DrumBeat: February 22, 2007

Rising Prices of Calif. Crude Consistent with Market Changes -- GAO

Price differences between California heavy crude and benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) are "consistent" with changing market conditions and apparently not the result of price manipulation, according to a Government Accountability Office report released yesterday.

...The report concludes these changes are the result of several market trends.

The first is that in mid-2004 Middle East producers began increasing heavy crude supplies, which helped "depress" the prices of other heavy crudes, including California's, GAO notes.

In addition, the report says the U.S. Energy Information Administration noted that increases in global crude prices had caused the prices for light petroleum products -- including gasoline -- to rise more quickly than heavier products like residual fuel oil. That is because these heavier products compete against other fuels, including coal, that are not immediately affected by rising oil prices, GAO notes.

Pipeline building hurdles cleared

A Senate panel cleared the way Wednesday to give petroleum pipeline companies more power to seize land along existing pipelines.

Africa Tops Mideast As US Crude Source

When it comes to supplying the U.S with oil, Africa is quietly trumping the Middle East.

Oil Prices: What Next?

The truth is that we will only know the peak with the benefit of hindsight. My guess is that it’s pretty close. What is clear right now is that oil is a finite resource and that this relentless growth in demand will not be balanced by an inexhaustible capacity to increase the supply.

Oil Shock Potential Reduced

Often overlooked in the oil price collapse of January was an adjustment to the Goldman Sachs commodity index. By reducing the ratio of oil within the basket, Goldmans effectively forced index trackers to sell. This is a somewhat self-fulfilling mechanism, as a lower price would again see an index reduction which would again force sales and on we go.

Homemade Hydro Power Lights Up Tajikistan

Electricity is restricted to three hours a day in the region's administrative centre Khorog. Schools, factories and construction projects have shut down and bread shortages have been reported. Residents are coping with freezing winter temperatures by chopping down trees to burn as fuel and sending children to stay with relatives with wood burning stoves.

...Such hardships have forced Tajiks living in rural communities to take matters into their own hands. Some villagers in isolated and mountainous regions have built mini-hydroelectric stations which can provide electricity for an entire village.

Eni CEO Says One of Eni Hostages in Nigeria Freed

Russia's Upper House OKs Kazakh Caspian Sea Oil Pact

Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, Wednesday ratified amendments to an agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan to divide the northern part of the Caspian Sea bed, including oil fields, ITAR-TASS reported.

Wave power project for Orkney

The world's biggest wave energy farm is to be built off the Scottish coast.

Martha's Vineyard: Islanders tap geothermal energy - the heat beneath their feet

When it comes to alternative energy choices, some Islanders look no further than the ground beneath their feet. Geothermal energy provided by heat absorbed in the earth from the sun offers them a free, clean, renewable energy source for heating, cooling, and water heating in their homes and businesses.

The Economic, Social & Technological Case for Renewable Energy

For 200 years industrial civilization has relied on the combustion of abundant and cheap carbon fuels. But continued reliance has had perilous consequences. On the one hand there is the insecurity of relying on the world's most unstable region -- the Middle East -- compounded by the imminence of peak oil, growing scarcity and mounting prices. On the other, the potentially cataclysmic consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels, as the evidence of accelerating climate change shows.

Bush asked to help states fund fuel aid

A coalition of U.S. senators yesterday asked the White House to release $200 million in emergency funding for home heating because states are running out of money, and winter is far from over.

Nigeria: Intellectuals and Challenge of Energy Crisis

With our enormous petroleum and gas resources, no one in his right senses would expect that in 2007, Nigerians would still be suffering from the scarcity of fuel, kerosene, cooking and industrial gas in the manner we are experiencing such now. Normally, I do not like making comparisons between Nigeria and Botswana because of differences in population size and ethnic composition, but I am constrained to do so here. Imagine the case of Botswana, which imports all its petroleum and gas products, and yet it enjoys a steady supply of these products. The Botswana government maintains a stabilization fund to cushion the harsh effects of fluctuating international oil prices on the domestic consumers.

Nigeria: How I'll Tackle Fuel Crisis, By Yar'adua

The People Democratic Party's (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Umarau Musa Yar'Adua has said that he would encourage the establishment of four new refineries in the country with a view to tackling fuel scarcity.

Deep Concern Expressed about Recent LNG Approval, Offshore Boston

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) is deeply concerned that two offshore, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), projects for Massachusetts Bay were recently permitted.

Imperial rations gasoline to Ontario Esso stations

Gasoline shortages following a refinery fire has forced the closure of nearly a fifth of Imperial Oil Ltd.'s 400 company-owned Esso service stations in Ontario, as the company rations supplies to dealers.

Iran: Unstable, troubled oil giant

Oil production, which peaked at about 6 million barrels a day in the late 1970s, now hovers at around 3.5 million, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). With worldwide production at about 84 million barrels daily, Iran ranks as the world's fourth-largest producer.

Moreover, a growing population and economy, combined with huge government subsidies, is leading to a surge in domestic consumption, according to the energy agency.

South Africa: Country Gears Up to Start Enriching Uranium

Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said yesterday SA would launch a uranium-beneficiation programme before year-end to tighten control over uranium reserves to secure nuclear fuel supplies for SA's growing electricity needs.

Cyprus: No Plans to Involve Greece in Exploration Row with Turkey

Cyprus said on Wednesday that it does not intend to embroil Greece in plans for the offshore exploration of oil and gas amid opposition from Turkey, which has warned the move could fuel tensions in the region.

Hearing to probe climate change and Inuit rights

Inuit activists hope a hearing on Arctic climate change by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will lead to reduced emissions and will help to protect the culture of the northern native people.

Greenpeace asks India to ban common lightbulb

Binding cuts in carbon emissions agreed by EU

Faced with the latest, drastic predictions of the effects of climate change, European countries have agreed to a fresh cut in CO2 emissions of one-fifth and to press for a global reduction of 30 per cent.

Md. House Approves Cut in Car Pollution

The House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved legislation yesterday that could make Maryland the 12th state to force carmakers to slash emissions thought to cause global warming.

Carbon offsets 'harm environment'

The current trend for "offsetting" carbon emissions by planting trees is doing more harm to the environment than good, MPs have been told.

The public is being "seriously misled" by companies peddling carbon offset schemes, campaigner Jutta Kill told the environmental audit committee.

Dutch Employers Fear Cost of New Govt's Green Drive

The new Dutch cabinet's green proposals, including higher taxes on fuel and air tickets, will hurt business and are best dealt with on a European level, the head of the country's main employers' group said on Wednesday.

New Alternative Fuel Directory Features Over 2200 E85 and Biodiesel Retail Locations Nationwide

EU plans more aid for ASEAN energy program

Seven of the program's projects are located in Indonesia, including a 4.2 megawatt (MW) rice husk-fueled power plant in Bolang, North Sulawesi, and a 10 MW palm oil residue-fueled power plant in Riau.

John Michael Greer: Magical thinking

I had a useful reminder of this the other day, thanks to one of the readers of The Archdruid Report, who critiqued my recent post “Technological Triage” with a certain degree of heat. One of his central points was that technology is here to stay, no matter what the future holds, because it’s better than any alternative. “What is certain is that ‘technology’ will not disappear,” he wrote: “...the engineer’s outlook and the scientist’s methods will continue to be applied to problems. And they will continue to provide better results for questions involving the physical world than magical thinking of any sort.”

Tom Whipple - The Peak Oil Crisis: CERA Week 2007

Now, some of you may recall that the Cambridge Energy folks are the ones who don’t believe peak oil is imminent. They believe this so fervently that they are constantly issuing papers and writing articles “proving” that geological limits to the continued expansion of oil supplies are decades away. Thus it seems natural that when Cambridge Energy orchestrates an energy convention, it starts with the underlying premise that the world economy and oil production will continue to grow nicely for at least the next 25 years.

Alternative energy goes after investor dollars

Executives from some of the world's leading alternative energy companies argued their case to big investors Wednesday, outlining why money thrown into the red-hot sector will pay off.

Much of the rationale centered around costs, which leaders of renewable energy firms contend are dropping at a breakneck clip.

Climate Change: Is It Prudent to Wait?

The thoughtful proponents of waiting include Robert J Samuelson of Newsweek who argues that governments and individuals won't accept the required "draconian restrictions on economic growth and personal freedom." David Montgomery of CRA International believes that dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will only be economically viable with some as-yet-undiscovered technologies. Both suggest delay until an aggressive research and development program produces these new technologies.

Kazakhstan Threatens Chevron Suspension

Kazakhstan threatened Wednesday to suspend Chevron Corp.'s license for operations at a giant Caspian Sea oil field and gave the U.S. energy giant a month to come up with a plan to remove hazardous waste.

Non-OPEC nations gain power on energy front

With global oil output barely covering demand, Russia and other countries outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are wielding more sway. They're affecting the price of oil and everything made from it.

Indeed, when world energy leaders gathered in Houston last week to dissect industry issues, their remarks were translated from English into only two other languages — Russian and Chinese.

Unconventional oil: Think of the volumes, not the quality

For decades, doomsayers have wailed that we are running out of oil, and economists have replied smugly that price rises would always bring forth extra supply. A new report from the consultancy, Wood Mackenzie, suggests that both may be right and that will lead to some difficult choices.

Venezuela Orinoco May Top World Oil

Exploration wells in Alaska Arctic waters OK'd

Regulators have approved Royal Dutch Shell’s plan to drill up to four exploration wells in Arctic waters off the northern coast of Alaska this summer.

Shell Says 'Committed' to Qatar's Pearl Project Despite ExxonMobil Move

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is proceeding with the construction of the Pearl gas-to-liquid complex in Qatar, despite a decision by rival ExxonMobil Corp to cancel its own US $7 billion GTL project due to cost pressures.

"We're absolutely committed to the (Pearl) project," a Shell spokesman told AFX News.

Gazprom Returns Gas to Russia

For the first time in six years, Russia is intentionally lowering the export of its natural gas (by 3.7 billion cubic meters as compared to 2006), so as to direct the gas into Russia’s regions. In the pre-election year, Gazprom head Alexei Miller guarantees that 62 percent of Russian territory will be gasified, instead of the planned 60 percent. Gazprom will compensate the extracted profits by changing the structure of gas export. It will make Gazprom more dependent on Russia’s relations with Central Asia countries.

The Year of the Pig and the Coming Trip to the Slaughterhouse

Oil was the latest victim of investor momentum, also known as “piling in” or “piling out”. After the crowd was climbing over one another and reports were being issued daily about peak oil and the energy crisis, the piling in became piling out and we saw a swoon down to $50. There, yours truly removed his bearish hat but has yet to put his bullish hat on. I suspect we may work our way lower for the balance of 2006 barring a major negative geopolitical and/or weather event. Ideally, a retest of the $50 area after many months in an orderly decline would be the most preferred entry point. Stay tuned.

