DrumBeat: February 5, 2007

Cheney's Fund Manager Attacks ... Cheney

The oil-based energy policies usually associated with Vice President Dick Cheney have just come under scathing attack. There's nothing remarkable about that, of course -- except the person doing the attacking.

Step forward, Jeremy Grantham -- Cheney's own investment manager. "What were we thinking?' Grantham demands in a four-page assault on U.S. energy policy mailed last week to all his clients, including the vice president.

Titled "While America Slept, 1982-2006: A Rant on Oil Dependency, Global Warming, and a Love of Feel-Good Data," Grantham's philippic adds up to an extraordinary critique of U.S. energy policy over the past two decades.

What Cheney makes of it can only be imagined.

Richard Heinberg: Five Axioms of Sustainability

My aim in this essay is to explore the history of the terms sustainable and sustainability, and their various published definitions, and then to offer a set of five axioms (based on a review of the literature) to help clarify the characteristics of a durable society.

The Agenda Restated - Kunstler

Out in the public arena, people frequently twang on me for being "Mister Gloom'n'doom," or for "not offering any solutions." I find this bizarre because I never fail to present audiences with a long, explicit task list of projects that American society needs to take up in the face of the combined problems I have labeled The Long Emergency. That the audience never hears this, and then indignantly demands such instruction, only reinforces my sense that the cognitive dissonance in our culture has gone totally off the charts.

'Gas war' forces Ukraine to clean up its act

For years Western environmentalists tried in vain to convince Ukraine to shake an energy addiction that made it one of the world's least energy efficient economies.

Then in one fell swoop Russia turned energy conservation into a Ukrainian national priority by doubling the price of gas exports to its Western neighbour at the start of last year -- before hiking them again this January.

North Sea's Decline & Russia's Intransigence Highlight Gas Challenges & Opportunities

Concern will perhaps be greatest in Western Europe, which increasingly relies on Russia gas supplies as the North Sea enters its twilight years. The decline of the North Sea is illustrated by the winding down of investment in new capacity by the Super Majors. Although a lot of North Sea exploration is being carried out by smaller companies, the fact is that pretty much all of the elephantine discoveries that are going to be made have been made, and it makes sense for the industry’s biggest players to chase opportunities in other places.

Arabs urged to use energy judiciously

Two experts have called for the appropriate use of both conventional and renewable sources in energy-deficit Arab countries which suffer from huge power shortages. About half the Arab region faces power shortage and 20% of its population have no access to electricity, according to Merwat Tallawy, executive secretary at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

RWE plans one billion euro gas pipeline between Czech Republic, Belgium

RWE, Germany's second-biggest power supplier, is planning to build a one-billion-euro (1.3-billion-dollar) gas pipeline between the Czech Republic and Belgium, its chairman has said.

Oil workers targeted as Nigeria violence grows

Thousands of foreign workers and their families have left Africa's top oil producer since a faceless new militant group launched unprecedented attacks about a year ago on the places where they work, live and relax.

Nigeria: 90 Percent Indigenes to Lose Jobs

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has disclosed that 90 per cent of Niger Delta indigenes stand to lose their jobs in the region if the current insecurity and hostage taking persist.

Nigeria oil workers call off strike

The two main oil-worker unions in Nigeria said they called off a strike planned for Monday to protest insecurity in the restive petroleum-producing region pending a meeting with President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Methane now bubbling from Beaufort Sea

Remotely Operated Vehicle observations revealed streams of methane-rich gas bubbles coming from the crests of pingo-like-features (PLFs) – due to warm water influx. We offer a scenario of how PLFs may be growing offshore as a result of gas pressure associated with gas hydrate decomposition.

UN chief says climate change has driven world to 'critical stage'

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has warned that climate change had driven the world to a "critical stage," directly affecting human health and the environment.

EU Says Germany Stifling Progress on Climate Change

Germany's lack of progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions is holding back international efforts to combat global warming, the European Union's Environment Commissioner was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Vietnam highly vulnerable to climate change: expert

"Vietnam potentially is one of the countries where sea level rises could have the most dramatic impact," said Mark Lowcock, a senior official with Britain's Department for International Development on Monday.

Global Warming Myths and Lies

As the fervor over global warming continues to permeate the discussions of politicians and the media alike, I’ve noticed a stock set of anecdotal arguments from those who choose to remain unconvinced of anthropogenic global warming. A lot of their arguments remind me of the arguments of those who believe NASA faked the moon landings: “Well, in their pictures you don’t see the stars, so it must have been done in a studio.” Um, have you ever tried taking a picture of the night sky? How many stars do you see? But I digress...

Jeremy Leggett: War and Skis

Global action is an amalgam of millions of tiny personal initiatives, and sacrifices - so I'm saying farewell to the slopes.

It’s “You” Who will Save the World

Time magazine has awarded “You” as the personality of the year. Maybe it is a populist sign from a popular magazine, but with global warming and peak oil at our doorstep, it is now “your” turn to save the world with your care for using energy.

Australia says emissions trading needed to fight global warming

A worldwide system to put a price on harmful gas emissions should be a key part of any plan to combat global warming, but should not come at Australia's expense, Prime Minister John Howard has said.

Australia: Oil supply report to be released

A Senate report into Australia's future oil supply will be released on Tuesday.

It comes as peak oil theory experts and environmentalists prepare to link growing concern about global warming to the over use of oil.

SADC countries face blackouts

Neighbouring countries may end up with the blackouts currently experienced in South Africa.

Eskom plans to divert exported electricity when the domestic supplies run short.

Eskom has export contracts with three countries - Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe - and according to a report recently done for the department of public enterprises, Eskom will be allowed to cut the electricity supply to those countries with just 24 hours notice.

Nigeria's Energy Crisis

Just as the ink on my article last week about this administration's mismanagement of the power sector since 1999 was starting to dry up, the country was dealt another knock out punch by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). PHCN through its Public Affairs unit informed the country that power generation dropped again by almost 60 per cent from over 3,000MW to below 1,500MW.

The blame was placed squarely on Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), which had shut down its gas gathering and compression facilities for routine maintenance as well as Agip's new Independent Power Plant (IPP) at Okpai.


One of the issues that always comes up in sustainable agriculture discussions is food security, and there’s a good reason for it. If something were to happen to the centralized food system, whether it be a bird flu outbreak or a terrorist attack, the only way to feed ourselves would be with local farms. The problem is that most of the farms we now have aren’t diversified enough to feed us.

Russia: Dependence on Oil Could Hurt Growth

News that the GDP grew a healthy 6.7 percent in 2006 met with as much anxiety as cheer among analysts, who said the economy got lucky last year with the oil price but is not diverse enough to stay ahead if that luck runs out next year.

Environmentalists Need to Help Fight Bush's Ethanol Surge

Corn-based ethanol has been at the center of a well-funded misinformation campaign launched and perpetuated by the Bush Administration. In fact Nicholas Hollis, President of the Agribusiness Council, believes that "ethanol is the largest scam in our nation's history."

Algae-Based Fuels Set to Bloom

Relatively high oil prices, advances in technology, and the Bush administration's increased emphasis on renewable fuels are attracting new interest in a potentially rich source of biofuels: algae. A number of startups are now demonstrating new technology and launching large research efforts aimed at replacing hundreds of millions of gallons of fossil fuels by 2010, and much more in the future.

Total sets its sights on nuclear energy

Total, the French energy group, has begun to eye nuclear energy as access to oil and gas becomes more restricted in countries reluctant to allow foreign investment in their most precious resource.

Washington D.C. Prepares a Master Pedestrian Plan

To make life easier for pedestrians, they want to widen sidewalks, redesign crossings and reduce driving speeds. They want to know where brighter lighting is needed, where more trees should be planted, which intersections are too perilous for foot traffic...

With its first Pedestrian Master Plan, the District is joining a nationwide trend toward more walkable and less car-reliant communities. In the past few years, a growing number of cities, including Cambridge, Mass., and Portland, Ore., have adopted blueprints for how best to encourage and protect pedestrians. In the Washington region, Arlington and Loudoun counties also have adopted detailed pedestrian plan


Also check out the Arlington Master Transportation Plan (draft II)


Including the Following Elements
Parking and Curbspace

By the way, the new DC director of planning, Harriet Tregoning, spoke at a sold-out event at the National Building Museum last week. Tregoning is a longtime leader in the smart growth field, and she strongly supported new trolleys and streetcars in DC. Expect to see action on existing proposals and, possibly, additional routes proposed.

There have been some developments in the push for a Metro tunnel in Tysons corner.


The DC Examiner writes (and other sources confirm) that West*Group, the largest landowner in Tysons Corner, has sent a letter to Governor Kaine offering to pay for any difference in cost between a tunnel and an elevated railway. They sent this on behalf of a large coalition of Tysons businesses who are willing to put their money where their mouth is. This shows their utter confidence in the independent study of the tunnel option which they commissioned. These companies are supporters of the TysonsTunnel.org group.

I have some very reliable sources that have confirmed that Dragados, a Spanish tunneling company and part of Grupo ACS, has submitted a firm, fixed price bid to do the Tysons portion of the tunnel (including the stations) for $823 million. That's $200 million less than Bechtel's elevated rail and 12 months faster! My sources also have indication that Governor Kaine is trying to get the expensive, sole-source contract signed with Bechtel as soon as possible before this whole thing gets any more attention.

Emphasis mine.

I have been involved with the various issues around the Anacostia Streetcar Line, walked the route, made suggestions, etc.

John Deatrick, chief Engineer of DC DOT has been the driving force behind streetcars for many years now. I know him well.

I had a "Collabrative Endeavor" draft on building streetcar lines between DC DOT, New Orleans Public Works and New Orleans RTA in his in-box when Katrina hit.

Best Hopes,


Hello AlanfromBigEasy,

I consider you one of the TOD PTB for your tireless efforts at promoting RRs & Mass-transit. Because of your postings: I can't imagine anyone on TOD locally voting down an urban transit proposal. I hope your endeavors and influence continue to grow--keep up the good fight!

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

I agree, though I think a strong Mass-transit program needs to include an emphasis on car pooling with electrified cars.

Russian oil exports down 1%, gas exports 3% in 2006 - ministry

11:42 01/ 02/ 2007

MOSCOW, February 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russian oil exports fell 1% in 2006, year-on-year, to 249.91 million tons (1.84 billion bbl), the Russian Industry and Energy Ministry said Thursday.

The ministry said in a statement that exports to member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) declined 2.9%, to 36.92 million tons (271.36 million bbl), and to other countries 0.7%, to 212.99 million tons (1.57 billion bbl).

At the same time, oil deliveries to the domestic market rose 5.7% in the reporting period, to 219.57 million metric tons.

The ministry said the country's natural gas exports fell 3% in 2006, year-on-year, to 201.13 billion cubic meters.

Exports to countries outside the former Soviet Union rose 0.3% to 160.34 billion cubic meters, but supplies to ex-Soviet states fell 14.1%, to 40.79 billion, the ministry said.

The share of Russian energy giant Gazprom in the aggregate of gas output in 2006 fell from 85.9% to 83.9%, year-on-year.


There has been considerable focus on Saudi petroleum production and a great deal of speculation on their actual reserves. Whatever those reserve numbers are, you can bet that the Saudis have more than the Russians. And Russia is the world's current number uno production champ.

Isn't it then reasonable to presume that decline in Russia is likely to be more eminent and pronounced than Saudi Arabia?...

Based on Khebab's HL plots, I predict that the big news for 2006 will be confirmed declines in both Russian and Saudi crude oil production.

Based on Khebab's HL plots, I predict that the big news for 2006 will be confirmed declines in both Russian and Saudi crude oil production

Didn't Russia prduction actually increase during '06? Or did you mean '07? And my 'gut' feeling is that SA production is currently linked to demand, not supply. I'm another person that feels there is an inherent error range in mathmatical models that are applied to complex issues such as a specfic resource peaking and going into decline. Obviously the Saudis could put an end to this speculation but that's not likely.

In the past, SA production has been all over the map as the Saudis have responded to changing market circumstances (Arab oil embargo, North Slope, Iran vs Iraq, Gulf War I) and I believe that this explains their present production.

My guess is that Russia will beat SA to the production tipping point.


(I meant 2007 in my first post.)

Based on Khebab's HL plots, Russia--at least in their mature basins anyway--is about 90% depleted, and Saudi Arabia is about 60% depleted. The recent rebound in Russian production has now made up for what was not produced after the Soviet collapse, so Russian production should start falling rapidly.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are the world's two largest oil exporters. Rounding out the top three exporters is Norway, which is about 70% depleted, based on the HL plot.

So, based on HL:

#1 Exporter is about 60% depleted;

#2 Exporter is about 90% depleted (mature basins anyway);

#3 Exporter is about 70% depleted.

Production doesn't work that way WT. As a Geochemist, you should know that. Its not like we in the US can stop producing oil for 1 year, then produce twice as much next year. misrepresentations like these are the kind of irresponsible posts that cause us to criticize your work with using HL.

And you say this because you are a world renowned expert, and you considered all the relevant geologic and production factors at play here - including perhaps Russia introducing better technology they did not have before, or perhaps that they were overproducing their fields, and a rest period allowed them to recover? Or perhaps they just drilled more wells - perhaps horizontally?

Sometimes Hothgor, you become so anxious to step on WT's serious efforts that you act like a little boy wetting his pants with excitement. Think about it for a bit.


Your kidding me right? 'Resting' a field only prevents parts of the source rock from compressing and trapping oil. Resting a field does not increase the pressure of the field: it doesn't just magically refill itself, and if they do, then surely it means abotic oil exists! :rolls eyes:

Russia is not simply 'recovering' from their down production in the 80s and early 90s: they found new oil and are exploiting it. New technology is also present, and if you believe that is why their production has skyrocketed, then you must admit that new technology will undoubtedly help us get more oil out of the resource basin: you can not have it one way and deny the other after all.

I'm sorry, but Russia like so many other regions does not fit perfectly with the HL. The sooner we come to grips to that the better our understanding of peak oil will become.

I see what sa is doing as a better indication of peak than HL... 3x rigs in 2 years, planning for 7x, imo will want 10x before long; stated intent to revitalize fields long abandoned; no new fields even found, much less under development; reduced production as price surges to all time record and as russia grabs the #1 mantel; and, per their announcement, they are now down to <8.5Mb/d, substantially less than the production allowed under the new opec agreements.

As Simmons says, virtually all sa fields are very old, c1950, it cannot be surprising that these, and the world's other giants, are at the end of their productive lives. SA declining while russia is increasing, albeit slowly. IMO sa production tipped last year, russia production by 2010, and russian exports in 06. REgarding world production, some of freddy's punters have an accurate read on new projects, but imo are not properly considering accelerating declines in the worlds's largest fields.

SHortage of rigs may affect both timing of new projects and the ability to maintain production in old fields. Crashing tanker rates and soaring rig rates are pretty much what you would expect as the world hits, or passes, peak production.

...and as russia grabs the #1 mantel; and, per their announcement, they are now down to

But note that it's Russian exports that are down, not production. This is the point that WT has been beating everyone over the head with for a looonng time. And it's a point that I have never heard discussed in the main stream media. Kinda like getting KO'd in a boxing match where the left hook puts your lights out (exports fall) and then your head hits the mat, doing even more damage (production falls).

Has anyone attempted to do an HL of Hummer production as an indirect precursor to PO:)

Russia's year over year increases in production have been slowing dramatically. Before you start declining, your rate of increase drops.

So, all three of the top net exporters are showing lower exports, and two of the three are showing lower production. When Russian joins the lower production party is when it gets very interesting.

SOmething wrong with my past two posts... part of what I wrote was cut off.

I was saying that SA is now down to 8.5Mb/d, per their own statement, substantially less than their agreed opec cuts. And, they are raising prices, per today's drumbeat, apparently content to drive buyers towards other suppliers, so maybe the cuts are continuing.

Meanwhile, as Simmons says, all of their fields are very old, should not be surprising that they are nearing the end of their productive lives. And, this is true of (as WT says) all other giants. Russia, too, has very old fields and, like sa, is not bringing large new fields (excluding sakhalin - ng?) on line; their production is flattening, exports down, imo production to follow soon. IMO the problem with bottom up analyses is that analysts are assuming decline rates that have recently become too low.

Tanker rates crashing, rig rates soaring... pretty clear that tanker fleet owners expected more demand today, and rig fleet owners less... looks pretty peaky to me.

KSA currently has around 1500 active wells. Texas has around 50,000. Trust me, they will need to drill a LOT more before the two regions are similar.

Due to what seem to be site problems, my post was lost. Short story - I am not sure that comparing wells from 1920 or 1940 in Texas, many of which are still producing as stripper wells I assume, with the modern techniques used in Saudi Arabia, such as water injection / bottle brush, means that a count of wells is very relevant.

Horizontal/X-mas tree wells in KSA precludes an apples to apples comparison of the absolute number of rigs in KSA vs. Texas. I believe the relative change in the number of rigs is a more accurate take on the state of depletion in KSA.

Or perhaps they just want to reserve the rigs so they can't be used elsewhere. Neat! Less new oil found, less old oil extracted, more money for them.

Hmmm. During the dotcom heyday, many of the larger computer firms raided Univ of Waterloo grads who compained shortly thereafter that many of them were not positioned within those firms. The B team. It seemed like those with deep pockets were attempting to keep this (human) resource from the competition. When the dotbust occurred, they were let go. It was a great conspiracy theory at the time and jives with your proposed strategy...

Five utilities form US west transmission group
3:42p ET January 23, 2007 (Reuters)

NEW YORK, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Utilities in five western U.S. states are in the process of setting up the Northern Tier Transmission Group, which is designed to facilitate coordination of big power lines in the area.

The group is likely to announce plans for transmission line projects in the next half year, said Robert Kahn, spokesman for the NTTG.

The NTTG will not be an independent entity, so it will not serve as a regional transmission organization.

The five utilities are PacifiCorp., Idaho Power, Northwestern Energy, Deseret Power Electric Cooperative, and the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems.

NTTG co-chair and Idaho Public Utilities Commissioner Marsha Smith said "Much can be done quickly. For one, we will offer transmission customers a new level of insight into the workings of the transmission system enhancing its value to all consumers."

The NTTG will strive to improve available transmission capacity and expedite planning for grid expansion and collaborating on control area operations...

"Enhanced data sharing between our respective control areas will enable us to better share existing resources and more easily integrate new resources such as wind power," said John Cupparo, NTTG co-chair and vice president for transmission at PacifiCorp...

Sorry no public link I could find,

Best Hopes,


Kunstler came out swinging, and yet, it is just the same shouting into the wind he has been doing since 1993 with Geography of Nowhere.

In a way, the fact he keeps trying is almost painful - reality is the only thing which will change the behavior of most Americans, though possibly, he is too decent a man to wish that on America.

Personally, being essentially (if not exactly chronologically) a generation younger, I could care less if baby boomers like him face a horrible future - as a matter of fact, the idea of them leaving the party before having to clean the mess appalls me.

And his appeal for younger people to take care of problems his generation is in charge of - priceless. Literally. He isn't going to pay for any of it, he is merely hoping to take advantage of other people's work - a perfect synopis of the American Baby Boomer, as they squandered their parents' wealth while caring nothing about their childrens' future - until they discovered that the future belongs to their children, who are unlikely to be happy at their parents' self-indulgent self-justifications for decades of selfishness.

Luckily, in my view, the future is now, and the baby boomers will get to reap what they have sowed since 'growing up.'

And I think Kunstler is right about things getting ugly - it is just one of his blindspots to imagine that somehow, it won't involve people his age.

I never got the impression he thought his generation would be spared.

