DrumBeat: April 4, 2007

DOE Does Not Accept Initial SPR Bids

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy today said that it had reviewed, and deemed unacceptable, the bids that it had received in response to a solicitation to purchase up to four million barrels of crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The Office of Fossil Energy determined that the bids were too high and not a reasonable value for taxpayers.

In keeping with Secretary Bodman’s commitment to fill the SPR in a deliberate, predictable, and transparent manner, consistent with the Department’s updated guidelines that were announced in November 2006, the Office of Fossil Energy will issue another solicitation for bids in mid-April.

Robert Rodriguez’s Perspectives on Energy Stocks

In the case of supply, within the next five years, three countries may reach a peak in oil production: Mexico, China and Russia. Several analysts estimated that Mexican oil production would likely peak around 3.4 million barrels per day and that this event would occur in 2004. Mexico ’s largest oilfield, Cantarell, appears to have peaked and if this is the case, so has Mexican oil production, since six of every ten barrels produced by Mexico comes from this one field. Earlier this year, a 3% decline rate was forecast for Cantarell’s production. This has proved incorrect since it is now estimated that the decline rate is 8%. Obviously, this is likely to be of some concern to Mexico. Should this forecast of peak oil production for these three countries be correct, an additional 35% of non-OPEC oil production will have peaked, and together with the 41% from eleven major countries and others that have experienced a peak in production rates, 76% of non-OPEC oil production might have peaked by 2012. If this occurs, it will give the middle-eastern countries even more clout in the setting of oil prices. This is not a pleasant thought.

Palm oil: the biofuel of the future driving an ecological disaster now

"When you look closely the areas where companies are getting permission for oil palm plantations are those of high-conservation forest," said Willie Smits, who set up SarVision, a satellite mapping service that charts the rainforest's decline. "What they're really doing is stealing the timber because they get to clear it before they plant. But the timber's all they want; hit and run with no intention of ever planting. It's a conspiracy."

Coal the car fuel of the future, claim experts

But while visions of the future have focused on cars powered by electricity or bio-fuel, experts claim that motorists could fill up their tanks with coal in the not-too-distant future.

Japan Pumps Funds Into Energy Drive

Increasingly concerned about its medium- and long-term energy security amid stubbornly high prices -- and intensifying global competition -- for oil and gas, resource-poor Japan has set an ambitious goal of boosting the ratio of "Hinomaru oil." or oil developed and imported through domestic producers, from the current 15 percent to 40 percent by 2030.

China's CNPC sees 2007 natural gas output at 54 bln cu m, up from 44.5 bln

Li Jingming, a vice president and member of PetroChina's Research Institute for Petroleum Exploration and Development, told XFN-Asia on the sidelines of a energy forum here that natural gas will mainly come from a field in Sichuan province, and the Tarim and Qaidam Basins in Qinghai province, which account for 80 pct of its gas output.

China energy reduction target tough to reach - state researcher

China will struggle to reach its goal of reducing energy consumption by 20 pct per GDP unit by 2010 as heavy industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, a government researcher said.

Tax on Carbon Emissions Gains Support

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill push for a cap-and-trade system to rein in the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, an unlikely alternative has emerged from an ideologically diverse group of economists and industry leaders: a carbon tax.

Reports From Four Fronts in the War on Warming

Over the last few decades, as scientists have intensified their study of the human effects on climate and of the effects of climate change on humans, a common theme has emerged: in both respects, the world is a very unequal place.

Denial in the Desert

Some climatologists have not hesitated to call this a "mega-drought," even the "worst in 500 years." Others have been more cautious, not yet sure whether the current aridity in the West has surpassed the notorious thresholds of the 1930s (the Dust Bowl in the southern Plains) or 1950s (devastating drought in the Southwest). But the debate is possibly beside the point: The most recent and authoritative research finds that the "evening redness in the West" (to invoke the portentous subtitle of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian) is not simply episodic drought but the region's new "normal weather."

Environment: For a Greener Garden

All gardens may look green, but some are greener than others. Truly green, or organic, gardens are free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and filled with native plants that need minimal amounts of extra water. They're good for the environment, and they're safe for kids and pets to play in. Planting one is simpler—and cheaper—than you might think.

Postponing the Effects of Peak Oil

In honor of the U.S. Government Accountability Office's (GAO) report warning us of the effects of peak oil, this week we'll examine its recommendations on how to delay the catastrophe.

The global peak in oil production is right around the corner, and closer than you might think.

Studying the hydrogen energy chain

Alternative-energy companies are targeting state and local governments as the places to showcase the latest hydrogen fuel technology, but there are still many issues to clear up before the technology becomes a significant part of everyday life.

Could uranium hit $1,000 a pound?

And over the weekend, I heard an industry insider propose $1,000-a-pound uranium!

"That's crazy talk," I said.

"No," the industry insider said. "It would only raise the price of power from a nuclear plant to a level five times as high as it is currently. In a peak oil scenario – where gasoline is trading at $15 per gallon – that's quite doable."

He has a point. If the cost of fuel for our cars can quintuple, then so can the cost of electricity for our houses. And the idea of quintupling energy prices is not that far-fetched.

Getting the price right for solar

Even without technology breakthroughs, solar power will get cheaper from economies of scale, say experts. But without government subsidies, it is still more expensive than fossil fuels.

Georgia's energy woes continue

Georgia's energy supply still faces an uncertain future. On a recent trip to Baku, Nika Gilauri, Georgia's Energy Minister, met with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Natik Aliyev. His aim was to extend the terms of the Georgian-Azeri agreement which has seen Georgia receive 1.3 million cubic meters of natural gas per day since January from Azerbaijan's internal reserves. The inconclusive outcome of this meeting has only made the precariousness of Georgia's position clearer.

Uganda: Kenyan Pipeline Blamed for Fuel Shortage

"The Kenyan pipeline is facing frequent shutdowns arising from power and other mechanical breakdowns. It is reported that power supply to the line is inadequate and the transformers are stripping frequently," a statement by the ministry revealed.

Iraq's economy

The government is seeking foreign money to finance the huge infrastructure upgrades needed—including a proposed road linking all three of Kurdistan's main towns with their borders—and Mr Muhamad floated the intriguing option of "sharing management services" usually associated with the government, such as greater private-sector participation in the education sector, and even potentially PFIs in road and bridge construction. With the constitution confining sovereign debt issuance solely to the federal government, and the KRG allocated just 17% of federal oil revenue (after current spending)--the planning minister, Othman Shwani, among others, has argued that Kurdistan needs more, considering Saddam's legacy in the Kurdish areas — foreign money is desperately needed.

Corny Energy 'Solution'

Last stage of denial: ethanol will save us!

Gas prices could set new record this year

Gasoline prices are still 15 cents a gallon away from last May's all time high for Northern Nevada, but new highs could be set this summer, an American Automobile Association spokesman said Tuesday.

This week in bad energy news

One of the world's great oil fields is Cantarell, located in the Bay of Campeche (the southernmost area of the Gulf of Mexico), and it has been worked by PEMEX for years. According to Simmons, it's gone into decline. "That's a disaster happening in front of our eyes," said Simmons last week. He mentioned he had been in Mexico the week before and suggested Canterell is down 20% in a year, a frightening prospect. "[Canterell] produces six out of every 10 barrels from our friendliest supplier right across the border," said Simmons. (Let's ignore the diss to Canada there.) "The big discussion in PEMEX is, will the 20% persist or might it ease off to 14%? I raised the issue it might go to 25%."

For cleaner US ports, cut truck fumes first?

An L.A. ports coalition hopes its plan to allow only trucking firms that embrace new emissions standards will expand nationwide.

Silicon Valley's "best brains" work on energy

Venture capitalists in Silicon Valley have been searching for the next big thing in high-tech for years, but now many have switched to greener pursuits -- finding technology to help cut global warming.

Global warming happens: but is it "catastrophic?"

Likely headlines predicting a global warming "catastrophe," "disaster" or "cataclysm" after a U.N. report due on Friday risk sapping public willingness to act by making the problem seem too big to tackle, some experts say.

NASA: Arctic lost part of its perennial sea ice in 2005

But "recent studies indicate Arctic perennial ice is declining seven to 10 percent each decade," said Ron Kwok from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Ruling Undermines Lawsuits Opposing Emissions Controls

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on carbon dioxide emissions largely shredded the underpinning of other lawsuits trying to block regulation of the emissions and gave new momentum to Congressional efforts to control heat-trapping gases linked to climate change.

Emissions law could still face hurdles

California won a major victory in its campaign to regulate greenhouse gases on Monday. But the battle is not over.

The state still faces challenges on two fronts — at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and in a lawsuit by automakers — before it can implement its landmark law slashing greenhouse gas emissions from car exhaust. Even if California prevails, Congress could end up passing weaker national legislation that would supersede the state's.

Bush holds line on global warming despite ruling

President George W. Bush said on Tuesday he planned no new action to impose caps on greenhouse gases blamed for global warming despite the Supreme Court ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency must regulate U.S. emissions.

Instead, Bush pointed to his proposal to require cars to burn more gasoline made from home-grown sources like ethanol, and repeated his long-held stance that U.S. action is meaningless without changes by China and India.

Time to Pay Attention, China Trade War, Housing, Iran and more

Probably the most shocking news of the week was not the tension in the Middle East around Iran. No, as disturbing as is the possibility of another shooting war in immediate proximity to 25% of the world's daily oil shipments, the reality of a trade war with China announced on Friday (March 30 th , 2007) was even more disturbing:

Foreign oil workers freed in Nigeria

Kidnappers on Wednesday released two foreign oil workers abducted in Nigeria's restive southern oil region.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists convention: Oil peak predicted for year 2020

Development of the globe's remaining untapped oil reserves will push world production to its ultimate peak as early as 2020, before a long, slow decline begins near mid-century, petroleum experts predicted Tuesday.

Oil — Venezuela's lifeblood — is also a political flashpoint

Hugo Chavez vs. Big Oil. Now there's a showdown without an obvious crowd favorite.

The notoriously anti-American president of Venezuela started this fight by tearing up his contracts with four oil industry partnerships, demanding they convert the government's minority stakes into majority control. The oil majors developing the projects, including ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, fume about having their deep pockets picked, but they don't have much choice. If they can't agree on financial terms by June 26, Chavez could always order the army to seize the oil fields.

U.S. Must Get Head out of Sand on Oil Dependency

The House Committee heard from two extraordinary witnesses – Daniel Yergin, author of the definitive history of the oil industry, “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power,” and former CIA Director John Deutch, co-chair of a recent Council on Foreign Relations task force report on “The National Security Consequences of U.S. Oil Dependence.”

What if coal is running out too?

But what if our core beliefs about coal are wrong? What if coal isn't as abundant as we thought? What if we're rapidly approaching peak coal?

Reaping the benefits of Scotland's oil

However, Gordon Brown and his colleagues in Westminster would have us believe only bad news about Scotland's oil wealth. His recent gaffe in claiming that oil revenues were falling, despite the undeniable fact that they are on a rising trend only serves to demonstrate the UK government's attitude to Scotland's oil wealth – to downplay its significance and squander its future potential.

Heinberg: Nations must prepare for life after plentiful oil

Nations may suffer severe economic, social and political effects if they remain unprepared for the time when maximum oil production is reached, according to a speaker for the Truckee Meadows Livable Communities Series.

BP proposes pipeline reversal to accommodate Canadian crude

The UK-based oil industry giant’s North American subsidiary BP Pipelines Inc. launched a so-called "open season" process last week to gauge the interest of its shipping customers in reversing the flow of the BP No. 1 Pipeline, which currently terminates in Whiting.

This would boost the flow of Canadian light crude oil from the Chicago area to Cushing, Okla., which dubs itself the "Pipeline Crossroads of the World."

"The open season demonstrates the changing nature of North American crude oil movement,” said BP spokesman Scott Dean. “Midwest refineries are taking larger volumes of Canadian crude oil, which has caused a need to transport the oil south.”

US refinery problems and high demand to have depleted gasoline stocks

Refinery problems in the US and heightened demand are expected to be highlighted in this week's snapshot of oil inventories, said analysts.

Fueling debate

When Anne Siglin moved to Alameda from Chicago in 2005, she was shocked by the price of gas in the Bay Area.

"There are refineries right here," she said. "Why does gas cost so much more?"

As gas prices continue to soar and Californians are paying 60 cents more for a gallon of unleaded than the national average, many Bay Area residents are wondering the same thing.

Kernel of truth for corn

Rain and cold in the Midwest, coupled with falling prices, could put a damper on the planting record fueled by ethanol demand.

Better than ethanol

Biobutanol, the plant based fuel similar to ethanol, promises more power and less transport headaches. But can it be done cheaply enough?

Palm oil is not a failure as a biofuel

The Associated Press (AP) recently quoted Marcel Silvius, a renowned climate expert at Wetlands International in the Netherlands, as saying palm oil is a failure as a biofuel. This would be a misleading statement and one that doesn't help efforts to devise a workable solution to the multitude of issues surrounding the use of palm oil.

Biofuels in Africa: Investment Boon or Food Threat?

Africa's vast arable lands have the potential to rival top agricultural nations like the United States in supplying biofuels to a world seeking cleaner energy sources.

But using land reserved for food production to supply biofuel demand could squeeze food supplies in a region vulnerable to shortages. It could also hurt poor consumers if the biofuel boom continues to push food prices higher.

Things are already getting very tough out West. Cities are drying up. Desal plants are restarting. They take a lot of energy, mostly diesel energy. When both the price of water and the price of oil go through the roof, people in the Southwest will be in a world of hurt.

From the New York Times. It requires (free) registration:

The scramble for water is driven by the realities of population growth, political pressure and the hard truth that the Colorado River, a 1,400-mile-long silver thread of snowmelt and a lifeline for more than 20 million people in seven states, is providing much less water than it had.

According to some long-term projections, the mountain snows that feed the Colorado River will melt faster and evaporate in greater amounts with rising global temperatures, providing stress to the waterway even without drought. This year, the spring runoff is expected to be about half its long-term average. In only one year of the last seven, 2005, has the runoff been above average.

Ron Patterson

You beat me to it....but how about this one...


Opportunities for water ­companies are booming around the world because of looming shortages and decades of underinvestment, a conference in Barcelona heard on Tuesday.