Exponology: [Crap] Happens. Real Fast.

The peak oil theorists at The Oil Drum have analyzed the numbers on China, and the results are pure exponology:

"The increase in Chinese oil consumption in the past years is mostly seen as a recent development, supposedly driven by the industrial development of China. In reality, the growth in Chinese oil consumption has been the same in the past two decades. Between 1990 and 1999 annual oil consumption growth in China was 6% on average. Between 2000 and 2006 the average annual oil consumption growth in China was 7%. Also the 2004 anomaly of 13% growth in a single year is nothing new. In 1993 Chinese oil consumption growth happened to be 10%. This misconception of Chinese oil consumption growth is a typical example of underestimating the power of exponential growth. Between 1990 and 1999, absolute growth was around 2 million barrels per day (mb/d), from 2.3 mb/d in 1990 to 4.4 mb/d in 1999. In the past seven years, absolute growth has been 3 mb/d per day according to preliminary figures, from 4.4 mb/d in 1999 to 7.36mb/d in 2006. If this present trend continues, the demand for oil (and other liquid fuels) in China will grow to 9.2 mb/d in 2010 and 12.4 mb/d in 2015."

But whatever we do, we better tackle the exponents that are killing us softly with their siren songs of an uninterrupted life of consumption and convenience.

Cuba's known for cigars now, but oil could change that

Cuba. The island nation long has been known for its aromatic cigars and sweet rums. But after years of limited oil production on lands around Havana and in neighboring Matanzas province, Cuba is poised for a significant expansion of its oil program into the waters that separate it from the United States. And thanks to U.S. law, Cuba's drilling partners will be working closer to Florida beaches than any American company ever could.

Crude oil prices climb above $60 a barrel

Oil prices jumped Wednesday, topping $60 a barrel for the first time this year as a series of closings at oil fields and refineries combined to spark some supply jitters.

The price of a barrel of crude oil trading for delivery in April rose $1.22 to $60.07. That was the highest price this year and was up more than 17% from a month ago.

Cleaner Coal Is Attracting Some Doubts

A major new study by faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, scheduled for release soon, concludes in a draft version that it is not clear which technology — the so-called integrated gasification combined cycle or pulverized coal — will allow for the easiest carbon capture, because so much engineering work remains to be done.

Expert: Ethanol industry will grow (Someone already posted this one yesterday, but the debate about topsoil in the reader comments is kind of interesting.)

We Can Drive On Solar Power Now

Electric can replace gas in cars; but not if GM and Chevron have their way.

Report warns water crisis looming in arid Southwest

The fast-growing states of the arid Southwest must plan for more severe droughts because of a regional warming trend that shows no signs of dissipating, says a new assessment of the Colorado River's water supply.

The Community Solution – Peak Oil Update 2/21/07

Peak Oil and climate change require a revolutionary approach to all aspects of our lives. To date much attention has been placed on the automobile's use of energy with secondary emphasis on food. But the energy used (and CO2 generated) by the automobile or from food production is less than the energy used in our buildings. Furthermore, building energy consumption has been continually increasing in spite of improvements in building and appliance efficiency. Once more we are reminded that our problems are not solvable simply by improving technology.

There is an article at Schlumberger's (Are Future Reserves Out of Our Reach) - with an interesting sidenote saying that ..

Oversupply of data is another problem facing the industry in this information age. Shell's Platenkamp explained that "the separation of useful from spurious data is beginning to be a real problem." Reddick took the point further, saying that "our ability to acquire data has exceeded our ability to do something with it."


I posted this link on the open thread yesterday. It's a quarter by quarter bar chart showing US personal savings rate. It went negative in the second quarter of 2005, at the same time that we saw a sharp increase in oil prices, which also corresponded to the--so far--all time peak world crude + condensate production in May, 2005.

So, the average monthly Brent spot price in the 20 months after 5/05 was close to two-thirds higher than the 20 months prior to 5/05 and the US Personal Savings Rate has been negative since about 5/05 (which was the middle of the second quarter).

I'm sure that poorer Americans--and those who are heavily in debt--are getting hit hardest right now. If you are spending more than your income, what do you do?

As Jay Hanson, et al, have pointed out, getting more and bigger stuff is more fun than downsizing. It's no fun to put up a for sale sign and tell your neighbors that you are downsizing to a small two bedroom apartment along a mass transit line, or within walking distance of your job.

Why not hang on? After all, CERA is the acknowledged energy expert group, and they say that we don't have to worry about real oil problems for probably decades. And so it goes, with poorer and more indebted Americans losing their homes now.

There was a pretty interesting discussion on CNBC this morning. The general theme was that the housing bust (relative to mortgage lenders) is going to be limited to the subprime market--kind of the same way that forced energy conservation was limited to regions like Africa last year. As someone has pointed out, "Demand Destruction" is a euphemism for "Death and Conflict."

IMO, it is much later than most of think, and "Demand Destruction" is moving relentlessly up the food chain.

One question: Has anyone who has followed my ELP advice had reason to regret it?

Never having heard of Westexas in 2004, and learning about PO, I sold up in Southern CA, moved to Colorado and did the "ELP" thing with mixed results. Positives: Much healthier, relaxed, and more social lifestyle. Negatives: Family lost interest when the sky did not fall (yet) and missed "the good life".

Personally, I now think the scope of what we are facing is beyond ELP's help. Someone said it well: "Until we change the way money works, nothing else matters". We will remain in servitude as long as our labor and wealth is siphoned away through inflation and taxation.

My advice: ELP is a good thing, but make absolutely sure your family is onboard with how far you are taking it.

Francois, Jeffrey,

Thee is nothing wrong with ELP. There's something wrong with us. We have become, in rapid progression, children of nuclear families. It's the sole reference we have.

In a poorer society, either the ones we had here in the past, or those that exist today all over the world, making decisions such as required by ELP would implicate your family, friends, neighbors, your entire community.

We no longer have communities in that sense. Our decisions have to a much larger degree become individual ones, just as we lead much more individual lives.

The danger in that, is the probability that we will soon become far more reliant, once again, on community life. Individualism is as much a product of our energy surplus as anything else is. The more people have the opportunity to travel between communities, if only on TV, the less they are part of any of them.

So yes, maybe there is a problem with ELP: it's based to a large extent on our notion of ourselves as separate beings, which is not where we came from, nor where we're going. Along with all other measures, we have to learn how to build a community. Which will be hard, as evidenced by the fact that even our own families resist what we see as necessary.

Along with all other measures, we have to learn how to build a community.

I agree. That was one of the interesting things about what Richard Rainwater is doing. He is basically increasing his ability to grow his own food and integrating himself into small town life in the Carolinas.

I was just trying to edit the post, but got an access denied return. You were faster.

What I tried to write is that first, ELP is the best advice out there, and I don't at all mean to criticize, and second, that maybe we can slip in a C for community into the model.

I have suggested before adding an H for humanize, for two reasons. First, many things currently done using fossil fuels are likely to be done by humans in the future. As it takes time to learn the necessary skills, one would do well to begin now. Second, as you say above, human relationships are going to be critically important to getting by with less. As human relationships also take time to cultivate, beginning now would be a good idea from that point of view as well.

I have suggested before adding an H for humanize


Seems appropriate.


As I once wrote in a private email to Jeffrey, (back before the TOD comments sections got a much needed enema)I am only 2/3 on board with ELP. My path is EMP. Instead of localizing, I am mobilizing. My issue with localizing is that the next several decades are going to be roiled with not only PO but upheavals in politics and climate. A place that will be excellent in 2015 might be a hell hole in 2020. If one is tied to land, what do you do when the multiyear drought comes?

Throughout history many people have been nomads. Portable wealth and portable skills are another path to survival.

"Throughout history many people have been nomads. Portable wealth and portable skills are another path to survival."

Nomadism is totally not about individuals with "portable wealth and portable skills". Nomadism is tribal and hyper-conservative.

It seems to me that the last thing you want to be when
TSHTF is a stranger in town. You want to be a well-known, trusted local. Someone that people can trust not to just move on when the going gets a bit rough. That's just one step removed from an opportunistic parasite.

Not saying that being mobile isn't a plausible individual survival strategy, but please don't dignify it with the term "nomad".

Some of us are in special circumstances. Traditionally persecuted minorities (religious, ethnic, sexual) do not have a homeland anywhere. However modern outcasts have a archipelago of ghettos to shift through. At the present time, Jews have Israel, but managed to survive for several centuries prior by keeping on the move. If one is a gypsy (Rom) or in a same sex marriage, conditions haven't changed at all. Economic crisis will make traditional scapegoats more vunerable.

The trick is to learn to sense the coming pogrom or witch burning before it starts and pack quickly. I smelled the torches and pitchforks during the 2004 US election campaign, and fled to New Zealand PDQ. As far as mobility goes, a sailboat with a stash of bullion or similar classic lightweight trade goods (loose diamonds, pearls) will take one a lot of places even when the planes are grounded.


On the one hand, your points are well taken. But my point would be along the lines that the Jews did not survive as individuals, but rather as a very communal entity. Ditto Rom, gays, blacks, etc.

Point being, whether your community is fixed or "nomadic", it seems to me that you clearly want to be a part of a community.

Unless your only goal is individual survival, but that's a whole different story. And if the people you are with sense that your game is your own individual survival, vs. the survival of the community, whatever it may be, well, good luck to you.

Actually, there are problems for a mobile survivor, but they are more of an internal nature. It is the 21st (Sky TV) century almost everywhere, and communitites are rather loose and ephemeral. When the chips are down, people will take care of their immediate family above all else. Cousin John or the old lady next door are low on the list of priorities.

The problem is likely to be the problem faced by the Europeans with resources and foresight who fled Europe in the 1930s. They survived, and prospered, while most of their old friends and neighbors died. No matter how comfortable, many of these folks were haunted by what is called "survivor guilt" for the rest of their days. For many people it might actually be preferable to stay in place wherever they are and suffer the same fate as their friends, even unto death. For my part, I have chosen to risk suvivor guilt.

As much as I like your mobility idea, I can imagine restrictions to travel. Toward maintaining the political and territorial integrity of nation states, I could imagine some kind of system which would specify where you belong and do not belong. This could morph into an actual breakup of large nations like the US into regional centers which might develop their own cultural identities and hostilities to outsiders. Traveling could end up being very hazardous subjecting the traveler to robbery.

I do not pretend to be an expert. I just suspect that much of what we count on, one being freedom of movement, could end up being a scarcity.

consider the dinosaurs, the survivors are the smaller - more mobile ones (i.e. birds).

