I agree with the original post that we should not be expanding the infrastructure for automobiles. For one thing, such expansion always brings more traffic. For another, I suspect that we probably can't afford to maintain the extensive roadway system we've already built. We've got plenty of roads for those with illness and disability.

I think we should consolidate the many, many roadways we have back to streets, with sidewalks, that are part of cities and towns rather than building more bypasses and cloverleafs to the exurbs. I think such roads will be more amenable to a wider range of vehicles, from bikes to cars to buses.

BTW, I've been enjoying the http://pedshed.net/ series on connectivity.

Just my thoughts!

she is a career politician. i think its time to think beyond democrat or republican, (they are in the same bed, just swapping covers) perhaps it's time to find someone who will do the right thing, call it like it is, and take action.
these politicians treat us we are all fools, if they would only come clean and tell us like it is. I think we can all handle the truth. just give it to us!

i am not advocating libertarian, but i am disgusted with career politicians, they are all self serving! we just need someone to step forward and give us the REAL DEAL!

has carbon trading been successful?

Probably not based on the European Trading Scheme and controversy over Kyoto's offset provisions. On the other hand CFCs and SOX have been controlled to some extent but CO2 seems to be a lot harder because of fewer cheap substitutes. The EU scheme almost collapsed because of carbon starting credit giveaways and many now question whether 'clean development' (trees, new energy projects, methane flaring etc) is largely bogus; this has been discussed at length in Gristmill.

Here's some buzzwords in the literature; 'grandfathering', 'hybrid tax and trade', 'safety valve','revenue neutrality', 'import substitution', 'harmonisation', 'permit auctions'. Of course some doomers say CO2 reductions will happen anyway.

I think James Hansen is talking about 50+% emissions reductions within a decade. The lightweight schemes that will spring up in various coutries won't get near that unless there is a meltdown.

"I'm calling on the president to convene a summit at the White House of the 12 largest global warming emitters. She added that she would bring over some of the scientists who issued the report to brief the Senate.

I was curious about who the top 12 were. I found the top 5:


#1: American Electric Power Company, Inc. (AEP)/American Electric Power Service Corp.

Estimated annual CO2 Emissions: 226 million tons.
2003 Reported Revenue: $15.6 billion.

AEP controls 12 utility companies including Appalachian Power, Columbus Southern Power, Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Kingsport Power, Ohio Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Southwestern Electric Power, AEP Texas Central, AEP Texas North, Wheeling Power and AEP Generating. AEP owns or operates fossil fuel-fired power plants in 11 states including Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

#2: The Southern Company (SO)

Estimated annual CO2 Emissions: 171 million tons.
2003 Reported Revenue: $11.28 billion.

The Southern Company controls five utility companies, including Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric and Power. Southern owns or operates fossil fuel-fired power plants in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Georgia.

#3: Tennessee Valley Authority

Estimated annual CO2 Emissions: 110 million tons.
2003 Reported Revenue: $6.95 billion.

TVA is a federal corporation that owns and operates fossil fuel-fired power plants in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi.

#4: Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL)

Estimated annual CO2 Emissions: 75 million tons.
2003 Reported Revenue: $7.9 billion.

Xcel controls five utility companies, including Northern States Power of Minnesota; Northern States Power of Wisconsin; Public Service Company of Colorado; and Southwestern Public Service. Xcel owns or operates fossil fuel-fired power plants in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

#5: Cinergy Corp. (CIN)

Estimated annual CO2 Emissions: 70 million tons;
2003 Reported Revenue: $4.4 billion.

Cinergy controls the Cincinnati Gas & Electric and PSI Energy, Inc. Cinergy owns or operates fossil fuel-fired power plants in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Is anyone aware of a more comprehensive list?

Heh, what about the Departement of Defense?


Haven't checked it out in-depth, but there's this

The Environmental Integrity Project, at:
has a database

under 'most popular searches' you can get Excel files for all kinds of pollution
may take a bit of toying around, but looks comprehensive

Ed see also:
Press Release: 50 Dirtiest Power Plants

Here's twelve,.

Top 50 Investor-Owned CO2 Emitters in the U.S. Power Industry

based on Ceres 2004 Benchmarking Air Emissions Report
( * means that the company has prepared or is planning to prepare a climate risk report.)

*American Electric Power, Columbus, Ohio
*Southern Company, Atlanta, GA
Xcel, Minneapolis, MN
*Cinergy, Cincinnati, Ohio
*Progress Energy, Raleigh, NC
Ameren, St. Louis, MO
Edison International, Roemead, CA
*FirstEnergy, Akron, Ohio
ScottishPower, Scotland
Dominion, Richmond, VA
Allegheny Energy, Greennsberg, PA
AES, Arlington, VA

The list has 50,

Ceres (green investors group) has more info on its site, for example the entire PDF, 82 pages::
Benchmarking Air Emissions

DVDs of the Boston ASPO-USA Oil Conference are now available at: www.aspousa.org

The set consists of 9 DVDs covering the complete 2-day conference including Q&As. They have been edited to show PowerPoint slides integrated into the speeches from the original presentations, so text and graphics are easy to read. (Note that the preview on the website does not show the integrated PowerPoint slides) .

Cost for the complete set is $75.00 + $7.95 shipping & handling for the 9 DVD set. They come in 2 DVD cases and are shipped immediately via priority mail.

sorry, i dont share the enthusiasm some of the TOD posters have for the government solving ANY of our problems. if we are going to impose a "carbon" tax we will need a check valvue on the $ x 10^9's that are simply returned back to the perpetrators. so why not start by eliminating subsidies (and i mean all subsidies). that and replacing the convoluted income tax with a tax on consumption.

I agree with you completely elwoodelmore. The government is too slow to act and it's doubtful they are competent enough to act wisely. This problem is not "solvable" in most senses of the word for most people anyway.

The more individuals take responsibility for their own energy needs the better. The government has too many titbabies looking for nipples and the titbabies get to vote. Don't expect much from them and you won't be as disappointed, as cold and as hungry as you would be waiting for "leadership" from our politicians.

We tried the voluntary route in Canada. Our emissions went up 34% over 1990 levels. Much worse than the USA experience. Don't go there...

Our new Conservative Gov't has brought in legislation with stronger than EPA type regulations that will take effect in 2012; and there is indication from Cabinet Ministers that new Nuclear plants will be facilitated (Provincial jurisdiction). At a minimum, California level emission standards for new cars will be phased in.