China, Saudi Arabia and Algeria, where water shortages have become acute, are placing billions of dollars of contracts out to tender to improve water supplies for their growing populations. The trend is expected to grow, as 40 per cent of the world’s population will suffer water shortages by 2050, according to the United Nations Development Programme. Global warming is expected to exacerbate the problem.

Most water companies deal with this "problem" by drilling wells as a "solution". But all that does is drain the existing aquifer faster, much like we're doing with some of our oil fields.

Many people don't really know what to expect from climate change but decreasing fresh water availability, coupled with rising temperatures, makes me expect massive desertification. This is what I believe Lovelock sees too, hence his belief that homo sapiens will consist of a "few million breeding pairs" scrounging out a living near the arctic circle by 2100.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

re: water shortage problem solved by well drilling solution, resulting in faster depletion.

In a nut shell, this encapsulates our entire insane 'mop and bucket' mindset toward all our problems!

Rather than making acknowledgment of the impending and collective cliff faces surrounding mankind a matter of supreme public policy reversal (i.e., give our complete and undivided attention to living on less while there is still time & energy), we instead scurry up more mops and buckets which only hasten us closer to the noose tightening cliff.

In all this mop and bucket insanity I am reminded of the natural history museum dioramas depicting pre-historic hunters driving buffalo herds toward and over a cliff. Despite our advanced technological prowess and veneer of sophisticated civilization, we still tend to operate with blunt tactical force toward the problems we confront.

Except now the diorama would depict all of mankind being herded forward closer and closer to the precipice and it is our present day civilization cart with all its insane mops and buckets that is behind this march of doom.

Indeed, what a march of folly we continue to trod.

"It was your skill and your science
That led you astray.
And you thought to yourself,
I am, and there is none but me."

Isaiah 47:10

Well not even the slightest sing of water conservation here in Phoenix peoples grass lawns are as green as ever

GM *MIGHT* Bring 45 to 50 mpg Minicars to US for 2010 Model Year


New series under development in Korea.

IMHO, "A day late and a dollar short".

Best Hopes that I am wrong,


Yeah, I will believe it when I see it....

From the article:

“The honest answer is, I don’t know yet how serious we are,” Smith said, referring to the mini car segment.

“Our internal forecast shows gas at $2.50 a gallon for quite some time to come,” Smith said . . .

“There’s an age-old debate in our business of responding to consumers or presenting them with a case they haven’t thought about,” Smith said.
- - - -
Smith doesn't seem to remember GM's 3-cylinder Geo Metro, which delivered 52mpg and was sold until oil prices tanked in the late 90s.

Where do they get these multimillion dollar clowns to run their company? I wonder what they were discussing in their boardroom when crude rose to $50 in 2004?

Screw market research. Jack up gas prices and CAFE standards until 50 mpg plus cars are necessary for company survival. But noooo, the U.S. policy/strategy is to wait for a miracle to occur. Besides, according to Bush, we're making great progress and, besides, we ain't gonna do nothing much until China and India show the way. I knew that Bush would just give the middle finger to the supreme court after their ruling.

It costs big bucks to scale down doncha know?
Funny how the Japs can do it and still make huge profits.
The prevailing mindset that the GM "car guys" have revolves around building cars with V-8's. Many of them own classic muscle cars from the '60's and participate in events such as the "Woodward Dream Cruise" which is a sight that has to be seen to be believed. As long as that atmosphere dominates, American car companies are doomed.

From linked article:

Some "market research" on interest in minicars (Hint: PR, this is NOT how market research is done) but I did it anyway.



“Our internal forecast shows gas at $2.50 a gallon for quite some time to come,” Smith said, noting that stability in that price range won’t seriously change consumer demand or inspire “a seismic shift in consumption habits.”

Best Hopes for New GM Management,


While GM is wringing their hands over whether or not to manufacture fuel effiecient cars because it goes against their internal long term gasoline forecast of $2.50/gal, the North Carolina State Treasurer Richard Moore said on TV yesterday that the automakers "...need to plan for an era without fossil fuels".
That's a good sign to NC residents- i would imagine that Moore isn't investing NC State pension assets in all the asset classes that will go bankrupt (like automakers).

So, the mean time,let the planet burn. "Not my problem" Nice.

Something that I found interesting today, while watching Bloomberg, was the General Motors representative giving info on their first quarter of 2007. It says a lot about how people are (or aren’t) changing their levels of oil / gasoline usage. GM sold about the same number of cars as last year, but had “strong growth” in Luxury SUVs and Full-size pickup trucks.

General Motors Q1 2007:

Total sales up only 1%

Lux SUV up double digits

Full-size pickups up double digits

Ahmadinejad has just said that Iran will release the captured British sailors.


Fortunately it doesn't look like war anytime soon now...

No reason NOT to bomb them now.

Agreed. Especially considering that Iran has made numerous threats about wiping Israel off the face of the map. The US isn't going to risk anything when it comes to "protecting" the Middle East. An attack on Iran is coming.


Check out the video about half way down.

I'm tired of repeating this, but here goes again:

None of Iran's leaders has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map". Iran has never ever suggested it might attack Israel, and that makes sense, considering Israel could turn much of Iran into a radioactive wasteland. What Iranian leaders do want is an end to the Zionist regime, and even that is negotiable: in 2003 Khatami's government approached the US with an offer that could have led to a normalization of relations between the two countries, and the Iranians even suggested they could, under those circumstances, recognise Israel. Bush turned it down.

I wonder if people will ever come to accept that Ahmadinejad didn't threaten to "wipe Israel off the map". Here's a brief technical explanation of that mistranslation:

He made an analogy to Khomeini's determination and success in getting rid of the Shah's government, which Khomeini had said "must go" (az bain bayad berad). Then Ahmadinejad defined Zionism not as an Arabi-Israeli national struggle but as a Western plot to divide the world of Islam with Israel as the pivot of this plan.

The phrase he then used as I read it is "The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)."

Ahmadinejad was not making a threat, he was quoting a saying of Khomeini and urging that pro-Palestinian activists in Iran not give up hope-- that the occupation of Jerusalem was no more a continued inevitability than had been the hegemony of the Shah's government.


I know you get tired of having to do this, but thanks. I'm sick of the zionist propaganda machine and its endless streams of disinformation and misinformation.

I have yet to meet an Iranian I did not like. Who was not smarter than the average bear and did not behave with exemplary manners and courtesy. And I have met a fair few.

There was very little UKGov could do:

1. Incompetent MilINT.
2. No top cover
3. Frigate miles away
4. Small boats with piss-poor armaments
5. No stand-off boats with heavy weapons.
6. Complacency on behalf of Her Majesty's Royal Navy.

There should be Courts Martial over this and not involving the crew and squaddies of these boats.

Some here have said why did they not stick to Name, Rank and Serial Number?

I wouldnt. I would sing. The idea of dying for Blair (or doing porridge in an Iranian jail) who sends good people into losing situations without proper protection and back up negates the covenant between UKGov and UK Mil. And UKMil families.

UK is now all mouth and no trousers. Sad , but true You can bet that some desk driver decided that equipping the RN and RM units was 'sub-cost/benefit'

Good luck to Iran. They played this hand very well.

Smart people, those Iranians. Despite what it says in that travesty of a film about the Spartans.

The iranian's played their hand well considering this might of been a attempt to start a war.

UK is now all mouth and no trousers.

In the states (and especially Texas), that would be "all hat and no cattle". With our current, so-called, president, a very appropriate saying.

Ending the "occupation" of Jerusalem means one thing according to Khomeini: Judenrein.

Yes. Let the blood flow. Smell the burning flesh.

Yes. Let the blood flow. Smell the burning flesh.

Expect the 4 iranians the US captured in January to be quietly released about a week from now.

They will be sent to Guantanamo bay for further questioning.

I think the release makes war harder, for sure. But there is very strong determination on the part of the neo-cons to proceed with this thing. There is also lots of opposition to it, even, or especially perhaps, in our own military. But I think it is far too early to relax. Relax means: think about other impending disasters -- not watch TV.

I disagree. I don't think the neocons want war in the sense that you are expecting. I don't think this abduction of British sailors had anything to do with longer term plans.

I remain convinced that the entire process revolves around fomenting unrest and looking for an opportunity to break the southwestern oil producing provinces, which is Shiite ARAB away from the rest of Iran which is Shiite Persian. The US is looking for a trigger and that is an excellent trigger that would give them cover to move into southwestern Iran to "protect" the new breakaway government (that just happens to have most of Iran's oil). Then if Iran retaliates, which is likely, the US can proceed to bomb the snot out of them while "defending" the new breakaway republic.

In that scenario, the US almost cannot be painted as the bad guy and, by prodding Iran back even harder than Iran has prodded them, they may provoke an Iranian response that then lets them go full bore against Iran. This would also break down internal resistance at the Pentagon by changing the scenario from a preventative first strike to a followup retaliatory strike for attacking US forces and the breakaway republic.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

On NPR last night John Negraponte (former ambassador to Iraq, I believe) was being interviewed and he said the administration does not consider the hostage situation tied to the nuclear situation. They are completely independent of each other. If that is the case, the hostage release shouldn't affect the administration's actions toward Iran.

Tom A-B

I agree with Greyzone.

They will need to be provoked, and 15 sailors won't do it. They could have kept them and the US still wouldn't have set a foot on Iranian soil. They can't afford any more discontent at home, so it will coincide with a homeland security event, and/or Peak Oil rearing its ugly head.

Plus TPTB are not ready yet. The surge deployment to Iraq is still underway. The 3rd carrier is still deploying. Patriots/THAADS still deploying/not on station.

Unlikely any action before the end of May(on station time), but my gut tells me its a Fall event if it happens this year.

Can't imagine them pushing this thing to the fall.
Better to disrupt the summer driving season than
the winter heating season, if push really comes to shove.

Agree with davebygolly that there are serious divisions
in US govt about the whole thing. Baker's realists
and much of the US military con and neocons pro. Of
course, Bushies have been purging the crap out of
the highest corners of the Pentagon to get their
yes men in place. Latest carrier group could be
on station in three weeks if they push it.

Do you honestly think that the ramifications of an action against Iran in the summer would be all worked through by the fall? No way. Messing with Iran would be the mother of all quagmires. I can't even believe anyone, even Dubya, would consider it. OTOH, Dubya will do what he is told by his neocon handlers.

Then again, like you say, the Bushies have been putting their yes-men in place. What a moronic, evil (the two are related) administration. They seem determined to destroy the USA.

Ohhh, I don't think the ramifications would all
play out by fall, or even several falls hence, but
the neocons probably would be inclined to think so
you know, rose petals in the street of the newly
liberated and so forth...

I see now what you meant. Never misunderestimate the idiocy of the neocon powers that be :-)

Huge msitake in the first press release, citing 950 million barrels per day instead of 95 million barrels per day.

Not that that makes sense, a peak of 95 million barrels per day in 2020?

Rembrandt: The funny thing about all the "reputable" "conservative" estimates is that they are coming down each month, in almost linear fashion. The same thing is happening to the price quoted by the oil bears (now it is $30, which would have been considered shockingly high a few years ago). I am not sure if these guys even discussed PO in 2002, but I would be willing to bet their peak date was a lot later (like maybe 2050) five years ago.

I get the feeling lately that much of the news on peak oil is old news. Kunstler and Heinberg continue to rehash the same story (though they remain heroes to me), and much of what I read on the subject looks so familiar.

Perhaps it's a phenomenon experienced by many in the peak oil community. Call it "Peaking on Peak Oil Information" or some such thing.

Thanks to all the contributors at TOD for keeping the discussion on the bleeding edge. I've become more fascinated by your in-depth analyses and less likely to read all the way through a story saying yet again that we "may arrive at peak oil in the next 10 years!"

I've also had the perception that the mood on this board has lost a touch of optimism that used to appear, in exchange for what I see as realism. As others have said, it was intriguing to consider peak oil, but now it's just plain scary.

Tom A-B

If we really do know everything that can be known about Peak Oil, that is merely another reason to shift focused attention to natural gas and coal - about which we know much less at this stage, but which are each not that much less important than oil.

It's perhaps the TV-everything-gets-wrapped-up-in-15-minutes mentality that makes this seem so old hat and boring to some people.

In some ways, when Hubbert first let the cat out of the bag, he also defined the frame we are working in, and so everything since then is just filling in the puzzle. The big picture is already obvious-- only the fine grain remains to be resolved. No wonder there is a sort of law of diminishing returns. Here we have our own EROEI problem with respect to information-- it is taking more and more energy, creating more and more entropy, to extract just one more little nugget of information to fill in one more obscure corner of the picture.

It's worth doing -- but now the big picture guys have moved on, and the scholars and bean counters are having a field day. Just depends on whether you like Dunesbury or Proust, I suppose.

For my part, I like Kunstler's approach the best: accept the facts, which have been adequately demonstrated, and get on with the business of re-building the local communities which are at the heart of human existence, and which have been blown apart by the energy explosion of the last century. http://www.alternet.org/envirohealth/50049/

Peak ennui is unjustified. There is, as has been said, the imminent peaking of the alternatives that needs a lot more study. And this area needs to be merged in with the whole question of the livability of the planet -- taken as a system and home for our species: water, climate, resources, agriculture, population, etc. There are people studying these things. There is no more important and practical topic than this. What would an equilibrium state look like, one that could last a few thousands of years?

Secondly, pace Kunstler and all the other varieties of survivalists, there's a big problem: we have a government that is utterly hostile to all long-term thinking (among other things). It will not leave survivalists in peace either. If nothing else, the very land one needs to survive will be taxed and seized. Beyond that, all kinds of hostilities will be incited. So politics, distasteful as it is, cannot be avoided. There is no other way to change things on a big scale known to man. Current geopolitics is the peak oil debate being conducted by the big boys (and gals), but they don't label it that way.

I've also had the perception that the mood on this board has lost a touch of optimism that used to appear

It got smothered by the unrelenting - and often unwarranted - pessimism.

Any bad-news story would be greeted with a chorus of joy; any good-news story would be derided as delusional. Any rigorous attempt to critically examine the bad-news theories were reviled as "personal attacks", yet good-news theories were dismissed with no more than an affirmation of faith in The Peak. (Comments in the recent series by SS and EM, as well as RR's HL article, show this pretty clearly.)