Humanize can mean a zillion different things, though, you'd spent half an hour just explaining which one you mean. Fro some people it can mean the opposite of what it is to you.

The idea is good, the word is not. Adopt advertising tactics: fast and furious. 10 words or less shpuld convey the message. WT has that down for ELP.

Stoneleigh -

I had been thinking about exactly the same thing - adding an "H" to make HELP.

I was inspired by the song "Rehumanize Yourself" by the Police:

"I work all day in a factory
Building a machine that's not for me
There must be a reason that I can't see
You got to humanize yourself...

Rehumanize yourself
Rehumanize yourself"

etc etc

- from their album "Ghost in the Machine"

I agree with the community part - I think it is perhaps the essential part.

I'm frustrated of late with my attempts to implement the things I know I need to do. It's not that we've made no progress, but not enough, and I feel I'm running out of time. The problem is the job treadmill I'm on now - I'm working more and more at a job I know is not going to last, just so I can maintain the pay and benefits (i.e. health insurance) a bit longer. I'm left with not enough time to make the preparations I know I should be making. I can only imagine how I'll feel if I get burned by the very things I expected to happen but failed to take appropriate action.

It's not easy to get off the ride though - the timing is the hard part. But it's becoming more and more obvious that the job is a losing proposition. I've got plans for another way to support my family, and I've got to get moving - I just hope there is time.

We were a community before Katrina in New Orleans (dysfunctional for sure, but a community). Post-Katrina we have become a much tighter community, and more functional. EVERYONE not flat on their back (and many that are) is doing SOMETHING to help. We each search and find some need to fill.

See my to do list today below.

Best Hopes,


My recent favorite bumper sticker "New Orleans - We put the Fun into Funeral"

That's what I meant

Did see you list earlier, too. Impressive.


Your comments on Richard Rainwater on interesting. I would imagine a billionaire would have trouble integrating into a small community. Kinda like the nice gorilla that asks if it is OK to sit on the sofa. "Sure, You betcha! Can I get you banana? How about a bunch of bananas?" The power and wealth differential is huge. I can't imagine how it would work in the long run.

But I wish him well. If you are accurate, he is on the right track. Money will not inoculate us.

I imagine your sources are personal; if there is a link, can you provide it.

It reminds me of one of early TOD'ers (2005) who moved on. Was it Bubba? He recounted a party he attended by VERY wealthy people. He told them about Peak Oil. They hardly blinked. They wanted to know how to make money from it and clearly were planning to buy their way out of any trouble it might bring.

The Rainwater article in Fortune (December, 2005):


The more people have the opportunity to travel between communities, if only on TV, the less they are part of any of them.

It is exactly the feeling that I got, looking around in my own town..

What the heck is ELP?

Economize--Try to live on half or less of your current income

Localize--Minimize the distance between home and work (and/or take mass transit)

Produce--Try to become or work for a provider of essential goods and services

Asebius - thanx for asking - I googled and kept getting Emerson, Lake, and Palmer... ;-)

westexas's ELP is his own creation. His advice to all to prepare for whatever comes down the pipe (or doesn't come down the pipe).

Francois said:

We will remain in servitude as long as our labor and wealth is siphoned away through inflation and taxation.

What would be your situation if there were no government to tax you? Who would supply the roads, water, and police? Who would enforce standards of quality and safety? How would exchange be handled?

These questions are the ones with which i torment myself when I too resent the government stealing part of my income. I have seen in third world countries the result of impoverished governments, and have read about the dire circumstances of people living with no government.

There is a difference between fair taxation (say at the local level for schools, etc, or gasoline tax for roads), and taxing the US population for things such as bloated federal government, wars that benefit the corporate industrialist, and spending the huge social security and medicare surplusses of the past on pork.

And stealth taxes (i.e. through inflation) is totaly immoral in my opinion. During the 19th century we had a money system that had NO (zilch) inflation over 100 years. You could buy in 1900 for a dollar what you could in 1800. So when Cheney says "deficits dont matter", what he means is that the goverment can spend whatever it wants, and send the taxpayers the bill by merely monetizing the deficits - i.e. spreading the cost of the new money over the existing monetary base. And what makes this worse is that the central banks co-ordinate their currency support such that e.g. when America runs a deficit, the bank of Japan prints Yen to buy dollars. All this means is that the cost of our deficits are also carried by the Japanese, and the Europeans, etc.

You got me started!


just choose wisely which company you move close too. not many of them will make it..

I probably should ask a more general question: Has anyone who has voluntarily downsized had reason to regret it?

I sold my car about a year ago. I haven't regretted it at all. I may be cheating because my girlfriend has a car, and we can get anywhere we want using it. I take mass-transit to work, but I was doing that before anyway because the cost of parking downtown is horrendous. I enjoy not worrying about having to bring my car in for oil changes anymore. The rare time I do need a car I either rent one or use flexcar.

actually west Texas. i would like from you a nice list of what company's you think will survive the sea-change in the rules of the game we call civilization imposed by nature because the 'localize' part of your plan involves chaining yourself to one employer. so really doing so without knowing how long said employer will stay alive and kicking is foolish.
of course people like you who are old(50+) and have built up a nice nest egg don't need to worry about silly stuff like this because your no longer in your mid 20's, poor(despite the fact i am one of the few people here in America with a positive savings account), and basicly a wage slave with no land or enough money to get it.

I'll try to post something today or this weekend, but in general my advice has been: "Cut thy spending and get thee to the non-discretionary side of the economy."

In regard to the generational question, I'll have to paraphrase, but Jim Kunstler said that the younger generation(s) are going to tell the Baby Boomers that they screwed things up royally (Social Security comes to mind), so crawl off and die.

I'm still working on ELP, but so far so good. Some more money in the bank, already live close to the job, was tilling dirt in the veggie garden last weekend. Unfortunately the angling is very low now.

Finally got my woodstove installed yesterday!


I was writing a long response to your ELP question, but it just became too verbose.

The short answer is that I have been working toward the ELP scenario for about 5 years now. However, your posts, and the those of the TOD Contributors, have made me decide to "kick it up a notch". The solar water heater will go in this year, as will the bigger garden and edible lanscape.

Mathew Simmons recent admission that we are at peak now was the nail in the coffin, for me.

We will not know who is right about the "peak" date, until after it happens. And thats the point. Once everyone knows, then it will too late to prepare as effectively.

This issue is just too important to chance.

The biggest and best change I made to my life was to be debt free. The most important was to not have kids. (Too many kids without Dad's out there)

Just about everything I do hinges on the possibility of gas at 5-7 dollars a gallon, electric being .25 cent a kwh, and bread being 5 bucks a loaf.

Preperation removes most of the anxiety. I sleep great and enjoy life!

Don't make a wish list, make a work list.

Hello Westexas.


Not yet. But school is finally out this summer and ELP is very much under discussion and within a two year time frame.

Your main point:

''As Jay Hanson, et al, have pointed out, getting more and bigger stuff is more fun than downsizing. It's no fun to put up a for sale sign and tell your neighbors that you are downsizing to a small two bedroom apartment along a mass transit line, or within walking distance of your job.''

Why is this?

For the first two hundred years of the Industrial revolution, Society was governed and controlled by.

Knowing your place
Obtaining needs , rather than wants. (Family food bills routinely took up 50% of a working man's wages)

Ways up and ways out for about 80 % of the population were entirely dependent upon self education in such places as Mechanics Institutes, common in northern industrial cities. This took enormous self discipline, try finishing a 12 hour shift in a cotton mill and then turning up for two hours tuition in mechanics.

The last fifty years has been an out-of-school party for the West.
Automotive freedom has enabled the discipline of proximity to wages, family to disappear and dormer towns, distance from other schoolkids, distance from real daily life to flourish. JHK says it all better than anyone.

In the West, peer group pressure for more goods and a 'lifestyle' at all age groups in society has displaced thinking and learning at all levels, but it has hit hardest in the hapless western working class. Adverts,MSM, Corporatisation have all played a part. A part more akin to a drug dealer than any pillar of society.

Where do you go after a life of 'bigger, better, faster' and ' I want it and I want it now' ?

People cannot fall back into them selves. They have no internal resources such as the ability to think, reason, self entertain, discuss, debate. They were never allowed to!

I am always struck by the powers of reasoning, articulation, vocabulary and knowledge displayed in informal letters by relatively 'uneducated' people from about a hundred years past. Pick any such book up say,concerning letters home from the Somme, Paschendale, The ACW or any political pamphlet and you will quickly see the difference.

In a world where the posession of objects takes precedence over posession of knowledge then ELP is heretical thought to almost any western adult. Independent thought is not at a premium in a world which requires conformation. That is why western schools have been failing youth for the last 30 odd years. Who needs thinkers in a world requiring drones and cubicle dwellers?

It will not be possible for most people to respond to ELP in any rational way. It is outside their highly conditioned world view. People know of no other way. It is not their fault: They have been trained by the system since birth. Welcome to the Machine. Thirty years of advanced psychological conditioning sucks independent thought out most humans. The system has done a good job.

All you can do is quietly inform those you think capable of listening and then hope they work it out for themselves.

Very well put, excellent observation on the Somme, ACW etc...

I call it "Bread and Circuses" syndrome, feed 'em and entertain 'em and they will march to oblivion without ever cluing in...

Agreed, and a rather similar argument to John Michael Greer's Magical Thinking article linked above:

Peak oil is a case in point. What happens when world petroleum production begins to decline, as it will most likely do in the next few years, has very little to do with physical questions. The forces that will take the lead in the opening phases of the deindustrial age will be political, cultural, and psychological, not physical.
Since this latter problem could not be solved by “the engineer’s outlook and the scientist’s methods,” in turn, it has not been solved at all. This is the downside of the superlative technological efficiency of our age: those things we can’t do with our machines, or with ways of thinking that evolved to manage our machines, we can’t do at all. Thus discussions of how to respond to peak oil, when these have not simply been exercises in denial or Utopian fantasy, have tended to focus on finding ways to redefine the issues in technical terms so they can be dealt with by technical methods.

To my great surprise, studying up on peak oil has transitioned from a technical journey into more of a spiritual one. Before now I never realized how small the box I lived in really was...

Wow. Very well put. My compliments to you.

I have some letters from over a 100 years ago. I have always been struck by the penmenship in them.

As for ELP. A minor success or two to report. I just moved into my new condo. I bought one with the thought in mind of what I could afford on half my salary. I'm sure my realtor and mortgage broker thought I was crazy. What I am really happy about is that I think I finally broke the addiction to cable tv. Moving in was the perfect chance to follow up on what I had been threatening for years, to do away with cable. I have broadband internet but no cable! Break out the books!

I generally agree with the above assessment for the US, but I would never have written the above about New Orleanians. We have our own unique dysfunctions but it is hard to formulate them in contrast to your post. Something to ponder.

