DrumBeat: March 11, 2007

Climate report warns of drought, disease
The harmful effects of global warming on daily life are already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people won't have enough water, top scientists will say next month at a meeting in Belgium.

At the same time, tens of millions of others will be flooded out of their homes each year as the Earth reels from rising temperatures and sea levels, according to portions of a draft of an international scientific report obtained by The Associated Press.

Report cites risk of offshore gas terminal near Malibu

A comprehensive study released Friday on a natural gas processing plant that would be built in the ocean about 20 miles from Malibu concludes that the project poses substantial environmental and safety concerns for the California coast.

This oil is worth its salt

Layers of the substance in the Gulf of Mexico have hidden the crude below but energy companies are finding ways to get at it in the deepest waters.

Biofuels boom raises tough questions

The problem is, ethanol really isn't ready for prime time. The only economical way to make ethanol right now is with corn, which means the burgeoning industry is literally eating America's lunch, not to mention its breakfast and dinner. And though ethanol from corn may have some minor benefits with regard to energy independence, most analysts conclude its environmental benefits are questionable at best.

Challenges, Threats and Opportunities for Sustainable Agriculture, Part II

But are these new organic farmers and associated industry following the original precepts of the pioneers? Or is organic farming being incorporated into the systems of intensified production, finance, management and distribution typical of conventional agriculture? Is organic agriculture replicating the conventional model that it so fiercely opposed?

Germans urged to give foreign travel a rest to curb global warming

"In the near future, people are going to become increasingly aware that aircraft emit vast amounts of greenhouse gases, far more than cars or trains," said Manfred Stock, a researcher at the climate research centre in Potsdam outside Berlin.

Iranians lose access to unlimited cheap fuel

Iran’s parliament this week set May 22 as the day when the country’s 15m motorists lose access to unlimited cheap fuel.

Pump prices, frozen for three years at 80 tomans (or 9 cents) a litre, have boosted consumption far beyond the capacity of Iran’s oil refineries and meant that 40 per cent of petrol has had to be imported.

Russia to Get Oil-and-Gas-Free Budget in 2008

Russia will adopt its first budget which would not rely on oil and gas revenues in 2008, Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin told reporters on Friday.

Global-warming lecture offered free at UH-Manoa

[Richard] Alley, the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn St. University, has spent numerous field seasons in both Antarctica and Greenland studying the waxing and waning of ice sheets. His lecture presentation is titled, "Get Rich and Save the World: Global Warming, Peak Oil, and Our Future."

The past, present and future of Idaho's geothermal power

But perhaps Idaho's most lucrative green energy source has been under our feet the whole time: geothermal power. It's relatively inexpensive, plentiful, environmentally friendly to the extreme, and it may just be the key to staving off a potential energy crisis.

Pakistan: New alternative energy projects soon

Sindh Governor, Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan has said that new projects of alternate energy will soon start functioning in Sindh to help overcome energy crisis.

He said 64 wind turbines would be installed at Thatta, Jhumpir and other places in the interior of Sindh by Sindh Government's Department of Alternate Energy in coordination with Alternate Energy Development Board through which 15000 MW energy will be produced.

XAND Joins Energy Reduction Incentive Program

Operation Save New York serves as a type of insurance program for the electric grid. When demand on the grid is forecast to be at or above the available level of supply, members are called on to reduce electric usage. Xand is a prime candidate for the program with the ability to curtail 100% of demand from the grid within 5 minutes notice by switching to generator power. The facility can be powered by the onsite twin 1.25 megawatt generators, running on a bi-fuel mixture of diesel and natural gas. Xand's ability to self-power with the industrial grade Caterpillar generators is a key component to its value proposition as a mission critical Data Center in Westchester County.

A New Battery Takes Off in a Race to Electric Cars

VROOOOM! Or, rather, much more softly: brmmm.

A123Systems, a start-up in Watertown, Mass., says it has created a powerful, safe, long-lived battery. If the cell fulfills the ambitions of its maker, that softer sound will be the future of automobiles.

Electricity from the sea

Dreams of converting ocean energy into electricity move closer to commercial reality.

Viet Nam: Energy experts look to biofuel to solve Asian emission woes

Making energy from biomass is of critical importance to ensure a sustainable future, international environment and energy experts told a workshop held in HCM City this week.

World Web Of Electricity Charged Up

The key to fighting climate change is for the U.S. to take a leadership role in promoting a "new world wide web of electricity," according to Michael Powers, board member and spokesman for Global Energy Network Institute, a non-profit research and education group based in San Diego.

..."By connecting regional electricity grids around the world into a global network, it will be possible to tap new renewable resources and phase out our worst polluting coal-fired power plants," Powers said.

Qatar caught in cycle of rising prices, risks

Qatar appears to be caught in a cycle of soaring asset prices, putting the private sector under pressure, exposing banks and insurers to greater risks and forcing the state to keep up expenditure.

The rising petrodollar-induced liquidity and the limited avenues for financial investments led to excessive funds being diverted to other forms of investment like the stock market and real estate, bankers said.

Violent Crime in Cities Shows Sharp Surge

Published: March 9, 2007

Violent crime rose by double-digit percentages in cities across the country over the last two years, reversing the declines of the mid-to-late 1990s, according to a new report by a prominent national law enforcement association.

While overall crime has been declining nationwide, police officials have been warning of a rise in murder, robbery and gun assaults since late 2005, particularly in midsize cities and the Midwest. Now, they say, two years of data indicates that the spike is more than an aberration.

“There are pockets of crime in this country that are astounding,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which is releasing the report on Friday. “It’s gone under the radar screen, but it’s not if you’re living on the north side of Minneapolis or the south side of Los Angeles or in Dorchester, Mass.”

Local police departments blame several factors: the spread of methamphetamine use in some Midwestern and Western cities, gangs, high poverty and a record number of people being released from prison. But the biggest theme, they say, is easy access to guns and a willingness, even an eagerness, to settle disputes with them, particularly among young people.

“There’s a mentality among some people that they’re living some really violent video game,” said Chris Magnus, the police chief in Richmond, Calif., north of San Francisco, where homicides rose 20 percent and gun assaults 65 percent from 2004 to 2006. “What’s disturbing is that you see that the blood’s real, the death’s real.”


Unemployment stats are hopelessly skewed, but I can't help but think that layoffs, real unemployment, etc. has something to do with increasing violence and crime.

From one of the links Leannan posted...

Iranians lose access to unlimited cheap fuel

...Parliament decided on Wednesday to limit annual petrol subsidies to $2.5bn, and Iranian news wires have reported the new rationed price will be 100 tomans (11 cents) a litre, with extra fuel sold at a higher price.