When outsiders see how any claim that comes along saying "The Peak is nigh" is not merely swallowed but hailed by TOD consensus, it becomes pretty clear that all too many people here are little more than nihilists with a strange desire to see civilization fall. Why else the celebration at SS's articles claiming KSA is crashing? Why else the bitter rejection of EM's and RR's equally-well-argued articles with less-orthodox conclusions?

You get something when you shout down dissenting voices, but "realism" it ain't.

"Any bad-news story would be greeted with a chorus of joy"

"any claim that comes along saying "The Peak is nigh" is not merely swallowed but hailed"

"Any rigorous attempt to critically examine the bad-news theories were reviled as "personal attacks"

Yet another attack at strawmen - seems to be a rash of it today. Chorus of joy, my ass. This is the classic retort of the optimists - anyone who, upon careful consideration, thinks things are a bit grim must be HAPPY about it. Bullshit. I am so tired of that refrain. And how people feel about it has nothing to do with "realism" in any case.

When the feelgood stuff is clearly pollyannish nonsense, folks here will rebut it. And let's face it, a lot of the feelgood stuff is just that, and we need to avoid being distracted by it. We're just trying to avoid self-delusion here, that's all.

When interesting and plausible ideas get posted, they are discussed very civilly. Many of us here are working in many ways to mitigate things. But folks here tend to want to see actual numbers, in my experience. Not wishful thinking.

We're in a pickle here, and if people want to talk about "free zero-point energy" and other such pie-in-the-sky, they can expect critical response.

"Celebration"-this and "bitter rejection"-that is not an Oildrum phenomenon that I can see. I see a lot of realism here - a willingness to look reality right in the face.

The lack of that willingness is why we are in this pickle today.

Sgage: Posts on TOD having to do with global oil depletion are invariably well reasoned and backed up with objective data. The apparently (to many TOD posters) logically obvious jump from global oil depletion to the sky falling is never backed up with data of any kind. Pitt might be alluding to this almost religious belief in total collapse by many posters. Global oil depletion is global oil depletion, PERIOD. Anyone who is convinced that global oil depletion means societal collapse should back up this claim with objective data (and I don't mean endless references to Zimbabwe, which are about as relevant as residents of inner city Detroit going on and on about Palm Beach).

Hello BrianT,

Your Quote: "Anyone who is convinced that global oil depletion means societal collapse should back up this claim with objective data (and I don't mean endless references to Zimbabwe, which are about as relevant as residents of inner city Detroit going on and on about Palm Beach)."

If UN data of 33 countries having insufficient food and water [see my posting at the bottom of yesterday's Drumbeat] is not enough evidence to convince you we are globally headed in the wrong direction, then please google all the places having wars, riots, rising unemployment, declining life expectancies, and prolonged electrical blackouts. The Zimbabwe Syndrome is spreading.

Just because millions of Americans are watching Will Ferrell's "Blades of Glory" does not immumize us from the Grim Reaper's "Blade of Gory". Feral forces will come to the forefront in the North American Thermo/Gene Collision too.

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

Bob: I saw "Blades of Glory". Not as funny as Ricky Bobby or Old School, but definitely worth the price of admission.

Hello BrianT,

Thxs for responding. I haven't seen a movie in years: just another small conservation contribution on my part, similar to me riding my little scooter or bicycle.

I can only hope my hundreds of postings on mitigation ideas to optimize our decline will eventually be given a serious examination by TPTB. I will consider it a huge victory even if my local PTB consider mandating that billboards cannot be nightime-illuminated. But they don't reply to my emails.

My Asphalt Wonderland could be doing so much to prepare for the coming water, food, and energy shortages, but they evidently prefer to hit the wall at max speed. Such is life.

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

Peak oil is not occurring in a vacuum. Apparently you are unaware of:

1. Global water issues growing in magnitude.
2. Antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria increasing rapidly.
3. Massive topsoil depletion.
4. Climate change.
5. Collapse of numerous ecological regions.
6. Collapse of global fisheries.
7. Continued annual grain shortfall versus demand. (Global reserves half been cut in half in the last 7 years alone.)
8. Global population movements in response to the above.

I repeat, peak oil is not occurring in a vacuum. And the data for each of these topics is not directly relevant to TOD so does not need to be rehashed endlessly here, but I assure you there is plenty of data about all these topics and more. Just because you choose to ignore this data does not mean that the rest of us do.

But you can sure be happy! So be happy and ignore all this. It doesn't exist as far as you are concerned. Continue eating the lotus until you can't. I'm sure there will be a "solution" waiting for you.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

GreyZone, have you read "The Skeptical Environmentalist" ? I found it to be tremendously helpful for establishing a reasonably objective perspective on the trends for the global environment (at least through 2000). Some of the items listed as "collapsing" in your post are most likely _not_ collapsing (e.g. topsoil, grain production).

There is a tremendous amount of hype, hysteria, and disinformation from both pro-environment and pro-industry groups in the press, which makes it very difficult to maintain an accurate perspective. Although I think that Lomberg is woefully shortsighted in many ways (he rarely makes an effort to extrapolate into the future except with linear plots e.g.), nonetheless his analysis of the historical data is compelling for the most part.

Not a rebuttal, but just sharing a text that I found helpful.

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Well, I don't know about GreyZone but I have read the Skeptical Environmentalist! In fact I have it in my hand right now. I have highlghted the "total bullshit" sections of the book with a yellow highlighter. The book is mostly yellow.

Here is an example:

The US Energy Information Agency estimates that today it will be possible to produce about 550 billion barrels of oil from tar sands and shale oil at a price below $30. I.E. that is possible to increase the present global oil reserves by 50 percent. And it is estimated that within 25 years we can commercially exploit twice as much in oil reserves as the world’s present oil reserves. Should the oil price increase to $40 per barrel we will probably be able to exploit about five times the present reserves.

The total size of shale oil reserves is quite numbing. It is estimated that globally there is about 242 times more shale oil than conventional petroleum resources. There is more than eight times more energy in shale oil than in all other energy resources combined –oil, gas, coal, peat and tar sands. This stunning amount of energy is the equivalent of our present total energy consumption for more than 5,000 years.
Page 128

Everything in the book is either a gross exaggeration or a downright lie. He says the topsoil situation is getting better…a lie. He says that the water is getting less polluted….a lie. He says that, since 1600, only 1,033 species out of 1,600,000 have gone extinct. That is one of the biggest lies in the whole damn book. And it is nothing but lies and bullshit from cover to cover.

Ron Patterson

A brief search on the web will yield hundreds of critiques of Lomborg's work. I haven't read his book and don't intend to after reading many of the rebuttals. The consensus among real scientists seems to be that he is largely a fraud.

Here is one site of many:

Thanks for the link - a real eye-opener. I had significantly underestimated his bias, it appears.

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

GreyZone, the world has always had problems and always will. I guess the million dollar question is this: most doomers are convinced that peak oil will cause civilization to collapse globally and cause a massive dieoff globally. I don't see how one (global collapse/dieoff) automatically follows the other (peak oil). Sure, civilization will collapse and dieoff will happen in some places (it already has).

But why is a collapse/dieoff inevitable in N.America or Europe? Economic hardship is inevitable; I don't think a collapse & dieoff is.

You probably fail to understand that graph. Or, you think humans are exempt from what that graph means. Or you think that none of the effects that emanate from the reality behind that graph matter. Or perhaps you believe that human ingenuity trumps physics. You are free to hold whatever beliefs you choose but that does not make them correct.

Good day, sir.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

The apparently (to many TOD posters) logically obvious jump from global oil depletion to the sky falling is never backed up with data of any kind.

Want to see some data? Try this:

Or try this one:

It was thus becoming apparent that nature must, in the not far distant future, institute bankruptcy proceedings against industrial civilization, and perhaps against the standing crop of human flesh, just as nature had done many times to other detritus-consuming species following their exuberant expansion in response to the savings deposits their ecosystems had accumulated before they got the opportunity to begin the drawdown.

The vast supply of detritus, or extrasomatic energy, that has enable the human population to explode is soon to start to dry up. It is nothing but magical thinking to think that, with only a little hardship, we can manage things with major reduction in population.

At any rate, the burden of proof lies with the magical thinkers. Show us please, how we can feed six point five billion people when the energy that produces their food starts to disappear.

Here is the bottom line. When energy that produces food starts to disappear, the food will disappear. When the food starts to disappear, people will start to disappear.

Ron Patterson

Ron: Where is the link established between % of global population starving (which I assume is near record % currently) and global GDP? When doomers talk of a world "collapsing", with Mad Max and his ilk running amok, we can assume this describes a world with falling or at very least stagnant GDP. Currently we have strong global GDP growth with record and rising levels of human starvation. It is a "collapse" for some, not a "collapse" for others.

Brian, I really don't give a damn about GDP, what I am concerned with is GFP, Gross Food Production. When gross food production starts to fall, which it will when GEP, gross energy production, starts to fall, then GPE will start to drop also. (GPE....Gross People Esisting.)

Don't get too excited on who will go hungry and who will get fat. It will be hard times for everyone! If you recall the French Revolution, then you know the rich were the first to get their heads lobbed off. One cannot say that because some are rich and some are poor, that the rich will be better off when energy starts to decline. If there are riots and unrest, it could be exactly the other way around.

Ron Patterson

In fact, food scarcity has been declining (albeit slowly) as a share of total population according to the scientific literature (assuming that the scientists aren't publishing LIES!, LIES!, LIES!, of course)... This is true in the aggregate for developing countries, despite significant population growth, and political instability.

I'll post the actual #'s when I get home tonight.

Obviously, as energy becomes scarce, food scarcity will increase, potentially significantly.

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Hindmost, actually per capita food production rose until 2004 but then dropped in 2005. I don't have 2006 numbers but I would bet they are down from 2005.

But that is not the point. Per capita food production has been rising in many countries but dramatically dropping in others. Some people in the world are starting to starve while otheres are getting fat. Per capita food production peaked in Sub-Sahara Africa in 1999. But amazingly it peaked in developed countries in 1986. But every country is different. Zimbabwe for instance peaked in 1972 and are now done to less than one half thir 1972 per capita food production.

Check it out here:

Ron Patterson

Thanks for the links - very helpful and informative. I am building my pivot tables now :-)

The data shown in the link above really seems to support the statement that global aggregate per capita food production is reasonably healthy (2005 is the 2nd best year on record, e.g.). It would be very hard to argue that there is a catastrophic decline using these numbers, other than sub-saharan africa. Even a 2-year moderate decline (2005 - 2007) can't be assumed to be a long-term trend. One of the reasons the food production in the developed nations has plateaued is because of a glut in many food commodities, that kept prices low, e.g.

Your point about isolated declines in specific regions is important, and represents a real challenge. But it is really important to understand the underlying causes of the localized food scarcities. As I understand it, many of the sub-saharan countries have experienced severe drought, political instability, and locust swarms over the past few years, all of which have contributed to the food scarcity issues. The AIDS virus has gutted much of the food
production in the hardest-hit countries as well.

I hope you know enough about the madness of Robert Mugabe to understand that the famine there is entirely a result of his psychosis. Zimbabwe was a net food exporter until he essentially razed the farm infrastructure for the entire country. This can't be relevant to energy scarcity, or overshoot of our global footprint.

I would argue that the food scarcity & human welfare crises in SSA are one of the top 5 global priorities for humanitarian efforts (and economic efforts), but that the crises are largely unrelated to peak oil (at present!).

Once peak oil hits, food production will face a grave risk of declining worldwide, but that hasn't happened yet...

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Ahh the doomer vs cornucopian, or social realist vs techno realist, or whatever the labels (doomer strawman vs cornucopian strawman:->). The two 'sides' keep one-upping, or one-downing each other. The process never ends.

It reminds me of the old joke sequence:
A man falls out of an airplane.
Fortunately, he has on a parachute.
Unfortunately, the parachute fails to open.
Fortunately, there is a haystack below him.
Unfortunately, there is a pitchfork in the haystack.
Fortunately, he misses the pitchfork.
Unfortunately, he misses the haystack.

As a 'believer' in technology and science and as a small c conservative and as a geologist in the oil industry it took me a while to accept the findings on this site and other sites. I first read Campbells book in the late 90's. I discarded it as pretty much another millenial doom cult thing and got on with my life. Round about 2002, I picked it up again, got interested, got reading, heard about Hubbert (btw: non-geologists may be surprised that Hubbert aint taught in undergrad classes...)....even now...

Then, when the penny finally drops, you go through the classic phases of a person who just has been told he will see Christmas, but dont spend money booking a holiday at Easter...

Ultimately, and with weariness and heavy heart, acceptance occurs.

As new people come to this site, they will all go through these classic phases. So as new people come, this site will bounce from optimism to deep pessimism and back again.

Fine. No problem.

But the more you learn the more you know. And the more you know, the more you learn...

Personally, on this long anabasis through peak oil, gas, uranium, food, water, and now possibly coal, the striking thing is , as Memmel pointed out along with many others is:


Climate was once an elephant in the room, Then peak oil became the elephant. But really the big, mature, fully tusked bull elephant is


Maybe Gaia has played the ultimate trick on the clever little monkey:

She solved the problem using our own strength against us. Our remarkable brains discovered Carbon fuels. We threw a 200 year long party which climaxes with our massive reduction or even possible extinction.

Problem solved.... at least from Gaia's self modulating perspective.

One thing is for sure, doomer or optimist; imminent peakist or 20-years-from-now-peakist:

We are out of time.

Re "What if coal is drying up too?"

There was a thread devoted to coal the other day, and I will repeat what I said there: Since the counted-on abundance of coal is the principal energy fall-back right now for industrial civilization as oil and natural gas run short, I think there ought to be a concerted effort to get a handle on how much is left - much in the same way as has happened over the past 20 years with regard to oil.

Is this purported abundance really to be counted on, or is that a mirage also?

[Sorry - I accidentally hit the "send" button twice in rapid succession in my earlier post re coal.]

But just to make good use of this comment space: Maybe www.theoildrum.com could even be renamed, and called www.thenaturalgaspipe.com, or www.thecoalbed.com

American Association of Petroleum Geologists - Oil peak 2020


Hirsch Report - 20 Years to Prepare for Peak


MAJOR Problems

Even optimistic estimates indicate that serious, crash mitigation is past due.

My contribution


Best Hopes,


I agree. If you take the optimistic view that oil will not peak until 2020, that is only 13 years away. It takes Congress a year to pass a bill, and it will take longer than 13 years to change the world's (and especially the US') infrastructures to accomodate Peak Oil.