In a number of neighborhood planning sessions post-Katrina, I had zero pushback to the concept (as I formulated it) that" we have seen just the first breezes of a coming oil price storm". Several times I was asked in neighborhood meetings by working class blacks about the price of electricity (in the future) for streetcars vs. diesel for buses. A very valid concern that also shows a level of critical thinking and analytical ability.

Best Hopes for New Orleans,


From Smirking Chimp:

On Friday, the government reported that net capital inflows reversed from the requisite $70 billion to AN OUTFLOW OF $11 BILLION!

There are lots of numbers there, but no citations of primary sources, so I'm a bit skeptical. Still.... it is what I've expected for some time. The tip will be fast as the financial community jumps on the wagon. If indeed this is happening.

cfm in Gray, ME

Could the negative savings rate be due to changing demographics? More retirees means less going into savings and more coming out. It may be decades before savings rate improves.


I'm involved in an arguement with a moron claiming Rail Travel is more dangerous on a VMT basis than driving. Can you toss me some quick links to disprove him?

He posted this:


But I look on p44 and get Bus deaths at 0.63/100,000,000 miles
and p51 and get Rail at .46/100,000,000 miles

when I go here:


I get (for 1997 to compare apples to apples)

1.6/100,000,000 miles for auto deaths.

Before I call this person a big fat liar and a retard, can you back these numbers up? (I've given up trying to convince him, he obviously has an axe to grind, I simply don't want other people reading the debate to think he is right)

Can you wait till tomorrow ? I am heading out the door to

1) Meet contractor & inspect work on elderly man's shotgun repair & improvement (85% complete)

2) Do personal errands for psychiatrist in residency to help her move back into her flooded home (She has the toughest job in town !)

3) Attend planning meeting

4) Attend Congressional hearing on New Orleans housing

5) Lunch about streetcar plans with fellow advocate

6) Inspect friend of friend's home for suggestions for repairs & improvements

Busy day today after rain yesterday.

Best Hopes,




What am I going to do if you don't answer right away? Send dmathewws1 to your house to abuse you over your capitolisitc pig-dog non new-age life style?


Have a nice day...

Best hopes for not hitting your thumb with a hammer.

In 2004, passenger vehicle fatalities per 100,000,000 miles were 1.42.


Passenger vehicles include cars, light trucks, suv's, but not buses and not trucks with gvw >10,000 lbs.

The best advice I have seen related to PO and climate chnge is don't waste your time talking to those who refuse to be convinced. Future developments might convince them but spend your time with those who are open to hearing and those who help keep you feeling hopeful and don't drain you.
Statistics can become a mugs game. I bet through human history walking is the most dangerous form of transportation.

Climate Change: Is It Prudent to Wait?

The thoughtful proponents of waiting include Robert J Samuelson of Newsweek who argues that governments and individuals won't accept the required "draconian restrictions on economic growth and personal freedom."

Samuelson might be right about what The Masses and their Mommy "won't accept" for now. But for now we still have one foot in this World of Plenty. We can still afford the Luxurey of our current standards (including our current "morals and ethics").

Now fast forward to an energy-starving world 2,5,10 or whatever years into the future.

The terms "draconian restrictions, economic growth and personal freedoms" will mean something entirely Different then.

What will people "not accept" then?

After Nature has started in earnest to impose "draconian restrictions" on Homo Sap, will the masses patiently wait for "Cleaner Coal," or be able to care less about carbon emmissions?

Maybe it is a good thing we spend so much time on Global Warming now, while we have the luxury to do so and The Masses are still passive.

Samuelson is the thing I regret most about my MIT education. How many tens of thousands of grads did he infect with that sort of thinking about economics? Dumb undergrad, I didn't know Galbraith was teaching down the street or what might be the difference. I want my money back. Plus interest plus missed opportunity cost plus value of planet destroyed.

cfm in Gray, ME

Isn't this a different Samuelson.

He thinking about Paul Samuelson, but I don't think he read the text too carefully, as opportunity costs are inescapable.

Edit: I would add that there is little that Samuelson and Galbraith would disagee on, including the evident fact that Samuelson was much more adept on the technical side of economics.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding of the economics discipline in these discussions. Above all there is a tendency to convey economics as monolithic, especially on the resources question. Two of my favourite economists, James K. Galbraith, John's son if I'm not mistaken, and Robert Heilbroner also wrote an economics 101 text and I quote:

"All industrial nations may be facing an era in which economic growth begins to absorb resources at rates faster than we are able to provide them with new technologies; and all industrialized societies--indeed, the whole world--may soon enter a time in which environmental limitations come into conflict with expectations of growth." (The Economic Problem, Ninth Edition, 1990, p.686)

And don't forget Kenneth Boulding, a great. albeit lesser known economist who used to teach at the University of Colorado, among other places. I was fortunate enough to take a couple of courses from him.

I nominate Tom Whipple for president. Or at least for international syndication.

I second that nomination. I mostly skim PO articles, but I always read a Whipple. This is so spot-on:

"There is a subtle distinction here that we all need to understand. If future oil shortages are caused by geology – simply running out of oil that can be produced at affordable prices – then peak oil is inevitable, a God-given fact of nature. On the other hand, if oil production peaks in the next few years and if it is caused by people –-wars, restrictions, nationalizations, and an irresponsible lack of investment -- then there is still hope for a bright prosperous future."

If there is ever a TOD "award" for best PO writing, which maybe isn't such a bad idea, who would deserve it more?

I agree and I think it is a FANTASTIC idea to give out PO-Awareness awards in the media.

Tom is the most eloquent PO-Aware spokesperson out there right now. He also writes in such a way as to not provoke panic and insanity. Kunstler is good as well, but doesn't care who he p*sses off.

A really good idea! Someone below suggests several awards. I agree, but would carefully limit the number of categories. I would suggest an editor's award for best single piece, which could be an essay, or a book, as a way of elevating this category. Otherwise, the awards would be people's choice. A separate and ongoing thread allowing people to nominate, discuss and debate the merits of different nominees would be invaluable.

Deadlines for nominations, discussions, votes and awards ceremonies are essential. The ceremony could be on-line, but I would recommend searching out the highest profile person willing and available and conduct the ceremony at the ASPO-US conference.

I would award an, wait for it, Oil Drum (a small one)

This effort would achieve many objectives, including the attention of other media, though to be realistic, I wouldn't expect that the Oscars will feel any heat. But it will increase exposure and provide a good starting place for newcomers to the subject.

TOD staff?

I can see it now...

"The Oily"


"There is a subtle distinction here that we all need to understand. If future oil shortages are caused by geology – simply running out of oil that can be produced at affordable prices – then peak oil is inevitable, a God-given fact of nature. On the other hand, if oil production peaks in the next few years and if it is caused by people –-wars, restrictions, nationalizations, and an irresponsible lack of investment -- then there is still hope for a bright prosperous future."

PO people, it is important not to forget the parameters of the cornucopian paradigm. 'simply running out of oil' will not happen because as oil extraction becomes more expensive, we will simply segue into using cheaper alternatives and ultimately, the remaining oil will just get left in the ground because we are using something better.

It is becoming possible, even now when we aren't sure we've passed PO, to turn the tables on the 'There Is No Peak Oil' (TINPO) crowd. When they tell us that fillintheblank will be the next big energy source, we can say, "Oh, they have been saying that for years, and it hasn't happened yet, so how do you expect me to believe that nonsense?!"

Sunspot -

Maybe we could have our own PO "Oscar's"

Best writer:

Best Graphs:

Best Science:

As another nominee for PO writing I'd have to include Dimitry Orlov (spelling??).



I don't know how to post images in comments so I was wondering if you would mind posting the margin debt graph from your link to the Grandich report above (the one about the Year of the Pig). It's quite illuminating.

So now margin debt is back at the same level it was when the NASDAQ bubble burst in the first quarter of 2000. Interesting. I am not holding any stocks other than gold mining stocks and a Canadian oil & natural gas royalty trust known as Enerplus Resources Fund (ERF).

Not investment advice but if you look at historical correlations with gold and gold stocks, you are better off with your exposure to the metal directly. You simply won't get the fantastic gains in gold stock, than you would in gold itself. This is all based on your belief in gold anyway, so why not enjoy the full benefits? Newmont expects costs per oz to increase this year. DO you think costs will rise even more?

Worst case, go grab some gold etf's instead of gold stocks. Again, these are exposed to the spot metal price. Just 2 cents.

Your advice is sensible but consider this:

Royalty companies like Royal Gold (RGLD) and Tan Range Exploration (TRE) don't operate the mines but simply collect royalties that are tied to the price of gold. I think they provide a lot of leverage and will soar in value if gold goes up.

Also the increase in cost of production for companies like Newmont Mining (NEM) will not matter if gold ultimately soars above $1500/oz which I think will happen within 3 years.

sorry.. but here we go with the totally off topic discussion. 'investment advice'
please remind me why these posters are not told to 'take it elsewhere' and then banned if they continue?
oh right, because it's the 'approved' type of spam. sorry about pointing out the hypocrisy here. just carry along and do what your doing. :S

Well...I think we tolerate almost any discussions here as long as no one is stalking a particular poster, calling everyone *ssholes, or hogging all the board space with endless monologues.

well the name calling is a given, but as i pointed out there is software available for boards and blogs that automatically filter said words out. by scrambling them with random characters or refusing to post the comment if a post has them in it.
though that bothers me is reasons that was given for the recent banning and yet here it is.
spamming the board with junk. in this case stock market advice only in this case the only people replying(which in this case is me) do not contain such harsh words but a sign pointed out the hypocrisy of the situation.
though i really doubt all but a few will see it. many would have blinded their own eyes by greenman's firefox extension because they can't take the sight of people with different thoughts then theirs.

The issue for me was signal/noise ratio, not content. The Firefox extension made the emotionality tolerable.

Thanks Leanan. It's interesting to note that margin debt has got as out of hand as it was at the peak of the dotcom bubble, indeed slightly more so. Leverage is a help on the way up, but a killer on the way down as it acts to amplify the decline. Investors have purchased assets with borrowed money - betting that the value of those assets will rise and that there will always be a greater fool waiting in the wings to buy the assets however inflated the price becomes. If the value of those assets falls instead, because the supply of greater fools with money has been exhausted, then a vicious circle of margin calls, asset sales, depression of prices and more margin calls can be sparked off.

Here is an excerpt from Buzz Bits at Minyanville that was posted yesterday:

Something else that’s notable is NYSE Margin Debt. I’ve been poo-pooing the concern about this number over the past couple of years, since analysts kept referring to how high the number was getting, how it was approaching the levels of the bubble years in 1999/2000, but they kept neglecting to mention free cash balances - the asset side of the brokerage-firm ledger.