This problem is much too large to depend on consumer directed programs.

Good point about the "voluntary route" Freddy. Most people would let others volunteer instead of themselves ;).

But that's not my suggestion for collective action on the problem - it's what I think is best for each of us individually.

I think people who carry on as usual and wait for the government to lead the way will probably suffer more than they would if they started acting on their own behalf now.

When I looked over the senator's list of priorities, most of which involve government mandating or implementing a part of the "solution", the same thing went through my mind. All I want government to do is provide the incentive to reduce fossil fuel usage. Let people and business make up their minds how to react to those incentives. Drastically reduced subsidies of fossil fuel use and the implementation of a simple carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system are all I can support at this point... Actually, I have nothing against funding research into green technologies, but with this exception, I'm not in favour of subsidizing green industry (or any industry for that matter).

On the 2/2/07 Drumbeat the first link is:
"Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study"
In the 2/3/07 WSJ is an op-ed piece by Philip Stott, a global warming denier, suggesting that 75% of global warming is caused by cosmic rays!

The cosmic ray thing has been making the rounds of the popular discussions for a while (I have no idea how long it's been kicking around in academia).  The proponents of the idea obviously have a lot of work to do if they want to prove that variations in cosmic rays (recorded where, exactly?) are a better explanation for GW than GHG's.  Unfortunately, the great unwashed have no idea how much credence to give this, so they tend to give it "balanced" consideration at 50% (or more, if it lets them absolve themselves of responsibility for buying that huge SUV and the 3500 ft2 house with the 3 massive A/C units).

Tune in next week to find out how to run your car on cosmic rays.

I already run my car on cosmic rays .... they just all happen to be photons from the sun .... from a long time ago.

The background abstract for this is Canadian and this is a hybrid. The hypothesis has been challenged; and basically the cosmic ray affect is sound. The bad news is our Galaxy only goes thru this active area every 125K years. There was a good attempt to show that this cosmic ray effect was cyclical. As i say, it has merit, but the cycle doesn't jive with what's has happened since 1978.

As with the myriad of solar cycles, good science ... but not relevant.

What's next, neutrinos?

Let me explain what they want

They want to survive. They understand Peak Oil better than you. They understand its true implications - the die off. They are planning to do whatever they can to help their elite make it through. What are you doing for your family?

The last question in this quote is the best part of the link.

The author is right that Bush and Cheney knew about peak oil coming into office. Too bad he retreats into the simpleton's "evil cabal" nonsense. Good idea for a topic of discussion though.

I would agree whole heartedly.

I hear what you are saying, and I know what you are getting at. But the aim of the article was more to get away from the constant stream of diaries on dkos saying all explanations for Bush/Cheney actions is that they are insane/evil/psycopaths etc. I remember working at Halliburton in the Cheney years and these ideas about the oil peak were not unusual there. So clearly people understood this issue. Now if you start with the assumption that they were fully aware of these issues coming into office, then their actions are consistent with somebody planning for the worst. Correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation, but DKos is a political ramblings site so perfectly appropriate place for such a discussion - and somewhere the audience doesn't have as much knowledge about the Peak Oil issues as they might. Better people think about it for whatever reason they may, than to not think about it.

So in the chain "1) understand Peak Oil 2) decide to do XYZ 3) Bush/Cheney track record in office", it doesn't exactly matter what XYZ is to accept that their actions are probably in many ways guided by a better understanding of what is coming than many of their critics. It doesn't mean they take the RIGHT actions. It doesn't mean one can even discern precisely what they are thinking. But I believe it is healthier to ascribe some sort of rational motive to their actions than the alternatives that go on on Dkos sometimes, and Peak Oil related issues certainly offer a potential set of rational motives.

And personally - yeah, i'd be worried in their shoes. I'd be wondering how best to guarantee my survival and those around me. And i'd probably be thinking in the terms i best understand - in their case quite possibly power and money. So if I could think of taking some of their actions as a defense against the future, it is at least possible that they do to. If not, well it doesn't really matter. I am an occasional diarist with minimal readership on a political blog that preachese to the converted. No harm done. And if one person reading it was suddenly prompted to go out and find out what all the peak oil fuss is about - particularly in my own area of main concern - the food supply - then i'm a pretty happy fella.

The original article is interesting, The Daily Reckoning's summary of it is spot on:

U.S. military trains, equips its enemies

Just when it seems the headlines from Iraq can't get any more outlandish, we get this: The U.S. government has been training and equipping Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army — the very militia that Team Bush considers the greatest threat to stability in Iraq. The McClatchy Newspapers report:

After U.S. units pounded al-Sadr's men in August 2004, the cleric apparently decided that instead of facing American tanks, he'd use the Americans' plans to build Iraqi security forces to rebuild his own militia.

So while Iraq's other main Shiite militia, the Badr Brigade, concentrated in 2005 on packing Iraqi intelligence bureaus with high-level officers who could coordinate sectarian assassinations, al-Sadr went after the rank and file.

His recruits began flooding into the Iraqi army and police, receiving training, uniforms and equipment either directly from the U.S. military or from the American-backed Iraqi Defense Ministry.

And what has this strategy yielded?

"Half of them are [Mahdi army]. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division…. "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city [Baghdad]. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."

That's a parallel to the racial/religious groups urging their members to join the US armed forces to get training for their own little ends.

So in a few years or a decade, we may see Aryan Nations, Nation of Islam, and Kooksters for Krist members using military tactics on US soil.

You mean just like Timothy McVeigh?

Exactly - single "jihadists" as well as groups.

Apologies if this has been posted already at TOD

Wal-Mart requests suppliers decrease fuel usage

That will take a few bushels of corn if they're looking to "only use renewable energy."

The internet, not as innocent as it looks...

Gold rush tears up a patch of the Amazon

It's a gold rush in the Amazon jungle, driven by the Internet.

Speeding past unbroken walls of foliage, a motorboat packed with gritty prospectors veers toward the shore of the Juma river and spills its passengers into a city of black plastic lean-tos veiled by greasy smoke.

All around them are newly dug pits, felled trees, misery and tales of striking it rich.

This is Eldorado do Juma, scene of Brazil's biggest gold rush in more than 20 years.

