DrumBeat: April 16, 2007

Energy Intelligence survey shows world oil reserves are not being fully replaced

The world is currently producing more oil annually than it is replacing with new reserves. That sobering conclusion emerges from a new survey of global liquids reserves published by Energy Intelligence.

In contrast to the gradual rise in global oil reserves that has been reported annually in most surveys based on public sources, the new assessment shows that the trend in worldwide liquids reserves is actually one of stagnation and modest decline. The PIW Reserves Survey shows global oil reserves declining by almost 13 billion barrels, or 0.9%, over the last two years to 1.459 trillion bbl at the end of 2006 on a "proved plus probably" basis. Global oil reserves are liquid hydrocarbons, natural gas liquids, tar sands and crude oil, that are economically recoverable at current prices.

Chavez's Tax Man Is More Terrifying Than His Rhetoric

Seniat is not afraid to get tough with the big corporations, either. The government has used hefty retroactive tax bills as leverage in contract negotiations with international oil firms. It refused to finalize new contracts until such companies had settled their tax bills. Seniat also closed ExxonMobil's Caracas headquarters for an alleged value-added tax violation in the midst of high-stakes negotiations in which the government is seeking more control over multibillion-dollar oil projects. And the tax authority's chief, Jose Vielma Mora, adopts a nationalist tone not unlike that of his president, once accusing a U.S. oil company of failing to comply with tax law because it saw Venezuelans as "natives in loincloths."

Model of urban future: Jersey City?

Once, this was a city of browns and grays. Railroads owned a third of the land, and trains rumbled night and day to the cacophonous riverfront. Factories belched fumes and leaked chemicals. "Nobody cared," says Bob Leach, born here in 1937. "Smoke meant jobs."

And those were the good years. Then, in the 1960s, the railroads went broke. Rail yards were abandoned, piers rotted, factories closed. In the 1970s alone, the city lost 14% of its population and about 9% of its jobs.

Now Jersey City has come back as its own antithesis: clean, green and growing — an example, urban planners say, of how the nation can accommodate some of the additional 100 million Americans expected by 2040 without paving over every farm, forest and meadow.

Provost gives options for oil

An oil shortage is very possible in the near future, according to David L. Goodstein, vice provost at Caltech University.

..."Civilization as we know it will come to an end some time this century when fuel runs out," he said, "but I hope that I'm wrong."

Thomas L. Friedman: The Power of Green

One day Iraq, our post-9/11 trauma and the divisiveness of the Bush years will all be behind us — and America will need, and want, to get its groove back. We will need to find a way to reknit America at home, reconnect America abroad and restore America to its natural place in the global order — as the beacon of progress, hope and inspiration. I have an idea how. It’s called “green.”

Dollar hits 7-year low on Russia's forex market, continues slide

High world oil prices and a widening U.S. foreign trade deficit are the main factors contributing to the dollar's slide on international forex markets and on the Russian trading floor.

The defiant one

Unlike its rivals, Exxon Mobil doesn't much care about alternative fuels and doesn't try to please the greens. Is CEO Rex Tillerson nuts - or shrewd?

Chevron confirmed as key sponsor of Iraq Oil, Gas, Petrochemical and Electricity Summit

Chevron has confirmed its role as a sponsor of the upcoming Iraq Oil, Gas, Petrochemical and Electricity Summit on May 28 to 30.

The summit has been organized to bring together key Iraq Government decision makers in the energy sector and international operators seeking partnership opportunities in both the upstream and downstream industry.

U.K.: Tory transport policy to make rail a priority

The Conservatives are to put investment in the railways at the heart of their transport policy in an effort to ease overcrowding and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

U.K.: Lib Dems plan 'energy mortgages'

Homeowners should be given special loans to allow them to make their houses more energy efficient, the Liberal Democrats have said.

The so-called "energy mortgage" could be used for double-glazing, insulation or heating systems.

Australia: Turning up the heat on oil sector

FEW people have not been affected adversely by the rollercoaster pricing of petrol over recent times. Capacity problems with producers, hurricanes, war, troublesome politics and the global monster of ever-increasing demand have sent prices spiralling upwards and slumping dramatically. The resulting see-saw economics have created extraordinary pressures, boosted inflation beyond forecasts and ratchetted up the pressure on households across Australia.

Sue us, Chavez tells oil firms

President Hugo Chavez on Friday challenged foreign oil companies to sue his government if they want but said his plans to nationalise their operations in Venezuela's Orinoco River region would not be derailed.

Chavez challenges U.S. with energy summit

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will seek to use oil wealth to consolidate regional support for his anti-U.S. politics as he hosts an energy summit of South American leaders on Monday.

Venezuela, Brazil at odds over ethanol

Not long ago, President Hugo Chavez was embarking on ambitious plans to produce ethanol as the eco-fuel of choice. But within the past two months, the biofuel has suddenly become a villain for him and a major point of friction with Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Experts to discuss Iran pipeline project

A trilateral meeting of technical experts from Iran, India and Pakistan would be held to finalise a framework agreement on implementation of the IPI gas pipeline project, which will run through the three countries.

HP Launches New Energy Efficient Desktop For China Market

Environmentally sustainable computing is a key element of system design. Fully RoHS-compliant, the HP Compaq dx2020 features the power efficient 1.5GHz VIA C7-D processor, the world's first carbon free processor with a maximum power of just 20 watts for much lower electricity use than traditional PCs, and has achieved certification by the CECP, the China Government's key energy rating agency, for its highly efficient operation.

Coal Surge Seen by Mobius as China's Imports Increase

Coal is poised to rebound from a two-year slump as China buys more than it exports for the first time in history.

Power use in China, the world's biggest coal producer, is rising 13 percent annually, and utilities are building plants at a record pace. The nation gets 78 percent of its electricity from coal, spurring imports from Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

On energy, it's better to work with China

Among those who blame America for the world's ills, a dread moment is coming in the next 15 months or so: China will overtake the United States as the world's greatest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Kurt Cobb: Is sustainability a drag?

I have been peppered in recent weeks with email asking me how to get people to take peak oil seriously and make the necessary preparations for themselves, their families and their communities. The emphasis has been on what to tell them. But I think the emphasis should be on what to show them.

Commentary: ABC's Global Warming Program

ABC News has advertised that a program on global warming will soon be aired, hosted by "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer. The promotional message spoke of how "we are going to lose our home" if we don't "change our ways." It seems quite ironic that such programs are surrounded by advertisements encouraging Americans to buy new vehicles, large televisions, and other energy-consuming devices at least partially made from oil-based materials. No doubt many will watch ABC's lipservice to global warming on their fifty inch plasma TVs, with their thermostats set to 72 degrees and their new 300-watt personal computers humming in the background as they do at all hours.

Kind Hearts and Climate Collapse - a review of T.C. Boyle's A Friend of the Earth

I’ve long been searching for the perfect novel set in a world beset by both advanced climate change and the onset of peak oil. And by perfect, here I mean entertaining, instructive and likely to stand the test of time.

The Road to Clean Energy Starts Here

The key to solving the climate change crisis is technology. To accommodate the economic aspirations of the more than five billion people in the developing countries, the size of the world economy should increase by a factor of four to six by 2050; at the same time, global emissions of greenhouse gases will have to remain steady or decline to prevent dangerous changes to the climate. After 2050, emissions will have to drop further, nearly to zero, for greenhouse gas concentrations to stabilize.

Climate expert urges dropping clean coal

A CLIMATE change expert has urged Australia to step away from the development of clean coal technology for power generation in favour of natural gas and nuclear energy.

Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at the Rockefeller University in New York, has also bagged renewable fuels like solar and wind power saying while they may be renewable they were not really environmentally friendly.

Mr Ausubel said he believed the push to develop clean coal technology would ultimately fail – because of the high cost involved and the problem of dealing with toxic waste products like sulphur and mercury.

A sunny outlook for clean energy

Human civilisation will face bleak prospects unless it finds alternative sources of energy to replace dwindling hydrocarbon deposits.

Fortunately, the sun can provide the world with an unlimited amount of electricity through solar batteries.

Green Hummer?

Hydrogen-powered car has algae-filled panels designed to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen

Mideast Nations Offered Nuclear Energy Support

The chief U.N. nuclear watchdog on Sunday wrapped up a tour of the Middle East to offer support to nations interested in developing peaceful atomic energy programs despite the international face-off with Iran over suspicions it is pursuing nuclear weapons.

What Cheney Energy Task Force Talked About

Retired Senior Foreign Service Officer of the US Department of State offers educated insight into the real purpose of the 2001 energy task force.

Nationwide, a Clamor Over Global Warming

At more than 1,400 events yesterday, in each of the 50 states -- including such places as Homer, Alaska, and Moscow, Idaho -- events urging Congress to action against climate change took place, honoring the National Day of Climate Action.

Savinar and Sundance Deliver On Documentary “A Crude Awakening”

A friend to Groovy and always ready with an interesting comment or two, Matt Savinar is reaching out through your television in The Sundance Channel’s THE GREEN. This new three-hour block of television premiering this Tuesday features a wide range of high-quality programming covering issues of sustainability and green ideas.

The Last Oil Shock - book review

After years of work on peak oil, it is rare for me to find a book written for the general public that can teach me something I didn’t know before. But with David Strahan’s book, “The Last Oil Shock,” it was a different matter. While I often just thumb through this kind of books, this one was worth reading carefully, line by line.

Crude awakening, part one and part two

For decades, the oil-rich delta of the Niger river has been plundered by western companies and rampant political corruption. But now a small group of ruthless Ijaw tribesmen are threatening to sabotage production unless their demands for compensation are met. Sebastian Junger heads into the secretive mangrove swamps to meet the waterborne warriors who are prepared to trigger a global meltdown.
(Sebastian Junger is the author of the nonfiction bestseller, The Perfect Storm, which became a movie...and a popular idiom.)

Big Oil bids for giant UAE gas project

At least five international energy companies submitted bids on Sunday for a giant sour gas project in the United Arab Emirates that could be have a price tag as high as $10 billion.

The Peak Coal Portfolio

Readers of AltEnergyStocks are doubtless familiar with peak oil, the inevitable fact that as we consume a finite resource (oil reserves) at some point the rate of that consumption must peak, and taper off. Serious arguments about peak oil center around "when" oil production (and consumption) will peak, not "if."

The same it true for other finite natural resources, such as natural gas, uranium, and even coal.

EIA Summer Outlook: Good for Natural Gas Stocks?

The surprise Northeaster blowing across the eastern United States may have confirmed the final bottom for hibernating natural gas and coalbed methane (CBM) company shares.

Red Alert on Energy Leases

The threat is rampant leasing for fossil fuel exploration, drilling and associated development. Such runaway development has severely impacted wildlife and hunting and fishing opportunities in similar areas of Wyoming and Alberta. Now, wildlife pros fear, Montana is next.

Clinton stumps for ‘08 at rally in Manchester

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., told a 1,000-person audience that she wants to bring back the goal-setting mindset which landed the United States on the moon during a speech at Central High School on Friday.

“We had a sense that we could set goals and we could achieve them,” she said. “There was nothing we couldn’t do.”

Applying this line of thinking to the energy crisis, Clinton said she plans to remove all oil company tax subsidies, using that money to fund energy research.

RV and travel show expected to have young and old in tow - Even with ever-climbing gas prices, sales and rentals of recreational vehicles continue rising

Aside from family trips, the RV has come in handy during natural disasters, such as the rolling blackouts due to the energy crisis a few years ago. The Grays powered up the RV, stored food, baby formula, and had the air-conditioner blasting to grateful neighbors.

Energy solution

America has wasted $400 billion on the war in Iraq. For the same $400 billion, we could have built 400,000 windmills costing $1 million each.

Going organic can be a challenge

With local organic produce harder to find, the debate for some people is between saving fuel or eating organic.

When Oil Wells Run Dry

Despite being flush with petrodollars and riding high given soaring energy prices, leaders from the Arab Gulf States—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—are rushing to diversify into industries unrelated to energy, according to recent reports by McKinsey Quarterly, the publishing arm of consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

"The clock is ticking" because of dwindling oil reserves in Bahrain, Dubai, and Qatar, according to McKinsey. This situation exerts pressure to develop non-energy sectors to create jobs for a growing population.

Oil prices may settle at $55-65, says GIH study

Global oil prices may settle higher at $55-65 a barrel this year due to surging demand, especially from China, India and the US, implying yet another year of abundance for the GCC region, according to Global Investment House (GIH).

OPEC maintains oil demand forecast for 2007

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said on Monday it was maintaining its forecast for growth of world oil demand in 2007 unchanged at 1.5 percent.

In its monthly report for April the 11-member exporters' group said it was noting a drop of oil inventories in America and Europe.

Seismic firms see oil, gas work skyrocket

The ongoing global rush to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons, fuelled by higher prices, has contributed to hectic activity at companies like Dawson Geophysical, Schlumberger Ltd. and Petroleum Geo-Services ASA, all of which perform high-tech seismic surveys for oil companies. Finding and gaining access to new reservoirs is an increasingly difficult task, taking oil companies into deeper waters and rugged, more intricate terrain.

Angola has proven oil reserves of 11.4 billion barrels

Angola has proven oil reserves of 11.4 billion barrels, the same as Brazil and Algeria, Angolan newspaper Agora reported citing consultancy Wood MacKenzie.

U.S. demand for uranium seen rising sharply

U.S. demand for uranium may surge by a third amid a revival in atomic power projects, increasing concern that imports will increase and that limited supplies may push prices higher, an industry group says.

Venezuelan bubble about to burst

The world is addicted to oil, as everyone knows. But there are few places with an addiction as deep, and as potentially destabilizing, as in Venezuela.

We are running out of oil

The conclusion that anyone who has studied the international oil situation would reach is that it would be a true-blue miracle if every gallon Americans wish to consume continues to flow into our gas tanks for another decade. The OPEC embargoes were artificial shortages, politically motivated. The next oil shortage will be real, permanent and worse every year. This impending crisis has the potential to cripple our economy and end our reign as the world's pre-eminent economic power.

I heard a story on CNN this morning about a collaboration between Tyson Foods and Conoco-Phillips. Essentially a method to convert animal fat into synthetic diesel that can be refined and shipped via pipeline.

They mentioned that there was something like 300 million (pounds??) of animal fat per year in the U.S., and that some fraction of this would be refined.

I was half asleep when the story was on, so the details may be a little off. I tried going to Conoco's and Tyson's website to look for press releases, but came up empty. I don't know the original source for the story, but I will look around some more to see if I can find it.


ConocoPhillips and Tyson Foods Announce Strategic Alliance To Produce Next Generation Renewable Diesel Fuel

"much as 175 million gallons per year of renewable diesel"


And from another source:
This week’s announcement by ConocoPhillips of a $22.5 M contract with Iowa State is significicant not only because of the magnitude of the grant, but also because of the company’s statement that it is interested in pursuing pyrolysis as a biomass conversion technology. To date, most of the action and attention in the biofuel world has been focused on the enzymatic breakdown of cellulosics to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. Although much progress has been made over the years, the “sugar platform” remains costly and still has some technical barriers to overcome before it will become economically feasible. Pyrolysis offers another alternative that has several advantages.