Using a more balanced view, we can calculate a "net worth" indicator for brokerage firm customers, subtracting debts (margin loans) from assets (free cash balances). This indicator suggests that we're nowhere near the deep indebtedness we were in 2000.

However, after this figure had almost turned positive last summer - a major buy signal - it has reversed course in a fairly big way. The current reading is -$39 billion, the 2nd-lowest figure since November 2000. The two other times it approached this level were July 2005 and April 2006 - neither of which was a good time to own stocks when looking out over the next 1-3 months.

There's definitely a lot of complacency out there, but there hasn’t been a lot of outright, throw-caution-to-the-wind kind of trading activity in terms of aggressive call buying, Bulletin Board volume, inflows to speculative leveraged funds, or similar signs of excess. Given these two data points, though, we have to take note that that's beginning to change.

Draw your own conclusions....

Weekly Natural gas inventories:
Last week saw a drop of 223 Bcf to 1865 Bcf. This is 13.7% below last year's level, but still 10.8% above the five year average. These percentages have been dropping rapidly over the last month.

And the petroleum inventories came out today, too, because of the holiday:

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending February 16, 2007

Inventory report shows big decline in refined products, but crude supplies rise as stockpiles of gasoline and heating oil decline.

Total commercial petroleum inventories plummeted by 11.1 million barrels last week

This is the third consecutive week that I've noticed that total commercial inventories have dropped over 11 million barrels.

Which means what?

As you noted earlier NASAguy, last week's chilly weather drove this week's large number. Storage volumes have dropped by 700 bcf in a mere three weeks.

By my calculations (using AmericanOilman's numbers), current volumes are 15% above the 2002-2006 average (1621) but 31% above the 2001-2005 average (1386).

Next week's number is difficult to forecast. The balmy weather that graced southern WI over the last three days has given way to colder temps and wind advisories. Snow is forecast this weekend. I'll go with 130 bcf for Week 9.

History tells us that there are five more weeks before withdrawals turn into builds. Storage should land in the 1450 bcf range.

Since I've been reading about peak oil, coal production, and natural gas production on Internet, I'm concerned that natural gas production may a more serious problem then peak oil?


I am only a reader of peak oil, oil drum, and energy bulletin and have no expertise in the energy area.


Ghana: The Cost of Power Rationing

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has lost revenue estimated at 140 billion cedis which it could have collected as taxes for government last year. This was due to the ongoing power rationing programme of the VRA/ECG...


Recall waaaay back during the mini-recession of the first few years of this century.

What happened to government spending in Your Locale as the tax base started to implode? I recall revenue "projections" that failed miserably and sudden, unanticipated spending cuts galore.

Our next "recession" the multi-centuries old Homo Sap Growth Bubble pops across the whole globe for real. I wonder what happens to Mommy Government's purse this TimezUp?

there is really no need to ask that question. the answer is pretty obvious. it will shrink faster then a shrinky dink.

Weekly Oil Inventories:
Crude + 3.7 million barrels
Gas - 3.1 million barrels
distillates - 5.0 million barrels

Over the past 3 weeks total stocks were depleted by 33 Million Brl's.
Total product supplied exceeded 22 Million Brl's/day for the first time.

Not quite. Biggest ever product demand was 22.156 million barrels - Dec 16 2005

Thanks I needed that. There is nothing that combats laziness more than being embarrassed by the facts.
However if we have another high 21 or a 22 it will be the highest 4 week avg to date.

And total commercial petroleum inventories plummeted by 11.1
million barrels last week. Why does no one comment on the total figure?


Edit: oops. looks like someone has.

I'm sure this has been brought up before, but is there anyone out there with advice on investing in these times? Economic uncertainty abounds. On the other hand, energy stocks will be making a "killing" and there are also bound to be a few wildly successful alternative energy startups. I'm most keen to invest in alternative energy solutions but I also realize that these are also riskier than the O & G majors. Can anyone recommend one or more mutual funds for the PO-aware investor and/or solid reading material? Preferably funds with a high percentage of alternative energy companies with risks hedged by holding some conventionals.

PS - I don't have anywhere near the minimum $5 million dollars required to get in on Mr. Pickins' fund.

Lastly, I think investing in energy alternatives would be a good topic for an article or even a series. I'm certainly not advocating reducing TOD's moral fibre to a profit seeking mentality. However, to the extent that investment in energy alternatives or even new economic paradigms will speed the transition to a post-peak world I think it's germane. I know about the ELP concept. My question is what to do with savings. ...I know, as an American I'm in the minority there.

Excerpt from an earlier thread where I posted:

Investment advice? Overweight energy (personally I'm at 38%), overweight International Stocks (US dollar hedge), avoid adustable rate debt at all costs. At least 5-10% exposure in precious metals (Pt, U exposure is a must) Underwieght financials. For those with deeper pockets, Dec 10 $70 crude calls look like a sure winner at 5.78

Particulars: Vanguard Energy Fund VGENX $25,000 min
Fidelity Select Energy $3,000 min
Uranium Participation Corp U on TSE
Frontier Resource Group FRG on NYSE Au, Ag, U

Not so much "alternative" energy exposure in the above funds.

I've been pretty happy with VGENX. I also have OPGSX (Oppenheimer Gold Fund). Both of these are in tax sheltered (retirement) accounts.

If I was going to invest in Precious Metals in a taxable way - I would hold the actual metal.


Besides selected oil & gas stocks, I have a diverse portfolio of international hydroelectric stocks. Both utilities and merchant providers. And some railroads (Canadian & US).

Best Hopes,


Invest in companies which build wind turbines and companies that build windfarms.

Iran defies deadline to halt atom work: U.N. watchdog

Iran failed to suspend uranium enrichment activity by February 21, ignoring a U.N. Security Council deadline to halt work the West fears could give Tehran an atomic weapon, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog said on Thursday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency also said in a report that Iran had installed two cascades, or networks, of 164 centrifuges in its underground Natanz enrichment plant with another two cascades close to completion.

This represented efforts to expand research-level enrichment of nuclear fuel into "industrial scale" production.

It said Iranian workers lowered into the plant an 8.7-ton container of uranium hexafluoride gas (UF-6) to prepare to start feeding centrifuges, which can enrich the material into fuel for power plants or, if refined to high levels, for bombs.

Iran's defiance of a 60-day deadline set by the Council when it banned nuclear technology transfers to Iran on December 23 will expose Iran to wider sanctions over its atomic energy program, which the West fears is a front for assembling atom bombs.

Tehran says it is seeking nuclear-generated electricity.

Yes, here in the U.K. I am also very worried about Iran. I am worried that they strap their 5% enriched Uraniam to the back of a firework. As a precaution I have bought 17 rolls of tin foil.

Alternatively maybe I won't read all the shite and spin that dribbles in little brown rivulets from the mouth of big brother and the MSM.

Please tell me HeIsSoFly that you are only posting this out of mild intersest and you are not actually worried about what Iran are doing!

The only thing I (mildly) worry about is oil supply disruption because of military intervention.


Marco wrote:

Yes, here in the U.K. I am also very worried about Iran. I am worried that they strap their 5% enriched Uraniam to the back of a firework. As a precaution I have bought 17 rolls of tin foil.

Marco I am in the UK too, its not Iran but our poloticians that worry me.


More defiant, unapologetic and convinced of his rightness than ever, Tony Blair has insisted he takes no responsibility whatever for the violence in Iraq.

But I have to say there is no need to worry Iran will not be attacked:


UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that diplomacy, not military action, is the best way to resolve the stand-off over Iran's nuclear programme.

We can all sleep easy tonight!

It's been interesting recently to watch Tony Blair distance himself somewhat from American policy. I wish I could say 'yeah show your independace Tony'. But I fear his motivation for this new behavior is the result of American voters showing their distaste at Bush for the war; and Tony learning something from that!

I digress from TOD. Apologies.

Ya...what's odd about the whole UK pullout is that with this going on, Prince Harry is going over with the "Household Cavalry"...whatever that is.

So, the UK is pulling out, but in the meantime we are sending our most popular prince in harm's way.

Prince's Iraq tour confirmed


Prince Harry was said to be "over the moon" yesterday in spite of fears that he will become a terrorist target, after the Ministry of Defence announced that he is being sent to Iraq with the Household Cavalry.

Let's see what is going to happen on the Iran issue.

We are planning a LEGAL strike.


We hope Oil Drummers get what happened right.


We think they got infomation requested.

Sunday, January 07, 2001 5:52 PM
Dear Friend,

we saw some of these documents http://www.prosefights.org/buehlerpayne/buehlerpayne.html but we would like your commentary about what happened and all circumstances so we can post it on our website but as well as a report to the mailing lists.

With thanks

On behalf of SMCCDI

A. Zoubin ( Information Committee) http://www.iran-daneshjoo.org/

Wednesday, January 17, 2001 7:10 PM

Dear Friend,
A stand for Ahmad but why this question?

Mild interest? No, bit more than that. This is the stick that was asked for, the equivalent to Iraq's WMD's.

I'm not worried about Iran, I'm worried for them, and after that all of us.

They won't attack, they don't have anything resembling the means to do that, even if they were so inclined, but they are of course preparing to defend themselves. They won't go gently into the night.

On a more serious note than my original post, I agree with you 100% The rhetoric makes me cringe and everyone is thinking 'here we go again'.


I'm not worried about Iran, I'm worried for them, and after that all of us.

Strange priorities, the game may be about MORE than Iran and Oil even if the proximate pretexts are about Oil.

De-construction of Russia: The ‘ultimate prize’ :

This was precisely what Cheney had alluded to in his 1999 London speech. Get the Middle East oil resources out of independent national hands and into US-controlled hands. The military occupation of Iraq was the first major step in this US strategy. Control of Russian energy reserves, however, was Washington`s ultimate ‘prize.’


Former US National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, writing in the post-Soviet era in 1997, drew on Mackinder`s geopolitics by name, in describing the principal strategic aim of the United States to keep Eurasia from unifying as a coherent economic and military bloc or counterweight to the sole superpower status of the United States.


Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;

Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;

Who rules the World-Island commands the world.

they are really doing the smart thing. jumping one sinking ship(oil) to another sinking ship that has not sunk as far due to the lack of people using it(uranium). to keep the lights on and their people happy while freeing up more of their (oil) to sell to people like russia and china along side the u.s.
of course having a intact iran that is not suffering or under the thumb of the U.S. as they encircle china and russia to prevent them from grabbing what our admin and our country foolishly think is their god given right to have their natural resources really irks them.

I posed this question a couple of days ago, but somebody else was apparently bored enough to come up with an answer:

Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-Hours a Year

Looks intersting. How about a black background with yellow characters?