Drawn by a Brazilian math teacher's Web site descriptions of miners scooping up thousands of dollars in gold, between 3,000 and 10,000 people have poured in since December, cutting down huge trees, diverting streams and digging ever-deeper wildcat mines, in an area that only months ago was pristine rain forest.

Reading about the California gold rush can be instructive. The miners using hydraulic methods, which was based on wooden sluices and hoses made of leather and cotton, destroyed huge areas. Anyone who got in the way of gold-crazed miners, from Indians to other miners, were killed gleefully.

Stuff like this is why Zerzan is right.

But...how could they do this when they had no AIR CONDITIONING?

A couple of 'reality-check' stories that bear on the issue of how 'clean' the solar PV industry might be. If we are to ramp up PV massively, there will likely be a corresponding massive increase in use of balance-of-system components such as extruded and spun aluminum. This from Feb 4 NY Times:

...aluminum plants are heavy emitters of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen fluoride and other chemicals.

Smokestacks in a White Wilderness Divide Iceland

And from personal experience: I used to live in Yancey County NC where there were a number of old mica mines that were shut long ago when demand for 'isinglass' dried up. In the middle 80's a foreign mining company bought one of these mines because of its high-quality quartz for the purpose of computer chips and/or silicon-based PV panels. I'm not familiar with the industrial processes the company used, but they required occasional tanker truckloads of hydrofluoric acid, probably one of the most dangerous and toxic chemicals around. The local volunteer fire dept that I belonged to had several meetings about the possibility that one of these trucks could skid off an icy road and rupture. Basically, the only strategy possible, it was decided, was to evacuate the area and holler for outside help. Our local VFD simply did not have the 'hazmat' expertise or equipment to deal with something like this.

Now imagine the above stories multiplied a hundred-fold or even a thousand-fold.

Indeed, no nightmare is complete without a nice splash of hydrofluoric acid.

I can't imagine working defensive ops on a large hydrofluoric acid spill. I would rather have an ebola patient cough blood in my eyes. I think I would just run away.

Your blame for pollution caused by aluminum smelters on future wind power turbines couldn't be more misdirected. The aircraft and military equipment manufacturers are one of the largest users of AL by far. A single commercial jet can have over 100,000 lbs of aluminum in its body. Multiply this by the 36,000 commercial jets in service forecast by the year 2025 (www.chicagotribune.com/business - a story by the Tribune on numbers of new airline pilots needed) and you can figure over 1 million tons for that use alone.

IMO if more aluminum cans were recycled the need for aluminum to build wind turbines could easily be met. I am a former aircraft engineer that was employed by a military contractor.

Not a bad reminder also, that there's a lot of old, aluminum airframes that can be recycled INTO PV housings, too, particularly if the air fleet starts to seriously decline.

I have to imagine that it's already a heavy supplier of scrap AL anyway, though.

Sorry, I meant photovoltaics' use of AL, not so much wind turbines, although the latter does use a fair amount of AL.

It's not a "reality check" without some reality. Really, what is your agenda? Everything uses aluminum, or steel, or plastic, or something else that has issues. Even hugely ramped up, I expect solar use will be almost miniscule relative to other industrial uses,

If you want to provide information, tell me what proportion of aluminum would be required for a 10-fold build, for instance. How much pollution or other problem that represents. How it compares to other options. Throwing out vague, uninformative threats is really pointless. It gives me no way to know whether to take your concerns seriously or not, and makes it seem that you're just on some kind of vandetta.

Sorry if you think they were 'vague uninformative threats...'
The main point is that the human footprint on the planet is massive and any direction we take, be it so-called 'renewable' energy sources or what, entails a huge footprint of some kind of manufacturing system, from mining, smelting, manufacture, disposal, etc.
I suppose this is my own 'knee-jerk' reaction to people who invoke deserts full of PV panels as some kind of magic solution. All that energy the sun gives us, you know, and all we do is have to harvest what is there already, just a few minor details to work out.

Sorry I can't supply you with line-by-line figures on what running the world on PV or wind or nuclear or bovine droppings (thanks AlanFromBigEasy) would take. In reality, nobody else can either and the more I read about all this, the more I think some kind of radical 'power down' option is the only thing remotely workable - that is my agenda.

Agenda? Come on, don't be so defensive.
I couldn't be a stronger supporter of PV and Wind, but as we review our ways of approaching industrial behavior, I do hope that we hold these processes up to a very high standard. I'm irked by the hoops wind projects have to jump through to get past Audubon and Nature Conservancy and Nimbyism.. etc.. The one that just got voted down in Western Maine (preliminary judgement, I think, not final yet..) had supporters of the Appalachian Trail saying it was all about 'the View', which sort of pisses all over those who get left looking at coal-plants and missing mountaintops elsewhere.. but I still do believe we have to make our new energy decisions responsibly, and set up these choices, especially the earlier ones, with healthy and forward-thinking designs that can be safely followed as a reliable pattern. PV is no exception, and it's chemical processes will really have to be watched carefully (not Aluminum even, but PV itself).. so that when it's huge, and Exxon Mobil and Dupont and Union Carbide own the behemoth PV plants, that they will be properly regulated and not given the wink and nudge of 'historically green' technologies.

Bob Fiske

Good, thoughtful comments.

I enjoy TOD and learn a lot from it. I suppose I need to develop a thicker skin about some things.

On every energy-related forum I've participated in there are a certain class of posters who are enthusiastic supporters of their favorite technical 'solution' to the point of being blind about it. They (the extreme partisans) engage in trashing and insulting any researcher who comes up with numbers that aren't in line with their own rose-colored view of the particular technology. This is tedious and totally unnecessary. I am perfectly capable of deciding whether David Pimentel's or Cutler Cleveland's work is good research or not, or whether Howard Odum's emergy studies make sense, and so on.

I guess this is why I'm glad the editors and major contributors are who they are. They generally have a much more balanced and in-depth view of the various energy. They also, to me, seem much more reality-based than some of the extremely partisan armchair theorizers. These extreme partisans actually bother me more than the obvious trolls. Them I just skip because they have nothing substantive to contribute. The others I can learn from as long as my Crap-detector is turned up pretty high, but the message is almost always the same, so I often skip them as well.

ET, I think the answer to your first question is that aluminum support structures for PV should be largely phased out.

