DrumBeat: April 17, 2007

U.S. pursues ethanol technology as key to reducing oil dependence

The sun shone brightly on the crowd gathered at the rusting old oil refinery here, as company officials showed off diagrams explaining how they planned to turn weeds and agricultural wastes into car fuel. Government officials gave optimistic speeches.

In the background, workers were preparing a new network of pipes, tanks and conveyor belts.

That was in October 1998, when ethanol from crop wastes seemed to be just around the corner.

It still is. This past February, company officials gathered here once again, to break ground on a plant designed to make ethanol by yet another method.

Chic-onomics: 'value is the new growth!'

We need a new theory. Unlimited growth isn't working. Almost three centuries ago Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations gave birth to economic science: "More is better" was the mantra, "more" made you happier. But today, "more is too much." And soon there may be no more.

Opec softens tone on oil supply

Opec, the oil cartel, on Monday softened its policy to withold oil from the market, saying it would supply more if necessary.

China's economy reaching environmental limits

According to high-ranking officials in Beijing, there is simply not enough fuel around on the planet to sustain a Chinese boom using the same energy-intensive recipe that made the western nations rich.

Chinese Oil Giants Move to Biofuels

China National Offshore Oil Corporation announced recently that a biodiesel plant with an annual output of 60,000 tons will be built within the year in Dongfang City, Hainan Province. Plans also include planting 100,000 mu (about 25.7 square miles) of jatropha curcas (a tree whose seeds and nuts can be processed to produce biofuel) in Hainan to provide raw material for the biodiesel plant in the future.

China to miss target for using natural gas

China will miss a target for increased natural gas use because importers failed to secure enough supplies and energy demand gained more than expected.

Russia resumes its power in Europe with natural gas

Russian President Vladimir Putin must be feeling smug. His strategy of using his country's vast natural resources to restore the greatness lost after the break-up of the Soviet Union seems to be paying off. If power is measured by the fear instilled in others -- as many Russians believe -- he is certainly winning.

Jeb Bush: Ethanol market to double in five years

The world's production and consumption of ethanol are expected to at least double in the next five years, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday.

Proposed pipeline across Malaysia could cut costs

A proposed oil pipeline project to pump oil across northern Malaysia - bypassing the busy Malacca Strait - could lower transportation costs and avoid risks of pirate attacks on tankers, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said Tuesday.

A car worth a million dollars in India

Riding on high domestic and international demand, this year has been one of the best for the Indian automobile industry. An Indian government mission plan said auto manufacturers are aiming for sales of $145 billion in 10 years or an average 16% annual growth, up from about $40 billion now.

GM will get plug-in vehicle into production: executive

General Motors Corp. Engineering Chief Jim Queen said Monday that the company is planning to make its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric concept car in the future, despite some speculation suggesting the Volt project is little more than an expensive science project.

Palm oil industry wary of uncertain futures

Malaysian palm oil futures hit an eight year high last week, as rampant demand by food and biofuels continues to deplete global stocks.

India: Food, fuel, water and alternate energy sources

It is only an academic exercise to debate which of the three securities is most important for India: food, energy and water. All of them are equally important. Relatively new and expanding sector of alternate energy sources is forcing us to look at these sectors in an integrated and holistic manner.

Plant my roof, stretch my green

The number of buildings with green roofs - rooftops covered in hearty plants like sedum and prairie grass - grew 25 percent last year, according to the industry association Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

Saudi Aramco Says Refining Shortage to Persist on Rising Costs

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest state oil company, said a shortage of refining capacity to process so-called heavy-sour crudes will persist because of rising construction costs.

Rising prices of steel and other construction materials have prompted companies and governments to delay or cancel projects, said Ibrahim Mishari, Saudi Aramco's vice president of marketing and supply planning.

Costs to build new refining units have risen at least 70 percent in the past three years, London-based Merrill analysts Hootan Yazhari, Alastair Syme, Mark Iannotti and Philippe Ziegler said in an April 13 report. Heavy-sour oil contains more sulfur than sweet crudes and requires more processing than light grades to extract the same amount of gasoline.

"Many of these refineries may not materialize," Aramco's Mishari said at the Middle East Petroleum and Gas conference in Dubai. "The downstream bottleneck could remain."

Special warns that as dwindling oil feels squeeze, so will we

"A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash" could be the most important program you'll ever see if the experts on the program are right. What's at stake is simply our entire way of living, they say.

The problem is most people won't see the show or won't want to even if they can. It's on from 9:30 to 11 tonight on Sundance. That's a digital channel on Insight 614, which a lot of subscribers have never heard of and most don't get.

Simmons to speak in New Hampshire:

Matthew Simmons, a banking and investment advisor to the oil industry for more than 35 years, will speak at the University of New Hampshire at 7 p.m. in the ballroom of Huddleston Hall on Main Street. His talk is free and open to the public.

Australia on Track to be a Top Three LNG Exporter in 10 Years

Australia is on track to be one of the world's top three Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exporters within 10 years, as Australia's export capacity grows to meet strong world demand, Australian Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, said.

U.S. weekly oil and gas rig count up 32

The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States rose by 32 this week to 1,758.

BP eyes role in Iraq

BP is interested in working on a range of oil and gas projects in Iraq, but is waiting for the country's parliament to pass an oil law and for security to improve before increasing its role, a senior BP executive said on Monday.

Carmakers seek green pastures

With close to 150m vehicles on its roads and new car sales alone adding 5-6m a year, China is a test case for global carmakers pushing their clean, fuel-efficient models and technologies.

House Natural Resources Panel to Examine Aftermath of 2005 Energy Bill

Two years ago, the GOP-controlled Congress passed an energy bill that reshaped the rules for oil and gas exploration on federal lands. Now, the Democratic House wants to take a second look.

Wanna Bet the Farm on Carbon Capture and Sequestration?

If you want to go on living on the planet Earth, then you’d better learn how to love sequestration. Because if sequestration doesn’t work, the planet is toast. Literally.

White House Behind the Biggest Bull Market of the Next 25 Years

If ethanol were a crime, Washington would definitely be charged with aiding and abetting. Because let’s face it: there’s absolutely no doubt that those folks on the Hill are responsible for the ethanol movement.

And when you take into account all the agricultural subsidies and renewable fuel standards, the very thought of ethanol being written off as a temporary fad is ludicrous.

Blowing Green Smoke - Kunstler responds to Friedman:

Friedman's invocation of Wal-Mart here offers another layer of misunderstanding from the work he is best-known for, his best-selling book, The World is Flat, which asserts that globalism is now a permanent feature of the human condition. I demur from this view. I think we will discover (probably painfully) that globalism was a set of transient economic relations made possible by a half century of cheap oil and relative peace between the great powers, and that enterprises that rely on these transient mechanisms — such Wal-Mart, with its 12,000-mile merchandise supply chain to China, and its "warehouse on wheels" of tractor-trailor trucks circulating incessantly on America's interstate highways — will be on their knees in a few years as we enter the export crisis phase of post-peak terminal oil depletion and the great powers of the world act with increasing desperation to compete over the remaining supplies.

U.K.: Inflation rate at ten-year high

Mr King said that the rise in inflation was partly due to an "unexpectedly sharp" increase in the domestic energy crisis last year as well as rising food prices.

Azerbaijan's share of the world's hydrocarbons

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly has published its annual ranking of the world's 50 largest oil companies, this ranking is the leading source of comparative performance assessments on all the world's oil companies. While Saudi Aramco and Exxon Mobil remain entrenched at the top, mergers, acquisitions and state consolidation continue to make their mark.

The report states that 20 countries of the world own 94 percent of the hydrocarbon supply, totalling 1.4 trillion barrels. Out of that amount Azeri hydrocarbon supply totals 14 billion barrels (more than 1.9 billion tons).

Sinopec earnings to soar

Asia's largest oil refiner Sinopec said its profit will surge over 50 percent in the first half of this year.

Greenpeace India seeks ban on incandescent bulb

Greenpeace today launched a national campaign calling for a phase out of inefficient light bulbs in India by 2010. Four Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the top of the 269 meters high Vikas Minar building at the Center of New Delhi this morning and unfurled a 85 by 45 feet large banner with the message “Stop Climate Change, Ban the Bulb” and the campaign logo.

Public funding is missing piece in state green-energy initiatives

Brazil is now largely energy independent because of its aggressive efforts to develop homegrown biomass ethanol to replace gasoline in response to the 1970s energy crisis. Recently, the European Union announced plans to reduce by 2020 its greenhouse emissions to 20 percent below its 1990 levels, while producing 20 percent of its energy through renewable sources. In contrast, an internal draft report of the Bush administration estimates that by 2020, the U.S. will emit 9.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, an increase of 20 percent over its 2000 level.

Conservation is a necessity

Disappointment does not begin to describe my feelings after having read of the passage of a bill in the N.H. House that would promote the construction of wood-fired electric power plants across the state.

India: Why get scared of over-capacity?

What happens if, let’s say, all these plants come up in the miraculous time frame of four years? Well nothing much, because demand will have far outstripped capacity by several thousand megawatts. And what is being done to prepare for that eventuality? As I can see, next to nothing.

Ghana: Anglogold Ashanti to invest $700m in mining

He noted that gold price and cost of mining input rose simultaneously, putting pressure on profit margins of industry as a whole but Anglogold Ashanti had long focused on managing down fixed cost base through rigorous savings programme.

...He said the energy crisis was adding additional cost to production and to remain in operation the company was investing 40 million dollars to generate power.

Oil chiefs slammed over dwindling supplies

THE Australian Democrats have criticised oil industry executives meeting in Adelaide for failing to discuss the issue of the world's dwindling oil supplies.

The party's Senate candidate in South Australia, Ruth Russell, said some former industry executives and independent commentators believed peak oil could be reached by 2010.

..."It is outrageous that the annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference, being held in Adelaide right now, does not even list the problem of peak oil on its agenda." she said.

Iran, Iraq, Kuwait 'raise May crude oil prices'

Iran and Iraq have raised the May crude oil prices for its three main export products to all markets, while Kuwait upped its export formula for Far East clients, the Middle East Economic Survey reported Monday. The Cyprus-based weekly publication said that for Asian customers, Iranian Light remained unchanged in relation to the average price of Oman and Dubai crudes for May, while Iranian Heavy and Foroozan were raised by 15 cents a barrel.

For May deliveries to north western Europe and South Africa, all three crudes were raised by 1.35 to 1.80 dollars a barrel in relation to the benchmark Brent Weighted Average (BWAVE).

Floating nuclear power stations raise spectre of Chernobyl at sea

Environmental groups and nuclear experts fear that floating plants will be more vulnerable to accidents and terrorism than land-based stations. They point to a history of naval and nuclear accidents in Russia and the former Soviet Union, most notoriously at Chernobyl in 1986.

Global warming may put U.S. in hot water

As the world warms, water — either too little or too much of it — is going to be the major problem for the United States, scientists and military experts said Monday. It will be a domestic problem, with states clashing over controls of rivers, and a national security problem as water shortages and floods worsen conflicts and terrorism elsewhere in the world, they said.

At home, especially in the Southwest, regions will need to find new sources of drinking water, the Great Lakes will shrink, fish and other species will be left high and dry, and coastal areas will on occasion be inundated because of sea-level rises and souped-up storms, U.S. scientists said.

Brazil defends ethanol deal at summit

Brazil is defending its ethanol agreement with the United States, despite efforts by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to undermine the deal using his country's vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

EPA chief: Bush climate policy working

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday the growth of greenhouse gases by less than 1 percent in 2005 shows the administration's program to address global warming "is delivering real results." The pronouncement by EPA Administrator Dave Johnson brought a quick response from some environmentalists.

U.S. pump price highest since August

Soaring U.S. retail gasoline prices show no signs of easing, jumping another 7.4 cents over the last week to an average $2.88 a gallon, the government said on Monday.

GM expects rise in China minivan JV's sales

General Motors Corp.'s commercial vehicle venture in China expects to increase sales by more than one-fifth this year and aims to maintain its number-one position in the Chinese market's minivan segment, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

Security Council to hold unprecedented debate on climate change

For the first time in its history, the UN Security Council on Tuesday debates climate change, a sign that the burning issue is increasingly being seen as a major threat to world security.

Climate change takes centre stage in Singapore

More than 600 business executives and experts will gather in Singapore this week for a UN-backed meeting to discuss how the corporate world can help tackle the growing threat of climate change.

Ex-U.S. military chiefs warn warming worsens security

Global climate change acts as a "threat multiplier" in some of the world's most volatile areas, and raises tensions even in stable regions, 11 former U.S. military leaders warned on Monday.

To combat this, they urged immediate planning and international cooperation without waiting for total certainty on the consequences of global warming.

"We can't wait until we have absolute certainty," retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, a former U.S. Army chief of staff, said at a briefing where the report was released. "We know that we never have 100 percent certainty and ... if we wait, we might wait too long."

The top 12 greenest vehicles of 2007 - Surprisingly, only half of the models making the cut are hybrid vehicles

Half of the cars are just old-fashioned, gas-powered vehicles that happen to be small and efficient, with low emissions.

Top Ten US City Use of Renewable Energy

Which of the largest 50 US cities provides citizens with the highest percentage of power produced from renewable energy? SustainLane has the answer:

1. Oakland, CA (17%)
2. Sacramento/SF/San Jose, CA (12%)*
3. Portland, OR (10%)
4. Boston (8.6%)
5. San Diego, CA (8%)
6. Austin, TX (6%)
7. Los Angeles, CA (5%)
8. Minneapolis, MN (4.5%)
9. Seattle, WA (3.5%)
10. Chicago, IL (2.5%)


It is finally starting to strike me how alike peak oil and the American housing bubble are, apart from such obvious connections like suburbia requiring oil to function, or how rising home values allowed suburban home owners to cope in the short term with rising fuel prices by going deeper into debt.

What is becoming striking is how many people who bought property feel that the price they set is the real price, even though no one is willing to pay it.

Both peak oil and the end of the housing bubble are based on reality, while most people seem to feel that their belief in how the world should be trumps how the world is. 'The buyer needs to meet my price or else I won't sell' is roughly the same as 'Driving is critical to how I live, so the price of gas needs to come down, otherwise there is no way to keep living like this.'

But the truth is, a house is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it, and going down the peak, there will be less oil in the pipeline. Your 'needs' are not part of either situation, except for the fact that after having made your bed, you get to sleep in it. Sweet dreams.

This is not a broad discussion about how deeply some people believe in being entitled to live in a dream world, or about various failures in various mechanisms (are Americans really so incapable of performing elementary math any longer, for example?).

What also leaps out is how locked in Americans are to their current framework - they do not have the infrastructure to not drive, and they do not have the financial means to simply change how they live without sacrificing such critical elements of daily life as cable TV. As fuel grows either more expensive or scarcer (at least one of those two is a fairly predictable occurrence), or as mortgage becomes higher than the value of the house on the market, people are trapped by their decisions into desperately supporting a system which is destined to end. No wonder people in the U.S. don't want to look at the future.

And this may also be where I part ways with the Tainter idea of complexity - it is not really the complexity which brings the end, it is the fact that the people within a system desperately try to keep it going, as changing it represents something unacceptable.

I don't think your ideas are really that different from Tainter's. Tainter just carries them farther.

Why don't people simplify when the returns on complexity start to fall? Well, sometimes they do. And it works, though as you note, it means sacrifice. (The Byzantine Empire gave up literacy for much of their population, for example.)

But why don't all societies do that, if it works so well? Sometimes, they can't. Often, the reason is competition with other complex societies. The Mayan population grew to the point that they could not feed everyone without their high-tech raised beds and irrigation systems. "Stop breeding" seems like the obvious solution. But it's not so obvious when the neighbors are breeding like bunnies, and you need to keep up with them or be overrun.

I also think what expat is describing is almost the exact definition of Kunstler's psychology of previous investment...

We've embraced our current system by investing so much time, energy, and money. Now even as the realization hits some that this is not going to end well, there's no serious effort to try a different way because we're in so deep... We've simply invested too much into this one "solution" that we just have to make it work (against all logical arguments of why it won't).

"American Way of Life is non-negotiable"...ring a bell??

I don't think I agree with that. Tainter argues that people essentially make rational choices. For many societies, collapse is a choice they make.

We may be "invested" in the system we have, but I would argue that it's an investment of time, energy, and resources, not pyschologically invested. We may be psychologically invested, too, but it's the time and resources that count. We can change our minds. We can't easily change our infrastructure.

Leanan wrote:

I don't think I agree with that. Tainter argues that people essentially make rational choices. For many societies, collapse is a choice they make.

Jared Diamond's Collapse pointed out that the choices look like rational ones, but sometimes they are and sometimes not. The choice to "downsize" is rare. There may be a choice to "streamline" though this may produce an unwanted collapse. In the US's case, the choices look rational only according to one model of the real situation (the same model which produces "growth" and "free trade"), but terribly irrational according to many others (e.g., what I would call "prudent equilibrium"). Sometimes people think they are making a choice but actually act in the way their constraints appear to force them to. I see the US in this situation as well, and it is the reason I tend more towards pessimism in these questions. One can consider the discussions following publication 30 years ago of the Club of Rome's report and The Population Bomb. The upshot of that has been clear ever since Malthus (up to a simple renormalisation) yet look at the discussion of it.


I'm not arguing that the reasoning is rational. Just the results. Call me a societal darwinist.

I think it's pretty clear that the reason more societies do not choose to simplify is because they are in competition with other societies, and simplifying is tantamount to disarming. It's not a coincidence that all of Diamond's sustainable societies were on islands - isolated from the rest of the world.

No matter how this is rationalized, none of this is either reasonable or at all rational.

Vis-a-vis the imperatives of evolution, ecology, and ethics that we are capable of applying decent consideration to, and in this day and age, all this alleged rationalizing (particularly as to our only choice is to compete or disarm), is insane.

It's quite a conundrum.

But you see, in my eyes, America has 'simplified' - it lacks the skilled industrial and agricultural work force it possessed in previous generations, these having been replaced with people who feel that financial engineering has a higher value than actual labor with a tangible result, for example (let's not even get into the 'growth' of the legal profession as another example of productive capacity being displaced).

The thing is, that this simplification from useful skills in a tangible world to what seems in my eyes to abstract constructions increasingly divorced from reality (mortgage brokers servicing customers who can't read the documents they are signing - a sign of increasing complexity, or a step on the long staircase of decline?) is the problem.

I realize this goes somewhat against the grain, but I feel that the U.S. is, metaphorically, well on its way to becoming a monoculture - and that this path was not merely randomly chosen, but was instead the answer to the challenges which the 1970s exposed. Forced and unwise simplification (American housing truly seems to be stapled and glued at this point - this is not a sign of skill or quality) is disguised as a dynamic economic miracle, for example.

I believe the bubble popping will expose more reality than most Americans can actually handle, the same way peak oil will.

And people have a vested interest (as we see here, daily) in their beliefs, long past the point that they are proven wrong in the eyes of others.

America, currently home of the largest trade deficit and the largest financial bubble in human history, feels itself to be number 1 in so many areas. The two I noted are beyond dispute, however, and yet, they are not claimed with pride by Americans. Selling the sizzle of financial engineering, not the reality of a declining manufacturing base - America can probably claim no. 1 status in marketing itself, too.

Today there was a radio broadcast in Swedish state radio about the Iraq oilsituation. In a part of that broadcast the reporter intervjued professor Kjell Aleklett from Uppsala university and president of ASPO. He did not mention the words Peak Oil, but told, that we have a very worrisome future for the oilproduction going forward. He said, that the oilcompanys estimate a yearly declinerate of 4-6% from existing fields, and that no moore big fields is to be found, and that it is very difficult to cope with the decline with the small fields that are coming on stream/found.
Then he talked about the accelerating demand from China, and that China has a lot of money with which they certainly will buy up oil.

All in all though he did not specifically mention PO, he gave a picture of that.

The weird thing about the broadcast, that i noted, was that the reporter did not react at all to that. It was as he was talking about the weather. This gives a picture of people who listen but do not understand.


I have been talking to my wife for over a year now about PO. It hasn't been fun as I have gone through realization, denile, depression, and finally accepting(somewhat, for I live/work with people who have no idea and do not want to even think about it).
It has been interesting. She has been adamant to not be depressed and live life to its fullest and there is always something that people have had to endure at any point in history. She is correct of course. Most interesting is that lately she comes home and tells me of some story related to sprawl/PO. I see the gradual awakening in her awareness of just how gigantic the problem is. She is still positive which I like and envy, but realizes we have really big problems heading squarely at us.

I find most people absolutely turn you off on oil problems. They either cannot wrap thier minds around this or we have been conditioned by the way things have gone for so long. I think we have been conditioned, by advertizing, realative peace in the world, having too many choices available be it cars, food, TV programing, etc. and having so much food we are fat. This has gone on for so long that it is considered the norm just like cars and oil use. Looking at this point in history with 1,000 years time frame with PO so far gives the discussion on Po with other people.
Best D

I have been reading and occasionally posting on The Oil Drum for about a year and a half I guess, and this is virtually the only place I talk about Peak Oil. When I brought the subject up to a couple of friends, they, while admitting that oil is a finite resource and that economic growth cannot continue forever, generally blew the whole thing off, with statements on the order of “They’ll come up with something to keep things going”; essentially the “technology will save us” line. So I let the matter be, contenting myself with reading and sometimes posting on TOD and Kunstler’s site.

However, I am in a position where I have access to some of our local powers that be, and it seems a shame to waste this opportunity to at least educate them about Peak Oil, if not change any policies. I live in San Francisco and sit on several advisory boards, all of which deal with issues which will be directly affected by energy prices and shortages. I sit on the Redevelopment Project Area Committee of the South of Market, which discusses Redevelopment activities in this area, and I am also on the Western South of Market Citizens Community Task-Force, which discusses development and transportation issues in the larger South of Market area. Also, I am the Chair of the Tom Waddell Advisory Board of the Tom Waddell Health Centre (homeless and low-income serving medical clinic.) On one occasion I mentioned the Peak Oil concept to the latter, and virtually no one else on the Advisory Board had ever even heard the term “Peak Oil.” Out of my involvement on the Tom Waddell board I got elected to the Community Advisory Board to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, and on the occasions of our twice-annual conferences I have the opportunity to meet with people in the Federal Department of Health and Human Services.

So my question is, how do I push the Peak Oil question to these people without sounding like a lunatic wearing a tin-foil covered hat? If you recall from my posts, I am of the opinion that Peak Oil was either in May of ‘05, or will happen within the next two or three years. (In other words, its NOW) I am in agreement with the poster who said that after a year or so of dramatically higher prices that all the CERA-style sweet-talk will not be able to keep the subject out of the public’s awareness. And I feel that once this happens, the investor community will absolutely panic, and the financial markets will utterly crash, ushering in a new Great Depression, which, unlike the one in the Thirties, will be unending.

So I sit around the table and listen to developers touting their projects and asking for our input. Part of me wants to tell them that if I were in their shoes I would forget about real estate development and building kazillion dollar skyscrapers and condos and run like hell as in five years we are likely to be at the beginning of an endless worldwide depression which will make the one in the Thirties look like a joke. Of course I don’t because I would immediately be considered the tin-foil hatted lunatic. Absolutely NOBODY seems to be capable of imagining any other paradigm that our 200+ year-old business as usual, i.e.: eternal economic growth.

But I hate to waste the opportunity to make those decision-makers I meet with regularly at least aware of the situation, if not the ultimate folly of most of their plans. I’m hoping that if they are aware of the situation that they just might, at some point be able to come to this conclusion on their own. So I’m posting this to ask for advice as how to proceed. If anyone wants to look further into my activities, just Google “Antoinetta III”; you should come up with about three or four pages of hits. And if anyone wants to E-Mail me privately, I am at antoinetta@mindspring.com.

Thanks in advance for any advice anyone may have to offer.

Antoinetta III

Antionetta: IMHO, you are going to lose a lot of listeners when you jump from the reality of global oil depletion to the possibility of an oil depletion caused worldwide finanical crash and depression that will make the 30s look like fun. Global growth is currently extremely strong with slightly declining oil consumption. If you tell your listeners that oil consumption equals wealth creation they are going to ask you to prove it (good luck).


I have come to the conclusion that the term "Peak Oil" does not go over well with the general populace. I find I have much better luck discussing things if I talk in terms of supply shortfalls. I find discussions of demand growth vs. production growth to work well. Talk about consistent 2% growth in the US, plus surging demand in China and India.

If they are still open and receptive after that, you can talk about the lack of reserve growth, and how lots of companies are actually producing more reserves then they can produce every year.

If your audience hasn't glazed over yet, you can next mention the lack of new Giant oil fields being found. In the past we got a large percentage of our oil from these huge fields. Now we're having to try and procure the oil from smaller and smaller fields.

Lastly, if you still have any body left listening, you can talk about how the new oil that we find and produce is in increasingly difficult areas to produce. New oil fields are still being found, but they are in harsher environments, deeper locations beneath the ground, as well as ever increasing ocean depths for off shore wells.

Stress that it's not so much that there isn't more oil (there is) it's just getting harder and more expensive to produce smaller and smaller amounts.

Good luck,


Some suggestions:

1. First, realize you're never going to open a conversation about Peak Oil and proceed to lay out some arguments and convince someone right there. The best you can manage is to plant the seed and that they will follow up on discovering what it's all about on their own.

2. If they realize that oil is finite and will deplete, that's great, but you need to move them to the point of understanding that production peaks around the time the half the oil is gone, and so it's not a matter of running out, it's a matter of supply-and-demand causing prices to rise after that point is reached.

3. Ask lots of questions instead of telling them things. Ask what they think will happen. Ask until they tell you they don't know, and then stop. There's your seed. If you tell them things, then they can argue against them. If they're telling you things, then you can question them until they themselves learn where the limits of their ideas are.

4. Bring books to meetings like "Twilight in the Desert" and "The End of Oil" and "The Long Emergency". Hopefully someone will ask you what they're about.

Your #3 hits it dead on. I've given up, as it appears few want to hear about it; but that seems a good way to plant some productive seeds.


Also, I find that people have two minds about these things; just like in sci fi. One half of our minds think that things will grow exponentially forever, the other brain thinks that things will crash and burn.

I've had a couple conversations where people went from cornucopian to apocalypic, and then back again. So I suspect that both parts are there already. People just don't want to dwell on mortality in any respect.

And mortality is ultimately what we're talking about. Mortality of the society triggers inevitable thoughts of mortality of the self, and most of us don't want to go there. At least very often, and only with certain people.

Also, I've talked about investments with certain people, and they'll go from talking about having a lot of money in surprisingly speculative investments, to refusing to have more in their savings accounts than will be covered by FDIC. I've in the past been baffled, but next time I may point out that long before any non-FDIC savings is at risk, their stocks and Merrill Lynch accounts will evaporate.

Hi Antonietta.

I've had success in getting my letters to the editor published in the major papers in Arizona -- on politics and the military, but they haven't printed my letters on peak oil. I stopped trying, thinking there wasn't much point, and that if people did figure it out they'd overrun my little town and start speculating on all land suitable for homesteading, etc.

But this thread has inspired me, and here is the letter I'm about to send around.

Dear Editor:

“Peak Oil in a Nutshell”

We all know that fossil fuels are finite, but we tend to think of it like the gas gauge in the car. If we have half a tank left, there's nothing to worry about, right?

Geologists think of it differently, like a bell curve. Oil production started at zero, is rising to a peak, then will fall back towards zero.

The halfway mark on the "Global Gas Gauge" is extremely important, because that marks the highest point, the peak of production.

60 years ago oil drilling was very modest.

Sometime in the future, oil drilling will once again be very modest.

Right now, humanity burns about 85,000,000 barrels of oil a day, and is struggling to increase it further.

Are we now at the halfway point, the peak of oil production? Many geologists think so.

What do you think will happen then?

Jim Burke

PS, my wife and I got together with the extended family and bought some arable land on the edge of town, have built an off grid, very modest adobe "desert hobbit house" and planted a large garden with a couple dozen fruit trees.

We're trying to walk the talk, and try to show (to others and to ourselves) that being sustainable isn't a drag, but can be very beautiful, fun, and nourishing.

Unless we make the appropriate steps ourselves and lead the way, of what use are our warnings?

Bingo. Mortality of the self is the seat of most delusion.

Really, a majority of people choose to believe that they will survive physical death. They don't think that worms eating their brains will necessarily introduce any sort of discontinuity into their existence.

That being the case, it is surprising that the human ability to rationalize lesser things away is so well-honed?

Humans tend to vacillate between hubris and fatalism. Walking that knife edge is stressful and requires constant thinking, which is annoying.

If anything, the notion of humans being subject to the same rules which govern the population of yeast or reindeer is more threatening than the idea of personal death. Lotsa luck educating the world....


Good luck, Antoinetta!

That's a very attractive name, makes me feel good just rolling it around my tongue.

I find it difficult talking about Peak Oil to people. But I have noticed a pattern emerging. Those people who have a great deal invested in the "system" and have a lot to loose, are the one's who reject the idea the most forcefully. On the other hand, I've actually tried conversing about the subject with few individuals who are literally hanging on to society with their fingertips. Bums, junkies and winoes. Oddly, it's them who seem most receptive to the idea that the whole cardhouse could come crashing down. Is it because they've seen through the veil? Is it because they don't have that much to lose? Is it because they secretly want everybody to feel their pain too? Is it because they somehow know that the rest of us are all plastic palace people?

<Googling>Veeery Interesting ... </Googled>

Maybe y'all can have Woolsey come out and talk again:

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

Asking for help is the smartest thing you could do. There must be lots of TOD people in your area.

Absolutely NOBODY seems to be capable of imagining any other paradigm that our 200+ year-old business as usual, i.e.: eternal economic growth.

There are. Look for them in your area's "buy local" campaign, your local "slow food" group, and your local farmer's market.

It's fairly easy to make the case that many of the problems we see now are the result of unlimited growth in a finite environment. No tin foil hat there. What you propose to do about it is harder. I think your best bet is hooking up with some others - don't need many.

cfm in Gray, ME

Been trying to avoid TOD, time management, disposition thing but its tough so real quick.

Antoinetta the third,

"Peak Oil" is currently a loaded term, says you may hold odd and currently non mainstream ideas. "Oil Shortage" is likewise loaded from the 1970s. Maybe try something along the lines of, "Energy prices have been increasing rapidly in the recent past and there are many reasons to believe this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. We need to be sure to provide for this contingency in any future plans we make". Avoids the topic but gets at the crux of the problem. Instead of hearing PO people will hear about rising energy costs and be thinking, "heck yea, darn tootin' right", etc. but the measures to take are the same, except for the drastic measures. And really telling someone they are crazy to build their 1000 unit condo complex after they already have the blueprints for their villa in France just doesn't go over well. Best wishes on this.

As regards talking with people about PO, I've had some rather anomalous experiences. Mentioned PO to my sister who lives with her family on an acre with some fruit trees and chickens and well water next to a vineyard in Northern California. She said she she mentioned to her husband maybe they should move into the city to which he evidently replied, "What if they riot" 'nuff said. Told two of my older brothers to Google Peak oil. Since heard that one has bought stock in coal and the other in oil. Which says to me, yes we are aware and consider this an issue. Though it might pain me a bit to admit it, I consider them very responsible members of society so its not like you say "uproot your family and move to a tree fort in rural Vermont".

Hard to say how all this will turn out. In clinical trials and medicine there is a term called "regression to the mean". This implies that one gets a really extraordinary piece of data it is often an outlier and regresses to the mean when the test or trial is repeated. On this board I've heard a similar idea presented as "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" Also just looking at probabilities in most instances there are a large number of ways for things to turn out ordinarily and very few for them to turn out extraordinarily. Unfortunately, week by week the extraordinary case seems to my judgment to gain increasing support. Let's hope even if the extraordinary is valid we all come through without to much hardship.

Best Wishes

Hi Antoinetta - I'm across the Bay in Berkeley. We have some smart people here and one can generally convince them about the validity of PO although it's not what they'd prefer to listen to. I'm sure they put it out of their minds immediately (and try to avoid me in the future!). I think humans are basically optimistic and are genetically programmed to reject news that the world is going to hell-in-a-handbag. I’ve been advocating simple steps like putting in European-style bike lanes so we aren’t forced to use our cars. You’d think Berkeley could pull this off – but it’s uphill all the way.

I don’t think anything will be done to address PO until we’re smacked in the face with high gas prices. These will likely co-exist with a collapsing economy triggered by the bursting housing bubble. The housing tumble is just starting and will extend for 2 to 3 years as waves of adjustable no-doc mortgages reset. And for those who would like something new to worry about, check out the sites tracking unfunded municipal and state debt. I think Simmons is right – by the end of this year will see price hikes that start to convince folks that something is going on.

It all adds up to a very dismal future – hopefully just a steady decline – but who wants to think about this. Part of the problem is not knowing which direction things will go: Japanese-style deflation, hyper-inflation, or mad max-time. Do I buy puts on stocks or a bolt-hole in Idaho?

Hi D,
Had somewhat the same experience with my wife. I've been talking about PO for about two years--she listens, but doesn't say much. In general, her attitude has been that things will work out. In a friendly, humorous way she sometimes calls me Doomsday Boy.

The other day she came in the room and said, "I read the GAO report."

I was surprised. "You mean the Peak Oil one?"

"Yes. What are we going to do?"

Somehow, she needed it affirmed by the GAO in order to discuss it directly, although she had been thinking about it. Now she asks preparation questions and PO appears in some form in almost all our tactical/strategic planning discussions. She's still "positive" in that she says "Things will work out," but generally she concludes with, "Well, at least we'll have each other...."

She's a pratical, hard-working woman--nobody's fool. She thinks everything through before acting. Yet gradually it has dawned on me that "everything will work out" means for her that no matter what happens (no matter whether our plans work out or not) we are loyal and caring for each other.

"She's a pratical, hard-working woman--nobody's fool. She thinks everything through before acting. Yet gradually it has dawned on me that "everything will work out" means for her that no matter what happens (no matter whether our plans work out or not) we are loyal and caring for each other."

Sounds to me like you are a very lucky man Ric. Take care of each other!

There has been written an exellent book by a swedish doctor about how people react when they are told they have a disease that means that they are shortly going to die.

EVERYONE reacts first with denial, then with anger. It is the same with PO. You are the doctor who tells other people that their lifestile is doomed/dead.

Better not telling others, you only hurt yourself. Do your own preps and watch the events ongoing. Do not forget to by some popcorn to chew on when you are watching the drama.

I'd prefer to have my family on board, at least the ones that I could stand to live with. Any of my trusted friends as well. It will be good to have friends post peak who are as prepared as you are. It doesn't matter how awesome you are, you have to sleep sometime, and it's good to have someone keeping an eye on things while that happens. :) (Literally and metaphorically.. Simply put, one person can't do everything.)

Yes, you are right about that. But do not bother to tell other outside of your inner circle.

Matt Simmons said in a recent intervju, that within a year PO will be bigger news in media than GW. If so other people will be aware in that time frame without you having to tell them.

"Do not forget to by some popcorn to chew on when you are watching the drama."

Can't do that - all the popcorn went to the ethanol plant :-(


Welcome to the club. I have been irritating my wife for going onto 2 years now. With the last 6 months being a near constant feed of "why bad things are just ahead" articles and information.

She is more aware than most (and infinitely more patient) but still can't commit to wholesale life changes that I would do. But she has bought into the "reduce debt and build efficiency plan" because there is little downside if my "prophecies" never materialize. Recently she is starting to connect the dots and take my warnings about energy and disposable income more seriously. Ultimately she has helped me plan like we will live forever but live like there is no tomorrow without being a consumer.

This has all been tough on the marriage but I am confident that when things really start to unravel we will both be mentally prepared and on the same page. This will allow us to act, as a team, to deal with issues rather than going through all the stages of grief at that time. I would much rather trade some a small amount of heartache now for a strong, willing partner in the future.

Best of luck with your situation and tread carefully. The good ones are worth keeping!

I also find that the average reaction is that people turn you off. I don't think it's conditioning that causes it, though. I think when it's explained reasonably well people get the point. Their reaction then is "Either you're wrong and there's nothing to worry about, or you're right and the problem is so big there's nothing to be done." Having decided that there's no need for them to react in either case (either there's no need or it won't make a difference), they get on with their lives.

Most people don't seem ready to completely reframe their lives on the off chance that I'm not insane. 'Tis a puzzlement.

Having infected my girlfriend with the concepts of Peak Oil, global heating, collapse of complex societies, resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, species and habitat destruction and the like, she is now referred to as "Debbie Downer" by her family....

Talking about Peak Oil really does make one sound like a prophet, a prophet of doom. Doom isn't a subject most people want to talk or think about, which is understandable and reasonable.

I agree with Dan Simmons, if I've understood him correctly, that it's not so much the actually shortage of availble oil, in the short term, that is our big problem. The Big Problem isn't Peak Oil. The real trouble is how the market will react to the "news" once it goes mainstream. For lots of reasons the stock market has a tendancy to overreact to good and bad news. We are currently in a precarious situation, especially in the US where the housing bubble may be collapsing, with potentially dire consequences for the american economy. Already the US is weighed down by a mountain of debt, borrowing well over ten billion dollars a week and wasting over a trillion a year in military expenditure.

So, if Peak Oil suddenly pops onto the front pages on top of everything else, we could be heading for a very rough ride indeed.

I'm beginning to find a bit of acceptance in those near me. My wife, a most wonderful person, is very PO aware and fully supportive. (or visa versa) People at work are coming around one by one. I gave a talk this weekend and afterward the discussion went right to gardening, co-ops, and lifestyle.

I believe a big hurddle is realizing that PO may not be the end of the world it simply means TEOTWAWKI. A big difference there. Just maybe we can still live and be 'happy'.

So much of the pain that we will experience will be self inflicted. Not by conditions but the fear of what those conditions will mean. And that will make it worse.
If the oil supply is threatened how likely are we to make lifestyle changes our first priority? No we'll react in the interest of National Security, of course. The gas is $4 in Death Valley. A friend asked a trucker. "What will you do if it get's really high?" He said we'll just pass it along to the consumer. Not a hint that perhaps the cargo better be pretty damn essential if that's gonna work. "Get thee to the non-....

There is some discretionary behavior that is about to unfold both globally and locally. Americans are probably going to believe that the world depends on their dollars a whole lot more than they really do. Nobody wants our piggy bank full of IOU's. Where will the oil go? If it moves at all, it'll go where both the money and the political influence are.
In Africa for instance the Chinese are making deals while we plan military bases. Our gameplan looks flawed.

My point. We better be ready to make the mother of all transitions in the way we run our lives. Also, unless we can get the word out to enough people of what to expect, they are going to find some above ground cause to blame. As with the TPTB program you don't want to be that above ground cause.

That's why the sit back and enjoy the show idea worries me. I'm pretty sure this show can jump right through the camera lense and into our living room. Kunstler is right to go after the media. Better to keep trying to get the word out. I still believe forewarned people will make better choices.

. . . you don't want to be that above ground cause.

This is why I think the ExxonMobil/CERA position (trillions & trillions of barrels of oil) is so damaging.

In effect, they are encouraging people to proceed with the SUV/Suburban way of life.

There are going to be some plenty pissed off FWO (Formerly Well Off) Americans as their SUV's are repossessed and as their McMansions are sold in foreclosure auctions.

The semi-logical conclusion that a lot of Americans will draw--based on the ExxonMobil/CERA pronouncements--is that oil is being deliberately withheld off the market in order to drive the price up.

From the Housing Bubble:

The LA Times reports from California. “Nearly 900 Californians a week are losing their homes because they can’t afford to pay the mortgage, up from about 100 a week a year ago, providing fresh evidence that the housing market’s troubles are nowhere near over. The 11,033 foreclosures in the first three months of the year represent an 800% increase over the same period a year earlier.”

“In addition, 46,760 homeowners were sent default notices in the first quarter, DataQuick reported.”

“‘For this rise in foreclosures to be happening in the midst of a strong labor market is truly unique and scary,’ said economist Christopher Thornberg. He predicts foreclosures will top out at four or five times the current level, enough, he says, to either induce a recession or at least bring the economy to the precipice.”

"This is why I think the ExxonMobil/CERA position (trillions & trillions of barrels of oil) is so damaging."

Kind of a set up for 'above ground factors'

"In effect, they are encouraging people to proceed with the SUV/Suburban way of life."

Pissed off FWO's. WT, that's another one!

This is what I mean -

‘For this rise in foreclosures to be happening in the midst of a strong labor market is truly unique and scary’

Apart from repeating an article of faith concerning how Americans view their economy, what facts support this idea of a strong labor market? There are a number of facts showing it is anything but strong - like foreclosure rates, for example.

Reality is happening, unavoidably, but as it doesn't fit into the framework which reality is supposed to, most Americans keep repeating the same items of faith.

Chanting may help the soul, but it won't bring rain, or fill the pipeline with oil.

This is in part what I meant - the pain is self-inflicted, as reality doesn't care about any person's dreams.

And the reality is, all societies have collapsed in the end, but watching a society teeter off the edge because it now can't imagine changing itself in any significant way (and turned its back on changing itself when I was younger) has been fascinating in a morbid way.

The changes are coming anyways, but there is a major difference between trying to prepare and having those preparations fall short, and doing nothing and just being overwhelmed by 'random events.'

I was shaking my head and pondering about the madness of it all, then I saw the Dow nearing an all-time high again and rolled my eyes. How can this insanity be? I wondered.

But of course, everyone isn't insane or even stupid, what's happening must be rational and systematic. The system is rationally dealing with the increasing stresses within itself. Somehow, everybody doing really dumb stupid things is necessary for the system to maintain stability. Voila! Now it all makes sense, its just a matter of context :)

A man, frozen in mid fall after slipping on a banana skin, would like a lunatic if viewed out of context. Arms and legs flailing all over the place, eyes popping out of his head, all in an effort to regain his balance. Presumably, what we are seeing is the same sort of thing, but in an economic sense :)

In such an environment, madness is rewarded by the system, whereas rationality is strongly discouraged. We're done for :(

That's it, I'm off to weed my raised beds. Dejectedly!

Kunstler's comments this week marked a turning for him, I think. Gone were the usual petards about running the interstate, WalMart and Disney World... he's beginning to focus on the media.

The showcasing of Friedman's article may represent an inflection point in the fate of the mainstream media -- the moment when it demonstrates most clearly its failure to make current events comprehensible, the moment when its lost legitimacy is finally recognized. That legitimacy has been passing to the Internet, where commentators have no advertisers to pander to and no need to defend any status quo.

Right! And one must admit that Kunstler does have a flair for words:

Friedman goes on to tout Wal-Mart's mendacious campaign to "green" up its operations by, among other things, improving the mileage of its truck fleet from 6-mpg to 12-mpg. He writes:

Take Wal-Mart. The world's biggest retailer woke up several years ago, its CEO Lee Scott told me, and realized with regard to the environment its customers "had higher expectations for us than we had for ourselves." So Scott hired a sustainability expert, Jib Ellison, to tutor his company. The first lesson Ellison preached was that going green was a whole new way for Wal-Mart to cut costs and drive its profits.

The smoke Mr. Scott blew up Friedman's ass is leaking out of the columnist's pie-hole here.

That was the best line I've read all week.

Ron Patterson

The media is the problem. There seem to be enormous structural problems in the american mass media. The biggest is a bias towards stupidity. If the american media couldn't tell the truth about the absurd claims that dragged the nation into an agressive and totally unnecessary war in Iraq, why would anyone think they'ed suddenly change and start covering Peak Oil properly?

Dealing with the problems arising from Peak Oil will require a new type of public discourse smack in the middle of the "town square". The debate needs to force its way centre stage and push the froth and trivia aside, for ever. We really need to get serious once more. Get serious about ourselves, our democracy and the future.

But this will require a re-structuring of the US media, away from lies, banality and concentration, and towards popular influence and democratic control. The media barons have to be kicked out of their castles by a peasants revolt.

Stupidity is a virtue in a dying empire.

Ex-Worker Ordered Not to Discuss Wal-Mart's Spy Operations

In business news, Wal-Mart has reclaimed its position as the largest corporation in the United States edging out Exxon Mobil. Meanwhile Wal-Mart has succeeded in winning a gag order to stop a fired security operative from speaking out about the company's spy operations. Earlier this month Bruce Gabbard told the Wall Street Journal that Wal-Mart is running a sophisticated surveillance operation that targets employees, journalists, stockholders and critics of the company. Gabbard also revealed that the company had infiltrated an anti-Wal-Mart group. In addition to the gag order, a judge has order Gabbard to name every person whom he has discussed Wal-Mart with over the past three months. Wal-Mart alleges that Gabbard has violated trade secrets law by revealing confidential information about Wal-Mart security systems and operations.

And speaking of toxic waste:

U.S. Army Ships 1.8 Million Gallons off VX Wastewater

1.8 million gallons of wastewater used to neutralize the deadly nerve gas VX is being transported by the U.S. Army on a one thousand mile trip from Indiana to Texas. The tanker trucks are scheduled to drive through eight states: Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The watchdog group Chemical Weapons Working Group attempted to block the shipment because of health and environmental concerns, The Army initially tried to send the chemical waste to be treated in Ohio and New Jersey but community opposition blocked the shipment. Activists in Port Arthur Texas are now trying to stop the Army from incinerating the waste in their town.


This morning, WBAL news interviewed local students that were on-campus during the VT shooting. Despite what they said, few of them seemed sad, despondent, or troubled. One very pretty coed in a (Johns) Hopkins sweatshirt was particularly bubbly and smiling. One young male student had a bit of a smile, another had a matter-of-fact look.

I'm wondering if these were simply the ones selected by the TV editors, or if the excitement of the event, and of being interviewed, trumped the tragedy.


The French post office—La Poste—announced on Monday that it will order 10,000 electric delivery vehicles over the next five years. This week it will invite bids to supply the first 500, for delivery in 2008.


One of those moments:

Check the news at Google.

The dollar index closed under 82 last Friday (81.93).


Just FYI.

The dollar index below 80 is the next psycho barrier. One of the financial advisers I follow says that from then on there's no rock bottom.

Luis, when everyone starts to talk about how there's nowhere to go but down, that's usually an indication that a bottom has been reached. Afterall, if everyone has placed their bets on the dollar falling further, who is left to sustain the trend?

I think we are on the verge of a deflationary spiral, which should result in much higher demand for cash to pay off debts and cover living expenses as asset prices fall substantially. My bet (figuratively speaking) is on a short squeeze in the dollar.

Stoneleigh: If China decides to play rough, there will be plenty more bets being placed against the US dollar. The currency has never been in this position (being almost solely supported by foreign governments).

Max dollar low is .6200 according to Jim Sinclair (www.jsmineset.com)

From ‘A Question or Two About Gold’

OK, you masters of monetary wisdom. Tell me why, supposedly as a response to high inflation in the UK, the Sterling went UP relative to the US$?

Because, as far as I understand things, this makes it more likely that the Bank of England will raise interest rates at their monthly meeting in May in an effort to combat inflation. This then makes Sterling a more attractive investment than the US Dollar because the returns on investments in Sterling will be higher.

Thus people sell Dollars to buy Sterling which pushes the price of Sterling higher.

The same kind of thinking is what is also driving the Euro higher vs the US Dollar as well.



Watch interest rates around the world. We are basically the ONLY industrialzed country that is not raising rates right now. Nearly every bank that matters is raising rates while we are sitting still. What I find most interesting is that we are in the same climate as Japan found itself prior to the collapse of their Nikkei. The world was raising rates while they were not.

Eventually I can forsee a dollar carry trade as the dollar hedgemony ends. It appears far closer than forecasted, however I believe the plunge protection team has a few more tricks up their sleeves. Also keep in mind the rally in the market (NYSE) is index led only and I see yahoo finance tried to spin this into "biggest stocks - less risk" so they should go up while the rest of the economy tanks. WTFever.

Someone is playing too much in the markets. I am hearing so many mainstream people (friends in finance) talking about intervention by "someone." No one wants to admit it COULD be our own govt. What a farse.


'"The agriculture industry is really scared right now,'' Bronson said. "If [Lake Okeechobee] gets down around 8 feet, we are in for a serious, serious problem" that could affect the world's food supply and prices.'

Why would it affect the whole world if a lake in Florida sinks?

I think they meant "Disney" World. :-)

I imaging it's for the same reason Ghawar crashing would affect world oil prices - even though we don't all buy all our oil from Saudi Arabia.

It isn't just the 'lake' (the largest fresh-water lake in the US), it's the whole South Florida watershed. So. Fla. is a very large ag area, probably on the order of the Calif. central valley in dollar volume. This prolonged drought possibility is a serious matter.

My view of ag issues is similar to some of the discussions on this site of oil demand destruction in the face of supply constraints (voluntary or not). The poorer nations are hit first...

If Florida beef, citrus, vegetables and sugar productions drops, wealthy nations will bid up the price of Australian beef and Israeli oranges, etc. Food variety and availability to the poorer nations will be the first affected.

The largest fresh-water lake in the US is just north of me. It's Lake Superior. We'll see how long before that lake disappears as well.

Tom A-B

Technically, the largest lake entirely in the US is Lake Michigan, Superior being shared with Canada.

James Gervais
Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.

Correct, it might be a bit of a stretch to say it's going to affect the world, it would sure affect the US if Florida could not irrigate their crops.

Marginal Utility Theory....econ 101. The marginal producer sets the price. The marginal loss of this lake will create so much pressure on the remaining producers that they will strain to increase supply due to marginally higher prices. When discussing food, this could be real bad, but I dont give a damn really as I'm fully prepared to do what I must to secure my staples should TS truly HTF. I'm sure most here are.

You mean they are not already secured?

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

Another water story:

Global Warming Hits Southwest

The Arctic is not the only theater of unequivocal climate change and polar bears aren't the only heralds of a new age of chaos. Global warming is already affecting the U.S.

The article mentions "peak water" and "the end of cheap energy" downpage ...

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

Floating nuclear power stations raise spectre of Chernobyl at sea

VS the drums of waste dumped at sea, the few subs that have gone missing, the few bombs that are on the seabed, and the English who have a 300 foot long tunnel that dumps radioactive material into the sea which will need millions of pounds to clean up?

*picks up sign*
*points at sign*
What about the Failure mode costs?

They just sort of sit on the bottom. The failure mode doesnt cost anything.

The failure mode DOES cost - said material is migrating (or eventually will) back into the biosphere. The now concentrated heavy metals and radioisotopes do effect the local life.

So how is it different than Chernobyl?

Just because it is not costing YOU some money out of your pocket does not mean there is no cost.

So how is it different than Chernobyl?

Chernobyl was a graphite reactor fire that dispersed nearly 10% of the reactor into the atmosphere in a populated area with iodine deficiency. A floating nuclear reactor disaster just sinks. Migration of longer lived radioisotopes largely contained on the sea floor is something people will fret about no matter how much it doesnt affect them, where inhaling short lived radio-iodine after a reactor explosion has a rather measurable effect on the rate of thyroid cancers.

We have more to worry about pumping large quantities of chemical wastes into the sea than the concentrated wrecks of sunk nuclear reactors.

Also, another Chernobyl requires that similar ciminally insane experiments to be conducted. Chernobyl was not an accident.

Migration of longer lived radioisotopes largely contained on the sea floor is something people will fret about no matter how much it doesnt affect them,

I'm guessing that the 'doesnt affect them' clause has a whole LOT to do with Humans breathing air VS not surviving breathing water.

Hopefully the readers here see your claim for what it is, bunk. If not, well, that is why spin doctors are able to be employable.

From Intelligence Press. Full article requires subscription.

Analyst: 'At Least' $9/MMBtu Gas Prices Needed to Maintain U.S. Supply
from NGI's Daily Gas Price Index April 17, 2007
Natural gas prices need to be "at least" $9/MMBtu to maintain current North American supply available to the United States, an energy analyst suggested Monday.

That sounds about right considering $6 gas caused every producer in Canada to severely cut back on drilling late last year.

I've been thinking about all these ethanol news articles lately, and I'm beginning to get paranoid. Has it occurred to anyone that maybe the reason why the Bush administration is touting ethanol is precisely because they know it's totally worthless? Or worse than worseless.

I mean, think about it for a minute. It's no secret that Bush is in bed with the oil industry, and I presume that the oil industry would be mighty upset if an alternative technology came along that trumped oil (unless, of course, the oil industry owned it). Here on TOD we've discussed endlessly how ethanol is a dead end. Even biodiesel holds more promise, especially if it is produced from algae, but you don't see Bush and his minions rushing to throw subsidies at algae farms.

Could it be that Bush and Big Oil are happy to promote ethanol, because they know it won't work, but it gives the appearance of doing something? Plus it's a chance to throw money at agribusiness, that gives campaign contributions to certain politicians in Washington.

OK, I'll give them credit for this - they did need to replace MTBE, and ethanol is good for that. It's the only positive benefit to come from the ethanol sham.

Sorry if I sound overly paranoid. It just looks to me like we're driving straight at a brick wall, with the people at the wheel hitting the accelerator while telling everyone to unfasten their seatbelts.

It's not that they know it won't work, it is that they don't care. Bush is famous for proposing "solutions" to various problems like Katrina and then walking away. Bush isn't about solutions; Bush is about limping through until he gets out of office and can pass the problems on to the next administration. We continue to increase our GHG emissions, but the Bush administration claims that the latest figures validate their strategy. Not!! Their strategy is an unmitigated disaster for the planet. But, rest assured, they don't care, as long as those profits keep pouring in.

But hey!!! Obama drives an E85 vehicle and is touting ethanol as the solution for the future. All the candidates, Democratic and Republican are all about the free lunch, all gain, no pain strategy.

Better prepare for that brick wall.

To be honest, I would not be terribly upset if Exxon-Mobil bought Union Pacific RR (the two management styles would compliment), Conoco-Philips bought Norfolk-Southern, Buffet has dibbs on BN-SF and Gates on Canadian National (from memory), CSX to ChevronTexaco, Florida RR to Apache, etc. and they announced that they were going to electrify & dramatically expand capacity and used expanded wind turbine power for much of the electricity.

They would lobby for Interstate Highway tolls and a 50 mph speed limit (self serving has NEVER gone out of style :-) and secretly fund me (euro 1 million/year would be acceptable) and othes promoting our/their agenda.

They could also lobby to privitize Amtrak and increase aviation taxes.

A better fate than likely awaits us,



Had you truly followed TOD ethanol discussions, you would know that there are 3 'generations' of ethanol or production paths [fermentation, bio-chemical (cellulosic) and thermo-chemical (gasification)] currently being fostered by the DOE as part of an integrated biorefinery construct.

You would have also noted that each pathway, is more or less reliant upon specific feedstocks i.e. corn or sugar cane for fermentation; hardwoods and straws for cellulosic; practically anything for thermo-chemical, therefore, there is no such thing as ‘ethanol’ in the blanket context that you and others have attempted to use it.

Furthermore and in response to your paranoid musings…

IF ethanol were a worthless, dead end sham, would the following make any sense whatsoever?

-funding for six, 2nd and 3rd gen commercial facilities
-funding for two, regional alt fuel research centres
-increased and confirmed RFSP requirements
-establishment of the Interamerican Ethanol Commission
-establishment of the USA/Brazil biofuel trade pact
-BP funding for UC Berkeley
-ConocoPhillips funding for Iowa State
-Chevron/Weyerhaeuser collaboration

Think about it.

Appeal to authority, anyone? Your list only serves to beg the question of whether ethanol is a dead end.

Perhaps you could elaborate.

Ah yes, Top Ten Lists. Come up with a category, defined however you want, rank something, and get your five minutes of fame. Or more if you're David Letterman.

Re: Top Ten US City Use of Renewable Energy

Interesting list, although it seems a bit curious. Seattle at 3.5%? Living in Seattle, I'm aware of the mix from the local electric utility:

Generation Type Percentage
Hydro 86.45%
Natural Gas 5.28%
Nuclear 4.23%
Wind 3.06%
Coal 0.89%
Biomass 0.07%
Petroleum 0.02%

Wind is over 3% by itself. Whither hydro? Their criteria are somewhat mysterious, but it seems they don't like big hydro. However, a minority of Seattle City Light's hydro comes from the big BPA dams on the Columbia. Another criteria seems to be participation in a "Green Energy" program. Whatever. The intern that worked on this probably got good experience.

I wondered about that too. However, there is that theory out there that hydro causes more greenhousse gases than coal. But, in any event, it is renewable and that was the title of the survey. And where was the editor on this one/ Just shows the level of ignorance extant.

And for the country with the largest active caldera, where is geothermal? I'm sure you guys would be understandably twitchy about a plant on top of 'Old faithfull' but it could solve both your electricity and vulcanicity problem.

Energy use is much more than just electricity.

Yeah, but that is the only use that will differ to any significant extent between cities. What else do you have in mind?

Top 10 Cities with Renewable Power List WRONG !

from the small print:

...determined the percentage of each city’s electricity that comes from renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal, and small-scale hydro energy

And large scale hydro (see Columbia River near Portland OR) is not renewable ?

If you are looking for the % of politically correct power, the list is probably valid. But not for renewable power !

Best Hopes,


Does it really matter if hydro and wind are renewable?

The problem is that people multiply, where water and wind do not. Water and wind just move around. If the population of Portland tripled in the next 20 years, and the electricity generated by the Columbia river stayed the same, whats it matter if the fluid that drives the turbines is renewable? It doesnt generate more electricity because it is renewable!

I hope this doesnt start a long thread about population... Gotta be PC!!

for some reason comments are not allowed on the study Khebab posted today.

Is it fixed now?

It's fixed, I don't know what was the problem.

You're lightning fast, thanks. Meant to express my appreciation earlier.

From my local paper -- a reader who "understands science," unlike most of us, I presume.

Natural Gas is not fossil fuel. Oil is not fossil fuel. The facts are in and in plain view. Oil and gas are created by natural processes not yet fully understood by scientists. Anyone who would do the math would quickly discover there never have been enough dinosaurs or plant material to create what we have already used as far as petroleum is concerned. So, let's drop the hype and lies and tell the truth.

Like the fears of the "Coming Ice Age" in the 1970s, "Global Starvation" in the 1980s, and the current "Global Warming" hoax, this too is another attempt to hinder, restrict, and restrain safe, clean, renewable and sustainable energy resources by those who think we can control the planet. Let's just present the facts, folks!

Can anyone give me a name and some references for this idea that oil is continuously produced by some mysterious process, and that it therefore can never run out?

Seems like I have read this before -- something that Creationists are promoting? And if it were actually true, wouldn't we run into insuperable problems with accumulation of CO2? -- or is that miraculously recycled back into petroleum by this mysterious process?

Just google "abiotic oil".

Actually, this is funny:

Anyone who would do the math would quickly discover there never have been enough dinosaurs or plant material to create what we have already used as far as petroleum is concerned.

Let's count the dinosaurs that ever existed. One, two, three...

Probably referring to Abiotic oil, not considered very likely to be true.

Cyanobacteria are some of the oldest organisms to appear in the fossil record dating back to the Precambrian, possibly as far as about 3.5 billion years.

3.5 billion years is a loooong time. I think plenty long enough for all the oil we have discovered to form.

Another note:

Three conditions must be present for oil reservoirs to form: first, a source rock rich in organic material buried deep enough for subterranean heat to cook it into oil; second, a porous and permeable reservoir rock for it to accumulate in; and last a cap rock (seal) that prevents it from escaping to the surface.

Even if abiogenic theory were true, it would still have to follow these very simple rules. Also, I highly doubt the Earth can generate oil faster than we can pump it. These processes take a very long time. And wouldnt we be up to our knees in oil if the Earth just randomly produced it on its own? How strange that oil fields are usually discovered where there were once shallow seas teeming with life...

Corrections welcomed, of course =D

One reason to understand oil to be a fossil fuel, of organic origin, is the presence of porphyrins, a pigment found in animals and plants, and also in crude oil. Also, the fact that oil is found in sedimentary rock layers (where organic material was buried), but not elsewhere supports the idea of an organic origin for oil. I am a creationist; abiotic oil is not something creationists are promoting.

Let me get this straight...

NASAguy is a creationist?

That's like a jew admitting membership to the NAZI party, like a black person proudly showing their pointy-headed sheet, like a Neocon wearing tie-dye, like a feminist getting a job at the Playboy Mansion.

I cannot imagine anyone with an education beyond the third grade believing in creationism. And, no, I DO NOT have to respect lunacy.

This person, more than anyone I've read on this site, deserves to be ignored, removed, buh-leted.

I hope that the rest of the world will not come across this guy's little admission. This will do more to undermine the site than a thousand doomers.

Praise be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM).

This has been known for a while, but as he writes in a civilized manner, no one has felt any need to be insulting about it.

Except Cherenkov, apparently.

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

Mark Twain was right: some ideas DESERVE to be laughed at.

NASAguy's creationism is one of them. One cannot be a creationist and subscribe to the traditional geological view of oil formation. It's an absolute paradox bordering on mental illness.

There are lots of forms of mental illness then, sir. There is predisposition towards delusion amongst humans too, even those who say they believe in science and rationality.

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

One cannot be a creationist and subscribe to the traditional geological view of oil formation.

Really? Since when? Not all creationists are in the hardcore literalist camp in interpreting Genesis. In fact the Pope himself recently expounded on the seeming paradox of Evolution vs Creation and from the statements given it sounds as though the theory of Evolution doesn't bother him nor shake his faith.

There are quite a few Christian who believe all this was created but on time scales that Science seems to be indicating. In fact if you step away from the literalist view of Genesis(a view which has been artificially thrusted into the forground due to American politics), much of Genesis would be a very poetic attempt to describe what many scientists today are describing in more Physical and Mathmatical terms.

Christians have made a serious blunder in trying to defend Genesis as a literal account of Creation in my opinion and in so doing have opened themselves up to an absurd line of attack by Athiests. The Bible was never meant to be God's Handbook to Physics and Science, it was to be a handbook on how to relate to Him and each other. In this handbook God has passed on the fact that he had a hand in putting the Universe together.

This story of creation was aimed at an audience that didn't have the first understandings of Science let alone, the nature of Stars, Planets, Physical and Chemical Laws, and all the other things its taken us thousands of years to discover. Even still if you look at the passages written and view them as an allegory of Physical processes that have taken billions of years to unravel, then Genesis seems to me a very poetic description of the Big Bang, of the Formation of Stars and Planets/Planetoids, of even Evolution.

This falsity that in order to believe in Creation one cannot accept the Big Bang and Evolution is a purposefully propped up argument by both the extremes (atheist anti-religious wackos, and zealous religious wackos). Its propped up not because of truth or enlightnment but because it serves to polarize factions and allow them to be used for political motivations.

Quite a few Christian scientists subscribe to the idea that yes there is a God, and he probably put the universe in the state that it is in by the very physical laws we are discovering in the universe today. Does it make it less divine? Does it make it less scientific?

We recognize that the Universe is orderly and follows certain rules. Why is it so impossible for Christians to believe that those Scientifically discovered rules could be the very impetus for Divine creation, and Vice Versa, How can athiests claim that because of these rules existance there must be no God.

Neither of those conclusions based on the evidence presented can be logically reached. The Existance of physical laws does not prove nor disprove God. Given that the very nature of God is Faith, I seriously doubt that science will ever find proof of Him unless he so chooses to reveal himself.

That being said, the attempt to engage in a personal attack based on ones religion to discredit someone on a topic that is wholly unrelated is contempable.

If that is truly the way you think then perhaps we should throw out all the scientific discoveries ever made by people of faith. After all, according to your line of reasoning, their discoveries must be tainted and until an Athiest finds it, it must be somehow "unpure" and therefore needs to be ridiculed.

Take NASAguy's arguments at their face value, not on the bigoted prejudice you have for his beliefs.

There is a difference between disagreement, even in the form of cutting laughter, and being dismissively insulting.

Laugh at someone's beliefs all you wish - but calling for banning because someone is a creationist is way out of bounds.

I'm sure plenty will bitch about this one, but let me entertain a question for a moment from the higher intelligence this site offers...

Why can't evolution and creationism, in whatever form we choose to pick, actually coexist? Why can't Creationist's just agree that evolution happens, which is pretty f#cking clear, but chalk it up to God at work and call it a day? Is evolution wholly dependant on the Big Bang to be viable? If not, WTF is anyone arguing about?

If I may tag a question on to that, since tate423 said that is pretty clear that evolution happens...

I understand the evidence for micro evolution, but what is the evidence for macro evolution?

I understand the evidence for micro evolution, but what is the evidence for macro evolution?

Well I would tell you Shawnott, but it would take a book as there are literally thousands of examples of macroevolution. After all, enough micros of anything will make a macro, just as enough feet will make a mile.

At any rate this is an energy forum, not a place for science to confromt dogmatic religion, which is exactly what creationism is. So let's keep peak oil as the subject because, as you may have noticed, this forum does not suffer fools galdly.

Ron Patterson

So-called Scientific Creationism is really nothing more than an attempt to give credence to an ancient Hebrew myth, by trying to prove that virtually all the world’s biologists, geologists, and paleontologists are a bunch of incompetent buffoons.

Thank you for the reply. My apologies to all if my question strayed too far OT, but with the discussions of 'peak water', economics, sociology, etc, it didn't seem too far of, escpecially considering I did not originate the thread.

I should have worded it better though. I realized after posting that my question really was more for a couple of bullet points or topics to read up on (regarding macro not micro evolution)so that I may better understand others positions. It was in no way an attempt to start some other discussion.

Have a good day. :)

I recently watch a documentary. It concerned a flower in the Amazon I believe. It had developed a way to hide its nectar. It had a very long "throat" leading from the flower petals, where the nectar was stored. This throat was way to long for common insects to be able to get at it.

Darwin said then there must evolve an insect that will have a long "device" that allows them to go down and get that nectar.

The researcher set up his equipment and waits all night. Miserable circumstances, and its almost daylight.

Then,.. an insect comes. (Its on high speed video or film).

It hovers by the flower and reveals a curled up "tongue" that it puts into the opening and unwinds it down the throat of the flower. Sucks up the nectar and off it goes. It was wild, what weird looking bug. The point was Darwin said it would evolve. It did appear.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

True Tate. I agree.
I think evolution happned under Gods direction and then came Man. But he wasn't Man until God gave him a soul and hence thats how he "created" him.

Please offer a testable hypothesis, or shut up.

They're not really into compromise. Example A: The Bush Administration. Also, many just can't get around the creation-in-7-days-in-4000 BC idea.

I made a smart-alecky remark about creationism a while back, thinking I would be in the company of like-thinking folk, with scientific backgrounds etc. Got some unexpected replies, I can't remember from whom just now, ...

But since that and conspiracy debate are tangential to the discussion here, there's no point arguing about them.

And may you find solace & comfort in His Noodly Appendages :^)

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

There is a reason why evolution is taught in schools and creationism is not. Evolution is a theory supported by museums full of material and text books full of facts. Creationism is a belief system supported by no facts with no testable criteaia. It is a prop of pure faith alone.

The on-line section of my local paper also gets very shrill comments from the climate-change deniers (the same few over and over) in response to each and every related article. Perhaps this is a sign that we've reached the "then they fight you" stage on that issue, as they are scared of what they see as real movement towards some policy changes. Never mind that the policy changes talked about thus far was very much smaller than what's really needed.

The great schism isn't between the Left and Right anymore, but between the "believers" and the "non-believers". Or between the "light" and the "darkness". Or between "rationality" and "irrationality". Or between "science" and "religion".

This may have very profound cultral importance going forward, as for about the last couple of centuries "superstition" has been in retreat, now, it appears to be making a comeback, at a time in our history when we need it the least.

If we're gonna get through Peak Oil and the other substantial problems we face; as a civilization we really need to hang on to rationality and science for all we're worth. We need to remain; calm, collected, focused and sensible, even when faced by the great challanges that lie ahead. It just may be that facing and overcoming these challanges may make us not only stronger, but better.

RE: Opec softens tone on oil supply

If you look at this table - Opec Oil Production

It would seem that there is not of excess capacity anywhere except KSA - apparently, 11 MMBPD of CRUDE ONLY. And, they are producing around 8.6MMBPD according to the EIA. So, they have 2.4 MMBPD of excess capacity. OPEC, supposedly, reduced 1.7MMBPD. Leaving an additional 700KBPD still in excess capacity.

Lots of capacity, right???

Saudi’s King Abdullah at the weekend used his annual remarks to the unelected Consultative Council, or parliament, to reiterate the kingdom’s long-term intention to remain the world’s largest oil producer.

He said Saudi Arabia was ”seeking to increase its oil production capacity so that it can meet its commitments for national growth and the demands of the international economies.”

He added Riyadh was ”aware of its international responsibilities and is working to create fair prices to this resource that take into consideration the interests of the producer and the consumer.”

Why do they need to increase capacity then? And alter market prices?

I still think they are giving us all the hints.

WT, note the little 'national growth' line as well. Net exports, net exports, net exports...Ugh!

Less than 75 days til we know. (ie. schools out at the end of June, driving season kicks into HIGH gear)

From the Saudi article up top:

"Many of these refineries may not materialize," Aramco's Mishari said at the Middle East Petroleum and Gas conference in Dubai. "The downstream bottleneck could remain."

The implication is that Saudi Arabia is curtailing crude oil deliveries, because of a lack of demand, due to a lack of specialized refining capacity--at the same time that Saudi Arabia is raising the price of their crude oil and putting some refiners on allocation, i.e., unilaterally cutting crude oil deliveries to levels below what buyers want to buy.

Since there is a time lag of several months from the time the Saudi's ship oil to the time it gets in our gas tank, shouldn't they start shipping more oil in Jan/Feb time frame for the summer driving season? Since the amount they shipped has been falling through March, I guess the summer driving season is going to be a bust.

Very good point!!!

Is the oil loaded on the tanker counted as production then, or when it is delivered?

I thought it was when it was loaded, but as yesterday's post about OPEC production and MEES accounting certainly raises the question.

Perhaps, they think we can draw down another 80 Million barrels or so of inventory, so they can achieve those 'fair prices' they are hoping for.

Ok this scares the living crap out of me. If OPEC ups its quotas next month its not gonna matter because we wont see any more supply until fall/winter?? Are we counting on all the oil we have in stock right now to feed our demand this summer? Are our refineries gonna be ready to handle heavy crude if we have to use more heavy crude to make gasoline? SO MANY QUESTIONS!!

Is this summer driving season really going to be a bust?

Im really freaked out right now... does anyone have any good news? :'(

We just need someone to do a graph of Saudi oil production throughout each year vs US demand to find out how they generally spike their production for higher summer demand. Or maybe look at their exports.

Consumer prices jump at highest rate in year

A surge in gasoline costs helped drive overall U.S. consumer prices up at the sharpest rate in nearly a year during March, though so-called core prices that exclude food and energy items rose at a muted pace, the Labor Department said on Tuesday.

But not to worry, excluding food and energy, there's hardly any inflation at all...

Via RGE Monitor, the headline at Bloomberg U.S. March Core Prices Rise Less Than Forecast" Excluding food and energy because they are apparently not "core".

I no longer think the explanation for the media is that they share class interests with the PTBs, or even that they are simply worried about their paycheck. They have to go deliberately out of their way to fabricate a story by changing base definitions like that.

cfm in Gray, ME

Well they do report the plain CPI, besides the "core" version. The important questions to my mind are:

(1) why havn't food and energy prices affected the "core" inflation much yet? Perhaps this indicates that workers in the US don't have enough bargaining power (in the face of outsourcing) to raise wages to fit the CPI, so they lose ground while producers manage to keep many product prices stable? If so, that's an example of the disconnect between monetary "inflation" and the impact on average people.

(2) how do they compute the CPI (even the non-core version), and does it reflect the actual expenses of "average" people? Obviously they have to define the "basket" of purchases, and adjust it over time. In reality, "cost of living" is evolving differently for different people, so one number cannot summarize it well. E.g., Circuit City cashiers who (have recently been "re-hired" at lower pay and) have a long commute, may see things differently than a stockbroker who got a bonus last December.

If you haven't read The Core Rate by Jim Puplava, check it out.

Thank you, Leanan, for that link. It is one for the bookmark archive !

I have always suspected manipulation of economic indicators.

I just didn't know the specific mechanisms.

Where IS that 'Theory of Everything' ?

Do you want to understand the ultimate lie? Try reading up about "hedonics", a mind-bending construct that allows government economists to essentially assign any value to anything thus completely negating any real discussion about inflation.

Talk about newspeak!

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

Come on, now, Greyzone, economics is a fantasy, so they can create whatever they like. ;-)

James Gervais
Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.

Great link, Leanan, thanks.

It really lays out the 4 areas of the CPI error. I recall all the media hoopla in the late 80's of how the increases in computing power needed to be incorporated in cpi...perhaps they should have used substitution and just compared em to typewriters.

One of his predictions in 2005 is shown upthread today in another of your posts-on the federal bailout of the housing mess.

I for one found that Puplava article disappointing. Too much mention of shiny yellow metals. Not enough substance to explain how the CPI is computed. E.g., I know quite well what a geometric average is. But he did not explain what are they averaging, and how things are weighted, how the "basket" is changing over time, and what kind of "average person" does it represent. Presumably they are concerned with the aggregate economy (all "consumer" stuff sold) rather than the experience of any real person. And his whining about the base income subject to social security tax certainly pegs his socio-economic background and bias...

Loved his quips about paying your bills based on "hedonics" or the "core rate" though! :-)

Yeh, thank goodness I don't need any food. What with ethanol, bad weather, bee colony collapse, water shortages, etc., what is there to worry about when the price of IPODs have not gone up.

Trade-off looms for arid US regions: water or power?

Water consumed by electric utilities could account for up to 60 percent of all nonfarm water used in the US by 2030.

The drive to build more power plants for a growing nation – as well as the push to use biofuels – is running smack into the limits of a fundamental resource: water.

Already, a power plant uses three times as much water to provide electricity to the average household than the household itself uses through showers, toilets, and the tap. The total water consumed by electric utilities accounts for 20 percent of all the nonfarm water consumed in the United States. By 2030, utilities could account for up to 60 percent of the nonfarm water, because they use water for cooling and to scrub pollutants.

This water-versus-energy challenge is likely to be most acute in fast-growing regions of the US, such as the Southeast and the arid Southwest. Assuming current climate conditions, continued growth in these regions could eventually require tighter restrictions on water use, on electricity use, or both during the hottest months, when demand for both skyrockets, researchers say. Factor in climate change and the projections look worse. This is prompting utilities to find ways to alleviate the squeeze.

Good article, that points out that it's going to get much, much worse if the region starts trying to produce oil shale or biodiesel.

Question: what happens to the water "used" by those power plants after they're done with it? How much evaporates? How much is rendered too polluted to return to a river, and what do they do with it therefore?

You seem to be screwed in US. Peak Water. Good Luck forward.

You think they're screwed, try living here in Canada, home of 10% of the world's renewable water supplies, but .5% of the people. And we all live close to the border. I really hope the US collapses before they get around to attacking us.

Darn you must have peeked at the new 'axis of evil' list.

I heard that Canada has Uranium and is fooling around with nukular power...

Adam W, I hope that our federal government comes to its senses and allows us to re-arm before we're attacked.

James Gervais
Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.

No more screwed than any other place in the world. Europe is a fun one to look at. Population density in the 300+ people/km2.


Or the fact that Russia has Europe by the balls in the Natural Gas, and energy markets.

It doesn't help that Europe is also connected by land to the other two big population centers of China and India.

Call me an optimist but I'll take the issues the Americas have over that mess called Eurasiafrica if the TSHTF.

Remember... the real problem is not that there are not enough resources. Its that there are too many monkeys using up the resources.

Alot of the cooling water is lost through evaporation (4,000,000 liters per hour for a 1 GW plant?). It seems to me that with some more work (condensing equipment), this clean water could be recaptured and used for drinking. As water used for cooling can often be from a non-potable source, power plants could be designed to produce, instead of consume, useful water.

Hello HeIsSoFly,

I have posted and emailed many suggestions for my Asphalt Wonderland--unfortunately my local leaders do not reply. The water, food, and energy crunch will hit the Southwest very hard.

If Az would promote Peakoil Outreach and raise the minimum driving age to 25-- it could do much to jumpstart mitigation. Many young families would immediately choose to relocate to areas where the driving age is lower thus reducing Az's Overshoot. Others would have to rely upon buses, bicycles, or carpooling with older adults. This would help jumpstart relocalization.

If all these youngsters started becoming PO-informed: I think they would become politically active in pushing for the required Az Paradigm changes-- they would naturally seek to optimize the detritus powerdown and biosolar powerup.

This mindset change would make it much easier to match future decreased waterflows to the best end-use preventing much violence. Proactive change is so much cheaper than waiting until last-gasp retroactive change. But I can't even get the local PTA to practice Peakoil Outreach to the youngsters.

If Az was willing to induce a local economic depression while energy is still cheap, and water is still available, then the restructuring will put us in better shape for the next downslope section of the decline ride.

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

How old are you Bob?

How about reducing the maximum driving age to 1 year lower then your current age? Who are you to make the judgement that people under the age of 25 don't need to drive?

Ageism is discrimination.

It's no wonder your local leaders don't respond to your crackpot self-serving ideas.


Hello ggg71,

Thxs for responding. I am soon to be 52. If you have a better idea for a shock model to instantly jumpstart mitigation among the young to create their future--please post your version.

I assume you read the EB link on Cascadia, if not:


I have first posted about this Secession trend years ago--recall Earthmarines? If not, please google. Would you rather have civil war or peaceful civil change?

A collapse now of the Az economy would setoff a migration to areas of better survivability and peaceful proactive change. This is far better than waiting till Cascadia has built their version of a Berlin Wall. I assume you are young and addicted to oil, I hope you are learning permaculture and bicycling everywhere instead. I wish you the best.

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


Why is it that the young must be the ones to move? Why do you (and all the rest of the baby boomers I'm guessing) have the right to stay, to use the resources, whilst the young should move to "areas of better survivability"?

As it is the young are going to be stuck funding your retirement on social security. We're going to be stuck paying for massive government debts you rang up in the 80's and 90's. And we're going to be stuck paying for your medicaid costs as well.

I'm surprised you haven't suggested mandatory servitude for all 20-25 year olds. The government could build concentration camps filled with giant hamster wheels, and the young could spend 5 years of their lives running in them 8 hours a day while you sit in your air conditioned Arizona home.

The burden of peak oil needs to be shouldered by EVERYONE. But if anyone is going to bear more of the burden, shouldn't it be those who have been gorging themselves for the last 50 years?



Hello Ggg71,

Thxs for responding. I think you need to think about this more. A widespread Peakoil Outreach among the Az young would convince them that Az is the last place to try and build a future [unless a PV techno-breakthrough occurs]. My PO-aware 30ish stepson [I have no biological offspring] wants to relocate--I am whole-heartedly behind his decision to get out of Vegas soon, then move to a more survivable area.

Jay Hanson & Jim Kunstler have already written quite a bit about this increasingly dire Southwestern Scenario. I have posted endlessly on my Asphalt Wonderland too--feel free to do a TOD archive search on my totoneila name. Since I am concerned for the future of the young--the sooner my local economy can be induced to collapse--the better off these kids will be. Why wait for our desert version of Nawlin's Katrina?

If huge numbers of the Az young migrated early to Cascadia and provided the physical labor for the relocalized permaculture labor shift of 60-75% of Cascadian pop, the cost savings will soon far outweigh the desire for a car.

Also, large numbers of young, healthy, well-trained, and well-armed Cascadian Earthmarine snipers will be a daunting barrier to any later migrational wave of older, poorly equipped, and desperate invaders. Google the incredible 'one shot, one kill' efficiency of snipers or read this link:


From memory: His long distance shooting record has been bested recently by another quarter mile in Iraq or Afghanistan. Better rifles and scopes since Vietnam. IMO, Cascadia needs to demographically optimize their future chances by skewing to a much greater youth-old ratio ASAP.

Meanwhile, the collapse of Az economy will eventually force us poor, old farts [unable to overcome our heavy, prior psychological and monetary investment in the old paradigm]to try and do the same permaculture shift, but we will fail as we do not have the energy of the young. It will take a tremendous effort to get our multitude of golf courses converted to productive vegetable gardens. Recall that Az is at the far ends of FF and other essential infrastructure spiderwebs.

So we will dieoff at an accelerated rate, but with many of the young already gone--we won't have to worry too much about the youngsters beating us to death to steal our last scraps of food.

Additionally, the Az superrich, among others, who can afford to abandon their housing investment, will be financing this rapid permaculture shift in Cascadia and other areas. Recall that good farmland prices are accelerating upward.

The Ponzi scheme of Social Security and other entitlements is not going to last very much longer. This will rapidly end A/C and heating of Sun City retiree's McMansions. Rising fuel prices will soon end their jet-travel, ocean cruises, and RV usage too.

I then expect the Southwest to be finally overrun by a Mexican Reconquista as Mexico goes down the tubes. Defending the desert border takes too much energy: others have already compared it to Iraq. By getting the nation's youngsters relocated early farther north-- they will then be able to successfully repel this later assault.

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


While you may have good intentions, I believe your solution is misguided if not unethical.

If you truly believe in Cascadia, and see it as a "Garden of Eden" for the youth of America, you should relocate yourself there. I'm certain the consulting services of a permaculture expert such as yourself will be invaluable as the decline in fossil fuels post peak unfolds.

In fact, a small sustainable farm of 10-20 acres could be staffed with young interns from nearby colleges looking to learn the ins and outs of organic farming. Perhaps you could buy several cargo containers and turn them into dormitory style housing?

Perhaps you'd enjoy the following book:

It's a Long Road to a Tomato




You make some good points, in my opinion, though I'm not so adverse to what Bob has tossed out for exploration.

Now, don't be too hard on Bob. :o) He does an amazing amount of speculating and develops some rather imaginative ideas. Such thinking is certainly worthwhile, AFAIAK. I've found it quite fascinating, and, in the least, some of it might make for some good fiction stories set in the near future. It'd be nice to see more of this kind of scenario-building from others. See hypothetical outcomes for the myriad potential responses to Hubbert's downslope.

I wonder if ethical considerations will change fast in a post-peak world? Probably so. This itself would be worth exploring in-depth.

Also, people with Bob's kind of imagination are an asset. I hope we get him up here in Cascadia before TSHTF and Phoenix is reduced to silent, empty shells and asphalt oceans being sun-scorched along with the dust and tumbleweeds.



"I wonder if ethical considerations will change fast in a post-peak world? Probably so. This itself would be worth exploring in-depth." Posted by Graywulffe

I wonder how much of our modern-day ethical values, morals and ideas of justice and fairness and process are only made possible by the availability of cheap and abundant energy, especially oil.

Antoinetta III

I've read some interesting takes on the relationship between cheap and abundant energy and social justice... And, well, it just makes the downslope that much more frightening... I worry very much about my daughter. :o(



Unfortunately, given the wrong circumstances we are capable of almost anything. In fact we are capable of anything. Massive social stress often leads to us disgarding civilization in preference for barbarism. I don't think we actually choose to go down this road, at least not openly; it just seems to "mysteriously" happen on occasion.

It doesn't need to be connected to something as potentially mega-huge and disruptive as Peak Oil. War, revolution and socio-economic chaose are enough to set the ball rolling. There you can see that I've put PO in a rather dramatic perspective.

Nazi Germany is a ghastly example of what we are capable of. Nearer our own time there is the history of modern Yugoslavia to consider. Here, people who had lived side by side with one another, more or less at peace for decades, began to fight, kill and eventually slaughter each other. Perhaps the major cause of this fall into barbarism was virtual economic collapse in the decade before the outbreak of armed conflict. Massive inflation, unemployment, falling standards of living, disintegration of the state...

Now, am I saying that we, people like us, are likely or capable of following in the bloody footsteps of these people? I don't know is the simple answer. However, we would be foolish to regard ourselves as immune to the lure of barbarism, or that we are so different that it could never happen here, not in a million years.

we are capable of almost anything

Including great and heroic acts of humanity.

A simple example#, looters in New Orleans developed a "rule". Whoever scored some food or water got a double share and shared the rest, with the weakest getting highest priority. Looters kept hundreds if not thousands alive by sharing liquids and food.

Best Hopes for Humanity.


# while GWB sent the USS Bataan to the Gulf Coast with a Republican governor and two R Senators (she could have been moored at the Upper 9th Ward US Navy base or behind the Convention Center Tuesday morning with 600 hospital beds, tons of MREs, able to distill 100,000 liters of fresh water/day, couple of doxen helos, etc.) According to the commander of the USS Bataan, she was "underutilized" off the Casino Coast. After off loading supplies and evacuating our hospitals, she could have gone down river during the day to provide first relief for Plaquemines## and St. Bernard Parishes. May our Commander-in-Chief rot in hell !

The overhead shot of Army trucks forging through yard high water bringing relief was just a photo-op. There was a dry road from the Convention Center (the HOV lane of the Mississippi River bridge) at all times. Never more than a couple of inches of rain water and dry by Monday PM.

## The first relief for Plaquemines Parish was the British Columbia Search & Rescue, who DROVE in !

Dear Alan,

Of course we are capable of greatness, unselfishness, heroism, altruism, sacrifice, sharing, gentleness, kindness and love; just to mention a few of our nobler qualities.

I was only replying to Antoinetta's query about the possible effects of Peak Oil on society and ethics. I think we have to be careful and keep our eyes open, and perhaps be aware that societies can change very dramatically in a relatively short timespan, and not for the better.

I wasn't implying that Nazi Germany was just around the corner, at least I don't believe I was!

I do think, though, that some societies which have elevated competition to an almost divine status, can perhaps, given very unfavourable circumstances, move in negative and potentially totalitarian direction. Unbridled competion, reminds me of vulgar "Darwinism" and appears to me, to be a rather brutal way to organize society.

Nazi Germany is a ghastly example of what we are capable of.

Don't forget Dresden or Hiroshima or Nagasaki. And those little examples of man-at-his-best were done by the ostensible good guys in that fight.

"Now we're all sons of bitches." -Ken Bainbridge, the test director at Trinity to Robert Oppenheimer


I'm not sure if your comment is directed at Alan or me?

The mass destruction of cities and their defenceless civilian populations, is, obviously to be deplored. Clearly this is not "man at his best". Wars are, terrible things, and once they start pretty much anything can happen and often does. Barbarism often becomes the norm. The real trick, is not to start wars, especially agressive war. I don't particularly to get into a debate about who did what during the second world war, or who was worse, or did anyone have completely clean hands. It's a complicated and difficult subject.

However, it was the age of total war, with all that it implies. I think Hitler and the Nazies had to be stopped and war was probably the only way to do it. The Nazies turned it very quickly into a race war, especially on the eastern front and it quickly degenerated into something close to a war of survival for both sides. I do get slightly concerned about attempts to find or allege some kind of moral equivalence between the Nazi death regime and the allies, which your comment implies. I don't think many of us would like to live in a world in which the Nazies won the second world war, many of us wouldn't actually be alive today if they had won, would we? So So, very tendentious and radical allegation that we are somehow almost the same as the Nazies, or can be compared to the Nazies in any substantial way, appears on the face of it to be pretty absurd.

Sorry ggg71, I'm with Bob on this. I have never thought him to be "misguided if not unethical". Bob's ideas have always given me pause to think, not to condemn. I wish I had as good an imagination as his. Your left-handed comments aren't needed.

Hello ggg71,

Thxs for responding. I think you are mistaken by calling me a permaculture expert--LOL! AlanfromBigEasy has already seen my girlfriend's tiny lot, with crushed gravel and concrete front yard, and even smaller backyard. He would be the first PO-aware person to tell me that I am Toast postPeak.

I can't leave Phx because my mom refuses to relocate, and the rest of my family is in extreme denial. They keep telling me to leave the 'cult' and rejoin society. I think they will eventually come around to my point-of-view.

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

I don't think Bob's ideas are remotely practical, but he means well.

He wants to save the young people. He stays in Arizona because his aged mother is there. He fully expects to die there if TSHTF. He doesn't want that to happen to kids who have their whole lives ahead of them.

Hey Ggg71,

Bob just offered to die so that the young may live and have a great life. He also offered to finance it slowly with the rich from AZ. Bob lays down a plan, for a place he will never go, to live a life closer to real community and you fail to grasp the concept. Bob may not be Moses, but he sure laid out the ark for you.

totoneila: And exactly why should Mexicans be excluded?

James Gervais
Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.

Hello ImSceptical,

I don't think any legal Americans of any group should be excluded from migration. Full DNA diversity is a long-run plus. But the way trends are developing currently--I think illegals of any group may be headed into trouble, unless SuperNafta is the topdogs ultimate goal. I cannot yet tell how this will play out, can you?

The invasion from Mexico, and other countries seems like a done deal at some future point-- this attempt sure beats starving to death in Mexico, Hispanola Island, Puerto Rico, and other points further South. I don't blame them at all--I would try the same thing myself. But once we are sufficiently postPeak and the degree of Overshoot is now obvious to everyone-- nobody will welcome new outsiders.

This is all speculation of course-- but some people, maybe not me, will make accurate predictions. "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy just won the Pulitzer Award-- is this fiction a more accurate prediction? Time will tell.



Recall that this book is now on Oprah's reading list.

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

I'm surprised you haven't suggested mandatory servitude for all 20-25 year olds.



January 10, 2007

Universal National Service Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)
HR 393 IH

110th CONGRESS, 1st Session, H. R. 393

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.

Granted, it wasn't Bob who suggested it, but then he didn't need to, did he? Oh, and it's 18-42 year olds.

If anyone thinks this is not likely to become law, or that it will take ten years or more, do think again, if you're in that age group or have kids that are.

Want to be a Cascadian earthmarine, then do it quick and hide well. Don't be fooled into thinking your government is asleep. They know what's coming: they are.

Well since you seem to be keen on restricting freedoms from people in order to promote the greater good, why not turn this argument on its head.

Lets restrict solo/unsupervised driving to those in the ages of 25 to 45.

For those who wish to drive from 16 to 24 they would have to be paired up with an adult from age 45 and up, and vice versa. This should help reduce those accident totals from the younger and older outlying age brackets, and spread the responsibility of shouldering this burden onto everyone, instead of just penalizing the next generation for the misallocation of resources by our elders.

(And yes I'm dripping sarcasm here but don't let that stop you. Read on!)

This might also have the added social engineering benefit of creating greater family cohesiveness as it would squarely place transportation into the realm of a communal experience in which elders can pass on that wisdom to their youngers and youngers can gain respect for their elders.

The other nice thing about this legislation is that it very neatly carves the baby boomer generation out of the picture in terms of driving. The reduction in oil usage and and need for mass transit would have amazing benefits for our society.

But knowing the self centered nature of baby boomers and the elder voting block I know something like this wouldn't stand a chance in hell.

Why then should you be surprised that the next generation is only mirroring the very same characteristics that they've seen and been brought up in by their role models in the baby boomer generation.

And if we would raise the required IQ level here a bit, you wouldn't be allowed to write comments, Garth.

Beautiful idea, Bob, but the Constitution might turn out to be a bit of a hindrance. Then again, who in the US cares anymore these days?

Wasn't Gonzales up to testify today? He's the head honcho. and he wipes his ass with it.

Why should people under 16 not be allowed to drive? How about 14? How about 12? Maybe 6? How about 3? You have to draw the line somewhere, right? Why not 25?

Pointing to 25 actually has lots of merit in that younger people can become more financially established before taking ownership of a car and in that younger people account for a disproportionate fraction of auto accidents.

Let's look at auto accidents:

Age Male Female
16-19 38 19
20-24 29 9
25-29 17 5
30-34 14 5
35-39 12 5
40-44 12 5
45-49 11 5
50-54 11 5
55-59 10 4
60-64 11 6
65-69 12 6
70-74 15 7
75-79 20 9
80-84 23 12
85+ 35 14

That table right there would seem to argue very strongly for restricting driving age to 25. It also argues to above about 75 or 80 as well. But notice that not even the entirety of the 85+ crowd is as bad as the 16-19 crowd, nor are the 80-84 crowd as bad as the 20-24 crowd. In fact, the statistics argue for limiting driving of males under the age of 25. How do you like them apples, ggg71?

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

Isn't it equally likely that the 10 years practise of driving makes you less likely to have an accident, rather than simply being because you're older and wiser?

Look at the starting accident level for females versus males. Males don't reach the accident level that females begin with until they are 25. Where did the females get their experience?

Or you can go check the accident rates in Europe by age where car ownership typically begins much later. There really is not much correlation between "learning time" and decreased driving accidents but there is between straight age and decreased driving time.

Simply put, young males are hormonal head cases. I know because I was one once upon a time. And then I had to whip lots more such young boys into real men in another life long ago. Between the messages that our culture sends to young males and with the biological realities of young males, the almost tripled accident rate is no surprise at all.

The increasing accident rate at older ages is also dominated by headstrong males who refuse to accept their limitations.

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

Car ownership in Europe starts later because cars are more expensive to buy and run here (I'm from Ireland). The vast majority of people begin driving at 17, the legal age, we just drive mum and dad's cars.

As for your point about females, looking at the figures, male fatalities drop 23% in the first 5 years, and 41% in the following five years, females drop just over 50% in the first 5 and then anout 50% again in the next 5. This could merely show that females are quicker learners!

In addition, surely the data is skewed by the fact that the most reckless drivers will die the youngest, since they're already dead they won't show up in the older figures.

I actually probably agree with your points but I don't think the evidence is quite as clear cut as you suggest!

P.S. I'm 23 so banning everyone under this age is fine ;-)

First of all, my argument against the suggestion is that it is discrimanatory. If you want to ban driving for people who are bad drivers, ok. But they should be banned after the third accident or something.

But Bob never suggested banning 16-25 year olds because they were bad drivers. No, he suggested banning them because they were young, and they need to "learn to prepare" for the future. In other words he wants to subsidize the price of gasoline for himself (and his fellow baby boomers) on the backs of bicycling 16-25 year olds. That's pure and total bullshit.

The solution to Peak Oil is not to ban certain people from driving. You might think it is, right up to the point when some political lobby decides to ban you. Then I'd be willing to bet you'll change your tune.

If you want to propose that we raise the price of gasoline across the board, or put a carbon tax on the purchase of new vehicles, or even ration gasoline to some specified amount per person per time period, fine. But don't trample on someone else's liberties. That's just wrong.


What "right" do you have to drive? It's a privilege, sir, granted to you by the government that you elected. It is NOT a right as has been evidenced by courts that have revoked that privilege under various circumstances, not all of which were related to driving offenses.

You don't yet understand that liberty is a convenient fiction that is fast becoming inconvenient. And no, this is not because of peak oil.

In an interview ( Moyers 1989 ) Bill Moyers asked Isaac Asimov:

What happens to the idea of the dignity of the human species if this population growth continues at its present rate?

Asimov responded:

It will be completely destroyed. I like to use what I call my bathroom metaphor: if two people live in an apartment and there are two bathrooms, then both have freedom of the bathroom. You can go to the bathroom anytime you want to stay as long as you want for whatever you need. And everyone believes in freedom of the bathroom; it should be right there in the Constitution.

But if you have twenty people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up times for each person, you have to bang on the door, "Aren’t you through yet?" and so on.

Asimov concluded with the profound observation:

In the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive [overpopulation]. Convenience and decency cannot survive [overpopulation]. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies, the more people there are, the less one person matters.

Wake up, ggg71! A train is coming down the tracks and you are asleep on them. And that train is not peak oil. Peak oil is just the rumble you feel underneath you. The full force of the train is yet to arrive.

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

Wake up, ggg71! A train is coming down the tracks and you are asleep on them.


Respectfully, the train is barreling down the tracks at all of us.

Personally, I do not believe any individual has more right or less right to energy then any other individual. Obviously the rich can afford more, but even the poor are recognized as having a right to energy and are given subsidies.

If Bob had suggested that everyone 65+ be banned from driving, would that have been ok? What if he had suggested we ban asians from driving?

Should the young be precluded from using Air Conditioning too? After all - they're young - they don't need it! What about boats? Are the young banned from driving and owning them untill they are 25 too?

The point is discrimination is wrong.

Bob is a deep-thought kind of guy. Some of his suggestions are good, others are bad. I'm just weighing in on the latest.




The younger a person is the further into the future that he will be likely to survive. So making hard changes now would benefit the young more than the old.

Bob's point was to force the younger generation to ACT NOW while there is time available. If there were actually enough support for such an idea it would probably be unnecessary.

By the way, we older folks didn't have air conditioning before we were 25 either.

Logically both age and experience (years of driving) affect the relative safety of a driving age/gender group. If you raise the age to 25 you'll just have less experienced 25-29 yo drivers causing more than the current 17% of (male) accidents. Which begs the question, why not limit the 25-29 group and make the driving age 30? And while we're at it, no-one of retirement age since they also cause more accidents than the 30-69 group.

The point is, in terms of PO, why base driving on age?

The initial argument of it raising awareness of the issue in young people's minds is much more reasonable... although I don't necessarily think it is a good way of going about it...

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

I think 25 is stretching it, but 21 might do it, and at the very least 18. Nobody can say that those under 18 have a "right" to be a menace on the public roads. Setting the driving age at 18 would do a LOT of good IMHO, since not only will it keep 16-year-olds from killing themselves and others on the roads, it would force teenagers to become aquainted with the other methods of getting around. They could trr walking, biking and public transport, rather than being brainwashed early into the mindset that the private automobile is the definition of civilizaton. It would increase the demand for public transport, too.

I agree. I think 25 is a bit of a stretch. I could go for 18 being the limit, however. If one can be drafted at 18, I think one should be able to drive, vote, drink, etc, etc. (Not necessarily in that order, or all at once.)

I'm not in the 16-25 age group, but I distinctly remember the joy associated with reduced auto insurance when I turned 25. Never mind the fact that the only auto accident that involved any damage to a vehicle was where I was rear-ended by a hit and run driver.

I will say that I've calmed down in my driving as the years have passed.

But hey, instead of doing that, let's just reduce the maximum allowable displacement on vehicles to 1.3L unless you're using it for business purposes. :)

And here comes the bailout, phase 1...

Mortgage giants may help borrowers

The heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Tuesday the mortgage finance giants are developing new types of loans to help distressed borrowers with high-risk mortgages keep their homes at a time of rising foreclosures.

The moves by the two government-sponsored companies, the biggest buyers and guarantors of home mortgages in the country, came in response to the turmoil in the market for so-called subprime mortgages, higher-priced loans for people with tarnished credit or low incomes who are considered greater risks. In recent weeks, the distress has roiled financial markets and stoked anxiety that it could spill over into the broader economy.

The initiatives by the companies were disclosed in testimony prepared for a House hearing by Daniel Mudd, president and chief executive of Fannie Mae, and Richard Syron, Freddie Mac's chairman and CEO.

...He said the new products will include 30-year and possibly 40-year fixed-rate mortgages as well as adjustable-rate mortgages with longer fixed-rate periods.

We knew this was coming. or anyone who reads iTulip regularly does, at least.

"More Wealth Re-Distribution: Taxpayers to Banks"

"The Ant and the Grasshopper, Then and Now"

Always remember: follow the money

From housing panic site:

Here's the proof that Schumer is one of the most corrupt Senators in history (contributor list), which reads like a who's who of the subprime crash bankrollers:

1 Goldman Sachs $350,850
2 Citigroup Inc $227,550
3 JP Morgan Chase & Co $195,900
4 Credit Suisse First Boston $191,294
5 Morgan Stanley $186,500
6 Bear Stearns $154,250
7 Merrill Lynch $125,100
8 AOL Time Warner $114,000
9 UBS Americas $108,500
10 Lehman Brothers $107,000

No way Schumer is going to let his Wall Street banking buddies take a hit the wallet - when he can get the money from your wallet instead.

Nice. Sounds similar to the 1930s when the US Govt recalled privately owned gold so that people couldn't redeem their paper notes for the gold that backed them - a move primarily aimed at saving the banks.

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

The article about chic-onomics, in which one can read for ex:

Traditional economics is trapped in 20th century worldview, where the outdated ideology of "global-market utopianism" has replaced reality and theory: Their dogma says "markets are perfect." They focus narrowly on protecting their "efficient market hypothesis," with a blind obsession for endless "growth."

makes valid points. Economics is really a kind of new pseudo-scientific religion.

I never even took Economy 101 and don’t like reading about ‘the economy’ - I have no problems with math though, that is not the reason.

I have always wondered, why is there no proposed general accounting system - confused or poor as it might be - to take into account in some fashion the various dimensions: resources from the environment (eg oil, coal), natural growth in the environment (eg forest with earth, sunlight, rain), generally called ‘sustainable’, that is a process that continues without added intervention; the added value of human work (eg lady who shores a sheep and makes a sweater), taking into account that to ‘produce’ humans must eat and be clothed etc., coupled with some kind of understanding of humans ways of exchanging and attributing ‘value’ (digging for gold can make you ‘rich’ while gold is not in itself terribly useful.)

High complexity I realize. So, if anyone knows of efforts in such a direction, I’d be very pleased to hear.

expat posted:

And this may also be where I part ways with the Tainter idea of complexity - it is not really the complexity which brings the end, it is the fact that the people within a system desperately try to keep it going, as changing it represents something unacceptable.

I agree, but surely it is in part because they don’t have a reasonable accounting method to hand, and consider ‘religion’ a question of personal choice but all adhere to the ‘free market’ hoo ha - actually, always a Gvmt. controlled economy - in a kind of lunatic adherence? (World wide there are exceptions. Guess the Iraqis are not keen on the ‘free market’ any longer.)

I have always wondered, why is there no proposed general accounting system - confused or poor as it might be - to take into account in some fashion the various dimensions: resources from the environment (eg oil, coal), natural growth in the environment (eg forest with earth, sunlight, rain), generally called ‘sustainable’, that is a process that continues without added intervention; the added value of human work (eg lady who shores a sheep and makes a sweater), taking into account that to ‘produce’ humans must eat and be clothed etc., coupled with some kind of understanding of humans ways of exchanging and attributing ‘value’ (digging for gold can make you ‘rich’ while gold is not in itself terribly useful.)

It is, it is called "industrial ecology", you can trace it back to the works of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and its bioeconomy. In fact there are a lot of "natural economists" around, but nobody seems to be interested in their advice.

I took environmental economics back in the 70s; those economists such as Herman Daly have been arguing about an alternative way of measuring welfare for decades. But we are addicted to our comforting, but quite meaningless, GDP numbers. Remember that something doesn't have to be a "good" to be included in GDP.

Not to mention natural capital. Think of the billions of dollars in value that bees provide through their free pollination. Now that they are disappearing, we will have to find the billions to make up for their free services. The jury is out, but we may find that our obsession with GDP and what we think of as growth and wealth may have something to do with the demise of the bees.

Or the "value" of natural beauty: the Appalachian mountains.

I tried to get into some natural economics but it's poorly developed and I've only found one good website, but it had little in the form of substantive information. The BEST economic school of thought IMHO is Austrian, but most here might know this already.

I haven't read even a quarter of it yet, but MISES, HUMAN ACTION is FREE on mises.org I believe and it's invaluable. He's got nearly 200 pages on PSYCHOLOGY alone. After reading through the first hundred, I started to really GET IT, that economics is almost completely about psychology of the human mind. It's completely about the micro decisions all of us make and how they aggregate out. It was like such a DUH moment, but I still find myself skipping over this OBVIOUS point. Undestanding HUMAN ACTIONS will provide the best insight into how systems will unfold (such as ours). Google Austrian Economics and enjoy the rabbit hole....


There have been attempts at doing so but I think we need to have two types of economics - descriptive and theoretical. A descriptive economics one that follows strictly with the tools developed over the centuries and theoretical – one that speculates what the connections there are between one discipline and other discipline and where they conflict.

Thanks for the responses, I will look it all up.


I'm not sure I should venture into this rather subtle debate, as I got into a great deal of trouble when I studied economics at university. It didn't end well, but that's another story!

Anyway, State-Capitalism, among other things, is all about hiding and transfering "costs" from one social group to another, in such a way that this "slight of hand" almost becomes invisible. I developed my own parody or definition of Adam Smith's "invisible hand" idea at university, and being brash, young and stupid, I said it out loud too often.

For me, as the above implies, the invisible hand was actually something quite different to what most economists, at least the ones at my school said it was, I thought the invisible hand was comparable to the hand of a card cheat who was stacking the deck and making cards appear and disappear at will, the whole game had been rigged by the invisible hand to conceal the true nature of the hand and the game. I suppose it was impolite of me to ridicule and show almost total contempt for my teachers most deeply held views, but I was young and silly, and thought it was harmless fun to shake things up a bit. How wrong I was!

Since it's clear the climate will keep on changing for the next 50-100 years even if we cut 100% of emissions yesterday afternoon, US retired generals are either A/ real dumb or B/ carrying a hidden agenda. That's all the flavors we have. Take your pick.

Climate change leads to terrorism?!

Former US military leaders have called on the Bush administration to make major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

In a report, they say global warming poses a serious threat to national security, as the US could be drawn into wars over water and other conflicts.
They appear to criticise President George W Bush's refusal to join an international treaty to cut emissions.

Among the 11 authors are ex-Army chief of staff Gordon Sullivan and Mr Bush's ex-Mid-East peace envoy Anthony Zinni.
The report says the US "must become a more constructive partner" with other nations to fight global warming and deal with its consequences.

It warns that over the next 30 to 40 years, there will be conflicts over water resources, as well as increased instability resulting from rising sea levels and global warming-related refugees.
"The chaos that results can be an incubator of civil strife, genocide and the growth of terrorism," the 35-page report predicts.

Even though the climate would change somewhat in any case, taking steps they are asking for would reduce the size of the change. Unless you believe that we've passed a positive feedback "tipping point" such that no action would make any difference?

OTOH, if their hidden agenda is Peak Oil then that's a blessing.

We needn't have passed a tipping point, thoough that is by no means impossible. The inertia involved in CO2's penetration of the biosphere means that today's emissions won't start affecting much of anything before 2040/50. Today's warming is due to 1960/70 emissions. CO2 remains in the atmosphere for well over a 100 years.

The Army's hidden agenda, as I suggest it, is using climate change to prop up defense budgets even more. Well, unless they are really dumb, and believe they can stop warming, right?

The military in that case would have a unique opportunity to act, since it's the single largest emitter. Then again, that would call for less military, not more. Bit of a conundrum. Especailly if you're really dumb.

We needn't have passed a tipping point, thoough that is by no means impossible. The inertia involved in CO2's penetration of the biosphere means that today's emissions won't start affecting much of anything before 2040/50. Today's warming is due to 1960/70 emissions. CO2 remains in the atmosphere for well over a 100 years.

I haven't heard of the "inertia effect" before. Do you have a source for this?


Search for Thermal Inertia.

Realize that the warming of the oceans has a far stronger long-range effect on the climate than that of the air, and that water takes far longer to warm/cool.

CO2 does stay pretty stable for 100 years, unlike methane, which dissolves much faster.

I have a hunch you are incorrect in the figure of not affecting much for forty years. The annual readings from Mauna Loa show an annual up and down as the seasonal generation/sequestration drives even the readings in the mid Pacific at twelve thousand feet. It penetrates the atmosphere pretty fast.

Carbon does have a somewhat different effect at different altitudes, and the initial response of holding in heat at lower altitudes leads to heightened effects at the sources. Hoping that nothing substantial will happen for forty years from our actions today sounds pretty goofy to me. I realize that this science is a bit new and only now building consensus, so anyone out there have an up to date skinny on the lag thing? Perhaps you are referring to the time taken for the knock on consequences such as ocean warming to catch up to the atmosphere. In this regard we will always be behind and even if we stop adding more, there will be some overshoot and a slow return to normal. Our position at the moment is a combination of past and present effects.

Given that water has the highest specific heat of any substance I know of - multiples of steel or rock - the ocean is an astoundingly large heat flywheel. However, the surface heats and cools rather rapidly and that is what is in contact with the air.

Unless we change the basic solar output or orbital geometry, there is little permanent damage we humans can do to the Earth, but our ability to shoot ourselves in the foot in the short term is fully assured. Transitory collateral damage to other residents included.

How long CO2 stays up there is pretty much dependent on how much is up there. The bigger the pile the longer the shoveling. Looks like a century's worth at present, and rising. The carbon sink only has so big a drain!

Do not worry in US. No one will attack you, because it seems that in the future you won´t have much water left that could interest any other country.

By "drawn in" they mean that we will bomb the hell out of other countries and take their water. Of course we're not worried about anyone attacking us... we spend more money on defense (offense??) than any other nation in the world.

Yes for now, but when the US economy implodes in the coming Kondratieff winter, you will not have the economic means to maintain your military muscles anymoore with loaned money.

More, in fact, than ALL the other nations combined. This threshold was crossed sometime in the last two years:

Actually, 20% of the earth's fresh surface water is in the Great Lakes, on the border between the U.S. and Canada.

The primary water problem the U.S. will have is supplying the relatively water-poor southwestern part of the country, far from the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Initiative was designed to stave off the water grab, but some politician from Ohio is holding it up over property rights. Yes the Midwest has water and we have people leaving, but they will come walking back.

Good news, than we will attack you.

I believe an agreement with the neighboring states & provinces has already been signed that prevents any water being taken out of the watershed.

we can distribute it thru the river that caught on fire...

bad water, good beer; ironic..

Are you referring to the fires on the Cuyahoga river in Cleveland?


And the eponymously named "Burning River Beer"?


The Cuyahoga river is actually one of the rare environmental success stories. Here's a funny story. A couple years back, the EPA released an update on fish from the Ohio River. Previously they had said it was never safe to eat fish from it, but now it is OK to eat fish from the Ohio river up to twice a year, so long as you are not pregnant, in poor health or elderly. Now who would read that and think, great now I can eat fish from the Ohio river!

A co-worker (about 20 years ago) came from Ohio. He told an amusing story about a ribbon-cutting at a bridge, during which flames from the river set fire to the Mayor's hair.

It was his estimation that as they sequentially fed each steel mill to the one next door, Cleveland's air and water became cleaner. By the mid-80s it had fully realized its rustbelt status and the politicians were eagerly boasting about their newfound concern for the environment.

I predict the same thing for Global Warming in about 5 or 10 years. With the economy in tatters, politicians everywhere will be thumping their chests and boasting about how their policy decisions have reduced atmospheric CO2.

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

Have you heard of the Great Lakes ?
The S.W. USA is vulnerable to water shortages in the future, but the rest of the country has more than adequate water. There is also a lot of room for conservation. Over the next 10 years as we convert our suburban lawns to vegetable gardens, water use will go down.

By the way, what happens to climate in your part of the world if the gulf stream shuts down?

It won´t be so warm as in US.

The US has plenty of water, just not necessarily in the places where people prefer to live.

Consider that the OHio River has typically around 150,000 cubic feet of flow of fresh water per second which is roughly 1 million gallons per second. Right now it has nearly 400,000 cfs, or 3 million gallons per second of flow.


And this is to say nothing of the Great Lakes, the largest source of fresh water in the world.

Thinking about this makes me think, even if the midwest is a very dull place right now, maybe it won't be such a bad place relatively speaking in the future.

North Korea signals atomic shut down

Intelligence officials reported increased activity Tuesday around North Korea's main nuclear reactor, indicating the country may be preparing to uphold its agreement to shut down the plant.

"Former US military leaders have called on the Bush administration to make major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions."

Where do "major cuts" come from ? cfl's ??

Seriously ... has any scientist or government official proposed any immediate "major cuts" ???

50 mph speed limit ... would that be a "major cut" ?

A new Round-Up has been posted on TOD:Canada.

Alternative automobile news, review, and critical commentator website "The Truth About Cars" has a great article concerning the Tesla Roadster EV. Well worth a read.

"Tesla Dead Ahead! The Automobile’s Energy-Lean and Speed-Restricted Future"

They get it.
Unfortunately, most of their readership (judging from the comments) do not.

I don't think many of their writers do get it, but Farago says they are open to new contributors:


I don't think that was a very fair article/editorial. They make the Tesla roadster to be something it isn't. Its not the savior of "happy motoring" not is it meant to be. Its a big expensive toy for rich Hollywood types.

The author would have been on better footing deconstucting some of the hype surrounding the Tesla. Namely that a couple preproduction prototypes does not a working, mass produced, profitable car make. And it certainly does not mean a cheap, fully functional sedan is just around the corner.

Tesla has been very careful with their press releases. Its the hype that's been generated in the blogosphere that is crap and should have drawn the authors fire.

GM will get plug-in vehicle into production: executive

Regarding looming CAFE regulations, the GM cavalier stated,

"We're kind of in a wait-and-see environment,"

arggh- what a business plan

Yah. They're waiting for the return of $1.50 a gallon gasoline. Time to redesign the styling on their full-size pickup trucks again!

Is there any way they can make the headlights look angrier? =P

Is it just me, or are the pickup trucks they build now way bulkier than they were 15-20 years ago? Seems like theyve stepped way beyond the utility of the vehicle... =/

Hello Spudw,

That is the normal evolution of marketing big pickups and SUVs-- enhance the Johnny Wadd chrome penis effect! My 12 year old GMC pickup has 150 hp v-6--more than enough power-- I pulled a friend's 26 ft boat on a double axle trailer many times from Phx to Havasu years ago, then back, no problem. Today, people are convinced they need 350 hp V-8 to haul their golf clubs.

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

At the risk of painting all Albertans with the same brush, I have to say that I wasn't surprised to see an interesting sight in Leduc (south of Edmonton) last week: a humungous F350 4X4 crew cab raised up extra high with all the extra shiny doodads including, wait for it, chrome bull testicles hanging off the trailer hitch.

Parked in the Safeway parking lot with wife and child carefully climbing down its multiple steps, I couldn't help but think that the truck, if it could talk, would object to being the designated grocery-getter.

What is an "interesting sight" in Alberta is a common one in San Antonio, Texas...have often speculated whether depriving the large pickup crowd would reduce their testosterone levels, or they would simply manifest themselves in more destructive ways.

Democrats Taking Closer Look at Agency Oversight of Oil, Gas Leases

With the advent of a Democratic Congress, public interest groups that have long complained that the U.S. Minerals Management Service is too lax in its oversight of oil and natural gas leases on public lands have found some kindred spirits on Capitol Hill.

The agency, an arm of the Interior Department, has been in charge of issuing leases for oil, gas and other resources on both the outer continental shelf (undersea) and on-shore federal and Indian lands for the last quarter of a century. Critics have accused the agency, which collects more than $8 billion a year in revenue, of being overly cozy with the extractive industries that it supervises. Some of the regulators have professional or family ties to the regulated interests; for example, the late husband of the agency's director, R.M. "Johnnie" Burton, was a geologist and independent oilman in Wyoming. There has also been a revolving door in personnel between the agency and the industry.

What can the Danes teach us about happiness?

Danes are the happiest people in Europe, a survey suggests. But what is the secret of their contentedness?

...Many in Denmark put this regularly-surveyed contentedness down to a dynamic economy and a pleasant work-life balance, with people leaving the office on time, jumping on effective public transport and heading off to pick up their delightful children from a shiny, well-run kindergarten.

..."Denmark is very consumer-oriented and very family-oriented. People are sure to leave work at 4.30pm. They work their eight hours and go home. Pressure to work overtime doesn't exist."

But some claim the real secret to happiness is low expectations:

Researcher Kaare Christensen looked back over three decades of surveys that had created the legend of the "happy Dane".

"In countries such as Italy and Spain, people have much higher expectations for what the coming year will bring, but they're not especially happy or satisfied with their existence."

But Danes take a more realistic view of life, he suggested at the time.

"Year after year we're just happy that things didn't go as badly as we'd feared."

Hey, it pays to be a doomer!

And it sure would explain why Americans are sucking down Prozac like there's no tomorrow. Our expectations are so high.

Those Danes sound scary. And puzzling.

How on earth do you get to be "very consumer-oriented", but with low expectations?

What's that suppsed to mean, long lines in front of empty stores?

Oh wait, "very family-oriented" as well. They're all of them lining up together at those stores?!

Sounds to me like it's just not done down there to say you're not happy.

How on earth do you get to be "very consumer-oriented", but with low expectations?

I think they mean consumer-oriented, as opposed to corporation-oriented. Consumer as in consumer protection, Consumer Reports, etc., not consumer as in Kunstler's nightmares.

I guess I would interpret as meaning that they tend not to use very much, but the stuff they do use is available. Not like the old Soviet GUM where you would stand in line for a day on the basis of a rumor that they might have something good.

"Year after year we're just happy that things didn't go as badly as we'd feared."

Sounds like a quote from Garrison Keillor talking about Minnesotans, Lutherans and Norwegian Bachelor Farmers.

The Nederlanders (Dutch) are high up there too for happiness. When I lived there they seemed closed and business-like, not happy like americans. But they do have lower expectations and a egalitarian cooperative culture.

Americans have lots of divisive conflicts of race, economics, class, and societal organization. We will fare poorly socially after PO versus the Danes or Dutch(although Holland could be in difficulty due to the rising seas).

I have been preaching lately on expectations. I always tell manager friends the biggest thing is managing expectations. The truth doesn't matter, simple stated. The truth is whatever I am capable of convincing you of, sad I know, but it's true amongst the general population. When I expect someone to cut me off in traffic I react totally different than someone who comes out tha blue. People freak when I tell them that roughly half of the world doesn't use indoor plumbing. They expect most everywhere civilization inhabits to be full of running water everywhere.

I manage expectations at work all day long and I've done it for years. If you underpromise and overdeliver, you'll succeed. I could probably perform almost twice as much as right now, only it would destroy my stress handling ability in short order. I found a balance....and it appears to be working for me. Here we are back to the Psychology of microeconomics.

RE: Ethanol

Turning all our corn and wheat to ethanol is not going to do anything, but make people hungry. One example I read indicated that ethanol required more external energy additions in its production than can be gained back when it is burned in a gas tank. I do not know if the cancer rate is much affected by using ethanol over MTBE. Ethanol costs rose to $4.00 a gallon last summer and caused the price of gasoline to rise to near $3.00 a gallon as about 10% ethanol was added to gas at some stations.


Recommend you do a search on this site for the extensive ethanol discussions, especially those by RR.

BTW, taking away all the corn syrup products from mankind would probably be a blessing. Wheat is not really an ethanol target product. Sugar cane and sugar beets are the preferred sources. Nevertheless, it is commonly believed that if ethanol ever makes a significant addition to the liquid fuel source that non-sugar sources will be needed, i.e., cellulosic.

The detriment to the human food supply comes not from lack of corn syrup (again, that would probably be a good thing), but from corn displacing other crops that are more important for human consumption, such as soybeans, and from environmental concerns due to widespread planting of sugar cane.

The latter problem parallels that of the oil palm plantations (for biodiesel.)

However, I have not given up hope that long-term bio-diesel is still quite viable, via our little green friends - the algae. The algae have been changing the earth (and its climate) for many, many years and they very well might be the answer for liquid energy sources for the future.

As I see it,corn Ethanol can be a secure way to transition our liquid fuel needs on to something else( maybe less) in the future.Most corn in the U.S. is used for animal feed.All that corn for Ethanol is not consumed,it is only stripped of starches and then must be dried and made ready for cattle,pigs,or chickens to consume.The corn before Ethanol processing is worth 6-7 cents a pound,after Ethanol processing 6 cents a pound.Another plus is it is then already delivered to the system and ready for shipment to the final user.

I do not advocate wasteful Ethanol plants consuming gross quantities of corn ,water,infrastructure,NG,etc.However at this point in time what would be worse a few hundred Ethanol plants sitting idle ,or a few hundred thousand houses sitting empty.

Having the Ethanol plants ready to use is a plus for the survival of all Americans,because the extra time they will buy us in a liquid fuel crisis could keep us sane even if for a few short weeks.

"Having the Ethanol plants ready to use is a plus for the survival of all Americans,because the extra time they will buy us in a liquid fuel crisis could keep us sane even if for a few short weeks."

I think you may have to change your handle there Larry =]

You've recognized a key aspect of the integrated biorefinery approach wherein post-peak, society will be very much forced to build upon Kunstler's misallocated resource base.

The plants are a done deal.I am merely pointing out the positives to a Gov program(probably secret)that has been forced upom us.

The question is: given all it's weaknesses,would you or would you not want an Ethanol plant in your area if you lived in Iowa,or Nebraska?

The pigs,chickens,and feeder cattle will all have to be fed anyway.

Sorry for ths ba dspelling.

The corn before Ethanol processing is worth 6-7 cents a pound,after Ethanol processing 6 cents a pound.

Of course, you only have 1/3 of the material left by weight after squeezing out the carbs. And the cows still need to get those lost calories from somewhere. Dry distiller grains are more like 5 cents a pound now and will continue to drop as more EtOH is produced. This would be good news for cows except they can't eat it straight, not to mention pigs and chickens.

Having the Ethanol plants ready to use is a plus for the survival of all Americans,because the extra time they will buy us in a liquid fuel crisis could keep us sane even if for a few short weeks.

Always good to be prepared. However, I was more comfortable with the good old days when we tried to keep stores of grain on hand just in case the crops fail. That practice is apparently passe'. Also, spending all that capital on RR electrification instead would provide much more security (and and do more for liquid fuel supplies) in a time of emergency than the ethanol will.

Hi Rainsong... Welcome to TOD.

The points you raise in your post have been regular issues of contention in the TOD ethanol debate for some time now.

As such, I would highly recommend that you make some attempt to review the ground covered although that may prove difficult as TOD does not have a topical archive per se. Google tends to work well though.

That said and in response to your post I would kindly point out that:

a) there's no way any sane government would allow corn and wheat crops in their entirety to be turned into ethanol - foodchain feedstock fermentation was historically, a way to use up grain surpluses but is now viewed as a stepping stone to 2nd and 3rd gen production paths (see above)

b) corn ethanol has a positive EROEI - energy returned over energy invested

c) there is no literature AFAIK that supports your MTBE/cancer assertion - groundwater contamination and 'possible' carcinogenic connections at some future date were the main drivers of the switch

d) ethanol did indeed cause gasoline prices to rise by maybe .10 cents when supplies were short, however, according to the American Petroleum Institute, ethanol subsequently DROPPED the price of gasoline again by as much due in large part to the fact that ethanol supplies are now plentiful

Hope that helps.

ethanol subsequently DROPPED the price of gasoline again by as much

Given the lower energy value of 10% ethanol mixed with gasoline (-4% from memory), the price of $3/gallon gasoline would have to drop 12 cents/gallon to give it equal energy value.

This, of course, neglects the MASSIVE (and unwarrented) subsidy for ethanol built in "before the pump".

And corn based ethanol is just barely positive EROEI, about 1.3 to 1 (if one includes the ferment waste value as animal feed).

Personally, I am hoping for bio-butanol with the traces of butryic acid in the exhaust. This will lead to restrictions on driving and add to the pungency of our "auto sewers" of today.

Best Hopes for less ethanol,


IT"S OFFICIAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If msnbc says it it must be so, right?

"Global oil production to peak by 2018"


"Just because giant oil fields have been important for oil production in the past, he said, “does not mean that they’re going to stay important in the future.”

That article is based on a doctoral dissertation by Fredrik Robelius at Uppsala University in Sweden.

If anyone wants to read it it here

Its basically a new bottom up analysis.


Since the 1950s, oil has been the dominant source of energy in the world. The cheap supply of oil has been the engine for economic growth in the western world. Since future oil demand is expected to increase, the question to what extent future production will be available is important.

The belief in a soon peak production of oil is fueled by increasing oil prices. However, the reliability of the oil price as a single parameter can be questioned, as earlier times of high prices have occurred without having anything to do with a lack of oil. Instead, giant oil fields, the largest oil fields in the world, can be used as a parameter.

A giant oil field contains at least 500 million barrels of recoverable oil. Only 507, or 1 % of the total number of fields, are giants. Their contribution is striking: over 60 % of the 2005 production and about 65 % of the global ultimate recoverable reserve (URR).

However, giant fields are something of the past since a majority of the largest giant fields are over 50 years old and the discovery trend of less giant fields with smaller volumes is clear. A large number of the largest giant fields are found in the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf.

The domination of giant fields in global oil production confirms a concept where they govern future production. A model, based on past annual production and URR, has been developed to forecast future production from giant fields. The results, in combination with forecasts on new field developments, heavy oil and oil sand, are used to predict future oil production.

In all scenarios, peak oil occurs at about the same time as the giant fields peak. The worst-case scenario sees a peak in 2008 and the best-case scenario, following a 1.4 % demand growth, peaks in 2018.

It's a very good thesis.

My main concern is this:

Robelius’ thesis predicts peak oil between 2008 and 2018. However, this range of peak oil dates depends mainly on one parameter in his model on page 79: the best and worst case assumptions of Ghawar – worst case URR 66 Gb and best case URR 150 Gb. That’s a huge difference!

It's also worth noting that on page 136 Robelius says the peak is between 2008 and 2013 but is extended due to Ghawar's best case 150 Gb coupled with a conservative demand growth rate:

"The worst case scenario shows a peak in 2008, while the best case peaks in 2013 although at a higher production level. The production in the best case scenario increases more rapidly than a future demand growth of 1.4 per cent. Therefore the production can be adjusted to follow the demand growth, resulting in a postponed peak oil to 2018. Thus, global peak oil will occur in the ten year span between 2008 and 2018."

I was struck by how reasonable his worst case scenario was.

The worst case scenario illustrates the situation if the low end URR estimates
of the largest field is used, resulting in a shorter plateau phase. In addition,
some of the large expansion projects are assumed to fail. The latter
is most notable in Iraq, and the aim is to forecast a situation of continued
war, which interfere with field rehabilitation. Except the listed fields (table
9.2), all the assumptions from the standard case is included (table 9.3).

He uses the smaller URR for Ghawar and assumes a few project delays in Iraq.

This guy must not read TOD, that's down right optimistic around here!

Saudi Arabia’s Reserve “Depletion Rates” provide Strong Evidence to Support Total Reserves of 175 Gb (URR) with only 65 Gb of Remaining Oil to be Produced


In Dr. Saleri’s presentation on Feb 24, 2004 to the CSIS in Washington, D.C., he stated that Our typical depletion rate is about two percent. However, Aramco’s definition of annual depletion rate is consistently calculated as annual production as a percentage of total reserves. Aramco’s calculation method will be confirmed by the examples below.

In 2003, assume that Aramco could have produced at an average capacity of 9.5 Mb/day for the entire year. Production reached this level during the Iraq invasion in March 2003. The annual production is 3.5 Gb (9.5Mb/d*365d*(1Gb/1000Mb)).

Aramco’s proved reserves are equal to the annual production divided by Aramco’s definition of annual depletion rate. Thus, total reserves are equal to 175 Gb (3.5 Gb/2%).


Depletion rate (rem) = Common definition of depletion rate which is annual production as a percentage of remaining reserves (assumed to be the same as total reserves less cumulative oil reserves produced)

Depletion rate (tot) = Aramco’s definition of depletion rate which is annual production as a percentage of total reserves (assumed to be the same as initial proved reserves)

Reserves depletion = Cumulative reserves produced as a percentage of total reserves

URR = ultimate recoverable reserves or total reserves
Gb = billion barrels
Mb = million barrels

Saudi Aramco’s Depletion Rate Calculation Method

Dr. Saleri’s presentation shows Aramco’s calculation method for depletion rates. Figs 1, 3, 5 and 6 are sourced from this presentation.

Fig 1 below states in the title that depletion rates are a “% of Initial Proved Reserves” which is the same as depletion rates (tot).

Fig 1 – Maximum Annual Depletion Rates (tot) – click to enlarge

To check this calculation, Prudhoe Bay’s maximum depletion rate (tot) of 4.2%/yr is verified. Here is a chart of Prudhoe Bay’s production profile. A total reserves (or Aramco’s term of initial reserves) figure of 13 Gb is used from this source as it is dated 2002 rather than the chart’s estimated reserves from 2001.

The maximum depletion rate (tot) is equal to the maximum annual production as a percentage of total reserves. Depletion rate (tot) = 0.55 Gb(years 1980-87)/13 Gb = 4.2% which agrees with the depletion rate (tot) of 4.2% shown in Fig 1.

For comparison, in 1993, the depletion rate (rem) was much higher indicating that the Prudhoe Bay field was being produced aggressively. Annual production was less at 0.4 Gb and cumulative production was 8 Gb. Remaining reserves is total reserves of 13 Gb less cumulative of 8 Gb to give 5 Gb. Depletion rate (rem) = 0.4 Gb/5Gb = 8%/yr.

Fig 2 – Prudhoe Bay

Saudi Aramco’s Depletion Rates (rem) for Selected Fields

Fig 3 shows the reserves depletion of selected fields.

Abu Sa’fah has a reserves depletion of 21%. Fig 1 shows Abu Sa’fah (assumed to be ABSF) to have a maximum annual depletion rate (tot) of 1%. From the definitions above, reserves depletion is cumulative reserves produced as a percentage of total reserves. Depletion rate (tot) is annual production as a percentage of total reserves.

Depletion rate (rem)=annual production/(total reserves – cumulative reserves produced)=1%(total reserves)/(total reserves – 21%(total reserves))

Abu Sa’fah maximum depletion rate (rem)

The total reserves variable cancels in the above equation resulting in the depletion rate (rem) = 1%/(100%-21%)=1.3%/yr for Abu Sa’fah, which is a low depletion rate (rem).

Applying the same formula to the other fields.

Safaniya maximum depletion rate (rem)

Depletion rate (rem) = 1.5%/(100%-26%)= 2.0%, still low.

Zuluf maximum depletion rate (rem)

Depletion rate (rem) = 1.8%/(100%-16%)= 2.1%.

Ain Dar/Shedgum maximum depletion rate (rem)

Depletion rate (rem) = 2.2%/(100%-60%)= 5.5%, this field is being pushed hard.

Abqaiq maximum depletion rate (rem)

Depletion rate (rem) = 2.8%/(100%-73%)= 10.4%, this is very high but this field has been producing since 1946.

Berri maximum depletion rate (rem)

Depletion rate (rem) = 4.1%/(100%-28%)= 5.7%, this field is being pushed hard.

As shown above, the maximum depletion rates (rem) range from 1.3% to 10.4% which is more realistic as supported by this statement for Middle East fields from this source . “Adopting a depletion rate for Iraq of 4-5%, which is well within good management practice for large fields”.

Fig 3 – Reserves Depletion – click to enlarge

Fig 4 below shows the actual depletion rate (rem) for Aramco, assuming total reserves of 175 Gb. The actual depletion rate (rem) is now between 4-5%. If the depletion rate (rem) is kept below 5%, reflective of good reservoir management, then Aramco’s production will stay below 9 Mb/d and will continue to decline in order to keep the depletion rate (rem) below 5%.

Fig 4 – Actual Depletion Rate (rem) – click to enlarge

Shaybah Field Total Reserves

The figure below is also from Dr Saleri’s presentation. The depletion rate (tot) is given as 1%/yr with an optimistic production plateau of more than 50 years.

Fig 5 – Shaybah – click to enlarge

The annual production is 0.5 Mb/d*365d=182.5Mb/yr or about 0.18Gb/yr. Thus, the total reserves=0.18Gb/1%=18 Gb for Shaybah. This number appears very optimistic next to Colin Campbell’s figure of 6 Gb reserves for Shaybah, discovered in 1968, from his book “The Golden Century of Oil 1950-2050”.

However, this source agrees that Shaybah might have 18 Gb:

UAE: Saudi Border Oilfield
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are debating the ownership of the border oilfield at Shaybah, which contains nearly 1.5 per cent of the world's total crude resources. Discovered in 1968, the field straddles the UAE-Saudi border and is believed to be one of the world's largest onshore oilfields, with current estimated proven reserves of 15.7 billion barrels. Up until 25 December 2003, the field had yielded one billion barrels, however oil industry sources believe its recoverable oil potential could rise to 18 billion barrels in a few years with the deployment of new technology (such as horizontal drilling).

Fig 3 shows Shaybah’s reserves depletion to be only 5% to 1/1/2004. Given that Shaybah has produced (0.5 Mb/d*365d*5yr plus 0.2 Mb/d*365d, or 985 Mb) about 1 Gb to 1/1/2004, Shaybah’s total reserves using this calculation is the about 1Gb/5% or 20 Gb. At least, Aramco’s data shows consistent optimism within their presentation. I do not share their optimism and believe that Shaybah’s reserves are much lower than 18 Gb.

Saudi Aramco’s Real Reserves

Fig 6 shows a pie chart for Aramco’s resources. Based on this chart, the total reserves are 260Gb+99Gb=359Gb. The reserve depletion is cumulative reserves produced divided by total reserves or 99/359 =28%, which is equal to the reserve depletion number of 28% in Fig 3. This shows that Aramco’s presentation data is consistent.

However, what is not consistent on Fig 3 is showing Ghawar’s depletion at 48% while Total Saudi Aramco is only 28%. Since Ghawar production has been a majority of Aramco’s total production, the depletion for Total Saudi Aramco should be at least 48%. If it is assumed that Aramco’s total reserves are 175 Gb then the more realistic figure for reserves depletion for Total Saudi Aramco in Fig 3 should be 99/175=56%.

In 2007, the cumulative amount produced would be 99 Gb plus 11 Gb from Jan 2004 to Feb 2007 to give 110 Gb produced. The current reserves depletion is 110/175=63% which implies that future Aramco field production decline rates will accelerate to ensure that depletion rate (rem) are kept below 5%.

As the 260Gb reserves number is reported in BP’s annual statistics, and the BP reserves number is supposed to be remaining reserves, Aramco had no choice but to exaggerate their reserves upward to an enormous 359Gb! Note that in 1983 when Saudi Arabia nationalised its oil assets, BP stated reserves of 169 Gb for Saudi Arabia. This implies that a total reserves of 175 Gb is consistent with the 169 Gb number as no giant fields have been discovered in Saudi Arabia since Lawnah (only 1.2 Gb) in 1975.

Fig 6 – Saudi Aramco Discovered Oil Resources – click to enlarge

A comment from Dr Saleri from his accompanying speech to the presentation was Our typical depletion rate is about two percent.

However, to be consistent with the presentation, that means that the Aramco depletion rate (tot) = 2%/yr. Assume that Aramco could have produced a “typical” 9.5 Mb/d in 2003. Fig 4 shows that a production level of 9.5 Mb/d was reached during the March 2003 Iraq invasion.

Annual production for 2003 equals 9.5 Mb/d*365d*(1 Gb/1000 Mb)=3.5Gb. Therefore, using this method, Aramco total reserves equals 3.5Gb/2%=175 Gb, which is about half of their stated number of 359 Gb.

Is there anyone in the house who would not want this to be a separate post?

Kudo's Ace, and let's get this baby a better place than a late night comment in a Drumbeat thread.

And make you a Contributor. Tomorrow morning, that is.

I second this motion...

Hello Ace,

Great job! I consider you a TopTODer too--Hope Prof. Goose makes this into a keypost for tomorrow so we can all DIGGIT & REDDIT. What info do you have on Uthmaniyah [UTMN] & Hawiyah [Ghawar subfields]?--I believe F_F is deeply concerned on UTMN.

I assume you have already seen this Simmons oil productivity graphic in frame 12:


Does this now-dated graphic make you more pessimistic or optimistic? Thxs for any reply.

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

Hi Bob,

Thanks for those comments and for refreshing my mind with the pessimistic graphic of Ghawar. I am just as pessimistic as before - waiting for CERA and ExxonMobil to make a statement about declining oil production...... I expect that Aramco will be making excuses for their declining oil production - we have 359 Gb of oil but we can't get it out because there are:

not enough skilled people
not enough rigs
and even if we could produce it there are not enough refineries

The story should become a key post soon. I've modified some of the story and added some additional information.

I don't have any extra info on Uthmaniyah or Hawiyah.

My gosh, ace! Amazing bit of detective work there! I need to digest this but it will have to wait for tomorrow but yes, PLEASE TOD put this up as a post!

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

Good post.

Seems like there's a lot of good content, but it's a little difficult to read.

Lots of equations in the middle of sentences. Could use just a little editing.

Maybe I'm just tired?

Thanks for the post, ace.

Good work that needs doing.

However, the problem is the same and will be the same as far as I can see.... Half of the capacity is at least 70% depleted under very aggressive reserve assumptions...

Ain Dar/Shedgum and Uthmaniyah are the ballgame... and the annual depletion rates there on remaining reserves I believe exceed 10%.

Both Garyp and Euan came up with 4 billion barrels of potential recoverable oil volume on the North Uthmaniyah "mohawk" of oil saturation during our recent discourse.... and Jud said this was 2.5 MMBOPD ..... that's 1 billion barrels per year from a 4 billion barrel volume man..... has anyone said anything to contest any of those numbers.... to my knowledge no. Say Euan and Garyp are low by 100%... it is still a calamity in the making.

West Texas has made the excellent point that when Texas peaked the largest field was 7% of the total.

If you read Saleri's text comments from CSIS he says "Ghawar Ghawar Ghawar all anyone wants to talk about is Ghawar".... duh.

The fact that the world hangs in the balance on an efficient bottom-water drive recovery mechanism should be ludicrous to any oil business people reading this.

It is difficult given the above to see anything else as really material.

Euan is working on this I believe.

The evolution of Shaybah's original oil in place and recoverable reserves is another Tom Clancy novel.

You know, FF, it seems you folks have skinned this cat at least 4 different ways and come up with the same answer each time. If we skin it 5 more times, will the answer be any different? I sort of doubt it.

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

Robelius thesis http://www.energybulletin.net/28320.html from Uppsala had a worst case of Ghawar as 66 Gb and a best case of 150 Gb.

This worst and best case caused his peak oil dates to be between 2008 and 2013 with a stretch to 2018.

If Ghawar is 66 Gb URR, peak oil is next year. His definition of oil is crude, oil sands, condensate, NGL and processing gains (ethanol excluded).

I've tried to model other countries with some optimism but if Ghawar declines rapidly, no other country can compensate for the decline.

Hugo Chavez is now confiscating some of our oil companies assets. Is it not fair for us to "Nationalize" Citgo?