Great contrast and visibility.

Ugh. I hate light text on dark backgrounds. I always use the MenuX extension to force it to white when come across a black web page. Or the accessibility option in IE, if Firefox is not available.

Ouch, so there, take that on the chin, driving chimp.

Hey, I don't drive all that much. Walking to work is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Black webpages...ugh.

I think he was ribbing Matt about the LATOC site.

The LATOC site is a nightmare when it comes to accessibility.

Yup, I was. Am. Will.

Was looking for Dale Allen Pfeiffer earlier today, The Mountain Sentinel is the same story. I'm not even going to try, I get exhausted.

I understand Pfeiffer recently started something called Peak Labor. If anyone has a URL for that, please post.


i don't like them either
so i never read his site

CL M07 6181 6233 6113 6200 + 47
CL Z07 6373 6484 6359 6460 + 73
CL Z08 6456 6540 6456 6546 + 64
CL Z09 6450 6550 6445 6529 + 94
CL Z10 6410 6470 6410 6450 + 75
CL Z11 6415 6415 6415 6415 + 90
CL Z12 6250 6250 6250 6250 -45

I just went from reading the lastest posts on TOD over to CNN.com. For some reason I really noticed all the headlines.

*Sanctions loom after Iran deadline
*Deadly gas added to insurgents' arsenal | Video
*Prince Harry to lead tank unit in Iraq | Video
*YouTube posts lead doc to autistic woman
*Gay hip-hop artist tries to take back f-word
*Cop staggers from blast seen on dash cam
*Man with sword mistakes porn for rape | Video
*'Desperate Housewives' star has twins
*SI.com: Women to get equal prizes at Wimbledon
*Britney Spears' ex gets emergency hearing
*Don't dog 'vulnerable' Britney, comedian says
*Tire-sized calamari rings? Half-ton squid reeled in
*CNN Wire: Latest updates on world's top stories

Mostly nothing but "junk-entertainment-news". Seems like a pretty big up hill battle to "get the word out" regarding PO.

I've long been fed up with MSM, but I'm also afraid that this is what people want to read. They may just respond. Take a look at the "news site" Huffington Post. One third of the page is gossip headlines.

Mass media companies are for-profit endeavors. To this end, they need you the viewer to continue to come back over and over again. They in effect need to control you to be successful.

They do this by offering entertaining fluff. It requires zero thought and it makes our lives seem easier when we see the problems of others exposed.

Real news requires critical thinking. And that's hard, but it does lead to personal freedom.

Mass Media can’t be trusted to communicate information that’s truly important. It’s more a tool for controlling the masses, not something that will set them free.

I think the truth has always been a background topic; it's just exacerbated by mass media. Not everyone wants to think hard, or consider the consequences of the trends around us.

Anyway, I gotta run. The Anna Nicole Smith hearing is going again and I hear her and James Brown will be the first ever dead celebrity couple to get married…

The MSM is definately part of the "iron triangle" of deciept and their web makes it so hard to convince people of today's real problems. When I try to explain what's going on to people I need a good two hours to cover everything and convince them why they won't hear about the real issues watching the news. After that it usuallly takes a couple weeks of reading and digesting before it sinks in that they've been lied to and manipulated for years. It is really hard for people to understand and except that and tends to change their outlook on just about everything.

My question to you guys is when/if you bring up 9/11 into the peak oil, iron triangle debate? That one for me was the hardest to come to grips with, and the part that immediately raises people's "crazy conspiracy theory" red flag, but it is so essential to the whole story and how everything ties together.

Jturpin noted above that the mainstream news is a "for-profit" operation, and that is a key to understanding how they cover peak oil. I don't think it is a black conspiracy or an "iron triangle", it's just a natural outgrowth of what will happen in a for-profit industry.

In order to succeed, television news needs to provide entertaining video. They can do this with some news stories, but not others. Global warming stories offer an endless variety of gripping video possibilities, from raging hurricanes to starving polar bears. For this reason, global warming has received a lot of attention in television news. Peak oil, on the other hand, has lousy video options - an abandoned oil well followed by an interview with Matthew Simmons telling you how bad it is. This is not to say that television is always the worst way to get news. Televised weather reports with satellite images are often better than a written weather report. Video highlights of significant events are useful. But peak oil is an uninteresting story as far as video is concerned.

We should also be aware that images in general and video in particular can be very powerful in manipulating people's emotions, and they can be very misleading. We have to be very careful about getting our truth from television.

Peak oil does better in Books, magazines and newspapers, although many of those will present only one editorial perspective. Peak oil does even better on the internet, but the internet requires a person to be able to sort out the rubbish from the good stuff.

I think there is a consensus here not to start on 9/11 discussions. Plenty other places for that.


As oldhippie said, we have agreed not to talk about 9/11 here, although many posters are in the know. This site is supposed to be focused on the looming liquid fuels crisis.

Suggest taking the 9/11 discussion to www.911blogger.com
That is the most active truth/activism site with many well informed posters. A user rating system conceals content of postings below community standards.

Yeah, sorry...I wondered why it was never talked about. It's kind of like a site where we talk about beautiful women, but nobody ever talks about their boobs.

Well...we all know that 9/11 was KSA's signal to the West that Peak Oil had really arrived and it was OK for BushCo to start its militant takeover of the world.

Ha...that was a joke...really.

Under the Business Section of CNN, there is one worthwhile read:

The dark side of the buyout boom: Defaults are set to rise, a new study says. Does that mean private equity buyouts are going to crash? Not so fast.


For as long as private equity has dominated the business pages, a question has hung over the industry: When will the flow of cheap money fueling the buyout boom run dry?

A new study from Moody's Investor Service predicts that defaults by the riskiest corporate issuers will jump by the end of the year, suggesting the tide is starting to shift in the credit markets.

Historically low default rates have been one of the reasons lenders and investors have been eager to finance buyout deals, which often involve the issuance of high-risk, high-yield bonds or loans.

The default rate among the riskiest corporate bond and loan issuers fell to 1.57 percent last year, the lowest level since 1981, according a study issued by Moody's on Thursday. But the rating agency expects the default rate to nearly double to 3.07 percent by the end of the year.

It has confused me why all those mergers and buyouts are seen as a good sign in the marketplace. All it tells me is that some companies are not making it and some people are losing their jobs. There is less diversity and more monopoly.

Is the B & M business going the way of the Housing Bust?

For Youths, a Grim Tour on Magazine Crews

Two days after graduating from high school last June, Jonathan Pope left his home in Miamisburg, Ohio, to join a traveling magazine sales crew, thinking he would get to “talk to people, party at night and see the country.”

Over the next six months, he and about 20 other crew members crossed 10 states, peddling subscriptions door to door, 10 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. Sleeping three to a room in cheap motels, lowest seller on the floor, they survived some days on less than $10 in food money while their earnings were kept “on the books” for later payment.

By then, Mr. Pope said, he had seen several friends severely beaten by managers, he and several other crew members were regularly smoking methamphetamine with prostitutes living down the motel hallway, and there were warrants out for his arrest in five states for selling subscriptions without a permit.

“I knew I was either going to be dead, disappeared or I don’t know what,” Mr. Pope said.

Asked if they ever went overboard, both men recalled an incident in November 2005 involving an 18-year-old recruit from Dayton, Ohio, named Rudy. “All we were told was that Rudy had shoved and disrespected the manager,” Mr. Simpson said.

For 10 uninterrupted minutes in a motel stairwell in San Francisco, Mr. Simpson, Mr. McClinton and four other enforcers beat Rudy unconscious, Mr. Simpson and Mr. McClinton said. One held his mouth shut. Two others pinned down his arms and legs. Tearing off his shirt, they pressed a flaming lighter into his back. Mr. Simpson kicked him in the face and body. “I stopped because I ran out of breath,” Mr. Simpson said.

Rudy, they said, was taken away in an ambulance.

All this - to sell magazines! I suppose it is a stretch to relate this to energy depletion, but it strikes me as a sign of the times.

Probably behind the NY Times subscription wall:


I saw a story about this, with a different twist. The magazine folk were using convicted criminals as door to door salesmen. Since they'll work for cheap. One of them killed and robbed a woman who answered the door.

What it takes to make a Wiki work

The article argues that a Wiki needs to be a "walled garden" - that is, limited. It works best if the subject is limited, and/or everyone involved has a similar point of view.

I brought this up because we've discussed a peak oil wiki. I wonder if peak oil is too broad. Would it work better if we separated it into topics like geology, economics, technology, politics, etc.? Or various "doomertron" rated scenarios? (Doomer, cornucopian, technocopian, powerdown, slow squeeze, catabolic collapse, etc.)

I guess it depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

One of the several purposes I see for TOD is a background source for journalists (maybe that should be "journalists"), congressional staffers and the like, local officials, etc., who are looking for substantive information for the pro-peak side of the discussion. They should have a body of accessible work that they can quickly scan to get answers, numbers, facts, charts, sources, and links. Say a reporter wants to take no more than two hours to learn something about the pro-peak position, and google (or a link on the Wikipedia Peak Oil page) brings them here. They should find a link on the front page that clearly points them to that sort of resource.

"The Book" is a step in the right direction, but it still involves a considerable investment of time, that the above sort of folks might not have to invest.

It would also serve as a great primer for regular folks trying to get their heads around these issues.

A wiki might be a nice format to publish that in, but if so it should probably only be editable by TOD staff.

A second level of wiki would be nice for registered users. I think it should be a site wiki, where people add and edit articles on topics of interest. I'm not sure that an attempt to restrict the scope of it is a great idea. The community will surprise you with the breadth of articles, and I think that is a good thing. But first-time visitors and casual researchers probably shouldn't get lost in it trying to find basic info.

At times, one of those articles might be good enough and appropriate enough to be published in the top-level wiki. Probably take a snapshot to the top-level document and leave the original in place to continue to evolve.
EDIT: at least some of the articles in the second-leve wiki would be "incubators" for upper level articles.

The doomer rating system might be of some use in searching, but I wouldn't try to organize a table of contents that way. Who assigns the ratings? It should probably be a community-based rating system, developed in parallel with community comment ratings.

Consider allowing comments on the second-level wiki. I always use the on-line php manual because the comments end up being more useful than the manual page.

I guess I'm sort of describing a "formal wiki" plus "wild wiki" structure.

every time I have thought about this, it gets ridiculously daunting. I've tried to think about categorical wikis or some such, straight resource wikis...hell, organizing/indexing it would be a ridiculous task.

It's still a worthwhile endeavor, it seems to me. But I barely have the time to (insert bodily activity of choice here)...

Nice article I just read Do we desire a streetcar? about the attempt to bring a streetcar system to Charlottsville, Virginia. Well researched and full of some great stats.