PV is largely a retrofit business now, which is remarkably inefficient and expensive (custom frames, site analysis, permits, wiring, etc). In the longrun I expect to see PV become integrated with the building envelope of new construction, so that no unusual frames or supports are needed.

California is moving in that direction, by requiring PV in new construction by 2011.

BTW, did you ever come across the peak-watt rating (or capacity factor) for the PV systems you priced out? I just saw an interesting stat for German PV: 2.5GW for 2TWh of output for 2006, for a capacity factor of only 9.1%! Germans are really willing to pay a premium for PV....

Oh, here are the numbers I think people use for a 25 cent/kwh estimate for PV: $7/peak watt, 30 year life, 5% interest (assumes discounting for inflation, or a government rate, I think - 6.5% gives you 29 cents), 21% utilization (1,825 hours of peak equivalent insolation, which I think assumes the very best locations - the German 9.1% gives you about 57 cents, which I believe is roughly equal to their feedin rate).

I agree with all you say, and what ET says in response. I like PV and think it is one key component of our energy "solution" (in addition to significant power down) but in no way do I think it will come close to solving our energy problems, and I want it to be done as responsibly as possible. That is actually why I wish I had better numbers and information to base my own judgements on. I guess I was reacting not only to this thread but previous ones when ET criticizes PV. I don't mind skepticism, in fact I welcome it (although I admit I was a bit defensive earlier), but I get frustrated by both the "answer to all our fears" and the "lousy, overblown tech" people. Neither side really offers substantial arguments from what I have seen. I am willing to be convinced by solid information. In truth there is no truly clean tech but we still have to decide what to do and how to manage it. If ET is just saying let's be careful as we build up this tech, I am totally fine. It sounded a bit harsher than that to me, however.

It sounds like we are on the same page. I tend to be somewhat of a contrarian with respect to any of the extremes.


Thanks back and sorry if I over-reacted.

I agree that many people seem to have extremely over optimistic visions of being saved by PV. I even recall one person proposing putting PV on passenger plane wings to power the airplane! They have no concept of how much energy is required vs how much can be developed through a PV system. I don't see any easy way out of this, experience and reality will assert itself regardless of what we do.

That said, I have PV on my roof and am glad I do. Coupled with many other energy-saving strategies it supplies nearly all our annual electrical needs and will for a long time to come. This also means I know its limitations (e.g. only 1-2 kWh total output on a cloudy winter day, sometimes less).

Yes, it's kind of sad that they actually believe it, but in a beautiful tragic sense.

Alabama: The next Saudi Arabia?

With chicken litter, switchgrass, biodiesel and pulp, Alabama is poised to be a leader in alternative fuels

The millions of tons of feces produced annually by Alabama chickens go by lots of names.

But when Auburn University researchers look at the waste produced by 13,000 chicken farms, they see a potential energy source.

And this potential is everywhere -- in the state’s 21 million acres of forest, its established paper and pulp industries, its perennial grasses, its rail and waterways, and its farming communities.

“I often say we are the Saudi Arabia of biomass," said David Bransby, professor of energy and fiber crops forage-livestock management at Auburn University. “I think those two resources: wood and broiler litter. If we had the technologies to produce the energy from them -- to make the liquid fuels from them commercially competitive -- we could start tomorrow because they’re all sitting there waiting. That material is all there."

They do not just let the chicken litter(broiler litter) sit. At least not in Ky. The fresh litter is hauled in for free and the old taken out. What they want is the old litter. They bring this usually from Missouri. In Mo. they spread in on their grasslands, fields or whatever. Its valuable enough for them to haul it for free and not charge for the litter.

We do the same. Its a very very potent organic fertilizer and not wasted unless by someone who doesn't know about chicken confinement feeding.

I know because I was engineering in-house sensors and cameras for a friend who has three broiler houses.

I took a front loader of old litter home and placed it at the end of my garden. It was so hot all the grass around it died. I put some under a few plants in the garden and they burned out on it. I used far less of it than I would have 15-15-15. Also lots of chicken legs in the batch. They sorta get buried in the depths of the litter. Smells rank too. When you go in a chicken house the ammonia knocks you right back out the door. The reason for sensors is to track the moisture which correlates with ammonia and means time to turn the fans on as ammonia is a health problem for the chickens. The cameras tell you the health of the chickens and just looking at their behavior can tell you a lot about their immediate physical health. You can lose a whole house full of chickens very fast. If they are up fanning their wings ,might mean they are too hot. The camera can then focus on the hanging thermometer to give you a readout. It can then be focused on the drip water feed lines and you can see droplets forming there if its functioning properly. You should also see them pecking at it to gain the water, as well as observe the feel augers and troughs.

The litter I believe is usually rice hulls. Could be wrong but think thats it.It has huge amounts of nitrogen , so I understand.

On the farm as a youngster the chickens would roost in the hen house on poles. Underneath was some very rich droppings. I dont' recall whether or when they were used but we also had plenty of cow and mule manure to use.

Likely far more than you ever wanted to know about broiler houses.
Its a combination of low tech trying to become more hitech. Frankly I much prefer free range chickens. The meat of confinement fed chickens is not that tasty , if you were used to the farm chickens.

I remember going with my Mom to the local egg farm to shovel up what I was allowed to call, gleefully, "chickenshit", for our little garden, which we were trying to create out of scraped-clean, almost abiotic, suburb-underpinning. Imagine the joy of being 11 years old and being allowed to say "chickenshit" hehe.

It did a lot towards making that inert clay into something like soil, it's good stuff.

Airdale's post points out why chickenshit isn't necessarily "good stuff". Chicken manure contains lots of highly soluble nitrogen. Improperly spread over fields it presents a huge pollution hazard. Even a moderate application followed by rain can be a disaster. The stuff has to be spread very lightly during the growing season or properly composted before being spread (my approach to all animal wastes). Used properly chicken bedding has great value.

Incidentally, human bodily waste has a lot of potential.

Much of what I said about chicken manure/bedding applies equally to most chemical fertilizers.

From the Eugene Register Guard

A new analysis by a team of Oregon State University economists concludes that biofuels offer only marginal progress toward energy independence and reduction of greenhouse gases and do so at a much higher cost than other alternatives.