Let's see, in 13 years, it will be ungodly expensive to drive a gasoline powered vehicle unless it's a 50cc scooter. That right there, even if ALL the new cars sold after 2015 are electric, that's a LOT of used cars that will be seriously devalued due to the cost to run them. Case in point: I own 3 cars. One is 7 years old, one is 12 years old, one is 22 years old. They all run, and the '85 model has 288,000+ miles on it. I'm sure I could squeeze another 50k miles out of it.

That either means there will be a serious dumping of used gasoline powered cars, or there is going to be a SERIOUS market for taking out and recycling the gasoline engines and retrofitting the vehicles with electric power. Given America's throw-away mentality, this will only be desired among those with less money, and getting a loan to retrofit a used vehicle will be harder than financing a new vehicle.

And where will you get the electricity from ?

From 1995-2005, over 95% of new US electrical generation came from natural gas (and some before & after).

Tezas Utilities just ordered two new nukes; commercial 2015-2020.

Wind *IS* growing rapidly BUT the transmission and pumped storage to "make it work" for a high % of our grid is lacking.


Shows that Urban Rail can average 2,000 pax mpg (in electricity equilavent).

Scrap the cars, walk, bicycle and take the streetcar/light rail/subway. And if you live in a place where none of these "work", scrap the house. (Think of the preWW II neigborhoods and downtowns that we scrapped from 1950 to 1970).

Best Hopes,


Well, I don't know where the U.S. will get its electricity from, but I'll be getting mine from solar panels. Sure, you could argue the EROEI on solar panels, but that's not really my concern. I believe that after financial pressures are big enough, instead of using coal to power our plasma TVs, we'll use coal to power the smelters and factories to manufacture solar panels and wind turbines.

Everybody seems to constantly say, "Well that power isn't always on!" What's the point? If it means that we can only power our factories, radios, and TVs when the sun is shining, so be it! In a scenario where fossil fuels are so scarce that we are rationing them like we should be, we'll be happy enough to have electricity during the day instead of moaning about how we don't have it 24/7.

Sure, scrap the cars, or scrap the houses, and that's a wonderful thought, but some basic level of transportation is still needed for commerce, even if it's on the local level. Am I going to pull a trailer behind me with my goods? Sure, I could, or I could have a horse do it. Or, since I'm going to be going to the market once or twice a week to sell my wares, I could have my little 48v truck that can haul 1,000 lbs worth of goods at a top speed of 30mph that I recharge on those days when I'm not toting my goods to market.

I'd much rather have 20 sq ft on my roof consumed by a solar panel that powers that vehicle that takes my goods to market as opposed to having an entire acre dedicated to a horse, or hauling those goods (Maybe the food I grew) 5 miles into town myself.

Going car-less is fine for those who live in town, but there are all those areas outside of town that support those people in town. The farmers, the loggers, the trappers, and likely some artisans as well. People who can make furniture, etc, etc.

At any rate, I'm getting a bit off of topic, but back to my original intent is that just because we currently get our electricity from the grid, doesn't mean that's how it will (or should) be in the future. Or the dynamics may change instead. Instead of a flat-rate residential rate as many people have, we will be on time of use metering, with peak metering as well. Our electricity might be rationed, to where we can consume an allocated peak KW and a maximum allowable consumption per day (4kwh or whatever.) The peaks will be based upon the generation capacity that day.. You'll look at your console in your home, and it will tell you that you can consume XYZ amount today, and if you go over that amount, you'll pay out the wazoo. All it requires is a re-calibration of our perspective on how we use and utilize energy.

(And as a result, a lot of stuff will be going onto rail as you suggested. Cargo transport via 18-wheelers is just plain wasteful.)


Just a pleasant FYI...you'd need about 5 acres per horse, not one, to account for both it's normal needs and also to produce hay for the winter.

(Think of the preWW II neigborhoods and downtowns that we scrapped from 1950 to 1970)

Right. I have never been to New Orleans, and know nothing about it except for what I can read on the Internet, etc. But it looks like the Big Easy has essentially been scrapped -- for what purpose, I can't really say, but it seems like there is a concerted effort to remove certain undesirable, and energy-sucking elements of the population to make room for a whole different group.

Perhaps 10% of the housing stock has been destroyed or scrapped (the block across the street and down one block from me burned to the ground during Katrina despite water only in the street). Another 10% to 15% looks likely to go (outside public housing).

The old frame homes from cypress are incrediably durable and well built; even 460 sq ft shotguns put modern construction to shame.

Perhaps 25% of the city was built up postWW II with the sins of that era (slab houses poorly built, limited sprawl charasteristics) and the attrition rate is higher there.

The preWW II sections of the city are among the most walkable and human scale dense (i.e not highrises but REAL neighborhoods) in the US and many of these are coming back strong. We are THE "Old Urbanism" pattern for New Urbanism.

Most of my trips are 2 miles or less (food shopping 2.5 to 7 blocks away) and hence do not require a car. And, other than the airport, I have no needs or desires more than 5 miles away (Some reachable by streetcar & walking).

Pre-Katrina, 8% or so of housing was public housing and there was a SLOW motion move to demolish concentrated public housing and go to 'scatter sites'; mainly Section 8.

There is a major contraversy on what to do with public housing, and it's residents.

As for working class black neighborhoods, they have been slower to return (fewer resources) but NO ONE I have talked to does not want working people back ASAP ! And these neighborhoods are just now really coming back (I was on De Saix yesterday; 80% back, in trailers or renovating#). Only one white person has said that they did not want the city to be at least half black (it was 2/3rds before).

Given our broken healthcare system (ALL area hospitals run out of beds about once a week, etc.) there is some concern about bringing retired people back.

# There is a strong prejudice against using illegal aliens in the black community (that's something the white fold do). US citizen Hispanics, Vietnamese, etc. are quite OK though. I have heard several discussions on this, but it reduces the available resources to the black community. They think it is wrong to 1) racially discriminate and 2) use illegals that displace their own people. The black-Vietnamese bond is stronger than ever and everyone admires the Vietnamese in leading the charge back into the flooded areas.

Best Hopes,


Let's speculate a moment, Alan. Let's assume that the problem is that we cannot just scrap the existing structures via the normal economic processes because they are simply not fast enough. Consequently, we need to move outside the normal economic process. But to do that requires a political response and it appears that a political response is flatly impossible until the crisis is already on top of us.

Given the above, what do you think the results will be?

We do not need more technical solutions. We have sufficient technical solutions right now. We need political will and political solutions. Who is going to deliver these? And if they are not delivered, what happens then?

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Some thoughts.

Add more rolling stock to existing rail lines (all types).

Start on the $130 to $160 billion list of "on-the-shelf" urban rail projects that I have collected. All can start construction within 1 to 3 years. MUCH more after that.

Electrify our freight railroads and expand their capacity (more tracks, better signals). (Toll the interstates as well !) Build more semiHigh Speed Rail (110 mph pax, 100 mph freight) over 1/2 the US.

Public supported (directly via WPA or via subsidies, etc.) new and converted/adapted housing in specific areas accessiable to electrified transportation. New housing would have R-50+ walls, solar water heating (some space heating as well), two people per 600 sq ft duplexes/4 plexes (see New Orleans double shotguns, quite livable !) but walkable, greenery, small parks (again see New Orleans) and more time could be spent outside than inside after work. All on narrow one way streets & paths (more room for people. less for autos).

A typical Light Rail stop might have 5 story housing or offices/factories right next to the stop, 3 story 1 block away and New Orleans style density after that; with community gardens 6-7 blocks away before the old suburbs/slums take over. New downtowns would develop where two or more Rail lines crossed or joined. Perhaps narrow alleys with shops ground floor and residences above starting 2 blocks away from station. Healthcare & gov't services right at central stop ??

LOTS of bicycling and changes to allow more bicycling. I said before I kind of expect the much derided (by cool teenagers, Jay Leno III) electric assist tricycle (basket & battery in the back) to be the Baby Boomer symbol and stereotype in our later years.

A massive explosion of new wind turbines and some new nukes & new solar plus HV DC transmission & pumped storage to be the future replacement energy sources.

Farmers take their electric assist trike to town twice a month if the weather is good. Oil is saved for farming.

Off the top of my head :-)

Best Hopes,


Right! And all of those, in the time frame we are talking, require a political response which is still not forthcoming.

I'll take your signature and change it just a bit, Alan. I wish you the best but I hope you are planning for the worst.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Hi Grey,

re: "...in the time frame we are talking, require a political response which is still not forthcoming."

Do you have any ideas (or have you personally taken any steps in the direction of) encouraging or assisting the "political response"?

How could it be forthcoming? Suppose it could be. What has to happen? (Who has to do what, exactly?)

Sincere questions.

For change to happen, the US would have to change its national character, something which seems quite unlikely. The population collectively has demonstrated that it prefers happy talk and delusional "solutions" to truth and sacrifice. Politicians who speak frankly of resource depletion, infinite exponential growth, species and habitat destruction and the massive overuse of the planet's resources by 5% of the world's population cannot be elected to office. A low cost simple measure of conservation such as lowering the speed limits has not even been mentioned on the national level, and it most assuredly would generate massive resistance.

Hi Seadragon,

Thanks for your comment.

re: "The population collectively has demonstrated that it prefers happy talk and delusional "solutions" to truth and sacrifice."

My questions to Grey, above, are serious, and merit attention (not 'cause they're mine). Yes, we can make a lot of generalities about the population. At the same time, who actually knows more clearly the situation? It seems to me that people here (TOD) in general do.

What next? People who do not know, cannot know what to do, as they don't even understand the problem. Some things do change.

For example, can the TOD action committee call for an immediate 55 mph speed limit and start running ads?

Or is this not practical.

Is anything practical?

I suggested the 55 mph speed limit a few days ago on TOD (as a signal, perhaps, of our willingness to confront these problems, deliberately choosing a low cost, easy one to implement). It generated a fair amount of resistance: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2397#comment-173331
The point is, the problems that are discussed here on TOD demand a systemic response, which, at least in the US, seems not to be coming. I admire the willingness to propose solutions but most of them seem predicated on an enlightened populace which doesn't exist in the US.

Some better questions might be, why aren't we seeing this (55 mph) discussed on a national level right now? What does that tell us about the US citizenry, political leadership or their corporate masters, and what should an individual's response to that be?

Hi Seadragon,

I greatly appreciate your response and the link, which was to an article I hadn't read, so hadn't seen your comment (though I've also brought up speed limit before, as have others.)

Rather than "resistance", I would characterize the posts as educated discussion, exhibiting a high degree of willingness to engage in talk about what the best solution might be.

Given the *brief* amount of time any one poster spent responding, and the length and quality and information content of the posts, I would take this to be a quite remarkable first step. (That took, what - 10 minutes per person?)

To organize a proposal, it seems we need a format.
And a way to interact everyone agrees on. I like consensus, because it means all concerns are dealt with and no one ends up supporting something he/she is opposed to.

For example, from my reading, I would say there is consensus agreement on a 60mph suggestion and enforcement of the 65 mph speed limit.

This might be a place to start.

This might be "Step One" of the TOD action committee list, as an example.

re: "Why."

I have a very different view. To me, "why" is usually not a productive question, - unless it is another way of asking about needs.

My suggestion is to ask "What is the need? What specific step in the present can one person ask another to take?"

Here's a link to the "Drive Easy" campaign. Bumper stickers only fifty cents. Looks good to me (I can put one on my bicycle.)


Hello Alan!

No relation, but have you seen the TGV speed record yesterday?
It was 355 miles/h, on wheels only!! Doesn't it make you dream?

Hello Manmax,

Yes, that was quite a RR achievement for France, but I would be more than happy for my Phx with a network of small, narrow gauge RRs moving along the sidewalks at 20mph or less, plus equally scaled canal barges. Then, once we are totally out of affordable electricity, or burnable cacti and desert plants to power these locos, then pedal railbikes to efficiently move the local goods. But I expect most of the Southwest and Mexico to invade Cascadia and other Northern areas first. Common sense will be applied much, much later. My mitigation hopes can be summed up as 150 million bicycles and wheelbarrows are healthier and less violent than 150 million rifles and machetes. Time will tell.

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

Not really.

I am no great fan of High Speed Rail, particularly in the US. We have MUCH greater needs than high energy consumption rail.

I would be quite happy with the fastest train in the US hitting 200 kph (~121 mph) on the straights BUT many of these trains (both pax and express freight like SBB) criss-crossing half the nation. Burning more coal and natural gas to go faster does not "turn me on".

Best Hopes,


Ok, but as you certainly know, the TGV is electric powered, and that electricity comes from nuclear power..

They say the California is interested to build a high speed lane between North and South (i don't know if it was San Franscisco-San Diego). It would save a lot of jet fuel in any cases.

Hi manmax,

re: "...save a lot of jet fuel."

If the amount of capital is limited (and anyone who accepts "peak" knows this to be the case - yes?), then how best is it spent?

Fixing Amtrak, is first, it seems to me. Not HSR, which (in the "worst case" scenario - that increasingly appears to be what we actually do have here in terms of timing)...will not be completed due to lack of funds.

It seems to me anything has to be linked to a rapid conservation plan, as in - no new roads, 55mph speed limit, etc.

In virtually every part of the US, the marginal source of electricity for 90%+ of the time will be coal or natural gas for at least 20 years. We are NOT France or Switzerland.

175 kph average speed (200 kph top) will be enough to attract people from cars if all else is in place (Urban Rail for example). The fuel savings by attracting air travel are less than attracting auto travel; and much of that savings can be consumed by the proposed 321 kph maximum speeds.

If oil is very expensive; most people will take the longer train *and an average of 175 kph is not SO slow.

California proposes to spend $60 billion on HSR from San Francisco to Los Angeles (more $$$ later to San Diego and Sacramento). This is more than Switzerland will be spending on the Alp Transit and all related rail improvements from 2000 to 2020.

There are MUCH better places for California to spend it's $60 billion.

Best Hopes,


Hi Alan,

Thanks for all your work and your support.

I question the natural gas availability, though, based on articles here at TOD. Of course, agree w. you in general.

(Actually, same goes for coal, when we really start looking at it. It's hard to believe that there won't be cost overruns (on the extraction side) (accidents, of nothing else) that end up cutting into the output.)

Yeah, I hadn't see that in that way. You're probably right that there's a better way to spend these 60 billions.