The famed Texas Transportation Institute doesn't keep numbers for Charlottesville, but it notes that in 2003, drivers across the nation spent three times as many hours stuck in traffic-- an average of 47-- as they had in 1983.


The acceleration of land consumption is so strong that the Richmond area, for instance, doubled its footprint of developed land between 1992 and 1997, while that region's population increased just eight percent.

Re: The DesMoines Register article on ethanol: Expert: Ethanol industry will grow

The commenters, fall into a hole that I've seen repeated here on TOD -- claiming either that "soil erosion is not an issue" or that "erosion is quickly washing away our topsoil" -- and I wanted to just run through some numbers that I hope will put this into some sort of perspective. First of all, that erosion is a geologic process that preceded agriculture is beyond dispute. This was made real for me when, as a green field soil scientist, I stood in a pile of river cobbles that rested 300 feet above the present grade of the nearest river. But to look at the commenters claims:

Commenter "Anne" states that there are "Twenty pounds of topsoil lost per gallon of ethanol."

Commenter "JKK" states that "As to the average soil loss per acre you pointed out ... I believe this is an exaggerated number. I work with soil loss numbers quite frequently and this is by no way the average in the 6 or 7 counties I work in. Also, the average production of corn in our area is at least 180-185 bushels per acre. The higher the bushels, the more residue that is produced which in turn reduces the amount of topsoil lost."

So, Anne is claiming that (assuming 400 gallons ethanol per acre of corn) translates to (400 x 20 =) 4 tons/acre/year of soil lost. Is this a reasonable figure? JKK says "No."

If you look at this Iowa State extension publication (PDF), it lists "tolerable" soil loss for three soils -- Clarion, Nicollet and Webster -- at 5 tons/acre/year (page 4). (the value "T" is the soil loss tolerance -- generally a rough estimate of tolerable soil loss. These "T" values generally are published in table form for each soil included in a modern USDA-NRCS soil survey).

This IA State publication goes on to ask (page 7) whether these T values should really be considered "tolerable" and the author then goes on to estimate that soil formation in Iowa is occurring at the rate of about 0.5 tons/acre/year. Further, the author notes that these numbers agree with a "... study of rates of mineral soil formation in 18 watersheds around the world (parent materials were glacial till, schist, granite, and other noncarbonate rock) concluded average rates of soil formation were closer to 0.24 tons per acre per year, with a range of 0.01 to 0.8 (Alexander, E.B. 1988. Rates of soil formation: Implications for soil-loss tolerance. SoilSci. 145:37-45)."

So, how do these raetes of soil formation compare with soil losses in no-till/continuous corn such as you would expect to see in a corn ethanol production system?

A University of Kentucky study, using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE), estimated that soil losses on a continous corn/no-till system were 1.2 tons/acre/yr on a Zanesville silt loam, 5% slope and 0.9 tons/acre/year on a Crider silt loam, 5% slope. This, it should be noted, constituted a 90% reduction in erosion rates over a conventional till system.

So, if we assume a soil loss of 1 ton/acre/year, this would cut commenter Anne's figure down to 5 pounds of topsoil lost per gallon of corn ethanol. And I should note that as long as the stover is left in the field, there is going to be no difference in soil loss whether the corn is fed to livestock or converted to ethanol.

So, if we assume a loss of 1 ton/acre/year, this would cut commenter Anne's figure down to 5 pounds of topsoil lost per gallon of corn ethanol.

Isn't this still rather alarming, at least in the long term?

And I should note that as long as the stover is left in the field, there is going to be no difference in soil loss whether the corn is fed to livestock or converted to ethanol.

I think what people are concerned about is the expansion in corn production that would be necessary to replace petroleum, or even just meet Bush's goals.

A figure of 1 ton/acre/year is still probably above "sustainability" despite the 1 to 5 ton/acre/year figure that is commonly considered to be "tolerable." And as we had earlier established (in a previous exchange several weeks back), putting lands that are now in the CRP or HEL back into production will drive that 1 ton/acre/year figure way up (possibly by a factor of 10). This is why I think corn ethanol isn't a long-term solution -- particularly when we start talking about cellulosic. We'll need a continuous sod system if we are going to convert the "whole plant."


I got into this exchange way back, calling foul on a claim of 135 tons/ac average. Your upthread commentary is good, esp where you are seeing 1 ton. Coupled with your .5 formation, that represents a net loss of .5, unless the loss figures already incorporate formation. Depends on their methodology, which is not stated. As I stated earlier, I am most familiar and prefer watershed analysis.

Two pts about CRP, expanded in orginal post months ago. 1. Contracts are long term, and difficult to leave. Executive fiat could change that, but I don't see that now. 2. Present enrollment is not neccesarily the most marginal land. Usually enrollment represents the county's more powerful.

Etoh or not, we are not giving up grain, imo. Our best hopes lie in slashing population. With regard to erosion, we both know the overridng factor is slope. Continue to focus efforts here. Corn etoh is a mistake, but then so has been our relentless pursuit of lowering the food alloted portion of disposable income. You have a current figure? I think cellulosic is pipedream, should it come, agree with continuous sod.

This spring, my greatest concern is drought. Re yesterdays Australian story. South America looks well watered this growing season, but I'm concerned about Africa and North America. Should this winters temperature anamolies be repeated this summer, it could be a real mess.

Corn etoh is a mistake, but then so has been our relentless pursuit of lowering the food alloted portion of disposable income. You have a current figure?

Hi Doug, no I don't have a figure, but I whole-heartedly agree: Cheap food has created tremendous problems for us in the first world. I'd be interested in seeing numbers that show $$ spent as a portion of income and also, a break-down of how much actually goes back to the farm vs. what % goes to processing and distribution. I'm sure they can be had.

As far as rates of soil formation and erosion, of course, these are all rough guesstimates. I presume you are doing a much more sophisticated GIS-based analysis.

Yes, those Australian grain harvest figures I saw the other day, took my breath away. Here's hoping that we have a bumper crop in the Northern Hemisphere this year. Thanks for your comments.

Great exchange of information. Much appreciated.

The CattleNetwork had an interesting write up on this question and from the opening sentence, you can see where the author is headed:

USDA recently distributed a glowing news release claiming that, "On average, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable income on food, [meaning] it takes only about 36 days for most Americans to earn enough money to buy groceries for the entire year."


In regards to the comments on corn ethanol, I would highly recommend exploring the true nature of the US agro-economy and to what affect the last 20 years of below market corn & soy prices have had on America.

The following comes from the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Food Without Thought - How US Farm Policy Contributes to Obesity: http://tinyurl.com/yucrv3
Who's Afraid of the High Price of Corn?: http://tinyurl.com/ypa2cm

Here are some other interesting points to ponder from Mark Muller & Richard Levins (sorry no link):

• For every one ton of US corn exported in 1996 to one of the 25 countries with the world's most serious malnutrition problems (Category 5 countries, with at least 35 percent of the population undernourished), 260 tons were exported to a wealthy Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country.
• 20 percent of the total US corn crop is exported; two-thirds of these exports go directly to the 28 industrial OECD countries, where it is mostly used for feeding animals.
• 76 percent of the corn used in the US is used for animal feed.
• Less than three-tenths of one percent of total US corn exports went to the poor Category 5 countries in 1996.
• Less than three percent of total US corn exports in 1996 went to the 24 Category 4 countries (where undernourishment affects at least 20 percent of the population).
• More US corn goes to make alcoholic beverages in the US than is exported to feed the hungry in the world's 25 most undernourished countries combined.
• About one-third of the total US soybean crop is exported; 70 percent of US soybean exports went to 28 industrial OECD countries in 1996.
• No soybeans were exported to Category 5 countries in 1996, while 17.8 million metric tons went to OECD countries.
• In 1998, a year of record-low soybean prices, the 25 most undernourished countries received less than 0.027 percent of total US soybean exports.

Mark & Richard's work is dated, however, I submit that the numbers haven't changed that much in the intervening years with the exception of corn->ethanol vs. export allocation for 06' and 07'.

A quick observation before I head out to woik (intentional misspelling):

Two years ago gasoline prices shot up early summer (BEFORE Katrina!)

Last year prices blasted up the first half of April.

It's still Feb. And wholesale futures have gone up over 25 cents in the past six weeks-or-so. Up a nickel just so far today. Ouch! So unless this trend reverses soon, gasoline will continue to rise at the pump, and it will get harder to ignore.

We're gonna have to find, or create?, someone to blame for all this soon...


That's nothing compared to what's happening in Siberia.


A million square kms of Russia are melting back into a primordial soup with some 70 billion tonnes of methane awaiting a chance to break free into our atmosphere.

No wonder Sergei Kirpotin's hair is on fire.

This got me thinking about if the warm winter will affect western snowpacks and growing (& fire) season water supply. Here's a map from the USDA...I believe the numbers are percent of the long-term average:

Problem is that if you look at the figures for atmospheric methane (I posted a graph of this in a prior thread) you see that the atmospheric methane has stabilized and has not been increasing.

The question is why?

There appear to be two possibilties:

1) Increased methane emissions from warming tundra is being offset by decreased emissions from other sources. One line of conjecture is that NG pipelines and similar operations are now operated to a higher standard and this has resulted in a significant reduction in emissions which balance out the emissions from the tundra or from arctic pingos. I think this unlikely.

2) There is some aspect of atmospheric chemistry which is resulting in methane breaking down in the upper atmosphere as quickly as it is being added. I do not know what this mechanism might be and have posted here previously in the hope someone might have an answer or a better understanding of the likely process.


Which is exactly why we should be testing some method of reflecting solar heat to space, to "brake before the environment crash" (as I put it once).

Syntec, I was going through your website and found what you are doing quite fascinating. If I get it correctly, biomass is reformed into gasses and then through catalytic conversion made into ethanol.

Is this catalytic conversion converting carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide? Is it suitable for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Also what is the efficiency of the process? How much energy is lost in the process?

Yeah, nuke the oilsands.

Elliot Lake used to be the uranium capital of Ontario. If they ever re-open the mines it will be telling. The good thing about the Esso situation is that they sell the highest sulphur gas available. Breath deeply.
And don't fret, the USS Stennis and the "Ike" are on station. Those to blame will soon be punished.

Regular unleaded is still selling for $2.15 here at my location. It has a long way to go up before people start feeling the pain.

just a look at the current state of alt fuels in the NC Triangle


"Individual consumers, however, have not sought out high blends of ethanol fuel as readily as expected, said Edward Holmes, president of Holmes Oil in Chapel Hill.

His company runs Cruizers convenience stores and installed the first E85 ethanol pump in the Triangle, on Sedwick Road in Durham, last summer. The E85 fuel can only be used in specially designed automobiles.