Hello Everyone,

In the week which will certainly see the 3,100th American military death from the Iraq war (http://icasualties.org/oif/), I would like to draw everyone's attention to the poem which I first encountered when still a child and most impressed upon me the horrors of war:

Wilfred Owen
Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

I mourn the death of every dead American soldier. I mourn the death of every Iraqi civilian lost to this horrendous war. I mourn the deaths which must certainly continue since the United States of America has transformed a terrorist act into an eternal war of occupation which just coincidentally happens to be centered in the world's biggest oil patch.

How much is a barrel of blood worth? How much is a barrel of oil worth? How much value should we Americans place upon all of the Iraqi children who are suffering and dying every day?

The American SUV drivers keep on driving, shopping and eating while the Iraqi oil-owners are suffering, deprived, oppressed and dying. The American SUV driver pays attention to the price of oil and the stock market and plans his/her retirement while our Iraqi benefactors sacrifice their civilization and lives on our behalf. The American SUV driver complains when the price of gasoline rises by a nickel but no one seems to care about the tons of depleted Uranium that the Americans are giving to the Iraqis for free.

What ever happened to the dream of world peace? Whatever happened to the dream of humankind's glorious future? Whatever happened to the techno-utopia which was promised so numerously over the last several centuries?

It is all lost, now. It is dying in the sands of Iraq. America's future and humankind's future is dying in Iraq. What sort of irony is it that civilization's dawn and civilization's demise happened to occur in the same place geographically. If those ancient people had known where their civilization idea would lead they probably wouldn't have even bothered.

Too bad for humankind. But we have made our choices and we will suffer the consequences.

David Mathews

You should go tho Hollywood and try a career there in the area of tragedy commedity.

Yes, you see, in America, it's FUNNY when babies die, when fleeing civilians are strafed, the whole thing is funny as hell. Why do you think gun-camera or guided missile footage is so popular?

A couple of days ago, I saw a bumper sticker: IF YOU'RE NOT UTTERLY APALLED, YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION. It was on the wide ass of one of the large models of SUV, which was freshly detailed, gleaming.

In the US if you kill women and children and babies for thrills or fun, they call you a sicko, and put you in prison. But if you kill 'em for profit, it's OK. You're just not supposed to enjoy it. Not directly, anyway.

Well put, David M.

I've been reading John Gray's "False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism" lately. I can't help but notice how our violence -- against the planet, against the planet's poor people, and against all of the young people -- is rooted in this corporatist effort to control resources and to divert all energy and material to enrich a relatively few people for a very short time.

What a sad way for our species to destroy itself.

I've finished E. O. Wilson's "The Creation."

My favorite quotes:

"Here is a chimera, a new and very odd species come shambling into our universe, a mix of Stone Age emotion, medieval self image, and god-like technology. The combination makes the species unresponsive to the forces that count most for its own long term survival."


"...what I fear most is the pervasive combination of religious and secular ideaology of a kind that sees little or no harm in the destruction of the Creation."

and (so like JH Kunstler):

"Meanwhile, the modern technoscientific revolution...has betrayed Nature a second time, by fostering the belief that the cocoons of urban and suburban material life are sufficient for human fulfillment. That is an especially serious mistake."

Wilson is an old man now, and after a life of careful scientific research, observation, teaching, and writing he really writes with a depth of wisdom.

With all of our faults, Wilson still urges science and religion -- the most powerful human forces -- to join together to work to preserve as much habitat and as many diverse species as possible.

Life seems to me to be less about personal survival as I learn more. Life seems to be more about working for the possible survival of some remnant of our species within whatever flows out of the other end of the great "Bottleneck" of the next 30 years or so.

We are going through one of the sixth largest species die offs known to science. This one, says Wilson, is largely anthropogenic. Will we even get to argue that for decades -- I think not.

Modern warfare -- Stone Age emotions, medieval self-image, and godlike technology -- destroys with terrible effectiveness.

Ok first off, while even prior to invading Iraq I have felt and stated it was likely a bad idea, perhaps I am callous. The poem you quote relates to the use of mustard gas in WWI. Since then, because of its horrors no one dared use it again until Saddam systematically targeted tens of thousands of Kurds to die in a fashion similar to the horrors you relate in this poem. It was not a one time event, there would be fly overs with paper leaflets to determine how the wind was blowing. Then whole Kurd villages would be gassed from the air. They would flee into underground bunkers only to believe they had found safety and would die en mass as the nerve gas settled to lower ground. Conservatively 50,000 Kurds died in a manner similar, or worse, to the horrors you outline in the quoted poem. I don't know if this is more than in all of WWI. Yes America has culpability in playing Iran against Iraq in the 1980s but really, is this documented nerve gas genocide what you support?

I wonder who sold the nerve gas?

Well the nerve gas Sarin was invented by the Germans. Most likely even a backward genocidal dictator with a 4 million barrel a day oil revenue stream would be able to reproduce this work. Of course if his ambitions of taking over all Middle East oil fields had been successful there might have been vastly greater bloodshed. Unless of course oil really is unimportant and we are wasting are time worrying about potential future supply constraints. For that matter who do you suppose sold Iraq its military hardware prior to our invasion? We certainly weren't flying against F-15s and targeting Abrams tanks. The West certainly has invented tremendous weapons of war, however, if the US or most Western nations were to employ the tactics of war employed by one such as Saddam (i.e. maximal nerve gas attack on people such as the Iranians and Kurds - threats which many dictators and terrorists such as Osama consistently promise to try and employ against us), well there wouldn't be any dead US soldiers and likely there would hardly be an Iraqi left alive in the world. The fact that we sacrifice our nations blood for the principal of mitigating our destructive capabilities in order to preserve a reasonable solution should give hope to those who worry about how we can integrate the destructive tendencies inherent in technological advancement. To put it quite simply, China Japan, Israel and most all of the Christian nations have the capability to end the world at any time and at least so far have chosen not to. The Middle East hasn't this capability but consistently threatens (and with repeated suicide attacks documents) an intention to destroy with whatever capabilities they can realize.

Lastly, while I have never been in the military, thank heavens for the discipline and humility of the US Army. Discipline and humility not to overthrow a government (as we see almost every few months around the world) of a people that consistently disparages it. Discipline and humility when, despite overwhelming military superiority, it does not simply wage was as it has been done through the millenia and breach the walls, raze the city of your enemy to the ground, leave no survivors except slaves in chains and salt the Earth to ensure nothing ever grows there again. This is what our enemies threaten for us and I feel fortunate to be protected in the US by such a disciplined and self-sacrificing military.