In an attempt to keep the post fairly short, a number of shortcuts were made. For example, Kunstler is quite convinced (maybe reasonably, maybe not) that the Sunbelt will suffer, mired in a miasma of militaristic religosity and racism as the rednecks return to their roots, in contrast to the more temperate traditions of New England, or the new culture forming in the Pacific Northwest. As with many of us, I don't honestly believe he expects to have to deal with the changes coming by 2015, much less 2050 or 2100. This as seen in his reaction to a snowstorm, where Kunstler was about as prepared for an easily foreseen future as those he generally scorns - in other words, he wasn't. His response was to drive somewhere else, where the electricity was still working.

His suggestions are good ones, generally, but it is hard not to notice that they are directed to others to do the work which their elders didn't.

Kunstler remains hard to fathom - on the one hand, he actually seems to care about the nation he lives in, while on the other, his writing describes why the death of the American Dream is the only way for rebirth of something more worthy.

As a sidenote - his contempt for 'canned entertainment' was a real sign of how out of touch he is. I don't honestly think that music players being powered by rechargeable batteries (I have a few solar battery chargers - don't we all? Are we buying throw aways from a giant retailer?), shared among cell phone users (the Third World seems to be able to have a functioning cell phone infrastructure), is not likely to fade out that soon. His disgust at much of what is common in American life also prevents him from seeing the benefits of an archive.org, or www.gutenberg.org, or any number of non-commercial web music providers (wfmu.org is a real treasure) - or even a Flickr or Youtube, which is not really
about canned entertainment. He thinks the Internet is something like a cable network, when in reality, it is merely a way for various networks and devices to share data - and that this collaborative networking is something new. In other words, could TOD keep going if the power went out on a regular basis? Sure, by using servers in Canada, Europe, etc. and technical skills which seem to be possessed by a number of readers. The Internet doesn't really have an on/off switch.

As with many of us, I don't honestly believe he expects to have to deal with the changes coming by 2015, much less 2050 or 2100.

Well, obviously he won't be around in 2100. But judging from his writing, he expects the spit to have hit the fan by 2030...when the oldest baby boomer will be only 85. If he doesn't think he'll have to deal with it, it's because he thinks he'll have died by then. And not of old age.

I don't honestly think that music players being powered by rechargeable batteries (I have a few solar battery chargers - don't we all? Are we buying throw aways from a giant retailer?), shared among cell phone users (the Third World seems to be able to have a functioning cell phone infrastructure), is not likely to fade out that soon.

I'm not so sure. A lot of peak oilers think iPods will be among the technology that will be saved in the triage. But iPods are built to last only about two years. Apple wants it customers to buy a new one every year.

I could see the MP3 player fading away fairly quickly, simply because it's a luxury, not a necessity.

I don't think YouTube, Gutenberg, Wikipedia, or even the TOD would necessarily survive a peak oil crisis. They aren't free. Someone is paying for the hosting space and bandwidth. And they may not be able or willing to keep paying if the economy tanks.

During the Great Depression, a lot of households that once had phones gave them up - they could no longer afford them. I think the same thing will happen with the Internet. As more and more people drop off the net, it will become less and less useful. The price will be increasing even as utility decreases.

In terms of the music or the Internet, this gets tricky. Humans have a large interest in music, and I thoroughly expect recorded music to survive for a long time, as it is an area humans have a long track record of investing their time and efforts in. I listed wfmu.org on purpose - there are some great DJs who play music recorded in all sorts of places, and to the extent that my hard drives, my gold CDs, my DVD-RAMs, etc. last, those 5,000 hours plus of music (with HTML playlists) are pretty easily accessed.

The Internet is fairly distributed - for example, I am quite certain that there is more than one computer with all of Project Gutenberg's books on it - and what we value will be preserved if possible. Music is one of those things, as are books.

It is an open point how long humanity can preserve digital data, and one which is based on unknown variables, but to the extent that humans have been recording and preserving music for generations there is no reason to think they won't keep doing it. To keep with the theme of my starting post, there is no reason to think that the baby boomer's top 100 will be preserved, however.

Ever since visiting the U.S. in 1997, I think most Americans have a very distorted view of what the Internet is, in part, because of constant advertising intending to promote the Internet for commercial gain only. However, most European cell phones are more than adequate to handle such major Internet functions as e-mail (SMS or texting on a cell phone), or getting schedule information for the train, or displaying a map. They also play music, take pictures, and in the current generation, play movies on tiny screens. The PC based idea of the Internet is very American-centric, actually. Cell phones which simply allow people to share information, both locally and through a network, are quite common in most of the world, especially in those places where the requirements of a PC in terms of cost and infrastructure are simply too high. I can imagine the 'Internet' as considered in American eyes being supplanted by the 'Internet' as seen through a cell phone user's eye - though in my eyes, it is all the same Internet.

Ever since visiting the U.S. in 1997, I think most Americans have a very distorted view of what the Internet is, in part, because of constant advertising intending to promote the Internet for commercial gain only.

Perhaps. But is it really so distorted? These things exist - iPods, cell phones, music - because large corporations are making money off them. They are part of the cheap oil fiesta - even cell phones.

Music does not exist because large corporations make money off it - though a number of companies which consider themselves the owners of virtually all that Americans see and hear would like everyone to believe that.

The music on wfmu.org, a completely listener supported radio station (no corporate or government funds) comes from all over the world - including shows which only play 78s, or programs which feature music made without any corporate approval - corporations are as eager to shut down music as they are to sell it. (Just ask Negativland about the letter 'U' and the number '2' along with a picture of a U2 spy plane on the album cover.)

Certainly, things like my cheap USB flash memory MP3 player were delayed for years until it was no longer possible for the RIAA to block sales of such things (check out the history of the Diamond Rio), and the reason the iPod has such success in America (much less so in Germany, where sharing music for no money among family and friends is utterly and completely legal as of today) is because it has a somewhat functioning DRM system which allows iTunes to exist, at the sufferance of the record companies - but what Apple sells in a year is what a good file sharing protocol like Bittorrent handles in a few days.

It may be that digital storage will be a huge mistake, but the interest in human beings to enjoy music, despite corporations interested in nothing but money, is long established.

Music does not exist because large corporations make money off it

You know what I meant. The whole music industry that exists to make songs "popular."

Of course there will always be music. IPods stocked with thousands of songs...maybe not.

In what time frame are you referring? Even post-peak, I don't see all the glitzy toys simply disappearing, I believe that more people will simply be priced out of that market. More and more of the middle class will become the low-class. The upper middle class and the high class are used to all their toys, and you'll be damned if they can't have them.

Even post-peak there is plenty of energy to go around. I think it will just become more unfair who will have access to it.

I don't see the glitzy toys simply disappearing, either.

However, I think a lot of the fun of these toys are because everyone has them. If you're the only one with Internet access, you can't e-mail or IM your friends and family. What good is file-sharing if there are only a few people able and willing to share files? If Wikipedia is edited by only a wealthy, idle few (or even bought out by a corporation or government to push its agenda), will it still be as useful?

The Olduvai may well come pre-peak, not post. Not much use for glitzy toys, then. They won't disappear, though, they'll stick around to foul up the water and soil.

There's a tendency to think that things will slowly deterioate, and one by one items familair to us will vanish. "People prized out of the market" presupposes that there'll be market, and a currency to trade in. Why do we think that? What indications are there for the slow route? We trade in money that has no value, so why would it survive anything at all? Is it realistic to think you can trade an iPod for a sack of potatoes? One has value, the other does not.

Orlov talks about the fact that you won't know about the collapse when it happens. The lights will simply go out. And you'll have no idea if it's like that all over, and no way to find out.

Systems typically collapse in unpredictable, violent, and sudden fashion. Why would this one be different?

I still think "catabolic collapse" is our most likely fate. Large organizations have a certain inertia that is not easily overcome, for good or ill. The lights may go out, but they'll come back on...in a slightly smaller area than before.

I don't entirely rule out a sudden, catastrophic collapse, though. There may well be a singularity coming, and not the kind Kurweil dreams of.

Sometimes I really don't understand people who talk about "lights going out". Hardly any electricity in this country is generated by burning oil. So why would expensive oil affect the grid to the point it will collapse?

Generally, people who say such things are taking a much larger and more systematic point of view than you are. They know we no longer generate electricity with oil. But they are looking at the big picture. The looming natural gas crisis. Socioeconomic and political concerns. The fact that oil is needed to mine and transport coal and other raw materials. The likelihood of resource wars and economic collapse. How fast peak coal will be upon us if we start running our cars on it, as suggested in today's headline post. Etc.

You might want to also mention that the utility repair crews rely on fossil fuels.

When a strom blows through and knocks the wires down, how does your repair crew get to the scene quickly and lift themselves up on cherry pickers to fix the problem? Yup. Fossil fuels.

OK, but we are not going to run out of oil or natural gas overnight. At least for the next 10 to 20 years we can compensate for declining exports by reducing consumption. Hopefully in about 20 years with widespread availability of electric cars (even with a 100 mile range)we will not need much oil for personal transportation. At some point the government will step in and decide who gets to burn the precious resource. I bet police, fire brigade, military, utility companies and farmers will get the highest priority. So there will be a lot of hardship, no doubt. The transition is not going to be easy. Life expectancy will go down. Blackouts will be more frequent and last longer.
But I don't see the grid collapsing for good.

I bet police, fire brigade, military, utility companies and farmers will get the highest priority.

I say it will be the military first, then farmers. The rest may be subject to the free market. Wealthy neighborhoods will be okay. Poorer areas...why bother? They won't be paying their taxes and utility bills anyway. They'll probably be jobless due to the economic ramifications of peak oil. So when the ice storm hits, just as now, the wealthy and densely populated areas will get service restored first. The poor rural areas, instead of waiting for days or weeks, will never get power back.

At least, I could see it unfolding that way.

I've posted it here before but a good time to reiterate. In the 80's and 80's I lived in Uptown, Chicago where electric power was intermittent. Mail delivery was intermittent. Any storm at all knocked out power for an hour to two days. Any device with a built in clock-forget it. Windup clock bedside. Short power interruptions almost daily. Mail delivered every other day and maybe weekly around Christmas. All this side by side with the first world.
There are streets in this city that have probably never seen a snow plow. A triple murder in my immediate neighborhood, conclusion to spree of seven homicides in 2 weeks. Old, poor women. No investigation, no one cared. I could go on.

It might be argued that a catabolic collapse is now underway and has been since around 1970. At that point, US oil production peaked, the country entered its worst economic years since the great depression and median income stopped going up. Other things like infrastructure began deteriorating faster than being fixed and so on. IMO GWB has accelerated the process while funnelling more wealth to his cronies.

Could be. That thought has crossed my mind as well.

Why would the internet for the masses disappear if we have to curb our appetite for energy by 30% or even 50%? You can have all internet services for a mere 0.5-2W in power consumption, which can be generated with a hand crank. Unless you believe in Bill Gates, of course, who wants you to believe that a basic windowing system with transparency and highlights around the edges requires a 600W gamer PC with 2GB graphics memory. Well, if the implementation is Windows Vista, it actually does, but that is an artefact of Mr. Gates hiring moron programmers who can't solve the 3d culling problem with octrees and use bubble sort to find the leading edges, instead. Or is it insertion sort? I can't remember which one is slower. But I am sure someone at M$hit ran a benchmark to make sure they made the theoretically worst possible design decision for the graphics library to force technically inept people to buy a new PC with their OS.

In short: how much energy you use to get something done is mostly a function of how smart you are. Internet, cell phones, mp3 players will all stay. The only technological species to go is the SUV. You can already see the next generation of crossover vehicles appear on the scene. The smart buyer, of course, buys a compact or hybrid, anyway.

Hello IP,

You make some good points here. PostPeak, I would be perfectly happy with a bare minimum electro-infrastructure, massively condensed software, text-only, handcrank Wi-Max enabled laptop. I rarely listen to radio & video interviews because I can read, comprehend, and retain much more, and much faster, by reading the transcripts.

I recall that researchers are still working on electronic ink--if perfected, the LCD screen is history for cheap laptops--potentially saving much more laptop energy usage for a minimal laptop. Once you finish reading the page, one click 'turns' the page as the ink rearranges itself with a single energy pulse. No more energy wasted from millisecond LCD screen refresh.

Replacing the hard drive with cheap solid state memory will add greatly to further ruggedness and energy efficiency. Cut out all the crap for audio, video, and gaming-- even a poorly operated Fab factory could still get sufficient yields to make cheap chips.

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

The problem, IP, is that a collapse situation may simply trump the small energy appetite of microelectronics.

Yes, your cellphone and iPod cram a mind-boggling amount of computation power into a small package which uses very little power. But their existence depends on millions of customers — if it's just a small elite market for gadgets, the price will go up dramatically, shrinking the market even more...

That's how catabolic collapse may operate to extinguish currently viable technologies.

I would think that a lot of 'things' that we have are manufactured in large, centralized production facilities. This has been the trend over the past century or so as globalization has picked up speed. Consider a huge iPod factory that must crank out a certain number of iPods or iWidgets of whatever kind in order to be economically viable. If the demand falls to half or one quarter or one tenth its production capacity, it might be that the factory would simply have to shut down. I believe there may be a lot of manufacturing capacity on planet earth that works this way. That is, it is dependent on a certain fairly high level of production and, even if demand is in the thousands, say, a factory built to produce millions cannot be run.

This brings up the interesting question of how to run the industrial revolution in reverse. Can it be done?

Good point. If the market shrinks, the factory doesn't. And if a factory is designed to produce thousands, they'll have to cost more per unit. But the market has to be there, and that smaller factory has to be built.

So you have a point at which the only thing to do is simply shut the operation down because there isn't any money-making solution to the marketing equations.

But I don't think you'll want to be waiting in a Gas line in your shiny Escalade.

Me neither...I thought this was one of his better writings as of late. I just think he, as well as TOD editors, think it's time to go over the basics again for a "new" audience.

Actually, it was good - and it fairness, his audiences were college students. But it remains striking that his appeals tend to have to do with someone cleaning up the mess, while not seriously involving the people who made it.

It may be that such an approach wouldn't work, as it certainly hasn't up until now, and Kunstler has accepted this fact. For example, the CAFE standards weren't developed by Baby Boomers, but it was certainly Baby Boomers that tended to buy the largest and least fuel efficient and most expensive SUVs and luxury cars over the last decade. (No need to develop this theme, however.)

. . . it's time to go over the basics again for a "new" audience

Good idea, especially since Freddy has been making pretty much nonstop attacks on Hubbert and the HL method. The following excerpt from the preprinted version of Hubbert's 1956 remarks is lifted from the Petroleum Predicament article. Apparently Hubbert's own estimate for the Lower 48 URR was 150 Gb. His 1966 to 1971 estimate for the Lower 48 peak was based on a URR range of 150 to 200 Gb. (Khebab's Lower 48 Hl plot gives the Lower 48 a Qt of slightly less than 200 Gb.)

Note that a one-third increase in the Lower 48 URR estimate only extended Hubbert's predicted peak from 1966 to 1971.

IMO, the modern Lower 48 oil industry started with the Spindletop discovery in 1901. So, a one-third increase in the Lower 48 URR estimate only increased the modern Lower 48 exponential growth phase by 8%, from 65 years to 70 years.

Keep in mind that Hubbert made his prediction 14 years before the Lower 48 peaked. If Deffeyes were making his world prediction (in his second book) relative to the Lower 48 peak, he would be dealing with Lower 48 production data through about 1968.

Hubbert didn't have nearly enough data to make any kind of accurate estimate for a world peak, but he did predict that it would no later than 2006.

I do find it interesting that the Lower 48, and apparently the world (crude + condensate) peaked one year before Hubbert's respective outer limit estimates for both the Lower 48 and world peaks.


Excerpt from the preprinted version of M. King Hubbert’s speech in San Antonio, Texas, March, 1956:

According to the best currently available information, the production of petroleum and natural gas on a world scale will probably pass its climax within the order of a half a century, while for both the United States and for Texas, the peaks of production may be expected to occur within the next 10 or 15 years.

Our Petroleum Predicament

A Special Editorial Feature by GEORGE PAZIK Editor & Publisher, Fishing Facts, November 1976


Hubbert estimated the total amount of crude oil ultimately to be produced from the 48 states and adjacent continental shelves would lie between 150 and 200 million barrels.

He then plotted the curve shown in Fig. 2. Note that the solid portion underneath the first part of the curve shows the amount of crude oil actually produced to that date. The lighter shaded portion underneath the curve shows the known reserves of crude oil. The dotted lines with no oil shown underneath represent predictions for the future. Note that one prediction is given by the broken-line curve showing 150 billion barrels as the ultimate total of crude oil, the other prediction is given by the broken-line curve showing 200 billion barrels as the ultimate total of crude oil to be produced.

Look at these curves carefully, note that they show a peak production for the 150 billion barrel curve at about 1965 and the peak production for the 200 billion barrel curve only about 5 years later in about 1970.

Jeffrey Brown, as we go into the 11th day of your denial, i can see no benefit to this re-posting of the 1956 forecasts. The point of this discussion was that one cannot see the Peak Year upon nearing the target. Everyone knows what MK Hubbert said in '56. I have referred to these calls many times. But unfortunately, as the Peak neared, his resolution and the methodology did not allow him to fine tune that date.

M King Hubbert did not die in 1957. Sorry, but that happened in '89. And in the meantime he was an active researcher and continued to make forecasts.

As i have said on the previous ten occasions, in 1971 he thought that the Lower48 Peak had happened on Jan 1st 1967. In 1974, he changed his Peak Date to July 1st 1965.

Once a subsequent forecast is made, it extinquishes the relevance of those previous unfortunatley. It doesn't matter what he said in '56.

As i mentioned yesterday and many times previously, Laherrere has shown five regimes for global URR. We can't just pick the one that suits us and say he did great. He presently shows a URR of 3100-Gb. If it turns out to be 2500-Gb many years from now, we can't say "oh, he picked that in 1997". No, Jeffrey. His last pick was 2006 and he must live with that.

Similarly, u are cherry picking MK Hubbert's forecasts from a stable of 14 and saying "he da man".

Oh please...

If MK Hubbert could not use linearizatin to find Peak one year after it happened (he was out four years), then i am afraid u must stop using him as a Reference and validation for your guessing.

And this goes for Texas and globally as well. On the latter, he did not forecast Y2k as khebab likes to tout, his last forecast was for a Peak in 1995 (graph in National Geographic mar '76) with a Peak Rate of 110-mbd.

Hubbert appeared in at a senate committee in '74 trying to convince the usa gov't that Peak had passed by on "July 1st 1965". See the graph he used at our website: http://trendlines.ca/peakoilcomment.htm#misses
In twenty years of forecasting with linearization, before and after the actual Lower48 Peak, the closest he came was "two years". And that was his first try in '56.

Please stop alluding to some fantasy M King Hubbert record of successes to give false foundation to your guesses.

Frankly, I don't see why we should sit by idle anymore, Freddy. We have held up our side of the bargain, but he has not.

Hothgor, I think You are in a wrong company, Freddy abuses (verbally) on a whim and he likes it.
AFAIK english language has a good name for such people - 'smartass' :)

Thanks for the concise update for newbs, WT.

And, please don't feed the trolls :-)

Hello Leanan,

I am 51, but I believe the biggest gift, besides Peakoil & GW Outreach the older generation can give the young, is to promote the growth of Earthmarines for biota protection from the Overshoot mobs. Recall my recent posting on Zimbabwe's last vestiges of natural habitats, and the earlier post of brother Somali clans fighting over a small stand of trees.

I have posted much on this Earthmarine topic before. But the key to optimizing future Biosolar MPP is maritime excellence for trading routes overseas. If we have future techno-solutions to this--that is great, but if not-- the first task of an early Earthmarine militia should be to protect those trees and their habitats, at all costs, so that it will enable the later building of sleek clipper ships and other seaworthy sailing vessels. This is certainly a non-trivial matter that will require sacrifice for several hundred years as these trees reach harvestable maturity.