I agree with you that streetcar is the priority for the US in regard of the lack of such infrastructures.

BUt in a later phase, HSR is the only way to move quickly across your big country!!!

The way electricity is generated in the US was out my sight too...

IF we try REAL hard, we can shrink natural gas used to generate electricity faster than the supply of NG shrinks.

For a decade, almost every 90+% of new generation was NG. So shrinking this is doable !

Less electricity used; more wind is the next few years seem the only options (as Nick pointed out 44% of new egneration is wind this year, add a few more % for hydro, landfill gas, solar and we at half).

The 3.4 GW of Texas nukes 2015-2020 will reduce NG use as well.

This is the one case where the US is moving in the right direction, but just not fast enough !

best Hopes,


From the article.

"New and emerging oil reserves in the Arctic, off the coasts of western Africa and Brazil, in Canada, and around Greenland, among other locations, will help offset declining production levels in the coming decades."

Looks like they're basing their optimism on the potential of deep sea oil, at least they're implicitly admitting there are no other places left to look.

Is there any reason to expect oil to exist in the Arctic region. Was there ever an oxygen trap there?

There was already a USGS study that says there is very little oil to be expected from the Arctic regions although some gas should be expected.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

With all of the conceivable changes a person could make in life to better prepare for our energy-scarce future, why don't more people with an awareness of the future take action?

How many of you have

  • Sold your house to eliminate debt?
  • Developed skills that you can market after the peak?
  • Secured your own means of putting food on the table?

      I have tried to do these things to some degree. I'll only sell my house when I can no longer afford to pay the mortgage (assuming I can sell it, and assuming I'm kicked out when I stop paying the mortgage). Moving into an apartment would strain familial relationships more than I'd like.

      I buy at the farmer's market in the summer and I've been working on a garden for the past two years, but we still get most of our food at the grocery store.

      And I'm handy with bikes and I can make things from wood, but who knows if those skills could support my family and I in the future?

      I imagine plenty of you are living in the now with your heads in the future, just like me. And worrying to some degree. I don't want a doom scenario, but some sort of "reset event" would be alright. This would be an event or more likely a series of events (a timeframe) in which the paradigm is shifted in a way that levels the playing field. A shift that means my current mortgage, lack of gardening knowledge, and dubious prospects for future income don't put me at a distinct disadvantage compared to everyone else.

      Does this sound like wishful thinking? I hope not, because I'm banking on it. And I think a lot of others are too.

      Tom A-B

I really don't know whether, "Sold house to eliminate debt." should be high on your list of things to do.

I think moving to a smaller house, or combining households with relatives to get per person square footage down (to perhaps 300 or 400 square feet per person) should be high on the list of things to do, to get per person energy use down. If these are done, debt will most likely go down.

Once peak hits, financial problems are likely to hit as well. If the government "prints money" to try to make up for all the defaults on debt that are taking place, there likely will be massive inflation. If this occurs, and people with debt may be ahead of the game. Also, it seems possible that a lot of lenders will go out of business. I'm not sure I would count on this, though.

That is the real conundrum. I know people who are really into banking, and all of the various intricacies including issues related to how central banks of various countries affect the world. They pay attention to thinks like trade deficits, currency exchange rates and all that. I suppose it sounds funny to many that people would be interested in this, but we aren't in any position to be making fun of anyone for having odd interests :-).

Their main concerns right now are the huge imbalance in trade - caused in large part by American consumerism, the huge amounts of consumer debt that were racked up to drive it all, and the huge Federal budget deficits. Right now China holds a lot of the debt, but to an extent they are just as much a prisoner of the thing as we are - if they tighten the screws on us, they risk crashing their own economy.

I asked them once about the inflation vs deflation question, and the answer that I got was that it depends a lot on the actions of the central bank. If they choose to print a lot of money, we get inflation. If they don't, we can get deflation, but to central bankers, deflation is very scary because there isn't any point in purchasing anything now that you could buy for less later. At the moment I asked (last summer), his inclination was that inflation appears to be the more likely result.

From the standpoint of all of this (the risks due to trade and budget deficits, and the risks of peak oil), I asked him what made the most sense for an individual to do, and we seemed to come to agreement that paying off debt probably makes a lot of sense.

I doubt that he reads this blog, but he does have a blog of his own. If there is interest, I could see if he would be interested in writing a guest post where he would go into the various issues that would be likely to come up from a finance perspective once peak oil really starts to hit.

I for one would be very interested in what he has to say. I think the fed is in a major catch 22.

This year I will be selling my portion of my home to my business partner and friend who owns the other half. He doesn't subscribe to Peak Oil, so he doesn't believe that he will be at a disadvantage for buying out my half. I have warned him about Peak Oil in case he wanted for us to sell the house on the market, but he's not ready to move. I tried.

I will be moving about 200 miles from my current location to live close to my brother, who is like-minded in regards to preparedness for Peak Oil and other likely events, and I will build a small home (625 sq ft) and a greenhouse after I arrive. I plan on financing that with a small loan and having it paid off within a year after my arrival. (I'll use the proceeds from the sale of my house to make it to where only $2-5k will be financed on my new home.

A greenhouse to grow my own food in, which might be a seperate building or a lean-in. I haven't decided which, yet.

I believe that mechanic work will come in handy, and fortunately I have a good amount of that. I currently have limited carpentry skills, but I'm a fast learner and I have friends who are good at it (and one who does it for a living) who will be teaching me after I move. Sadly my programming skills will likely be worthless after Peak, but my ability to repair/refurbish computers may be handy, as buying new computers will be out of the question.

My goal is to be able to be fully self-sustaining within 2-3 years. Generation of my own power via solar and wind ties in heavily as well. If TSHTF, there is family owned wooded acreage that I'll be able to live on if necessary. I've aquired hundreds of dollars in books on gardening, home/building construction, and other skills needed for being self-sustaining. Hopefully the Internet won't be going away, but books on such subjects will prove themselves priceless in the future. :)

Sounds like a nice way to live, irrespective of how hard TSHTF.

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

A greenhouse to grow my own food in, which might be a seperate building or a lean-in. I haven't decided which, yet.

The passive solar houses that I've visited have had the greenhouse integrated into the house. Not only does it make a fantastic room to read in, but makes the entire house smell all spring fresh throughout the year. :)

Tom A-B
Good luck! But the best strategy is to get rich. And live by WestTexas's plan, Economise, Localise, Produce.

Hi Tom A-B,

I agree with Gail, don't get too hung up on debt.

Try to think of secondary shelter options, always - ie. just as if you were in a hurricane zone, where would you go.

re: Skills and knowledge - get books, books are golden. If you don't have the $$$ to buy them, try garage/rummage/church sales - some amazing old school books can be found for nothing (25cents), and you can build a good library pretty inexpensively. Garage sale season is upon us, yay!

Food is hard, and always will be no matter how good your plan, personally 90% of my effort is around food preparation. If you have a back yard, at least store some seeds.

Some seeds and some books, can make you sleep a bit better and will not cost much at all.

Best of Luck.

You know, until I read Nate's article two days ago, I thought I had all of this covered. We never bought the big house; we can easily heat ours in the winter with our wood stove. This part of the country has enough wood resource to get by. We get about half our food from our garden now, and most of the rest comes from our local food co-op, farmer's market, and CSA share. We bike for transportation except for long trips that we could just skip and our trips to Chicago which are by train already.

I'm still expecting a big recession and significant demand destruction in the next decade. But if liquid fuels for societal use were really unavailable by 2022, I have a lot of work still to do. No time for worrying, I have have another hundred trees to plant yet this spring.

I do not expect a reset event, at least until it is too late. I do expect lots of misery before then and after as well, because the way we "reset" is likely to let nature have its way with us.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Mother Nature has the only RESET button, and also an ON/OFF.

Here's hoping she stays away from the latter.


I've always approached the future from a risk managment point of view. This means I try to look rationally at what might happen and prepare for it. In my case, it's preparing for the collapse of society.

I think you are making a serious mistake by hoping for a Goldilocks transition. The Depression leveled the playing field for millions of people but resulted in extremely hard and precarious times for most of them.

One important point is that people who are taking serious action will really have no need for people who can't instantly contribute to their well being. In other words, what do I need "you" for when I can do it myself?


The Depression leveled the playing field for millions of people but resulted in extremely hard and precarious times for most of them.

It would be interesting to know if a person with unpayable debt (say, a mortgage) during the Depression had a much worse off experience than a person with no debt. I imagine life was hard for each of these people because neither could find work.

I'm not sure that the "Goldilocks Transition" won't be a good thing for me. I'm not recklessly in debt. I'm aware of the changes ahead. I'm prepared for a paradigm shift. I'm not one of the people out there just getting into the house flipping profession (I actually know someone who has just started doing this).

I should be at least at a slight advantage over the general public when TSHTF. It's a dynamic world. All your planning could end up being the wrong planning.

It seems to be a given that the best course of action is to move to a wooded piece of country land to build a solar-powered cabin and live off the land. I can't do that, so the Goldilocks event is my best hope, and the hope of millions. Know what I'm saying?

Tom A-B

Unemployment during the great depression was around 25%. The other 75% were working. The big difference is that most of those 75% still working were living rural, agricultural based lives.

This is why you get so many people arguing "back to the land" as a response. It's in our social memory, passed down from grandparents or great-grandparents. Those who did ok were on the farms, hence the built-in assumption. This neither makes it true nor false, but simply shows one of the memes that drives the back-to-the-land viewpoint.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Less then 75% - by the turn of the previous century 50% of the Population where farmers – by the last turn of the century 4% of or population was involved in farming.

Here is a sobering thought – in the depression there was a movement to bring people away from the city and have them become farmers – The US had enough land to repopulate the countryside and not be a burden to the rest of the economy.

Tried both in Germany and the US – both proved to be failures.

Well, I can tell you what happened with my parents and their families. My dad's father was a business owner and quite well to do. He lost the business, the house, everything and died a broken man.

My mom's parents had one family living on the second floor of their house and one in the basement They were there until WWII started.

My folks lived hand to mouth. One time the only food they had for several days was a can of peaches. My mom was a teacher but was paid in script. She lost her job when she married my dad since married women were not allowed to be teachers (Cleveland, OH public school district).

You know Tom, one thing I think people should do is find a country mentor so they at least have a realistic idea of the skills and "stuff" required to live successfully in the boonodcks. If you were in northern CA I'd be glad to show you around.

As far as my own planning goes, the only thing I am seriously worried about, and which I can't correct, is an EMP. This would wipe out my PV system and back-up generators. That would be bad news because I need the juice for my well pump...although I could hike a 1/4 down the mountain to the pond for water. Ain't life fun!


If you have to worry about an EMP, that's moving to a whole new category of TSHTF. If we have nukes causing EMPs to knock out solar PV systems, you've got more to worry about than keeping the lights on, you know?

However, that's not to say that you can't have your "emergency" set-up not being used and properly shielded in order to pull it out AFTER an EMP, but personally, I wouldn't think it worth it to do more than putting a pair of walkie-talkies, a GPS, and a small solar powered recharger aside. I guess it all depends on how big of a metal box you want to build.

The GPS system (sattelites, related ground stations) will probably bite the dust after TSHTF. It can also be turned off at will.

EMPs can be created by means other than nukes: The Flux Compressor.

A terrorist (or other kind of operative) with a relatively small bomb could cause quite a bit of disruption with a flux compressor.

There's a scary thought that keeps seeping in to my consciousness: What would happen in the US if New York City and Washington DC were paralyzed by EMPs simultaneously? I think it would be very bad for everyone.

Could happen any time. Hopefully there's a Dark Angel out there somewhere. ;o)



>EMPs can be created by means other than nukes: The Flux Compressor.

These are way too small to take out even a small city. There effected range is measured in yards. At best they might take out a few blocks.


"EMP bombs are frightening because they are cheap, low-tech, and would create a "blackout" zone of 500-2000 meters' radius. If you are in that zone, say goodbye to not only electrical power, radios, TV and most of your appliances, but all the data on your hard drive, floppy disks, cassette and VCR tapes and custom-recorded CDs."

Yeah, but one of those need 1.21 Jigawatts so I doubt it'll be very useful to a terrorist :-)

>As far as my own planning goes, the only thing I am seriously worried about, and which I can't correct, is an EMP. This would wipe out my PV system and back-up generators.

Beside worrying about Man-made EMP, Solar panels are also vunerable to very nearby lightening ground strikes(generates a small localized EMP) and Mass Corona ejections (aka the Sun). Your generators are probably safe, especially if you only plug them in when running them. The most vurnerable part of Generators to EMP are the diodes. Store spare diodes. Since an EMP lasts appromimately 10 to 20 nanoseconds, its not enough to overheat and short out the copper windings but long enough to exceed the breakdown voltage of most semiconductors. Replace the diodes and you're back in business. It would probably be prudent to stock a spare well pump.

The PV panels and inverter would probably be toast. You can probably protect your inverter by installing commerical grade TVS (Transient Voltage suppressor). Although you also need to use grounded metal shielded cabing (BX) to all your applicances, lights and outlets. Unshielded house wiring (romex) acts like an attenna, capturing voltage from the EMP.

There is nothing you can really do to protect the PV panels. Perhaps if there is enough warning you can disconnect the panels and store them (preferably convered with grounded sheet metal.)

I would not worry too much about an EMP attack. The only countries can launch a successive EMP attack are Russia and China (and China is iffy). Its pretty difficult to launch a multi-megaton device hundreds of miles since these devices weigh ten tons or more and only the heaviest ICBMS have that capability. Multiple megaton devices might have to be used since the triggers create a ball of plasma before the main detentation occurs, creating a conductor path that absorbs a significant amount of compton radiation and will attenuate the EMP

Smaller nukes can be used but to be affective they need to be detentionated at a much lower altitude, which also limits there devastation range. Using small kiloton (hirosama size) would required dozens of devices distributed across the country to take out the US.

I suspect that the most likely nuke attack on the US would be delivery by small boat(s) into one or more coastal cities to avoid the US from easily determining the point of origin and allow the US to deliver a retailution nuke strike.

I rang the insurance company about PV panel damage and they glibly said 'it's covered'. I then said 'I want a reference number for this enquiry' which I got. Now I just want the utility co. to drop the daily connection fee.

Yeah, I know, what you're saying.

A good post, indeed.