Hmm... I wonder where they got this idea from =]

Nice catch Eric - good to see you're still around.

Ahh, here it is:


HOUSTON and SPRINGDALE, Ark., April 16, 2007 --- ConocoPhillips [NYSE:COP] and Tyson Foods, Inc. [NYSE:TSN] will announce a strategic alliance at 12 p.m. CDT today to produce and market the next generation of renewable diesel fuel, which will help supplement the traditional petroleum-based diesel fuel supply. The alliance plans to use beef, pork and poultry by-prodBenefits of Renewable Dieseluct fat to create a transportation fuel. This fuel will contribute to America’s energy security and help to address climate change concerns.

Over the last year, the companies have been collaborating on ways to leverage Tyson’s advanced knowledge in protein chemistry and production with ConocoPhillips’ processing and marketing expertise to introduce a renewable diesel to the United States. Tyson will make capital improvements this summer in order to begin pre-processing animal fat from some of its North American rendering facilities later in the year. ConocoPhillips also will begin the necessary capital expenditures to enable it to produce the fuel in several of its refineries. The finished product will be renewable diesel fuel mixtures that meet all federal standards for ultra-low-sulfur diesel. Production is expected to ramp up over time to as much as 175 million gallons per year of renewable diesel.

“We are firmly committed to leveraging our leadership position in the food industry to identify and commercialize renewable energy opportunities,” said Richard L. Bond, Tyson president and chief executive officer. “This strategic alliance is a big win for the entire agricultural sector because it paves the way for greater participation of fats and oils in renewable fuels.”

“ConocoPhillips believes the key to a secure energy future is the development and efficient use of diverse energy sources,” said Jim Mulva, ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive officer. “This alliance will provide a new and significant contribution to our nation’s domestic renewable fuel supply. It also offers an excellent opportunity to use our company’s manufacturing expertise and advanced technology to help increase the supply of renewable fuels and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Using a proprietary thermal depolymerization production technology, the animal fats will be processed with hydrocarbon feedstocks to produce a high-quality diesel fuel that meets all federal standards for ultra-low-sulfur diesel. The addition of animal fat also improves the fuel’s ignition properties, while the processing step improves its storage stability and handling characteristics.

Investments made by ConocoPhillips and Tyson will allow for the processing and handling of fat and enhance the ability of the United States to produce energy from a variety of sources, including domestically-produced vegetable oils.

The processing technology was developed at ConocoPhillips, culminating in a successful test at the company’s Whitegate Refinery in Cork, Ireland. ConocoPhillips began commercial production of renewable diesel using soybean oil in Ireland late last year.

This alliance is expected to be a positive step for Tyson’s long term financial performance. “Production is expected to begin in late calendar year 2007, ramping up through spring 2009,” Bond said. “Once at full production, we currently project between $0.04 and $0.16 cents per share in additional annual earnings. However, this will be driven by factors such as the prices of wholesale diesel and animal fat."

Ugh. They just *had* to say thermal depolymerization, didn't they. Here we go again :-)....

A big difference is these are not a couple of start-ups. These are large corporations with expertise in the entire process. This joint venture also has a big customer locked in which already has a large distribution system. It is very good that one of the major oil companies is looking at feedstocks other than fossils.

What about human fat? You seem to have plenty of it in USA.


I think someone else already mentioned something similar -

Soylent Diesel.

Yes, until we experience peak fat, we should not be worrying.

Coming soon: Soylent Diesel.

Someone should remake Soylent green and replace everything that had to do with food in the movie with its petroleum equivalent. It would seem a little too plausible.

Hey! I coined it here a few days ago - Soylent Sour. You have to deal with the sulfur in cystine/cysteine, after all.

I like Jon Stewart's idea a while ago when he had Al Gore on his show. He said we should just hook up a hose from our stomachs to the engine and drive around on our own fat. Stop by for a few drive-through donuts and Happy Motoring!

Skinny Americans: now that would be a real change ...

lipodiesel ?

The animal fat we should be converting typically rides in an SUV to the drugstore that is half a mile away.

Yeah the comment i made up the tread was too easy, i simply could´nt resist it though it was a little mean to the US population.
BTW the nazis made soap from koncentrationcamp prisoners fat.

The nazis did a lot of things, but this particular one is an urban legend.

Yes i know, but why spoil a good urban legend??

"The nazis did a lot of things, but this particular one is an urban legend."

If you've ever been served in Germany, you know that the old Nazi military compounds were reused by us Americans. Sorry fellas, its not an urban legend, this stuff is still floating around.

It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier. - Heinlein
To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth - Col Cooper

Looks like the urban legend explanation wins.

not true.

"When oil wells run dry'- "42 % of thier population is teenagers and 28% unemployment. Wow! That is a problem that you can see unraveling in a bad way. yikes.

What is missing here is the fact that all this diversification will not help. They will be producing all kinds of products but the market for these products will decline right along with the decline of oil.

Ron Patterson

Yet the market demand for suicide bombers will be readily supplied for.

Allah Akbar!


Hi, i would like to chat about religion and its influence in post peak society.
As many people here concluded there is strong possibility that idea of peak oil is never going to become truly wide. Not as much as ideas of conspiracy of the Arab nations, or idea that we lived in sin and this was the punishment. Remember the flood from old testemont?
I talked with some religious womens yesterday about their view of other religions and it came to me as suprise what they thought of the world around us.
Theirs tolerance was very small, they think other religions are Soton driven, they think ares is only right one (when i use ours im orthodox Cristian, but in truth im not buying any of the religions as per se, i kinda am religious in some sense, i don't believe that is important whether god exists or not and only real purpose of man is to protect world in which he lives and life on it, green religion?).
Imagen the moment when people start losing their jobs, when older people stop having their medicines, when crime jumps and anarchy seems real (early stage of wtshtf). I think people would start going to churches for remedy of their pain (not just a sermons, the churches will be the centers for food and medic aid, its something they just love to do), if in this moment my mothers friends think world is government by soton what would this new situation look like for them? How would hungry people react when they hear the story from revelation of John. I think its going to be very big problem to be free minded man in near future (remember the dark ages).
Now i know this post might sound as a bit of topic, but sade think about people is they have very poor understanding of logic and religion is so good to give answers (regardless of the question) so it would be very important in our near future to have some idea how to combat thous (if its possible)

Yes, I think people will turn to religion. It's what people do, when times are bad.

However, this may not benefit the conventional religions. One effect of the Black Death was to reduce the power of the church. Because they couldn't save people.

To paraphrase Francisco D'anconia from Atlas Shrugged "The churches I think will stand..They will need it."

I'm not sure religion ever really went away, so I'm not sure we'll be doing that much turning back.
I think it all depends what one means by religion dosn't it? Most of our political leaders are now as much "spiritual" leaders as anything else.

Sure, traditional, organzied religion has declined somewhat over the preceding decades, especially in Europe, but that's hard to argue when one looks at the US isn't it?

I think, when times are bad, people turn to lots of things, not always religion. Though "religion" often plays a part in what people turn to for comfort, security, hope and revenge.

There's also all the unconventional religions, cults, superstitions, bizarre political ideas, mythologies and beliefs and esoteric ideas that pop up continually.

Personally, I think we have to fight like hell against the threat from irrationality, and cling to rationality and the ideas of science for all we're worth. Once we allow supersition to gain a hold, especially in "troubled times" we will really have something to worry about.

writerman wrote:

"I think, when times are bad, people turn to lots of things, not always religion. Though "religion" often plays a part in what people turn to for comfort, security, hope and revenge.
There's also all the unconventional religions, cults, superstitions, bizarre political ideas, mythologies and beliefs and esoteric ideas that pop up continually."

Well, when it comes to the above, I count among such mythological beliefs - amounting to unconventional religious faith - that: technology will save us; the free market will provide the right solution and limitless economic growth is essential to its success; creation can always be better modified to our liking and put to best use fulfilling our desires and destiny; reason and the scientific method is all that stands between us and irrational barbarism; And last but not least, by following the above: mankind is -- a) special; b) blessed by God; and c) in control of its destiny; etc.

As sendoilplease notes below, "it certainly is not only christianity that can be perverted", so too can our worship of science result in perversion. In fact I would argue that it has done so, and we've done nothing but rationalize it at every step of the process!

In this respect, 'reason' alone (and certainly not in defense of our science) is no fail-safe antidote to our destruction. It is simply and undeniably true that the facts of science and reason alone are not enough in and of themselves to come to the right conclusion or decision. The overwhelming evidence of such a failure is in plain sight every where one cares to look!

What is missing in all this is the better part of our irrationality -- I.e. our emotions. Despite the shortcomings of our emotions and all their irrational contaminations, emotion is the seat of judgement.

As David Enrenfeld notes with respect to this vital understanding and its use to weighing the evidence of reason and science:

What good can come of that?
Maybe no good. But this is the best we have. And there are two distinct advantages that we should not forget: the central core of all emotion is survival, which is on our side if we allow it to be; and there is still reason, which if accompanied by responsible emotion, can be of considerable help.
In the end a judgement must be made, and there is no way around it.

"The Arrogance of Humanism" pg. 224

When it comes to this refrain of religious belief versus belief in science/reason, we forget that our irrationality infects both!

To the extent that emotional judgement in religious affairs retreated to primarily concerning itself with our spiritual life apart from mundane earthly affairs (although there are exceptions, more so of late), while reason & science are considered immune to irrational contamination and otherwise are unquestioned as to the earthly effects done by them, considerable discredit accrues upon both. Meanwhile the trashing of earthly creation continues unabated.

So, returning to what writerman wrote:

"Personally, I think we have to fight like hell against the threat of irrationality, and cling to rationality and the ideas of science for all we're worth. Once we allow superstition to gain hold, especially in 'troubled times' we will really have something to worry about."

Quite frankly, the "superstition" that worries me most is this *clinging* to the unquestioned belief already *ahold of us* that if we only used our *reason & science* abilities, we can overcome all the irrationality of our "troubled times."

Personally, I'm fighting like hell against this madness!

It's not that religious irrationality linked to using the applications of science and reason against me isn't a threat too, but in these troubled times, I'm more than *threatened* by reason and science long ago gone over the edge of emotional wisdom than I'll probably ever be by some irrational religious superstition alone.

Science and reason are useful, but they are no replacement for emotional and spiritual maturity. Scientific knowledge has been used to create horrors, as well as to benefit humankind. Its not religion that bothers me as much as the state of mind of those who use religion, or science, to exploit others. If a chaotic, post-peak world becomes a reality, we will still need community to survive. (Even more so than now, it could be argued.) Spiritual qualities such as patience, humility, forgiveness, and selflessness will be needed as much as canned goods and shotguns.

I have some friends who have lived in a commune of 5 families in Oregon for quite a few years. They grow all their own food, have their own water source, etc. Unless bands of marauding criminals invade their land, they'll do just fine in a post-peak world. They're ability to get along with one another and work cooperatively is necessary to their way of life.

IFeelFree wrote:

"Science and reason are useful, but they are no replacement for emotional and spiritual wisdom."


Another way of understanding what is lacking in our use of science & reason is the following insight:

Only a people serving an apprenticeship to nature can be trusted with machines. Only such people will so contrive and control those machines that their products are an enhancement of biological needs, not a denial of them.

Herbert Read, "The Grass Roots of Art"

Among the number of other writers who have explored this understanding of connection between emotional & spirtual wisdom and an apprenticeship to nature with respect to the uses we put the tools of science & reason, Wendell Berry's essays, especially his "The Unsettling of America", are exceptional.

godraz, ifeelfree - how can I put this?

Science and rationality has created the world in which you can use energy, build, grow, live healthily to 70+, and in general have a life separate and distinct from the animals with the time to become more than you were.

Religion and spirtuality have created war, torture, intolerance, and the general instruction to 'know your place' and not to worry too much about today, because the show doesn't reality start till you are in heaven (where you will get if you do as they say).

The almost unquestioning arrogance shown by those from an arts/spiritual background that somehow they should 'control' science is the main reason we are in such a horrible mess today. Rationality is too lightly discarded by those who would 'make use' of what they do not understand.

Given the choice I know which I will credit with most of what's good in the world.

Religion has often been used as an excuse for war. If religion wasn't there something else would have been used as the excuse. Greed for power/wealth, lack of empathy, arrogance, fundamentalist thinking and fear is what creates war.

The fact that we think rationality and spirituality are actually separate is often a problem... they are really different sides of the same coin. To separate them just creates another us vs them dichotomy that doesn't really exist.

Religion, to my mind, is the organisation that builds up around spirituality, and it is spirituality that is the real essence of religion. Too many people confuse the churches, priests, holy books, legends, etc. as the actual core thing, but they are merely manifestations we create that try to encompass/define the spirituality that really interests us. Science is just another religion that has built up around rationality - the thing that really interests us. Don't confuse the organisation with the actual thing it is trying to capture.

For me, rationality and spirituality go hand in hand. Same coin.

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


What NZSanctuary wrote above is another way of trying to understand what I was driving at. His distinction between 'spirituality' and 'religion', as well as the one between 'rationality' and 'science' is a critical one that I agree with.

Pushing this distinction further, it matters greatly how spirituality and reason are applied, or made use of, that is crucial to understanding my argument above.

Of course 'religion' -- meaning *organized religion* and all other associations thereby -- has a profoundly ugly closet full of historical and resurgent present day abuse of application. I am no fan of any of it, nor do I belong to any such hierarchy.

Although its history is shorter, the same is true when it comes to 'reason', especially as it has been and is primarily linked to 'science' and the *application* thereof. Unlike religion tho, science and its applications is more so an inescapable threat to me and my family than religion IMO. For instance, climate change is due more so to scientific mis-application than religious ones. Likewise, the government's ability to spy on me or destroy me should they so desire, is greater due to the same.

(As an aside, it is interesting to note that people can talk about and can understand spirituality as being distinct from religion and its applicational forms, yet the same is usually not true of reason & science -- they are more often than not referred to together and explicitly done so, like inseparable siamese twins. To the degree that these distinctions were not spelled out and are generally not seen and understood, my statement above lacked the clarity I wished for.)

Still, without subscribing to your exact description I can understand your belief that there has been an appalling level of "arrogance shown by those from an arts/spiritual background" toward using the applications of science, and on the whole I readily agree it isn't of any good. Yet, I think a couple of points are in order.

When it comes to your following conclusion, "Rationality is too lightly discarded by those who would 'make use' of what they do not understand", I do suggest that although this may be so, the opposite is equally so too.

Scientists themselves either believe outright or rationalize that their applications can be *controlled*, or used for good only. In this they too lightly discard any potential abuse or uncertainty as to unforeseen outcomes. But it is exactly here that any *unquestioned* notion of the supremacy of "rationality" fails us. No one, and certainly not scientists, can know with any degree of certainty what result their applications will ultimately bring. In truth they too are guilty of making use of what they do not and can not understand. To honestly think and believe otherwise about any of this is hubristic!