Perhaps Don Sailorman, tree-ecologists, and any TOD shipwrights can add alot more to this discussion as I have never sailed, and know nothing of which trees are best. But if in the worst case no-tech scenario: the first country to grow the tall hardwoods for masts and plankings will enjoy tremendous maritime superiority and trading advantage. Even if my dream of 150 million wheelbarrows is unattainable, we should all easily agree that tall trees should be protected at all costs for future generations.

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

There is plenty of coal, plenty of iron ore, and that means we will be able to make steel for a long time. Before we'd go back to sailing ships, we'd go back to coal-fired steam.

Sailing ships do not scale up very well beyond (say) 3,000 tons, and although we could go back to the steel schooners of the 1880s, I do not see much future for commercial sail so long as coal is available and relatively cheap.

If you postulate a future where technology goes back more than a hundred years, then I think that international trade will be the least of our worries. Thus although I do believe that preserving forests is as high as any priority can be, I do not believe this to be the case because we'll need timber for building ships.

How do you mine the coal and iron ore, and bring them together to make steel?

Why is coal "relatively cheap"?

How do you mine the coal and iron ore, and bring them together to make steel?

The same way we do now. When there is 5% less oil available, we use the 95% remaining, when there is 10% less oil we use the 90%. That should cover ten years right there. I'm sure we can do muxch in the meantime to deal with further decline.

Yes, reduced oil availability is going to make all of this more expensive. However, it is a fantasy to keep asking these "How are we going to ..farm, produce steel, use the internet... when there is no oil? questions.

There won't ever be no oil available.

Coal may be "relatively cheap" but shipping it is not. Regarding coal shipments to western Wisconsin, from a show I watched recently, "Market to Market" produced by Iowa Public Television:

In 2006, a near doubling in the cost of rail delivery of coal forced Dairyland to increase its energy rates for the first time in nearly 20 years. Transportation now represents over 70 percent of the utility’s coal cost. $30 dollars worth of coal now costs an average of $75 dollars to ship.

Hello Kalpa,

OUCH! If those transport cost factors are true--every detritovore should be moving near a coal mine, oilfield, and gas reservoir ASAP. The Hirsch Report suggested much the same strategy.

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

Hello Don Sailorman,

Thxs for responding. What worries me is: if the trees most suitable for shipbuilding will be able to quickly adapt to a changing environment, and their ability to successfully migrate sequential generations in response to GW geo-climate shifts and new pest vectors. Thus, the predominant wind & weather flows, and bird & animal seed scattering techniques may be entirely unsuitable or insufficient to prevent a tree dieoff--humans may have to get actively involved beyond the mere Earthmarine protection scheme.

If not, the trees in New England [from memory, ideal for building past sailing ships] may have to have topsoil human-prepared, and saplings human-planted in Nova Scotia, and other places, to help prevent these trees from extinction. The Earthmarines will not only have to guard these older trees to maturity, but will also have to expand the habitat towards those new geo-climates deemed most suitable to support these young trees and associated biotic habitats. To be a truly sustainable biosolar process of sufficient size to allow prolific shipbuilding will require a tremendous upfront and continuing investment for generations. We needed to get started some time ago, IMO.

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

I don't know how old you are but I'm 36. My opinion of the older generation eating everything out of the cupboard has evolved. Were they self-indulgent? Yes. Were they selfish? Yes. Would we have done anything differently? No.

But you're right, no one should get to leave early. At least not too early.

I liked the article. But all of the recommendations are dependent upon timeframe, or how fast it falls apart, and what steps need to be taken when. And no one ever wants to address that.

But you know, strangely, there was a German generation, known as the 68ers, who actually seem to have lived their principles, at least to a certain extent. You have heard about the German Green party? The push for sustainable agriculture? Industries devoted to renewable energy? They tend to come from the self-identified members of that German generation, who didn't actually seem to abandon their principles. Obviously, the 68ers were also a minority, but their influence was quite large, and they do have concrete actions to balance their hypocrisy and self-delusions.

Obviously, complaining about humans acting like humans is futile, but there is something special about the American baby boom - that tiny fraction of humanity consumed more than any other group of humans in history, and thoroughly enjoyed it, without any concern but for themselves. Generally, societies aren't composed of fairy tale grasshoppers, but America's baby boomers certainly come closer than most - winter is growing closer, and quite honestly, the hard working ants don't really care what happens to the swarming locusts. And ever so slowly and dimly, the grasshoppers are starting to figure this out. Like Kunstler, peak oil is something which I anticipate with a certain soul sickening satisfaction, since nothing else seems likely to change how Americans live.

On the other hand, who knows, maybe like all those other failed prophets of doom, I'm wrong, and the American Dream will go on beyond my death. But unlike Kunstler, I don't have to live among the dreamers with my eyes open.

"that tiny fraction of humanity consumed more than any other group of humans in history, and thoroughly enjoyed it"

I doubt even that. There are few people who are intellectually and emotinally more empty than these people. They might have thought they enjoyed it, but I don't see much of that. The French, the Italians, the Spanish, the Greek know how to enjoy life. The middle aged American, at best, knows how to fill his empty life after a divorce with heaps of crap.

Most of what you see Americans buy at stores are signs of an inability to distinguish between the important and the unimportant things in life.

You are wrong. The American Nightmare will continue. It will simply find different outlets than it did in the past. The new idols are "American Idol" and "Survivor". These are simply the dreams of those who failed to learn calculus in school to excel in something, anything, at any price, even at the price of losing their dignity in cheaply made tv shows.

What attracted me to TOD a year ago was the positive attitude of the posters. They (we) focused on establishing the dimensions of the problem and brainstorming responses.


While the boomers were clearly greedy and self centered, I do not see the current generations acting any differently. In fact IMO the current generations are even more into high consumption and feel entitled to what the boomers had and more. It aint about the boomers. Its about this american lifestyle that has evolved from preboomer, to boomer to postboomer.

These are the kind of posts that are making this site become what it is in danger of becoming. An angry spew directed towards the US. More of the hatred of Americans I noted some days back.

A good way to start the week.

Yeah, why they always pickin' on us blameless Americans? It's not like we're disproportionately destroying the planet or anything! And we can't be held responsible for what the empire (and it's 800 military bases around the world) does, right? Poor old Americans, never getting a fair deal.

Oh, thanks for the sweet humour....the irony is too much!

That being said, it does seem that we all share the very same foibles and faults.

We are adept at removing the mote from the eye of another while ignoring the huge plank of a splinter stuck into our own eye, making it impossible to see clearly.

We humans turn to violence too quickly. Our civilizations have been sublime in some ways, but also rooted in violence -- war, slavery and genocide.

We squander resources thoughtlessly and we pollute with an ignorance so stubborn as to be intentional.

We have met the enemy, and he is all of us.

The key for me is to try to focus on what I am going to do between now and whenever I die to live in a good way. There is plenty to choose from.

I remember the phrase "absolute vulnerability" as a guide for my life. No one is safe. No one can be safe. We are all absolutely vulnerable, and will die from the effects of illness, disease, or accident. When times are tough, fewer of us may reach old age to die of worn out parts.

Nations have legitimate gripes against nations. Nations will all pass away as well. Meanwhile, the key will be to see how they can collectively live in a good way until they do pass away.

Some people in the world have already decided that the way to live in a good way is to strike out at "the enemy." This is always rationalised as a purely defensive and noble venture.

Now our wars are global and our weapons are godlike. No one will win any more wars. Everybody loses this war, and we are in it now.

We could, of course, negotiate, cooperate, and pool the best minds to find solutions to various problems and implement them. that might be good.

I think most people around the world more or less love Americans, aspects of American culture, and many American institions - like Democracy, Freedom and the Rule of Law. Americans are generally open, energetic, friendly, kind, generous, and lack the cynicism that characterizes many Europeans. That people like America can be "proved" by the fact that so many people want to move to the United States. American is, sometimes a great country.

However, and here's the rub, the current gang of vicious war-criminals in the White House are dragging the reputation of the United States through the mud in the opinion of most people around the world. Bush and his gang are loathed, despised, held in contempt, feared, and hated, vertually across the board the only question is, whether it's sixty, seventy, eighty or ninety percent.

Most people can tell the difference between what Bush represents and what most Americans stand for and aspire to, but the deviding line is getting blurred as time goes on. This is a problem for how ordinary Americans are perceived by the rest of the world. People start to think that Bush really does represent Americans, therefore their all complicit and guilty too. Such a development is unfair, tragic and ultimately very dangerous for America.

The relief, close to joy, bodering on euphoria, seen around the world after the recent mid-term elections was clear and palpable. At last the real America is waking-up and standing-up - hooray! America has been hexed and taken over by an apocalyptic cult, a cult that worships Satan, and finally, finally, the people recognise them for what they really are, there's hope!

Whether or not the above helps to explain anti-americanism, is probably another story.

I think most people around the world more or less love Americans, aspects of American culture, and many American institions - like Democracy, Freedom and the Rule of Law.

I don't think that democracy, freedom and the rule of law are things invented/owned by Americans are they?


Peter: Sure they are-"and most people around the world more or less love Americans"-LOL.

To a large extent, the American Revolution inspired the French Revolution and the Enlightenment that legitimized it. The American Revolution abolished the distinction between aristocracy and commoners--which is more revolutionary than it is easy for most of us moderns to grasp.

The ideals that motivated the Founding Fathers of the American Republic were the finest of those in contemporary eighteenth century society--which in turn were taken from the best of the Roman Republic and ancient Greece--and Christianity too. Even the inconsistencies in the U.S. Constitution (exclusion of Blacks and Native Americans and women as citizens) were such that it was impossible for these injustices to persist indefinitely in law.

Thus, the U.S. had a great deal of moral capital. For most intents and purposes, the U.S. did create the rule of law under a form of democracy for all citizens. We never had a king nor nobles who were above the law. For two hundred years the U.S. expanded the concept of "citizen" and often tried to live up to the ideals of the rule of law. Unfortunately, our political leaders have been squandering our moral capital in recent years--and the resource is depleting rapidly.


The Enlightenment inspired the American Revolution. Not vice versa.

True, the Enlightenment did inspire the American Revolution, but it did fail to inspire the average American. I am willing to take a bet that 90% of the population has no clue what the word "Enlightenment" means and why it does not apply to the US school system.

As a teacher of American Government I can decidely concur that most of my students have no clue as to what the Enlightenment is. I try my best to remedy that. But I also try to remedy the Myth of American Exceptionalism, that US government was a brand new thing without precedent; that because of our extraordinary founding father we have created the most perfect form of government that all others must emulate This myth is used to justify the position that the US should call the shots globally.

Alexander Hamilton put it best:
"Have we not already seen enough of the fallacy and extravagance of those idle theories which have amused us with promises of an exemption from the imperfections, weaknesses and evils incident to society in every shape? Is it not time to awake from the deceitful dream of a golden age, and to adopt as a practical maxim for the direction of our political conduct that we, as well as the other inhabitants of the globe, are yet remote from the happy empire of perfect wisdom and perfect virtue?" Federalist No. 6

You are correct, but there was circular interaction. Note for example the enormous popularity of Ben Franklin in France after the American but before the French Revolution.

Franklin was one of those once-in-two-hundred -years-men.

A genius that transcended the nation state.

Where are they now?

When you look at the brains and guts of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and then you look at our leaders today, one has to wonder. Is two hundred years of dysgenics at work? Has degeneracy into a nation of the lawyers, by the lawyers and for the lawyers kept top people from public office? Where are great thinkers and great leaders when we need them as much as ever we did in the past?

From a small population came a dozen geniuses of revolution and leadership.

From our huge population, where is even one outstanding individual to be found?

Of course, the Founders worried about the decadence that leisure and luxury would bring to future generations. None of them had any "solutions" to this issue, and indeed the consensus was that the Republic probably would not last very long.

I have no crystal ball, but I would be surprised not to see hard times and major changes during the rest of my lifetime.

Later this month I turn sixty-seven;-)

Of course, the Founders worried about the decadence that leisure and luxury would bring to future generations. None of them had any "solutions" to this issue...

It is my understanding that they provided for rather large "estate" taxes to prevent wealth from accumulating over generations. They were very anxious to avoid the scenario of a permanent aristocratic class.

But now the US has an aristocracy and also a king. He can do whatever he wants. There is a democratic congress now and they are seem to be happy to assist Bush. No impeachment. No cutting of funds for the war. No investigation into 9/11.

I lived in America for more then a year, I love the American people. But the sad fact is that the US democracy IS DEAD. These are not the last days of the Republic. The Republic died a long time ago.

Diane Sawyer recently interviewed Syrian President Al-Assad. They played part one of the interview this morning. Al-Assad came across as intelligent, logical and reasonable. He warned the Americans and British, before the invasion, that the US and Britain would win the war, but lose the occupation.

In response to American criticism that terrorists were sneaking across the Syrian border with Iraq, he asked how Syria can be expected to control its border with Iraq when the US cannot control its own border with Mexico.

Al-Assad said that his favorite world figure was Bush 41, because of his interest in peace. Al-Assad that Bush 43 appears to want war, not peace.

How bizarre has our world come when the logical and reasonable talk is coming from the Syrian president, and not the US president?

Al-Assad said that his favorite world figure was Bush 41, because of his interest in peace. Al-Assad [said] that Bush 43 appears to want war, not peace.

How bizarre has our world come when the logical and reasonable talk is coming from the Syrian president, and not the US president?

Not that smart, if he's serious about H.W. as a peaceful man.

Jon Stewart has Musharraf on the Daily Show a few months back, and he is impressively smart. Of course, you get to realize what it takes to be alpha male in that situation. Smart rat.

When was the last smart US president? Except for Clinton, who uses his smarts just to deceive. Clinton has an unbelievable memory, that's half his strength, like Gorbachev.

So you go back to Carter? Made man, too much stinks there. Ford? Nah......

Work down the list and show me a smart guy....

It's the gift of gab.

When I lived in NC in the early 70s there was a grand old farmer who grew everything the old-fashioned way with a team. He was a sharp guy and when asked who the last president he could remember was worth a hoot, he thought for a few minutes and replied 'Woodrow Wilson.'
(now I'm sure a Wilson hater would probably have to go all the way back to Honest Abe).

Didn't Woodrow Wilson take us into WW I to "make the world safe for democracy"? What was the point of getting hundreds of thousands of Americans killed or maimed and wasting so much money on a meaningless war that had already killed millions of Europeans?

Also, did we not get the income tax and the Federal Reserve on Wilson's watch in 1913?

Didn't Woodrow Wilson take us into WW I to "make the world safe for democracy"?

I really don't think WW 1 was Wilson's idea. But perhaps if we did not do our share in that war the Kaiser would have won. And we would all be speaking German today.

Also, did we not get the income tax and the Federal Reserve on Wilson's watch in 1913?

And these are all bad things? Without some form of tax the country simply could not function. You would rather have a national sales tax to support the government? If not a sales tax then what?

You can believe thea the Federal Reserve is the villian if you wish but there is no proof that anything else would serve the purpose nearly as well.

Ron Patterson

I really don't think WW 1 was Wilson's idea.

I didn't say that Wilson started WW I. I said that he unnecessarily got us into it.

But perhaps if we did not do our share in that war the Kaiser would have won. And we would all be speaking German today.

I don't think so. WW I happened because the Britain - which was a super power at that time - felt threatened by Germany, a rising power. Even if Kaiser had won the war, Germany would have been severely weakened. Germany's defeat in WW I gave us Hitler and WW II.

Smart Presidents? Forgetting other flaws? Johnson, Eisenhower, Truman, Roosevelt, Hoover. If being plain crazy is no disqualifier you could even include Nixon.

Bush 41 experienced war and death personally. Bush 43 is a war hero wannabe without wanting the sacrifice.

As I understand it took some intestinal fortitude to fly the bomber planes off the boats.

And Bush the Greater had an understanding of the 'global political game' via his CIA stint.

I'm sure such had an influence on his choices.


Chalmers Johnson has chronicled the death of the American democratic Republic in his books very well.

What strange coincidence that our King is named "George." (Or is it really "Richard" -- Dick C.?)

US Associate Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote a superb little book in 1969 entitled: "Points of Rebellion." I recommend it highly. He saw the Establishment then as the new Empire, and pointed out that rebellion was necessary.

Quite fine coming from a Supreme Court Justice.

We're late in bringing about the Revolution.

The problem is that many of us in the developed world depend on the diffuse rewards of Empire as they trickle down to us. We make a living because the Empire exists. The cancer is diffuse, not concentrated

The Revolution is being brought to us by Nature and by the poor who see no other option but to die suffering as abjectly compliant subjects or to die fighting for at least a scrap of dignity.

Who knows how things will turn out? I sure don't.

Here is a page with "Points of Rebellion"


Don Sailorman, What balderdash. The 'founding fathers' got their ideas mainly from Voltaire, Hume, Berkely, and possibly a bit of Godwin. And Athens and Rome both had the rule of law for citizens in their day. The only reason that citizenship was actually expanded to non-whites was the peaceful uprising of the blacks in the 60'2, shaming the country into granting equality.

Sorry, there is little wonderful about the country.

If there is little wonderful about the United States, then why do hundreds of millions and probably billions of people want to come here?

The U.S. continues to drain the brains and talent of much of the rest of the world--and this assimilation of productive immigrants accounts for much of American "exceptionalism."

If you want to know how people feel about the U.S., see the extraordinary measures that new immigrants take to bring their relatives to this country. The U.S. has a problem with illegal Irish immigrants: Now why do so many Irish want to stay in the U.S., even illegally? After all, Ireland is not a bad country. Why do so many English and Scottish doctors practice in the U.S.? I could multiply examples, but what is the point? The simple fact is that United States citizens are far more envied than they are hated.

If there is little wonderful about the United States, then why do hundreds of millions and probably billions of people want to come here?

Why do people keep working at jobs they hate? Money.

(Among other reasons.)

The simple fact is that United States citizens are far more envied than they are hated.

Generally speaking, US citizens are reasonably well liked - most people are, when taken individually, fairly decent. The US as a nation, however, is not so well looked upon.

Fortunately, most people in the world know the difference.


Anti-americanism is nothing new in Europe, but of course the current american rule does not make the empire more popular. A observation of mine is that a majority of europeans seems to see the laissez fair practices in US as uncivil. Also, the political practice in US, as persceved in Europe, is also commonly regarded as bad. In scandinavia such views of the political practice is actually nearly embedded in the language. Almost regardless of ones political position, when something is refered to as americanized the default interpretation is that americanized is something very bad, something to be afraid of.

In short; it's not that europeans see their own governance as very good, but IMO a lot of them see US governance as quite uncultivated, a bit primitive actually.

And yes, i am aware that most of the best universities is american.

Personally i partly share the views described above, but i choose to focus on the better components of the U.S.; the civil society.

Hatred of Americans? Please - my parents' generation (they were born in the 1930s) tends to fill with me with respect for what they did. They were the last generation to grow up without mass media, and they lived through major challenges with admirable steadiness and determination. They had their flaws, as everyone does, of course, but in general, their modesty and devotion to their ideal of public service made their America a fairly admirable place in many ways now lacking today.

But between Clinton and Bush, America has done nothing for 15 years but live out the Baby Boom's dreams - the suburbs and cars ever larger, the future ever less important. And it seems as if all the chickenhawks who sat out the Vietnam War (had better things to do, in one case, or in another, his ass exempted him) have no problem sending ever more kids to try to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

The thing is, and Kunstler has a hard time shaking this, it is much easier to try to convince other people to solve problems than actually do anything yourself. I don't where New England's values went to, but they certainly have little place in today's America - frugality and thrift are considered stupid, and Yankee ingenuity has been outsourced to China.

Kunstler too hates the America he sees all around him, and believes that one reason America will fail as a society is because it has built nothing of value for generations.

Deal with that fact before discussing about hatred of Americans - my disgust at my nation is not hatred, it is disgust - for example, why haven't we impeached our torturer in chief? (He isn't my commander in chief, I don't serve in the military, but he certainly has authorized torture in the name of the American people, and is in charge of a network of secret prisons world wide, if only by the fact that he is the president.) Whether your hero is Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, or Patrick Henry, can you imagine any of them, any of them at all, shaking George Bush's hand? Our standards have fallen very, very low it seems, and it happened during the age of the baby boom.

Americans have built nothing of value for generations....

Oh? What do you call cheap fast food, huh!?!?! :)

Seriously, when I spoke to a group of young teens in a public school classroom about pollution, peak oil, resource depletion, and resource wars, they mostly bacame very sad and graqsped just what was going on.

And yet they could not imagine their own lives changing. One of the kids raised his hand and said: "Yes, but I *like* McDonald's food!" And we all laughed, because the kids have learned to like the drive-through, the mall, and the internet.

Meanwhile, all of this is bought with terrible military force and all manner of war crimes, as you so rightly point out.

The Americans I know between 10 and 18 are scared to death on the one hand, and yet unprepared for the world as it is on the other hand

Some prefer not to think about it, because they will be left holding the bag in the end, but have absolutely no say about what will be in that bag.

I encourage young people to develop skills for post-peak now, and see very few doing so. Most are encouraged to go to College or University.

I've been trying to interest young people in developing useful skills as well.

America is becoming a pariah nation. We are an Empire in its death throes already. I hope these death throes are not as violent as it now appears they will be.

I agree that for the most part we have lost our moral and intellectual integrity as well.

"One-eyed sun leering through the haze
Hordes of loveless marching while the little drummer plays
Nails in the coffin rats in the maze
Dancing arm in arm towards the looming end of days
Got to slow down

Oil war water wars tv propaganda whores
Fire alarm met with snores no one gets what's gone before
Slow down fast

Flag wave hammer slave gonna be a close shave
Stay brave jump the grave got to save what we can save
Slow down fast"

-- from Bruce Cockburn --"Slow down Fast" on "Life Short Call Now"

I'm trying to slow down fast. I try to impact political processes, but wonder if the momentum toward Armageddon is not already to great to stop. In the USA, Dems and Republicans are owned by the same elites, so individual input has less and less impact on policy discussion.

Much effort must go into local preparation, even though we are obliged to do all we can to stop our rampaging government from engaging in more resource war.

Again, the US political culture is totally owned by those who direct and benefit from the Global Resource War.

Airdale, your logical mistake is considering hedonistic consumerism to be the defining charicteristic of America. Some of my ancestors in America were Mennonites in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, others Puritans in Massachusets. These groups both sought to establish the Kingdom of God, and were focused on spiritual rather than material improvement. The materialism of our country has increased over the last century, but their are still large minorities of people who oppose this view. And hating the government and opposing its policies has a rich American heritage-we even had a civil war based on that. The mormons left the US because they hated the US, and my home state of Texas was settled by people who weren't thrilled by America. They wanted free land and the right to import African slaves.

So, Unamericanism is completely American!

Well Praise Jesus that American's have the rule of law which they are goverened under and have such rational and sane leadership so that America can show the rest of the world the way forward! Why, without the ability of all the citizens to vote, without the ability of the government to tax its citizens to pay for the governemtns actions, the leadership would be disconnected from the American People!

Peak Oil is bunk because America will lead!
Global Warming is not a problem because America will lead!

"And his appeal for younger people to take care of problems his generation is in charge of - priceless."

I think this is a misunderstanding. Everyone alive today is going to pay for the past misallocation of time, energy and materials by our society.

In this essay Kunstler is responding to criticisms from a mostly "young" audience at college towns. He is trying to give those young people some food for thought about what their future opportunities might be - and maybe save them from wasting their time on career paths that will soon disappear.

Assuming this isn't :^), I find it interesting that in my rural area that it is the older BB's and old farts like me who are concerned rather than people your age. I've been concerned about what is about to occur for longer than you have been alive. Further, I actually put into practice what I believed in 35 years ago...as did many others.

Hind sight is always 20/20. As an oldster, I have historical perspective that younger people like yourself lack since the best you can do is read about things but never experienced them. Every era lives by its meme because that's the only reality most people know. Was there ample information, say 30-40 years ago, to lead one to anticipate what will occur? If we look at the current debate about Global Heating and Peak Energy then I would say no. There was certainly cause for concern, what might be called "watchful waiting". However, a few of us believed there was and actually did something proactively.

I have no doubt that you will look back and recognize that your generation also failed to foresee what it should have done.

Todd; a Realist

I will decently disagree on one point - there was plenty of information about peak energy 30 years ago, and it was smothered as politely as possible in the U.S., with no one paying attention at the time, it seemed. Many other societies, whether Japan, France, or Germany (which have a roughly similar population and a considerably larger economic output than the U.S.), decided to change, at least to a certain extent. Whether those changes were adequate, or even correct, is another debate, but it was America which simply wished upon a star.

And I have to disagree about the information about peak energy being smothered. That nobody was paying attention is the key point. Nobody (in a statistically relevant sense) is paying attention right now, either. The problem with Americans is not that they are not being given the information but that they are no longer capable of processing it. The country sometimes seems to have collective dementia. It is, indeed a problem of national intellectual decay.

The European countries didn't have a choice; they had to conserve oil.

Actually France, Germany, and Japan have a combined population of about 267 million and the US of 296 million.
Combined GDP is $8.5 trillion compared to US $12.5 trillion.(2005)data

No disputing your numbers - I was actually more referring to the later 1970s to mid 1980s, where the other 3 countries had roughly the same population as today (though not counting East Germany), and where various currency fluctuations made comparisons difficult in dollar/mark/yen/franc terms.

However, if you are using 2005 data, realize that the euro has very roughly gained anywhere between 10-25% since then, which would a fair good evening the scales. And that only the U.S. of those four is running a roughly 2-3 billion dollar a day current account deficit.

This isn't a big deal, but I was riding my bike to work over 30 years ago and drove a small car when I had to because I was concerned about oil and pollution. No big deal, but now that I have reached the ripe old age of 60 I find it very difficult to swallow these brushes that paint the whole baby boomer generation as a bunch of selfish pigs. For many reasons, our generation had the economic opportunity to indulge themselves and most of them grabbed that chance.

However, what evidence do we have that the post baby boomer generation will be any more responsible than the baby boomers. And if they are, perhaps that will be a function of the fact that the baby boomers have done such a good job of alerting the post baby boomers of the problems that we are experiencing and will experience during the coming century. We are all part of a continuum influenced by all sorts of factors. We didn't grow up during the depression, so we had a different perspective. I am as disgusted as anyone about my fellow citizens, but don't consider it a generational phenomenon but one that applies to all generations. Is the baby boomer generation somehow uniquely evil, stupid, and irresponsible? If so, is it the water? Or maybe it was our parent's fault? And by the way, those who had the money in my parent's generation partied up just as much as their children. It is just that, generally speaking, the baby boomer generation had more access to all the toys, in general, than their parents.

Most people don't have the time to dick around on the internet like we do. So, it is not surprising that the level of awareness of the people on this site might be somewhat higher than the general population.

As an honest answer - I think the baby boom was the first generation in history to grow up surrounded by mass media selling mass consumption as the only acceptable way to live, and when a few members of that generation made a symbolic stand against it, the rest were happy to go back to living normal lives as soon as there was no danger of them being drafted.

This makes them unique in a fashion, and the fact that their children are the first to grow up with parents raised on mass media while surrounded by even more mass media themselves in terms of cable, videos, computer games, cell phones, etc. is not an encouraging sign at all.

That seems to be the hallmark of the boomers.

My dad is 70* and bright enough to know that bad things are on the horizon, but he's convinced that he won't live to see them. No matter how many times I point out that his brothers all lived to 90+, he keeps thinking that things will wait till he dies.

As the boomers I know get older, they seem to become more self centered and selfish. The general attitude is, “I've done my part, get off my damn lawn!”

On the other hand they all seem obsessed with their own death. Not a surprising development since the obituaries are full of your high school classmates. Under normal circumstances I would excuse them their obsession. After all, mortality is poking them in the eye on a daily basis. The aches and pains of old age have started on me also, and they tend to make me quite cranky.

However their size and political weight, coupled with the fact that they caused the problem, makes their actions a cop-out.

In a way, it's a variation of NIMBY. In this case it would be NIML (Not I My Lifetime).

...coupled with the fact that they caused the problem...

Wow, real finger pointing. It must all be starting. The hairs on the back of my neck are tingling.

As the boomers I know get older, they seem to become more self centered and selfish. The general attitude is, “I've done my part, get off my damn lawn!” On the other hand they all seem obsessed with their own death.

Young as you may be (35-40?), you hit the nail on the head. All humans past the age of about 5 are rationally cognizant of their own mortality and busy devising compelling mechanisms for deep denial. In the early 20's when your body is at its "peak", it is so easy to assure yourself that you are "special" and that of all the billions of humanoids on this planet, "it" won't happen to you. You will be the exception. Even if it comes, you won't be there when it happens. You will be asleep or out of town. You will have disappeared before the stuff hits the fan. Believe it or not, even at age 70 those same mechanisms are still cranking away.

BTW, we boomers didn't ask to be born either. We woke up one day in a world filled with flower children, fumes of marajiauna and a promise that this "space age" will carry mankind to new heights of "progress". We thought we were "special". But in truth we were no more special than any generation that came before us. We were (are) just as gullible, just as easily brainwashed as any other humanoid on this planet. Relax. Soon your teenage kids will be cursing you and your "generation".

Tossing "blame" is a wonderful pastime. I enjoy watching the monkeys doing it in their cages. Sometimes I blame "them" for the way we are. :-)

What you are describing does not apply to all humans. It only applies to people with well established anal retentive tendencies. Grown-ups do not suffer from any of these symptoms but have learnded to transcend them and act responsibly.

Having said that, there are more anal retentive people in this country than anywhere else in the world. The vast numbers of irresponsible psychologically 3 year olds correlate very well with the theologically devoid religions of this country, by the way.

Your a real piece of work. Do you realize that?

I feel sick just thinking of you inhabiting the same planet.

How many people can you abuse and insult in one day of posting?

Do the world a favor and get some help.
God pity anyone that has to live near you. You are one sick puppy.

Do you ever read the noxious mouthdiarrhea filth you write?

Check your mirror.

What I'd give to be 35. My age is closer to 50, and through some unfortunate circumstances, I have the body of a 60 year old. (Beware the evil cholesterol lowering drugs. They can be incredibly destructive to the human body.)

I lived through the gas shortages of the 70's. In fact, dad was a car salesman for ford, so it very severely impacted our family's income. It's what started my interest in alternative energy and perma-culture.

The writing was on the wall 30 years ago, but instead of dealing with the problem the 80's and 90's were all about over consumption and self indulgence. The whole time priming the pump for the current oil wars. Watching this mess unfold to dystopia over the decades has been really painful. I've come to really sympathize with Cassandra.

Regardless of the past, that doesn't absolve the boomers from refusing to admit there is a problem and help make the hard choices.

(Of course those boomers on the Oil drum obviously are not included, since they are aware and trying to do something)

being essentially ... a generation younger,I could care less if baby boomers like him face a horrible future

The correct term is "I couldn't care less". But you should care, you should care a lot. If there is a collapse that affects Kunstler's generation then that means it will affect those a generation younger even more so. If we have a slow deliberate crash, lasting many decades, You expat will be a lot better off and so will your children and grandchildren. Kunstler is trying desperately to inform people in hopes that we can have a slow crash instead of a sudden catastrophe.

You wrote:

And his appeal for younger people to take care of problems his generation is in charge of - priceless.

Kunstler said:

This situation presents excellent business and vocational opportunities for America's young people…..
The truth is, we don't know yet how we're going to make anything. This is something that the younger generations can put their minds and muscles into.

Those were the only two references to the younger generation in the entire piece. All other times he used the pronoun "WE". He stated all the things WE, meaning everyone, should be doing to help fix things. And he is absolutely correct. It is way too late for older farts like Kunstler and I to re-invent the hand cranked cotton gin, the grain thrasher and all the lost arts of the past. It is highly unlikely that a hand cranked cotton gin will be a marketable item in our lifetimes. But this presents a grand opportunity for people younger than us. They could benefit humanity and perhaps better their own future all at the same time.

You wrote:

Luckily, in my view, the future is now, and the baby boomers will get to reap what they have sowed since 'growing up.'

This blame game thing really pisses me off. I have said it before but it bears repeating, “We are all victims of circumstance.” This is the world we were all born into and we have all played the hand that was dealt us. We had no idea, when we were coming of age, that our lifestyle was ruining the world. We all thought it was just progress, everything was getting better for our generation and things would be even better for our decedents. We are not to blame for this damn mess we find ourselves in! It was simply our fate to live in the world we were born into.

Fate is shaping history when what happens to us was intended by no one and was the summary outcome of innumerable small decisions about other matters by innumerable people.
C. Wright Mills, Sociologist, quoted by William Catton in, Overshoot

And yes the crash, if it comes soon enough will affect Kunstler’s generation but not nearly as much as it will affect your generation. So why don’t you stop criticizing those who are trying to help you out and get busy trying to help him spread the word.

Ron Patterson

Agree that the blame game is pretty pointless.

The best thing our parents could have done for the planet was to forgo having kids. Approximately 14 out of 15 of us now alive are here because of the fossil fuel fiesta. Unless you wish you had never been born, don't gripe about the older generations.

I decently disagree - no one is entitled to merely wash their hands of their actions, and while the question of separating individual and collective responsibility is perhaps intractable, that responsibility still exists. The world we share is a result of all of our actions, not merely something that exists independent of those actions. The last 15 years in America have been squandered in terms of preparing for the future, and that fact does not fill my heart with sympathy, nor will I care for the reasons why. Who is to blame may not be worthwhile - but attempting to rectify the mistakes is a first necessary step - a step very unlikely to be taken by any of those who were in positions of political or economic authority or responsibility over the last 15 years - which not so coincidentally, just happened to be the time of peak baby boomer - now comes the inevitable decline.

I just don't see any point in trying to lay blame. I'm not even convinced that "preparing" would have helped. It could actually make things worse.


The WSJ has a front page article on a little used housing metric, the Homeowner Vacancy Rate. Until 2006, it had never exceeded 2.0%. In 2006, it hit 2.7%.

As you know, there have been lots of stories about partially built suburbs where the builders are abandoning the area, leaving homeowners with vacant lots and empty houses in the neighborhood.

As JHK said, "Suburbs are the biggest misallocation of capital in the history of the world."

Perhaps so, but I'm not convinced that we will be worse off than Europe when TSHTF. The fact that we are so wasteful means we have a lot of room to cut back. It's "the upside of down" - if efficiency means less resilience, then we are very resilient indeed.

I'm not convinced that we will be worse off than Europe when TSHTF. The fact that we are so wasteful means we have a lot of room to cut back.

Remember that oil is fungible, and those who use it more efficiently can afford to pay more for it, and hence - while some kind of world economy is functioning - will get it. At 50% more mpg, the European light-duty vehicle fleet can afford the oil to drive 1,000 miles longer than the US fleet can, and doubly so if they only need to drive 264 miles.

Of course, if we're positing that the world economy has collapsed, it's worth noting that the US is located rather far from much of the world's oil production capacity, perhaps giving Europe the edge there, too.

I think you have the analysis backwards.

Since the US Consumer can afford to drive at 50% less mpg now, when gas doubles in price we will have the oppurtunity to to increase our mpg, and thus drive further then the Europeans.


Since the US Consumer can afford to drive at 50% less mpg now, when gas doubles in price we will have the oppurtunity to to increase our mpg, and thus drive further then the Europeans.

Several points here:

1) Doubling of gas prices is a non-issue, since even $100/bbl oil would represent a relatively minor burden for Western economies. We need to look at bigger multiples than that if we're worrying about a serious shock.

2) The prices of fuel differ widely between the two regions, meaning a 100% price increase to Americans is a 30% price increase to Europeans, which is easier to stretch a budget around.

3) Increasing mpg takes years for a country's vehicle fleet; if the price of oil doubled tomorrow and stayed there, it'd be about a decade before more efficient cars had saturated the US fleet, meaning that current levels of efficiency are important to consider for any sudden or near-term shocks.

4) The average American drives almost 4 times as many miles as the average European, so he really needs to ensure he can keep driving more cheaply.

So let's examine what happens if the price of oil suddenly goes up by 2, 4, or 8 times (assumptions: tax is $0.50 in the US and $4.50 in Europe):

  • Current ($2.00/gal): cost-per-mile is $0.09 (US) vs. $0.19 (EU); cost-per-year is $3,200 (US) vs. $1,700 (EU)
  • 2x ($3.50/gal): cost-per-mile is $0.16 (US) vs. $0.23 (EU); cost-per-year is $5,900 (US) vs. $2,100 (EU)
  • 4x ($6.50/gal): cost-per-mile is $0.30 (US) vs. $0.33 (EU); cost-per-year is $10,600 (US) vs. $3,000 (EU)
  • 8x ($12.50/gal): cost-per-mile is $0.58 (US) vs. $0.51 (EU); cost-per-year is $20,300 (US) vs. $4,700 (EU)

In the most extreme circumstance - which is just above Simmons' "$300/bbl" - the European driver has to pay another $3,000 per year; painful, but probably doable. The American driver has to pay an extra $17,000 per year; not possible. The American will have to trim much more fat from his driving habits, and that type of trimming - moving closer to work, getting a more efficient car, getting local schools with local grocery stores in the neighbourhood - takes years.

More realistically, look at the 2x scenario - $100/bbl, which some people are calling for this year. The European needs to find another $400/year to maintain his driving habits - just a cup of coffee a day - while the American needs to cough up $2,700/year. It's the difference between forgoing a cup of coffee and missing the whole lunch.

Any changes necessary will hit the American first and hardest.

An alternative way to think of it:

Suppose the American driver has $2,000 he can scrape together to continue driving, and the European one has $1,600 (due to lower per-capita GDP). How much do they have to cut back, on either miles driven or mpg, at different levels? (And remember, each of those efforts comes with an associated cost of its own.)

  • At $100/bbl (2x), the American needs to cut $700 of driving: 200 gal of gas, or 1/8th of his total consumption. He could buy a better car, or drive 12 fewer miles per day (move closer to work?), but he's got to make a nontrivial change. The European? He's used only 25% of his contingency funds.
  • At $200/bbl (4x), the American needs to cut $5,400 of driving, or more than half. Getting a better car isn't likely to be enough - he's going to have to do something fairly drastic, probably involving slashing his commute distance. The European? He still has $300 of contingency left.
  • At $400/bbl (8x), the European finally needs to start making some cuts. He needs to cut out $1,400 of $4,700 worth of driving, or 30%. That'll be tough, but not as tough as the 75% the American needs to cut.

The high gas prices in Europe are likely to act as a strong buffer against the shock of rising oil prices. The US doesn't have that buffer, and so will feel the effects much more directly.

You left out the generally well function public transportation systems - the European buys a month card for 50-100 euros, and takes a train, streetcar, bus to work. The American wonders why his society didn't bother with mass transit much for the last two generations, as it is only for losers who can't afford to drive.

You left out the generally well function public transportation systems

Yes and no. Those certainly help substantially, but only account for 10-20% of urban trips (link), so they're not likely to change the overall picture dramatically.

The American wonders why his society didn't bother with mass transit much for the last two generations, as it is only for losers who can't afford to drive.

That attitude - which is not present in Europe (or even Canada, so much) - is cited as one of the reasons for differing transit ridership by the study I've linked to.

Pitt the Elder: While I've seen this analysis before, perhaps by you, may I please express my thanks. In addition to Leanan's usual supply of gems, you've left me with something worth clipping today.

I do however think that Americans, on the whole, will adjust to higher (real: income may decline) transport fuel prices, relatively (in relation to Europe and elsewhere) efficiently.

Given the case you've outlined, the economy will demand that Americans progressively adopt what I (and perhaps others) call shared transportation. One-point-x occupants per vehicle will steadily climb to 2.x occupants per vehicle and then higher again. In the meantime the penetration of more energy efficient private motorized vehicles will continue. More public transportation will be built.