I don't see many people having any significant advantages over others, except maybe geographical location. An auto mechanic may be mechanically-inclined, but don't expect him to be able to repair an axle on a horse cart. I wouldnt count on carpenters to be able to build houses from pure scratch on their own either.

Everyone has a lot of re-learning to do. I'm looking at the Amish... Maybe if we English get down on our knees and beg they will teach us some raw skills! =D

I rode my bicycle to work last year a total of 3276 miles for an estimated savings of $3000.00.

I don't own a car, but occasionaly drive my fiancee's 4-cylinder engine truck when necessary.

I'm a vegetarian and I support organic and local farmers.

We have a vegetable garden in which we're currently growing potatoes, beans, peas, peppers, tomoatoes, spinach and onions. I know how to can and store vegetables. We have one of each of peach, fig and pecan trees.

We have many compact flourescent lights in our home.

I have no debt and a solid savings that we can live frugally on for many years.

We collect rainwater from our home's roof to water the garden.

I know how to maintain and repair bicycles and I have the tools to do so.

I am actively involved in our local community in many efforts to educate children and adults on safe cycling.

We recycle and compost as much as possible.

We are not driven by consumption. We are driven by living happy and full lives and I try to live my life by what Gandhi once said:

"We must be the change we wish to see"

- Spindifferent

You have my respect!

Rick D.

You have my respect too. But I wonder how effective this is: "I have no debt and a solid savings that we can live frugally on for many years" when TPTB can levy any amount of "property tax". This arcane and archaic form of taxation seems to be an institutionalized form of "protection racket", or a mechanism to clear out "undesirables". Scares the $#%$ out of me.

SD - do you have kids? Your household sounds like mine (but we do have a car, a small mortgage, and more fruit trees and vines), but we have two kids. It really complicates things.

Hi kjmclark,

No, we don't have any kids.

There are times I wish we did, and others I'm glad we don't.

- Spindifferent

John Deutch tells a different story than our friend Mr Yergin.
John Deutch is on the board of directors of Schlumberger Ltd. I am sure he and Andrew Gould have had some lengthy conversations about the state of the oil patch.

John Deutch, 67, is an institute professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Deutch is a director of Citigroup, a banking and insurance organization, where he serves on its Audit, Public Affairs and Governance and Nominating Committees; Cummins Inc., a manufacturer of diesel engines and components, where he serves on its Technology and Finance Committees; and Raytheon Corporation, a defense technology company, where he serves on its Governance and Nominating and Public Affairs Committees. Deutch has served on the Schlumberger Board of Directors since 1997.

Guys, let's take our left foot off the "Doom Accelerator" for a second and put our right foot on the "Power of Positive Breaking" pedal for a while!

"Too much Doom and Gloom not good for Whiteman." As my hero Tonto would say.

Whilst we face a world of problems mitigating the effects of Peak Oil, given societal inertia and the probability we should have started a couple of decades ago, all is still not lost!

All we have to do is summon the same kind of spirit and vision that existed during the New Deal and World War Two. There are untold and literally unlimited resources in the america people which are tragically and scandalously wasted at the moment. Sure, people are confused, passive and disheartened, about themselves and democracy, but it doesn't have to be that way, and certainly not for ever.

I'm not a great believer in "utopian" solutions to Peak Oil, on the other hand if we really want to, we can whip it, once we start to revitalize ourselves and the counry. It's not as if we have a choice. Either we lick Peak Oil, or it will lick us!

I think what we need is a form of "cultural revolution" in the United States. A cultural revolution, that will not only empower us, but make us stronger and give us the spirit we require to face up and solve our problems. Which are solvable, if we have the will to take control of our lives again.

For my European part I can say that we can save c30% of transportation fuel with the blink of an eye without reducing our living standards, how? not crisscrossing Europe to save a few cent in production steps of most products, down to simple things as hauling post to some northern country to save postage, have hotel linen cleaned in a neighboring country etc and of course mass transport.

I am not sure if this is true for the USA (offical user of "the waterboarding relaxation" method) though.

All we have to do is summon the same kind of spirit and vision that existed during the New Deal and World War Two.

Ah, yet another cornucopian delusion. Damn, if only you’d been born a privileged and eccentric upbringing fifty years ago. Then, you could have lead the charge into hydrogen and fusion and all would be well now. Damn, damn, damn.

writerman, why were you born so late?

Oh yeah, by the by, you want a cultural revolution, you best get your alabaster white arse out there and get the ball rolling. It’s not about to happen otherwise. And, remember, let’s us know how it all works out. We’ll be waiting for reports eagerly.

From time to time I just get fed up with Doomerism and Gloomerism. Whilst it's perfectly valid attitude to have in a society like ours, and it may even be realistic; it's also tiresome and, frankly, depressing. It's also unattractive, debilatating and it doesn't help much.

My credo, which has something to do with the history of my family, is that, if I'm going down, I'm damn well going to go down fighting and kicking all the way! I learnt this from Errol Flynne and Kirk Douglas, not from Tonto, who chose to assimilate.

What I really find cornucopian is the idea that our current way of living has a long term future. I think this is highly debatable.

My arse, which seems to interest you, is, in fact, not alabaster white at all, but rather a fetching bronze colour and much admired on our local beach.

It's flattering that you think I have the ability to get the ball rolling and the cultural revolution apparently can't strat without my assistance. I agree, only I was too modest to say it.

I've actually had some success with already getting the cultural revolution going. Up to now I've managed to influence over two million young and impressionable minds in a number of countries, with very subversive ideas designed to lead to revolution when the time is right. From the thousands of letters I've received from my young "disciples" I've a feeling the revolution is actually nearer than most people think.

And I still think the only thing we have to really fear, is fear itself.

Now, now - Plan realistically - Implement Optimistically

The pulse of the times during the pre world war era was one of perilous quite – almost no one thought of the national unity or sheer sacrifice that was needed would be pulled out of the nation

We tend to extrapolate the future as a sense of the present – just look at what was sold as the future in the early 1960’s - high tech items and smooth progress – no one except for a few could see the riots and unrest of the later part of the decade.

I really hate the doom, it makes me sick to my stomach.

What makes me more sick is the lack of even recognition of the problem.

The train is 100m from the crossing, we have stalled on the tracks and it is blowing the horn, but we reach for the cell phone to call AAA. Too late, me thinks.

In the back of my mind, and on days when I don't read TOD/News, Hope surfaces and I try to go into denial.

It doesn't last long, unfortunately.

It might have been possible to have a revolution of change...20 years ago.

Now the brakes are locked, and the inertia of the train has taken over.

You can still choose the jump out.

(BTW, the train isn't necessarily just PO)

All imagery and joking aside, the only way I see any sort of real action happening is thru REAL Leadership...Churchill like.

The population needs to be TOLD what to do by someone with a sound vision. There is no more time for debate, grassroots efforts, congressional hearings.

There we go, I was inspired for a second...but the hope fades when you adjust your focus back to the present.

6.6 Billion people, and not ONE leader to inspire us.

And Doom sets in again. Time for my nap.

Twenty years ago we were led by an old clown with Alzheimer's . It was Morning In America. Don't Worry Be Happy passed as philosophy.
The last revolutionary moment expired 37 years ago. That revolution was defeated decisively and that is why there are no leaders today.

On the nose. No good leaders...really sucks.

"The last revolutionary moment expired 37 years ago. That revolution was defeated decisively"

I agree. I believe Kent State was intended as a message. It was certainly taken as one. After that we lamented. By 1976 the final trappings were fading.

May 4, 1970 is as seared in my memory as Dec 7, 1941 was to my parents. But it was not the end, we were battling the national guard two years later in Florida despite the known risk of being shot. The resistance died a long slow death. But, I believe the false victories of ending the draft, the peace treaty with Vietnam, and the Nixon resignation really took away the momentum. Then the war on civil rights conducted under the cover of a bogus "war on drugs" mopped up what was left.

I am extremely gratified that 3 posters here have an idea what I'm talking about. Mostly I expect to speak to the wind.
Kent State was only part of the defeat. More important battles were Paris '68 and the Nixon election.
It was a global revolution and it was defeated everywhere. The victors were at first uncertain and moved slowly. We were allowed to enjoy all sorts of freedoms that made no difference through the 70's.
Best historical treatment of the dialectic of that defeat and analysis of the next 2 decades is in Guy Debord. In toto, passim but it's a very thin shelf of books and implausibly entertaining for an elegy.

This labeling of people here with a "Doom Accelerator" and wish to see it replaced with the "Power of Positive Breaking" (sic) is completely mistaken and totally mixed up (of which the misspelling above only adds to the irony).

The folks you concieve of as Doom Accelerators are nothing of the sort. Using your metaphor, they are better understood as the intensifying screeches emanating from a braking system that has essentially ceased to function properly, which, in spite of the many other red warning signals flashing all over the dashboard console, continues to be ignored.

While many are dismayed by this rising critical chorus, I for one see some hope in more such friction applied to this unusual but revealing concept of "Power of Positive Breaking."

Almost thirty years ago, David Ehrenfeld spelled it out as best as anyone has in his tour-de-force book, The Arrogance of Humanism. In it, he laid out in painstaking detail how all our alleged power of "positive" thinking fashioned upon the holy grail of more techno-fixes (with ever-dimishing results) directed at our earthly human predicaments will NOT lead us to the promised land.

AFAIC, most all these alleged 'doomer' voices get it, which is to say, they see that following along this path as blindly as what got us here will absolutely result only in the "power of positive breaking" over-whelming this run-away freight train - one with monumental problems that need our individual and undivided attention - and that we are all tragically hitched to.

The belief in our control over this state of affairs as presently arranged, albeit with just some more fine-tuning from our science and our industrialized skill, is a lie that needs to be continually exposed. This is not to suggest that there is nothing we can do, but what needs doing is not what is presently being proposed or implemented. In this sense, the brake screeches one hears here reflect that.

And despite the tone of alarm (or doom) expressed here, most of these voices are not at all joyful or gleeful at their appointed task. The screeching brakes here are simply notifying that we're collectively continuing along the wrong track.

Nicely stated.

Thank you, godraz

Beautifully said. That is how I see it, too.

Hi godraz,

Thanks and

re: "This is not to suggest that there is nothing we can do, but what needs doing is not what is presently being proposed or implemented."

Could you possibly share what this ("what needs doing") is?
Or your best approximation of it?


Your query is a worthwhile one that deserves a thoughtful reply. I will attempt to give one in a future DrumBeat. This may take me some time -- after I've honed my "best approximation" down from a book length entry to a blog one. :-0

Suffice it to say that one thing that's needed, and it is happening, is for more and more people to recognize that the train we've built, the direction it is going in, the maps we are using, and most all the conductors of this train are psychotic. Still, not with standing the lack of control over any decent steering or braking mechanism for this self-destructive techno-economic-cultural contraption we are all caught up in, as individual passengers we can start preparing exit arrangements (while dragging our heels, kicking, and screeching, or otherwise withdrawing our support), so that should this run-away train's velocity and vortex get derailed -- in a way that doesn't suck us all over the abyss with it -- all of our individual exit designs in whatever decent communities we find ourselves may have a better chance.

As David W. Orr wrote, in his book, Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect:

"We are caught in the paradox that we cannot save the world without saving particular places. But neither can we save our places without national and global policies that limit predatory capital and that allow people to build resilient economies, to conserve cultural and biological diversity, and to preserve ecological integrities. Without waiting for national governments to act, there is a lot that can be done to equip people to find their place and dig in."

Enough said for now.

Hi godraz,

I appreciate your taking my questions seriously. I hope you will post what you write; perhaps the editors will allow an article.

Since our other discussions point to an urgency, I'd encourage you.

Perhaps there is some combination of "individual exit designs" and still connect.

I'm curious if some of these ideas may apply:

I wonder what we can do here.

wonderfully stated.
I find the idea of doomer porn appropiate too. At times i find an excitement & energizing I do not understand-within myself. Then I have to evaluate what I am reading ,studying,thinking about to discern what is my attraction & do I want to linger here; what purpose ,etc.

Then again. Often I am dismayed .somber,depressed ;& rarely hopeful on a collective basis. When I first seriously considered likelyhood of nukes I got shingles of the eye - which can damage sight permanently in that eye. Luckily i only have a little scaring.

I think my being energized sometimes is my looking forward to the demise of some aspect of our way of life. Afurther look, though can't see how we get there & knows(at times) I am denying immense/perhaps unimaginable suffering likely in our getting there.

There is for me a fascination&simultaneousdread being on the front end fo this "train" aware of were we are headed. A new way of life will be born ;or the train will self destruct. Slow ,fast; in stages. What a place to be in the sweep of history; & it is not like I/we get to choose to get off; no matter what we are feeling thinking.We are as a collective on TOD are more & more aware that there is not any control,braking& there will be the breaking you so apply lead us to consider &, we are about to experience this wreck.

A further complication/fascination for me is my coming to believe we all essentially have to globally fall down together. This is I believe Tainter's peer polity concept- well developed by Godesky.

This means I have to consider so much in this breakdown- global + so many different systems I am totally overloaded/overwhelmed to consider/plan/evaluate what will/is happening. This is part of the "rush" for me.& perhaps an attraction that will give me & my family/friends/neighbors an edge as I use this energy to propell my study of possibilities with such a collectively brillant community of minds as TOD.

Nice provactive play on words/thoughts godras as we accelerate; brake, screech, & BreaKup this way of life.

I had pondered replying to your comments in some detail, but then I thought, why bother? You seem to take yourself way to seriously already.

my apology in not recognising most of the words godras worked with were yours from upthread.

Per EIA ethanol production for Jan is up to 375,000 brl’s/d. That is an in crease of 87,000 brl’s/d compared to Jan 06. If production continues to increase by 87K each month Y on Y that will be an additional 1.33 billion Gallons for 07 or nearly 6.2 billion gallons for the year, for an annual avg. out put of 403k brl’s/d.

Over the past year gasoline demand has increased by 1.6% or 2.2 Billion gallons, so increased Ethanol production can not keep up with increased demand for gasoline.

403k can provide 4.03 million brl’s of E-10 gasoline, of the 9.2 million brl’s of daily demand. If I were a Farmer I would ignore the current dip in corn prices, this years harvest will not provide an additional quantity of corn required for other purposes. In the long term (6 Mo.) prices will continue to rise.

EIA report
Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 2.7 million
barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the average range for
this time of year.

Yet the totals show inventories INCREASING by 2.7 million barrels. Look for the media to make a big deal of this nonsense.