Deputies left the government to decide by April 20 on ration quantity, the price of un-rationed petrol, and the method of rationing, likely to be the use of ‘smart cards’. ...

This is quite interesting because, IIRC, there were a few people on here advocating exactly this kind of thing for the US. That is, to have some sort of price rationing at different levels controlled by some sort of account that kept track of your purchases. i.e. 1 - 500 gallons will cost you $X and 500 - 1000 will cost you $Y. and so forth.

This brings me back to a comment that someone made. We will eventually have rationing - it is only a question of what kind of rationing.

If we do nothing, then we will have rationing by price. The price will climb until it forces demand down - by breaking the back of the economy if need be.

We can have rationing by availability, but prices could be held down. Meaning that people will have a hard time finding enough gas - it will be affordable when they find it, but it could be hard to find.

And then you can have rationing using ration books like we had in World War II.

What you describe is interesting though - it is sort of a combination of all 3 options. You could have a fixed allotment that you could buy at a reasonable price, and then you could buy anything more than that on the open market.

If crude prices climb, it isn't clear to me how you would be able to maintain a low fixed price at the pump for people.

We'll have a whole new innovative way of rationing: by economic collapse.

Price is a rationing mechanism. It isn't that we will have rationing; we do have rationing. The only question is what kind of rationing we want to have or what is the most desirable.

If you cap the amount of gas that can be sold and then you issue gas credits in order to purchase that gas, both the gas at the pump at the credits will have a price determined by the market. I don't know if the basic price will be "reaonable" because the definition of reasonable depends upon one's point of view. However, it is clear that one will be paying extra on the margin if one decides to exceed one's ration as defined by the number of gas credits issued. In any event, those staying within the basic ration will be paying less per gallon than those who are not. On top of that, those who consume less than the ration or no gas at all can actually reduce their effective price by selling their ration credits on the open market.

By the way, if there is a cap place on the amount of gas sold by way of gas credits, it seems likely that the basic price would go down given the fact that overall demand is being decreased.

What you do is you have two tax rates. A low rate on the rationed amount, and a very high rate on the free-market amount. If deemed appropriate, the lower tax rate could be negative, i.e. the rationed price would be subsidised by the free market rate.

And of course rations should be negotiable. If I can get by with half my ration, or no gas at all, then I can sell my credit to a big user.

No... The point of rationing and taxing automobile fuel is not to set up profit opportunities for urban dwellers and such. They already get subsidized transport via bus and subway systems. And it is not to provide subsistence to retirees either.

Allowing a secondary market in "rations" defeats the goal which is reducing fuel use. Let's keep it simple.

Yes, when gasoline gets to $3.50/gallon; let us add an extra $1.50 gallon tax and use the money for such things as:

1) Higher food stamps and rental assistance for the working poor (take $ out of one pocket but put it back into the other)
2) Reduced Medicare premiums (likewise for retirees)
3) Reduced Payroll taxes (likewise for workers)
4) Building out Urban Rail
5) Reduced (Federal $ to local jurisdictions) property taxes for low energy TOD areas.
6) Eliminate property taxes on railroads that electricify
7) Renewable energy generation subsidies such as wind, geothermal, solar, hydro.

$5/gallon at the pump will change some behaviors (and is impossible politically). But it is simple and will work.

Best Hopes,


Economists will tell you that the most efficient form of rationing, the one that does the least harm to the economy, is by price. Letting the price rise will automatically cause those uses which can be avoided or substituted most easily and cheaply to be cut back. Uses that have no effective substitutes will be the last to be cut. This is the ideal goal of an economy responding to shortages, and trying to achieve it via centralized planning and a rationing system is virtually impossible.

Density and Urban Rail, Another POV

A week ago we discussed the once wisespread network of interurban rail lines in small town & rural Iowa, Ohio, Indiana et al.

Now Leroy Demery has taken a different look; at the densest Urban Rail systems that do not operate in the densest urban areas (Moscow in this case).

Mr. Demery is the foremost US authority on Japanese rail and has forgotten more than I will ever know.

A "tennyson" is a unit of Urban Rail density. Take the # of pax-kms per year on a rail line or system and divide by the # of line kms. This allows one to compare quite different systems in their fundamental purpose.

Best Hopes for Better Understanding,

...That figure [of population density] is deceptively low. There is a great deal of open space in this town (and other Russian cities). This is obvious from photos of the new high-rise housing districts.

(Many List members might be surprised at how much space per unit those high-rise blocks contain.)

For Moskva, Seal quoted a crude population-density statistic in excess of 10,000 / km2 (= 26,000 per sq mi). That's roughly equivalent to Manhattan . . . and here the similarity ends.

There's an organization in Moskva whose official title translates something like:

"'State Unitary Enterprise for the City of Moskva, [titled] "The V. I. Lenin `Order of Lenin' and `Order of the Red Banner of Labor' Metropolitan Railway of Moskva."'"

Which is now the world's busiest metro system in terms of traffic density.

If "population density" were truly the key determinant of transit ridership that Cox evidently wants people to believe, then this should not occur in Moskva.

But it does

At 2005, the system carried 113 million "tennysons" (pass-km per km of route) - that is, 113 million passengers, on average, over each km of system length. That's a lot, although down a bit from the "all-time" high, which was 119 million "tennysons," at 1984 (with a significantly
smaller network, and significantly fewer private autos).

The busiest Moskva Metro line carried (at 2005) a staggering 135 million "tennysons" - that's 135 million people, on average, over each km of line. What's even more noteworthy is that the world traffic density record - the Western Railway corridor in Mumbai - is not "that much" higher: a bit more than 145 million "tennysons" per year.

Traffic densities at this level do not occur in New York - and never have. NYCT carried 36 million "tennysons" at 2005. The IRT subway network - which was quite small compared to today's system - carried 52 million "tennysons" at 1914. The combined IRT subway and elevated systems carried 43 million "tennysons" at 1929. The good citizens of Moskva put up with even higher levels of crowding than New Yorkers do.

Hong Kong?

In terms of traffic density, the MTR carries significantly less than the Moskva Metro - less than 70 million "tennysons" per year - although that stat is a couple years old, and is on my "to-update" list.

KCR East, by contrast, carries 134 million "tennysons" per year (again the stat is a couple years old). But this, strictly speaking, is not a "metro," but a very busy single line (that serves a very busy border crossing).

Population density statistics have some significance, but perhaps less than Cox (and Seal) appear to believe.

Leroy W. Demery, Jr.

Alan: The guy is using the example of a town that has the population density of Manhattan. Obviously population density is not the only factor for transit use, but how many locales in the USA have the density of Manhattan? This example does not show evidence that transit is workable in sparsely populated areas in the USA (IMO).