Ultimately, I expect very little private motorized transport to remain. All the fantasies about PHEV's and the like notwithstanding. But in the early stages, it will be more efficiently utilized.

What will make it a LOT WORSE for the USA is the amount of firearms that the population has. It will get ugly fast.

That is for damn sure. Two weeks without electricity or gas deliveries and america's population would be about one half of what it is right now.

>Of course, if we're positing that the world economy has collapsed, it's worth noting that the US is located rather far from much of the world's oil production capacity, perhaps giving Europe the edge there, too.

Canada Venzuela?

Europe isn't going to be better off, especially when it comes to natural gas, as Europe is nearly completed dependant on Russian Natural Gas Exports. The US also has significant coal reserves as well as modest Uranium reserves (with Canada, one of leading exporters of Uranium) close by.

>Remember that oil is fungible, and those who use it more efficiently can afford to pay more for it

Thats likely to change pretty quickly once global production declines get serious. Lots of exporters will almost certainly cut back exports in order to make remaining reserves last longer.

Europe is also dependant on trade exports (outside of Europe) to maintain its economy and has a severe problem with entitlement which are not sustainable once an energy crisis begins.

Canada Venzuela?

They account for 6.1 Mbbl/day, or about 7% of world production. The entirety of North and South American production - including the US - is only about 21 Mbbl/day, or 25% of world production, and half of that (USA+Mexico) is known to be declining.

So perhaps I should amend my statement to say the US is located rather far from most of the world's oil production capacity.

Europe, by contrast, could potentially build pipelines to the other 75% of world production. There are political difficulties, of course, but at least not as many geographical ones.

Lots of exporters will almost certainly cut back exports in order to make remaining reserves last longer.

Based on what evidence are you so certain?

Especially considering not all countries will peak at once; newer oil-producing regions such as Canada, Khazakstan, Nigeria, or Venezuela would do well to cash in on the high prices before the economy collapses or is changed to no longer need so much oil. In fact, one could argue that most exporters will be in a situation where it's best for them to export while the exportin's good.

Waiting until your neighbour has starved to death isn't the way to get the best price for your surplus food.

Europe is also dependant on trade exports (outside of Europe) to maintain its economy

And the USA is dependant on trade imports to maintain its economy; why is a lack of production capacity better than a surplus?

(Of course, it's worth noting that the EU's exports are only 30% larger than the US's, with the reverse being true for imports, so they're not likely to have such different experiences if international trade runs into problems.)

has a severe problem with entitlement which are not sustainable once an energy crisis begins.

Welcome to the modern world - virtually every industrialized nation has that problem.

But who knows how it will all shake out?

Doesn't much depend upon how the Resource Wars damage supplies and routes?

Doesn't much depend upon how poor people will respond (even in the USA) when they see their own future as terrifyingly short and brutal, and blame those who have had so much all along for this?

Doesn't much depend on the interactions of variables we cannot see as well as those we think we can see?

It is tough to see who will come out relatively whole and who will not.

Suprise will be widespread as the future unfolds, will it not?

Suprise will be widespread as the future unfolds, will it not?

Exactly. It's hard to do the right thing when you don't know what the right thing is.

If preparation means not having bulldozed the watersheds, forests, and farmland surrounding major American cities, then I disagree. Further, if preparation meant spending money on home insulation and PV installations instead of SUVs and McMansions, I disagree.

If you mean in the end, everything returns to dust, I agree.

"Approximately 14 out of 15 of us now alive are here because of the fossil fuel fiesta."

I am an exception. I am here because my parents had planned to go to the movies but then stayed at home and made love, instead. They still love each other, by the way, and live in a well insulated home and only drive their car when they really have to. So I would have to say that fossil fuels had little to do with my appearence in this world.


I have often wondered about this statement as I have no children, but has that selection been a net gain for society? I travel more, eat more and generally have more stuff. I agree that my consumption will end at the end of my life, but I suspect I will have burned enough petroleum to have saved many future turns of the hand crank for those left behind. It is very hard to power down and make a living in this town.

PS - I was not entirely successful at preventing childbirth as the wife (now ex) had me fixed and then ran off with a rich mortgage broker and got knocked up.

I am making amends by living with a younger woman and refusing to knock her up for reasons stated above.

PPS – If the crash does come fast I am prepared as I have warned Dayton, Ohio since 2001 about sustainability and the powers that be patted me on the head and said good boy. I have my names and addresses along with cases of Chianti and fava beans for my future dinner dates.

I have often wondered about this statement as I have no children, but has that selection been a net gain for society? I travel more, eat more and generally have more stuff.

You would probably consume more if you had kids. (There's a reason why families are such a desirable demographic.) And then each of your kids would grow up to do the same. As developing nations often point out, one American does a lot more damage to the environment than 12 Mongolians. So where do we get off telling them to have fewer kids?

Yes that statement that developing countries with higher educations for women will be better off because they will have less kids does not seem to wash as they certainly will have less kids, but consume considerably more.

I am not advocating against education, it just ignores the sustainability issue.

Stopping population growth is prerequisite for sustainability. Short of forced-abortion and female infanticide (as widely practiced in China, for example), almost the only way to get natural increase in a society down to or below zero is to educate women.

Education of women is a silver bullet.

To decently disagree - 'blame' and 'responsibility' are not the same thing. As noted below in an answer to Leanan, there is the problem of individual and collective responsibility, and in that sense, you are right, blaming people is a waste. Having people at least acknowledge what they did is taking responsibility, something the baby boom has never been noted for. Somehow, pointing out their responsibility for their part in creating the world we now share is 'blaming' them for their actions. I don't blame them - I think their actions are a fact, it is merely their excuses which tend to grate.

taking responsibility, something the baby boom has never been noted for.

That's one heck of a broad brush you're wielding there. Like others, I fail to see the objective in your assignment of collective guilt. There are plenty of boomers who have woken up to the issues, accepted responsibility for their part in creating the situation, and have taken action. Is there room for them in your stereotype?

I went to a meeting of community activists last night. There were twenty or so participants, and an age range from late seventies down to the early twenties. We watched two movies, "The End of Suburbia" and "The Power of Community" on how Cuba survived their oil crash without a dieoff. The discussion afterwards covered plans for a community education and outreach event, rooftop gardening and edible landscaping, passive solar technologies, community gardens fertilized by apartment building compost etc. etc. etc. The level of involvement and action by all of them was impressive. I didn't hear a single excuse, or see a single finger pointed. The entire focus of the group was on solutions. Where do these people fit into your denigration?

A very broad brush - seeing as how America's two baby boom presidents have been noted for their steadfast assumption of responsibility when confronted with their actions.

Or how the baby boomers seem to be ones running a wretched war for no reason which can be publicly stated and be considered believable. Yes, I know, a whole bunch of 20 year olds are the evil 'enablers' of those baby boomers, because they volunteered to defend their country by invading another nation.

As noted, the difference between individual and collective responsibility is critical, but not really possible, to make.

But think - who is in charge of America's institutions at this point, 20 year olds? 80 year olds? Or maybe, just maybe, the baby boomers? A broad brush can spread a lot of paint, giving a big picture.

This is the world we were all born into and we have all played the hand that was dealt us. We had no idea, when we were coming of age, that our lifestyle was ruining the world. We all thought it was just progress, everything was getting better for our generation and things would be even better for our decedents. We are not to blame for this damn mess we find ourselves in! It was simply our fate to live in the world we were born into.

I would agree with that. Each generation, it seems, is eager to pin society's problems on the generation that preceded it. The "hippies" of the sixties did precisely the same thing.

I'm a boomer, born in 1955. If you've been born in the last twenty or thirty years -- a time of a growing awareness of resource limits -- I think it would be hard to appreciate the world view of those who came of age after WWII. Speaking from my own experience, I grew up the son of a "rocket scientist" -- my father worked on the early Redstone, Jupiter and Saturn projects -- and we thoroughly believed (my father's generation and mine) that the sky really was no limit at all. You "had to be there" perhaps, but we really had no awareness that what we were doing might later bring us and future generations to harm.

Eventually, we had our eyes opened, but it required questioning everything that you had ever been taught. For my father, that meant transforming from a brash, ex-USAF jet jock and aeronautical engineer who believed that defying gravity was man's greatest calling, to a confused and humbled older man who died believing, I think, that a good bit of what he once held dear was a steaming crock of manure. This process was tough on him and I will always believe that, in the end, it is part of what did him in.

Much of the process we know of as "maturation" is shedding the baloney that you were saddled with in your younger years. It will be no different for your generation.

It looks like this struck a resonant chord with all us Boomers and we all reacted in the same way. Interesting.

My take on it is that by the time you are "awake" enough to figure out what is really going on, you are in your late 50's to 70's and it is usually too late to reverse course. Your children have already gone through the "education" process and become believing robots as well.

What amazes me is that a few from the younger generation have the focal attention (lack of ADHD) to read TOD and to come to grasps with who we human supreme-beings really are, just a bunch of overly vocal apes who learned how to burn the world down (starting with the dicovery of fire).

Step Back, you are exactly correct. It is the evolutionary success of the great ape called Homo sapien that has caused all this damn mess. My two favorite quotes concerning "the blame game".

As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
- Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene


The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialization, 'Western civilization' or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.
- John Gray, "Straw Dogs"

Ron Patterson

I'm amazed no one has mentioned The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe. The book certainly had a few things to say about different generations. They still have a web site:


I worked on the Jupiter-C after my tour of duty in which I served my country and have two honorable discharges to show for it. I taught others how to maintain it and fire it. I went in harms way to protect the country I was born in. I also worked in technology that raised this country to a higher level of living ,in the computer science and engineering areas.

Along about the late 80' into the 90s there was a huge change. Part and parcel of the NETCOM debacle and then everyone here seemed to say" Screw everybody and everything decent, I am going to get rich and f**k everybody doing it and I don't give a damn.". A lot of this was showcased by the scumbag President Clinton, showing the rest how to lie , cheat and steal everything in sight and debauch the people's White House with a young intern , stuffing pizza down his gob with an bimbo under the table on her knees as he quaffed his pizza yaking with a mad terrorist asshole from Palestine on the phone. Later the dork showed us how to moisten a cigar. Many of those who think this miscreant, miscarriage was a great leader.Yeah they are the same ones hoisting their own flags,moistening their own cigars and whining about others being the problem.

From that point on it has been all downhill. 9/11 and then some tears and cheesy yellow ribbons and cheap flags which soon fell in the dirt along with everyone's patriotism and concern about morals.

I still hold on to my past and am proud of what I did. I will never give up my own personal value system and go the cheap huckster wannbe bullshit artist lifestyle that I see so prevalent today.

I lived it, and it to me was not a bowl of crap. My country appreciated it back then as I took leave in St.Louis in 1961 in my uniform and couldn't buy my own drinks or keep people from clapping me on the back. My flightsuit still proudly hangs in my closet with the survival knife hanging on it.

Thats the America I knew and still know is instilled out here in the farmland and outback. The rest of the city folks sipping their lattes, checking their market positions and laughing at Oprah and Dr. Phil can kiss my gwatney. This country still has a backbone. Its not showing on the MSM or playing on your Ipods so you never get a clue. They are your fallback. They are what you came from. They are still there but they won't likely take a bunch of yuppie whiny bullshit.


PS. I can't say anything about those who served in Nam. That was another couple asshole presidents who screwed the military. Nixon and LBJ. I served under JFK who I greatly respected and he at least knew good women and kept it quiet. The man had class.

Hi airdale,

I think you are reading too much into my comments (or maybe I'm reading too much into yours). I didn't mean to imply that my father was ashamed of his work in the aerospace business or regretted his military service; only that he understood, after looking at things in the rearview mirror, that life's choices and the results that those chioces produce were a lot more complicated than he understood them to be when he was a young man. The point that I and others here were trying to make is simply that it is possible -- even easy -- to do a lot of harm in the world without even being aware that you are doing it. A wise person never loses sight of this simple fact.

PS. The day that he died, my father was carrying in his wallet a business card that read something to the effect of "rocket scientist, pilot, computer programmer, licensed aircraft mechanic, writer and world traveler." I think this demonstrated that he -- like you -- valued and cherished his life experiences.

Let me relate an old country story. It likely happened in my county exactly as was related to me by a preacher who would know.

This county is dry and has been for some time. There were numerous bootleggers, not moonshiners but those who bought bottled whiskey and hauled it here to sell.

One bootlegger always sent flowers to every funeral no matter what. He gave generously to churches and other affairs. He always did this and many flocked to him. They were happy to deal with him.

One day he was stricken and had to then exist in a old folks home. We now call them nursing homes. But he was next to an old farmer that he barely knew. The old farmer was an honest man and kept his word. He had many visitors over the years. The bootlegger never had visitors.

The bootlegger never understood why since he had been so generous as to why the old honest farmer had visitors and he had none.

You fathers life parallels my own very closely. What you do in life is somewhere kept record of and if not it should be.



Well said. Even though the world leadership has been profoundly aware of Mathusian predictions for over 200 years--we, in aggregate, still march into Olduvai & the Tragedy of the Commons. PO + GW Outreach is our best hope to avoid the Zimbabwe Syndrome and optimize our decline path.

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

"And his appeal for younger people to take care of problems his generation is in charge of - priceless. Literally. He isn't going to pay for any of it, he is merely hoping to take advantage of other people's work..."

Umm, this is all fucked up...

I don't think Kunstler imagines that people of his (which also happens to be my) age won't be involved. I think his point is that younger people than us are going to have to get creative and realize what the real issues are, and choose careers and do something about it. Us 50-somethings are not going to be able to fix it. And no, we didn't create it, and we aren't in charge of it.

But of course, your younger generation has this narcistic entitlement attitude, and is outraged that you should have to deal with anything. You have a right to unbroken mellowness and energy consumption! How dare us geezers harsh your buzz! OK, I keed, I keed! Point is, let's dont generalize here. This thing has been rolling for a long, long time

I don't know what you are talking about with "taking advantage of". That is simply bullshit.

Look, this is something that has been coming on for generations. When TSHTF, us geezers (some of whom have been environmentalists etc. since the 60's) are going to be hurting a lot more than you young pups... you can feel good about that, if it helps.

Another article about how most poor people now live in the suburbs:

Poor Among Plenty: For the first time, poverty shifts to the U.S. suburbs

Six years ago, Brian Lavelle moved out of the city of Cleveland to the nearby suburb of Lakewood for what he thought would be a better life. Back then, Lavelle, 38, was a forklift operator in a steel mill making $14 an hour. He had a house, a car and was saving for his retirement. Then, three years ago, the steel mill closed and Lavelle found that the life he dreamed of was just that, a dream. The suburbs, he quickly learned, are a tough place to live if you're poor. For starters, there isn't much of a safety net in his community. Food pantries, job-retraining centers and low-cost health clinics are hard to come by. He can't afford either gas or car insurance, and inadequate public transportation hurts him, too. Not long ago, he was offered a job in another suburb, "but it just wasn't doable." The commute by public bus would have taken him three hours each way.

Urban Poverty as the dominant kind of poverty is a fairly modern phenomena tied to industrialisation. A couple of generations ago-pre WWII-most of the truly poor lived as farmworkers and sharecroppers in a rural setting in Texas, and mostly across the world. And its still true of much of the developing world-look at the refugees in the Sudan or Somalia, the migrant dwellers in the slums of Brazil and Mexico mainly live in cardboard shacks on the outskirts of the megacities. Even in modern America trailer parks are on the outskirts of town.
I don't doubt that the poverty in areas far from employment is increasing, but it bugs me that so many journalists lack a historical perspective, and lack powers of observation.

yeah it costs big money to live close to the job centers in the city it pretty much just keep driving till you can afford because the only halfway cheap housing is out on the edge of town in the desert at least here in Phoenix anyways

streams of methane-rich gas bubbles coming from the crests of pingo-like-features (PLFs) – due to warm water influx.

Game over. The fat lady is singing.

Ya...I saw that and thought about the discussions we've had here at TOD about frozen methane hydrates locked away for X number of thousands of years suddently defrosting and bubbling up to wreak some havoc.

Stinky and dangerous.

...and if the freezing of the citris crop in CA wasn't enough...

Mystery killer silencing honeybees

It's downright Tainterian...

Honeybees are not natives. The country already had about 3,500 species of pollinating bees before Europeans brought honeybees in the 1600s. But because honeybees produce honey and can be managed so easily, they have become a mainstay of U.S. agriculture.

"Part of the problem is that today we develop these big monocultures of corn or peas or cabbage," Frazier said. "They wipe out the diversity of nectar sources and reduce nesting sites for wild bees. And we use, unfortunately, a lot of pesticides to keep the insects we don't want from eating these crops, which also works to eliminate the pollinators."

So now there's an entire industry that trucks hives of bees from crop to crop. That no doubt makes disease more of an issue, since bees may be in California one month, Texas or New York the next.

This is pretty serious business i.e.: losing the pollinators which drive industrial agriculture. But as you point out, very Tainterian. We have Universities pointed at developing stem cells these days, not entomology.

The best we can say is: "mysterious"?

It should be expected, since for decades and decades now the vast majority of beekepers more or less worldwide have been breeding weaker, less viable strains of bees as a side effect of addressing pest, disease, parasite, food, and a host of other problems with chemical treatment and 'medications'... Domesticated strains
have thus had several dozen generations where there was no real selection for hardiness or viability.. and it doesn't take very long for problems to accumulate to the point where whole populations' gene pools have become so distorted and filled with problematic tendencies that the survival rate is serious affected.
There are still wild honeybees. They're not as attractive from the commercial point of view, since they will swarm more readily, they will defend their hives more aggressively, they will produce less honey and don't take too kindly to having their hives moved over and over again, but they have still survived out there.
The double whammy of breeding huge populations of unviable domesticated bees and
of poisoning entire continents with pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, industrial pollutants, urban waste, air, nose, and light pollution, genetically modified plants, and the host of other miserable side-effects of modern mechanized society has dealt bees (and many other species as well) a near-mortal
blow. Might even be mortal, time will tell.
My grandfather used to keep bees. Been about 5 years that he's not well enough to
really take care of them. Back in the 80s he had 110 hives (this was not a commerical operation on the scale of your typical american 'if you can't make a million bucks doing it its not worth doing' sort) but by the time he was done
he only had 2 hives left. Like most, he would medicate to protect against the
most vicious pests (thus harming the bees chance at evolving a natural defense),
and of course he was losing the battle. When he finally let the bees go on their own, just keeping them around for old times sake, the next year, both hives
had swarmed and in addition, a colony of wild bees took up residence in one of
his unused hives. The next year the wild colony swarmed and now he has five
hives, two of which were of wild origin. One of the features of the wild bees'
aggresiveness is their evolved ability to pick parasites off each others' bodies.
The medicated bees didnt get a chance to develop this strategy and now that the
motes have developed resistance to ever more powerful poisons, the domesticated bees are dying off.
In south america, they have for about 20 years or so been accumulating experience keeping africanized bees for honey.

OK, enough of a segue about bees.

I'd heard the Varroa mite (which was originally from the Philippines) had virtually wiped out most of the North American wild bees. Though perhaps the population has recovered by now?

One of the strategies presently used to control the Varroa mite is to use strains of Russian bees for breeding stock because of their resistance to parasites.


There is really no such thing as a "wild" honeybee in existence in the United States. Each bee colony has many hundreds of drones whose
sole purpose in life is mate with a queen (and lose his life in doing
so.) Mating is done outside the colony, high in the air, in the presence of many drones. As such, there is a constant stirring of the gene pot due to the fact most queens last at most for a couple years before she is replaced by the colony.
Most honeybees are of Italian descent which are the yellow golden variety. I have seen some colonies which I have allowed to requeen themselves suddenly exhibit a dark, almost black color which show genetic traits of the black german bees imported in the 1800's.