Oh boy.

Our hands are completely dirty on the Iraqi WMD programmes.

We sold them the core chemical equipment to make their nerve gases. There is a wonderful photo of Donald Rumsfeld with Saddam Hussein on one of the trips that closed the deal.

Google 'Matrix Churchil' for the British involvement. The case against selling him the Supergun collapsed when it turned out the businessmen in question were working for British intelligence.

He didn't get the chemical gear from the Russians, he got it from us. Just as Pakistan got its centrifuges (that built its nuclear weapons) from Urenco (Dutch British company).

The first Islamic nuclear state, equipment supplied by us.

When he did use nerve gas against the Iranians we said nothing. When he used it against the Kurds in Halaba in 1988 we said even less.

He was our big ally against Iran in the 80s. We were desparate to make sure he won.

As to the US Army. Do you think the US Army could run America any better than civilians?

You right like the typical tv remote warrior. I for one dislike sending our troops in to die on futile missions, cloaked in political rhetoric.

Iraq has become a futile mission.

i've taken to buying the war poems of sassoon and owen for war supporters for xmas and new year

i am not sophisticated in my knowledge and understanding of poetry or anything like that... but studying these at school many years ago was something that always moved me - particularly the sad lie that it is a sweet and seemly thing to do to die for one's country.

i was fascinated by this period in time when poetry was in its element and serving a purpose that no other media outlet was doing - telling a truth that was needed but that wasn't being told - must have been an amazing time


I believe that if you read some true accounts of military men in action that your views might change.

I suggest Flags of Their Fathers and Flyboys for starters.

Then perhaps Blackhawk Down.

You might also think back to those who fought in the Continental Army and wearing no shoes in the dead of winter. All those who have gone into battle , many did for ,as Mudlogger states, for hearth and home.

My father and his 6 brothers fought thusly and never complained one bit. One held a prisoner for 3 yrs by the Germans. Another undergoing surgery as his battleship was engaged in shelling Saipan Yet Yet not a one ever complained or whined. They were willing to go there and if need be die.

Read the Band of Brothers book.

Many of our men died so others would not be oppressed. How soon we forget.

One of the aircraft in my squadron lost its right main landing gear on takeoff. They circled that lonely island in the middle of the pacific ocean with death looming in their minds. They talked for a couple of hours. Only enough foam to slick down the runway or save it til the plane ditched. Or else parachute and hope to hit the island or else face the sharks offshore if they missed. They made a group decision.

The pilot brought the aircraft with 20+ crew down on the runway and the men began bailing out the hatches as fire started to rage underneath.

All were safe. Later most all of them re-enlisted. They had seen death. It held no sting for them anymore. They knew sacrifice.

I flew with these men. They were just airdales like me. Later another of our aircraft crashed on landing , same island, I went to the scene and its was bad. One of my good buddies crawled into the nearby weeds and died upright on his hands and knees with a large chunk missing from his skull. 9 men burned to toast. To this day men of that crew still gather and talk over remembrances. Many made the Navy their career and went on about their lifes. Later more aircraft were lost. Many of these men, in fact most were not drafted. They enlisted. They knew the dangers yet did not weasel out.

In boot camp, back then, the weak and ignorant are thrown out as worthless. The cowards that never even got started and didn't deserve to serve. The weasels that pissed in their racks at night to try to get a discharge. They ended up getting GI-showers by the men in their company , sent to the 'Canoe Club' and then thrown out on a medical. No doubt they applied for military medical benefits.


Hmmm... my Great Uncle had the Victoria Cross.

Fighting men are sh*t scared. Bravery doesn't come into it.

Boot camp is about breaking you down and knocking any disobedience out of you. It's a process of carefully calculated de-individualisation. Aimed at 17 and 18 year old boys.

Units run away when the going gets tough-- if they can. Monty sacked a Colonel who stood in the middle of the road in Normandy, pistol drawn, ordering his panicked men back to the front. American units at the Bulge and Hurtgen Forest just melted away in the face of the Germans. The Germans had another remedy: they executed over 5,000 soldiers for cowardice.

It's a dirty job, and they do it for the love and respect of the men around them. Call it elan, call it esprit de corps call it animal survival. And they do it out of desperation, of fighting to survive. When that breaks, for whatever reason, they run.

Glory? It's something we invent afterwards, to try to forget the horror.

And just when and where and in what branch did you serve to make these comments.

Read the books and then get back to me.

Read some about the civil war in the US.

Read personal accts.

The lone pilot in a dogfight does not have anyone with him. How does he sacrifice his life for those about him? Your exposition does not ring true on many fronts. The sniper is alone. Of the eight flyboys captured over ChiChi Jima all died alone, they knelt at the side of the pit and knew their heads were about to be chopped off. Afterwards the Japanese cut out their livers and flesh from their thighs and consumed it. The crimes of the enemy are well documented as well as the German Nazis. The valour of the American fighting man is also well recorded.

You are quoting material from the British. Different places, different people. As I recall we pulled you British asses out of the fire then but I do respect the British greatly for what they endured and the great air force depicted in Battle for Britain.

There are always slackard, dullards and cowards. No need to try to set them on a pedestal.

Gas!7 Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime9 . . .
Dim, through the misty panes0 and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

Wilfred Owen, 1918

I can also highly recommend 2 movies:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0161010/ The Trench about a unit about to go over the top at the Somme.

notice Daniel Craig (James Bond) as one of the leads. The only war movie I have ever seen where the bullets go 'zip' as they fly past you.


Wilfrid Owen and Siegfried Sassoon meet an asylum where they have been sent for 'shell shock'. Sassoon was sent there because he published an anti war article in the Times whilst serving on the Western Front. He must, therefore, obviously have been insane.

The scene where they 'cure' a speech impediment is one of the most harrowing I have ever seen in a movie.

Lester Brown is THE guru of the US greens. Isn't it?
I have read almost all of his commentaries within the last 15 years. In most of his doom gloom scenarios he was dead wrong.

Lester is old enough, he should retire.

Climate change:
I guess, everyone knows, that climate is changing. It has alwayws changed. Now it gets warmer each year, that's a fact. Who is responsible for that? Nobody knows actually. But since yesterday we know, that human have made the mess. And since yesterday it is just impossible to be a contrarian. It seems to me, it is quite the same procedure like the passiv-smoking fraud some years ago.