Yet, this is not to say I am against "reason" or "science" even; nor to deny the many minor miracles of convenience and well-being attributable to science & reason. However, I am opposed to science and its unquestioned relationship and use of *reason/rationality* without considered application of our faculties of judgement.

Any expectation or belief in making sense of things we can not ever fully comprehend on the basis of scientific facts and reason of logic alone is, in this day and age, completely irrational.

(The evidence of this reality is littered high all around us. Should you not think to understand this, although I'm sure you can or you wouldn't be here in the first place, I recommend getting David Ehrenfeld's "The Arrogance of Humanism." There is no better dissection of this reality than his, and any further explanatory foray of mine here would only prolong this post, and detract from remaining on point.)

My point all along has been this: For too long have we sailed along on the misguided belief that our emotional and spiritual faculties are too irrational to be trusted in guiding us, and instead of using them at all, we've exclusively tried to use only our so-called rationality, or reasons of logic, when it comes to scientific application. It just doesn't work out as purely as we presume it should or can.

There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that we are not purely rational beings. No matter how hard we pretend or wish it to be otherwise, irrationality is an undeniable part of this earthly existence and it is in us as much as it is in the world. This being true, it an inescapable fact that there will always be some element of it in everything we do and build. Furthermore, the world in its entirety is and always will remain beyond our complete comprehension. Science and its organized forms and all its unleashed applications is no exception to these realities and unforeseen consequences borne of them.

It is here that I suggest you re-read what I wrote above, and especially re-consider the block quote I posted of Erhenfeld's about using our faculties of emotional judgement. And although he doesn't use the phrase *spiritual*, it is without doubt a core element of our emotional nature, and so I include it here.

Will making use of any of this judgemental ability -- weighing reason with emotion and vice versa -- make our "horrible mess" any easier to attend to and fix? No. But so long as this divide remains in us there is all the reason in the world to know in our hearts and minds that the outcome, or rather the judgement, will be mighty irrational, and because of mis-applied science, much more destructive and irreparable.

The real problem is that homo sapiens is not a rational species. We are an occasionally rational species and a frequently rationalizing species. ;)

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

I think you bring up a very important point for all to consider (especially if relocating).

Religion can be used to build communities and to make them stronger in times of hardship... but at some point of desperation religion can become a WMD where someone's god gives them permission, or even encourages them, to commit atrocities to preserve their "chosen" group.

And it certainly is not only christianity that can be perverted, although it may be the predominate threat in the West, along side those who worship 'Science' as their religion ("science invented magic" in the words of Marge Simpson, as one poster here at TOD frequently reminds us - I love that quote).

As you note, in times of severe stress and desperation, Magical Thinking (religion/metaphysics) trumps Reason. This trend back to simplistic Magical Thinking will almost certainly increase dramatically at the symptoms of Peak Energy hit harder and harder (those who think peak oil doesn't equal peak energy are treading into the magical thinking camp IMHO).

I would be very, very careful about trying to "Combat this" in your particular locale - you will likely just alienate yourself and make yourself a target for extremists. Their patience and tolerence are likey to decrease dramatically, while their numbers, their confusion and their anger/desperation, are very likely to grow with each increase in the Pains of Birth of this Transition.

As you note, in times of severe stress and desperation, Magical Thinking (religion/metaphysics) trumps Reason.

I'm not so sure you, or many others, realize it, but you describe the US of the past twenty years, and the next twenty. It's a country caught in a massive religious craze.

And yes, it would probably be good to think about why that is.

I agree HSF and have been following it from a distance for many years (the creationist stupidity never ends).

The Future nightmare I envision for some parts of our 'civilized' world, some of the time, is roughly the equivalent of the televangelist preacher character and his flock in "Lucifer's Hammer" - even cannibalism can be Divinely Inspired.

"Lucifer's Hammer" was a good read, but "Handmaid's Tale" gives me the chills, it's so prescient.

Try "The White Plague" by Frank Herbert, if you haven't.



Its comforting to be in the presence of so many Niven and Pournelle readers

If I may brag a little, I had dinner with Larry Niven once (still haven't met Pournelle). He's generally a very quiet and reserved person, but certainly has lots of interesting ideas (obviously!). Aside from "Lucifer's Hammer," I really liked "The Mote in God's Eye." And a story apropos to some of the subject matter here on TOD.



It is indeed! Makes this newbie feel almost at home.

Bring on the malevolent space elephants!

But in the current context, both of this discussion and our recent loss, I recommend rereading of Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" for many reasons, not the least being Bokononism, a religion which admits itself to be composed of lies, and which is therefore very useful.

maybe I should change my lame login name to PakProtector

I was specifically referring to something along these lines:

Who would have thought it would come to this? For three decades after World War II, the average American worker’s income grew by 2-3% a year after inflation, and stateside consumer spending grew apace. But after the mid-1970s, these income gains slowed to a crawl, while spending growth continued at the same pace. But Baby Boomers felt that the 2%-3% average annual real income growth enjoyed by their parents was their birthright. And when they didn’t get it, they settled for “the next best thing,” 2%-3% average annual spending growth financed by artificial means.


The rise of Magical Thinking in televangelicals has coincided with the Magical Thinking propagated by High Priest Alan Greenspan. The cult of something for nothing, or whatever you would call it.

The 2020 living standards alluded to in that article assume: 1) No more magical thinking on the part of those who are the willing victims of the banks (hardly likely); and 2) PO doesn't cripple the economy (a possibility).

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

Religion, particularly organised religion, isn't that influential in England. However, nationalism could be....

Phony Tony already went a disturbingly long way along the road to Ingsoc.

As many people here concluded there is strong possibility that idea of peak oil is never going to become truly wide.

Don't think so. It will take maybe 5 years from now, but after that, no amount of CERA sweet-talking will keep this hidden.

Once people have to pay 100 US$ / barrel, there will be some questions.

Don't be too pessimistic about this.

*clap* *clap*

Great job on getting rid of the porn/meds posts in the thread!

If you didn't see 'em, you should thank the staff for how quickly they got rid of 'em.

Thanks, staff. Trolls, ads. I hate them.
Thanks staff, for being the open news-source TOD is.
It's not a pretty story but it needs to be told.

This whole energy thing will get ugly sooner then we like.

Hello Leanan,

Still need to remove TGBHU's porn posting at the bottom of the Jeremy Gilbert thread please.

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

Dim Bulbs, Bright Lights:

"The movement against global warming, funded as it is by 501(c)3s like Gore’s outfit, appears reticent to play political hard ball."

Has a whole section on Ag and food. And posting negative comments about Monsanto should get a crew of pro-Monsanto people here in a few days.


Are you implying that there are pro-Monsanto people that aren't shills?

I ran into one a month ago. One of his old college roommates who is his 'best buddy' works for Monsanto in the 'how can we GM weeds so our chemicals can work better' research department.

Showed him volume of data on GM food and the heath risks.

He hasn't recanted his position, but he no longer talks about how wonderful GM patents and GM food is. Gets quiet in fact.

If one has a thread long enough or posting certain links (I've not figured out or had anyone post what links triggers the effect) suddenly 3-12 pro-Monsanto voices show up.

And they'll go away for months or years at a time, then show up once again when a 'Monsanto has these problems' thread starts.

Well, I do know there are companies that are paid by large corporations that use spiders to crawl through blogs and other such sites, and for posts relating to a particular company that is on their client list, they post positive blather about that company. Anything to change the signal/noise ratio and promoted FUD.

I used to be sold on the ideas of GM foods. Essentially believing that tech can save us. I still think there's a place for GM stuff, but for the sake of humanity and the gods, let it be TESTED, TESTED, TESTED, TESTED, and then tested some more. Then when we're all done, we'll test it again. Personally the things that we shouldn't be doing GM on (like bacteria, bugs, etc) are the easiest to do GM on. We should be doing it on things that don't reproduce quickly so if a problem emerges, we can eradicate all traces of it.

Even so, I'm more partial to selective breeding over GM. It requires lots of patience, as opposed to just trying to "cheat" and get to market.

Makes you wonder if honeybee CCD is the proverbial Sword of Damocles doesn't it?

Interestingly I have some inside info from an ex-employee agency responsible for the food people eat. I got this information from someone who works with me, and used to work for the agency.

His summation of the studys indicating GM foods are more toxic was that the feed methodology was quite poor. Basically the researchers had switched diets from a balanced control to a 100% of the GM food crop. As these animals were not used to the feed change, they experienced higher rates of illness and death. It became too difficult to separate causality and correlation, and no studies were of a high enough quality to determine the link.

I am by no means pro monsanto, and terminator genes are pretty much retarded. However wait 20 years for the patent (which again is retarded to possess on a living thing) to expire, and see if the farmers can do anything with it.

Another thing is that came up was the fact that all foods are GM now-a-days, GM was done before through farmers selecting for what they wanted in a crop. Currently there are no new GM foods being introduced to the best of my knowledge, because of expense and negative public reception of the productt

Furthermore introduction of genes which can cause allergenic reactions are strictly prohibited. (peanut oil gene into wheat for instance) That isn't to say that it couldn't happen however through wind born pollination.

If i find more info i will be sure to write it here or somewhere.


LOL! I thought it was supposed to take a couple of days for the Monsanto crew to show up!

And posting negative comments about Monsanto should get a crew of pro-Monsanto people here in a few days.

"No new GM foods are being introduced...." What about the unavailability of uncontaminated rice seed mentioned here a few days ago? Contamination of the food chain - "too late now, can't do anything about it, live with it" - is likely an intentional strategy.

Here in Maine, the Monsanto flaks tried to pass legislation requiring organic farmers to test their product "to insure quality" at the farmers expense with no liability for the GMO industry. Seems to be some push back to that overreach developing. Not that the State has the guts to kick such a corporation out which would be the sensible thing to do. That would be unfriendly to business and we are here for business, right?

cfm in Gray, ME

Interestingly I have some inside info from an ex-employee agency responsible for the food people eat. I got this information from someone who works with me, and used to work for the agency.
I heard it from a friend who
heard from a friend who
Heard it from another

Feel free to show links.

However wait 20 years for the patent (which again is retarded to possess on a living thing) to expire, and see if the farmers can do anything with it.

Huh? Exactly how will "a farmer" be able to 'use' the idea of some DNA inserted into a certain point in a certain plant?

And the farmers who had Non-GM plants and seeds that they saved for years and are sued by Monsanto should do what for 20 years? How about the seeds that get GMed IP into seed stock via wind? What should they do for 20 years? Or the seed they had before the GM pollen crossed with their crop and did not want such DNA in their plants?

His summation of the studys indicating GM foods are more toxic was that the feed methodology was quite poor.

And yet when Creekside farms wants to test each animal - they can't. And yet when consumers ask for full-disclosure labels for food, Monsanto/Cargil/ADM lobby against such a change,

Why not allow consumers to be informed so they can make their own choice?

Another thing is that came up was the fact that all foods are GM now-a-days, GM was done before through farmers selecting for what they wanted in a crop.

Please show where farmers of olde used viruses with target DNA or little gold-shooting guns to inject DNA into plant cells.

Currently there are no new GM foods being introduced to the best of my knowledge

Expect others will point you to other places than TOD so you can cure your ignorance about the marketing efforts of GMed plants to be used as feed-stock.

Furthermore introduction of genes which can cause allergenic reactions are strictly prohibited.

Show the law that backs this statement up please.

(peanut oil gene into wheat for instance) That isn't to say that it couldn't happen however through wind born pollination.

Err, show exactly how peanut/wheat pollen crosses with wheat/peanut plants in the wild.


CALABASAS, Calif. — Countrywide Financial Corp., one of the nation's largest mortgage lenders, said Thursday that pending foreclosures surged 89 percent in March, as the housing market continues to suffer.

This is starting to slide...May is the first month of MASSIVE resets...the last four months are each only half as much as next month total. In May and June, there will be more resets than all of the first four months of the year and it continues like this until Dec 06. It's gonna get ugly....will people be able to buy gas? :)

Two things that might salvage a community, as the prices of liquid transportation fuels increase; (1) More flexible zoning, e.g., subdividing houses and (2) Improved mass transit.

We probably need to start thinking in terms of a triage operation:

(A) Communities that will probably do okay, no matter what;

(B) Communities that might be helped with the above remedial actions;

(C) Communities that will probably fail--effectively becoming ghost towns--even with the above remedial actions.

IMO, you need to start thinking about relocating to either Group (A) or Group (B).

A question I have: should one own non-agricultural real estate anywhere, even in great mass transit areas like Portland, Oregon?

A question I have: should one own non-agricultural real estate anywhere, even in great mass transit areas like Portland, Oregon?

Will post-Peak Oil or the Real Estate Bubble Collapse come first ? Or together ? And the dollar collapse and rush to "real assets" ?

One can certainly try and time the market.

My gut is find a small lot within walking distance/easy bicycle distance of a MAX station (or future, Sept 2009 Green Line Station) in an area with walkable shopping, draw up plans for a VERY efficient home# (duplex ?) and build when building starts collapsing around the US (lowering your costs).

Rent whilst owning the land. This leaves your options open as "things develop".

# Consider minimum German building codes. R-49 walls, efficient south facing windows, etc. But more than 250 sq ft since you are an "early mover". Also, perhaps ground source heat pump with wood backup and solar hot water heater with point-of-use backup. Make all doors 36" and consider wheel chair use (you never know).

Best Hopes,


A rapidly growing trend will be multiple generations moving into one house, which of course will further cut the demand for housing.

From the Housing Bubble Blog:

The Union Tribune reports from California. “Like other buyers who used risky financing to purchase their homes while banking on rapid real-estate appreciation, Maria and Oscar, who asked that their last names not be used, are facing ballooning monthly payments they know they cannot afford. Now feeling trapped in a depreciating real estate market, many of these frightened homeowners are hoping to stave off foreclosure by taking whatever steps they can.”

“In the first two months of this year, default notices issued in San Diego County quadrupled over what they were a year earlier, and analysts are predicting those numbers will rise.”

“When Maria and Oscar realized that they weren’t going to be able to continue making their mortgage payments and also pay their steep property taxes, they opted to move in last year with Oscar’s parents. At the same time, they rented out their three-bedroom house in Eastlake, which helped cover a little more than half the $3,000 monthly payment on the two interest-only loans they took out to finance their no-money-down purchase.”

“But with the mortgage due to increase to more than $4,000 next month, the couple has put the house up for sale, realizing that they will likely lose money on what they believed was a sure thing three years ago.”

One other possibility is to be a developer and create the ultimate energy efficiency condo/apt building (this will sell in Portland) and keep a couple/three of the units for yourself. Say a 3 story, 10 unit building with potentially a rooftop garden close to downtown and MAX and/or streetcar stop. Try and get a variance for less than minimum auto parking by offering superior bicycle parking.