We still have wild honey bes in my area. Probbaly because there are zero commercial hives and agriculture. What is happening is that domestic honey bees are becoming africanized and african bees are better at cleaning themselves.

They are wild in the respect they do not live in a manmade hive. You can however catch a swarm of them hanging in a tree or trap them in someones attic, both of which I have done many times, and put them in a hive box. Presto! wild bees are now domestic bees. I know a lot of
beekeepers who have built up the number of colonies they own this way.

I know there a fungus that can infect European bee hives that can also cause problems. No mention of that in the article.

These are the little things that can occur when climates change too fast for a species to adapt or new species to fill the niche.

You really don't know the effects on all systems will be when you stir the pot.

It would seem like the EIA data for November should be out by now. Pehaps later today. . .

Another little piece of a big puzzle..

Saudia Arabia increases prices

This has nothing to do with the economics of the grade, but simply to cut availability. There is no other reason for such a big increase," a European crude trader said.

Re: The Saudi Price Increase

Clearly, the Saudis are increasing oil prices because they can't find buyers for all of their oil.

Saudi Oil, as recently as 18 months ago, was discounted at nearly $20 below WTI. They've been building their own refinery capacity for some time, and its only natural that now that the 'refinery' issue is over, they pass on greater costs to their consumer while reaping the benefits.

Or perhaps they've now deliberately started to destroy demand in order to hide being near or past peak?

Although I enjoy Kunstler I think he missed the mark on a few things in his latest offering. If anything the Internet will be used more and more for commerce. It all has to do with selection and choice and ultimately energy efficiency. Admittedly, cheap next-day delivery may become a thing of the past, but if one is willing to wait a few days, the delivery cost will be minimal. It may well be that FedEx/UPS will only be in the neighborhood once a week to deliver 7 packages instead on one-a-day for 7 days. On-line retailers will always have the energy advantage as their logistical infrastructure can be modified to exploit rail.

I agree. The mail order catalog worked for a national rural population at the end of the 19th century before the spread of the internal combustion engine. Nearly a hundred years before Wal-Mart and Target nearly put Sears, KMart and JC Penny out of business, Sears Roebuck had already put all the general stores out of business - and it happened without Kunstler's "Happy Motoring" society.

But I'm surprised Kunstler doesn't mention "not having children" as the number one thing on his to-do list. Heinberg only puts that at number 2 on his list of 5 sustainability axioms, although population control is the foundation without which sustainability can't even be discussed.

If de-personal motorized transportifying our culture is going to be hard with 300 million Americans, how much harder will it be with 400 million Americans - a target we should reach within my statistical lifespan.

The competition has always been, and will continue to be to pass on our own genes, and those of our near and not so near relatives, while keeping others from overpopulating. We need to be honest about this and perhaps restore eugenics to respectability. People of European descent shouldn't feel guilty about having common interests.

Hello sf,

People of European descent shouldn't feel guilty about having common interests.

Europe's interests are not my interests. Europe has committed enough crimes and atrocities in its history that it is now time for Europe to fade away into the good night. I am inclined to let the Muslims have Europe. They will, too, whether the Europeans like it or not.

Europe's day has passed. Europe's demise is ahead.

David Mathews

Lets think about this:

5% of the worlds population use up 25% of the worlds oil.

The shortest route to the most efficient rationalisation of the problem is to stop giving them it.

That means you Buddy....


' I am inclined to let the Muslims have Europe..'

What? You own Europe? That is a very regal position you got there.

I am inclined to let the Mexicans take Amerikka , One baby at a time.

You didnt major in Pomposity by any chance?

Hello Mudlogger,

5% of the worlds population use up 25% of the worlds oil.

The shortest route to the most efficient rationalisation of the problem is to stop giving them it.

That means you Buddy....

I am in favor of America losing its 25% of the world's oil consumption, immediately. The sooner, the better.


' I am inclined to let the Muslims have Europe..'

What? You own Europe? That is a very regal position you got there.

I am confident that the Muslims will ultimately "get" Europe simply because of the demographic forces. I am in favor of the Muslims doing so.

I am inclined to let the Mexicans take Amerikka , One baby at a time.

I am in favor of the Mexicans "taking" America. The Mexicans owned a significant portion of America prior to an aggressive war by the Americans in the mid-19th century.

I am pro-Mexican and pro-Muslim. I am anti-intolerance and anti-war. We all need to live together on this world, and we will whether we want to or not.

You didnt major in Pomposity by any chance?

No, it just comes naturally.

David Mathews

i find this comment to be rather narrow minded. Europe has been around a lot longer then the US and might stick around a lot longer then the US aswell. that muslims are making a place for themselves within the EU should not be seen as an invasion, societies evolve just as the US were once invaded by blacks, there is now an african american being named as a possible candidate for the presidency.

we should not fear different ideas and religions coming into our lives. Muslims have a lot to teach europeans in my opinion things like discipline, and a sence of community, while europeans can teach them about democracy and our views of freedom.

for every nation, society, and even every individual, yesterday is already gone, it is better to look forward and work for the best, then look back at what we were and predict that it will end.

my two cents from Belgium on this post i found a bit disturbing.

Hello Lone Wolf,

US were once invaded by blacks

The United States was not "invaded" by the blacks. Europeans and Americans abducted the Africans from their native lands and enslaved them. This is one of the great crimes against humanity (and also a genocide) which was committed by Europeans and Americans during the formative stages of the New World. Heroic Americans fought slavery and defeated it, and after another century a new set of heroic Americans fought segregation and discrimation and defeated those too. Martin Luther King ranks as one of the greatest Americans specifically because he boldly stood up to America's evil culture and defeated it non-violently.

there is now an african american being named as a possible candidate for the presidency.

Yes. Obama is great. If he runs for President he will have my vote.

we should not fear different ideas and religions coming into our lives. Muslims have a lot to teach europeans in my opinion things like discipline, and a sence of community, while europeans can teach them about democracy and our views of freedom.

That's exactly as it should be in Europe, America and throughout the world. There are a significant number of Muslims in my neighborhood and they are fine people, beautiful people, productive people, and peaceful people. That's why I am sympathetic to both Muslims and Islam.

for every nation, society, and even every individual, yesterday is already gone, it is better to look forward and work for the best, then look back at what we were and predict that it will end.

What is best for Europe? What is best for the United States? No one really knows. The future will bring whatever it wishes.

David Mathews

"Europe's day has passed. Europe's demise is ahead."

If you send me your address, I will send you $20 for your travel fund, so you can buy a cheap ticket to Europe and see how wrong you are. Only someone who hasn't been over there can think that Europe is in decline. The opposite is true. After decades of stagnation, Europe has not only found a new identity, it is also going through an amazing renaissance. Arts, design, architecture are all happening in Europe (and Asia) right now. America is the one dead place in this world.

Gotta agree with IP here, my 4 1/2 years in Europe really opened my eyes. No denying that Europe has serious issues but Europeans have a much firmer grasp on what is really important in life. This will put them in much better stead than citizens of Generica when the PO squeeze really starts...

Nice user profile name. Sounds very Deutsch. :-)

Love your PhD in physics, too. We seem to have at least one thing in common, although I have a little less experience and stayed (and will continue to stay) on the technical side.

I think it is fair to say that Europe has serious problems and so does Asia but that many Americans have little insight into what they are and how they are being dealt with. The same thing can also be said about what many Europeans think about the US. The cultural misunderstanding can probably only be overcome with much more personal exchange. I will admit that even eight years of US experience have not been enough to give me a full understanding what being American means. But at least after a couple of years of living abroad the most common misconceptions about the inner workings of another culture are being stratified. We need much more globalization including people and not just freight containers.

No, not Deutsch, but I have spent some time amongst the Teutons:) Were you involved with AMANDA?

I really don't have the time to get into a discussion of the cultural differences, but I will say that the current U.S. Administration has squandered a huge amount of goodwill that was created post-WWII. Reflecting on the implications of post-PO, I am pretty sure that France will survive very nicely: Tremendous agriculture potential that is currently underutilized, good nuclear power infrastructure, most towns/villages still have functioning core (at least when I lived there).

Actually Europe has already given up on itself and has turned into a bunch of neutered hedonists with their cradle to grave social welfare system. They have become so self centered and pessimistic about the future they won't even have enough kids to replace themselves. The Italians will be gone from Italy in 50 years as their fertility rate of 1.1 kids per couple means they are a dying off race. You need a rate of 2.1 children per couple to break even. 30% of German women over 30 are unmarried. 40% of the college educated women of Germany over 30 are unmarried. The German replacement rate is 1.3. They are on the way out too. As a matter of fact all of the Eutopia countries are way below replacement as is Japan and Canada. How would you like to be a kid trying to carry the cost of that social welfare system on your back? Oh by the way their unemployment is over 10%. My guess is that something will have to give reasonably soon.
To try and avoid some of these aging population and low replacement problems they have allowed massive amounts Muslim immigration into there countries the top name for new babies born in Belgium and the Netherlands last year was Mohammed.... Europe is potentially less than 15 years away from being a overtaken by the Muslims and a societal crash. The radical immans are spreading hatred all over Europe and we all are way to familiar with the European penchant for appeasement. Their current attitude is appease the cultural accomodations demanded by the radicals and hope they won't cause to much trouble now... later its someone else's problem. Their politicians are total wimps.
Heaven help us if we continue to go down the same path to the nanny state it will just make things here even tougher. The Europeans have fallen on the sword of multiculturalism and it along with their Nanny State will be their downfall.
Self Reliance is the only thing that saves a country destoying it destroys your society. Stay tuned

As always, reading informed comments from someone in the world's largest importer about self-reliance is amusing.

Also interesting, many people posting at TOD think reducing population critical to sustaining civilization (or that population will be reduced as civilization dies, a not trivial difference), but you believe growing population is a sign of future strength, especially as you will be buying oil from countries where the leading name among male new borns is Mohammed - so much for American self reliance

We will just ask the Russians to join the European Union :-)

That makes for a 700 million peopled, uranium - rich , oil and gas rich, Nuclear tipped Ultra-power with good quality chernozems from here to the Urals. Gold as well. And cars worth driving and telly worth watching and a currency that means more than a drunks IOU.

Time we invited Russia back into Europe...

It will happen. Peter the Great's dream will come true.

Shame we did not unilaterally jump at the chance when the Wall came down.

Still, the Germans and the French are ahead in this rapproachment.

These things take time, and though Europe has faults, it has less problems than the knife-edge and parlous state of the USA.

You guys could tank if a thick-fingered trader pressed the wrong key on his Wall Street computer terminal.

And as long as you tolerate the Current POTUS, you will be increasingly regarded as a pariah. Or worse still:


And the Chinese have just successfully head-butted a satellite...

The America beloved of my parents generation, the one that has European streets named after its titans like Kennedy and Eisenhower is, sadly, gone.

A nation that cannot even learn that a man defending his home and hearth against an aggressor and just with small arms, RPG's and a prayer book is as tough or tougher than the Wehrmacht.

Which is WEIRD:

The nation that brought the Boston Tea Party, Minutemen, the Kentucky Rifle, The Constitution (IMO the greatest document in the last 4000 years); a nation of awkward individualists who fought for hearth and home and brought down a professional, imperial army yet cannot see why they are getting no where when they try the same stuff we have given up on in Europe.

Ah well. Shame really. The world expected so much of its youngest and brightest child.

I suppose like many child-prodigies, your early stuff was your best.

I love your style and delivery.

One or two sentences clearly and concisely dissecting the problem and providing an obvious solution which spanks the US and hopefully wakes US up.

The US is reaping what it sows.

I just visited the EU and it was like a dream. The only fat people were little US college girls.

Russia in the EU, classic.

Hello KansasCrude,

Actually Europe has already given up on itself and has turned into a bunch of neutered hedonists with their cradle to grave social welfare system. They have become so self centered and pessimistic about the future they won't even have enough kids to replace themselves. The Italians will be gone from Italy in 50 years as their fertility rate of 1.1 kids per couple means they are a dying off race. You need a rate of 2.1 children per couple to break even. 30% of German women over 30 are unmarried. 40% of the college educated women of Germany over 30 are unmarried. The German replacement rate is 1.3. They are on the way out too. As a matter of fact all of the Eutopia countries are way below replacement as is Japan and Canada. How would you like to be a kid trying to carry the cost of that social welfare system on your back? Oh by the way their unemployment is over 10%. My guess is that something will have to give reasonably soon.

This demographic collapse is exactly what I had in mind in my original comments. This is -- I believe -- an unstoppable force. Th European civilization has simply run out of steam and is now declining into its own demise. Too bad for Europe, but that's life.

To try and avoid some of these aging population and low replacement problems they have allowed massive amounts Muslim immigration into there countries the top name for new babies born in Belgium and the Netherlands last year was Mohammed.... Europe is potentially less than 15 years away from being a overtaken by the Muslims and a societal crash. The radical immans are spreading hatred all over Europe and we all are way to familiar with the European penchant for appeasement. Their current attitude is appease the cultural accomodations demanded by the radicals and hope they won't cause to much trouble now... later its someone else's problem. Their politicians are total wimps.

Needless to say, the Europeans were not saints during the colonial era in which the Europeans were invading every nation of the world and imposing their culture and will upon the natives. The Europeans committed many crimes, atrocities and genocides during the era in which they were the invaders. So by what right can the Europeans complain if they discover that the Muslims have rejected European culture -- both the good and the bad -- wholesale?

The Europeans need to make peace with their Muslim citizens and integrate them into the European economy, society, government and educational establishment. The Europeans must set an example of peaceful transition into a multicultural, multiracial, and multireligious continent. If the Europeans can succed they will have done humankind a great favor. If the Europeans fail the continent will fragment apart into needless bloodshed as the Europeans repeat the mistakes of the 20th century (and pretty much every previous century of European history).

I am in favor of the Muslims living at peace in Europe while maintaining their culture, their faith, and their identity. I am in favor of peace and want to live in a world in which all people live at peace with each other.

Europe has made enough mistakes. Europe cannot afford to make any more mistakes.

David Mathews

A fertility rate of 1,1 doesn't mean extinction within 50 year, it means that the population will halve within a generation. Couples no longer feel the need for religious or administrative approval before living together or having kids. But the point is, really, that a low birthrate is something that China desperately tried to achieve, and the rest of the world should try to achieve. It's the only sensible choice in an overpopulated world.

Of course the top name for newborns was Mohammed, since almost all practicing muslims call one of their sons Mohammed, while the autochtonous population nowadays mostly try to give their offspring unique names. The tensions that exist will soon be lessened, precisely because of the retirement wave of the baby boomers that will evaporate a lot of unemployment, and make the employers a lot less picky.

European healthcare and education is affordable and available for everyone. Please, show us how to do it better. Only yesterday I heard someone refer to the US as an example of failed multiculturalism. Integration of immigrants is fucked up in Europe, agreed. One reason was because there already was a tight community, and it's not easy being accepted; meanwhile, the US is often perceived as a nation of self-centered strangers. How right is that?

Hello IP,

If you send me your address, I will send you $20 for your travel fund, so you can buy a cheap ticket to Europe and see how wrong you are.

Someone as optimistic as you, IP, really ought to have a lot more than $20 to contribute to my travel fund.

David Mathews

Yes, the Sears catalog was the Amazon.com of its day.

It was, but it did not originally deliver door to door, which is a pretty inefficient method of transportation. It delivered to the train station, or the general store or post office, or to a special "Sears office" in town. People would pick up their packages when they were in town (often picking up stuff for their neighbors as well).

Online shopping may seem energy-efficient, but it's not. The servers that power an eBay or an Amazon suck up a lot of energy - as much as a small city. They often have their own power plants (gas-fired, naturally). The delivery method only makes sense in a cheap-energy world.

The servers that power an eBay or an Amazon suck up a lot of energy - as much as a small city.

The energy consumption of server farms is often grossly overestimated, as discussed here. A major study on this issue found that servers accounted for 1.83 TWh in 1999, or about 0.05% of US electricity consumption. All servers in the US. eBay or amazon.com would represent only a small fraction of this total consumption.

Think of it this way: suppose all those servers saved each person in the US one 5-mile trip to a store to look at something. At 21.2mpg on average, that would represent about 70 million barrels of gas, or -- burned at 50% efficiency in a modern power plant -- about 1.3 TWh of electricity. If those servers saved one such trip a month, they'd be paying for their energy consumption many times over.

Computers simply aren't all that energy-intensive.

The delivery method only makes sense in a cheap-energy world.

You're absolutely right about this part, though. Door-to-door delivery of individually-wrapped items is a luxury brought on by tremendous wealth in modern Western society, and it's not an energy-cheap delivery method.

The ordering method is fine, though.

I wonder what fraction the server energy cost is compared with the delivery energy... if small, then the process may be sufficiently efficient to compete with other options as energy costs grow. And, in any event, I think chips are becoming much more energy efficient, so I would think servers are, too. Air delivery systems were not very energy efficient between the wars, but have become much better over time.

A typical server transaction server will spend roughly 10ms worth of CPU and IO time on your transaction. At 200W, that is 2J worth of energy. Your own computer will use tens of thousands of times more energy while you are surfing for the product because it is not multi-tasking dozens or hundreds of customer requests at the same time.

Todays Quotes:
June 2007 6135
December 2007 6378
December 2008 6530
December 2009 6480
December 2010 6425
December 2011 6430
December 2012 6460

There has been quite a lot posted on aspects of food production and transportation on TOD, but discussions neglect the other half. Once produced, the food must be processed and stored, otherwise it's all for naught. I'd like to get information on energy use of food processing and storage industries. I'm not a doomer, but since most temperate home or community gardens produce only a third of the year, I am hoping for discussion on eating the rest of the year.

Our family produces about half of what we eat, raising our vegetables, tubers, fruits, fish, meat and fowl. It wasn't PO that spurred our gardens, just being fed up long ago with many of the store products, and raising more over the years. But PO will shift a lot into this. Most of ours is organic-its a no-brainer-we have excess manure and to me the quality increase trumps the marginal increase in labor over pesticides in a home garden. Some thoughts/questions-

Storage determines processing- start with home canning. We do some food this way for taste preferences, but it takes a lot of processing comparitivily, and much more time. In the heat of summer it's no fun over a hot stove or heating up the house. The latter can be cured by a cooking shed or place an old range under the eave of the house and work outside. Still, most home canning seems energy intensive. I've often thought its a waste, in that industrial processes use a lot less energy per unit than what we use on the farm. What's the gain in transport savings?

Any numbers using electric range? Home canners will take 7 quart jars, and will need to “cook” 20 to 50 minutes, variable specs but around 240 degrees and 10 psi.. Total volume jars and water is about 3.5 gal to bring to temp and hold. Used lids should be discarded, cost is about $2/10 pack locally.

We freeze much of our food. Bags are cheap, can be reused, old bread bags will work in a pinch. We use three 15 cubic foot chest freezers, rated about 355 KWH/year each. For an average, one is unpluggged 6 months, another 3 months as stock is rotated out, but varies as different items come in different times. All are in a cool basement, about 45 winter, rarely to 65 summer. I figure roughly about 720 kwh/yr for the system, knocking off 10% for basement use. Very roughly, I estimate about .6 kwh/yr per qt of beans.--beans in system average half year, get approx 45 qt bags in bushel box, 4 bushel boxes in a freezer fill about 2/3 thirds full. Variable is number qts/bushel frozen, time in system.

Freezing problems are primarily with no electricity. Country is overcast or precipitating much of 4 mos of the year, solar out in my opinion. Wind too weak and sporadic also. I think that many of us in the north are tied to the grid and very vulnerable to use freezing for storage.

Use a large root cellar. Probably the best way to go, but doesn't work for many foods. Ideas-had best sucess with carrots and potatoes by waiting till ground is froze half inch, then dig and store. Placing in cellar in dry sand improves quality IMO. Use spare 30 gal plastic stock tank, line with sand, fill with tuber, cover with sand. Most items are getting soft by Ap-May, so there's limit for storage time. For fruit(apple)-choose variety noted for long storage, sauce and freeze or juice the others.

Home butcher-good, esp that you can delay till needed. We don't butcher stock much above 200 lbs save game-hire out mobile butcher, but who knows how long that business will last. Good block and tackle essential. Whetstone always handy. Biggest help yet is a Saws-All with a 12+ inch blade. Few, save Rainwater, can afford a Hobart meat saw. Used a hand saw a long while- gets old in a hurry, end up boning or having all large roasts. Also used to use hand crank meat grinder-keep blades sharp, now use attachment for KitchenAid processor. Age meat 1-2 weeks in the cool if you can.

Dry and curing-not for the north, least here, probably great for others. Problems are high moisture foods, and harvest of so much is not until weather cools or gets overcast. Food rots on rack. Trout and salmon are good for smoking, but I've found the storage is still minimal time length. Summer drying of fish works well, but simplest is wait to harvest.

We've used “Putting Food By”, Hertzberg, Vaughn and Greene, 1978, for reference. For beginning meat, get a used copy of a lab manual for Meat Science. Cheap and excellent diagrams.

Hi doug,

We also can and you are right -- doing it indoors during the heat of the late summer isn't much fun (my wife does the bulk of it and I think she'd probably do it in the buff but for the risk of scalding;^). Like you, I am convinced that the quality of the food is better -- well it certainly tastes better -- and it gives a lot of satisfaction to eat what you put up (we're using the same reference that you are, btw -- "Putting Food By" Highly recommended, very complete).

For the last couple of years, I've been dreaming of a multi-purpose outdoor "kitchen" -- basically a covered stone hearth with a well-designed wood-burning firebox. This would be a small building with side panels that could be dropped for canning or raised to enclose the building for late-winter sugaring (I'm in New England and have the sugar maples). When not being used for canning or sugaring, the space could be used for cookouts, fireside gatherings, etc.

I'm aware that in years past, many communties had community canneries, and this seems to me to be something that every locale ought to consider reviving. These canneries typically had counter space and canners available for anyone to use, and they were also a place where information could be shared. I'm sure that a few of these are still being used but most were probably dismantled long ago.

I've got both a cellar dug into a bank and an outdoor cooking area with a 12 volt fan driven wood stove. It's a hassle during wind and rain and most people would probably prefer to pay higher gas and electricity bills, until they can't.

I think the cellar should always have potatoes in cardboard cartons, pumpkins with some stem attached, string bags of onions hung from the ceiling and corn cobs still wrapped in the leaf. I might try meat preserving but I can't be sure of temperatures below about 15C inside the cellar in summer.

How long you get for corn in cellar? What about starch formation? Our spuds in cardboard boxes have more rot-and when one goes, it leaks down on the others to set them off. Sand mitigates to a degree on both, but it is alot of trouble. We store 400-600 lbs/year, is simpler to take your losses, and we go that way alot. Reds seem to sprout first, russets soften first, kennebec appear best for storage.

Anyone with energy consumption of industrial production? Or ballpark energy for home canning?

Do you put any apples in with your potatoes? This really helps suppress the sprouting.

I haven't done a full year yet. The spuds are all Bintjes and small grown on a terraced hillside. The corn is still growing not helped by summer frosts (I live 43 degrees south). I want to make grits. I'll try the apple idea.

BTW I bought a low energy chest freezer for the garage but I worked out it was cheaper to tightly pack the kitchen fridge. Better to do these experiments before it becomes a necessity.

Making grits.

Tried it but I used yellow corn which is not that good to use.
So I grew some White Hickory open pollen and its perfect. Very large white kernel. Excellent then.

You have to soak it in lime or lye. I used lye even though its dangerous. You just have to rinse the corn after it swells the outer shell. Then while rinsing you get rid of the hard shell and end up with just the interior. After that you need to let it dry til hard then grind it to the right consistency. Just a tad larger than cornmeal.

When you cook the grits down the heat induces the larger amounts of niacin to be released. This is very very good for combating chlorestrol.

Last month in N. Carolina I went to a real waterpowered grist mill and bought 15 lbs of both yellow and white grits for $3.75 per bag.

The old fashioned grits would be strange to anyone used to storebrought grits. My wife and son prefer the yellow as do most in N. Carolina but I grew up with the white and like it better and its less likely to burn while cooking since it has less starch. White is more of a refined taste and yellow is the old country staple.

You might also realize that once the lye/lime pops the shell that you now have hominy. You can can it or just put it in the icebox. Or perhaps let it dry and soak it in water to cook as hominy.

Good luck. Grits make a very fine staple for survival when dried. Cornmeal allows one to make ash pones using the fireplace or campfire.
Just form then and stick in the ashes near the fire. Or just make corn cakes by frying in a skillet, mix in some chopped onions.

Agree that community canners will come back, probably first affiliated with churches. With separate kitchen, question in my mind is always how much energy/time/resources to devote to an endeavor. Once built big smoker, used it couple years, now it sits because rarely have the time to use it. A functional construction should have several uses. Course I don't have sugaring-a big asset.

Here comes a rant - what pisses me off is that people have abdicated the responsibility for their lives for the dollar, loonie, euro or what ever. It used to be that most people produced at least part of their food. They preserved that food. They also maintained the equipment that produced that food. And, the list goes on.

Although preserving food might be a drag in a sexist society, my wife and I like to share it. I do most of the presssure canning since she can't physically handle the presssure canner. I also do most of the juicing since she can't turn the juice press. But, we're there together.

Lots of people could save money and have time to share if they even bought over-sized/warehouse packages and recanned them.

I have seen ads in magazines for garage remakes and I wonder what these people do in their garages. I overhaul equipment (not send it out). I weld, build and seem to manage without spending money that I would have to "earn" for this sort of stuff if someone else did it.

We stopped getting TV about a year and a half ago. Why spend money on something that isn't real in most cases. I'd sooner spend that time preserving food or cutting firewood.

What we have are two generations of people who have few useful skills and none of the equipment necessary even were they to have the skills. Last summer I got a call from a neighbor asking if we wanted some canning jars (for sure) because we were the only people he knew that still canned. Another friend did a canning workshop here and 20 or so people showed up. It was, "Like Wow! you can preserve food." But I'm willing to bet that not one of them went out and bought the equipment.

Ultimately, there are differnt realities between those of us who have not abdicated our lives and those who have.

Todd; a Realist.

My wife and I work together in the kitchen also, take the evening thru fall grabbing apples, whatever from basement and processing. It's a good time-together and can review the day.

Good thread Doug and POT,

So let me add a few things I do. First I get tired of canning tomatoes after about the 5th load and thats water bath canning,not pressure. So I then start dehydrating them. You get the essence of tomatoes in a very small storage area.

I grow quite a bit of cabbage and then make sauerkraut. I use a big crock but found a better methods which uses a 1 gallon jug with a water/air lock on top. It makes in about 5-7 days with no fuss like in a crock. You then can it.

Corn and wheat. I shuck and let dry on the cob.Later I shell. Wheat I get out of the combine. On both I get the moisture down to about 10%,,12% will be ok usually. I then just put in 5 gal plastic pails and use my motorized(also hand crank) steel burr grinder as needed. Better to not grind until you are ready.

You can also hang some types of bean. Just thread then up. All my spices I let dry in the attic and then put in plastic bags.

Beans are no problem storing dried.

So tomatoes,cornmeal, wheat flour, kraut, and beans. I could live on that over the winter. Add some stored onion or dehydrate them as well and some dehydrated bell peppers.

Best to use open pollen corn. Wheat will reproduce true to form.
Save all your seed when things start looking bad.

For canning I have a geat big two burner outside cooker fired by propane. I set it on the outside screened-in porch over the patio and do all my canning out there. Never inside. Its right off the kitchen though.

I store all my sweet potatoes in the attic. They cure and keep very well there.

I use Putting Food By also. Good book.

Let me add one thing I started doing with my garden. I go to the cowpasture a stones throw away and get into the treeline where the cows go to get out of the sun. There is soil has never had a plow touch it since it was first formed by nature. That rich incredible black soil is loaded with good rotted cow and bull manure. I load up my wheelbarrow and put one shovelful under each tomato plant and each cucumber hill also in the cantaloupe(Ambrosia variety) hill and any where else needed.

The growth of these plants are astounding. The produce is indescribable. Just from one shovel full. No chemical fertilizer used. Amazing how unbelievable rich this soil is that has never grown anything but trees.


Please keep these posts coming. I am always interested in low-tech and self-sufficiency info. Its post like these keep me reading.


Don't worry, Tech. We're following the same stochastic as YahooEnergyResources on this thread. In about three weeks we should be up to the part where they start saving human excrement for fertilizer. enjoy. mmmmm.


I have lurked on ER for years. The last I knew you were pretty well drummed out of ER as a Troll. You must be lurking too since you sure aren't posting compared to TOD.

Drummed out? Let us be perfectly clear on this. Tom Robertson banned me from EnergyResources less than 24 hours after i published my very first version of the TrendLines Peak Oil Depletion Scenarios graph. Aug 1st 2004. Premiere illustration of the same presentation that we updated today at TOD.

gee, way ahead of schedule! (last line):

Nice to be south and have such drying. Tomatoes, even with greenhouse starts, are planted in old tires for soil heat retention, even then much are harvested green. Take the whole plant, hang upside down in cool, dark and many will ripen. Some years will get fresh tomatoes until Thanksgiving.

EPA caught in benzene tug of war

Federal environmental officials may be moving to limit the amount of benzene in gasoline, following pressure from Northwest lawmakers who argue that high levels of the toxic chemical in the region's gas supply put residents at risk.

But oil companies are also leaning on the Bush administration to ease rules for Northwest refineries. They say refineries that supply the Northwest would bear some of the highest costs in the nation to control benzene because the gas they produce now contains some of the highest levels of the chemical.

Curious that NW gasoline would have more benzene, but apparently it does.

Oregon has some of the highest reported levels of benzene in the United States and our gasoline is THE major source of that benzene. Why? Refineries in the Northwest rely on crude oil from Alaska that is naturally high in benzene. Most Northwest refineries do not have the equipment to remove benzene when producing the gasoline we use.

I attended the Cool Congregations workshop in Des Moines last Saturday. It seemed ironic that a workshop on personal response to global warming was held on a day when the temp barely rose above 0F (-15C). Average high is 38F. I found the workshop's info very familiar to TODers. They had us calculate our fossil carbon footprint then suggested ways to reduce it by 10% over the next year. My family's footprint came to 51'000 lbs of CO2/yr. Most of the suggested responses were low hanging fruit that I am already doing. For instance they included airline travel in the footprint. I haven't used an airliner since 1973. They suggested using CFCs which I have already done. I was shocked to learn that the workshop's leader had replaced 63 bulbs in her home. Perhaps the American upper middle class is responsible for the majority of the country's GHG emissions. As a renter there isn't much I can do about my dwelling's emmissions. I'm already sitting in the dark and shivering.
There was a representative of the Sierra Club present who showed the EIA chart of future energy use. It showed a big increase in oil use in coming decades. When pressed on the issue of peak oil he said that it was decades away and that much of the of the increase would come from tar sands. I said I don't consider pavement to be crude oil. The definition of oil is now a moving target. Who woulda thunk that the Sierra Club would put out such bunk. He also brought out the boogeyman of nuke waste as if a million to one ratio of fossil fuel waste to nuke waste was too big of a risk for society.
I did get in the idea of Terra Preta into their ears if not their minds as a way to personally sequester carbon. The positive feedback gave me warm fuzzys and made listening to the ignorance of so called experts worthwhile.
Now comes to job of spreading the Cool Congregation's gospel here in little Lamoni. Inspite of the weaknesses of their program it is something very much worth doing.

Today the company doing the seismic testing to find oil started placing the sensors on my property. They decided to go with setting off the shock waves with dynamite rather than bring in the large machine because of the topography and softness of the soil - even though it has been pretty cold here the last few days. Here are pics of the sensors and the back of one of my fields.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A great summary on Global Warming, I really enjoyed it:

Phaeton’s Reins: The human hand in climate change, by Kerry Emanuel

Front page of today's Sacramento Bee showcases an article regarding more freeway construction, and inside is an article on the latest IPCC report on global warming. Missing is any link between household vehicle usage and global warming, and I did some quick calculations for the Sacramento region (1) in advance of submitting a letter to the editor:

VMT per household per day (2): 41.9
Households in Sacramento region (3): 712,886
Total household VMT per day: 29,869,923
US Average Vehicle MPG (4): 19
total gallons of gas burned in region per day: 1,572,101
lbs CO2 per gallon gas (5): 19.4
total lbs CO2 emitted per day: 30,498,764
total short tons CO2 emitted per day: 15,249

I must admit being staggered at the results and wanted some knowledgeable eyes to critique my calculations. Thanks!

1) Sacramento region includes: Sacramento Metro area, Yolo/Solano, Placer, El Dorado, Feather River
2) Sacramento Metro Air Quality District, Page 18
3) Sacramento Area Council Of Governments Population Projections, page 3
4) < a href="http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/12/17/1377/0132
">Stuart Saniford Article on VMT
5) EPA

From your total of CO2/day for the Sacramento region, I calculate that the total daily carbon output to be just a bit more than the mass of a very pure diamond cube (yea, tough to cut!) 10 meters on a side.... don't laugh, if there were enough diamonds on the earth we would no doubt burn them.

Which gets to my point - does anyone NOT believe that coal use will continue to grow at double digit annual growth rates? Isn't coal the obvious replacement for oil and natural gas? Perhaps not in the water suspended form discussed in today's topic, but certainly in some form. Human civilization is unwilling to de-industrialize and most commentors agree that scaling up wind and solar to replace oil and gas will take many years.... and ethanol and biodiesel may never pan out, so the intermediate answer is coal, coal, and more coal.

Below are version updates of my Peak Oil Depletion Scenarios & the new URR Estimates presentation released today:

TrendLines 2007 URR Estimates Update & Intro of Lynch, Bakhtiari & Saudi Aramco Outlooks to Peak Oil Depletion Scenarios

Jan 31 2007 ~ Version update 7.0131
Whitehorse Yukon, Canada

URR ESTIMATES PRESENTATION - TrendLines is pleased to Update our recently introduced Peak Oil URR Estimates presentation above. With this version we have added Saudi Aramco as our 19th Model with its 4.5-Tb URR Estimate. A 4-Year Cumulative Increase line replaces the previous 3-Yr & 5-Yr lines.

a) TrendLines AVG URR: 3087-Gb
b) TrendLines AVG URR less Past Consumption of 1104-Gb (as of 2007/1/31): 1983-Gb (Remaining Reserves & Resource)

Please click link to see graph legend, Background & footnotes: http://trendlines.ca/urr.htm

DEPLETION SCENARIOS - The IEA reconfirmed three Supply records this week. 2006 holds the Annual Supply record at 85.2-mbd. The Quarterly Supply record of 85.5-mbd was set in 2006Q3 & July 2006 has recognition for top Monthly Supply at 86.1-mbd. This is why there is much less reporting of Peak Oil in the mainstream media of late. For the 11th consecutive year, a false alarm by the Peak Oil proponents and alarmists like Kenneth Deffeyes & Matt Simmons goes into the books and further damages the credibility of this awareness movement. Again a year passes where each revised bottom-up type flow analysis Outlook seems to re-confirm that exploration, extraction & refining infrastructure is poised to provide additional capacity of approx 10-mbd by 2012.

In this month's Presentation (above), u will notice the TrendLines Scenarios AVG (thick blue line) of the oil sector's 16 recognized Outlooks. It continues to indicate that a Peak Rate of 95-mbd will be attained in 2020.

This month we've added three new Scenarios: the WOCAP-2003 model by Ali Samsam Bakhtiari (Iran), Mike Lynch's 1996 Outlook (USA) & the Saudi Aramco 2006 Outlook (Saudi Arabia).

In revamping this website's Peak Oil Commentary over the past weeks, it struck me while adding a few more older Outlook graphs of the past sixty years that two of them have not been invalidated despite their age. I have referred many times to the awesome accuracy Michael Lynch's '96 Outlook. Michael has the best record of the seven active forecasters of that time. He is right on target for his Peak Rate of 112-mbd in 2020. His projection had 2006 scheduled for an extraction rate of 84-mbd ... it was in fact 85 last year!! You can see some of the other Outlooks from the 70's & 90's at our Peak Oil Commentary venue. Some did almost as well (Laherrère, IEA & EIA). Others bombed.

Ali Samsam Bakhtiari's WOCAP 2003 is a model that we previously dismissed due to its missed first year target and methodology errors. While the background notes refer to its adoption of ASPO's 1900-Gb URR estimate, that estimate was clearly designated as being limited to Regular Conventional Oil and condensate only. Unfortunately, WOCAP is an All Hydrocarbons model (incl non-conventional crude & NGL) and thus should have adopted Colin Campbell of ASPO's All Liquids URR estimate of 2700-Gb. The Model exhibits baseline conformity with ASPO's & IEA's All Liquids (incl proc gains) for Y2k & 2001 thru 2003 respectively. However the Model's first year forecast had a 4-mbd shortfall. This error magnitude continued thru 2005 & 2006. While Bakhtiari has since touted that his Model did not include processing gains (2-mbd), it is inconceivable to TrendLines that in its reputed fourth year of test runs, the WOCAP team had a 2-mbd error in its preamble baseline (y2k thru 2003). WOCAP supporters have provided EIA data showing conformity. This 2006 data has been dismissed on two counts. It includes figures that have been upward revised since the Model's December 2003 release date; and the fact that Bakhtiari does not show EIA as a bibliography credit in his footnotes. Our representation of WOCAP corrects its dubious URR faux pas and gives the Outlook a fairly lengthy exhaustion era. So after all that, u may wonder why have we decided to include WOCAP at this time? The Peak Oil debate includes a vocal fringe camp that is convinced that Oil Extraction has Peaked or is presently at Peak. Unfortunately the other 15 recognized Models & Outlooks all forecast a post 2010 Decline. Albeit WOCAP has significant flaws, by discounting WOCAP, the only Model forecasting a pre 2010 Peak Date was gone. If there is to be a pre 2010 Peak, it would have been prudent to include WOCAP with the rationale that its prediction of an early Peak Date had greater weight in retrospect than its error of Peak Rate. In the final analysis and whatever the outcome, analysts will agree that Peak Date is more important than Peak Rate. WOCAP-2003 predicts a Peak Rate of 81-mbd with a Peak Date of 2006. Therefore, TrendLines will include this WOCAP model until it is either version updated or some other Model appears to be closer to Peak Date. At the moment, several project a Peak in 2010. If there is no Peak by July 2008, it would be appropriate to declare that other Models are in fact potentially predicting a closer Date and we will likely delete WOCAP-2003 at that time.

The third Outlook introduced today is Saudi Aramco 2006. Located in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco one of the globe's largest producers.

The AVG URR provided by our 16 Outlooks dips this month to 3.468-Tb. As a defined sub-group, these modelers use generally higher URR's than the TrendLines compilation of 18 URR Estimates also on this website. Its AVG is currently 3.087-Tb.

The TrendLines AVG Post Peak Decline Rate is currently 2.3%.

Using the ASPO database, TrendLines calculates that the Hubbert Peak of Regular Conventional Oil passed unceremoniously in August 2005. The same database indicates that a similar halfway crossover of consumption will occur for All Liquids Oil (Conventional Oil plus Non-conventional oils such as heavy, polar, deep water, natural gas liquids and processing gains) in August 2011. While the crossover for Conventional Oil virtually coincided with its Extraction Peak (May 2005), it is unknown whether that pairing of crossover and Peak Rate will occur with All Liquids.

Future Extraction Rates indicated by the TrendLines AVG:
2020: 95-mbd (Peak Year & Peak Rate)
2032: 86-mbd (probable same Supply Rate as 2007 during Decline)
2033: 85-mbd (same as 2006 but on other side of Peak)
2050: 71-mbd
2057: 65-mbd
2075: 41-mbd
2100: 19-mbd
2107: 14-mbd

Please click link to see graph legend, Background & footnotes: http://trendlines.ca/scenarios.htm
See our new Misc Graph Blog, Gasoline Analysis and revamped Comments on Peak Oil, the ASPO Record & our Monthly Report on USA Oil & Natural Gas Stocks at the Energy link.

Freddy, can you publish your standard deviations for your averages for peak production and URR? Will help 'us' try and give some credence to the figures 'we' have produced.

Credit Suisse forecasts an oil plateau starting now.


This is an additional Credit Suisse reference discussing oil plateaus.


It might be worthwhile to gather production forecasts from other investment banks - I know that they have their own interests but so do most forecasters.

Interesting discussion of plateaus.
They seem to po now doubters, but they do not quite rule it out, either. PO thinking is skeakily creeping into the consciousness at high levels...

i must have missed that part; and i really luv the last sentence:

"Personally, we’re a bit of a sceptical about “peak oil” in the following sense: we have not yet seen absolutely compelling arguments that tell us that global production will soon follow the pattern of US production, with net output from older and new fields declining quite rapidly. A longish plateau, and quite possibly from significantly higher levels than we have now, seems equally plausible at current prices. But this is surely one of those areas
where Knightian uncertainty prevails: no matter how good our models, we simply don’t have enough information to even calculate the true probabilities.

That leaves plenty of room for alarmist scenarios since, by definition, they cannot be ruled out altogether. Incidentally, that’s equally true of climate change, and one must simply allow for the fact that some people have an almost religious attraction to apocalyptic prophecies."

What the world needs now, is Love sweet Love, that't the only thing that there's just too little of.

There's certainly been a lot of bile and invictive knocking around here today, guys. Whilst I'm all for giving it to our socalled leadership, I don't see why we on TOD feel the need to be so nasty, agressive and spiteful to each other. It's seems like a waste of time, energy and space, to me. Is it because there are apparently so many males around here who just have to compete with each other and find out who is top doggie no matter how darned trivial the focus of the competition actually is? Isn't it slightly juvenile and unseemly, not to speak of boring? Isn't intellectual arrogance a form of ignorance? Surely the really intelligent person is rather humble, realizing how much one doesn't know and how much more there is still left to know? Isn't the true attitude of the intellectual equivocation and a degree of uncertainty tempered by curiosity, because the world is so uncertain and rather complicated despite the fallacy that one can turn nature into numbers?

I've knocked around a bit and lived in different countries, and what I've learned is, that after a while they all seem to stink, once you learn the ropes and how things hang together. Personally, given my family background, I find it impossible to buy into the "romantic national myth" of any country. Once I learn to read the symbols and understand them, I tend to lose interest, get bord, irritated and need to move on.

Shakespeare wrote in one of his plays that all the world was a stage. America has been the biggest, richest and most powerful player on that stage for a long time. Because of America's shear size and position centre-stage, America is under a different type of scrutiny that most other players. What that means is that when America screws up, people notice at once. Lots of these little countries, that only have bit parts in the great scheme of things don't even get noticed and we don't even know their names or who runs them, they just don't count! But America puts a foot wrong and boy to people see it, because a giant putting a foot wrong can lead to people getting trampled on an crushed.

I live in Europe in really small country where people in general and the intellectual class in particular used to really feel superior to the United States culturally, socially, politically and morally. This was a reaction to the Vietnam war and the problems related to segregation and the Civil Rights movement in the sixties. America was violent and rascist and beyond the pale.

I thought this was a bit unfair, because America had just saved Western Europe from becoming vassals of the Soviet Empire. For me the Russian leadership didn't seem that much more attractive then Nixon. Christ, how times change, Nixon seems like a visionary statesman compared to the loonies in charge now! Anyway, Europe became in reality a giant American protectorate. Europe was broke and busted after two terrible and enormously destructive wars. The continent was smashed into two big peices controlled by two opposing and rival Empires. This irritated lots of Europeans like hell, one can be saved but still resent one's saviour. Britain typified this attitude. In Britain the myth arose that Britain had somehow won the second world war. In truth the only winners were the United States and Russia. Every one else lost. Sure Britain was on the winning side, but they lost vertually everthing they had of value. The country was bankrupt, exhausted, and in reduced circumstances.

The price Britain paid for "victory" was enormous. Put crudely, Britain paid for the war in Europe with its Empire. This is ironic and tragic. The great wars in Europe in the last century, fought mainly to stop the rise of Germany and its demands for an empire too, eventually resulted in Britain and France loosing their empires. It might have been easier and cheaper to let Germany have a bigger slice of the pie than take the risk of loosing it all. I wonder if their are any lessons for the American Empire in all this?

Anyway the victorious United States, much to the shock of British diplomats and politicians, demanded that Britain withdraw from numerous overseas markets and allow the Americans to take them over, in return for helping Britain. Britain could probably have struck a better deal with the Germans rather than an existential fight to the death. It's an odd fact that Britain only finally finished paying off the last instalment of its wartime debt to the United States a few weeks ago!

I suppose if all this has any meaning, and relation to Peak Oil, it's that even an Empire that seems almost invincable, incrdibly powerful and strong, can lauch itself on a disasterous course of action that leads paradoxically precisely towards the end result that one was desparately trying to avoid in the first place, way back at the start of the reel, so far back that hardly anyone remembers the real reason the war started anymore! God, forgive me, my father started it all! And that wars, bankruptcy and disaster often go hand in hand. So, given where the United States appears to be heading, head first towards the rocks at full-steam ahead, maybe there is something to learn from the European experience. A gentle decline is probably preferable, in the long run, to a cataclismic fall.


I think you will find that the Russians had a small part in the winning of the Second World War.

Look up Operation Bragration on Wiki or some such place.

The complete annihilation of Army Group Centre and a 400 x 400 kms rip in the Eastern Front. Isolating Army Group North and stopping on the Vistula.

It was timed to take place at the same time as Operation Overlord.

To make sure that 50 divisions could not be re-deployed to the West.

It will make your eyes water.

As the song goes: 'Armies slung to slaughter and rivers red with gore...'

But yes. The most important post-war development for Western Europe was the American Military Blanket comprising the Marshall Plan and the conception of NATO and the Nuclear Umbrella.

Now. Just ditch your current POTUS and get back to what you are good at.

Simple problem, simple remedy.

I disagree. Read Barbarossa by Alan Clark.

Writerman you are correct. Couldn't have said it better.

Thank you.

Also for a good account of some of the war in the Pacific read
Flyboys by James Bradley. Son of one of the men(a navy corpman) who raised the flag on Iwo Jima.His father never spoke of the war there but his wife said he cried most nights in his sleep the rest of his life. (book titled Flags of our Fathers)

Flyboys gives never before documented data on how the Japanese officers ate the flesh of avaitors they captured. The liver and then the flesh. The Army kept the records secret so the families back home would not have to learn the horrible fate of their sons. They held military tribunals and hanged many of those who were responsible.

He also wrote of the staggering deaths toll we enacted on the Japanese homeland since they would not capitulate nor surrender. More were killed in the firebombing than by the two Atomic bombs. Very good book.

So while the USA fought on the European front it was nothing like the distances and logistics to fight the war in the Pacific.

G.H. Bush was one of the flyboys who narrowly escaped capture on ChiChi Jima where the other flyboys were captured. Eight of them. They all died with valour. All had their heads chopped off.


I'm doing a lot of research right now. Ultra-deepwater, that kind of stuff.

I have never been more confident than I am right now that peak oil is within "spitting distance". It may not be quite on my doorstep, but I can see it from here.

Oh, my —


Hello TODers,

I hope that Cathy Buckle throws in the towel soon and emigrates out of Zimbabwe before it becomes too late. Her postings have been very instructive to me on the Zimbabwe Syndrome. Here is the latest:


I wonder how long before the various TODs are full of similar comments:
He had spent the first sixty minutes exposing the corruption, scams, schemes, smuggling, wheeler dealering, and the downright looting of the country by the elite.

In front of each person was a bottle of safe, clean, pure mineral water and the best brand of orange juice in the country - the one that most people can't afford anymore.

He said the farmers were consumed with incessant "baby crying" as they begged for cheap fuel, seed, fertilizer and tractors.

On the same day as the presentation of the monetary policy, news came of 19 confirmed cases of cholera from high density suburbs outside Harare. Film footage on television showed women scooping basins of murky water out of puddles - desperate after days of dry taps. This is physically just two dozen kilometres out of Harare but it may as well be a world away from the suited businessmen, the bottled mineral water and the orange juice. You have to wonder how it would go down if the next monetary policy took place there - among the mud and the flies, the sewage and the garbage. These are the people suffering the results of the scams and schemes, the looting and smuggling and you can only wonder how much more they can take.
Until next week, love cathy

My goal, if Peakoil Outreach fails, and if I decide that I cannot/will not relocate to Cascadia, and if I can still afford future WWWeb access: is to file similar reports from the Asphalt Wonderland's Overshoot Implosion. Perhaps, as a last gasp measure: I can still snail-mail reports to TOD HQ for posting.

Naturally, I would prefer a much happier outcome, but I have a very hard time determining if the world is making sufficient progress for positive change.

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

Oil-Powered Spending Jag InTrouble

Falling revenues are bad news for a country with few other sources of income

By Marla Dickerson
Los Angeles Times

CHIHUAHUA; Mexico - The majestic ballpark is named the Grand Stadium of Chihuahua. But it could be called the House that Pemex Built.

Oil revenue from the government-owed petroleum company financed the $12 million facility, home to the minor-league Chihuahua Dorados or Goldens. The largest of five stadiums built in this .baseball-crazy northern state since 2002, it boasts luxury boxes, roomy seats and space for 20,000 fans.


But not everyone is happy with this, field of dreams. "It's too big," said longtime fan Rafal Sanchez at a game last summer that drew, just a few thousand spectators. "They should have used the money to build a hospital." Lofty oil prices have showered Mexico's treasury with a tax windfall in recent years.-Last year, revenue from the nation's crude exports reached an all-time high of $34.7 billion, a 23 percent increase over 2005. The bonanza has spurred economic growth and helped the nation expand and-poverty programs and boost essential services to its citizens.

It also financed pricey gimcracks such as sports arenas and government buildings as part of the kind of spending binge not seen in decades.

Public in Mexico nearly doubled between 2000 and 2006, vexing experts who have warned the nation to save more for a rainy day that may be fast approaching.

Mexico's heavy crude, which fetches less than the benchmark West Texas Intermediate, has plunged 31 per-cent since it hit an all-time $64.85 in August. For Mexico, the world'sNo. 5 oil producer, it is sobering math. The nation relies on petroleum revenue to fund more than one-third of public spending, and now production at its main oil field is declining precipitously.

Spending spree

But that hasn't stopped Mexico from burning through its recent oil jackpot like a spendthrift lottery winner. Petroleum sales and oil-related taxes have generated mar. than $335 billion over the past aix years. Officials used some of the wealth to pay off foreign debt and funnel a bit of cash into stabilization fund, which contained just more than $1.6 billion at the end of September, the latest figure available.

That's a pittance compared with Norway, which has a fraction of Mexico's population. The Scandinavian nation and world's No. 8 oil producer has socked awaymore than $240 billion of petroleum revenue into a fund earmarked for pension benefit for its citizens.

Petroleum revenue in Mexico has funded universities, built highways and provided health care to millions. But it also has paid for a giant flagpole in Nuevo Leon, remodeled churches in Yucatan and bankrolled swanky government offices in Qaxaca.

"We've spent this lottery money in an absurd manners" Mexico City political analyst Sergio Sarmiento said in a recent newspaper column.

The distribution of more than $40 billion of so-called excedente, or surplus revenue that exceeded the government's forecasts is so lacking in transparency that a prominent congressman recently called on treasury officials for a full accounting. Legislators "don't know, much less the citizens, really where it went," Moises Alcalde, a member of the conservative National Action Party, said in an interview with newspaper Reforma. "No one knows how it has to be applied."

Blessing and curse

Such cavalier accounting of this precious resource underscores the blessing and the curse that oil riches have bestowed on Mexico. The country nationalized its oil industry in 1938 after decades of control by foreign oil companies. The discovery of a leviathan field called Cantarell in the 1970s turned Mexico into one of the world's petroleum powers and produced a gusher of wealth that leaders vowed to use for the country's development.

But it also has financed plenty of waste and corruption. And it has made citizens and government indifferent to devising a well-balanced tax system as long as more funds could be squeezed from Petroleos Mencanos, or Pemex.

Tax evasion in Mexico is rampant. Businesses and consumers have beaten back most government attempts to get them to contribute more. It's a big reason why the nation is chronically short of funds for roads, police and schools. Mexico's 2005 non-oil tax receipts equaled about 9.7 percent of its gross dormestic product, according to government figures. That's a collection rate lower than that of Bangladesh.

Mexico finds itself dangerously reliant on a volatile commodity to fund everything from army boots to X-ray machines. In the first 11 months of 2006, the Mexican government siphoned $53 billion, or 73 percent of Pemex's revenue, to pay its bills. This has left little money for the company to reinvest in the operation and search out new sources of oil. Production at Mexico's principal oil field is falling rapidly with nothing on the horizon to replace it. Otput at the aging Cantarel field was down more than 17 percent through the first 11 months of 2006.

"oil is a finite resource ... yet the spending has grown tremendously," said Rocio Moreno, a researcher at the independent Mexico City think-tank Fundar. "Mexico's fiscal situaton is very precarious."

So Some officials appear to recognize Mexico's vulnerability. President Felipe Calderon has vowed to broaden Mexico's tax base and reduce its reliance on crude. Federal lawmakers last year passed legislation to commit more oil revenue to the stabilization fund and to lighten Pemex's tax burden to free up more funds for exploration. Still, when they needed to plug a hole in the 2007 budget, lawmakers returned to the same well. Legislators rejected a proposal to raise taxes on soda makers after lobbying from soft-drink bottlers. They opted instead to slash Pemex's budget and to raid the oil fund to boost spending on infrastructure.

"Mexico is addicted to oil revenue," said Alfredo Coutino, Latin America economist with Moody's Economy.com, who said the nation must find other sources of revenue or cut spending if crude production and prices keep falling. "The hangover is coming."

That's particularly bad news for Mexico's states, which don't wait petroleum party to end. State local authorities have limited taxing;: power. Windfall oil revenue has put unexpected billions into their hands in recent years. The law requires that those funds be spent on infrastructure.

But it has funded plenty of baubles and vanity projects as well.

Vacant stadiums

In Chihuahua, Jose Luis Garcia, the state's commissioner of baseball said the five new stadiums represent an investment in family values Sitting in the largely vacant Grand Stadium of Chihuahua while the Dorados lost to their intrastate rivals, the Algodoneros, or Cotton Growers of Delicias, he said he envisioned a day when the ballpark would be routinely packed with families.

We built for the future," he said.

Dorados fan Ordonez said he would see such a spectacle in his lifetime. In the meantime, the septuagenarian said he liked having plenty of room to stretch our . .

This lik a SUV," he said with a grin. "A big expensive one."

Albuquerque Journal Sunday February 4, 2007

Well, if the implementation is Windows Vista, it actually does, but that is an artefact of Mr. Gates hiring moron programmers who can't solve the 3d culling problem with octrees and use bubble sort to find the leading edges, instead. Or is it insertion sort? I can't remember which one is slower. But I am sure someone at M$hit ran a benchmark to make sure they made the theoretically worst possible design decision for the graphics library to force technically inept people to buy a new PC with their OS.

IP, I bet you turned down a job with Microsoft, right? Is that why you have Phd in physics and spend your entire day posting to TOD? Or maybe that is an "artefact" of you being smarter than everybody else? Sorry, this comment was so ridiculous I had to laugh...

He's not the only one..


After reading the Algae-Based Fuels Set to Bloom article and more generally pondering the possiblity that with enough investment we might actually be able to replace all existing crude production with bio-fuels...

I got to thinking about the still relatively known but extremely important phenomenon of global dimming (see here a BBC documentary on the subject). Basically in recent years scientists have found that atmospheric pollution and cloud seeding caused by it have decreased the sun's penetration of our atmosphere by significant amounts (20 to even 50 or 60 percent in places. This negative radiative forcing may be significantly reducing the warming effect that we would otherwise see were we burning fossil fuels cleanly.

This got me thinking: jet trails, among other things, play a very significant role in the global dimming effect. If we were to come to a point where we'd be able to manufacture our yearly 1 cubic mile of oil from algae, jet travel and other cloud seeding activities might not be a bad thing, at least untill we could sequester enough CO2 to avoid catastrophic feedback effects (...and that 'methane hydrates found bubbling up' article mignt be a sign our time is practically out).

A few weeks ago i teased members of the lunatic fringe here at TOD 'cuz one needed a magnifying glass to see "aviation" on the 2001 IPCC GHG Forcings graph. I trust that they noticed "aviation" was eliminated entirely from the new 2007 IPCC graph on Friday.

A few months back we were pondering some charts from this guy...

... and from a quick eyeball-estimate, the overall GHG concentration has reached the point that we need a Pinatubo about every 5 years to spew enough aerosols to cancel the warming effect. A few jets aren't going to do it. Thousands of jets aren't going to do it.

The BCC documentary (linked to above) that I saw posited that "global dimming" could be a major mitigating factor to warming, possibly reducing it by 40%, they said. But I also haven't read the guts of the new IPCC report. So, is this patently wrong? Looking at that graph, it looks like the trend line of the negative forcing effect from stratospheric aerosols is very significant. Wouldn't jet trails be significant there? If so, maybe we should worry about other forms of CO2 pollution first. I don't know if this is sound, but it's a thought.

Oh - and why the steep peaks and troughs of the stratospheric aerosols on the graph?

Those downward pointing spikes are volcanic eruptions. You can see one about 1991 or 1992. That was Pinatubo in the Philippines. Dr. Hansen scaled all the effects in W/m² so that they could be easily compared to one another.

The reports about global dimming are definitely not wrong, but the effect from aircraft is dwarfed by other phenomena. The upward-sloping lines in that graph are estimates of greenhouse gas effects. You can see that while the aerosol contributions are negative, they are temporary. But the CO2 contribution is quite long-lasting, so that as our FF usage diminishes we can expect a dramatic shift toward warming.

We can see also that fluctuations in the solar irradiance are also very small.

Hello TODers,

I hope everyone checks Matt Savinar's LATOC breaking news today--very interesting articles on the importance of Z-Big's Senate Testimony.

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

Hello TODers,

For those wishing for more info on past US-Mex relations, besides my recent 'Last American Warlord' link, please read this link and consider the ramifications of SuperNafta, Pemex's collapse, and the Reconquista Movement:

Does Mexico Really Own the Southwest? by Alan Wall

The average American doesn’t know much about the Mexican War and thinks about it less. But here in Mexico they do think about it—a lot.

In Mexico, everybody knows that "the U.S. took half our national territory." "La Intervención Norteamericana" has been described—by Mexican writer and Nobel laureate Octavio Paz—as "one of the most unjust wars of conquest in history." Not only that, but the loss of Mexico’s northern territories has been used as a reason—an excuse, really—for the economic failures of Mexico compared to the economic success of the United States.According to at least one poll, conducted in 2002 by Zogby in Mexico, 58% of respondents agreed with the statement that "the territory of the United States’ Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico".

Some Americans are shocked to learn that Mexicans actually have a different historical perspective than we do. How dare Mexicans say the U.S. took the Southwest from Mexico? How dare they have a different perspective than us? It’s time for a reality check.

Different nations have different historical perspectives on the same historical events. That’s one reason they are different nations. Of course Mexicans say that the U.S. took (or even "stole") the Southwest! Why wouldn’t they? We’ve got to get over this naïve belief that everybody in the world has the same values, and that everybody wants to be just like us.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?