The discussion last week was about the low density interurbans connecting small towns & villages in Iowa, Indiana and Ohio.

Here is at the other end of the spectrum. Slightly less than Manhatten population densities but 3 to 4x the ridership of Manhatten/NYC. We Americans may think that NYC is the "ultimate" Urban Rail density. Mr. Demery shows that Manhatten and the Greater NYC area is not even close to what "could be". Even Manhatten could use significantly less oil based transportation (to put a PO spin on it).

That is a worthwhile point to make IMO. EVERY city in the US could use less oil

My two highest Urban Rail priorities in the US are the 2nd Avenue subway in NYC and extending the LA Red Line subway. But there are several more Urban Rail projects well worth doing in NYC. Another tunnel under the Hudson "Ocean", connecting Grand Central & Penn Central stations, streetcar feeders, etc.

Best Hopes,


BTW, Moscow has trains every two minutes at rush hour.

For what it is worth, even most smaller cities in Ohio in the range of 10,000 people had elctrified street cars. The density of these small cities was around 5 to 10 housing units per acre. Most of the old rails were torn up for metal during WWII, but many small Ohio cities still have visible street car rails on their streets. I've wondered how much work it would take to get them up to usable condition.

Of course much of Ohio was settled based on water transport- rivers and man-made canals, and last time I checked most the rivers and canals were still there!

From World Web Of Electricity Charged Up:

"Imagine an energy version of 'Napster,'" Powers said. "We're talking about peer-to-peer energy trading where a solar homeowner in San Jose can capture kilowatts from the sun - and sell them to a homeowner in Shanghai - instantaneously. That's the future."

Existing power grids are already hugely complex. Massively increasing connectivity combined with smart-grid initiatives, such as this author appears to be proposing, would increase that complexity by orders of magnitude. The increase in bulk power transfers that deregulation has initiated, combined with the whittling away of safety margins (and therefore resilience) as too costly, have already pushed existing grids to the limit. Just upgrading them enough to reliably handle in the future what we expect of them now would be expensive and difficult enough. The scale of upgrade proposed in this article is (IMO) completely impractical.

I never expect to see HV DC links under the Bering Straits; but a new HV DC network on a continent wide basis are likely, and quite doable.

The Grand Inga proposal (44 GW hydro project near the mouth of the Congo with HV DC lines to every corner of Africa; Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria/West Africa and East Africa) is economically feasible today if the "risk premium" could be reduced. Combined with existing and near future hydro & geothermal projects, the African electrical grid could be almost 100% renewable.

In North America we have HV DC from Portland Oregon to Los Angeles (1.362 km, 3.1 GW), Northern Manitobe to Southern Manitoba (937 km, 1.8 GW & 895 km, 1.6 GW), Northern Quebec to Massachusetts (1100 km, 2 GW), North Dakota to Minnesota (710 km, 0.5 GW) and plans for two more lines from Wyoming to Phoenix AZ. A new federal law makes building new transmission lines much easier (Phoenix is using this law).

Add 75 to 100 more such lines with up to 10 GW capacity (my guess) and the regional grids may still have problems but power shifting between regions would be practical on a large scale. Figure a billion+ $ for each transmission line.

Best Hopes,


I don't know if this will be any good, but it's on CSPAN2 today at 1pm:

Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline
Lisa Margonelli

Description: In researching her book "Oil on the Brain," Lisa Margonelli set out to follow the path of oil production, from the oil field to the gas station. She explains how oil is extracted, refined, and distributed, with a special focus on five oil-producing countries: Venezuela, Chad, Iran, Nigeria, and China.

Thanks for the tip. I watched some and TIVOd the rest.

Watched it. The most interesting part occured when someone asked her to comment on peak oil. For a second got fairly weird. Basically, after kind of stuttering for a few seconds, she said that estimates vary widely of when it will occur, but the general consensus was "sometime this century". Also, it was definitely referred to as a "theory". Of course, if you consider the idea that a finite resource would flow out of the ground at a maximum rate before the universe ends a "theory".

Also, another guy, may have been the moderator or something, used the classic "above ground factors" problem as an excuse for supply constraints, and said peak oil is a "secondary concern".

Hydrogen was mentioned, but it was comforting to hear it talked about as "pie in the sky".

In summary, interesting, and fairly disturbing to hear the CERA type view thrown around without question.

I checked the woman's site. Can you say "hippie"?

The thing with this archetype of person (liberal hippie) is they are as locked into BAU as somebody in a suit with an SUV, it's just a slightly more friendly, less consolidated version of BAU they'd like to see. Hence she is predisposed to buying the CERA claptrap.

Yankee Ingenuity Takes on the Hydrogen Challenge

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Imagine sunlight falling on a beaker of water with a fabricated membrane at the bottom that causes the water to split into the two elements that make it up: hydrogen and oxygen.

You might just have solved a big riddle in the search for an economical and environmentally friendly source of hydrogen to power the "fuel cell economy," which is seen by some as a solution for the problems of climate change and oil depletion.

Walter Varhue and a team of scientists at the University of Vermont are delving into the realm of nanotechnology _ the science of very tiny things _ in hopes of developing the material to make up that membrane.

Wishful thinking? "Hail Mary" pass? Or could nanotechnology be the breakthrough for which we dared not hope? Notice how "oil depletion" is creeping into the MSM lexicon. Full Story

Technology of the future. And always will be.

It's probably worth working on, and I'd say more likely to become useful than nuclear fusion, for example. If they do manage to scale it up, it could make the "hydrogen economy" more feasible.

However, the article spends most of its time describing the lab experiment, high vacuum, exotic materials, etc., etc. The first line pretty much sums it up: "Imagine sunlight ...".

"Wishful thinking?"

How about amazingly bad reporting. The linked news story delivers ridiculous soundbites such as:

nanotechnology: the science of very tiny things

But the text that really illustrates the reporter's grasp of the science is this:

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, with water and heat as byproducts. Essentially, hydrogen is fed into one end _ the anode _ and reacts with a catalyst called an electrolyte. Its protons flow through the catalyst and join with oxygen on the other, cathode, end to form water. The hydrogen's electrons flow through a separate path to an electrical circuit.

To summarize what I can glean from prose such as the above: Vermont EE Prof., father, and erstwhile farmer Varhue wants to grow some quantum dots which might be useful as catalysts for the electrochemical separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen, a holy grail that has been pursued for decades. He has cobbled together some Ultra-High Vacuum equipment and will apply for a grant from DOE, but his chances are slim.

Perhaps he should get the reporter to write his grant application, or maybe he should work in the term "stem cells" somewhere.