Best Hopes,


Or arrange the parking so that it can be converted to more housing down the road. Try for plant covered parking pavers and avoid the runoff fees?

alan, i have just such a plan, a lot on what used to be a streetcar line (that was before humans got so smart and learned how to commute via gas guzzling pleasure barge suv).
for now, i plan to convert the lot into a garden . security is a problem and taxes another. the city and county want to raise the assesed value every two years and provide less and less in the way of law enforcement.

The problem worldwide, is that we are hopelessly overpopulated. It is not possible for the worlds urban population especially from the megacitys to move out to a more rural place. The places a´int there, they are in most cases already occupied.

I believe that the only solution will be a die-off mostly of the city dwellers. I think it is inevitable not only for PO, we are beginning to have Peak Food and water also.

Only those who are wellinformed, and have possibilitys and some resources will go trough this somewhat whole.

We can not save all people, it is impossible, better we save ourselves best we can.


Kenneth you're totally correct about the overpopulation piece of the story. IMHO it is the main driver. It is really too bad the message about that was so completely drowned out buy shills in the 1970s and 80s. That was my first experience watching experts getting crushed in public by "debating tactics." It was obvious even then they were right but kept getting trapped in corners by legalistic minutiae. Overpopulation is of course the reason that, as you mentioned, Sweden cannot produce enough biofuels to satisfy itself even if it sacrificed its forests. Many other countries are in far worse shape (e.g., Germany and the Netherlands... you don't have to look to the Mideast to find examples).

One of Leanan's articles in the above list mentions places to put an extra 100 million new Americans (Jersey City, yes of course). Kudos to at least the regional media starting to report on not only climate change but also the peak oil stories, but they are a long way from properly assembling the full picture.

"I believe that the only solution will be a die-off mostly of the city dwellers"

Let me guess, you don't live in the city.

No i do not live in a city. I have done it for some time, but now i am newly retired and live with my wife in a small energyefficient house ten miles outside a small town near the arctic circle in Sweden. Northern Sweden is sparsely populated, so i am lucky to live in an area that is likely to cope rather well with PO.
And we have a good electrified railway system in Sweden. Swedens electricity production consist of 50% hydro and 50% nuclear.

If i had lived in a bigger city, then i would have moved out from it.

You are certainly right about the issue of overpopulation.

But, it is a huge but: it is just politically incorrect to talk about this very important issue.

Talking about overpopulation is namely in the US very unpopular. And what is unpopular in the US is unpopular in the whole world. It's sad, but this is the truth.


I don't understand why it seems so unpopular to talk about overpopulation in the US?

It seems to me that here, Western Europe, the theme is much more accepted.. I remember very well, that the teacher were telling us, little kids, in the Elementary school, that the world population was growing very fast, what could bring some problems, and that some birth control strategy should be implemented in some countries, especially in Africa..
The one-child-only system in China was more or less seen like a good idea. (sry for the bad english, if so)

People would rather ignore The Population Bomb than actually face it. Facing it requires either too much pain or conjuring wishful numbers out of thin air. In fact, the exact same people right here who would decry wishful "cornucopian" thinking with regards to oil will do exactly the same thing when it comes to population.

There is a word for that - delusional.

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

this is definitely an important issue that should be raised as much as possible.

I have read various estimates on what population the world could sustain comfortably - they are usually between 500 million and 4 billion people. I would guess the lower end of that spectrum if we are considering the long term. That is why I am pushing for only 1 child with my wife... it is a hard road trying to convince her, but the reasons may become harder to ignore in the near future.

What ideas/concepts do people here relate to when talking to others about over-population?

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

Well for starters, I try to shoot down the notion that there is something virtuous about giving up meat. You know, meat production uses a lot of grazing land, which could feed a whole lot more people if we plowed it under and planted wheat and rice.

Right, so lets all go vegan. Then we can support 10 billion people on a bread and rice subsistence diet. How wonderful.

Or we could progressively reduce our population down to a level where it's possible for everyone to eat well, and still have lots of room left over for forests and national parks

If we are to believe in things we cannot see or touch, how do we tell the true belief from the false belief?

So when given the choice between killing off half the people in the world and reducing meat consumption you choose killing off half the people in the world? Nice.

You may irrationally choose to not accept this but a large fraction of homo sapiens is going to dieoff anyway. And I don't mean simple death via old age or whatever. I mean a death rate so high that it reverses population growth significantly, something that did not even occur during WWII. Given that this is inevitable, that we are a population in far overshoot, what do you prescribe instead?

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

I can see the following happening to the US post-Peak Oil if we keep "going on like we are going".

A decline in male life expectancy similar to the declines from the Soviet Union to Russia (-10 years from vague memory in ~12 years). A somewhat lower decline in female life expectancy in the US.

A drop in births by 1/3rd to 1/2.

A x8 to x12 increase in suicides (x6 today in New Orleans, I expect higher in the US as a total since y'all do not have Mardi Gras and the supportive culture of New Orleans).

A decline in health care to the level of New Orleans today. A small minority will get effective cancer treatment for example. Diabetes will become a major cause of early death with hypertension a close second (secondary effects of today's obesity). Health care will be scarce and hard to get except for broken bones and other simple acute conditions.

Alcoholism will approach Soviet levels as despair climbs (New Orleans alcohol sales are UP with 1/2 the population and fewer tourists. Soberity was not a universal virtue before Katrina).

Illegal drug use and violence, see New Orleans today but a bit, or a lot, worse.

Net it all out, and US population will likely decline significantly.

I have seen "The End of the World as I know It" and I am struggling on, doing the best that I can.

New Orleans is well worth the struggle, but I question if the broader American culture is.

Public TV in New Orleans has a spot that asks "Have you ever loved a place so deeply that you could give your life for it ?" I am not alone here in the Big Easy.

I am working on saving America from itself#, but not with the same passion and commitment that I have for New Orleans, because America is just no longer worth it.

I have not abandoned my nation, my nation has abandoned me.

Best Hopes,


# My latest effort:


Alan, I think you are beginning to see what various professionals in geology and biology have already seen. Many of them have voluntarily retired from the public debate because it is "too late" to matter.

The US will not survive what is coming but that doesn't have to be the end of everything everywhere. I wish you the greatest of fortune in your efforts to save New Orleans. Whatever we do save may become the seed of a better tomorrow.

By the way, Alan, I agree with your prognosis for the US and that's an area about which I am overall optimistic. Don't even ask me about Asia. It's a dead continent just waiting for the signal to arrive at the brain.

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

You are staring into the abyss.

I am in it.

Best Hopes,


HI Alan,

Re: "I have not abandoned my nation, my nation has abandoned me."

This sounds bad. Can you explain further? (I'm not in NO, and it looks like I'll have to move if the alternative is abandoning Alan.) Seriously, I can try to fill in the blanks myself, but I'd really like to hear more.

One small item (repeated in dozens of areas of recovery). Potable water.

Pre-K, we had 4 pumps to supply pressure. Since Katrina, leaks appeared EVERYWHERE. 3/4 of potable water leaked out. Obviously due to flooding and our soft soil. Over 4,000 street cuts to fix leaks (poorly patched BTW due to lack of money & time) so far and more every day.

FEMA has taken months to pay their 90% after New Orleans spent the money. We have run out of money repeatedly. FEMA (I was told) refused to pay for overtime costs, so when New Orleans was repaid their 90%, it was closer to 85%.

NYC had the local 10% waived despite the minor damage done to their infrastructure, and got paid within days or a couple of weeks (6 months is common here for City of New Orleans invoices to FEMA: and we are broke !)

FEMA last month announced a $30 million contract to "study the problem" and determine what was due to Katrina (note 1.5 years AFTER the fact).

2 of our 4 potable water pumps have failed. 14 months to repair since FEMA refuses to pay extra for fast repairs. Low water pressure hinders fire fighting. One of two left fail and much of the city will have trouble flushing toilets, prompting more evac. Both fail and the city was to be completely evaced again.

Sewage pumps are still running on diesel generators (at high cost) due to FEMA refusal to pay for permanent repairs. Costs of diesel gen sets exceeds costs of repairs. Sewage treatment is in chaos.

Repeat for every essential service (traffic signal timers do not do well immersed in salt water, but if they do not fail when first dried out and turned on, FEMA refuses to pay for replacement).

I hear again and again that New Orleans has no right to exist by Americans (we are apparently not of that nationality).

I could go on & on.

Were it not for the noble volunteers (and the great aid from France :-) I would despair even more.

My bitterness is deep and profound, but I still try and save their butts from their own stupidity and greed. But I will feel no great sense of tragedy for whatever fate befalls the United States.

Abraham Lincoln said that for every drop of blood drawn by the whip, God apparently decreed that another drop would be drawn by the sword.

Would it not be divine justice if as the US treats New Orleans and lets it's people suffer, so shall it's own fate be ? Add to that the suffering of Iraq.

So if I live to see mass suffering on an epic scale in the United States, I will not grieve as I once would have because I will see an element of justice in it.

Best Hopes,


I hear again and again that New Orleans has no right to exist by Americans

There *IS* a difference between no right to exist and in the long run, doomed existence.

Don't feel bad, most coastal cities as they are known are doomed also. NO just got to be 1st.

And don't feel bad, alot of people are suckered into thinking the Federal Government is their to help them.

Hi Grey,

Thanks and on another "thread", I asked if you'd like to sometime share your ideas of how the "transition" could be managed well. You said you'd write it on your own blog (maybe). I'd just like to encourage you to pursue this and to share it, if you are willing. I'd be very interested.

I am not sure it can be managed "well" at all, Aniya. I am rather certain it can be managed but I doubt anyone here would like the looks of it. Unfortunately, the alternative is to let nature choose rather than us and nature will not care whether we suffer or not.

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

Totally agree that population is THE problem.

It is amazing to me how many otherwise very savvy people (with regard to all sorts of energy, environmental, agricultural, etc., issues) get very bent out of shape when one mentions it. It's as though you proposed lining up half of humanity against the wall and shooting them this afternoon.

Whether or not "we" can save "all people" living today (and I doubt it), "we" (?) surely cannot sustainably support any more. But talk to someone with 7 kids, and they get very defensive.

IMHO, that's why we're totally screwed. Not PO, not peak anything. More like peak everything. We're eating the planet, we're taking way too much. Human fertility seems to be, in the infamous words of some vice president or other, "non-negotiable".

I have reluctantly come to believe that there is no way humanity is going to voluntarily control its overbreeding. Of course, it will be controlled, one way or the other.

Yes like i said, save your self, you can´t save other people.

"Be fruitful and multiply."

I guess God was wrong.

That was then. When there were 2 of us, altogether.

Now God is saying "Enuff Already!" ... but few can hear.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

"Be fruitful and multiply."

I guess God was wrong.

I doubt seriously that God got anything wrong, if he/she actually exists. However if God actually exists then he/she could not have had anything to do with writing such an utterly stupid command as that.

Ron Patterson

I think God is encouraging us to explore mathematics. Many just interpret the statement wrong. Silly, silly, procreation-obsessed primate minds. ;o)



Don't forget that the "Be fruitful + multiply" comment was written three or four thousand years ago, when a couple would probably have had to have six or seven kids if they wanted to see two of them live to adulthood.

Appropriate advice at the time, but completely outdated now.

Antoinetta III

I think he said be "fruitful" and "multiply" about 13 times in the context of all plant an animal life. Multiplying is easy, but most people do not understand what is to be fruitful. It all looks pretty rotten to me.

Not by thirteen. Try .2 or so.

cfm in Gray, ME

Hi s,

In my one remaining minute on this computer...

re: "I have reluctantly come to believe that there is no way humanity is going to voluntarily control its overbreeding."

I think it's possible. The first step (radical as it sounds) is for men to promote the full legal rights of women.

Probably true. Might solve a lot of other problems as well.

I would like to explore this in more detail as the countries with the "most free" women voted for George Bush and Tony Blair. My contention is we go to war at the behest of women. Women do not even comprehend their own need for security. Deep down soccer moms wanted to get the oil and achieve security. Do powerful men pander to this, obviously, but I have not met one woman who has ever thought she was wrong. PS I love them!

Hi Greg,

re: "I have not met one woman who has ever thought she was wrong."

Well, I'm here and happy to meet you. I've been "wrong" many times. It's very painful to feel regrets and realize mistakes - an experience all human beings have in common, it seems to me.

I didn't mean to start a men v. women or male v. female track.

It's more that I carry an acute awareness of the amount of violence directed toward females (women and girls) and also toward male youth (boys) - by males, especially (but not limited to) violence that is termed "sexual violence", though it has little to do with a humane view of sexuality. Example, the sheer statistics on rape, battery, sexual abuse, etc. are quite overwhelming. Worth taking a look at, if you never have.

The whole subject is something I mean to look at objectively (if this is possible). It seems to me it has a huge effect on a worldwide basis. The connections to population are not straightforward, but they are direct.

Yes the men vs woman track and yes it can never be discussed and yes your statistics are correct and yes you have been wrong and yes you avoided the security question and yes did I generalize and yes you may be different.

I have read many threads here and studied many people.


Premise = Women remember every slight perpetrated by man. Women want children, they want security and at the behest of women, we aid in that pursuit. I have rebelled against that notion by not reproducing or advocating the continued construction of sprawl or buying worthless junk (low quality items for show). This does not get me too far in relationships.

Theory = Women dislike men for reasons they remember, men dislike women for reasons long forgotten, by most, but no less valid IMHO. Do I advocate violence against women, absolutely not, but women are the at the heart of American denial on the way to live.

Hi Greg,

Thanks for your response, though we'd need a lot more time...

re: "yes you avoided the security question."

I did.

Perhaps you could tell me a little more specifically what you mean?

Financial security? In order to provide for children? Or...because...they don't believe they can get it without men? Or...?

And, assuming men also want children (or is that not an assumption?), do they want financial security for their children?

When, you talk about men and women disliking each other...do you mean individuals, like? Say, couples? Friends? Brothers and sisters? Or do you mean, speaking of "ex"s, like ex-romantic partners? (or, Fathers and sons? Fathers and daughters? etc/)

I mostly hang around people who like each other, though of course have some painful examples of the opposite, esp. in regard to relatives.

I'm trying to think in my own anecdotal experience if I've noticed a greater reluctance among one group or the other to talk about or entertain the thought of "peak". Right off hand, I don't think so. It seems about equal to me. My take on it, is that the issue is just plain overwhelming to most everyone, and some people can deal with their overwhelm in ways that appear to be perhaps easier. But then again, who knows.

"I believe that the only solution will be a die-off mostly of the city dwellers"

Not necessarily, things may work out more like Australia where the large cities continue to function and prosper, but the smaller towns die out. As I understand it, the weather is the culprit. During drought the farms fold taking down the services in the local town with them. When the farms get going again they have to go to the cities for the services that were previously local.

With economic instability, peak oil and climate change something similar may happen. The cities providing the necessary industrial output in exchange for the agricultural output from the rest of the country. Cities ideally placed to receive, produce and distribute key industrial produce will likely do well. Towns on the other hand may become redundant unless they can provide key produce and services (which may simply be beyond the capabilities of most).

One of the major obstacles to adaption and change IMO will be the adherence of society to the ridiculously distorted tenets of economics. Economic activity will have to be about producing genuine utilitarian products and not about bottom line profitability (ie. producing any old garbage that can be sold profitably via psychological manipulation - marketing).

As much as I admire the talented and erudite posters on The Oil Drum from which I'm learning so much - so please don't take this the wrong way - but I do find the rather narrow views held regarding the future frustrating. Like everyone here, I'm anxious about what's coming and want to be ready for it, but I feel the real picture is being somehow missed. Something in the back of my mind is saying there's an elephant in the room and we're not seeing it. It bothers me.

The problem as i see it, is that we are peak everything about now. And particulary food and water. China, USA and India are mining their fossil waters.

This means only one thing:UNSUSTAINIBILITY

Wether we like it or not we will have a Die-Off in the not so distant future. How severe this will be, i have no clue about, but i believe that we will have hard times ahead. We can not do anything to mitigate it. We are too many people on this earth, so simple is it.

Swede, I agree population is a problem and I don't necessarily disagree with your peak everything statement. But that's not the whole story. I agree with Westexas's ELP, but I also see it as just one piece in a very complex jigsaw puzzle.

Die-off will occur, but probably in a patchy fashion dictated by some random sequence of events. However, what will more likely impact us is how governments, corporations and society react to economic chaos, peak oil and climate change as a whole. Predictions that include one, but not the others are likely to be incorrect and do more harm than not.

For example, governments are more likely to take agricultural production under direct control rather than allow the cities to starve or worse do their own thing (scatter in an uncontrolled manner throughout the country doing whatever they feel necessary to acquire food). Alternately, one can look back into history and see armed conflict with mercenaries (eg. 120k mercenaries in Iraq vs. 130k US troops) can lead to mercenary armies creating their own economy beyond the control of the State (something that's already happening). Or Russia creating an energy based empire of influence.

For someone on the ground (like me) trying to adapt and avoid the problems looming over us, what happens locally and globally both have an impact. Saying we're at peak everything and there will be die-off means nothing without the rest of the story: when, how will government and society react, what will the right thing be to do?

The devil is in the detail! I know we're all in the same boat and none of us knows what the future will be, but I'm sure with the intellect present here that we can make a better job of envisaging the future than we currently are.

Something big is being missed, I feel it, but it's stubbornly remaining just beyond visibility. In hindsight it will be so obvious. If anyone can ferret it out, it's the people here. I feel much depends on if we ask the right question.

Agreed, Burgundy:
During the artificially created chaos and mass starvation of The Great Leap Forward (1959-60), the rulers of China had "to take agricultural production under direct control rather than allow the cities to starve or worse do their own thing." It'll be a little messier here, but the farmers are too sparsely distributed to permit any realistic kind of resistance to the Nat'l Guard (or whomever).

"Take agricultural production under direct control" might mean prioritizing agricultural energy use over other uses. That's more likely than a "Great Leap Forward", Chinese style.

After all, according to Lester Brown's Earth Policy Institute, direct agricultural production accounts for only about 2% of US energy consumption and food transportation only about another 1.5%. The whole extravagant US system, including home cooking and refrigeration accounts for only about 10% of total energy consumption. I think it will be possible to find at least that much energy for some time yet.

See United State Food System Energy Use and note that total US energy use is just shy of 100 Quads.

It would seem to make more sense to keep farmers diesel tanks full than to dream of sending city workers back to the farms as some here do. Most farmers wouldn't know what to do with them all anyways.

Since you like historical precedents, don't forget the Khemer Rouge, who did undertake to recreate an agrarian paradise by emptying the cities.

I think that this deserves a full thread someday, if there has never been one here.

Are the members of this list mostly talking, or doing significant stuff?

Indeed, are there things which could come about due to people meeting here and subsequently making joint plans? In most scenarios there would be some strength in numbers. A mini-community of 100 people in a good spot would have a lot more robustness than one or two families.

Not talking about hippie communes per se, just people figuring out resource and defense strategies which might be workable under a broad range of scenarios.

Or, of course, anything better others may come up with....

There may well be some quite robust answers which just haven't come together yet.

Here's the elephant in my view: "Society" is not going to sit idly by and watch things come apart. It is natural for people to try to mitigate bad circumstances according to their own world view. In the face of scarcity, many people will attempt to exercise control and assert their "right" to have what they've become accustomed to having. So, there will be widespread:

Rationing; confiscation; drafts into social work programs; militarism; intrusion into your personal affairs in the name of "community"; attempts at greater social control by the government (i.e. by everyone); lists; self-appointed busybodies; nastiness, fear, want and resentment; all against a background of dwindling comfort and diminished personal freedom.

No one will be exempt. Those who have prepared will be thanked very nicely while their property is put under some kind or degree of collective control. There will be no starving hordes of zombies roaming the countryside being shot at by farmer survivalists. The theft will be done very politely - the tyranny of the majority.

Until some people resist. And then it will get interesting.

Nice prediction.

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

Do not forget Block Wardens. We had them in WWII.

I'm afraid you have pegged the most plausible outcome for the foreseeable future here in America.

Despite the animosity of cynicism and disgust between the sheeple and TPTB of government, the overriding self interests of both will initially prevail upon trying to control the various levels of disintegration that is coming.

Beyond this frightening snapshot -- if it doesn't end in a barrage of mushrooming explosions (or some other unpredictable global catastrophe that destroys creation) -- I can not help but envision that this concentration of control will continually weaken until it eventually crumbles and falls by the way side. Alas, I may not be alive to witness it, but I can hope my children and enough others will.

Life then will be harsher in many repects, cause and effect more direct, pain and suffering will remain in play, but we will no longer be all chained together, and the ability to pursue an individual destiny will flourish anew, to go along with the irrepressible spontaneity of wonder, joy and gratitude that can grace our daze on earth.

It's something to hope for.

People talk as if we are going to wake up one morning and find there is no diesel for the tractors. Not so. Every politician understands you have to keep the people fed if you want to stay in office. Do you really think the goverment will stand by while mechanised agriculture collapses? They do have lobbyists, you know.

As oil supplies decline, food will get more expensive and people will demand that something be done. Subsidies, rationing and price controls will be used to make sure that fuel is available for agricultural production, and that includes fuel to truck food into the cities (where 99% of the customers live, after all).

Think of World War Two. Food production is vital to national security and nothing will be allowed to get in the way of that. There will be no rampaging mobs from the city heading for the countryside - the police will guard the supermarkets if required, and if things get really bad the army will man checkpoints on all the roads out of town.
The deal will be that you sit tight and work your job as normal, and we will make sure there is still food on the shelves.

Law and order, that will be the watchword.

Control of agricultural production - nothing special needed. Its already in place. 99% of the food is produced by professional farmers who are already dependent totally on "the market" - the urban population - for their livelihood. And of course agribusiness has a lot of clout with the government.

The national guard isn't going to show up and tell people to do exactly what they were already doing anyway.

If we are to believe in things we cannot see or touch, how do we tell the true belief from the false belief?

I live in Australia and I expect that the country towns will grow again as Peak Oil hits and food can not or will not be transported to the city.

Hi Burgundy,

I appreciate your thoughts here, (though I'm late in getting on to this conversation).

re: "(ie. producing any old garbage that can be sold profitably via psychological manipulation - marketing)."

The thing is - throughout known history people have produced things that are of questionable value, wouldn't you say? Depends on what you think of cultural practices (not strictly for food, shelter, etc.), art, etc. So, I'm not so sure about this. Lot of "old garbage" - depends on the definition?

re: "I feel the real picture is being somehow missed. Something in the back of my mind is saying there's an elephant in the room and we're not seeing it."

I really encourage you to pursue this. Please. Use your intuition and I'd like to hear it.

People have said they "see a way" but it "can't be done for political" or "human nature" reasons. I question this.

www.cnvc.org, www.combatantsforpeace.org.

I believe that the only solution will be a die-off mostly of the city dwellers.

Historically, people living in cities have been much better off than people living in rural area's. Just look at the migration flows of people in Africa.

I don't know if you ever worked on a farm, but I can assure you that it is very difficult to get a decent living by farming alone.

Yes i grew up in farmland with small farmers, with mostly horsedrawn farmingmachines(and some traktors). So i know how it is. And they survived and had food.

What i mean with the die-off of CITY DWELLERS is more about the megacitys and the megaslums. They are not sustainable IMO i believe. But time will tell.

Cities will probably be smaller in the future, but dieoff isn't necessarily the way they will get that way.

Tainter found that people migrated toward the cities as collapse neared, probably because small villages and lone farms were vulnerable to raids. And that guy who wrote about the Argentina collapse warned that rural life was just as dangerous as city life.

>Tainter found that people migrated toward the cities as collapse neared, probably because small villages and lone farms were vulnerable to raids. And that guy who wrote about the Argentina collapse warned that rural life was just as dangerous as city life.

After the fall of Rome and the during the little ice age, City populations declined. During these periods, the ratio of rural dwellers increased to city dwellers.

I suspect that diseases will be the main cause of die-offs in the future, rather than actual starvation. As the cost of energy increases as it supply decreases, there will be a decline in access to medical care and increase malnutrition, leading to a rise of diseases. Cities will lead the way in higher mortality rates, because of the higher population density. Resources to deal with waste managment and water treatment will also become an issues as local gov't let the infrastructure decay because of insuffcient funds. When energy shortages begin, unemployment will soar resulting in declining tax revenue, but increased welfare spending for the unemployeed. During the energy shocks of the 1970s, cities cut back or even stopped spending on infrastructure maintaince and focused on welfare costs.

>Cities will probably be smaller in the future, but dieoff isn't necessarily the way they will get that way.

I believe that the size of cities will grow over the next decade. People in the suburbs will likely be forced to relocate into more populated regions to reduce commuting expenses and to find better employment opportunities. Few people are going to relocate away from urban regions that have fewer jobs. I suspect there probably will be a decline in manufacturing jobs in rural regions. For instance, there are lot of auto manufacturing plants as well as plants that produce discretionary goods in rural regions (ie for cheaper labor costs). Without a market to sell to, these plants will shutdown. Plus it takes more energy to ship raw materials in and goods out, then it would be to manufacture them in urban areas. With a fresh in flux of people from the suburbs and higher unemployement, labor rates in urban regions will fall to be completive with rural labor rates. Perhaps some of rural plants will be converted to produce non-discretionary products, but overall there is likely to be few rural manufacturing jobs in the future.

No. Historically, cities are population sinks with high mortality that required constant immigration to keep the population number stable (I'm talking about medieval Europe now). Wealth was mainly a function of food calories produced and transported. This was done by farmers, and land didn't produce without farmers. They were there to eat their produce anyway.
African cities now grow so tremendously because of cheap food imports, that make small farmers go out of business, who afterwards have no choice but to migrate towards the source of that cheap food, i.e. the cities.

I read that the English North American colonies were wealthy (higher wages, cheaper food than England), but with high mortality for the first century+. Thus they could attract new immigrants, who often quickly died.

Historical analysis suggests that the English NA colonies did not reach replacement level fertility (having more males than females does not help fertility rates) till 1740 to 1750. Independence required (IMVHO) better than replacement rate fertility.

Best Hopes,


Good question.

The answer would depend on several factors: availability of multiunit housing (cheaper to heat), suitability of dwelling for on-site energy capture, moderate climate, proximity to navigable waters, access to bulk renewable power, and access to locally produced food. IMO they are just as important as the availability of mass transit.

So Portland (OR) has several things going for it besides the availability of mass transit, specifically access to renewable electricity from Bonneville Power Agency (hydro and wind--a very good mix), access to navigable waters and the Pacific Ocean, and a moderate climate where temperatures rarely dip below Zero Celsius. Such attributes more than compensate for the fact that the sun up there hibernates from November through March. Based on those factors, you would be hard-pressed to find a better U.S. location than Portland, assuming you have a job or a nest egg.

And don't overlook bicycling as a transportation mode during the dry season, so in your mental GIS add a layer for topography and bicycle lanes.

Due to its proximity to the Columbia River Gorge, and a tendency for offshore flow in the winter caused by the development of a semi-permanent high pressure area in the Intermountain Empire, Portland, OR, can have some pretty cold winters. Often with persistent east winds that can reach gale-force at times. This renders Portland-area climate less moderate than many other locations in the vicinity (say, Seattle). Because warm, moist Pacific air tends to overrun this shallow pool of cold, dry air, ice storms are not that uncommon, especially in East Portland, Gresham and Troutdale (tends to get worse the further east the location) before it is eventually (but not always) mixed out by frontal dynamics.

Portland, OR, averages about 42 days a year with lows at 32F or less, and has had as many as 84 days with freezing and subfreezing temperatures (in 1985). There have been winters where snow has persisted for up to a month, though snow intense events seem to be decreasing, approximately since the 1960s.

Summers can be hot, too. Highs tend to break 100F about every other year, and have climbed above 105 on occasion. Not Phoenix, AZ, by any means, but much more torrid than places like Seattle, WA, and Vancouver, BC.

For a comprehensive analysis of the vagaries of Portland, OR, climate, see Local Climate Data for the Portland Airport by Clinton Rockey, NWS, Portland.



I lived in Lake Oswego, a Portland suburb, for 12 years from 1987 to 1999, and your description is pretty right on. There were 2 years where my plumbing froze while I was at work. The second time the temp dropped something like 30 degrees during the DAY. On both occasions when my plumbing froze, so did everyone else's, and snow and ice was on the ground for 4 to 6 weeks. It took months to get the plumbing fixed and I was without running water the whole time. Since my house was on stilts on the side of a hill, it required major scaffolding to be erected in order to fix the plumbing and cost over $5,000 each time (insurance did pay, but the inconvenience, damage, and mess was pretty bad). Also, each time the power was down for a while too. If you have gas heat, no electricity means no heat since the fan won't run. During one four day down time, all of my house plants froze and I had to shower at work.

Then there were the ice storms. The last bad one, shortly before I left, caused incredible damage and the power was out for a full week. It was freezing ass cold. We missed another ice storm because we were in Hawaii on vacation --lucky us. But the power distribution in the area was weird, and we we the only ones in our neighborhood that were on a separate drop. When we got home, no one had power but us, and the neighbors had all snaked extension cords from our carport to their houses. But tit for tat, the next time the power was on at their house and ours was out, we borrowed from them.

Oregon is beautiful and Portland is really nice, but I was always surprised by the harshness of the winter storms. That said, sometimes the winters were quite mild.

Hey, cool! Great descriptions. Then I suppose you might recall the big windstorm on 12 Dec 1995, the one that followed several days of ice storms (this wind event really smashed the Bay Area, too)? Caused all kinds of havoc with the power grid around Oregon. Then there was Jan 1990, too...

Yes, sometimes we get really mild winters and hardly see any snow. Then other winters, things really flip-flop, going from warm (say 55F) to cold (say 25F) and back with all kinds of wild weather. On the rare day, we'll get a tornado (05 Apr 1972).

Lake Oswego... A pretty part of town. You were fortunate to have lived there. :o)



Thanks! The 1995 storm was the one we missed most of because we were in HI. We were stunned when we got back and it took hours to get home from the airport in a taxi. Roads were closed everywhere, trees were down, power poles down in some areas, and it looked like something from back east with the ice hanging off of everything.

The storm of 1990 was the first pipe freeze, and areas around my house had hard packed snow that lasted for 2 months. There were other times when the snow on my street was at least 4 feet deep. Yep, weird, wild weather with radical temperature changes.

Lake Oswego is beautiful and I loved it there. My house backed up to Tryon Creek State Park, which is just lovely. I did indeed feel fortunate to live there -- it was quite lush and green.

Do you live in OR?

Love Tryon... I thought of that park when I saw the words Lake Oswego in your post. That and the not-too-distant Rhododendron garden are definitely great places to visit.

Yep, I live in Beaverton. Not quite as charming as Lake Oswego in my opinion, but it sure is convenient being on the MAX line and so close to all my shopping (I walk to much of it).

Incidentally, Hillsboro, the "Silicon Forest" (I suspect you're familiar with that name), tends to be one of the coldest places in the Valley. They've had lows down to -12F during past winters, though it has been a long time since subzero weather has occurred in the Valley.



Beaverton is a nice place too. It used to be a sleepy little place in days of yore, but it sure grew up--even has its own Max line. WOW.

Good old Silicon Forest. I worked for Intel Corp for 12 years, most of that was in Oregon. We were initially located in a leased building in Beaverton and it was great fun in those days in PCED (Personal Computer Enhancement Division). We were kind of the bastard stepchild and did all kinds of wild and crazy stuff at work. But after we entered the PC networking business and our EtherExpress and TokenExpress adapters really took off, they moved us to the new (at that time) Jones Farm facility in Hillsboro. It was never the same after that. Never did care too much for Hillsboro (and hated my commute), Beaverton was much nicer and I spent most of my shopping hours in Tower Records. Are they still around?

Tower Records is only in East Portland now...

I have a close friend who works in advanced semiconductor design out there in Hillsboro, but lives within a few blocks of me. She takes MAX most of the time, and is pretty happy with the train. Now, if she could just work less hours!



Hi WT/Jeffrey,

I'm wondering also about owning agricultural land anywhere.
Posters here seem (for the most part) to have been on their land quite some time, which would give a little different perspective than deciding to buy now.

What do you think?

Are you still thinking about some kind of ag land co-op arrangement? This sounded intriguing.

Great image. I had been wondering about the pathology of bad loans.

Comedy will always stand as the enemy of those things that suck away at our lives, mainly daily life.

I thought some here would appreciate the connections...

(from leanan's links above)

- RV and travel show expected to have young and old in tow

Even with ever-climbing gas prices, sales and rentals of recreational vehicles continue rising

IMO, these are the last of the Tulip Buyers in our present Mass Delusion - the ultimate Bag Holders of the Fossil Fuel Mania. These poor souls might be considered part of the imploding "housing bubble."

Some of the owners of RV's will probably become the Gypsies of 21st century America (I wonder how many horses will be required to pull one of these 'covered wagons'???).

Maybe this way, at least, they might have something to live in when they lose or cannot afford to heat or cool their homes. Alternatively, why not just live in your company's parking lot. Saves energy and commuting time.

Mobility of one's biggest asset, even at outrageous expense, has great utility in time of crisis. If one winter gas is cut off and a region freezes, the RVs will have it easiest, followed by the renters, followed by the owners.

Much depends on the crisis. The highest priority for NG is home heating, so cutoff would seems less likely (though costs may skyrocket). If there is a liquid fuel shortage, the RV won't get very far. Maybe the better strategy is to buy the RV after RV prices crash, move it to a small plot of land while you can, and then try to get there when things get bad in town.

Renters only have advantage if they have assets that are worth something post-crash. As a homeowner, my mortgage debt is only a problem if they can find me to try to collect other than by just repossessing the house.

"Mobility of one's biggest asset, even at outrageous expense..."

Ok,I'll bite: If you can't fill it up, how ha gonna move it?

I just bought a motorhome with a big diesel. I had it custom made with a wheelchair lift so that I could get my daughter out of the house. I'm 43 and feel I'll get that tank filled as long as I can, price be damned.

I also drive a Prius and have 3kw of pv on my roof. I must confess I bought the Prius for the carpool lane sticker and still would have even if it ran on coal and got 3mpg. The solar is just cool.

I read the drumbeat every day. I also read Twilight a year and a half ago and was convinced then that the end was near but the station still has gas. I'm a software engineer who's pretty good with math, so when it comes to PO I think I get it, but I'm not sure what the alternative is besides waiting. I suppose I could skip the motorhome, but I'm not sure that gains us more than another tenth of a second.

As Peter Lynch said so many years ago, "Never bet on the end of the world because you'll only be right once and won't be around to collect anyway".

So I go about my life and when the peak passes, I'll adjust accordingly. I'm pretty sure those willing to adjust will do so. The rest can live in the carcass of my motorhome. I have 3 bicycles.

I must confess I bought the Prius for the carpool lane sticker and still would have even if it ran on coal and got 3mpg.

At least half of US electrical generation comes from coal-fired plants. The Prius therefore runs on Coal, Nuclear, and NG. Plus Petrol, of course. Would be fun to see the actual carbon footprint for the Prius. I am amused at the Pride of Ownership that comes attached to this vehicle.

The Prius strikes me as an interesting concept in countries that are getting most of their electricity from Nuclear, and some Wind and Hydro. Like France.

As Peter Lynch said so many years ago, "Never bet on the end of the world because you'll only be right once and won't be around to collect anyway".

I agree with Peter Lynch, though, this comment has very little application to Peak Oil. Peak Oil is not about Apocalypse or the Second Coming, regardless of the fact that some who take a keen interest in Peak Oil think so. The observation about Oil Depletion is neither the product of a Doomsday prediction, nor is it responsible for such predictions. The End of the World is really just a straw man or actually just a tedious False Dilemma argument that only serves to sweep all these issues under the rug.

But this is America. Home of the False Dilemma.


Are you assuming that the Prius is a plug-in? Almost all Prius' are non-plug-in, recharging only through on-board power. The Prius does not run on coal any more than any other gasoline burning vehicle.

I recognize the first iterations of the Prius are not Plug-In, per se. But what's happening now is that people are converting them, to have Plug-in capability and Toyota has now signalled that that people want the Plug-In feature and is close to making that feature available.



How close is close?

Alot of the Auto Mags were reporting last year that Toyota is going to add the Plug-In feature as soon as 2008. Popular Mechanics had something on this, though they are not the only one.

Super Prius Coming:

My point here is that given how many conversions are already taking place, and given that people want the Plug-In feature and that Toyota is of course going to give people what they want, that, the Prius is really a pre-PHEV starter-vehicle, to layer-in the PHEV to the consumer.


Yep, how the power is made counts. But what about overall efficiency?
According to this (maybe they're half-right) it's no contest. 3000 lbs. of pollutants (per 100,000 mi) for the ICE vehicle vs. 75lbs. for the pure EV including emissions from typical generation 'mix'.


The PHEV would be higher owing to it's Atkins cycle ICE but the pure HEV is better than any other current vehicle. From the EPA green car guide.

No I do not think HEV's or PHEV's are the ultimate answer. But they are a more reasonable step to powerdown IMHO. Sure cycling and moving closer are better. I figure that's where we're headed. How about small modern diesels?

Why hydrogen will fuel future cars.


CNET has a very different audience than most of the stuff I see on the drumbeat. If someone more knowlegable that me wants to refute this article, you'd be reaching out to a new demographic. Otherwise I'll take a stab at it myself.

Why hydrogen will not fuel future cars:

The Hydrogen Hoax

You have probably already read this article. If not, then by all means check it out. It refutes, in spades, every point Mr. Cunningham makes in the "Driving It" article and also points out a lot of other reasons why hydrogen will not fuel future cars, reasons that Mr. Cunningham conviently overlooked.

Ron Patterson

Our government is too fixated on "solutions" like hydrogen and ethanol that will probably not ever solve a tenth of our energy consumption problem. In fact, they will cause more problems than they solve if for no other reason that they divert us from reality and what we really need to do. But then, our society is pain free, no sacrifice required. Why, ain't it wonderful that we can finance a trillion dollar war with no sacrifice or higher taxes required. Well, a few thousand and tens of thousands GIs got killed and wounder, not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqis but those groups are largely out of sight and out of mind.

I wonder how much this attitude has been fostered by modern medicine. Disease just "happens" to you, or you get "infected" and doctors fix the symptoms. The causes were forgotten long ago... same with PO. There will be 100 people with solutions and fixes for the symptoms for every person looking at the cause of the problem.

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

UK conservatives make rail a priority

I noted with interest that the out-of-power Tories have realised that better rail service should be a priority. They do not seem exceptionally bold or visionary but just want to expand capacity, add tracks, improve service, expand what they already have. They are "sympathetic" to Cross-Link, a badly needed connection accross London but first need to find the monies for it (Cross-Link is somewhat similar to connecting North Station & South Station in Boston; the 8 lane connection for rubber tires was $14 billion, the "Big Dig". Rail would have cost far less. Much less excavation and ventilation would have been minimal).

They seem to see Urban Rail and inter city rail as one piece.

By contrast, Labour canceled some worthwhile Urban Rail/tram lines at the last minute as an economy measure.

Best Hopes,


OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report for April came out today. Saudi production dropped 30 kb/d to 8.51 mb/d. Some OPEC producers were up slightly and some down slightly but total OPEC production for March was up 50,000 bp/d owing primarily to Angola’s increase of 70,000 bp/d. Angola production was 1.6 mb/d compared to last months production of 1.53 mb/d.

Saudi Arabia seems to be dropping a little each month. They produced 8.68 mb/d in January, 8.54 mb/d in February and 8.51 mb/d in March.

The data can be found on the last page of this 51 page PDF file:

To get last months report change the “MR042007” in the URL to “MR032007”

Notice that OPEC says that this production data is “according to secondary sources”, meaning this is not OPEC official data though this is an official OPEC publication.

Ron Patterson

You should put a warning up before posting numbers like that.

If those numbers are representative, then KSA is going to drop 12% or over 1MBD in 12 months :(

Fingers crossed that they'll do better than that.


8.68-8.51 = 0.17 (two month decline)

0.17 X 6 = 1.02 (one year)

1.02/8.68 = 11.7% (Actually, it would be 12.5% as a logarithmic function)

Assuming continued increases in consumption, net oil exports, at this production decline rate, are probably dropping at over 20% per year (on a month to month basis).

To paraphrase a famous quote: A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you are in deep kimchi.

You scare me to death with your posts.

Peak Oil was a more "entertaining" intellectual discussion when it was more theoretical. It is rapidly becoming, IMO, all too real.

If US Gasoline imports do not exceed 1 Million Brl's/d in this weeks report we will be facing reality in upward gas prices. If imports arn't up this week then it is most likly not available.


All the more reason to fire up the BBQ, crack a cold one and watch the Stars get smacked by the Canucks.

Market is up.
Retail sales are up.
(and may I ask a stupid question? Are these inflation adjusted figures? If prices rise then gross sales dollars will too. Are they really up or down?)
Motor homes sales are up.
(so they say, but I see fewer on the road)
Dollar is down.(could this be the increase in sales?)
Oil prod. is down. Price is up.
IMHO this is nuts, something smells fishy to me.
What gives?

Not very surprizing when you consider the fact that the amount of money spent on gasoline is still a small fraction of the total cost of car ownership. After all the US spends $300 billion per year on importing oil and $450 billion per year on Christmas presents.

RE: Motor Home Sales.

There's a large chunk of the retiring population that really likes the idea of a Mobile Home. They drive down to Florida, hook it up, and hang out for the 6 coldest months of the year. When the summer heat starts to hit, they drive it back up North. Maybe they do 4000 miles a year. It's not like people are commuting in these things. Most of the ones I see have a small Honda or Toyota being towed behind them.

I have thought of sa going down around 1%/m ever since it became apparent (to me) that none of their cuts were voluntary. (OPEC non-sa cuts are at most 200k/d, SA is 1mb/d, so the country with 30% of opec output is making 80% of opec cuts, pretty noble of them.)

SO they might get down to 7.7mb/d at year end when the first new project comes on line... Assuming demand goes as projected, robert and the rest of the market may begin to accept that sa is going down. This will bring back po discussions in the media with a vengeance, not least the rest of the persian gulf, mexico, venezuela and russia... The iron triangle might exist, but the media will put out whatever sells papers, and imo po will be the new gw.

In the seventies energy stocks went from 5% of the s&p500 to 30%... when I first became interested in this topic 12/04 energies had 5% of the s&p500, now up to 10%...

Henry groppe view that 3rd world has much oil consumption that is burned for heat and electrical power generation (eg senegal, as discussed recently), and therefore at current 60/b there is sufficient demand destruction to hold price at this level. He has a great track record, but imo he has not factored in reduced output from sa, and meanwhile we may soon see the disease spreading to kuwait/iran, even russia. And, while he did mention increased us/china consumption, he failed to mention reduced exports... OTOH, his point seems likely to prevent prices above 100/b from some time, maybe a couple years - unless, of course, we hit iran, in which case we might imagine higher prices at least until (17mb/d) traffic resumes through hormuz.

If the strike occurs bush oil patch backers plus all exporters (arab producers are anyway not keen to see the persians get the bomb), not least russia, will (quietly) celebrate. And, Israel will also be mightily pleased, to the point that no presidential candidate (except edwards?) will have a single negative thing to say. All importers, not least china, will view things differently, but they don't vote in our elections...

And of course IEA just stated that in March there was a shortfall of liquids of 1 mbpd - they'll have to gain a whole lot more than 50,000 bpd over the next couple mos.

Some OPEC producers were up slightly and some down slightly but total OPEC production for March was up 50,000 bp/d owing primarily to Angola’s increase of 70,000 bp/d.

This is considerably out of step with what MEES is saying:

OPEC oil production jumped by 590,000 b/d in March to 30.63mn b/d, mostly due to a sharp increase in Iranian exports as crude held in floating storage was sold.

MEES claims that Iranian exports in March were 570,000 b/d higher than Feb as they sold out of storage. If there's any truth in this, does anyone know how long Iran could reasonably keep this up for? And how tight would the market have become if they hadn't done this?

This is considerably out of step with what MEES is saying:

Yes, it most certainly is!

The IEA says OPEC production fell by 165 kb/d in March.
The EIA says OPEC production rose by 130 kb/d in March.
OPEC themselves say OPEC production rose by 50 kb/d in March.
MEES says OPEC production rose by 590 kb/d in March.
Platts says OPEC production fell by 80 kb/d in March. (Fell by 70 kb/d when Iraq and Angola is added to the mix.)

Question: What the hell happened to OPEC production in March?

Ron Patterson

If I'm reading this correctly, export sales from
floating storage WOULD NOT constitute production,
although MEES may not seperate things out that way.
Maybe Iran thinks euros under the mattress are better
than oil under the water right now...

Maybe the Iranians are on a last-minute shopping spree, and all their vendors are demanding cash on the barrelhead.

I appologise if it has already been mentioned but the Nate Hagens / Jason Bradford interview is avaliable @;


Thank you for that.... now back under the bridge you go!!! =P

now back under the bridge you go

Do you have a point you are trying to make?

souperman2 has been labeled a troll, which I find absurd. He was wrongfully accused of being a troll for simply posting an update on Steorn's free energy technology. He has made light of the accusations and makes silly comments about it himself. My comment was directed at souperman2 in the hopes that he would get a laugh out of it.

Is it absolutely necessary to be 100% serious 100% of the time? =/

Hey spudw,

I got it, and I bet souperman2 did too - my impression is that he has a good sense of humor. Many of us (moi included) jumped on him over the Steorn thing (the ol' 2nd Law thing does tend to elicit a peculiar jerking of the knee in some of us scientifical chaps), but he strikes me as a regular sort of person just trying to make sense of it all and learn. As aren't we all?

I have called him a "good-natured troll" in jest, because he does seem to take it all rather lightly, i.e., for what it's worth. If he's watching this, I say again, welcome to TOD. If you want to learn, this is the place. As far as making sense of it all...

Good luck to all!

I would be truly honored to be the token (tolken?) TOD troll.

I promise not to mess up the place.

I've always thought the people calling everyone else trolls are far worse than the supposed trolls. I also think that those asking to have others banned should be banned themselves.

So here's support for your quest to dull their insults through humor.

I also think that those asking to have others banned should be banned themselves.

So...that means you're saying you should be banned? ;-)

Reminds me of a scifi short story. Roomful of guys invent a robot to assassinate anyone with great power. Robot eventually figures out that his existence gives them great power. Oops.

If I start cluttering the comment thread with repeated calls for banning other individual commenters, then yes.

So souperman mentioned Steorn and everyone jumped his case.

Did they all fail to observe that West Texas spoke of Steorn as well in his Topic post on ELP??? And spoke in positive terms and with some hope that they might just pull something off.

Or seeing it did they just put on blindfolds?

In any event to discredit one and ignore the other is hypocrisy of a quite high order which is one of the factors of TOD that I am a little suprised and of late disgusted at.

There is far too much of that going around for those who opine that they are 'professionals'.

Its utter bullshit. Granted Steorn and others may never bring a device to market, yet everytime something is mentioned the old Thermodynamic laws are rolled out on skates from the closet.

Its not energy in very energy out always. Sometimes is destruction of matter. Sometimes it may be a process we do not understand.

Apparently TPTB and their scientific cohorts ARE NOT going to pull something out of their asses that will save us. I applaud those looked upon with scorn who at least have the desire to at least try. In the past the ones who advanced forward were usually faced with the same scorn and savagery I see sometimes in evidence here.

The trollish remarks of one with the id of Eric Blair is a sterling example such and has chosen the program of attmepting to trash me for once daring to mention BLP. Most every post I make his shrill negative and trollish remakrks are not far behind.

I am coming more to the point made by others that Drumbeats are becoming more and more useless and serve naught but as ego trips for many instead of places to share information.

Therefore my time spent on TOD is rapidly decreasing(cheers from Blair). The smarmy attitudes of Europeans who desipe my country. The idioticy that passes for conjecture. Its all becoming rather lame and wasted IMO.

If its not religion being trashed, its a new idea, or or another poster who they feel needs a good tongue lashing. The slurs are never ending.
The ridicule never ceases.

Airdale- and now to hear from the asshat Eric Blair

my time spent on TOD is rapidly decreasing....
Airdale- and now to hear from the asshat Eric Blair

Your civil discourse will be missed by many I'm sure.


Europeans, in general, do not dislike America but the direction it is going. Criticising that path also is a way to remind themselves of what they don't want, in the light of the changes they see in their home countries.

And let's face it, America was more likeable in the 19th century when there were hardworking pioneers who minded their own business and took pride in a nationwide network of railroads. The times have been a-changing..

16:40 16Apr07 RTRS-Lehman sees distortions in WTI price through 2008

NEW YORK, April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures will continue to trade at an unusual discount to North Sea Brent crude futures through 2008 and they may have outlived their usefulness as a benchmark, analysts at Lehman Brothers said in a research note Monday.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell to an unprecedented $6 per barrel discount to Brent futures this month as refinery outages around the WTI delivery point at Cushing, Oklahoma, led to a rapid build-up in inventories.

"Until more storage is built and pipelines from the Gulf Coast to the U.S. midcontinent are reversed, the rate of Canadian oil sands flows to the U.S ... should dictate the price of WTI relative to waterborne crudes. Distortions look unlikely to dissipate before 2009," Lehman Brothers' chief energy economist, Edward Morse, wrote.

The distortions in the price of WTI were making it a "risky and unrepresentative benchmark" that encourage investors to shift liquidity to the Oman crude futures contract being launched by the Dubai Mercantile Exchange on May 1, Morse wrote.
((Reporting by Robert Campbell, editing by Walter Bagley;

Anyone know the answer to this? so WTI is the landlocked non making sense price right now. So what is it that we import to cover that 2/3 difference? Is it BRENT CRUDE? Would we be paying $70 spot then? I can't imagine tanker crude being WTI prices since it's a function of, the landlockness of it. Has this ever happened by the way? These sharp premiums?

FWIW, I still think it is the USD$ purchasing premium.

Many of the oil exporters(most) don't really want the rapidly reducing purchasing power of the USD.

These other exchanges are using USD as the price benchmark, but they either will settle in other currencies or accept the USD to convert later. And the WTI, is a US exchange for US goods(oil).

So, they are adding a premium to the other exchanges to compensate. (Remember, the $8 a barrel premium to the US from KSA last week, and this weeks Russian announcement)

I think the writing is on the wall for the USD as Oil gets more and more precious.

It is simpler than that. There are refinery outages amongst those refineries that take delivery from Cushing, OK. This has caused a backlog of oil to build there even though the rest of the globe is in short supply. And there are no other pipelines out of there to move the oil elsewhere. So it sits. Until someone agrees to buy. Locally they have a small oil glut in Cushing which has driven down the price there.

The cost of transporting the oil elsewhere is high enough by tanker truck that you lose any price advantage. The situation there is not expected to improve before 2009, according to one report I read, so just ignore WTI prices. They are an outlier, irrelevant to global demand because of their own isolation and lack of refinery capacity in that area.

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

Airline passengers subsidizing private aviation

The federal government has taken billions of dollars from the taxes and fees paid by airline passengers every time they fly and awarded it to small airports used mainly by private pilots and globe-trotting corporate executives.

..."They're making out like bandits," said Bob Poole, director of transportation studies at Southern California's Reason Foundation and author of several studies on air transportation costs. "It's not only that airline passengers are paying more than their fair share, but they're being overtaxed to give private jets a free ride."

This is one of the most biased, irresponsible and one-sided reports I've seen. They somehow "forget" to mention that general aviation pays large taxes on their aviation fuel purchases to support aviation, much of which goes to the large airports that GA pilots rarely use. Commercial aviation does not pay these fuel taxes, such that GA fuel taxes end up subsidizing commercial aviation.

GA airports tend to be small, do not have control towers or incur other FAA expenses, and house businesses that pay taxes to the local community and cover the aiport expenses.

AP's reporting IMHO has been increasingly poor these last few years, and getting worse. Terrible article, and one of three I picked out of the papers the last few days. Blech.

Not sure if this one has been posted yet:

OPEC cuts oil demand forecast

OPEC believes there will be more supply coming out of Mexico??? WTF??? =/

Also, I asked this question the other day, but I dont think it got answered because it was a lil late in the day.

Question: I have read that we get about 19 gallons of gasoline out of a 42 gallon barrel of oil. Is this true for all weights and flavors of crude, or just light sweet?

It is for light sweet. Think of oil as a spectrum of different organic molecule types. Heavier grades have a smaller percentage of the lighter fractions that are distilled at a cracking plant.

Does anyone know what percentage of gasoline they can get out of the syncrude produced from bitumen (from "oil sands")?

Assuming a constant oil production but with progressively heavier grades replacing the lighter ones, we will have a falling gasoline production.

Syncrude is what you get after the tar sands muck has been upgraded, and it is fairly light and sweet such that it can be fed into existing refineries.

Similarly, you upgrade other qualities of oil as well (hydrocracking etc.). As long as the economics are sufficient, you can make gasoline from whatever.

I wonder why the existing refineries aren't being retooled to upgarde heavier oil to maintain the gasoline output.

It's all about capital investment. The Saudis are building their own refineries to handle their heavy and sour soup because no one else will. For US refineries, what oil will be more available? Well, Mexico (somewhat heavy and sour) is declining, whereas the pre-upgraded Syncrude from Canada is increasing. Would you retool an existing refinery?

See this document (page 15) for a survey of the various crudes.


I don't know the exact answer, but I will point you to Robert Rapier's essay on refining:

Refining 101: The Assay Essay

Thanks, GuyWithTheCoolestHandleEver! =D

Hmmm... I still dont quite understand exactly how many gallons of gasoline come out of a barrel of heavy sour. All this talk of Straight Run and "gasoline through further cracking" leaves me with a sense of "wheres my chalkboard and my TI-83?". Is there no simpler explanation?

I have to try to explain this stuff to even lay-er people than me. HAHA

A petroleum engineer would probably answer your question with the question "How much do you want to make?"

See this document:


and refer to the figure on page 7 and the table on page 12 (PDF reader numbering).

Because you're a fan, I'll reproduce the data from the figure:

WTI 53.49
Brent 50.07
Arab Lt 46.23
Dubai 46.56
Arab Hvy 42.10

I think the percentage is determined by economics and thus depends on the refinery and the markets.

So about 42.1% of a barrel of Arab Heavy yields gasoline, based on current economics and refinery capabilities. Am I correct in assuming that the installation of a coker into a refinery increases this percentage? And if so, by how much?

Thanks for all the help!

WTI 53.49
Brent 50.07

That's funny: less gasoline per unit of Brent, while it presently trades at a higher price than WTI.

Europeans are more interested in diesel than gasoline and have less concern with the availability of oil in Cushing, OK.

There are delusions all around, aren't there?

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

Ahhh, are you referring to the Mexico statement? I think these OPEC, corporate, and political types know the majority of people will always accept their claims as truth and do no further investigation into the situation.

So sad.

The Prius of Power Plants

The California Energy Commission has greenlighted an application to build the U.S.'s first solar-natural gas hybrid power plant in Southern California's High Desert. The plant will be built on a former Air Force Base outside Victorville - about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles - and would integrate a 50-megawatt solar trough power station into a 500-megawatt natural gas-fired plant. Solar energy would produce 10 percent of the plant's electricity during peak demand times to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the facility, according to the application.

Ugh...another NG powerplant...when will they wake up?

Can we have a peak NG thread sometime in the future?

The crash in NG will be much uglier(steeper) than Oil, IMHO.

Which in partial response to a post upthread, is why cities will become very unsustainable, quickly.

NG used to be not an option for electrical generation.

Cities have MANY reasons to be unstable - but unless you have Military forces blowing up buildings (Example: Baghdad) cities are likely to have "the rule of law" VS the countryside which will have some people slinking around in the woods shooting at others because "They are survivalists" and trying to stop others 'taking their bush meat'

You might want to rethink that one.
Wait till people start shooting within cities.

IMO, people generalize way too much about this stuff. Any number of scenarios could occur. Some will favor city life, others will favor the country dweller, and of course it will vary depending on who's in charge wherever you are, and whether they protect you, ignore you or round you up and hand you a shovel.

You might want to rethink that one.
Wait till people start shooting within cities.

Shooting already happen. In a city, the people with the bigger guns (Who are now out of the country) can be deployed in an attempt to keep order.

Hard to do that in the country. At the point where the rule of law breaks down to such a level - anyplace that has a road is at risk.

I'm not sure what to make of that one, other than being able to click my tounge at this quote:
"I got another email saying it was too dangerous for me to leave my dorm. So no classes this morning, yay."

Yay? http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=yay

Hard to get excited by this.

Over 1,100 New Orleanians were killed by the criminal malfeasance of the US Army and no one seems to care and no one takes responsibility (except on page 300 of an 800 page report).

Where is the 8/29 commission ?


Over 1,100 New Orleanians were killed by the criminal malfeasance of the US Army and no one seems to care and no one takes responsibility (except on page 300 of an 800 page report).

Ahhh, but in your example, it is the Sovereign who is responsible. Expecting to win VS the Sovereign usually does not work out well. Unless you believe parts of the last paragraph - individual VS government action makes the evens WAY different.

Even if the 'worst' claim - the earthen dams were destroyed via explosives - is true, what are you expecting? Justice?

Where is the 8/29 commission ?

Once one can show the yakusa or HAARP project steered the hurricane to New Orleans to work with the timed explosives placed in the levies...you'll have your commission. Until that time - Living in a place below the local water table were large storms can destroy/flood you out will be the default answer.

Back to the shooting yesterday:

And before the end of the day yesterday the people who see
things through the rose-glasses of 'government coverup' were busy making claims. The pro and anti guns groups were pointing out how the event supports their POV, along with the 'blame the videogames' crowd. The only one I am expecting "an example of the violence of the end of oil" hasn't been made yet....but eventually someone will.

Man, oh, man, one of my best friends lived in that dorm! Horrible news!

Apparently, 31 have been killed according to the Associated Press!

31 now....WOW!

There's tons of wounded, and the chaos must be such that no-one oversees it all, many different hospitals etc. Count on a minimum of 50 deaths. Got to be the worst ever school shooting?!

What does the americans posters here think about these school shootings?

It's a horrible tragedy, but statistically, if memory serves, a student (at least for age 18 and under) is 100 times more likely to be killed off campus than on campus (the stats might be different for college campuses).

In fact, I think that children, under age 18, are far more likely to be killed by their own parents than by a shooting at school. For example, here in North Dallas overnight, a father shot and killed one daughter, shot and critically wounded his other daughter and then shot himself.

This has a lot of parallels to airplane crashes, which are news because they are so rare. A common response to an airplane crash is that people decide to drive, rather than flying. On average, per mile traveled, I think that one is about 30 times more likely to be killed in a car crash than in an airplane crash.

The real threat to college students:


The consequences of excessive and underage drinking affect virtually all college campuses, college communities, and college students, whether they choose to drink or not.

• Death: 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (Hingson et al., 2005).

• Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2005).

• Assault: More than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking (Hingson et al., 2005).

• Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape (Hingson et al., 2005).

• Unsafe Sex: 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex (Hingson et al., 2002).

• Academic Problems: About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall (Engs et al., 1996; Presley et al., 1996a, 1996b; Wechsler et al., 2002).

• Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem (Hingson et al., 2002) and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use (Presley et al., 1998).

• Drunk Driving: 2.1 million students between the ages of 18 and 24 drove under the influence of alcohol last year (Hingson et al., 2002).

• Vandalism: About 11 percent of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol (Wechsler et al., 2002).

• Property Damage: More than 25 percent of administrators from schools with relatively low drinking levels and over 50 percent from schools with high drinking levels say their campuses have a "moderate" or "major" problem with alcohol-related property damage (Wechsler et al., 1995).

• Police Involvement: About 5 percent of 4-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a result of their drinking (Wechsler et al., 2002) and an estimated 110,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are arrested for an alcohol-related violation such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence (Hingson et al., 2002).

• Alcohol Abuse and Dependence: 31 percent of college students met criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 6 percent for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence in the past 12 months, according to questionnaire-based self-reports about their drinking (Knight et al., 2002).

ok I see..

Yeah I think it must be the cultural difference accross the Atlantic...! Your point of view became understable when I remember that the US are, in general, a country with a high crime rate, so, the school shootings are, so to speak, just a part of the picture..

I hadn't seen the part about alcohol-related problems. It's worrying too. But who can really blame them..? ;)


One in four deaths in young men in Europe due to alcohol
The WHO Global Burden of Disease 2000 Study

This comparative risk analysis, based on data from the WHO Global Burden of Disease 2000 Study
by Jürgen Rehm et al. presents preliminary findings on alcohol and young people. The analysis focuses on mortality rates, the effects of drinking patterns and unrecorded consumption.

• One in four deaths in males aged 15-29 years in Europe is attributable to alcohol.      

• Proportions of male deaths attributable to alcohol in different parts of Europe vary from 13% to 32%. Each year over 55,000 young Europeans die owing to alcohol.      

• Transport accidents, poisonings, self-inflicted injuries (suicide) and homicide were the main alcohol-related causes of death of young people in Europe in 1999.For the group aged 15-29, there is no beneficial overall effect of alcohol in any country.      

• The effect of alcohol consumption relates to average volume of (recorded) alcohol consumption, patterns of drinking and unrecorded consumption.      

• Mortality rates in people aged 15-29 vary widely between males and females and between European Union and former socialist countries in the WHO European Region.      

• Alcohol consumption seems to explain a considerable portion of these differences.

I must confess, we like alcohol here too (especially beer, for me).. What strucks me, by the way, is that you can drive earlier than you can drink in the US, according to what we can hear here.. Is it true?

The legal age to drink in most, if not all states, is now 21. In most states, with Driver's Education, one can drive at 16, but more and more states are putting restrictions on driving until age 18.

In any case, this shooting incident, like an airplane crash, needs to be put in perspective. No doubt parents are going nuts all over the country worried about shootings at schools, when the biggest threat their kids face is probably alcohol related driving accidents.

If you want a tenuous connection to Peak Oil, consider the nonstop media coverage of this event, versus the worst case scenario that Richard Duncan outlined for post-Peak Oil (starting in 2008, next year): a net dieoff of about two million people per week.

BTW, I made myself very unpopular with my daughter, in her final year of high school. I found out that students, after the high school prom (school dance) were driving out to parent's lakehouses in East Texas. There are three primary risk factors associated with teenage driving fatalities: multiple teenagers in the car, drinking and driving after midnight. These late night trips to East Texas probably had all three ingredients. I addressed a parent's meeting and read the riot act to the other parents. I told them if we did nothing, it is was near certainty that we would be attending multiple funerals for dead high school seniors.

The crackdown on post-prom parties that followed was something to behold. As I said, I wasn't really popular with my daughter for a while. But being popular isn't part of the job description for the parent of a teenager.

I've seen the aftermath of that party. It is exactly as you envisage it. You have done a very difficult and most commendable job. Thank you.

Actually, it looks like about 23 countries have a murder rate that is higher than the US: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

You're right but
1. they are not the richest countries
2. there are 37 countries with less crime rates

But I didn't want to launch a big debate around crime rates/weapons in free sale etc..

And how it is that Haiti is not on there?

'cause Haiti is too screwed to be keeping those stats

The guy that had to collect the statistics was shot ;)

Many sub-saharan african countries are not on the list, along with n korea...
Quite true that our abysmal gun control laws (or gun non-control laws) are responsible for much of the carnage.

Ah, statistics:
Most car accidents happen within five or so miles of home, and you can't take the 747 to the 7-11.
So if you compare intercity drving to flying, computing not accidents per passenger-mile but instead fatalities per vehicle-trip, you find that personal cars aren't much more risky than commercial airliners.
Still, 120 Americans a day is a lot of tragedies, nearly half of whom aren't in cars when they die: they're peds and cyclists. That burden falls disproportionately on the poor.

Article on risks associated with driving versus flying the same distance:


The likelihood of a fatal accident, estimated for this trip in this way, is about eight times greater when driving than when flying. As shown in this case, the largest part of the risk of flying is often the risk incurred driving to and from airports.

Biggest (murder) threat to younger children in the US?
Parents, friends & acquaintances:


Studies of murdered children under twelve years old reveal that nearly six out of ten are killed by their parents. Half of these are under the age of one. The next highest category of perpetrator is a friend or acquaintance.

Statistics will never capture what bad parents do. Small corpses are much easier to dispose. I volunteered at abused children's clinic, watching returnees told a story.

There are different types of bad.
Lincoln Journal Star:
“A soccer mom, upset at her teenage daughter’s performance at a game Saturday, stopped along Interstate 80 and left her there.”

Wonder what kind of adult this youngster will become.

Where IS that 'Theory of Everything' ?

Thank you, Westexas,
for taking the time and effort to link these wikis. If I'm reading them right, the chance of "you" being in a fatal accident is eight times higher in a car than in a plane, for intercity travel. Maybe that's the relevant stat; I don't know. But the chance of being in a vehicle in which a fatal accident occurs is quite a different thing, and obviously looks much worse for a 400-passenger craft than for a 4-person one.
"I" will only die once, ergo there's no way to compute stats on it, except insofar as I'm presumed to be indistinguishable statistically from some large population. There's the rub with actuarial data: My rate is computed based on my zip code, not from a more realistically similar group of left-handed physical chemists.

Not to argue with you so much as to clarify, and to thank you for the direct response.

A shame about those child victims; there's no way to parse that differently. But when we consider that some of the most deadly sociopaths have come out of and maybe are a result of their horrific childhoods, well....
Sorry, I just can't bear to finish that thought.

Ahhh, statistics (and damn lies).

One should remember that these statistics represent entire populations and actually have little or nothing to do with an individual's odds of having a fatal travel accident. If you begin slicing the national pool of drivers down by age, by health, by driving record, by driving locale, etc.etc. you would come up with vastly different numbers for each tiny sub-group that would by more representative of what your chances are of having that fatal accident.
The main fear of mine for air travel is that I have absolutely no control over the fate of the machine whereas in driving, I retain a great deal of control over safety issues.

At best, such statistics only give a general idea of the riskiness of driving vs flying. I'll stick to walking first, bicycling second (on a dedicated bike path), driving third and flying a distant fourth.

The main fear of mine for air travel is that I have absolutely no control over the fate of the machine whereas in driving, I retain a great deal of control over safety issues.

Partly true, but partly illusion. You are in control to the extent that you don't make a mistake to cause an accident yourself, you can drive very defensively, etc. You can drive a safe vehicle and wear your seat belt.

But say you're driving down a two lane highway and a semi crosses the center line and hits you head on. You have no chance to react. Or, the other driver is drunk--something you can't control. In WA state not lone ago, two scientists were taken out by a logging truck that lost its load. Rare, but these probabilities summed is likely similar to that for dying by plane crash.

That's right. The poor drive cars without airbags since those aren't in old vehicles, tend to not wear their seat belts (Why, I have no bloody idea), may not have the vehicle maintained to their proper level, and are more likely to be driving a smaller vehicle instead of a Lexus or Cadillac SUV. When your car has bald tires, doesn't have anti-lock breaks, the windshield wipers are FUBAR, and your disc breaks are warped, you might have some problems when you try to stop your car when it's raining.

On a side-note, the thing that always pissed me off about that bit of most accidents occurring within 5 miles of home is the fact that in order to get where you're going, you have to GO THROUGH that 5 miles from home, so you're doing more driving near home. I hate statistics, especially when they tell me bad things like how KSA is in decline or my home is going to decrease in value. *laughs*

"Still, 120 Americans a day is a lot of tragedies, nearly half of whom aren't in cars when they die: they're peds and cyclists."

It may seem that way, but in reality just under 13.5% of road crash fatalities in 2005 (the last year for which the NHTSA has data) were non-occupants, a category which includes pedestrians and cyclists.

120 Americans a day? That's nothing, try 10 thousand a day dead from their meat/dairy/junk food eating habits!

*hat tip to WT*

Thanks for the mention of actual risks.

congress needs to regulate desparation

Deep sadness for one. I have my own views on this and that is the lack of parental restriction on video games and movies. If advertizing "works" to influence people then why doesn't constant exposure to violent content also work? We seem to have a puritan restriction on pragmatic views in regards to sex and teens, but a gung-ho attitude on violence in movies and playstation II. I think we reep what we sow.
I wonder what the rate of violence is in Amish like areas. they kill and eat animals but what do they do to each other?
What is the outside the US view?

While the murder of 30+ innocent US students is in itself a tragedy, how many innocent non-US citizens are murdered each day throughout the world by the US Government forces conducting illegal wars to control the US oil supply?

Violence is glorified, sex is villified. That sounds like a huge oldtestamentical complex.

re: videos, sex and violence,

Actually what is termed "sex" and sexuality is part of the violence that is portrayed in the media; sex and sexuality is portrayed in the context of violence. I believe the "villified" part is actually quite a small minority, and does not include mainstream media - TV, Movies, MTV, Videogames, etc.

It's only a minority that actively promotes it, of course. But it seems to be a majority that supports it, judging from the major fuzz about things like "nipplegate". Many, if not most, popular heroes win by applying force.

Historically, the US is based on widely differed doctrines: religious puritanism, humanist legalism, and capitalism. The two latter allow and encourage the pursuit of one's own desires, while the first it for their core business, guilt.

The link above "Angola has proven oil reserves of 11.4 billion barrels" states in the text:

With headquarters in Edinburgh, the company projects that Angola will produce 1.6 million barrels of oil per day by 2011, a level of production equivalent to that of Kuwait.

1.6 million barrels per day by 2011? That is the exact amount they produced each day during March according to OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report.

What does this mean? Will Angola still be producing the same amount in 2011 that they produce today? Angola is one of the few nations in the world that has not yet peaked. The report states that they are currently producing 1.5 million barrels per day, about what they were producing a couple of months ago. But an increase of .1 mb/d over four years is not much. And if this report by Woog MacKenzie is true, then Angola has peaked.

I have seen reports on Angola that states they will peak in 2011. It looks like they are at, or very near their peak, right now.

Ron Patterson

I think the article had an error. Instead of 1.6 mb/d, it should have been 2.6 mb/d.

See this article

Angola's promise stems from a string of big discoveries some 100 miles offshore, which have increased the country's oil production tenfold since the mid-1970s, to 1.5 million barrels a day in 2006. Next year, Angola is expected to reach 2 million barrels, and by 2011, 2.6 million barrels, the equivalent of Kuwait's output.

Even if Angola has the capacity to reach 2.6 mb/d, Saudi Arabia has told Angola, now an OPEC member, not to assume that Angola can produce over 2 mb/d.


Saudi Arabia warns Angola on OPEC production limit
Saudi Arabia, the most powerful member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has told Angola, its newest entrant, not to assume it will be able to expand production past 2 mm bpd. This is a blow to the world's biggest oil companies, which have already paid Angola billions of dollars for the right to explore and produce its oil.

Angola joined the oil cartel in January and should reach the 2 mm barrel a day threshold at the start of next year. It had a target of producing 2.5 mm bpd by 2012, a target which has now been thrown into doubt.

Source: www.rigzone.com / FWN Financial News

On another topic, how many total URR Gb do you think that Saudi has now?

I'm assuming a total of 175 Gb URR of which about 110 Gb has already been produced. If this is true then the decline rates of old Saudi Arabia fields will accelerate in order to prevent increasing depletion rates from damaging their reservoirs. For example, as more oil is produced from old fields such as Ghawar and Safaniya, producing at responsible reservoir depletion rates dictates that their decline rates have to increase from say 6%/yr now to 8%/yr then on to 10%/yr in about five years.

The greenest computer company under the Sun

Sun Microsystems lives up to its name and puts energy efficiency at its core. Why? Computers draw 4-5 percent of total world power, its eco-boss tells Fortune's David Kirkpatrick.

Will it be enough or is a real PowerDown the only solution...?

They aren't doing it to prevent peak oil (or global warming).

They are trying to lower the total cost of ownership for their big servers.

That eco talk is just marketing bs.

Computers need to take lessons from: http://laptop.org/ where power usage is REALLY low. This organization has been able to make an ingenious laptop computer for $100 per child for the developing world. Dell could learn some stuff here.

The Newton 2X00 series drew 57mA when running.

And a Newton could connect and surf the Internet, send and get e-mail.

Using comuteres for communication does not have to be expensive energy-wise. Store/forward messages networking via UUCP was done in the past.

A lower energy lifestyle is possible with some compromises and you still won't be back in the stone age or the middle ages. And it can be better than the way one lives on a camping trip.

a little tidbit from the April Journal of Petroleum Technology from the Society of Petroleum Engineers:

Luksar, a joint venture between Lukoil and Saudi Aramco, made a hydrocarbon discovery on the Tukhman structure in contract area Block A in Saudi Arabia. The contract area is located in the northern part of the Rub Al-Khali, south of Al-Ghawar. Luksar plans a detailed appraisal of the discovery to evaluate its potential further.

that's all the info you get i'm afraid, and that kind of announcement is not all that unusual..




There seems little evidence as yet that the housing market bust is affecting US oil demand (though I did see a report that Californian petrol demand was down).

Interesting Idea...

Last year KSA couldn't produce what the world needed and we had the Israel/Lebanon war which was a convienent excuse for high oil prices and low availability.

This year KSA is in the same boat and guess what??? We are looking at bombing Iran....Hmmmm

Summer is when the peak demand for the year is.

World oil production might not be able to handle the summer peak anymore.

BUT...Bush,MSM, Elite, what have you...can't let the masses know this yet, if ever. PO can't be acknowledged yet, but we are looking at the downslope.

What to DO????

Create a smoke screen. Have a war, or something else BIG to capture the masses attention during the summer so they will not buy into this PO crap....

Its when it becomes a year round problem that all bets are off...

At some point one has to wonder: What is hiding behind door number 3?

If they really wanted to create a smokescreen, why not just raise interest rates up 2 or 3 basis points, solve the inflation problem, and destroy a a ton of demand at the same time?