What does that mean for my personal investments? I invest into nuclear even more. This (peak oil combined with "global warming") is a once in a lifetime chance to get rich.

Hello quadour88,

What does that mean for my personal investments? I invest into nuclear even more. This (peak oil combined with "global warming") is a once in a lifetime chance to get rich.

The Iraq war is also a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get rich. I wonder how many parents bought Christmas gifts for their precious children with the profits gleaned by murdering the children of Iraq.

Greed is the sin which serves to exterminate Homo sapiens from the Universe. Thank God for human greed. Once humankind is gone forever Nature will recover and the Earth will again become a Garden of Eden.

David Mathews

Yes David, I agree with your opinions reg. the Irak war. I think it's just a divergence of cultures. I live in Switzerland, that's in Europe. And here in Europe not one sinlge Government (except from the UK) would ever start thinking to send their young men into a war like Irak. I feel very sad about all those young Americans fighting in Irak. How is that possible? What have your politicians told them, why they should fight down there? For us here, it is just not understandable.

Where do you live quadour? UK is hardly the only Euro country that has sent warm bodies to Iraq. Tho mercifully most are leaving/have left now. Perhaps you live on Mars and are not familiar with recent events on Earth.

Switzerland is also neutral, not to be confused with pacifist. Switzerland sells arms, lots of them, all over the world.

Kinda like....

"Here, you give me $5 and he'll give me $5 and let's you and him fight."

Poland and Spain and Italy made de minimis contributions. The Italians in particular were notorious for keeping to base.

The 'Coalition of the Willing' was a fraud. It was us, and the US. 90% of the troops were American.

(you may be thinking of Afghanistan. There, NATO is fully involved. However only the Americans, British and Canadians are operating without operational restrictions ie fully engaged in combat).

There are presently 16,467 combatants from 27 nations other than the usa in iraq.

27 Countries and NATO* (including US) Support Iraqi Stability Operations

27 Countries with forces in Iraq (in addition to US)

TOTAL ~ 16,467 Forces

Data as of November 15, 2006

Czech Republic
South Korea
El Salvador

*Note: Fiji participating as a
part of the UN mission in Iraq.

*32 includes the 28 countries listed above, the US, Fiji, and four NATO, non-MNF-I countries: Hungary, Iceland, Slovenia, Turkey

Lester Brown is THE guru of the US greens. Isn't it?
I have read almost all of his commentaries within the last 15 years. In most of his doom gloom scenarios he was dead wrong.

Please name one scenario where Lester Brown was wrong, just one! In fact Lester, over the years, has been dead on! But mostly Lester does not make predictions, he just tells it like it is. And in almost every one of his books he ends with recommendations of what must be done to fix things. That is where he and I differ. He thinks things can be fixed.

Lester is not a gloom and doomer, he is actually a wide eyed optimist when compared to most doomers like myself. Read his "Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble."

Lester thinks the world can be saved. Imagine that?

But his best book ever was; "Outgrowing the Earth". But if you like on-line video's try this one:

Ron Patterson

I know, he is a optimist. I agree with you.
To mention ONE scenario, where is was wrong: Who will feed China? (edited in 1995).

To mention ONE scenario, where is was wrong: Who will feed China? (edited in 1995).

Indeed, who will feed China? Water tables are dropping in China, their rivers are drying up, their land is blowing away, their grain production is deopping and they now import as much grain as Canada produces. Who will feed China?

You probably thought he was talking about the next year, or 1996. No, he obviously meant things were deteriorating and sooner or later there will be famine in China. And I believe he is correct.

Ron Patterson

China is rich enough to buy food.

The passive smoking fraud? Some years ago? OK Sure.

What does that mean for my personal investments? I invest into nuclear even more. This (peak oil combined with "global warming") is a once in a lifetime chance to get rich.

And would you perhaps happen to have some favorite nuclear plays?
Personally I have had some trouble finding value in the alternative energy sector -In many companies the growth potential is already reflected in the stock price.

Fossil fuel use grew at the same time that CO2 levels rose and at the same time the glaciers shrank and permafrost melted. Just because you don't know something doesn't mean the experts don't know what is driving climate change.

Hello TODers,

Once the US starts its inflationary spiral, it may be a wise investment, and yet be much safer for your personal protection to trade than trying to postPeak barter with gold & silver: phone minutes.

Like other hyper-inflationary economies, physical goods often become more valuable than the money used to pay for them, and for this reason, calling cards have become hedges against inflation in Zimbabwe. Should a subscriber purchase a calling card that offers a certain amount of talk time, and should the tariff rise in the future, that same card can be sold at a price higher than its face-value in order to reflect the inflationary effect. As such, major cities across Zimbabwe are flooded with calling card sellers, and the business of the trading of minutes is brisk.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

What about toothbrushes, condoms or cigarettes?

Latex looses strength and elasticity as it ages. An old condom is just not the same as a new condom.

So what does one do with an old toothbrush, an old condom, and an old cigarrette? (All still in an energy-intensive plastic package, of course!)


In a post-PO lifeboat, there was a priest, a rabbi, a Mullah, and a Southern Baptist preacher. no food, no water.

They had an old toothbrush, an old condom, and an old cigarrette. What did they do to survive?

Never mind.


Oh! I know that one! The Southern Baptist preacher eats the other guys then is Raptured.

So what does one do with an old toothbrush, an old condom, and an old cigarrette? (All still in an energy-intensive plastic package, of course!)


In a post-PO lifeboat, there was a priest, a rabbi, a Mullah, and a Southern Baptist preacher. no food, no water.

They had an old toothbrush, an old condom, and an old cigarrette. What did they do to survive?

Never mind.


Needles and thread--especially darning needles and darning thread.
Dental floss.
And mass quantitities of toilet paper--paper towels too.

Small bottles of hard liquor.

Cigars sealed in aluminum tubes and pipe and cigarette tobacco. Cigarette papers for rolling your own. Luxuries are good.

Lard. (Keeps indefinitely)

Fish hooks and other fishing tackle.

Used clothing--especially for cold weather.

Yes and we know that many ,many will not survive the lack of toilet paper. The horror, the horror!

Of course corn cobs make swell replacements for TP. Ya gotta toughen up first. No paper assholes on the farm.

As for tobacco and paper? Grow yer own tobacco and use a pipe. Corncob pipe ifn ye have ter.