It looks like the totals are correct and the text is wrong.

I've noticed that the API has taken to announcing its own version of the weekly inventory numbers at roughly the same time as EIA, and their numbers are often quite different than EIA's. For example, this week, EIA and API said:

Crude Oil +4.3 mb -0.104 mb
Gasoline -5.0 mb -0.44 mb
Distillates 0 mb +0.455 mb

Also, last week's This Week in Petroleum said to look for at least 15 mbd in crude oil inputs and 1 mbd in gasoline imports as a guideline for the ability to meet gasoline demand this summer. Crude inputs were 14.8 mbd and gasoline imports 1 mbd, so one of the conditions has been met this week.

I am now doing a weekly column at the ASPO-USA website. The first one appeared today. In addition, we are now publishing the Peak Oil Review (a weekly summary with an essay). Soon, the Peak Oil News, put together by Tom Whipple, will be published daily in the News section. Right now, it is only available as a PDF for downloading after a login. That will be changing.

So, I urge TOD readers to start including the ASPO-USA website among the internet websites they visit. We are hoping to publish other material (essays, analysis by key players in the peak oil community) as well.

More traffic at the ASPO-USA website will ultimately support the yearly conference — in Houston in October this year — and help sales of the DVD set recording the Boston conference. It's all for a good cause.

Regarding that AAPG statement about peak oil, it is remarkable that they said anything at all since they are a very conservative organization. Their 2020 "peak plateau" date (at 95 million b/d) does not jibe with the impending peak of non-OPEC conventional oil (C+C+NGLs) in 2010 — as predicted by ExxonMobil, among others. Thereafter, the "Call on OPEC" must increase to offset non-OPEC declines AND increase further if the world's oil supply is to show net gains. Given the turmoil within OPEC — both above the ground and, in some cases, below it — I am dubious about making any such assumption about growth in OPEC oil production going forward.

This is great news, David.

The Peak Oil Review and Peak Oil News are great resources, and I'm glad ASPO is making them more accessible. (HTML would be best, online PDF is second best).

As for increasing eyeballs on the ASPO website, the main determinant is whether there is good content, updated on a regular basis. Also, make the web pages fast-loading and easy to read/navigate. A few simple images from time to time can make a site less ponderous -- I wish we had time to do more of this on Energy Bulletin.

I'm guessing the re-invigorated ASPO website will address itself to more of a mainstream audience than do the other peak oil sites. Perhaps it will be more focused on oil depletion than on broader issues? Less doomerish, I would guess. More in the style of the GAO report, the Hirsch report, etc.

I'm a great fan of Tom Whipple. Is there any chance of getting his Falls Church columns posted on the ASPO site? That would bring some eyeballs.

Best of luck
Bart (Energy Bulletin)

Re: Best of luck

Thanks. Of course, we can collaborate on publishing. How about sending me an e-mail? I want to talk over a few things. My mail address is still available if you click on my name (now emeritus).

— Dave

Good article, Dave. Thanks for the tip and I will add ASPO-USA to my list of regularly read sites. I used to visit them about once every other month but I will add them to the "daily" list now.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Hi Dave,

Congratulations on your ASPO weekly column!

Watch out for those oil-a-gators!

You're probably already familiar with this recent 168 page Doctoral Thesis by Robelius on Peak Oil. Oil is defined as crude oil, Orinoco, oil sands, lease condensate, NGLs and processing gains (page 125). I assume that ethanol, GTL, CTL and BTL are excluded.

For 2005, his total production is 82.1 mb/d. His peak (page 132-133) is between worst case at about 83 mb/d, 2008 and best case at about 96 mb/d, 2013. However, in his conclusion, he weakens and says (page 136):

The production in the best case scenario increases more rapidly than a future demand growth of 1.4 per cent. Therefore the production can be adjusted to follow the demand growth, resulting in a postponed peak oil to 2018. Thus, global peak oil will occur in the ten year span between 2008 and 2018.


Dr. Hirsch's comments about the thesis were interesting:

Dr Hirsch concluded that the peak oil debate now reached a new level. The fact that the forecast openly can be studied in detail and that limits are given it’s now up to CERA and other to explain in details why they end up in other forecasts. If not, the forecast from Uppsala Hydrocarbon Depletion Study Group is the one that the world should use for future planning.

The thesis has a focus on giant oil fields and this is complementary to Skrebowski's megaprojects database as megaprojects usually are based on today's measure of a giant field.

Robelius has a list of giant fields/megaprojects on pages 127 (table 9.1), 129 (table 9.3), 149-155 (app A), and 157-160 (app B). The information on the projects includes peak production and peak year, similar to Skrebowski. It's interesting that Robelius does not reference Skrebowski.

LOL, Robelius makes a classic statement in reference to Saudi Arabia, EIA and IEA on page 106:

Many publications with forecasts of future oil production has a gap between future production and demand. A common solution to fill the gap is production from Saudi Arabia. There seem to have been a general consensus among forecasters on a more or less unlimited production capacity from Saudi Arabia, with production levels up to 20Mbpd (EIA, 2005, 2006;IEA, 2005). Peculiar enough, this consensus has developed despite no such information from either Saudi Aramco nor Saudi Arabian officials. Permanent increases in production rates together with ever increasing reserves have simply been taken for granted.

The theory concerned by Peak oil is strangely presented : no justification to the Hubbert curve : you would expect more from a PhD level paper. M. Robelius wrongly presents Hubbert as creating the famous formula to his bell-shaped curve, which Hubbert never did : M. Robelius seems to forget that very few PCs were available by 1949, and the very first accounts by MK Hubbert show a curve which is not even symmetrical.

Later on, M. Robelius switches from the bell-shaped curve (which we all know cannot describe world production) to the more credible plateau+decline curve - with zero explanation or demonstration ; once again, one would expect better.

M. Robelius proposes 3 decline rates, 6, 10 and 16 %. Why not, but why ? Once again, no explanation.

Last but not least, the study totally ignores the Arctic reserves. While some people claim they represent 25 % additional reserves (no, not Russians :)), they probably equal to more than 10 %. The Barents sea already is under heavy investment, where both Norway and Russia have large plans (while claiming each other's lots). Barents only is a small part of Arctic, and yes, global warming will make this area accessible.

On the whole, this work is not scientific, it is not comprehensive, it is a sitting duck for people like CERA.

Hi Environment 2100,

Thanks for your comments. I haven't read the Robelius paper (only the announcement).

I value the idea of a sound basis for what "we" (all people interested in energy issues) do.

I wonder, then, if you'd consider writing to Robelius and Aleklett (and perhaps also to Hirsch) with your comments?

It seems particularly if Hirsch is going to use this as a scientific pivot to call for action - a call which is urgent on it's own terms - it seems even more important for the details and analysis to be sound.

Would you be willing to write up your points as questions, numbered separately, and then perhaps send to ASPO/Aleklett/Robelius?

I'm not a "cornucopian", but I must say: What was the point of this posting?

Everything in this post has been already been reported on TOD in more detailed posts earlier.

I think a "rehash of doom'n'gloom" does more harm than good in "getting the message out".

Unless, of course, TOD doesn't exist to "get the message out" but instead exists so everyone can vicariously wallow in the "grief" of "being right".

Sorry- but I'd rather see NEW material in detail rather than a weekly recap of long-dated stuff.

But maybe that's just me...

Newbie "pseudo-doomer"

Think of the DrumBeat links as a survey of the media coverage of energy issues. Novelty is not the point. The point is to keep up with what the rest of the world is thinking. Wrong though they may be. ;-)

It's probably a matter of temperament as much as anything, perhaps it's gene based. Also, "It's a comfort in wretchedness to have companions in woe." I jus don't think Doom 'n' Gloom is a personality trait I admire or want to emulate. Standing up and being counted is more my style. Both sides of my family have always been fools for love and have repeatedly fallen for the romantic idea that fighting for justice and freedom, all things considered, was a better way to live than bowing the head and bending the knee to power.

Whatever, writerman. For my part, a serious look at the actual facts leads to a fairly doom&gloomish conclusion. But that doesn't mean giving up. And it doesn't mean being all glum in life - I am a very cheerful guy, though I don't see a real soft landing from all this crap. And I am taking my own steps to prepare, insofar as that is possible.

But just dissing doom and gloom as a personality trait comes across as a simple strawman - who's giving up, bowing their heads, bending their knee to power? Nobody here that I can tell. You seem to simply want to extoll your family's righteousness, which is fine. But it comes across as some sort of bizarre pollyannishness.

Jeemie wrote:

I'm not a "cornucopian", but I must say: What was the point of this posting?

Jeemie, since you started a new thread with your post, and did not link it to anything that had previously been posted, I haven't a clue as to what posting you are bitching about.

Would you mind clueing us in?

Hint: Next time hit "Reply" instead of "Start new thread".

Ron Patterson


Sorry- I hit the wrong button- I was responding to the "Drumbeat".

Newbie "pseudo-doomer"

If you were responding the DrumBeat, you posted in the right place.

However, the DrumBeat is basically the same thing every day - a combination of news links and open thread. If you prefer in-depth and original, skip the DrumBeats, and read the other articles. (There's usually at least one fresh article besides the DrumBeat every day. Sometimes our contributors can't keep up, and we'll rerun an older article - which may be new to you.)

I suspect your problem is that you are expecting the DrumBeats to be like the other TOD articles. They are not. They never will be.

Leanan, I don't think Jeemie was responding to "DruBeats" in general but some particular post on this day's "DrumBeat". Which one? Hell, I still haven't a clue.

Ron Patterson

Anyway, the drumbeats are great, awesome, and welcome. There is no better way that I know of to keep track of what is happening. Your ability to get all this stuff out is absolutely incredible and appreciated.

The "Denial in the Desert" article is excellent (and scary)- it ties together several many of the trends we've seen in recent years, such as immigration, and links them to change in climate. I'd never thought of it that way before. It's well worth the read.

Grow crops on roofs in NYC? Maybe...yeah right!


Urban farming has always been a slightly quixotic endeavor. From the small animal farm that was perched on the roof of the Upper West Side’s Ansonia apartment building in the early 1900s (fresh eggs delivered by bellhop!) to community gardens threatened by real-estate development, the dream of preserving a little of the country in the city is a utopian one. But nobody has ever dreamed as big as Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University, who believes that “vertical farm” skyscrapers could help fight global warming.

Imagine a cluster of 30-story towers on Governors Island or in Hudson Yards producing fruit, vegetables, and grains while also generating clean energy and purifying wastewater. Roughly 150 such buildings, Despommier estimates, could feed the entire city of New York for a year. Using current green building systems, a vertical farm could be self-sustaining and even produce a net output of clean water and energy.

awww... isnt it cute when the cornucopians think theyve come up with a solution?? ;-)

yes, wait until the have to carry water up thirty flights of stairs to water their garden. After they have taken it from the river.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Actually, they're proposing systems to recycle sewage, and to capture rainwater and respiration from plants. You might take the time to visit http://verticalfarm.com

In some cities, of course, water from gravity flow reservoirs can rise 30 stories, and higher, without mechanical boost.

The vertical farming advocates are exploring creative solutions to energy, land and water scarcity. That does not make them cornucorpians, especially in the derogatory sense applied to that word in the peak oil community.

Consider vertical farming against current and proposed investments in schemes to maintain automobile-based transportation.

(More Americans, 1.4 million, have been killed in road crashes since 1975 than have been killed in all US wars since the war of Independence in combat or by accident or sickness; 1.3 million is the highest estimate I have seen. Official numbers are lower. From 1980 to 2004, just under 500,000 people were murdered in the US, while over 1 million were killed in road crashes.)

I've started to lose faith in technological solutions to our problems as well, but I think it's a mistake to discard original thinking like this. Maybe it's all a fool's paradise, but who knows? It's promoting local food production, solar energy, wind power, and water purification into one package... I say we need more ideas like this!

Since stumbling across the peak oil issue (quite by accident), I've made an interesting psychological observation - if someone presents evidence that peak oil/gas/coal/water can be mitigated, I instantly find myself looking for ways to dismiss them and what they're saying, no matter how rational it may be. Perhaps this is because I've spent the past few months swallowing some pretty bitter pills, and the thought of having done that for no reason is unacceptable. Or maybe I'm afraid of looking foolish for having swallowed the doomsayers' message of dark despair. One thing for sure - reading on this subject constantly has sabotaged my ability to think rationally about the future, maybe putting myself at a disadvantage to the people who live on happily in ignorance.

One thing I have learned though - Jay Hanson is right when he says that human beings are largely slaves to their hidden impulses. Even when I'm paying attention I still get duped.

So there it is - my totally OT comment.

Actually it's far worse than you think.


Some clues as to why our leaders (usually in the rich to ultra-rich class) are so oblivious.


See here for an interview with Ralph Ring, the 71 year old former colleage of Otis Carr, who was himself a protegé of the inventor Nikola Tesla. Ralph Ring worked with Carr on free energy and flying disk projects, and he discusses how TPTB shut down and confiscated Carr's work. Very interesting interview.

Could someone please take Fidel and Chavez's shovels away before they dig themselves right THROUGH the sand box?

Oh nevermind... I see SolarDude and the Tyee's Murray Dobbin are digging too.


CARACAS -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was on the ethanol bandwagon. Until, that is, President Bush jumped aboard. Now, it seems, ethanol is a threat to the poor.

There seems to be a political agenda on both sides of the ethanol debate. Maybe being an ethanol supporter just makes it more obvious to me. Supporters want ethanol because it is good for the rural economy which has been depressed ever since World War II. It uses up huge perennial grain surpluses. It reduces the need to import as much oil. And at current prices it makes money. Opponents argue that there is not much increase in net energy, which I maintain is irrelevant since the grain will be produced anyway. The appropriate question, in my mind, is what is the best use of an abundant resource which is in surplus? Should we export corn at $4 per bushel which if burnt in a corn stove is worth about $7.00 per bushel or if turned into ethanol and distillers grains is worth about $6 per bushel. Opponents like Fidel Castro argue that billions of the poor will starve because of ethanol use. They fail to mention that the poor have never been serious importers of corn because they can not afford it at any price. The poor coutries of Africa where many are starving do not have the money to buy the corn nor the infrastructure to receive it. Most of our corn exports currently go to the relatively well off countries of Asia like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and China not to the starving countries of Africa. Opponents while bemoaning the infamous "thousand mile salad" have no problem with consuming mucho fossil fuel to ship millions of ton's of corn half way around the world at an economic loss to the corn produces. They fail to address how the starving of the world will pay for any of this. It just happens by magic. Somehow money appears in the hands of the poor and they choose to buy a low value coarse grain from half way around the world and ship it using vast quantities of fossil fuel paid for by who knows who. Even wealthy countries like Japan have a problem with this. Why opponents of ethanol ignore this is hard for me to understand. The only explanation I can come up with is that they have a political agenda.