A single particle of sunlight contains enough energy to split water, but the conversion process isn't efficient, Varhue said. New materials brought by nanotechnology could solve this problem. "If the current efficiency of 6 percent can be increased to 10 percent, you could have farms across the country making hydrogen instead of growing corn."

In any case, getting to 10% efficiency doesn't solve much. You could take existing PV cells with 20% efficiency and wire them to an electrochemical cell to split the water and do better than that. You need to improve on that, plus do it inexpensively. This guy isn't anywhere close, so don't buy that H2 car yet.

Thanks for the debunking. I do know about hydrogen's limitations, and the fact that is a carrier of energy and not an energy source. I thought nanotechnology might have put a new spin on things (or is that only in quantum mechanics?).

The perception of oil depletion seems to be catching on in places, but the realization that we are unlikely to be "saved" by any miracle technology obviously still has some way to go.

Oh and I too saw the moderator on that CSPAN show today interject himself into the author's very careful response to the question about Peak Oil. He seemed eager to reassure everyone that politics, pipelines and manpower were the real problems, not geology. No one asked whether we would have been having problems with regard to politics, pipelines and manpower in the first place if we hadn't already peaked in the US more than 30 years ago.

After I posted that, I felt I was a bit too disparaging of the scientist. The piece was by, after all, a local TV reporter just trying create a compelling story.

There is quite a bit of interesting research on using quantum dots in both solar and photoelectrochemical cells:


One pertinent quote:

Despite such encouraging signs, before highly efficient solar cells appear, "there's a lot of work to be done," Nozik cautions.

There's an article in today's (Sunday) NYT, front page, "Crisis Looms in Mortgages", which, more than any other I've seen, reeks of panic (in the NYT way).

Maybe someone can supply a link?

If fuel costs appreciate considerably by driving season, things in the suburbs could get messy.

Last time the fuel cost issue was on the board, it was pointed out that gasoline is only 3% of the average family's budget, and 15% of the cost of owning and running an automobile. Good news--$4.50 gasoline won't cause more than a mild recession. Bad news, it won't reduce demand enough either.

The straw that broke the camels back.

Why the limit of gasoline @ US$4.50/gallon ?

Perhaps US$9/gallon ? Or higher if the US $ and economy collapses. You seem to assume that if the US choses NOT to conserve then we will get all the oil WE want, and someone else will just have to conserve oil.

We are shipping out about 3/4 trillion in US $ and assets/year. Higher oil prices will increase that # (and decrease demand for most non-oil goods). A $1.5 trillion US balance of payments deficit is quite possible.

In a shrinking world economy (even if only -1 or -2%), is there THAT much demand for US $ or assets ? And for how many years ?

In a PO aware world, would all of the other major players (EU, China, Japan, Russia, OPEC) see it in their own best interests to keep the US afloat or not ?

The "Not" argument would be to force most of the conservation onto the US (good "they deserve it" argument there) and minimize their own forced conservation. OPEC can import the goods that they need from the EU, China, Japan and Latin America except for a few speciality items (oil drilling & production equipment, some medical, Boeing makes better a/c than Airbus).

Perhaps a G8 ultimatum "for our own good". Do whatever it takes (addendum lists specific "suggestions") to reduce US oil use by 10%/year and the US $ & economy will be supported (at depression economic levels perhaps). (-10% US oil consumption annually would create breathing space for everyone else to adapt and conserve in a rational way).

If you think this is unthinkable, review the history of Argentina and how the World Bank deals with wayward nations.

What we have done to others can be done to us.

Best Hopes for Acting NOW,


15 % seems sort of low. what mpg is this based on? at $ 2.5/gal and using the irs $ 0.45/mile rate that figures out to 37 mpg (44mpg at $3/gal). in any case i am assuming the biggest part is depreciation, the main product detroit is selling.

But the $0.45/mile is not just supposed to cover fuel, but a chunck of the other 85% of the cost of owning a vehicle.

2.5 ($/gal)/ 0.45 ($/mile)/0.15 = 37 mpg
the $0.45/mile the irs uses covers everything (fuel,maintenance,insurance and depreciation)

elwoodelmore said of car costs,

"in any case i am assuming the biggest part is depreciation, the main product detroit is selling."

Oh how true! Most people do not seem to realize that if they buy a 1 to 2 year old car, they have just saved enough money compared to buying new to put fuel in for the first full year to two of ownership, in some cases far longer.....It is astounding.

In my own case, fuel is a higer percent of ownership because my car is old....thus it is fully depreciated out. So I have to figure it as a percent of my income for the number to be useful.

I commute 42 miles per day (round trip), and get a bit over 30 miles per gallon on average, and sure enough, that figures out to less than 3% of my income.

I live well beyond the "suburbs" in a small town.

Fuel (Diesel in my case) could triple and although I would really complain, it would not be a major dislocation, in other words, I could endure fuel cost up to as much as $9.00 per gallon, and still not be in much worse shape than I am now. I would just have to tighten up on the luxuries/waste side. And I am financially in a weaker position than many I know.

If I lived in the "suburbs" of the town I work in, my fuel costs would be almost non-noticable, as you would be talking about a commute of 4 to 8 miles round trip (many of the folks I work with do it). It is to be remembered that the so called "exurb" dwellers who communte 40 or 60 miles one way are actually pretty rare as a percent of the workforce (although they make a great example to prove the "end of the suburbs" nightmares as sold by Kunstler and others), but for me and many folks I know, moving TO the suburbs would be a nice drop in fuel consumption! So why don't we?

Housing costs. I live in a paid for frame house, that cost $14,000 many years ago. To match it close to where I work would take a $160,000 outlay for a house, or a approximately $350 per month to rent even a small apartment in a questionable neighborhood (safety/crime issues I never have to deal with in my small town).

So the bombshell: Fuel could go to nearly $12.00 per gallon before it would cost me as much a year in fuel to drive everyday as it would to move, and that is getting only 30's plus mile per gallon on Diesel. With a smaller Diesel, such as Volkswagon sold for many years (Rabbit, Golf size), I could be getting just under 50 miles per gallon without too much strain (my father got 50 mpg it in the late 70's with a Rabbit when oil was inflation adjusted nearly $100 per barrel), and the fuel costs could then go to.....this is getting silly now, about $15 or $16 bucks per gallon to make a move to the suburbs break even! The move to downtown city would be purely a move for luxury and fun, not to save money, because at that point, to actually come out ahead given rents, fuel would have to be $15 plus per gallon for a person who already had any real equity in their home...(I have talked to a relative about this, and she said, "do you realize how high fuel would have to go for me to walk away from $150,000 equity....I would ride a scooter the 4 miles to work first...."