I smoked many a grapevine as well as corn silk.

For nicotine? IMO a good chaw is hard to beat. No contaminants in your lungs. No chance of dangerous fires. You can do it in restaurants and about anywhere else. Who says you can't spit on the floor? Red Man is good, some like Beechnut but plug cut is primo.

Thank you for that endoresement of chewing tobacco. I'm from Chicaqo and have only had one friend who was much interested in chew. Kevin died at 38. He might have lived a few more years but as a young man he found it hard to keep going as the doctors kept removing hunks of his face.
You're from west Kentucky. Kevin actually moved to Memphis because the doctors there were so much more familiar with what was happening to him. You must know what chaw does. Please recommend it to your kith and kin.


I think everyone keeps a handy 'horrors of tobacco' story in there memory.

I have a few far better than the one you posted of those who smoke cigarettes. Its just a thing that some people used to do in the country,noting that their brethren in the cities used something called lefthanded tobacco and also wish for it to be legalized.

Its my belief that the tobacco of an earlier time was not peppered with so many contaminants as now. Sprayed for suckers,tobacco worms, dosed with God knows what at the manufacturer site.

I gave up smoking long ago(40 yrs). Take an ocassional pipeful. Sometimes a chew about once a year. Never snuff..thats what they sweep up off the floor!

The old folks did a hell of a lot of tobacco but I never heard of them whining about what happened. Many women once dipped snuff, my grandmother included.

I don't think of deceased friends as handy stories.

You ask above "who says you can't spit on the floor?" Try coming to my city. Spit on the floor in any public interior space and you will be escorted to the door, quickly and roughly. Do it out of doors in public and expect that you will be regarded as a pathetic rustic. I can't even imagine how you would be received if you ran that by in a private interior. Whoever invited you would be cut forever.
Stay south of the Mason-Dixon. With your kind

Hi oldhippie,

I wanted to just respond to one small part of this, (and I'm, of course, very sorry about your friend), which is that the culture of what is acceptable (and not) in terms of spitting in public (outdoors, in front of doors, on the sidewalk, in front of someone walking just behind...as examples) has changed quite dramatically in some places, amongst those between, I'd say 13 and 25 (I'm speaking of boys and men, not girls and women). I see it on a daily basis. They do not consider spitting in public outdoors (and even near front doors) a breach of etiquette at all.
I don't know how this happened.

When did you last buy darning yarn? Entirely unavailable so far as I know. The replacement item is embroidery floss. Much more expensive but does come in colors. Darning yarn (not thread) to my knowledge only ever existed in black and white - to go with the times when socks were only black or white. And mom repaired them.

I use darning thread--easily available. My mom taught me to darn my old socks, and we sailormen have to be handy with no women around for long periods of time.

This old so-and-so can sew and sew with a machine, too.

If you truly want darning yarn, I'm pretty sure you can get it online; most everything is available some place.

Let's say we're going to go through a bottleneck, dieoff within 50 years, which we'd better since we can't have 14-15 billion on the planet. Our doubling time is 40 years remember?

Lots of stuff like clothes lasts decades just fine, I'm assuming a future where there will actually be a lot more stuff than people. Food, drugs, may become scarce but more durable goods will be around for our lifetimes. Especially since statistically, our lifetimes may be shortened to a greater or lesser degree.

So, hoarding modern consumer stuff won't be a good plan. Yes modern plastic toothbrushes are an example of this - in fact in a nice slow collapse, anything plastic is likely to get burned for fuel, air cleanliness be damned.


Thanks for you many posts on worldwide reactions to the down slope of PO, coming soon to a country near you.

Unfortunately for countries like Mexico, Zimbabwe, and others, they are entering (or have entered) a twilight zone of chaos that may only lead to an even gloomier permanent energy midnight - especially if world grain production falters and/or is diverted to biofuel production.

"Zimbabwe's Corn Crop for 2007 Season May Drop to 850,000 Tons

By Vernon Wessels

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe's corn crop will probably drop to 850,000 metric tons for this year's harvest in May from 900,000 tons a year earlier, according to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service.

Zimbabwe's 2006/07 corn crop plantings were delayed by weather and input shortages,'' the Washington-based agency said in an e-mailed report yesterday. ``As a result, both the crop and the area planted will not be up to expectations.''

Supplies of corn and wheat will run short this year because last year's crops weren't enough to meet local demand, the service said.

Zimbabwe, which consumes about 1.8 million tons of corn a year, has been importing food since 2001, the year after President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned commercial farms for distribution to blacks deprived of land during colonial rule.

Zimbabwe's wheat season runs from April to September, while its corn season begins in November and ends in April. Zimbabwe needs about 450,000 tons of wheat a year.


Hello Charles Mackay, TG80, and other TODers,

Thxs for the kind words, but I am just merely trying to point out to others what is obvious to me, along with some crazy & wild speculation every now and then of what might be a better solution. I hold no grudges against those that disagree, but merely hope it fosters the growth of even better creative solutions from those with more expertise. I wish I had the time to respond to every TODer that replies to my messages, but I do want to send out a general thank you expressing my gratitude.

The FF industry is a deadly business; thousands die every year as they labor in mines, or fly or boat over unforgiving water to dodge swinging steel on platforms. Other lethal examples abound. I try to always keep this in mind when formulating my text, and wish the levels of cordiality, respectful dissent, and general politeness on TOD would rise in tribute to those that give their lives so our monitors can glow awhile longer. Reaching consensus is always a difficult task, but it can be greatly enhanced with civility. Time will tell.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Don't worry the Governor of Texas has a new vaccine that will solve all the problems.

there was a program yesterday (saturday) on KTRH 740 am, asking what has Perry done for the state since he's been governor? there was not one solid answer, except for the die hard Perry fans, or was it anti democrat fans? nobody could really find an answer, so we are stuck with what the sheeple voted in. as Kinky said during the final votes as they were being counted that night when it became clear Perry would win, Kinky said: "the people have mumbled!"

another self serving politician wins again!

Hello TODers,

Who knows how things will go postPeak? I sure don't. But if the breakdown of govts is a logical conclusion--how many will want to be warlords? How many will have the audacity, ruthlessness, and daring required to summon men committed to conquest? Please read this article called,

"The Last American Warlord"


and ponder which of the young people around us will seek to become a new generation of the next American Warlords.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?