It's the subsidies. Why don't you pay for your own frikkin' corn ethanol without reaching in my pocket? Corn ethanol is so fossil-fuel energy intensive, such an unproductive use of cropland. I say let it stand on its own. If it did, perhaps it would be replaced by something slightly more efficient, sugar-beet, sorghum, sunchoke ethanol perhaps? Those three superior ethanol crops are locked out because of corn subsidies.

Well, another example of American exceptionalism - let the porr starve because they cannot afford our corn, of which there are vast surpuses and we'd rather use it to make ethanol. And the USA provides very little in foreign aid in comparison with other countries, and screws the poor of the world via World Bank and IMF shenanigans - lend money to the country, have a substantial amount syphoned off by the ruling class and reinvested back into the US stock market, and make them hire an American corporation to do the work. Then, make the poor pay it back even if they can't!

James Gervais

Toyota pushes Prius incentives

As recently as last year, the Prius was selling at prices close to its manufacturer's suggested sticker price and there were waiting lists for the cars. Demand so outstripped supply of the Prius that, a year or more ago, owners could sell their used Priuses and get back just as much as they originally paid for the car.

Making money on clean coal

As global warming takes the spotlight and electricity use soars, several companies are poised to cash in on the demand for clean coal.

News from the US economy:

Service industries expand at slower rate

"The increase in costs, coupled with the slowing growth in employment and new orders, indicates inflation could be increasing at the same time the economy is slowing, said Brian Fabbri, chief economist at BNP Paribas. That's "the worst of all possible worlds," he said."

And also:

Mortgage pros scramble to modify loans

"With home values falling in some parts of the country, none of the finance companies want to be stuck owning a house that has depreciated, or, worse, a house surrounded by other homes in foreclosure. EMC says it loses, on average, 40 percent of the value of a loan in foreclosure and also has to pay taxes and other expenses on the property."

More mortgage fun:

Activists want foreclosure moratorium

Housing activists say families that have mortgages with questionable terms should be given six months to work out deals.

Then there's this article on credit cards:

What You Don’t Know

Two years ago, I set out to tackle one of the most perplexing riddles of our time: After two decades of unprecedented prosperity, why can’t America get out of debt?

The housing bubble and the commodities bubble started more or less at the same time and have progressed in a parallel fashion.

Both bubbles have been fueled by a massive increase in global liquidity and credit issuance with very little, if any, regard for underlying fundamentals.

The general opinion at The Oil Drum seems to be that the housing bubble will soon pop, but that oil will not suffer the same fate, although other commodities may.

Well, isn't that convenient.

In the US we seem to be having a housing glut, and I believe we are slowly experiencing an energy famine. Those are physical concepts. The way we'll end up labeling the "price" of those physical things with our "dollar" symbols is a separate issue, and doesn't matter as much. What matters is that most of us will have more difficulty paying for our energy use, and some of us will have trouble paying the loans taken for the housing back when it was priced high.

"In the US we seem to be having a housing glut, and I believe we are slowly experiencing an energy famine. Those are physical concepts."

The housing glut is a physical concept, but it was brought about by the money glut which has now washed over the entire planet.

Conclusion: even people who put quotation marks around words like, "price," and "dollar," have to admit that the money glut impacts your oh-so-precious, "physical concepts."

As to the, "energy famine" you claim exists, might it not be that the money glut (no quotes necessary on that one) has blinded your judgment on this issue as well? After all, there's still plenty of $65 oil, it's just the $20 oil you can't find anymore.

"Money glut, money glut, oh, money, money, money, money glut, money glut, oh, money, money, money, money glut! 'Pop!' Do, doot, doot, doot."

Given what you wrote, perhaps you are one of the few who have gotten much richer in recent years, while most people have gotten poorer (in real purchasing power). Money glut indeed.

Yeah, the fools who got into more housing than they should have were fooled by an artificial "money glut", or more precisely, and glut of willingness to lend (born of endless greed). As the Ponzy scheme collapses, that willingness will disappear - but not the existing debts.

With less energy to be had, some will (and already do) go without. That's what I call "physical reality". You'd better hope they don't stone your Hummer as you drive by.

The future of oil prices will be determined by Benjamin Shalom Bernanke. They will go as low or as high as he choses.

Hi D,

Could you possibly explain this a little more? (i.e., how so?)

Think about the size of the current supply --- one thousand bbls per second. Examine the past 35 years worth of major discoveries. Analyze where the existing giant and supergiant fields are in terms of depletion curves. The giants and super giants for which we have good data paint a general picture of post peak decline. An answer of "impossible to tell" is seems to be the correct answer for KSA and perhaps Russia IMO. That leaves us with blind faith or a belief that new production can be brought on line quickly.

"Trust but verify" in the words of RWR in a different context but within the realm of geopolitics. We can't verify with KSA and most of the participants on this board aren't about to take the KSA or CERA on blind faith.

That leaves us with new production. An independent can begin production from a onshore vertical well in Texas or Oklahoma in a matter of a few weeks from the spud date [if they can get a rig] and successfully complete the well. An deepwater offshore field in contrast takes years. All the claims of the amount of oil waiting to be produced at $65 per bbl won't be fullfilled by the incremental onshore output by independents in Texas who are also working against ongoing declines. The mega projects always seem to take longer than anticipated, and don't promoise a vast flood of new oil in any event ... and depletion / decline continues.

In regard to lower energy prices, perhaps you are right. If you feel strongly, go short and enjoy the consequences of your opinion.

To your point, from today's Financial Times...

US soyaoil futures were trading at 32 cents a pound yesterday and cash prices are closer to 28 cents.

That's 14.2% above cash.

High Gas Prices are having an effect ?

Hybrid car sales soar in US in Feb

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Either that, or the incentives Toyota is offering.

This was planned well:

China’s natural gas supply has failed to keep up with the expansion of gas-fired power plants, leading to a significant waste of resources, said an expert with the China University of Petroleum at an industry conference in Beijing. "Only one-third of the installed capacity can be put into operation this year," according to Liu Yijun, a natural gas expert with the university.

Econbrowser has a great post on oil price inputs, where he disaggregates general demand shocks, Supply shocks, and "oil specific" demand shocks in oil prices for several decades.

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

It's based on a paper by Kilian that I'm pretty sure at this point is basically wrong. Kilian is trying to use shipping rates as a measure of aggregate demand, so he can disentangle the effects of the demand side and the supply side in oil shocks and their economic impact. But he neglects the fact that oil prices feed into shipping rates because ships need oil (heavy fuel oil specifically) to operate and when oil prices are high, it's a major part of their cost structure. He does a very poor job of justifying this assumption, I think it's basically not true, and without that assumption, the entire logical structure of his paper falls apart. I might write a post on this if I get time (so many posts I'd like to do, so little time...)

Hello TODers,

Evidently, this politician cannot recognize that energy, economy, and politics are inherently linked:

Ukraine crisis not linked with Kiev-Moscow energy relations

MOSCOW, April 3 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said there was no connection between the crisis in Kiev and bilateral Russian-Ukrainian relations in the energy sphere.

"But certain forces in Ukraine might use the situation in the field of energy as an instrument of influence on the current situation. An economy should remain an economy, and politics should remain politics," Denisov told reporters.
Wolfpacks, lion prides, and chimpanzees certainly see how energy, economy, and politics are all related. Their entire social order is based on the smoothest attainable combination of these factors.

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

Looks like a Cantarell story will appear front page in the WSJ tomorrow.

...investment in the field this year, will slow the field's decline by about half of last year's pace. Instead of a decrease of 400,000 barrels a day, Pemex hopes Cantarell will lose some 200,000 barrels of daily output by year's end. After that, the company says Cantarell will probably continue to decline by roughly 10% a year, down to a daily average of 600,000 in 2013.

What investments can they do?
If the oil column is gone, then its gone. Right?
If your horizontals have watered out (or gassed out?) that what's the point of drilling anymore?

Can any amount of investment help a field that's seen as much aggressive EOR as Cantarell?

This article is a big deal. It's by David Luhnow, (david.luhnow@wsj.com), and is another article in the WSJ's exceptional series on the decline of Cantarell.


In addition to Cantarell, the article talks about the world's aging super giant oil fields and the difficulty in replacing their production as they mature and decline. There is too much to quote, but go out and buy the print edition tomorrow (Thursday), or wait for a free copy of the article to pop up online.

Here are a few graphics:

Declining Forecasts

In late 2005, an internal Pemex study forecast different production scenarios at Cantarell. The "base case" scenario, or what it appeared to suggest was most likely to happen, showed a dramatic drop in production -- well below the company's "official" scenario. At the time, Pemex said the "base case" was not intended as a projection of what was most likely but rather was a "worst case" scenario -- looking at what would happen without further investment in things like new wells -- and that its "official" scenario was still realistic. Below, the study’s scenarios. Actual production falls between the two scenarios but closer to the base.

World's Top Fields

A number of the world's top oil fields are seeing little or no growth, with the starkest declines coming at those fields that have been in operation the longest.

Production at the top 15 oil fields, in millions of barrels a day.

Oilfield Country 2007 Projection 2010 Projection Projected 2007-2010
% change
Ghawar Saudi Arabia 5.6 5.0 -11%
Cantarell Mexico 1.76 1.23 -30%
North and South Rumaila Iraq 1.3 1.3 0%
Greater Burgan Kuwait 1.28 1.3 1.6%
Safaniyah Saudi Arabia 1.2 1.35 13%
Sonatrach Operated Fields
(including Hassi Messaoud)
Algeria 1.15 1.0 -14%
Daqing Fields China 0.86 0.74 -13%
Gachsaran Iran 0.7 0.7 0%
Azeri Chirag Guneshli Azerbaijan 0.69 1.2 73%
Samotlorskoye Russia 0.62 0.62 0%
Ahwaz Asmari Iran 0.66 0.56 -14%
Northern Fields Kuwait 0.57 0.82 45%
Upper Zakum United Arab Emirates 0.56 0.62 11%
Bu Hasa United Arab Emirates 0.55 0.73 33%
Ku-Maloob-Zaap Mexico 0.54 0.77 43%

Notes: Figures are rounded      Source: Wood Mackenzie

Declining Share

Top-capacity oil fields are forecast to make up a declining share of the world's production

The top 15 oil fields' forecast share of world production measured in barrels per day

Hi Calorie,

Thanks for that article!

Do you know what date that table was produced by Wood MacKenzie(WM)? The numbers appear optimistic.

For example, WM says that 2007 projection for Cantarell is 1.76 mb/d. The actual production for 2007 of Cantarell in the chart is well below 1.76 mb/d.

That worst case scenario for Cantarell shows about 0.9 mb/d forecast on Dec 2007. If that occurs, that means the additional 0.5 mb/d of oil from Saudi Arabia's new AFK (Khursaniyah) project will be just enough to offset the Cantarell decline.

Furthermore, AFK and Shaybah are likely to produce first oil early 2008. This means that there could be a dip in world oil production from Oct 2007 until early 2008 when AFK and Shaybah start producing. This dip in production coincides with increasing demand during the end of the Gulf of Mexico hurricane season. The resulting high oil prices could accelerate conservation plans.

Likewise optimistic are Kuwait Burgan, Iraq Rumaila, China Daqing and Russia Samotlorskoye. Several others I do know enough to even comment on.

In no case, does Wood Mackenzie appear pessimistic and "other factors" are ignored. The new Kuwaiti Parliment wants production cuts to make their oil last 100 years as one example. "Other factors" in Iraq are complex and worrying. Russia appears to want no major new investments in oil infrastructure. Etc.

Best Hopes,


This may be offtopic and Im sure its been covered before but has anyone here looked at this PDF yet:


In the high price case, with the price of imported
crude oil projected to rise to more than $100 per barrel
in 2030, the average price of U.S. motor gasoline
follows the higher price path of world oil prices, increasing
from $2.61 per gallon in 2014 to a high of
$3.20 per gallon in 2030. In the low price case, gasoline
prices decline to a low of $1.64 per gallon in 2017,
increase slowly through the early 2020s, and level off
at about $1.76 per gallon through 2030 (Figure 84).

Do they honestly believe gasoline prices will be that low if crude becomes that expensive??? Do we have new refineries being built or something? Did these guys break into the gubmint's secret stash? =/

I live in SoCal and we are paying $3.25 for gasoline but oil is in the mid-$60's... not $100. Did they forget to carry a zero? Or are they trying to reassure the guy that walks his dog with his Jeep SUV that he will be able to continue his wasteful ways until 2030?

Spud: Certainly looks absurd. IMHO, a reasonable estimate for US gasoline prices circa 2030 would be 24-25 dollars.

Though I have been reading this website for few months now this is my first post. Hats off to everybody for valuable discussions and specifically to Stuart Staniford for the posts with profound clarity and depth.
Today in financialsense website there is this article about the oil market in general which totally surprised with various charts showing profound decline in recent US oil imports. Anybody has any thoughts...?

I read that too. It looked wrong to me, though I didn't investigate it in depth. If imports were declining from everywhere by that much, we would be out of oil already.

Regarding the SPR bids...
So the DOE sold 11Mb for 53/b... I will be surprised if they can replace the barrels with the $584M they have received earlier, meaning we lost money on the transaction and explaining why they rejected the bids. I thought the provious sales were actually loans, with borrowers required to themselves replace the borrowed barrels with better quality ones. When did this policy change, who ordered it, and who benefits? Might any of the beneficiaries be some who contributed to the administration's election drives?

That Robert Rodriguez is full of it. "Earlier this year, a 3% decline rate was forecast for Cantarell’s production. This has proved incorrect since it is now estimated that the decline rate is 8%. Obviously, this is likely to be of some concern to Mexico."

Actually this is the case:

Cantarell´s daily production in February was 1.567 million barrels, an 18 percent drop from 1.912 million barrels in February 2006 and a 1.5 percent slide from 1.591 million barrels in January, according to the Energy Secretariat´s web site.