All this would indicate what we all know: The U.S. consumer can, if we must, easily stand oil prices above $100 per barrel, and in just a few years we could stand $150 without really suffering. Cargo transport would move to barge and rail, and electrified local distribution would take off. We get our fuel now as an almost givaway product, as Matt Simmons reminds us, oil really is still INCREDIBLY cheap, and there is no real incentive to try not to use it.

And oil will never be more than $140 per barrel for long anyway, because even at $100, there are far too many alternatives available now with no new technology needed, just the will to use them. Per a post I did yesterday, it is to be remembered that even if we use Colin Campbell's own worst case number, as published in his new newsletter, we see more fuel being produced in 2050 than at any time before the new century began....the backslope is being adjusted wildly upward by even the darkest pessimists.

As I have tried to tell folks, oil is good, and damm convenient, and cheaper than dirt......but it's not that good.......it's like baseball on TV, folks will watch it for free or almost free, but if you make them start paying too much.....they'll find something else. We need to get on something else NOW, however, for the national security balance of trade reasons, and the ecological issues. The age of oil will come to an end, but frankly, not nearly fast enough....as a nation we are bleeding ourselves to death by being lazy about it.

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Here's where your argument starts to unravel:

I could endure fuel cost up to as much as $9.00 per gallon, and still not be in much worse shape than I am now. I would just have to tighten up on the luxuries/waste side.

Because your "tighten[ing] up" is someone else's job. Say that you decided to give up buying a book every month, one of those expensive $30 books, to cover the increased costs of fuel. Suppose others in your same position do the same. Now the book companies which sold those books are out $30 X however-many-people usually buy books. Well, since books aren't selling as well, they can't publish as many, so they stop publishing as many authors and they shut down a few of their factories. Now a bunch of authors are having to "tighten up" because they're out of work and a bunch of factory workers, freshly laid off have to "tighten up" as well. So they decide to give up the trip to the local restaurant every week. Now business at the local restaurants are down, a couple of the waitresses are let go and some cooks, and they have to "tighten up" now too. etc, etc, ad nauseum. So, for a little while you might be right, you personally could absorb higher fuel prices, but your cutting back causes others to cut back and then people start losing jobs and that might just come back around to get you. This is an example of a "positive" feedback loop. Self reinforcing, and quite complex. The good news? Historically, people without jobs drive less and buy less useless crap.


You skipped over my other option....but a Rabbit Diesel instead of my current Benz Diesel, go from 30 miles per gallon to about 50, and go on living like I do (and by the way, do you think someone who drives a 1981 stick shift Diesel with 250,000 miles buys a lot of luxuries? :-) My last book was Simmon's "Twilight In the Desert", and sorry about this Matt, but I bought it used....:-)

My father switched from an Oldsmobile 98 to a Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel in 1977....and only a couple years later, in the middle of an economic recession and house lending crisis, the nation at record interest rates, bought the first home he had ever owned (at 44 years old)...the ruduction of wasted fuel was a gift to his wealth.....and put me on logic of conservation ever since...:-)

People always assume that frugal living is bad....that is a complete inversion of all of economic history, an inversion of the ethic that built the real wealth of America, and proof of just how well the consumer propaganda ("if you don't buy more, you'll destroy the country!" It turns waste and not savings into a virtue!) has entered peoples mind and ethos. It is incredible. Somebody needs to tell these people that NOT buying but saving more will NOT hurt the country, but will help it. (it might not help that Chinese worker that actually prints and manufactures your "American" book, however)
Try it, just to see.....:-)

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

You skipped over my other option....buy a Rabbit Diesel instead of my current Benz Diesel, go from 30 miles per gallon to about 50, and go on living like I do

But those poor Saudis! Seriously though, that's really just another thing that can help you personally, but not really help things as a whole. Say you just outright buy a Volkswagen Rabbit diesel. Now you're out whatever you spent on it and you're not going to be spending that elsewhere. The guy you bought it from has that money now, and he might spend it on something that would stimulate jobs (like books) or not so much (like gasoline). There'd be a small net gain in fleet mileage because you've bought it outright without selling your lower mileage car. But you probably will sell your other car, to minimize the loss of cash on buying the rabbit. That means that someone else buys that car and now he's out the cash it took to buy your car and won't be spending it elsewhere. To make a long story short, there'd be a lot of shuffling of money, a lot of shuffling of cars...but somewhere near the end there's not any net gain. Low MPG vehicles don't just vanish when they're sold, they have to go somewhere. And if you don't sell the lower MPG vehicle, then you've got a lot of money trapped in it anyway.

Don't get me wrong when I argue about this, because I do agree that frugal living is good and you can have a great life without having to trash the planet (quite literally) and this could be made into a working economy. But what I'm saying is that within the current context of how things operate, your plan of just "tightening up" a bit will facilitate an economic downtrend and you can't really just switch to a higher mpg vehicle and go on living as before because the higher mpg vehicle has to come from somewhere and the lower mpg vehicle has to go somewhere so things as a whole wind up right back where they started. But it's probably a universal idea, to just cut back elsewhere and keep buying fuel. There's a guy at my work who does not believe, and basically refuses to accept, the idea of peak oil but has told me "Well if gas goes up, people are just going to have to cut back on something else. Nothing you can do about it." I would describe him as an average american, so his ideas are probably representative of the thinking of the vast majority of america.

I would say this is going to mask peak oil, not exacerbate it.

Large numbers of defaults, coupled with people no longer using their houses as ATM's means a economic recession/depression. If you lose everything and are out on the streets, that means you are not buying oil derived produces.

Of course this means a huge amount of suffering and social discontent, but gas will remain relatively cheap because of it.

On the other hand passing peak oil will mean that an economic recovery will not occur. I'm starting to lean toward the idea that peak oil will not the downfall of western civilization. Mostly because we will have driven the bus off an economic cliff prior to it's full impact.

In order for our petroleum imports to remain constant, our rate of consumption has to decline, every year, at the same rate (bpd) that our domestic consumption declines, and based on the HL model, the US is about 85% depleted.

Meanwhile, net oil exports worldwide are declining.

Edit: US C+C production has been dropping by 2.7% per year since 1997. The combination of declining US production and rising consumption has resulted in an average annual increase of about 5% per year in Total Petroleum imports.

Note that these same two factors--rising domestic consumption and declining domestic production--are at work in many exporting countries, resulting in sharp declines in net exports (e.g., an estimated 13% decline from 12/05 to 12/06 in Saudi Arabia).

For a 1929 type collapse, I'm not convinced that means anything.

I've talked to my grandparents and others that lived through that era. Oil consumption went to zero. People walked everywhere. A particularly poignant story was told to me by the guy I share my office with.

His father and mother were homeless migrant workers, walking from town to town, looking for work and begging food from farmers. They lived day to day, on the edge of starvation. An that was in an era when we were still a predominantly agrarian society.

Don't get me wrong, peak oil is going to make things worse, and make recovery next to impossible, but we live in a paper society, populated by helpless “service industry” workers. What are they going to do when the house of cards collapses? Go joyriding in a new SUV? Ask people if they want fries with that burger? No, they will riot, steal, burn, and murder, all very low oil consuming occupations (on a per capita basis).

There will be no oil, but there will be a large useless population, willing to work the fields by hand with a improvised hoe, just to get a crust of bread and a drink of water.


Check out Exhibit 5. Note that the rate of increase in motor vehicle miles per person slowed in the Thirties, but it nevertheless continued to increase.

Of course, oil was dirt cheap. At one point, the East Texas production drove prices down to 10 cents per barrel.

I couldn't find anything specifically on US consumption in the Thirties, but overall US crude oil production in the Thirties was up by 43%, versus the Twenties: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/mcrfpus1A.htm

Note that the initial decline in total US crude oil production in 1971 and 1972 was less than 1% per year. 1972 was actually up slightly over 1971 (as Texas peaked).

Qutes from the story:

"It’s not that the mortgage industry is collapsing, it’s just that the mortgage industry went wild and there are consequences of going wild."

"In the coming weeks, some mortgage market participants predict, investors will learn not only how lax real estate lending standards became, but also how hard to value these opaque securities are and how easy their values are to prop up."

I'd say that meets the "Times" standard for "panic talk"

John: Great interview with Peter Schiff on Financial Sense re this topic. Obviously great fortunes have been made through this fraudulent mortgage game http://www.financialsense.com/

I wonder if anyone here has read his book "Crash Proof."

One way to get crash proof would be to write a best-selling book and invest the royalties in sustainable stuff rather than stocks, I suppose.

BrianT, if you have read or plan to read the book, could you give us your opinion on it?

(Or anyone else...?)

Beggar: I haven't read the book yet but I will buy it. If IMO it is really worthwhile I will mention it on TOD. I thought the interview was interesting as Peter outlined the huge financial problems facing the USA without ever mentioning oil depletion. I highly recommend listening to the interview, I can't recommend the book (yet).

Three Bears, No Goldilocks - Part II - Crash Proof
by M.A. Nystrom

See also a review of another book on "modern finance".
Michael Panzner's Financial Armageddon:

Three Bears, No Goldilocks - Part I - Financial Armageddon
by M.A. Nystrom

A bit more Peter Schiff, just for the fun of it.
And because Gretchen Morgenson doesn't have the guts to spell it out as it is, who the accessories are.

The Worst is Far from Over!

How can anyone ignore last week's announcement by Freddie Mac that they would no longer buy loans where there is a "high likelihood" that borrowers cannot meet their monthly payments and which are "highly vulnerable to foreclosure." Talk about closing the barn door after the horse! This is tantamount to an admission that Freddie Mac formerly bought loans knowing full well that they would likely end in default!

When asked on CNBC why the agency had waited so long to impose tougher standards, the head of Freddie Mac explained that when home prices were rising, Freddie Mac did not think it wise to prevent sub-prime borrowers from profiting from the boom. In other words, since people were making piles of money by making bad bets on real estate prices, Freddie Mac did not want to turn down the action. So even though they knew speculative buyers were lying about their incomes and assets in order to purchase houses they could not afford, Freddie Mac did not want to rain on everyone's parade. So instead of acting responsibly, they simply kept the party going, held their noses, and bought the loans anyway. Unbelievable!!!

Since 70% plus of the U.S. economy is based on consumer spending, how can we possibly avoid a recession if the credit well financing much of it runs dry? Since home equity has been the principal asset collateralizing that credit, how can consumers keep borrowing and spending when housing prices fall? I heard one commentator on CNBC claim that the U.S. economy was in great shape except for housing. To me that's like a doctor telling a patient that he is in great health, except for the javelin sticking out of his chest.

Is it a coincidence that Peak Oil believers also are believers in economic crashes due to real estate problems, or overvalued US dollars, or, what, the Iranian oil bourse, or any other bogeyman of the month? Doesn't it reflect a predisposition to believe in catastrophe?

I agree with Halfin. I've been following PO for 3 years and the complete collapse of the US/ world economy has always been next quarter. Most of the oil predictions of the PO community have come true, but none of the economic preidcitions (so far).

There is no doubt that the US will pay heavily for borrowing its way into trillions of dollars in debt. When that will happen is unsure. But the housing situation is at the very least starting to look wobbly, and may trigger the downfall of entire financial markets. If you think that should not be discussed, that is your right, but it is a bit strange, seeing that you say it on a forum devoted to another not-to-be-discussed topic.

The reason why the financial downward potential is not more widely discussed is identical to the reason why peak oil is not yet a front-page news item. There are many voices that say it just ain't true. If there were open discussions in the media, this site would not exist in its present form. The news has to be dug up and interpreted by a handful of people.

This is true for both topics, and was true until recently for climate change. Those of us who do discuss all this are seen as having a propensity for doom in the eyes of by far the majority of the population.

But if you feel safer believing that the economy is doing fine, go ahead. Still, you might as well believe that we have plenty of oil.

He: Right on. What Schiff points out in the interview is that a large portion of the country is so financially illiterate that there is an acceptance that the entire economy can permanently grow wealthier through borrowing (whether through the fiscal deficit or the current account deficit) for consumer items indefinitely. 1+1= 14 as long as an authority figure tells me so.

1+1=11 as I understand finance 8-)).

It's Sunday and Late...

"There is no doubt that the US will pay heavily for borrowing its way into trillions of dollars in debt. When that will happen is unsure.

I agree with you, I'm not saying this shouldn't be discussed, I'm just wondering why do we always say that it's occurring NEXT QUARTER? Try reading through the archives of Kunsler's blog. He's been calling for the collapse of the economic system NEXT QUARTER since at least 2003, I got bored of looking back through it at that point. When I first became aware of PO, I was very interested in this dialogue but I've somewhat lost interest since the rhetoric did not prove true in 2nd quarter 2003, 3rd quarter 2003, 4th quarter 2003, 1st quarter 2004... you get the idea. I certainly think the US system has incredible inbalances but the reality is, that over the last 3 or 4 years, the economy has been doing fine despite the predictions I've been seeing on PO websites. Can't we discuss the problems with the US/ world economy without always having to say that economic Armaggedon will occur next quarter?

It's your own responsibility to read through info and draw your conclusions. I think you exaggerate the next quarter issue a bit, but yes, there will always be voices that veer to the extreme. That is true on both sides of the discussion.

What I personally find real extreme is the voices that claim there is not a problem in sight, on either of the topics. Add to that the fact that our media have a strong propensity towards good news and no news, and you enter a distorted field right off the bat.

And if you see how these days politics and media have hijacked the climate issue, and how, not by accident, an IPCC report is issued that has very rosy glasses on, then you know you can prepare for a lot more distortion. Politicians and corporations paint themselves green, for selfish reasons, not because they care.

The problem is that there comes a time when it's too late for discussing probabilities, like when your neck gets wet. We have opened the media to the climate problem about a generation too late, and many mitigation options have in the meantime flown out the window. That is a serious risk with other topics as well.

Agree that the "next quarter" thing is exaggerated.

Bubbles can go on for a lot longer than most people think, but they do eventually crash. That's the lesson I took from the dot-com boom and bust. A year to 18 months before the crash, some experts started warning that a crash was coming soon. Tech stocks just kept climbing, though, leading other experts to say earnings didn't matter any more, web page clicks did. Those warning that it couldn't continue were mocked as Cassandras who didn't understand the "new economy." And the doomsayers were indeed wrong...by a year or two. But a whole bunch of people sure wished they'd listened.

Phineas - Very thoughtful comments that are on the mark. I got mostly involved in webforums during the dotcom era. The plethera of conspiracy theories goes back to 2000. I won't bore you with a list of them all.

I never paid any attention. It struck me that these TEOTWAWKI topics are:

- absent from Journal abstracts
- unheard of in economic Forums
- never investigated by congressional committee
- seldom the subject of sunday political interviews
- not to be found in trade magazines
- void of front page or nightly news exposure

If somebody brings them up at professional seminars or town hall meetings, everyone just rolls their eyes. I realized recently why there are no websites for the opposing view: It's covered under common sense. Too ludicrous to waste one's time on nonsense when there are plenty of genine issues!

my sig: When is the Peak?

My POV may be skewed by living, every day, within a disaster zone and dealing with the immediate and long term effects. None the less, my signature line is "Best Hopes".

I have stated before that predicting the post-PO scenario is impossible. The # of unknowns are MUCH larger than the # of knowns. In order to make a prediction, one must make so many assumptions that SOME of the assumptions are bound to be wrong.

None the less, I do predict that pre-existing weaknesses, such as a massive Balance of Trade deficit and a Real Estate bubble will be "fault lines" where cracks are most likely to occur.

When & How (what mechanism) ? I do NOT know but can speculate on several possibilities (none of which may the actual mechanism).

Best Hopes,



Is the dollar worth what our deficit suggests?

Is real estate not a problem these days?

If you don't buy the energy-is-no-problem story, how do these derivative issues stack up?

Instead of wondering why some readers here might be predisposed.. ask:

Why is our media not able to confront the mortgage mess, the climate change, the deficit?

Is it a coincidence that CNN covers the alligator-eats-dog story six times a year? Or that Britney-what's-her-name made the headlines because she shaved her head? Is that a predisposition?

Frankly, I've never been a catastrophist. I always thought our future would be more or less like SciFi: civilisations rising and falling and rebuilding, but a general trend upwards.

I think we are in the early stages of a big fall, mostly being felt in smaller countries now. If it were only energy depletion, or only climate change, I'd be more confident that we will come back. As it is, if the energy scramble doesn't lead to nuclear war, I suspect that either the East or the West will survive in a very diminished state, on a far less hospitable planet.

outacontrol," that's a fine mess you've gotten us in to this time!". It amazes me how people seem to think we can continue to screw up the planet with ever more costly production when just reasonable conservation and foresight could really help.

We may be out of time anyway:

From the Sunday Times:
GW starts to run-away due to positive feedback loops.

However, the author makes statements such as 100 million barrels of oil per day to keep China's newly industrialised rich moving in 2020.

The author seems to assume continued growth levels and correspondingly increased use of carbon fuels. So perhaps his model is a bit flawed. Unless of course coal use is ramped up.

Either way, GW will screw us all up, if PO doesnt get us first...

Long article, but very much worth a read. Shame the maps are not present as in the printed article, but anyway:

Here is an excerpt:

‘’..the Hadley team had discovered that carbon-cycle feedbacks could tip the planet into runaway global warming by the middle of this century - much earlier than anyone had expected."
Confirmation came from the land itself. Climate models are routinely tested against historical data. In this case, scientists checked 25 years' worth of soil samples from 6,000 sites across the UK. The result was another black joke. "As temperatures gradually rose," says Lynas, "the scientists found that huge amounts of carbon had been released naturally from the soils. They totted it all up and discovered - irony of ironies - that the 13m tonnes of carbon British soils were emitting annually was enough to wipe out all the country's efforts to comply with the Kyoto Protocol." All soils will be affected by the rising heat, but none as badly as the Amazon's. "Catastrophe" is almost too small a word for the loss of the rainforest. Its 7m square kilometres produce 10% of the world's entire photosynthetic output from plants. Drought and heat will cripple it; fire will finish it off. In human terms, the effect on the planet will be like cutting off oxygen during an asthma attack…’’

And another (for all those survivalists out there):

"Where no refuge is available," says Lynas, "civil war and a collapse into racial or communal conflict seems the likely outcome." Isolated survivalism, however, may be as impracticable as dialling for room service. "How many of us could really trap or kill enough game to feed a family? Even if large numbers of people did successfully manage to fan out into the countryside, wildlife populations would quickly dwindle under the pressure. Supporting a hunter-gatherer lifestyle takes 10 to 100 times the land per person that a settled agricultural community needs. A large-scale resort to survivalism would turn into a further disaster for biodiversity as hungry humans killed and ate anything that moved." Including, perhaps, each other. "Invaders," says Lynas, "do not take kindly to residents denying them food. History suggests that if a stockpile is discovered, the householder and his family may be tortured and killed. Look for comparison to the experience of present-day Somalia, Sudan or Burundi, where conflicts over scarce land and food are at the root of lingering tribal wars and state collapse."

have fun reading it :-(

mudlogger, we're like canaries in a coal mine-we can sing and squawk all we want, but the coal miners won't pay attention until we fall over dead.

As I drive the lonesome roads of the Trans-Pecos in search of the elusive hydrocarbons that fill my dreams I occasionally have a flash of insight. One way of thinking about oil, coal, natural gas ect. is that they are nature's (or God's) carbon sequestration project.

My personal plan for the doomerist die-off is to die. At 55 with diabetes I won't survive a shift to a hunter-gather lifestyle, and I have no urge to shoot and bar-be-que my neighbors. But I think that's an unlikely scenario.
What's more likely is a rather quick descent into wretched poverty and semi-serfdom by most of the world as we listen to more pablum on Fox News about Anna Nicole or Britany Speare's latest rehab, sort of like the collapse of the USSR.

Go with God. When the Canaries start dropping off the perch, the gas is already in the mine...

I must confess, assuming I even make 75, the idea of a career change to hunter-gatherer will be slightly beyond me.

Either way we, it looks like we are toast: If we cannot access carbon fuels we starve. If we can, then we fry.

Still, It always amuses me that the Gov urge me to give up alcohol and tobacco... Jeez. Who wants to be 90 in 2050?

It's gonna happen long before you're 75, but you can always come sit by the still where it's warm and you can always get a drink. The end years do not have to be hard. People will always be willing to trade necessities for a little moonshine.

Having been at this topic for 9 years, I am certain that short of collapse there will be no significant movement toward plan B. The cluelessness of the MSM is so overwhelming as to leave one breathless. I took a break today and watched the coverage of the fires in California on Fox news. One of their reporters, a Trace Ghallager, made the idiot of the day award for me when he said, " Well the fire fighters caught a break today, as with daylight savings there will be an extra hour of daylight to fight the fire." Maybe we could get president Bush to declare an emergency Daylight savings for Orange County so the sun would not go down until the fire is out. Mind boggling!
The verbal exchange between Robert and Jeffrey is interesting but meaningless. The Saudi peak will happen when it does, the world peak will happen when it does, and NO ONE will prepare for it, other than a few lunatics like us, on this site and others similar to it.

Thanks for the link, I've always been a fan of science fiction.

I hope it is science fiction.

'cos if it aint then our kids are well and truly up sheet creek without a paddle.

We dont know. We never been here before. We dont know if GW is Anthropgenic or Solar, or a mix of both, or both plus Anthropogenic atmosphere cleanup since the 1940's. We dont know if we will get off lightly with 1 deg C, 2 deg C or if things cook at 5 deg C or 6 deg C.

What we do know is that mass faunal extinctions have happened before and we may well be in one now.

We should have all the facts in soon enough.

Hello Mudlogger,

Fascinating link, Thxs! I have posted before on how a methane clathrate explosion would be similar to 1,000 LNG tankers dumping their loads in NYC harbour--then add a spark of imagination.

Wild & Crazy Speculation Ahead:

Now I understand why Bush & Cheney want a new generation of nuke warheads--not for airbursts, but maybe for deep continental shelf seabursts to leverage methane clathrate eruptions. A 10 megaton nuke optimally placed into the subsea shelf might cause a 10 gigaton explosion resulting in a near-supersonic advancing flamefront with cubic miles of super-heated steam quickly following, then a 150 ft tsunami to extinguish the flames. A truly superior first-strike advantage as submarines are extremely difficult to track.

Now I am really scaring myself! =(

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

"Now I am really scaring myself! =( "

Holy crap, Bob, now you're scaring ME, and I don't scare easily!

Hello Sgage,



Triggering of Landslides, Tsunamis and Earthquakes

At least one major test-related landslide and consequent Tsunami in Moruroa, on July 25, 1979. Apparently, the 120kiloton weapon, which was supposed to be lowered into a shaft of 800 meters, got stuck at a depth of 400 meters and could not be dislodged. The French authorities decided to explode the device anyway. This explosion resulted in a major underwater landslide of at least one million cubic meters of coral and rock and created a cavity, probably 140 meters in diameter. The underwater landslide produced a major tidal wave comparable to a tsunami, which spread through the Tuamotu Archipelago and injured people on the southern part of Moruroa Atoll. (27)

French authorities initially denied that any mishap had occurred and declared that the tidal wave was of natural origin, but in a publication in 1985 they did acknowledge "the accident of 25 July 1979".(28)
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Holy crap. O_o

Houston destroyed by 2045? Australia a death trap? The Netherlands underwater and New York City flooded?

Maybe peak oil is the least of our worries...

Don't worry, OC. They're going to clean it all up when they are finished.

One of the scariest google maps I ever did was looking for Bahia Mar, Slip F-18, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Phoenix Motorcars' All-Electric Vehicle Travels to Texas for Second Debut Party

Phoenix's SUT is a battery-electric vehicle that eliminates noise and toxic vehicle emissions that contribute to air pollution. The zero-emission SUT can easily cruise at freeway speeds while carrying five passengers and a full payload. The SUT exceeds all specifications for a Type III ZEV, having a driving range of over 100 miles, can be recharged in less than 10 minutes and has a battery pack with a life of 12 years or more.

The MSM seems to have turned quite negative on biofuels these days. That will help pave the way for EV's.

Did the center of the universe just shift?

Halliburton Will Move HQ to Dubai

Oil services giant Halliburton Co. will soon shift its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Mideast financial powerhouse of Dubai, chief executive Dave Lesar announced Sunday.

"Halliburton is opening its corporate headquarters in Dubai while maintaining a corporate office in Houston," spokeswoman Cathy Mann said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "The chairman, president and CEO will office from and be based in Dubai to run the company from the UAE."

Lesar, speaking at an energy conference in nearby Bahrain, said he will relocate to Dubai from Texas to oversee Halliburton's intensified focus on business in the Mideast and energy-hungry Asia, home to some of the world's most important oil and gas markets.

Holy Guacamole, Batman. The rats ARE leaving the sinking ship !

(ex Halliburton Rat / 2nd Class).

Still , nice tax regime in Doobah

It already shifted in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq. The US will never leave the Middle East.

Here's the link for HBR - the move must be real


"Halliburton Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Lesar will move to Dubai to lead the company’s efforts in growing Halliburton’s business in the Eastern Hemisphere"

More shifting: Dubai records higher 2006 cargo volume than Heathrow airport

Daylight savings time being used earlier, does it help or hurt?


Uhhh, not really!

Just as a personal observation, I've found that I've started having to use my headlights again in the morning, and other people are using theirs as well. Though basically inconsequential at the personal level, running headlights does take energy and adds up when taken across the fleet. Also, with the "extra" daylight available after work I've found myself inclined to go hiking, and according to a local news piece, golfing activity picks up when DST rolls around. I'm guessing other people have similar inclinations to get out and do things with the extra daylight. Get enough inclinations together and you've got increased activity, increased activity leading to increased driving, consumption. I'm wondering if that's going to be significant. It should be interesting to see what the weekly gasoline inventory report looks like when it comes out for this coming week.

I always assumed that the IC engine wastes so much energy that running the headlights doesn't amount to much of an extra load on the engine.