Even though the state energy office estimates there are 16,000 Triangle cars able to use that high level of ethanol -- so-called flexible fuel vehicles -- business has been slow at the pump.

As few as five people use it a day, Holmes said. His company will install a second pump at a convenience store it is opening in Pittsboro, but isn't yet sure there will be enough demand to justify selling it.

"The demand is not what we anticipated," Holmes said."

More on that mud volcano in Indonesia....

Indonesia eyes cement balls to stop mud

SURABAYA, Indonesia - Indonesian authorities will drop hundreds of giant concrete balls into a fissure Friday to try to stem a gushing mud eruption that has inundated villages and factories, an official said. The hot, noxious mud — enough to fill 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools — has flowed from the hole each day for the last nine months, forcing at least 11,000 people from their homes. Four villages and 25 factories have been buried under a 30-foot layer of mud.

I don't know if this has been already posted but I find this image quite powerful:

src: The New York Times, Iraqi Sunni Lands Show New Oil and Gas Promise

Our Fossil Fuel
Which art in Hamdan,
Oil-ed be thy name ...


Our Fossil Fuel
Which art in Hamdan
How "oiled" be thy name
Ancient fossil sun
Pumped up by the ton
As in Hamdan
From below the earth.
Give us this day our daily gas.
And forget about the peak,
As we forget the peak.
And lead us not into austerity,
But deliver us from immobility.
For you are from the Kingdom, with Vandium
and Sulfur forever. Amen.

Great job, Eddd. I was thinking of the 60s hit tune with Hallow-ed, but How oiled scans just fine.

it's not a edited picture. shows no other artifacts then ones that you would get with a high compression jpg.


At risk of being branded a capitalist pig, has anyone spotted or discussed the U3O8 price today or recently. It is difficult to not notice that the oil price has been kind of perky today - flirting with $61 - and that lead to me to check in at 321 Energy where I spotted U3O8 up from $75 to $85 / pound. Is this true? The uxc chart has not been updated.


Cameco and SXR are both up around 3.5% which leads me to believe its true.


Some worldly words of wisdom from a trusted friend .... should I sell my kids to slavery and buy more uranium or not?

Buy! Buy! Buy!

Seriously, Uranium is currently the only asset I would consider leveraging to increase exposure. Not sure of the big jump as U on the TSE is up only 2% (16% YTD, 98% over 1 year)

Hello TODers,

Coming soon: USDA Conference, "Agriculture at the Crossroads— Energy, Farm & Rural Policy"

Check out who the main speakers are at this link:


I wonder if the dominant theme will be gung-ho for topsoil into fuel, or if they have learned anything from the R-squared vs Khosla debate.

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

Hello TODers,

Interesting article: How Archer Daniels Midland cashes in on Mexico's tortilla woes


No wonder there is no discussion of relocalized permaculture at the upcoming USDA forum.


As many of you may have heard, Daimler Benz is currently trying to sell an automaker. They have made it clear that they would entertain offers for Chrysler U.S.

A modest proposal

Given that there are a small group of "Peak Oil Aware" billionaires, I propose that Matthew Simmons, Richard Rainwater, and T. Boone Pickins be approached to finance the purchase of Chrysler U.S. by "Peak Aware" investors, and to be reorganized and operated as the first "post peak" auto company.

Designs and technologies which can now gain little or no support by current automakers such as plug hybrid cars, Series hybrids, hydraulic hybrid cars and trucks, Diesel hybrids, LPG plug hybrids, and full electric cars would be the focus of development and production at the first auto company to be focused on a fuel short era.

I eagerly await the news that our post peak billionaire supporters have gotten together and began planning for a proposal to Daimler to buy our Chrysler U.S. firm back into American hands, and make it the first American auto firm that can have a chance in the new post peak age, a firm that will do both the U.S. and the world a great and needed service in bringing liquid fuel consumption down and advancing the technology we need.
With a partnership of this type, the investors will be able to spread the risk, and thus, not place themselves in financial jeopardy.

(P.S. I will also await my 10% fee based on the complete sale price of Chrysler into the ownership of peak oil interests for having originally proposed the transaction. O.K., 5%.......2%..?? A job....? :-) :-)
I am serious about the transaction though, it's getting time to walk the walk, and here's the opportunity, IF these folks really believe peak is nigh, it should be a no brainer....

Roger Conner
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Hello TODers,

If you read Leanan's toplink on the Southwest's drought, here is another link forecasting quite a bit of heat for Az too:


What will be interesting is if the US energy required to run A/C units nationally [besides all the other energy-burning going on], will make it difficult to build the required stockpiles for the coming winter. With natgas peaking, coal railroads at capacity, and hydrodams getting lower head pressures--when will the ability to stockpile North American safety reserves reach zero?

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

The answer is - we are nearing the end times of sufficient NG stocks.

I am no expert on natrual gas, but let's do some simple math. We are now about 300 bcf under last year - a year that past without extremely hot or cold temperatures. Some experts say that storage of 600 bcf is a mimimum level to keep the NG flowing across the nation. If we end this winter with 1450 bcf like one TODer (who is frequently on target) said today, and we have three more years of normal weather, we only have three years to go until the US has a NG crisis.

The countdown has begun. Of course if we get a GOM hurricane, we may have to advance that date.

I appreciate your work here.


Hi Bob,

More alarming than the article itself was a quick read of the comments. The general tone may be biased against human causes of GW (a few blowhards are want to get their denial out in the open), but I think a widespread response will be "crank up the AC", at home and in the car. Be very afraid.

Hello Charles MacKay & JoulesBurn,

Thxs for responding.

If energy shortages combine with drought, as I expect, lack of A/C may be among the least of our problems. It worries me greatly that my Asphalt Wonderland is not implementing conservation measures now. I was googling acquifers down Mexico way awhile back and they unfortunately are starting to run into real problems. Hermosillo, approx 800,000 is almost entirely reliant on pumping water from 400 ft down--that won't last long in postPeak Mexico--they are rationing water already, but seawater is now infiltrating the acquifer. I expect them to start heading North before it collapses Apocalypto style.

The low Colorado flows could get really ugly going forward if our local watershed has drought too. But Az's Drought Plan [big 107 page PDF]:

does nothing about impeding growth until the extreme drought stage [page 12], and then it only promises to consider a growth moratorium on building permits. The cooling towers for our nuke plant, along with the other FF genplants, need lots of water for evaporation. Electricity will be curtailed if water gets scarce.

But I think by the time we reach these extreme conditions--a flood of people will already be headed north into Cascadia and other places with greater precipitation.

As far as I can tell, this plan has no consideration of Peakoil plus drought--Yikes!

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

Knock, knock..

Who's there?


Good luck. And godspeed.

Global systemic crisis - April 2007:

Inflexion point of the phase of impact / US economy enters recession

April will be the time when negative trends will converge, transforming many « sectorial crises » into a generalised crisis, a « very great depression », involving all economic, financial, commercial and political players.

In April 2007, nine practical consequences of the unfolding crisis will converge:

1. Acceleration of the pace and size of bankruptcies among US financial organisations: from one per week today to one per day in April
2. Spectacular rise of US home foreclosures: 10 million Americans out on the street
3. Accelerating collapse of housing prices in the US: - 25%
4. Entry into recession of the US economy in April 2007
5. Precipitous rate cut by the US Federal Reserve
6. Growing importance of China-USA trade conflicts
7. China's shift out of US dollars / Yen carry trade reversal
8. Sudden drop of US dollar value against Euro, Yuan and Yen
9. Tumble of Sterling Pound

You left off number 10.

10. ARAMCO advises it is cutting back production by 1 mbpd in order to create adequate spare capacity to service anticipated future demand.

I completely agree. I think what we're seeing now and what we'll see in the
future is Saudi Arabia maintaining a supply cushion.

This will allow it it surge production in the summer, and maintain an oil draw
rate for higher, longer.

Agree with your comments, HeIsoFly, except for:

4. Official Recession in about July 2007 (actually unofficial recession now)

5. Rate increase, rather than rate decrease, next due to high inflation from excess liquidity from accelerating M3 money supply growth rate at 12% annualized for 2007
If rates decrease, nobody will buy US bonds because holding the US dollar for the long term is soooo unattractive according to Marc Faber!!

Oil supply demand gap becomes tight starting in July 2007 and even more unfavourable for next winter starting in Dec 2007

Best to invest in real resources - oil, gas, gold, iron ore as cash and bonds will decrease in real purchasing power.

Best regards, ace

The Community Solution article above is very worthwhile reading.

The article points out that the energy use for our homes (heating, cooling, lighting, etc.) is larger than for transportation. The per person breakdown of energy (in barrel of oil equivalents for all types of energy) is

  • Food 10 BOE
  • Automobiles 9 BOE
  • Homes 12.2 BOE
  • Thus, fixing the automobile problem does not get us very far with respect to our total energy problem. Our large homes are a big part of the problem, especially with natural gas shortages not far away.

    It seems to me that we already have a huge stock of housing built - more than we can expect to heat and cool if we have declining supplies of natural gas and oil, and don't want our coal usage to go through the roof. Housing stock is even more long-lasting than automobiles.

    This will be a major challenge. If we don't heat our homes, our pipes will freeze, making indoor plumbing difficult. Without indoor plumbing, life in cities will be very unpleasant. Therefore, we will need to figure out ways to deal with the problem - for example, get people to move together into a subset of existing homes, or close off rooms from heat that don't have plumbing.

    Very good post, and yes, the "housing boom" was a huge opportunity missed to reduce our energy consumption in homes as well as our GHG output, a terrible waste, so many homes built so carelessly.

    The issue of "BOE" is important though, because that number includes all oil, natural gas, coal (electricity) and propane combined. It is not likely that all these will collapse at once (despite what many folks seem to say...), but, you hit the nail on the head in relation to natural gas....The National Petroleum Council and Matt Simmons have been saying for several years that the natural gas crisis could be more threatening and arrive sooner in North America than the crude oil crisis. The natural gas crisis is being all but ignored even by many who are "peak aware" because the world remaining reserve is still relatively large, but that does not help North America as much as one would think, as hopes for LNG facilities are being driven to standstill by local resistance, lawsuits and political intervention. A half decade ago, it was known that we would cut it close to the wire on supply/demand even if we built the LNG facilities with no hold up. A half decade later, progess is all but dead on building most of them as there has been nothing but holdups.

    At a personal level, insulation (as you mention, insulate your pipes too!) woodstove, solar hot water, passive solar through attached greenhouses (they can be bought in very pretty kits now, very nice!) movable insulation shutters, and ground coupled geothermal heat pumps,
    until thin film solar gets here at a massively reduced price, about 5 to 7 years away.....then, the paradigm shifts beyond belief. But we have a long half decade plus to ride it out....

    Roger Conner
    Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom