DrumBeat: April 22, 2007

Big Wheel: Lee Iacocca ran Ford and saved Chrysler. Now 82, he's trying to save America.

What's the most important new technology auto buyers don't know about yet?

Plug-in hybrids. They're being touted as the wave of the future, and I think they are. I can imagine a scene in the not too distant future when a wife will turn to her husband at bedtime and say, 'Honey, did you remember to turn off the lights, bring in the cat, and plug in the car?'

How do you think the auto industry can and should face concerns about the environment and rising gas prices?

I have to confess that like many business people – especially in the car industry – I came late to enlightenment on global warming and the energy crisis. But now I'm making up for lost time. Automakers have to get aggressive about building hybrids. Why is General Motors building Hummers? That doesn't make sense. I'll go a step further: I think we should raise the gas tax and spend the money on developing alternatives to oil. Let's face it, finding more oil does not constitute an energy policy.

Prep for peak oil

Pittsburgh should follow Portland's example and get ready for the end of the fossil-fuel era

Carter had a powerful energy idea

Thirty years ago this month, a solemn Jimmy Carter sat behind the historic Resolute desk in the Oval Office to announce to a prime-time national television audience his new comprehensive energy plan. In the most memorable line of the evening, the president declared the challenge of energy "the moral equivalent of war."

The Philippines: Agriculture and climate change

Rice fields emit methane. Large-scale rice farming will increase the volume of methane in the atmosphere. Departments of Agriculture in rice producing countries will have to address and solve this problem singly and collectively.

Filipino Poor to Suffer Most from Brownouts, Climate Change

"It's the 'little people' in the Philippines who suffer most from heat spells and extreme weather conditions caused by climate change: those who do not have access to electricity, let alone the luxury of air conditioning and other amenities or travel to cooler climates."

Certifying Coffee Aids Farmers and Forests in Chiapas

Miguel Moshán Méndez’s troubles have piled up over the past two years.

Like other coffee growers here in the impoverished state of Chiapas, he suffered devastating losses when Hurricane Stan passed through 18 months ago, tearing coffee trees from hillsides. He lost half his trees, then borrowed money to get by. Now, he must find extra work as a laborer to pay his debt, which will make it harder to maintain his tiny farm.

“I have always fallen to the moneylender, God yes,” he said, sitting in the office of his coffee-growing cooperative.

One source of hope: the increasing number of programs that help growers get higher prices for their beans if they show that they are protecting the environment, investing in community projects and treating workers well.

A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves

God answered in a mysterious way. Not long after, Emmet’s boss offered him a pool-cleaning job in Saudi Arabia. Emmet would make 10 times as much as he made in Manila. He would also live 4,500 miles from his family in an Islamic autocracy where stories of abused laborers were rife. He accepted on the spot.

Bush Administration Gains Support for New Approach on Food Aid

A Government Accountability Office report released on the eve of this conference described in stark detail a system rife with inefficiencies: the amount of food shipped over the past five years has fallen by half as shipping and other logistical costs have soared. Only a little more than a third of federal food aid spending actually buys food. The United States feeds about 70 million people a year now instead of the more than 100 million it fed five years ago.

And experts worry that the food aid budget will feed even fewer of the world’s 850 million hungry people as soaring demand for corn to make ethanol drives up the cost of that staple, a mainstay of food aid programs.

Oil, gas boom could hurt mineral values

The Gregg County Appraisal District will release its 2007 property values May 4. Mineral values are expected to drop after three years of increases amid the area's recent oil and gas boom.

About two decades ago, even a hint of declining energy revenues would leave entities to scrape their reserves and slash expenditures. In the years that followed, however, East Texas has seen a diversification of its economy, and while oil and gas remain a symbol of the region, they are no longer the cash cows on which taxing entities rely, officials say.

India Debates Its Right to Nuclear Testing

The other important sticking point is the right to reprocess spent fuel, an enterprise that the Americans fear would allow India to generate plutonium for its weapons programs. India says it needs the reprocessed fuel for civilian use alone.

Germans having second look at use of nuclear energy

Germans are not ready yet to mothball their country's 17 nuclear power plants despite government plans to gradually abandon atomic energy by the year 2021.

8 ways to save the planet if you live in Texas

Green living isn't a trend; it's a lifestyle choice that more people are feeling compelled to make. And as Texans, there are certain things we can do to help protect our little — OK, large — piece of the planet.

Bag the plastic, NY assemblyman says

State lawmaker [William Colton] said his bill could help ease the national energy crisis.

San Francisco officials estimated that the ban will save some 450,000 gallons of oil a year, Colton noted. “In San Francisco, there are 740,000 people. In New York State, there are 15 million people. Imagine how many millions of gallons will be saved if New York implements the ban,” the state lawmaker said.

Companies jumping on Earth Day wagon: Experts warn some businesses are not very environmental

How one man showed them the light

How many people does it take to change the light bulb? One: Shuji Nakamura, inventor of so-called solid-state white lights made from light-emitting diodes, commonly known as LEDs.

Schwarzenegger lets MTV 'pimp' his ride

The governor's appearance on a special Earth Day episode of the popular show "Pimp My Ride" set for Sunday is the latest environmentally themed event for Schwarzenegger, who drew international attention for signing a global warming law last year.

So you want to save the planet? What should you consider first?

April 22nd is Earth Day and you might be wondering what should we do? After all, the problem of global warming is huge and we have an administration that is worse than an ostrich in facing the problem. Yet, there are so many things we can do, that the question becomes where do we start?

More than 3.6 billion barrels of crude oil discovered in S. Iran

More than 3.6 billion barrels of crude oil has been discovered in southern Iran over the past 3-4 months, Iranian Assistant Oil Minister and Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Gholam Hossein Nowzdi said here Saturday.

Oilsands: The next generation

Canada's oilsands invoke images of giant mines, giant trucks and giant companies. Yet the unconventional oil deposits in Alberta are also the playground of numerous Canadian startups that are poised to become the next generation of oilsands developers. While often unappreciated because of the perceived size of the task, this group of players -- all Canadian-owned and controlled -- are also the innovators in the business and most likely to find ways to navigate its many challenges, from high costs to high greenhouse gas emissions.

Japan, US eye emission-free coal plant

Japan and the United States will lead a five-nation project to develop a coal-fired power plant which discharges no carbon dioxide into the air, a press report said Sunday.

...The new plant will cut carbon dioxide emissions by some 20 percent from the level of conventional models by gasifying coal with oxygen before burning it.

Then the carbon dioxide generated at the plant will be liquefied and locked in an underground storage facility, the report said.

China's New Energy Paradigm

China is on the cusp of a dramatic new energy paradigm that could push it ahead of other nations when it comes to environmentally friendly renewable energy.

Could America lead the world on global warming?

Leaders from three steadfastly right-wing arenas - church, military and industry - are now calling for limits on US emissions.

Rosneft to spend 10 billion dollars on eastern oil and gas projects

The implementation of oil and gas projects in Siberia and in the Far East is a priority task for Rosneft. “This is borne out by the proposed growth rates of the regional oil and gas sector,” he noted. “Russia will benefit above all by the eastern assets,” Kuznetsov believes. However, he added, the needed capital investments to tap the East Siberia deposits will be 1.5-4.5 times bigger than in West Siberia.

Happy Earth Day!

Looking for something to do?

Check your carbon footprint

The Nature Conservancy's Earth Day page lets you find a nature preserve in your area to visit, send an Earth Day e-card to a friend, and of course, donate to the cause.

Yesterday, members of my local community "celebrated" Earth Day early by watching the film "Crude Impact". My wife and I passed out flyers telling people what they could do to cut down global warming. We also sold CFLs at a substantial discount to those attending and other people passing by.

An indequate response? Probably, but we have now begun the genesis of the first local community group in our immediate area to focus on relocalization and alternative energy. Our first step will be to go to the local utility, which is the exempt from the Colorad mandate for a 20% renewable portfolio, to get them to permit PV and wind connection to the grid and buyback.

For me, personally, and mostly because of The Oil Drum, I learned very little new from the film, but this is an excellent film laying out all the horrific impacts of oil/energy production and use on people, the land, water, animals, and the planet in general. It also talked about the unsustainability of our population. There were people in the audience who were in tears because of the dramatic impact of the movie. After the movie, there was suddenly a flood of people who wanting to buy CFLs. Coincidence? I think not. People just add to do something right then, if only a little token effort.

Stealing one of my favorite phrases here from Alan:

Best Hopes for more community action on energy and global warming.

Tom Street


Excellent to hear people are seeing "Crude Impact" I purchased the DVD several months ago and showed it to friends and family. As a long time reader to TOD I personally knew much of the films content, however I found it a great tool to bring that knowledge to friends and family who do not follow the subject.

There was also an excellent show on Discovery channel last night around 9:00 p.m. EST called: Green The New Red, White, and Blue. The show had about a 90 minute discussion about the different alternative energies available to us personally and on a national level.

"There is no silver bullet...to solve our energy crisis we will need, Solar, Wind, Nuclear, and Algae to Biodiesel."

I noticed that the few sites selling the 'A Crude Awakening' DVD recently stopped selling it. I have a friend who is renting it from Netflix for me. The first 3 minutes of the film can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HRZPpbpSjg.

Does anyone know the owners of the film? It really should be posted on www.YouTube.com, www.LiveLeak.com, or another free internet video portal. The celebs participating in Global Green USA and the Environmental Media Association will surely sponsor this effort once they see the film.

It is a swiss movie from Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack
A Crude Awakening / The Oil Crash.

I don't know if the dvd is already on the market, although I could see a very good version on the p2p network. I recommend it.

I could only access the film trailer. Is there really a copy of the film on this site?

Netflix has it, or so I'm told.

I've got it at the LATOC store. I have to import them from Canada as there is no U.S. distribution at this point.

Thanks. I will order it.

It's now available for rental, at least in Canada, at "Blockbuster" video stores.

No new mat'l for regulars here, but a good into. flick for newcomers to the subject...

I believe it's still being shown on the Sundance channel this weekend...was mentioned the other day here. I watched it the other night and was quite impressed.

It really should be posted on www.YouTube.com, www.LiveLeak.com, or another free internet video portal.

Posting it on those sites would consitute a MAJOR copyright violation.

Remember, these guys went all over the world and spent a tone of cash to make the film. You think it got made for free? Geez louise dude, get a clue.

You can count yourself as an unappreciatie ass with no understanding of how energy, money, or pretty much of anything in the real world works by encouraging such behavior.

My guess is you're the type to expect a plant to grow even when you rob it of sunlight and water.

There's a contradiction here, Chimp.

On the one hand, we have a tradition of copyright and intellectual property rights. We feel that people should be rewarded for producing articles, books, movies, works of art.

On the other hand, it is vitally important that the word get out about global warming and peak oil. Also, that detailed information be available about solutions and technologies to alleviate the problems.

With the Web we have a situation that has never existed before. Marginal distribution cost is basically zero. It costs no more to distribute 1,000,000 copies over the Web than it does to distribute 10 copies. It's foolish not to take advantage of the Web.

Some ideas:

  • Give special recognition to authors who make some of their works available over the Web. If truth be known, most of us writers do so more for ego gratification than for money. (There are many easier ways to earn money.)
  • Post excerpts from the works, with links back to the original. Readers can get the gist of the works, authors get publicity and the works get supported.
  • A new patronage system. Generous patrons give a grant to an author, in exchange for putting a work on the web.
  • Subscribers who make donations to a favorite author, movie, or website -- as with NPR and PBS.
  • A tax system, as in Britain, to finance public programming (the BBC)
  • As books go out of print, authors choose to put them online. Maybe tax breaks or other rewards for authors who do this.

Many of these strategies are being employed right now. I personally would like to see the works of H.T. Odum and some of the permaculturalists put online.

Energy Bulletin


Don't pull my chain. There is no contradiction here.

In this case, that is all a bunch of bullshit. If you want a film like this to be produced using the methods you detailed above, it will never and I do mean NEVER get produced.

If somebody can afford access to the web they can afford to freakin buy a copy of the DVD. ONce there's a distributor here in the US the cost will be in the $25 range.

You can't expect a plant to grow without a flow of sunlight and water. You can't expect a film to get produced without a flow of capital.

Please, sweet Jesus please, I hope this is the last time I hear somebody advise "go begging from some rich person or the government" which is essentially what your advice is when you say they should get a wealthy patron or the public to finance it ala the public broadcasting system.

Come on dude. You've been around the block a few times. You should know that if somebody is going to wait around for a rich person or the gov to fund something like this it ain't gonna get funded. So the producers slap a pricetag on it and sell it.

I will never understand why people have such a problem with this. I'm sure you did not work for free during your working years did you?

Chimp: I'm sure you did not work for free during your working years did you?

Actually I did work for free on many occasions. It's a great way to enter a new field, to make connections, to do something interesting and worthwhile.

At other times I concentrated on making money and acquiring financial independence. There is a time and a place for everything.

If you want to operate in the for-profit sphere, Chimp, that is absolutely fine. You are young? You may see things differently as the years go by.

Much worthwhile work is done by non-profits, volunteers, government grants, etc. I could go on and on about the various groups I've seen at work or been involved with.

Some of the most exciting opportunities will be to develop new forms and institutions, so that people who are doing good work can earn a living.

Energy Bulletin

Actually I did work for free on many occasions.

The operative word here is "occassions." As in it was not the norm.

Not sure why you're objecting to the filmmakers getting A) reimbursed for the considerable capital they layed out and B) actually make some profit from it by simply having people pay for the freakin DVD.

The proposals you made in your previous post for alternatative forms of financing are all well and good as generalities but they are not practical in this case. In this case, expecting the filmmakers to finance it that way means either A) it doesn't get produced or B) they go into debt and become paupers.

This was an absolutely breaktaking movie and I am sure it cost big bucks to produce. I can be rented, of course, and it costs nothing extra if you belong to something like Netflix. And let's just say these filmakers were in a position to make it "for free". Well, it can't be done, even if there were no salaries. And besides, even if this were a nonprofit, we would want to reimburse them to encourage more good efforts in the future.

To ask that this movie be free is criminal, in my opinion. It was an absolutely beautiful and compelling film.

This is a documentary and does not have a big name like Al Gore behind it. It will mostly be shown to groups of people who are into alternative energy and other issues such as the murderous behavior of the likes of Shell in Nigeria. As such, it will be a fringe film and will not make very much money, if any.

I wish this were not the case and the film would make millions so that the producers and filmakers could continue to put out similar films in the future.

But people want this to be free? Jeeesh.

Right, I'm not objecting to filmmakers getting money for their work -- not at all. More power to them!

In fact, I would say that one of the most important things we can do as individuals is to support these small entrepeneurs. I try to publicize documentaries, films, books, whatever people are doing.

I know how hard it is, though, to earn a living this way, having worked for small newspapers and written for a living. I'm pointing out some ways that might smooth the way for people.



Yes, but one of your ways - web based distribution for free - means they *won't* get paid for all practical intents and purposes.

The other ways, which amounted to A) getting a wealthy patron to sponsor or B) getting the government to pay for it are equally problematic.

I'm most familiar with the economics of writing, so let me mention some things.

Most writers don't make money. At one point, successful published writers on average earned less than the minimum wage. Some writers are able to make a living from speakers fees - the books may not bring in any money, but the lecture circuit can pay. Trying to get published through a publisher is a HUGE hassle - time-consuming, emotionally draining, etc. This is especially true for writing that is not considered commercial.

The overwhelming percentage of a book's price goes to production, distribution and the overhead of the publisher. Very little gets to the author. As I said before, most writers are not in it for the money -- there are much easier ways to earn money. Writers want recognition, to get their message across.

You can self-publish on the Web instantaneously, for almost no money at all. Therefore, many writers can get 90% of the benefits of writing for 10% of the hassle.

As writers get more of a reputation, they can get better deals and start earning money. Even successful writers, though, can put things on the web that will enhance their reputation but not cost them any money. For example, some writers post preliminary versions of articles or books, or ephemera that they can't market. One great opportunity is to post the text of out-of-print books.

Government support? Right now, many wonderful reports and presentations are government sponsored, either written by government employees or contracted out. When the Bush Administration leaves office, we can expect a greater openness to subject matter. In the 30s, the WPA sponsored some extraordinary works of art, reports, guidebooks, etc.

Patrons. This is happening right now, though it is not publicized. There are some very wealthy people who are concerned about energy issues and want to make a contribution. Yes, of course there are problems. But it is a great opportunity for people and groups who are able to deal with them.

Basically, I'm saying ... let's use creative thinking and not stay fixated on the old inefficent ways of doing things. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.


What I meant by

The celebs participating in Global Green USA and the Environmental Media Association will surely sponsor this effort once they see the film.

was to calculate the revenue the film will make by selling DVDs and whatever other sales channels they're using over the next X years. Then ask the green celebs who have gobs of cash lying around to pay that amount to the film makers so they release the extremely important documentary to the public today... not after tshtf.

We now live in a world where we can disseminate knowledge instantly. Although I have not yet seen it, A Crude Awakening sounds like the perfect tool to get the uneducated educated on PO.

Then ask the green celebs who have gobs of cash lying around to pay that amount to the film makers so they release the extremely important documentary to the public today... not after tshtf.

I supposse it could happen although I doubt it as the film is so scary and depressing I'm not sure what green celeb would want to do that. But it's not completely out of the question I suppose. If and when that does happen then feel free to download it for free! But until then, either pay the money to get it through net flix or through a retailer as it becomes available in your neck of the woods.

All very true in regards to book publishing. Completely irrelevant to the production of the Peak Oil documentary we have been discussing.

Most writers don't have to fly from Europe to D.C. to interview Bartlett, then to CA to interview Goodstein, then to Baku, then to Texas, then to Saudi Arabia, etc as the producers of CRUDE did. You can publish on the web for next to nothing. You need money and ALOT of it to produce a film like "A Crude Awakening."

As far as the following bit, it seems you are processing the arc of current events through your ideals/hopes*, not through a realistic appraisal of where things are heading:

Government support? Right now, many wonderful reports and presentations are government sponsored, either written by government employees or contracted out. When the Bush Administration leaves office, we can expect a greater openness to subject matter.

Within a few years of the Bush admin leaving office, we can expect the federal government to have completely collapsed due to the effects of Peak Oil and nultiple other emerging catastophres.

That's if we don't get a full blown Nazi in office that makes Bush look like mild by comparison, as Kunstler pointed out in EOS.

Some will say "but we may get a Roosevelt. . ." Sweet Jesus that might be even worse if you follow things out to their logical conclusions. Roosevelt launched a war against Japan over the oil deposits in the south china sea that he provoked before his successor (Truman) initiated a regional nuclear holocaust at a time when the world's nuclear arsenal was 1/1000th what it is now.

I will concede (and I do hope) that if the real problems do not manifest until 2012 or 2016 then if Barack becomes the prez in 2008 there could be a 4-to-8 year period where things improve a bit or at least slow down their current (rapidly accelerating) descent into darkness.

*"not that there's anything wrong with that"

Roosevelt launched a war against Japan over the oil deposits in the south china sea that he provoked...

You mean, the Japanese who'd been murdering civilians by the tens of thousands in Nanking for years before the US embargoes?

The Japan which attacked Pearl Harbor in an attempt to take over the embargoed oil, rather than just pull out of China?

I think someone's been reading too much Howard Zinn.

I think somebody's been drinking too much Kool-Aid.

We did not go into World War II to save the Chinese any more than we went into Iraq to save the Iraqis.

And fyi, I've read "The RApe of Nanking" from cover to cover so I am well acquainted (intellecutally) with the horror that took place there. If I recall correctly, one of the "good guys" in the situation was a Nazi general who wrote to Hitler asking for Germany to intervene as the situation was so horrific. For those who have not read the book, that should give you some idea how bad it was.

We did not go into World War II to save the Chinese any more than we went into Iraq to save the Iraqis.

No, we went into WWII because we were attacked by the Japanese (it was the event which deflated the forces which wanted the US to ally with the Axis).  We embargoed the Japanese because of things like Nanking.

I think somebody's been drinking too much Kool-Aid.

I think somebody is one generation too far removed from the ones who actually lived through the Great Depression and then fought that war.  You're getting it through revisionist interpreters, but they were my parents, aunts and uncles.

The amount of money required to do documentary film, and as I haven't seen this one yet to see what its "production value" is isn't small.

Insurance. Do you have any idea of what an insurance package costs for film production. Its specialty, google video/film insurance and see how many hits you get. Then see the price is dependent on many factors, but I can tell you, its not cheap for the lowest fee's.

Travel cost, and going country to country with film/video equipment. This is one big headache, and it can be expensive when you have to declare the equipment. You have to have special forms, and payments. Insurance for production gear. LOL, talk about high dollar. Around FIFTEEN/TWENTY PERCENT a year of the cost.

Clearance rights. No production house is going to distribute this work until its been gone over with a fine tooth comb for possible copyright/trademark infringement, all contracts are correct, and on and on. That cost is very high.

Production costs. Without seeing it I couldn't guess, but if they travel, and bought footage (aerial etc) its got a bunch of dollars involved.

Then lets talk POST PRODUCTION. Music rights, and the cost of editing. Cheapest online you might negotiate is a nice PC based final cut, or similar Windows system. 75 bucks an hour, and I doubt that, no decent editor will work for that rate with his gear. Avid production in a production house with a great rate,.. 350 an hour. One hour of finished editing depends on the amount of footage shot. 100 hours easy.

I wish it was so easy to get people to pay you, thats not easy. Everyone today because they can buy a video camera and they WATCH tv, think they know how to do TV. Far from it, and the people jumping into the business like that are hurting it greatly. From many directions, but that is another story, but its part of all production these days. I just finished working on a reality tv show where the field producers were in their twenties. The sound man who worked for them the day before I started told me what to expect. He was right. They didn't even understand basic production terms, and really how to shoot a show. Had the same experience on "daddy's little girl". The lowest dollar amount and "fix it in post" is the rule of the day for far to many productions. Why all that reality crap is on. I see offers for the jobs on those crews. The ability to get a "credit" in exchange for slave wages in many cases. I have plenty of credits, my rate or I don't roll.

TV/film production is very specialized and expensive.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Chimp: "we can expect the federal government to have completely collapsed due to the effects of Peak Oil and multiple other emerging catastophes."

That's a slightly bigger topic than the economics of book and film distribution! More than I can deal with in 200 words.

As for documentaries, there's been a technological revolution with digital cameras, digital editing, DVDs and the web. Compared to 20 years ago, the opportunities are staggering, leading to independent documentaries like those of Michael Moore and Who Killed the Electric Car? that bypass the traditional commercial process. At another scale, Global Public Media and Peak Moment can produce informative interviews and post them on the Web. And at yet another scale, there are the homespun efforts one sees on YouTube.

It's true that if you fly around the world to make a documentary and insist on expensive special effects, your costs will be higher and your financial options fewer. It all depends upon what you want to do.

All rather amazing to someone who started working on newspapers when the hot-lead Linotype machine prevailed.


Everything you mention is still paid for. The market is not designed that way for the majority. Their are actual classes you can take to learn to request money from sources to do documentaries. Guess how many people ask each year. The classes are to "help" you. feedback loop, heterodyne alert.

Carpentry tools have been around for ages too, longer than Tv tools. How many people are able to be good carpenters.

That in a nutshell is what I now face each day when talking to clients. Access to tools is not the same as having the knowledge of how they work and all the tricks you can do with them.

Ever seen a big tv production truck or a those semi's with all that gear. I can walk you through each one of those and tell you what each thing does. Know what an onkybonk is, how bout a duckbill, can't say I need a beaver board anymore, or, bring me the dykes. Really. (normal "tools" on a set)

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

PrisonerX: "Access to tools is not the same as having the knowledge of how they work and all the tricks you can do with them."

You said it. The new tools offer possibilities, they don't guarantee results.

Here's the good news: knowlege is power. These days if you have the skills, it is much easier to get your ideas executed and distributed.

More good news: grassroots groups often have more talent than money. Granted that professionals like you are rare, but you know what? Many documentaries that need to be done do not require high production values.

It's the same with writing. Some of the articles I read on the Web make me squirm with frustration -- what a difference it would make if people knew how to write and edit. People who learn the skills could be much more effective.

But at least the information is getting published, and a few people typing away on discussion boards will eventually move on to quality writing.

Those people who have the skills are in a much better position than before.

I disagree with this statement.

"Many documentaries that need to be done do not require high production values."

Need is not specific. Yes images are powerful and just showing them can get a reaction. However take those images and use the knowledge of motivation, manipulation, from camera angles, position, and more, then an even more powerful video can be built.


I teach or used to at Rockport's TV film school, that just closed after a long run. David sold out for money and wishes to take his young wife and sailboat and do what David likes to do.

The still photography part though is still running I hear.

I;ve seen good work from amateurs I've helped many. Though remember the discussion is about copyright infringement and making money. Its the Copyright owners choice, not the publics.

Also, I bet you a dollar to a donut that many of the documentaries etc done by amateurs have beacoup problems that would keep them off the air. If they made money lawsuits coming out their rear end for images, trademarks, copyright infringement etc.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

I have a huge library (kids call it my doomers DVD library)
most of which I saw for FREE on the internet first. If they had substance I got right online and ordered it, even though often they cost two or three times the average DVD.
I am certain that the dozens of people I have loaned out to would not have seen them any other way. Several people have told me they bought their own to show to people.

IMO this "word of mouth" is the best possible way for these kinds of productions to get out there.

BTW all must see "The Century of the Self" best docu. ever.

Bart, I cordially say, "don't get greedy!" IMHO the best imaginable pro bono PO education is available right now, on this site. I am constantly pleasantly amazed at the quality of contributions by WT, R Squared, Khebab, Leanan and others. These folks could all get richly compensated elsewhere for the time and effort they expend here, and I am very grateful for their generosity.

Oh, and JHK, Matt Savinar, and Dmitry Orlof have all been very generous with their public access writing as well.

It's not unheard of for films like this - meant to educate and encourage political action - to be distributed free. The John Kerry movie, Going Upriver, was put online for free download at the same time it came out DVD and in theaters.

Having read Alan Drake's post "Saudi Arabia has Peaked..." and all the comments, I was primed to effectively criticize Tom "The World Is Flat" Friedman's discussion "Green is the New Red, White and Blue." (This Discovery Channel presentation parallels Friedman's long piece by the same name in NY Time's Magazine.)

Neither "rail" nor "railroad" was mentioned once. The airlines weren't covered. I can see Kunstler's critique, "Tom seeks to perpetuate the 'happy motoring' suburban culture." To follow the progress down thru the years of his typical suburban family is laughable. No change is lifestyle, just tech solutions that let the non-negotiable American Way of Life continue.

Friedman is so invested in the paradigm of "the flat world" (perpetual growth of international trade in goods and services on the back of cheap energy) that he is unlikely to understand the idea of power-down until it's too late to make a contribution in the public arena.

If Tom runs for president, his motto will be "A Chicken in Every Pot, a Windmill in Every Yard."

Rex Tillerson says, "The peak is so high up you can't see it from here..."

There has been a similar trend in my wife's and my family. Starting with my parents generation, my wife's parents had three children, my parents had three children. Four grew to six.

My son is the only one, we're done. None of my siblings or step siblings have had children, and has claimed to want any. Six (plus spouses) down to one.

We've gone through a fairly steep necking down on our side. Can't speak for our cousins, which have had 1 to 4 each.

BTW, I'm 3.3 earths. We don't have any public transportation here. Too rural.


Happy Earth Day TODers!

This may be old hat to most of you but I've had my mind stretched by this gem I found on a search to gain a better understanding of the relationship oil has with global heating. Surely deserving of a thread of its own, I post it here for your consideration. From our friends at ASPOItalia..

That link doesn't calculate a carbon footprint, it calculates an "ecological footprint" - the number of acres it takes to support one's lifetyle. It must only be a very broad approximation, given the number of assumptions embedded within its methodology (none of the cities listed were a very close match with my particular climate, for example).

I came out a little below the US average, but I suspect that if a more accurate methodology were used I would come out quite a bit lower. On the better carbon footprint calculators I consistently come out at about 50-60% of the US average. I suspect a lot of the discrepancy is due to the fact that it appears that their methodology places a lot of weight on the amount of meat one uses. One must apparently be 100% vegan to score low on their calculator. It is true that meat is a less efficient source of nutrition than vegetable matter, viewed both from the point of view of energy and of land use. And it is true that many of the carbon footprint calculators presently fail to take this factor accurately into account. But it is also true that there is considerable difference between meat in the form of beef and meat in the form of poultry and farm-raised fish in the amounts of energy and land inputs required for production. Yet someone that ate chicken and farm-raised catfish all the time would get exactly the same score as someone that ate beef every day. That is clearly not accurate, either for calculating a carbon footprint or an ecololgical footprint.

I got my electric bill yesterday.  For an all-electric residence, I used about 9.5 kWh/day.  This includes heating the water for about 10 showers a week.  Not too bad, and a simple solar water heater would make it a whole lot better.

I also filled up my car yesterday.  17 and a fraction gallons over something like 6 weeks, or ~3 gallons/week.  At 3 kg of carbon per gallon, that's 9 kg/week; you could probably get that much productivity out of a green roof and hedgerow planted with Miscanthus.

We are this close!

The technical solutions are right in front of our face, EP. Those of us who've studied the technology know that everything we need to solve the crisis exists today, IF people are willing to change their lifestyle and IF we had the political leadership to make it happen.

Technology has never been the problem. Politics is the problem.

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

“many of the carbon footprint calculators presently fail to take this factor accurately into account. “

I wonder if it's a oversight or more intentional ?

A neighbor of mine is a post-grad 'ruminant technician' at U of Nebraska at Lincoln, which could arguably be called the premier beef research campus in the US if not a wider region. I talk with him occasionally about his work to get the most beef out per the lowest input.

Your post gives me as idea for a question related to beef per other meat sources.

Where IS that 'Theory of Everything' ?
Here it is !

"Your post gives me as idea for a question related to beef per other meat sources."

There is a good overview article here:


As to land use, this data is in line with other tables I have seen:

Land needed for the production of one kilo
(incl. food):
Beef from concentrated feed...323 m2
Beef from grazing.............269 m2
Fish..........................207 m2
Pork...........................55 m2
Fattened chicken...............53 m2
Eggs...........................44 m2
Rice...........................17 m2
Pasta..........................17 m2
Bread..........................16 m2
Vegetables / potatoes...........6 m2
Source: WWF Switzerland

Link: http://www.vegetarismus.ch/info/eoeko.htm

As for energy efficiency of various foods (somewhat analogous in concept to EROEI):

Energetic efficiencies for a few representative food items derived from land animals, aquatic animals and plants.
chicken 18.1
milk 20.6
eggs 11.2
beef (grain fed) 6.4
pork 3.7
lamb 1.2
herring 110
tuna 5.8
salmon (farmed) 5.7
shrimp 0.9
corn 250
soy 415
apple 110
potatoes 123

Above table edited for readability, from:


The above data should illustrate that it is a considerable oversimplification to lump "meat" into a single category, and to reduce the question to a binary "meat vs. no meat". There is considerable scope for energy conservation, land conservation, and reduction of greenhouse gases just by cutting back on beef and switching to other forms of animal protein.

Even the beef question isn't quite as simple as all that. While I agree with the basic point that beef as used is a very inefficient use of land for food, lots of beef is initially grazed on land which is not good for conventional agriculture. Beef converts wild plants on marginal, dry, otherwise unproductive or minimally fertile land into useful protein. The problem is the vast amount of beef we eat, and the qualities we demand, which require the huge feedlots, acres of corn & soy, etc. Beef should be much more expensive and used in a more limited manner, but plays a complimentary role to the other foods we eat and provides high quality protein from land that would otherwise not produce any food at all.

right, plus, that marginal land is treated as a "free resource" but arguably, "nature" has value and alternative uses (recreation, biodiversity preservation... etc.)... but it is given away at a cost that doesn't reflect its alternative use values.


Even the beef question isn't quite as simple as all that....

My perspective - beef production takes up a lot of land.
So let's all eat more beef. More beef = fewer humans supported per square mile = downward pressure on population.
You've heard of Jevon's paradox right? Every increase in efficiency just encourages more growth. "Efficent" use of farmland was what got us into this mess in the first place - think 6 bilion people on a subsistence diet of rice and wheat. Now think 10 billion. Because if everyone suddenly went vegan, what do you think would happen to all the extra food?

Are we running some sort of competition to see how many people we can cram onto the planet before the population crashes?

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

God point indeed. Personally i eat meat or fish to every meal, and i can afford it and give a damn if someone in the overpopulated third world starves because of that. Someone has to die-off anyway, and i am not willing to belong to that group as long as i can avoid it.

I recall that a few days ago you were asking the Americans to consume less oil so that the Europeans could consume more......

Yes and that goes for meat also. LOL

Soylent Green is people! (I'm sorry if I spoiled the film for you.) Rex Tillerson will be one of the few rich people who gets to eat real food and not live in barracks guarded by soldiers...

An episode of The Twilight Zone involves some friendly aliens who visit Earth and offer free visits back to the home planet. They give the Earth representative a book written in their language without translation. A govt cryptologist struggles to translate, only getting to the title, To Serve Man. Later, just in time to run up the ladder and drag his girl back down, he exclaims, "It's a cookbook!"

(Apparently the negative EROEI on shipping people light-years just for food had not occurred to these aliens. Talk about food-miles...)

I think you got the ending wrong:

  • The girlfriend translates the title as the protagonist is boarding the spacecraft.
  • The protagonist doesn't quite get off the ship before the ramp closes.
  • The last scene is the protagonist in a cell, eating what looks like fruit cocktail from a plastic bag as the tall alien tells him "We wouldn't want you to lose weight" and laments "Someday, all of us will be on the menu."

Damn, the things that stick in the mind.

Doesn't Soy require milling and boiling before it's edible?

Its a good idea. The outer skin has the majority of the enzymes that inhibit protein uptake, as I remember. 180 deg F is the 'magic' number to keep the beans above for taste and disabling the enzyme.

The other way is to expose 'em to fungi and make tempeh.

Excellent information:

Corn 250
Soy 415
Pork 3.7

The fundamental problem is that the market does not value corn and soy for their energy content. This makes ethanol and bio-diesel economically feasible. It also enables huge energy waste by feeding corn and soy to hogs. Also, by exporting corn and soy we send our most valuable energy foods abroad for what amounts to a pittance in light of their energy content. It's another serious flaw in free market ideology apparently, or maybe it's just an opportunity for ethanol, bio-diesel and pork producers to make a buck.

From the German nuclear power article -

'While opinion polls continue to indicate that most Germans remain opposed to nuclear energy, the momentum is slowly shifting in favor of the pro-atomic power camp, especially after the Russian gas crises over the past two winters.'

Well, if momentum means the energy companies continually pumping money into ensuring a decent return on investment - whether ceaseless advertising or political lobbying isn't really important.

This is not meant to say that a pragmatic decision won't be made over time, but the most fundamental objection remains the handling of nuclear waste - which not to surprisingly, is the one expense the German nuclear industry would like to put off as long as possible.

For example, if the plant reaches the end of its life, it is no longer possible to pretend that the 'temporary' on-site storage arrangements are still just temporary.

Further, I always enjoy the idea that the momentum is shifting - for the sake of fun, let's say these days only 78% of German voters are utterly and completely opposed to nuclear power (though they happily buy French nuclear electricity - hypocrisy is never restricted to one side of a debate), instead of 81%. See? The momentum is shifting.

Quite honestly, I have met very, very few supporters of nuclear power among Germans - in part, because nuclear power always seems to get confused with nuclear weapon creation. (And this is long before Bush decided that any country in the Middle East that doesn't speak Hebrew or sell oil to America is automatically building bombs with any nuclear electricity generating facilities.) Remember, Germany was the land of the tactical nuke, where if the U.S. and Russia played their cards right, the collateral damage could be limited in terms of superpower real estate.

And for hamfisted reporting, I love this line - 'Pulling the plug on Germany's nuclear energy program whose origin dates back to World War II,...' Using Nazi programs as a way to show that nuclear power is a good idea is the sort of thing that just makes you scratch your head about Iran.

Of course, there is another element of hamfisted reporting here too - Siemens and its supporters in the CSU would not really have much problem selling nuclear technology to Iran, except for the fact that the Israelis would very reasonably ask the Germans to refrain - as noted by that WWII reference, the Israelis are not really fans of any German technology with deep roots in WWII. And it isn't like the Germans have a great track record either - Libya and chemical warfare factories come to mind.

I think the solution is relatively easy for Germany.

Have EDF build a dozen very large nukes (1.6 GW) in Alsace, build HV DC lines from there to all over Germany, contract for 99% to 100% of the electricity produced.

And see if the Poles, Czechs or Hungarians are interested in comparable deals. Perhaps even a couple of nukes in Finland (transmission losses begin to add up though).

Best Hopes for Rational Planning,


Further, I always enjoy the idea that the momentum is shifting - for the sake of fun, let's say these days only 78% of German voters are utterly and completely opposed to nuclear power (though they happily buy French nuclear electricity - hypocrisy is never restricted to one side of a debate), instead of 81%. See? The momentum is shifting.

"Only 78%" is more than three quarters. That's a lot. But there is a different question and maybe you can show me a source. I recently read in some article (which I don't remember where it was exactly), that Germany is exporting more electricity to France than vice versa.

Mayb it is just an old myth, that France supplies so much electricity to Germany?

My personal view in atomic energy is simple. I would like to see the atomic plants being switched off. This 20th century technology which will simply not be necessary in the forthcoming years. There is much better, decentralized technology on the way to a mass market, which will not end with a burden of radioactive was for many thousand years and which will not aggregate money in just a view, undemocratic utility companies.

Anyway I doubt any company would like to build a new reactor here. It would be almost impossible to build one now and as well in the forthcoming years. There will be resistance against such a venture.

marotti32, berlin

I do not see any way that Germany can produce even 80% of today's electrical demands with domestic renewable energy (conservation reducing demand by 20% is doable IMHO).

Nuke is the next best option to renewable energy. Better than coal, batter than natural gas.

Unless Germany wants to develop the 44 GW Grand Inga hydroelectric project on the mouth of the Congo and a few other African mega projects and ship all the power north.

BTW, my proposed (still under development) non-GHG grid fro North America is 23% nuke, 53% wind. And we have much greater renewable resources per capita than Germany.

Best Hopes,


You have hit the pragmatic point - the amount of electricity which can be generated from non-nuclear and non-carbon sources simply will not be sufficient to support Germany's current industrial economy.

And the Germans are not planning on de-industrializing, which means that bridging the gap will require compromise.

On the other hand, I think that 20% percent is an understatement, as Germans seem more willing to change how they live as the climate change is really starting to worry people here. Or to put it differently, Germans are already noticing that they will have to live differently, regardless of their wishes. For example, waves in the North Sea are much higher than ever measured - and no one knows why.

On a lighter note, coming home on the train yesterday, the beehives along the route in one town were swarming with bees.

And the Germans are not planning on de-industrializing...

That is the problem in a nutshell, not just in Germany, but all over the planet: the persistent media- and politics-fed illusion that we have a choice whether we want to de-industrialize or not.

That also makes this whole Earth Day thing so sickening, the "Did you do your part?" idiocy. Braindead hamsters getting a dopamine shot. I did my part, so I get to feel good. What is your part? Have you defined that? Or did someone else do it for you?

Climate change and energy policy have become nothing but giant marketing ploys, like the rest of our societies.

We will continue in our collective state of denial until we can't, and then we won't.

Always nice to see that someone feels that long term planning, like the reforesting Germany carried out over several centuries, is just an illusory waste of time. And the 1999 hurricane which wiped out easily half of the trees in parts of the region is a reminder that the unplanned does occur.

I think we may disagree on what is meant by de-industrializing, though. For example, it is very likely that the Germans are planning on retaining the metal working skills required for surgical and dental instruments - after all, they have possessed them for centuries.

Or the skills required to keep a city supplied with clean water - in part, you do that by not using chemicals on your farm fields, for example, and not cutting down your forests (see above).

You seem to have a media fed idea of what industrialization means - for me, a solar hot water heater is an industrial product. The Germans make very good ones - considering that I live farther north than all major Canadian cities but one, they had better be good to be worth buying.

We can discuss the pending collapse of America - but simply because the U.S. decided to turn its back on the future doesn't mean other people have.

For a tiny example - want to guess how many kilowatts of installed solar panels my town of around 5,000 people has? Or how many metal lathes, electric welders, complete carpentry shops, lumber mills and forests, local farmers and orchards and fruit pressing operations and breweries and distilleries - all in walking distance? Or the number of people who know how to use them? Or even the number that know how to build them?

Nobody is planning on giving that up because we are all doomed - after all, anybody over the age of 63 knows all about what you are talking about, and they prefer the alternative. Whether they keep it is in the future, but they are doing the work to try and retain it. And after that hurricane, the trees were replanted - it is all just a matter of time, after all, until everything ends. Which is not exactly a reason not to start.

You seem to have a media fed idea of what industrialization means...

Excsue me? I haven't defined the term in any way.

Germany will not de-industrialize, though, however you wish to define it. It is caught in the same growth-based economic trap that the rest of the western world is in. A few solar heaters more or less makes no difference, thay are still produced for one reason only: profit. Hence, the underlying problem remains unresolved.

You mean the underlying problem of not freezing to death in the winter? (Most central heating here uses water circulation - the solar water heaters are for more than showers in many cases - even in the winter, on a cloudy day, the best vacuum designs can generate warmth.)

I think the pragmatism of much of what motivates people in Germany is not so completely encompassed with the word 'profit.'

Being cold and hungry is not a theoretical aspect of life to any German older than 63. They would like to avoid it happening again.

Ideology is one thing, pragmatism another. After all, the East Germans didn't live in a profit motivated society based on growth, which means that Germany's current Kanzlerin, who seems quite motivated to deal with long term concerns like climate change is not exactly a typical member of a growth oriented capitalist system, though she has risen to the top of one.

Germany is certainly part of the West, and certainly, profit plays a major role. For example, it played a major role in the growth of the Greens, who originally started out as a political movement opposing it.

I think the pragmatism of much of what motivates people in Germany is not so completely encompassed with the word 'profit.'

That may be true, but it would only mean they don't understand the economic system they live in. Not much comfort in that...

And no, as you well know, I don't mean freezing to death as the underlying problem.

I think we are splitting on the term 'profit.'

Germans profit from their forests - they enjoy walking in them, hunting in them, they profit from the cleaner water available by preserving a watershed, they profit from the wood which is burned for heat, and they profit from the wood that is turned into lumber.

How many of those profits are possible to measure in a monetary sense? The lumber certainly is, it is a line item in the budget of the town I live in. Which meant that the 1999 hurricane was very expensive for the town.

However, the reason the forests are preserved is not primarily due to monetary considerations, though if you are reductionist enough, everything can be reduced to a monetary viewpoint.

I do not believe every human action, in all senses, is motivated by monetary concerns, or what could be called 'profit.'

Of course, this wanders afield into altruism, survival, and many other concerns.

Maybe I should put it this way - why do most (essentially all) German workers feel that 6 weeks vacation is more important than higher pay? Do they profit more from their free time or from higher wages?

You may decide which form of profit is encompassed by your viewpoint of how society functions.

As for Germans/German speakers not understanding the economic system they live in - does Karl Marx have any resonance in these debates? Or maybe Max Weber? Or how about Ludwig Von Mises or Friedrich August von Hayek? I think Germans, who have experienced pretty much the full range of economic conditions in the past century, including the still existing legal distinction between currency and means of payment, for example, have a very clear idea of the economic system they live in - which is why the term 'Konsumterror,' for example, is so resonant. Or why many Germans think current American economic practices are summed up by calling capitalists based in Wall Street 'locusts.' Strangely, the 'locusts' live in the world's largest importer, and world's largest consumer - actually, maybe calling them locusts isn't so strange after all.

Of course he doesn't mean the problem of freezing to death in winter!

HISF is talking about the corporate/political/social farce we live in. You can produce heaters, but when the company doing it has the primary motivation of profit you are in the same paradigm that got us into the ugly mess we face. Profit chasing = leads to material gain = leads to population gain, etc. You can't solve the problems using that same paradigm... hence the quote:

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

Every organism pursues profit.

The amoeba seeks energy-rich foods.  It expends energy to gain more energy; if it fails to gain as much energy as it uses, it starves and dies.  Reproduction requires a surplus.  "Profit" is essential to the continued existence of amoebas, and every other living thing.

Scientists have turned the measurement of energy expenditure vs. energy gain into a way of analyzing the behavior patterns of animals and the evolutionary pressures which shape them.  Those which profit, survive and perhaps reproduce; those which do not, die.  If you think humans are any different, you are a very, very deluded person.

Your point contradicts your sentiment - which seems to be that the pursuit of profit is good - as you lack any distinction about the types of profit chasing.

We have evolved the ability to consider the future. We can envisage long-term profit and modify our behaviour accordingly. Over-population, individual pursuit of gain in our current society, corporate/polical marriage, etc. is a loser model in the long run, even though it makes some people unbelieveably wealthy.

As a species, long-term, overall population benefits would seem to be the prudent goals.

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

But you see, Germans, with some experience of freezing to death in the winter - see the migration of millions of Germans in the winter of 1945 from Prussia fleeing the Russians - are concerned about that point.

And call it a farce - but when your prime motivation is not freezing to death, since when you were 6 years old, you walked by those who had, profit is just part of the picture.

As for Germany's population - it has been declining, even while it seems to be making material gains.

Germany could start tomorrow - in lowering the speed-limit or actually setting a reasonable limit in lack og any .. for the autobahn

That would be a 'costing nothing' AND 'gaining alot' in a pen-stroke.
But the negative side of it - are all theese formulaONE drivers 'wannabees' who would stop comming to the autobahn for this sole reason ..

May be this autobahn/ F1-reason should be reckonned for what it is - waste of energy for the sake of 'actually nothing'

I prefer them concrete-sections of the A-bahn - 'Ca booom -- ca boom', thinking can the tyres take it ?

No question - but then, sort of like many Americans are dedicated to gun ownership, regardless of the cost, many Germans feel entitled to drive as fast as possible, regardless of cost.

I live near Karlsruhe, and EnBW is the electric company here - and they are owned by EdF. In this region, we definitely use French electricity generated by nuclear plants. After all, EdF makes money from it, in a number of ways (I wonder how the tax structure for 'exported' energy looks - I'm sure there are at least a few people who know that answer - working for EnBW and EdF.)

The numbers of opposed Germans were simply mine - though fairly realistic in general, they have no basis in fact.

I did leave off the part that Germans would likely support nuclear, if the waste problem was solved, and new technology was developed - currently operating reactor designs are truly a disaster waiting to happen.

Yes, I remember I come orginally from the suthwest in Germany. Selling the local utilities of Baden-Württemberg (which is a federal state with a population of more than 10 millions) to the french monopolist EDF was called privatization! Really interesting. The same here in Berlin, here the former state-owned utilities (Bewag) was sold to the swedish national energy company Vattenfall.

I actually can see a good perspective phasing out using atomic energy. This will compell us to establish new efficiency and technology standards. So far this is quite succesful. A couple of weeks ago we discussed here in the Drumbeat the pv technology expected to be competetive by 2010, when regarding production costs. Combined with better storage technology and an intelligently organized supply network, this improvements will make centralized technologies obsolete. With that perspective, no management would decide to build a big power plant (whatever what kind of technology it is). We should not forget technological improvements will go on after 2010, probably quite fast, because this industrial sectors is now a multi-billion business.

marotti32, berlin

It is certainly true that Germany is well poised to take advantage of changing conditions, having made major investments in numerous areas since the oil shocks.

The thing is, Germany's preparations have essentially no equivalent in America. And the waste in America is unbelievable to German eyes, which is why some posters here think that simply by getting more efficient, America can deal with the future better than currently more efficient places.

What this misses is that the equation is more than simply cutting down on waste - it is also finding alternatives which work.

I doubt that Germany could supplant half of it's electricity from renewable (I know US #s better).

Solar PV has "limited" value in the winter and ZERO at night. Germany is too small to have much wind diversification (wind requires a centralized grid, else how do does one distribute power from off-shore wind farms ?). A wind farm is just a medium size power plant when it is put into the grid. BTW, North America does have decent wind diversification.

It is a fantasy to think that solar PV with "better storage technologies" (see the technology fairy) can create a decentralized grid. A pure fantasy. Is one to have enough batteries in one's basmeent, so that they can be charged in the fall and carry though a snowy, dark winter with minimal solar PV production ?

Germany needs today, and will need MUCH more in the increased renewable (and nuclear) future, more pumped storage units.


Germany can function in the future with a non-Greenhouse Gas Grid, but it cannot function without nuclear power (on German or other's soil) AND w/o coal and and natural gas.

Today, Germany choses coal over nuclear. Magic technology will not change that.

Best Hopes,


CANDUs for Germany ?

A modified Candu nuclear reactor can run off of spent reactor fuel from other types (depending upon specification). It's low energy density and other design features makes it a "safe" design.

Instead of burning more coal, would a "reburning" of waste fuel in a safer reactor be acceptable in Germany ? I think the % of plutonium in the fuel would increase slightly.

The thermodynamic efficiency would not be as high as other designs with enriched to specifications uranium.

The CANDU reactor does suffer the fatal flaw of being devoid of German engineering though.

Best Hopes,


Are you imagining shipping "spent" CANDU fuel across the ocean?


I was thinking of building new CANDU reactors (fewer MW) right next to existing German reactors and use the on-site waste fuel. Perhaps a short transfer from a nearby reactor if the spent fuel from two reactors was needed for one CANDU.

The CANDU could be deisgned to use the same pellets (perhaps remove pellets from zirconium rod and slide them into a another length zirconium rod. Perhaps add a few thorium pellets in between the spent fuel pellets to drive the reaction further.

Best Hopes,


The CANDU could be deisgned to use the same pellets (perhaps remove pellets from zirconium rod and slide them into a another length zirconium rod.

Those pellets aren't the same after their time in the core.  Fission increases the number of atoms, and emission of krypton and helium adds gas.  The result is that the pellets swell and change shape due to irradiation.

Perhaps the hollow-core pellets would avoid some of this, but I'd want to see a paper with test results.

The fuel pellets should expand fairly uniformly. IMHO (no direct experience) the pellets could be removed mechanically from the old zirconium tube and put into a new tube (if they could not be reused 'as is" in a specially designed CANDU reactor).

Best Hopes,


The problem isn't shape, its contamination by neutron poisons. You got to process the fuel to pull out the fission products or it just wont burn.

CANDUs have MUCH better neutron economy than PWR or BWR light water reactors. And fuel is pulled before it is completely poisoned even for use in light water reactor.

Perhaps add some fuel rods of thorium to help finish as much burning as possible.

Best Hopes,


CANDU has far better neutron economy than LWR's.  That's why they can run with natural uranium (0.7% U-235) as fuel.

It is a fantasy to think that solar PV with "better storage technologies" (see the technology fairy) can create a decentralized grid. A pure fantasy.

You did forget to say "at present demand levels" and "with the present business model".

Even with half the demand of today (remove all street lights, outlaw hair dryers, and other drastic steps) and three times the price of today, my statement still stands.

The only truly distributed power is solar PV. Winter output for German PV will be minimal; almost zero for weeks at a time in some areas.

Solar energy and Germany are not a perfect marriage (Phoenix AZ is much more so).

Best Hopes,


Unfortunately, this thread is getting very disjointed.

Part of the whispered debate here is the fact that the gap in energy required by any reasonable measure of current standards, and the means to generate it, is not currently bridgeable.

So yes, the price will rise, the amount used will decrease, and the gap will still be there, fillable only with coal and nuclear.

Until people live differently, that is. I don't know how that will play out - one of the things I imagine is 'forward' conservation - building systems that are designed to last 50 years, like passenger rail cars, meaning that if 100 a year are built while 90 are retired, the amount of passenger capacity available in the future will grow in a way not easily accounted for by current costing systems.

my statement still stands.

Based on what?

Winter output for German PV will be minimal; almost zero for weeks at a time in some areas.

For weeks you say?

Can you provide proof of this claim?

Germany is basically between 47,4N and 54.5N latitude. This means a few days of less than 7 hours of daylight (50 N & above) and many days of less than 8 hours of daylight.

With perfectly clear skies and a flat horizon, the solar insolution is much less than early summer and the sun does not rise that far up in the sky.

Add trees (even if most have lost their leaves), other buildings and some hills/mountains (some of Germany is FLAT, but not most of it) and the low angle sun is cut off and hours of direct sunshine reduced. Some valley communities go weeks every winter between sunlight, just due to the orientation of the mountains.

And then add the infamous German winter weather (dark & cloudy much of the time) and some snow on top of the solar PV and a less than optimumly placed solar PV (say on someones roof) and winter daily production can easily be less than 1% of a fine June day with 16 hours of sunlight, much of it with the sun high in the sky !

I can foresee a bright July day where Germany exports surplus solar & wind power to Switzerland, Austria & Norway for several hours, who in turn, reduce their hydropower generation for "later".

I cannot foresee winter nights where German houses operate off of batteries charged earlier on that cloudy, snowy day.

Best Hopes,


I found this via Google (some nice photos of solar rooftops)

"The other interesting thing about Germany is that the solar resource is extremely low! In fact, the solar resource in the best parts of Germany is only as good as the solar resource in the worst parts of the US.
And when I say the worst parts, I’m not kidding. Only Northwest Washington and Alaska are comparable to Germany’s solar resource, proving that the limits to solar are not technical, but merely political. If Germany can install 700MW in 2005 surely we can do better in the US (The US installed ~80MW of grid-connected PV in 2005)."


Germany is basically between 47,4N and 54.5N latitude. This means a few days of less than 7 hours of daylight (50 N & above) and many days of less than 8 hours of daylight.

This doesn't support the claim of "weeks of almost zero".

With perfectly clear skies and a flat horizon, the solar insolution is much less than early summer and the sun does not rise that far up in the sky.

This doesn't support the claim of "weeks of almost zero".

With perfectly clear skies and a flat horizon, the solar insolution is much less than early summer and the sun does not rise that far up in the sky.

This doesn't support 'almost zero' either.

Add trees (even if most have lost their leaves), other buildings and some hills/mountains (some of Germany is FLAT, but not most of it) and the low angle sun is cut off and hours of direct sunshine reduced. Some valley communities go weeks every winter between sunlight, just due to the orientation of the mountains.

Extending such "logic", no PV is good for anyone. Because the 'livable cities' you like pimp'n have building that shade other buildings. And all the buildings that have east/west roof surfaces - well PV is right out.

A rather poor argument to support your "almost zero" position, but if that is what you want to use, hey, its your weak argument.

And then add the infamous German winter weather (dark & cloudy much of the time) and some snow on top of the solar PV

Ahhh, this is your supporting statement?

This is a case of Technology CAN save you. There are things called shovels and brooms. Both can remove snow from surfaces. Perhaps you have never seen shovles or brooms before.

I cannot foresee winter nights where German houses operate off of batteries charged earlier on that cloudy, snowy day.

How much batteries do you need for some lights and a radio?

What exactly are you planning on powering in your vision of the future? A metal smelter? A electric kiln?

There are valid concerns about keeping the power on in many industrial processes. But we are just talking houses right?

Looking at the world where powering a 50 inch plasma TV and lighting up your home like a church during the xmas season in a public orgy of consumption is not going to end well. Such an allocation of resources is as bad a plan as demanding the rebuilding of a city that has parts under dsea level.

Look at the German houses and beer hall with solar PV in the associated link. These are not "optimized" installations. No one is going to go up there with a broom and sweep the snow off.

from http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/6i.html

at 60 latitude,, the solar insolation varies from a max of 480 W/m2 in summer to a minimum of ~30 W/m2 in December at 60 latitude (further north than Germany but not dramatically). In New Orleans (30 latitude) in varies from 240 to 480 W/m2. At more southerly areas; a 50% seasonabl drop/ Further north, a 16 fold drop. Perhaps a ten or twelve fold drop in northern Germany (49-51 latitude) ?

What little solar insolation one gets in the winter never hits roof mounted solar PV at right angles (those pictured solar PV should get right angle insolution in June though) AND "low to the horizon" insolution (unlike middday June insolution) is MUCH more likely to be blocked by terrain, trees or other buildings.


Has detailed data that varies with cloud conditions in sunny Davis CA. If one compares 2/4 to 2/22 (or even 2/12, daylength affects insolation even over 10 days), there appears to be a 95+% drop in insolation on a cloudy day (surprise !).

Add the three factors together; seasonal variation in insolution, seasonal variation in cloudiness (in a random 2 week+ gloomy period) AND factors affecting non=optimum house that reduce low horizon solar input (terrain, trees, other buildings) and such houses can not be self supporting on their own solar PV even with a reasonable # of batteries. THEY NEED THE GRID TO SURVIVE THE GERMAN WINTER !

You underestimate the domestic load by derision. Cooking is required (microwave and/or stove (NG ?? or electric), radio, TV (even a 19" LED), computer, some women (and men) insist upon hair dryers, recharging cell phones (minor). Cooking will kill batteries; the load is quite heavy, even for a short time.

So thus concept that German homes can get by with just solar PV in the winter is a fantasy in many cases. And Germany has industry (as expat notes) so Germany (home & industry) will need a grid no matter what ! And they will need a 24/365 source of power (see nuke imported or domestic, massive wind & hydro and/or FF).

Solar PV in Germany "pays back" ~7 months of the year and has minimal value in the winter, even further south in better locations. Just reality.

Best Hopes,


Only truly distributed power?

I think domestic CHP is at least as good, has no problems with clouds or shadows, and will be most available during exactly those periods when PV is the least.  The major question is how you get a sustainable fuel supply.  Torrefied grass pellets, anyone?

Torrefied grass pellets, anyone?

A better plan than making ethanol outta it.

Now, how do get from field (or roof as you mentioned in the past) to pellets in the home with using the least amount of non renewable resources. Oh, and how does this plan get the ash back to the land?

This at least might 'keep it local'

If you don't want to worry about ash return, bio-oil might be a better medium than torrefied solids.  Losses will be higher, but handling would be easier.

Designing a domestic CHP plant that can operated off of torrefied grass pellets AND operated/maintained by your average (and sub-average) homeowner is indeed a daunting challenge !

We engineers make up less than 1% of the population. And of course, still substantial generation-load match issues.

The Swedes & Danes avoid this with district CHP using a few professionals and grid connections to Norwegian hydro.

Best Hopes,


Well, I know I have a credibility problem with stirlings, but it is true that I finally did get that 1kW opposed unit working pretty well. Very quiet and vibration free. Only problem- linear alternators way too expensive.

Now I am working on a MUCH simpler and cheaper system that also stores energy and will do just great on pellets, or even plain logs. This one is so good I am not telling you about it- that's how good it is!

With any luck, you will be buying them next year. Yeah.

BTW, if you have one of these in your house, you get your pellets delivered at 3 am by a truck that also vacuums out the ash and brings it back to the fields from whence it came. No muss, no fuss, no bother, just a warm feeling , lots of light, and holier-than-thou. Comes with a big sign you hang above your front door proclaiming the virtue of all within.

The truck runs on the same fuel and engine. The world is saved; I die in peace.

Well, I know I have a credibility problem with stirlings

Sir, it is not YOU that has the issue, it is the 'industry' and the lack of bulk-shipping stirlings.

Unless you are to blame for no shuipping engines?!?!

The average homeowner seems to have no difficulty with a pellet stove, and a sealed power unit running off the heat would be no more difficult to operate than a gas furnace; if something goes wrong, you call a repairman.

The average homeowner does NOT own a pellet stove ! Ownership self selects for a certain type of individual. And remember the "below average" as well.

Of course, getting 12% of the population on toriffied grass CHPs would be a MAJOR accomlishment !

Best Hopes,


Hey. We gotta remember we are diving into a new world. People will find biomass pellets are a lot easier to get ($) than stuff like nat gas which will be gobbled up by cars. So they will get the pellets. And if they can get some or all of their electricity from the same widget, they will.

That's the opportunity I and a bunch of other fanatics are working to give them. And besides, its a lot of fun- as long as that measly dribble of R&D money we need is being donated by somebody other than me and doesn't get slurped down that rathole in the land between the rivers.

What may be missing from this debate is how willing are people to live differently?

I can't imagine any mass production industrial system being able to meet its needs using renewable sources, and in that sense, Germany uses coal and nuclear, and will still being using coal and nuclear in the future.

But the German experience with the 'Green Point' recycling system is fascinating, and not exactly tangential to peak oil.

As the Greens became an irresistible political force in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the other parties were forced to adapt. And the Greens tapped a deep wellspring in German concerns about pollution and waste, which led to a startling idea - all manufacturers would be forced to take back all the packaging used in selling their products.

As imaginable, numerous companies were horrified at the very idea of actually having to deal with the waste they produced when selling their products - as they never had to pay for that in the past. But the political tide against them was far too strong - after all, who wants to claim a right to trash where your customers live (McDs, not too surprising, along with Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble, did try, of course - they tried an end run at the EU level, claiming that things like bottle deposits were a trade barrier - the smae way today that the Bush League insists that accurately labelling products containing hormones or GMOs is a trade barrier).

So as a last ditch measure, mandatory recycling was implemented, but the manufacturers were not subject to 100% forced recycling of their own packaging. However, since the outcome seemed in doubt for quite a while, most companies extensively reworked their packaging - and discovered that less plastic tape and oversized boxes with expensive colored printing meant more revenue, as the waste packaging was also wasted money. And more shelf space in the stores. And customers who no longer had any problem actually opening the products they had bought.

The amount of packaging material went down dramatically, and though this had been painted as an ominous threat to German jobs (it is a given in German politics - any change is a dire threat to jobs), it turned out that the demand for improved packaging ideas and technology led to a steady demand for such innovations.

Compromise 'ruined' the Greens vision of destroying a major facet of normal consumer existence, but the companies (well, not the American ones, but that is another story) found it made good business sense to waste less - so they continued to work on cutting costs in what turned out to be a fairly unnecessary area.

Change is possible, and if enough people demand it, it will happen. This is one of the mysteries of today's America - where are the people demanding changes? And once people notice that often change is not merely a hurdle, but a benefit, it develops a certain momentum.

That is part of the idea he is pointing out - change happens, but it takes work and time.

Personally, I think there is an excellent chance Germany will move, possibly not so gradually, away from a mass consumption industrial society as an answer to energy shortfalls.

After all, there aren't too many alternatives available at this point. But moving away from mass consumption too quickly is likely to lead to major job disruptions - and that is a real problem in a country with a deep fear of mass unemployment.

Expat. Your remarks are somewhat encouraging. Maybe Germany or some other country might be able to at least discuss a problem long recognized but almost never discussed- that a lot of human activity called economic is best not done at all. So a country might be much better off simply paying people as usual but not letting them work at their negative-value job.

I offer as obvious examples- people who write those catalogs that I discard by the basket-load every month- catalogs trying to get me to buy things that should never have been made.

Sweden was also supposed to close down all nuclear plants, but the opinion has now shifted so more than half of the people want to build more plants or stay where we are.

Sweden has 50% nuclear and 50% hydro.

Germany has always been ahead regarding technologies. Germany is currently planning /building a massiv 28 good old fashioned coal power plants. Thanks to the Green party and the Socialists. Finally they get rid of those terrible dangerous nuke plants. Long live coal !

Just to remember: Germany has signed Kyoto!

No more comment. Useless.

Yes, and EnBW managed to submit applications to extend the life of its oldest nuclear plant AND applications for more coal plants in the same week. And they even managed to say in public, with a straight face, they needed to extend the life of the nuclear plant to help the environment by burning less coal.

Of course, some people are a bit more cynical than others, and blaming the Greens for power company decisionmaking is truly cynical.

Sure, the reason that EnBW wants more power plants is because all the mandatory conservation laws the Greens have been pushing for a generation which haven't been implemented. Makes sense to blame the Greens for not being successful, doesn't it?

God knows the German power companies have only the Greens to blame for record profits coupled with massive price manipulation, neglected grid maintenance, and the blocking of any law designed to cut energy consumption.

As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for the Greens, we wouldn't be hearing about all this 'global warming' balderdash either, would we, which must mean that 'global warming' is caused by the Greens, too.

Everywhere nukes are shutdown you have to make up the power somehow. Its almost always coal.

Opinion hasn't shifted that much. The people never wanted to close the reactors, only our damn stupid elites did.

Expat, one of my understandings is that the waste problem is exacerbated by political decisions. Now I am not attempting to trivialize the waste issue but please read How Harry Reid can Save us $80 billion and Fuel $1 Trillion of Electricity by Joseph Somsel, a nuclear engineer (who also occasionally posts here).

The essential points of Mr. Somsel's article are that, because of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, we have chosen to not reprocess spent nuclear fuel. This has the side effect of keeping it in liquid form and leaving more of the radioactives in the waste than is desirable.

Reprocessing the fuel puts us in a position where the waste becomes solid, about 1/10th the size of the liquid waste, and less radioactive to boot.

In my opinion, any assessment of nuclear is incomplete without choosing to evaluate the reprocessing of nuclear fuel in the analysis. Not reprocessing is equivalent to analyzing fossil fuels but insisting that no emission controls be considered at all, not a very realistic analysis.

I do not pretend to know what an analysis of nuclear power would look like for Germany after making that sort of change to the assessment, but I do believe that honesty and the urgency of resource depletion plus climate change are such that we ought to consider this.

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

I personally feel the waste problem is solvable in a number of ways, none of them beneficial to the bottom line of any power company which sells nuclear generated electricity. And none in a way which makes nuclear power look more attractive to skeptics or supporters.

The other problem is with poor designs - there are designs which address this concern, however.

As for weapons - that discussion is a broad one, and better left aside in general. Most currently built designs come out of the same cauldron that led to the development of a number of nuclear weapons and technologies. In my eyes, there is very little difference between peaceful and military nuclear power, though it is a subject open to reasonable discussion, and is heavily influenced by the growth of America's and Russia's atomic arsenals during the Cold War. It remains a personal belief that in both countries, the 'peaceful' programs were intended to obscure the opponent's view of what was going on in terms of production for bomb materials.

I do believe that nuclear power could be a useful source of energy, but there are a lot of conditions attached to that belief, which tend to make most people think I'm anti-nuclear. Which tends to make me wonder about a lot of nuclear supporters - how anybody could feel that a pressurized system which becomes locked into a positive feedback loop leading to its destruction is desirable is beyond me.

I personally like some of the pebble bed ideas, not that anybody is really planning on building them on a major scale.

how anybody could feel that a pressurized system which becomes locked into a positive feedback loop leading to its destruction is desirable is beyond me.

It isn't.  That's why modern PWR's are designed to have negative feedback.  IIUC, BWR's can even load-follow.  They have negative void coefficients, so increasing the feedwater pressure decreases the steam volume, increasing the moderation toward the peak and increasing reactor output power until steam production evens it out; decreasing the water feed does the reverse.

If you are going to imply a claim about modern reactors, you should make sure that you are actually describing them.  The Soviet RMBK's had positive-feedback regimes (as we all know), but we don't use such designs for good reason.

how anybody could feel that a pressurized system which becomes locked into a positive feedback loop leading to its destruction is desirable is beyond me.

With all due respect expat, but this statement alone clearly shows that you don't know what you are arguing about (or against). All modern PWRs are featuring negative feedback loop by design.

The ones you are talking about are probably che Chernobyl type - the RBMKs, which were designed with the insane cobmination of positive feedback loop and lack of containement vessel. I can compare this for example to some "genius" designing a microwave oven without a front door (to save money) - which will also klll you eventually. But I'm not throwing away my door-full microwave because such hypothetical idea may exist in someone's minds.

Actually, what I meant was that many (probably most) reactors currently in use today require active cooling, and if the cooling stops, a positive feedback loop develops.

I realize that modern designs try to avoid this problem - but to the best of my very limited knowledge, those plants built in the 1960s and 1970s (3 Mile Island comes to mind as example) have this flaw. And yes, there are supposed to be systems in place to prevent this from happening - as happened down the road from me, sometimes people forget to actually check those systems, and don't notice they forgot to fill them correctly.

To the extent I was unclear, it was a mistake. To the extent I am mistaken, it is also a mistake.

Basically, retiring plants built in the past is a good idea - replacing them with better designs is also a good idea, since we don't really have too many options if we wish to keep the lights on.

You are incorrect again - it is exactly the opposite, at least for the PWRs, which represent more than half of the active reactors today. And of course all new reactors are PWRs or other similar negative-feedback designs. From wikipedia:


The use of water as a moderator is an important safety feature of PWRs, as any increase in temperature causes the water to expand and become less dense; thereby reducing the extent to which neutrons are slowed down and hence reducing the reactivity in the reactor. Therefore, if reactor activity increases beyond normal, the reduced moderation of neutrons will cause the chain reaction to slow down, producing less heat. This property, known as the negative temperature coefficient of reactivity, makes PWR reactors very stable. In contrast, the RBMK reactor design used at Chernobyl (using graphite instead of water as the moderator) greatly increases heat generation when coolant water temperatures increase, making them very unstable. This flaw in the RBMK reactor design is generally seen as one of several causes of the Chernobyl accident.

RE: Check your carbon footprint

Result: we would need 7.1 earths to support all of humanity in my lifestyle.

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

Apparently a mere 2.8 Earths for me.

2.3 earths for me, and I was "on the low" end of several of their ranges, so I may be just below 2.0 if figured more exactly. On public transit use, they made no delta between diesel buses and electric streetcars.

Best Hopes for 1.0 Earths,


2.8 planets for me... it's the bike commuting.

1.7 for me: No driving or flying and a tiny place in which I live.

Antoinetta III

I'm in the middle of you two...4.7 planets.

3.1 planets for me. It's time to start terraforming Venus, the moon, and Mars. ;o)

Not enough time.

You know, if I showed you the above graph and said it was yeast, you would come to an obvious conclusion. If I showed you the above graph and said it was rats, you would come to an obvious conclusion. If I showed you the above graph and said it was reindeer on St. Matthews Island, you would come to an obvious conclusion.

But because the above graph is homo sapiens, 99% of the people reading this blog will refuse to come to the logical, obvious, clear conclusion.

People here amaze me. You (that's a generic you, not you specifically, graywulffe) denigrate anyone who cannot see the impending oil crisis (a speck in your brother's eye) but cannot see the population crisis (the log in your own eye).

We cannot and will not continue to live as we currently do. It cannot continue indefinitely. And the current population cannot continue at these levels much longer at all. The sheer delusional willpower necessary to overlook this speaks volumes about homo sapiens as a species and is a demonstration of why we cannot and will not adequately solve even the smaller problems around resource depletion, let alone the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the room.

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

The sheer delusional willpower necessary to overlook this speaks volumes about homo sapiens as a species and is a demonstration of why we cannot and will not adequately solve even the smaller problems around resource depletion, let alone the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the room.

ExxonMobil, CERA & API on Peak Oil:



Cid! How ya been bein'?

I am not guilty. Have no children.

Exactly. My parents had three children. My brother and I have been ZPG (Zero Population Growth) long emergency doomers since the 1970s and are married with zero children. My sister had two children.

So using my parents as the baseline, they should have four grandchildren under replacement conditions, but only have two. Our family got a jump on the dieoff and have effectively halved our population size in two generations. As a result, my niece and nephew will reap triple inheritance benefits, and stand a greater chance of surviving the population bottleneck. If the whole world had done this, we would not be facing TEOTWAWKI in the immediate future. Not to mention that the Chinese river dolphin might still be with us.

The Population Bomb was published in 1968 and many families made appropriate adjustments. In this sense, advanced planning for peak everything has been going on for 40 years.

MicroHydro, ditto my wife and I. The first Club of Rome report convinced us (marrried 1973) that we could not ethically nor responsibly reproduce. It was emotionally difficult, but necessary.

..... but cannot see the population crisis .....

When will the first person who keeps this up come up with the only realistic solution and follow his/her own advise?

There is a very easy way to get rid of the problem, and it starts with you.

Actually, it doesn't have to start with me. I can realize that it's a problem, and it could start with you, or somebody else for that matter. That's what wars are for. (Not that I'm advocating it, most certainly.)

True enough, but that changes the entire paradigm in such a way that there is in essence no problem.

After all, if you feel free to go and kill people, you can do that till there's few enough left, or none, if they don't get you first.

It's when you don't give yourself the right to do so that issues arise. Most people then seem to advocate policies that would restrict the number of children per woman, or per couple. And fail to see that they then do what you propose: give themselves the right to decide over other people's lives.

There is another option. That is to say, it is technically possible to freeze current population levels. It may not be politically possible but it is technically possible. And within that possibility lies the option for a voluntary drop in population before a crash is forced upon us. We may not take that. Indeed we are unlikely to take that path at all. But it is open to us.

One way or another the problem will be solved and there will not be 7 billion people left on this planet. The only choice is whether we, as a species, choose to address the issue or whether we chose to let nature do it.

By the way, removing oneself does not solve the population problem, most especially not when there are people like yourself still remaining. I will leave the rest as an exercise to the reader to contemplate.

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

Many are doing something about it...by not having children, or by having fewer.

The first rule of holes: if you're in one, stop digging.

People here amaze me. You (that's a generic you, not you specifically, graywulffe) denigrate anyone who cannot see the impending oil crisis (a speck in your brother's eye) but cannot see the population crisis (the log in your own eye).

The site is about energy futures... which are linked to, but hardly the same as, climate futures, population futures, political justice futures, and economic growth futures.

I certainly see the connections. Maybe some people don't see them... but maybe that's not their interest or expertise either?

The coming of Peak Oil is ONLY interesting ultimately in terms of human survival and sustainability.... it only exists as a problem in the context of a finite resource base on planet Earth, which includes not only finite oil, but a finite carbon sink in the atmosphere, finite agricultural land, etc.

I think most folks understand that pretty well.

The consensus on the problem of peak oil is pretty wide here... the consensus on the likely economic consequences is much less strong, and the consensus on viable solutions in the post peak enviorment tends to be even weaker, and to depend on whether people see the broader context and the atmospheric carbon crisis in particular, or not.

The site is about energy futures...

Says who? The banner sure doesn't, it says:

Discussions about energy and our future

Well that's quite a clever semantic argument, but the "and" has an obvious meaning.... "the relationship between" energy and our future.

If it said "Discussions about energy and puppy dogs" you might have an argument... as written, I think it's pretty obvious that the subject is energy as it relates to our future.

Nice try though.

I don't think it is obvious. I have seen the editors deem many topics very tenuously linked to energy as being on-topic because they are about "our future". There are countless posts about politics, religion etc for example. Unless you argue that everything hinges on energy, so everything is valid, isn't it? Well no... certain posts are deemed off-topic because they are "not about energy", so the policy is inconsistent.

I think like most sites, what is considered on-topic is ambiguous and up to the whim of the editors - they like posters who agree with the party line and dislike those who disagree.

"...and our future" is a redundant qualification anyway. We can't change the past.

Looking at your population chart if we go back to 300-500 million people world wide I think it will be far easier for me to be rich and famous, have my picture in National Enquirer, and date Sandra Bullock or Meg Ryan. I'm not delusional...


I concur. From my perspective, Peak Oil is just one of many signatures triggered by one huge phenomenon at hand--the rapid accumulation of human beings in a short span of time.

And being a natural phenomenon, it's going to run it course: Looks like there's going to be one hell of a population crash. If nature is "kind," the fall-off might be similar to the rate-of-climb, so back down to about 0.5 billion in, what?, four or five centures? That's about a quarter million a week subtracted from the global population over five hundred years (one Boxing Day 2004 tsunami event a week). This is, admittedly, a simple way of modeling the dropoff. If nature is "unknind," the fall-off might occur in a few years or decades (plague?), or days or weeks (nuclear war?). I put "kind" and "unknind" in quotes because these descriptors are a matter of perspective. Indeed they probably don't apply at all. Nature simply acts.




Probahbly the best developed solution I have come across:


population is only one ingredient in this positive feedback loop. Reducing population while ignoring the other factors
will only buy a little more time for the same destructive
processes to continue even longer.

Populations grow when they _can_. this is as true for humans
as it is for yeast. Going into the petri dish and killing half
the yeast might postpone the time the colony crashes by a
few hours, but it will make no material difference to the

Positive feedback looks are unstoppable right up to the
point they break down, at which point they are impossible
to maintain.. nothing really remarkable or surprising about

the technologies which opened up greater, more intense
exploitation of resources provided the imbalance of power
needed to fuel the population explosion. Those technologies,
ultimately being founded in good hard physics, will be
viable as long as the conditions exist for them to provide a
meaningful return- and so long as they give advantage, people will be essentially forced to use them.

those technologies, in that they open up more intense exploitation than is long-term sustainable, are necessarily
in a race against the clock. The more intense a technology,
the sooner it can exhaust its environment. The race,
however, presents the choice to the player of either failing, and losing immediately, or escalating, and putting it off a short (and ever shrinking) while. It is easy to
see which choice will be made- and that evolution of the
players only reinforces that choice even further.

We now get to see what happens when that game manages to
reach a global scale. It is ugly. The positive feedback
loop is already breaking down. We don't need to reduce
opulation, it will decline on its own (and I can hardly
imagine any method of reducing it deliberately which would
be less gruesome or sinister than just letting it sort
itself out)

I agree with you that most people have a mental block on
even considering that humans are just like every other life
form- but I disagree that population is the key variable
here. population is along for the ride, and plays a role
in the positive feedback, but it alone is not the answer to

The winning-est strategy has always been to grow as much as
possible. This will not change. When a positive feedback loop collapses, none or perhaps very very few player will
be able to accomplish it, and if none do, it means extinction, but at that point, it's a matter of statistics
and the specific circumstances in individual cases which
will decide the matter. Trying to alter one's own strategy to some altruistic ideal (which ultimately is based on some
cultural emphasis on excessive self-sacrifice being a
universal good) at one's own expense merely means that
you move out of the way for everyone else who's still playing game to keep on playing.

So, what to do? Maximize the specific conditions for your
self and those close to you, and try to keep out of the
way of the falling debris of a collapsing positive feedback
loop. Don't try to fix a hopelessly broken thing.

I think a lot of people here are well aware of the population side of the general problem nexus. The forces driving it are, as usual, larger than what anyone like Malthus, Erlich, Club of Rome, or any successor can manage. We can comment on it, but we won't change it on large scales with anything we're likely to say. The problem is agriculture, not religion. Industry and large-scale laborer demand, not politics. We've been on this path for a long time (see, e.g., A Green History of the World, by Clive Ponting). Competition will guarantee that anyone making personal decisions to lower their footprint will likely lose to others who will try to take everything.

The UN used to publish tables giving everyone's rosy scenario to solving the problem by curve-fitting population data to the logistic curve. So, for example, Bangladesh and Nigeria should reach equilibrium by 2100 with 350 million people each. Right. Even as a teenager in the 1970s I couldn't imagine the elite policymakers who commissioned that study actually believing the figures, able to look at them with a straight face. I was aware of this situation long before global warming or peak oil became themes. On the other two you had to have inside information. On the population question all you had to do is to look at the data as good and updated census information became regularly publicly available. All you had to do is pay attention. It was a lot easier than dealing with the oil situation since, as recent threads have shown, lack of data makes it possible for experts to agree to disagree.


cool link. I'm at 5 acres, for 1.1 worlds. I'll have to continue growing more food, to get that down to 1 acre.

Kind of sobering, as simply as my wife and I live (off grid, 250 sq foot adobe in the desert, grow or buy local for half our food), that if everyone lived like us we'd still overburden the world.

I guess that makes it pretty clear that there are too many of us.

3,1 planets for me.

Well, I took the test, and included my wife's driving, which may have distorted things a bit. If we all lived like I do, we would need 2.5 earths.

Except here is the thing - my family of four used 2,225 Kwh electricity (yes, at home we each use an average of 1.25 Kwh a day) last year, and less than 11,000 Kwh natural gas (very warm winter, though). We have a 60 liter trashcan for 'remainder' trash, which gets emptied about 18 times a year or so. The recycling trash and paper trash gets picked up once every 3 weeks.

And the categories are quite strange - between eating meat 1-2 week, and almost always? How about maybe 3-5 times a week?

And over the last few years, when I drive the bus to work (yes, it gets a horrible 22 mpg or so), I often try to collect wood to burn - all this wood is further cut by hand by me, though it was most likely cut with chainsaw by someone else. So how do your rate 100 lbs. of wood used for heating when calculating the driving to work?

I think this is a pretty poor indicator of how people live.

Or not - outliers are always a problem.

Hmm, I wonder about the acuracy of the calculator. Mine added up to 11.8, yet when I added up the numbers they gave for the five areas, my total was 1.8 not 11.8. Do they automatically add 10 points to start with?

I live a pretty conservative life, but I do eat small portions of poultry or fish a couple of times a day. I too must wonder how much emphasis they put on eating meat.


Re: Lee Iacocca article

I have to confess that like many business people – especially in the car industry – I came late to enlightenment on global warming and the energy crisis.

Did he say "energy crisis"? Are we officially in one? He doesn't say "coming energy crisis"

Or does he know more that he lets on, and perhaps doesn't want to say the "P" word?

Anyways...pushing plug-in hybrids is a decent idea, so kudos to him on this fine Earthday morning.

Did you say Lukoil?

Great...I thought they believe in abiotic oil in Russia.

Net exports we're down what 2.5% last year, so maybe they are trying to keep exports flat by making oil from food instead for internal use.

Either way...I don't like what this suggests. KSA and Russia teetering is all too real, can we go back to theory now?

Hi WT/Jeffrey,

What do you make of this?

Maybe I'm a little slow, but where does Chairman Lee plan to get the electricity for a few hundred million PHEVs, to use the acronym? I'm just not very impressed with powering the fleet with line losses and battery losses and internal discharges and carrying around hundreds of pounds of batteries. And after the flaming laptop debacle, GM's plan to use Li ion seems a bit scary.

Something along the lines of the Volkswagen prototype Ferdinand Piechmobile that looks like a narrowed down thirties Tatra car - see DB a few days ago - makes a lot more sense as an interim vehicle. Sure, it's going to be slow on hills, so we'd be tempted to add batteries and an electric booster motor - which pushes up the weight and so on so you need a bigger motor and let's make it a two up and so on until you get to today's joke of a Prius which gets worse highway mileage than a conventional Civic. Current hypebrids are only of benefit in stop and go, if you don't go too abruptly. I don't see how plugging them into a coal fired powerplant will achieve all that much.

Where I live, it's hydroelectricity, so in theory I should be excited about this, but what is so ridiculously obvious is to FIRST get all airconditioning solar powered. Plus ALL hot water in summer at least. By law. If Mexican hotels can do it, what's the holdup in Phoenix? If Arizona can't lead the world in solar, we may as well just give up and die off. If we can't even organize solar powered cooling in summertime, we're in a pathetic state. I can see the difficulty of solar heating in January in Minnesota, but we should be able to get the southern locales fixed pretty fast and cheap.

Oh yeah, I forgot about politics.

powering our cars with electricity is easy! Just strip mine all the coal seams and burn it. The faster the better.

I'm with you, it's crushing to see all these new housing tracts go up here in AZ, and not a single one intentionally uses passive solar design -- let alone any active PV or solar hot water. With just a tiny bit of alignment, most any house can cut it's energy use by a significant fraction. But once the slab is poured, it's "set in stone," so to speak.

And that's not to mention the fact that one rarely sees clothes lines; people insist on using dryers, even when it's as hot and dry out as inside the damn dryer!

Karma's gonna get society, big time. And Arizona is high on the list. (hint, to anyone thinking of moving here....)

Arizona will be one of the first to disappear as what we call civilization. It will go the way of aincient Indian civilizatoins and will not rise again, as in the Phoenix.

Arizona is so doomed.

So I keep wondering: we often say that Arizona is doomed early on.

Does that mean that refugee Arizonians will migrate to good ol' Minnesota, thinking that we've got plenty of water up here?

Will TPTB try for pipelines of water from Canada and the Great Lakes to feed all that Arizonian and also Vegas infrastructure we've mis-invested in?

The issues like this will come up, but when? Who is planning ahead for this?

We hear about poor Bangladeshi's fleeing the coasts due to Global Warming, but we do not hear about possible refugees in our country vacating habitats become hostile for human settlement.

Just wondering...

Hello Tstreet,

Yep, my Asphalt Wonderland is in extreme delusional mode. We couldn't even take clues from ancient Indian architecture, then build our housing mostly earth-banked with earthen roofs to minimize solar heating in the summertime. Truly Dumb!

A/C will eventually disappear except for the very well-to-do --> takes too much energy and equipment. Swamp coolers are simple, cheap, require very little energy to run compared to A/C, and could be supplied by a typical home's lightly filtered grey water at water-shortage crunchtime. But the biggest advantage of a swamp cooler is the more healthful, flowing, filtered air exchange inside the house. A/C just keeps recirculating the decreasing air quality inside airflow.


My girlfriend's tract house was originally built in the late 70s with both A/C and swamp. I run the swamp till she freaks from the humidity level [she is in complete PO denial, I can't even discuss it with her; she thinks I belong to a cult!], but virtually all of our neighbors have long ago removed their swamp coolers. The addition of inside upducts in each room negates the need to have open windows or doors [for greater safety]; the air flow goes through the inside first, then cools the attic area, then finally flows outside.

I have posted this before: I wish I could convince by girlfriend to sell her house so we could build an earth-covered minimal culvert shelter. Oh well-- maybe later as prices skyrocket for energy.

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

Unfortunately (for me), it is my understanding that swamp coolers are most appropriate in areas of low humidity, which I think is why I've seen them utilized in El Paso. Being so close to the humidity of the Gulf (but not so close as to get the ocean breeze), we have to rely on the a/c.

Hello Seadragon,

Thxs for responding. Yep, ambient humidity determines how effective a swamp cooler is at cooling the flesh. Fortunately in Phx, our dry heat allows for a long swamp cooling season in relative comfort. From memory, I think my girlfriend had me run the A/C for only two months during our monsoon season [when humidity spikes], then she had me switch back to the swamp to save on the electric bill.

Years ago when I was a kid, my family only had swamp cooling--it is not that bad once you mentally adjusted to sleeping with interior humidity-dampened bedsheets. My mom's family, during the Depression: they summertime slept in the yard, along with most other neighbors, because the house had no electricity to even run a fan-- cooler outside the house at night than inside.

Most of the world gets along fine without A/C or even swamp cooling, I think Americans will eventually adjust too. Climate and Energy Justice says we must accept the adjustment to help share the burden.

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

My experience and the data tell me that Prius gets better gas mileage than a conventional civic. And no, I do very little stop and go driving. I don't know where you get your numbers.

Actually, I haven't researched the exact numbers and there is no possible apples to apples comparison, but as I recall from a road test in a Canadian carmag, the figures were [in Canadian gallons - 160 oz!] the Prius got 51, Civic 53 and Toyota's Echo or Yaris as it is now called got 54. Car and Driver? did a comparo a while back and also Consumer Guide?? I think the Honda Insight did a little better, but the bottom line is that these things all have about 1500 cc motors and the mileage is dependent on the aerodyamics. The hybrid parts don't really 'do' anything at highway cruising speeds.

Stop and start and idling around town is a different matter, but where I live that isn't a significant enough proportion of the pattern to make it worthwhile. Toyota and Honda have gone to great lengths to increase the aerodynamic efficiency of the cars - note the Insight - in order to mask the fact that the whole system isn't really about highway efficiency. This is taxi technology and I applaud it as such, and overall, they do save fuel, but LA to New York you might as well drive a Corolla. Better yet, take the train and rent the hybrid when you get there.

One bugbear is the percentage factor for regenerative braking, as most battery systems don't like to charge that fast or create a lot of heat and loss at high recharge rates. A really high percentage regen system would be a real boon. Currently I hear some pretty low numbers for regen.

A road test in a Candadian carmag? Please. Both the EPA and the revised EPA tests give the Prius a clear advantage. I have found that I actually do better with highway driving. The new EPA tests are quite conservative in that they emulate what I would call irresponsible, but perhaps typical American driving. Here's an apples to apples comaparison on hybrids. Compare the civic hybrid versus the civic standard. The civic hybrid is heavier, of course, so you can't use the argument about lesser rate or aerodynamics. And what about the Camry hybrid hybrid which clearly gets better mileage than a standard camry.

And I get 55 mpg traveling from western wyoming to my house in Allenspark, Colorado going at a steady 65 mph. Try that in a civic. Further, it doesn't just do regen while braking; it does regen while coasting. We all don't exist in perfectly flat universes; so the regen makes up in part for the losses you get while driving up hill.

Maybe steadily driving through the middle of Utah, you may have a point but I would like to see some actual numbers.

And btw, it is absurd anyway to compare a civic, an echo, or a Yaris to a Prius. The Prius has far more room and is more practical than any of the vehicles you mention.

On the freeway, driving slowly and for mileage, my parent's 3 yo civic gets about 33 mpg.

On the freeway, driven at 65 MPH on the uphills and pumping to 70-75 and then coasting on downhills, my 3-yr-old Passat TDI gets 42-44 MPG depending on weather.

Gotta love those diesels.

Well, my '91 Civic gets 46mpg when used for exclusively hwy trips. Upfront costs nominal, basically saved it from being landfilled, which is what we do to vehicles that are just too darn practical. Also, if I want, I can can sell the thing to the boy racer gearheads for more than I paid.
Yes the Prius has far more room but why do we aspire to driving around in mobile hotel lobbies? Is the purpose here transportation or glorious repose? Prius is too much luxury for me to ever be comfortable in one.
So how far have we come since '91? As always the important considerations are social, not technical.

I'm constantly amazed at people reporting milage much higher than listed.

According to this site

a 4 speed auto 1.5L 1991 Honda Civic gets 33mpg highway. I assume that was when it was new, not 15 years old.

Not to pick on Oldhippie, cause I've seen this so many times, and not just on this board.

Are the official milage numbers just that wrong? Are people mis-measuring their true milage?

I find it hard to believe a 15 year old civic gets 46mpg unless it was dropped off a building. :-)

The EPA rating is for a specified driving cycle.  Drive differently, and you'll get different mileage.

Of course, your mileage may @@#!

In city driving, I get 30 to 31 mpg in my 1982 M-B 240D manual transmission. This is a bit better than original EPA mileage.

Why ?

I am running synthetic lubricants in everything (engine, transmission, differential, wheel grease, power steering fluid, brake fluid).

I keep it waxed (another +1% mpg or so in city service, more on the highway), I keep the tires properly inflated, I have 16" diameter alloy wheels vs. stock 14" (less side wall flex), I add cetane improver (Walmart reports 1.x% gain), I use "toothed" belts (small reduction in loss), I installed new Bosch Duraterm glowplugs + relay (this keeps glow plugs on half heat for 3 minutes after starting, improving fuel economy for short trips i.e. most of mine). I use LED lights for running lights (less parasitic loss). Wheels aligned, suspension in 1st class shape. And with 86,700 miles, the engine is barely worn :-)

And I drive carefully (and coast on occasion). Use the a/c perhaps a dozen times/year.

Best Hopes for old Mercedes :-)


Yes, and the greatest difference in mileage is how you drive. My wife and i have a small Hyundai Atos. My wife drives more agressively than i do. When she drives she uses almost 20% more gasoline than i do.

My 1991 civic 2-speed manual gets 40 winter, 43-44 summer mpg on my commute. I coast when possible, accelerate slowly, coast to red lights, drive about 62 on the freeway. Love that car.

My only problem giving a really accurate number is that I just don't use the vehicle that much,highwqy driving is not that often. That said, yes the odo is accurate, yes I do know how far I've gone and like everyone else, I assume the accuracy of the gas pump and the only way to get down to 33mpg is to use the car for many very short trips only and let it sit for weeks while a little evaporation happens. I try to avoid driving faster than 65, prefer 55, do get bullied into doing 80. Worst ever for a road trip was 43mpg, winter.It's a small light car.
If Iwas going to be suspicious I'd guess that back when someone was downrating Hondas out of jealousy. I tell this to drivers of old Hondas and no one is surprised.
No one on thread is addressing the main point I wanted to make: Why do wewant to drive mobile lounges? What is social, what is technical?

IIRC, the Canadian test was flawed because the testers were unaware of how difficult it is to get a consistent fill level with the Prius' gas tank. They ignored the car's computer reading, which is usually more accurate for any given tank of gasoline than the traditional pump calculation.

I've had a Prius for over two years. On the highway my average is anywhere from 50 to 65 mpg - in American gallons - with the average in the high 50s. (The lower number occurs in very cold weather; and I rarely drive over 65 mph, which helps.) The Prius' engine uses the Miller cycle, with a longer power stroke than compression stroke, so it's basically as efficient as a diesel - and when you throw in the electric motor, which increases efficiency going up hills and picks up a little energy going down, the highway improvement over a conventional Otto-cycle car is dramatic.

(The downside of the Miller cycle is less horsepower and less low-end torque.)

Where the Prius' mpg drops dramatically isn't necessarily on the highway or in the city - it's on trips of short duration, regardless of where they occur. That's because the car uses a lot of energy in the first few minutes heating up the engine and the catalytic converter. If you drive a Prius for half an hour every time you get in, averaging 50 mpg is not difficult. My brother also owns a Prius, and even though he drives like a maniac, he gets over 50 mpg on his 125-mile daily commute.

BTW, the Yaris has replaced the Echo - it's not the same car.

If that's all the Prius can do with all its hyped technology,
ridiculous complexity, environmental nightmare batteries,
and high price tag, that's pathetic. My diesel Jetta would get 52 miles a gallon on the highway and 45 in the city.. using
an engine that was basically unchanged from the '70s. It stayed on the road with minimal maintenance for 20 years.

The Prius is a psychological feel-good pill for yuppies.

You're comparing apples to oranges. A Prius with the size and performance of a 20-year-old Jetta would easily get another 5 to 8 mpg. And if it were allowed to pollute like a 20-year-old Jetta - if such a thing were possible - most drivers could get another 2 or 3 mpg right now, simply by disconnecting the catalytic converter.

As for your other concerns:

1. Yes, the Prius is complex, but there's no evidence that this complexity leads to unreliability.

2. The batteries are not an environmental nightmare. They're recylable, and Toyota estimates the additional energy used to build the Prius is amortized in about 20,000 miles of driving.

3. Since I am not a yuppie, and can afford a new car only once ever 20 years or so, I did a lot of research before buying a Prius. I found only one less expensive car with the features my wife and I wanted - the Honda Civic hatchback, for about $1,200 less than the Prius. (Admittedly, Colorado gives the Prius a hefty tax credit, but this was before the hefty federal tax credit.) With the tax credit, I got a roomy, reliable, fuel-efficient, PZEV car with state-of-the-art safety features including stability control for under $20,000. That's a bargain.

I don't understand the antipathy of many diesel owners towards hybrids. The future - to the extent it includes the automobile at all - is going to include multiple technologies, especially technologies that allow us to burn different fuels.

In honor of Earth Day, I would like to encourage people to be aware of the plight of the honey bee and perhaps take some local action.

With the recent frosts that have devastated newly sprouted plants across a wide swath of the US, take today to go replant all those flowers that failed to bloom and perhaps plant some additional fruit trees that could hopefully bloom before the summer heat arrives.

And if a honey bee happens to land on your friends hat today, instead of going for the knee jerk reaction of swatting it, try just waving it off. I think we will need all the bees we can muster.

Hope all get a chance to take off your shoes and feel some grass between the toes and perhaps, go get dirt under your fingernails.

Better yet, plant some bee balm and other native plants that produce lots of pollen in various seasons. If you aren't into bees already, watch out for bee balm in full bloom.

My orchard mason bee block is up, we have a bumble in our humble-bumble home, and our apiary kit is on backorder. The serviceberry and grape hyacinth are in bloom and full of bees. Spring is wonderful!

Here's an interesting article which I don't think Drumbeat has yet picked up:

New Plastic Solar Cell Breaks Efficiency Record

Science Daily — The global search for a sustainable energy supply is making significant strides at Wake Forest University as researchers at the university’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials have announced that they have pushed the efficiency of plastic solar cells to more than 6 percent.

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

" interesting article which I don't think Drumbeat has yet picked up:"
" pushed the efficiency of plastic solar cells to more than 6 percent."


This is not the kind of story that folks want to see here...


Speak for yourself.

No he's right, just not for the snarky reason he thinks he is.

Its another lab breakthrough. We hear of amazing new breakthroughs just about every other week.

Of course non of these advances ever leaves the lab, but the media keeps reporting on them and idiots keep believing technology advances will save us all.

Crap like this just confuses people. Muddies the water so to speak. How many people have the training and time to understand these issues?

But it makes Roger feel good to believe in it (and to insult all of us at the same time it seems).

Besides, wasn't this already posted in the drumbeat the other day?

It wasn't long ago that we saw high-temperature superconductors as laboratory curiosities.  Today they're carrying municipal power.

Thin-film PV?  Not long ago, also in the lab.  Now you can buy amorphous Si and CIGS off the shelf.

I remember one of the first news items about solid-oxide fuel cells, laboratory items at the time.  It was about 15 years ago, and the talk was that such a powerplant could have allowed Rutan's Voyager to fly around the world twice.  Today they're in development for vehicular APU's and the system cost is projected at < $400/kW.  Air-pollution regs and high fuel prices will drive them out of the lab.

So yeah, I want to hear about all of this.

EP, Of course technology advances, and these advances begin in the lab.

My point was it takes a lot of time and effort to parse these news stories.
Some lab manager wants more funding, or a university wants to improve its name. They release a press release of some minor advance that 90% of the time never leaves the lab (and of the 10% that leave the lab 90% of those die someway along the line to commercialization).

Then some English Major flunky embellishes this so he can print a story in the paper. Never mind that this journalist doesn't know a flux capacitor from a screwdriver. Then some blogger picks it up and spread it further and distorts it further. How is Joe sixpack going to know what to believe? That story sounds just as plausible as zeropoint energy once it gets through the pipeline (and it might be just about as plausible, you'll never know from reading that press release).

I sometimes employ the driveway test. If this new tech isn't going to show up in my driveway within the next 5 years then its probably so early along in its development that it never will (ie the 90% of the 90%). (not that the research is wasted, it still adds to the general body of knowledge and experience).

In a way, I agree with you, I want to hear about all of this. I just get frustrated parsing all the garbage. Honestly, how important was the press release linked above?

This is not the kind of story that folks want to see here...

Well yes and no. If you are a fast-crash doomer, it means you might be a little off — but if you're into catabolic collapse, it fits nicely. See the population subthread above.

The good news in catabolic collapse is that not everybody dies off right away. It's also the bad news, of course.

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

Just because you believe that PO will lead to a fast crash doesn't mean you want it to happen. (I'm not a fast crasher BTW)

Dave Cohen said something the other day about wanting very much to be wrong about all of this. I agree whole heartedly.

Thanks, DIY;
Just another one who DOES want to hear about the developments in Solar, Batteries, Wind, Tidal.. I can't think of many people I know who would get confused and think this pretends to be some kind of promise to make 'All our Problems go away'.. if your ideology is pessimism, then anything remotely positive must sound dangerous. Roger created a much more unwelcome post with his response.

I spent EarthDay walking around the 33 acres we are hoping to buy, climbing big hills, playing in Runoff streams, checking out the piles of Moose, Deer and Turkey Tracks and Droppings that show us how lively the Maine Woods are! They'll be a great place to roof my house with Solar Panels, raise some chickens and a lot of beets and carrots.. let my city-daughter have some room to run! Looks like good streams and heights for Hydro, too!

Hope Texas was as nice as Maine today!

Bob Fiske

As a penniless, landless peasant in the UK I am envious. Time for a land tax! Seriously, I wish you well :)

Hi J,

Perhaps he'll open a B&B, w. work-exchange possible.

This is not the kind of story that folks want to see here...

Damn straight. I want to know the cost per watt, how recyclable the assembly is planned to be, how well it is going to work, what being plastic in sunlight and all.

Just "we got 6% now" - *yawn* Follow with some meat for that bone.

It is true---
The second law of thermodynamics has the last word--
No matter what we think or say---
The illusion that we can expand indefinitely in a finite system
obviously is delusional. A smart 10 year old can explain this.
This means a different way of approaching the means of production.
Capitalism goes or we go. Let's use our collective imagination
and approach this fast looming wall with intelligence and wisdom.
I see no evidence of this happening, and the survivors (if any) may need to sort this out on the other side of the wall.

The second law of thermodynamics has the last word--
No matter what we think or say---
The illusion that we can expand indefinitely in a finite system
obviously is delusional.

Better update your info, dude. Here's an excerpt dated 2005 from a guy who I like to read and has a long history in the area – Tom Bearden:

"If one gets too harsh critiquing, then one brings in the old “single white crow” fact. A single white crow is sufficient to prove that not all crows are black. So in the violation of the old second law of thermodynamics, several white crows are already known to thermodynamicists and accepted by them. One area is transient fluctuations (in any statistical system), and there are theorems and experiments that confirm it, already in the literature. Another area is sharp gradients, and it appears that any charge locally represents a very sharp gradient in the otherwise normal mass-free vacuum, suggesting that the source charge ought to be doing some kind of action that violates the second law of thermodynamics for the overall process.. As Prigogine and Kondepudi stated, such strong gradients do violate the second law, and “not much is known about it, either experimentally or theoretically”."

There's plenty of search terms in that excerpt. Go for it !

Where IS that 'Theory of Everything' ?
Here it is !

Why not just look at the Bussard fusion reactor?


It's not capitalism. The secret sauce that has
fueled this positive feedback loop is quite literally
the fact that there has been, and for the time
being still is, an advantage in employing
technologies to compete. Capitalism is just
one more theory (and like all theories, is never
seen in its pure form in the wild) of industrial
management. It so happens that at least in
theory (how many people have actually read adam
smith anymore?), it gives a closer explanation
of many things than a lot of other theories.

But don't put the cart before the horse.
Industrialization is the word, phenomenon, and
culprit you're probably reaching for. However,
social, political, economic, and psychological
theories or ideologies will not make any
material difference whatsoever on the operation
or behavoir of a functioning industrial
economy. Before anything else, the bottom line
has to be taken care of, and industrial
processes being the same the world around,
regardless of the ideological attitudes of
the people using them, the real meat-and-potatoes
business of building, operating, and maintaining
an industrial society has the same paramaters
regardless of what style of management you
prefer. Capitalism, socialism, whatever-ism,
those things are basically issues of different
sects in a sort of modern day religion.

Without industrialization, the positive feedback
loop still collapses, but it does at a much less
extreme scale, and there is good reason to believe
that it would not manage to become a global
phenomenon before it collapsed (it has done
so several times in recorded history, but been
confined to only particular regions of the globe) ,
and of course the total intensity of a non-industrial
society and technology is orders of magnitude lower
than the intensity and destructive power of an
industrial one.

The positive feedback loop goes on because
people generally like to survive. Once some practice
which alters the balance of power emerges, it
hardly matters what is the intention of the ones
wielding it- very quickly the new practice is
no longer optional, but instead is part of the price of
staying in the game. All such advances are necessarily
unsustainable and each has its expiration date.
The only thing to do to keep ahead of both the rest
of the population, who also just want to live their lives,
and the exhaustion of the environment you've already
caused, is to try to run a little faster.
As long as you manage, you do. After a while,
if the game goes long enough, you run up against
some serious hard limits. Industrialization only
added a new level of scale to the game, but it's
still the same thing.. only now, we've run out of room
to grow, and have started to nibble at our own tail.
On top of that, we are seeing that even neormous geological
resources can be exhausted.

But this is just survival. Merely condensing power
structures into 'governments' and claiming to do things
in the interest of the 'people' doesn't change
one bit of it. Different color paint on the titanic,

So many people like to romanticize about the failed
experiment in the soviet bloc. they forget that
it failed.

Hi Rudolph,

Interesting ideas you've put forward, and very abstract (it seems to me).

I'm wondering if I understand them.

Some Qs:

re: "...an advantage in employing
technologies to compete."

What do you mean here? Do you mean that doing something without technology is less advantageous (in some terms, such as, for eg., amount of shoes made per hour - ?) than doing something w. technology?

And "to compete" - at what?

re: "So many people like to romanticize about the failed
experiment in the soviet bloc."

Did *it* fail? Or, was it failed by...? Some human-power-grab type of corruption?

Or, was it smashed from the outside? (Or, deliberately under-mined, out-witted, etc. - ?)

I don't know. I've read different things. I wonder if you can explain further.

re: "But this is just survival. Merely condensing power
structures into 'governments' and claiming to do things
in the interest of the 'people' doesn't change
one bit of it. Different color paint on the titanic,

This is one of the most interesting, to me.

Many people have said "peak" is not a resource nor a technological problem, it is rather a political or social problem. I suppose by this they mean the *ways* of doing things, of using resources are controlled by persons (in theory) and thus (in theory) subject to change by people. If people could/can just see the way.

It seems like you're saying there's some abstract principle called "feedback loops" that makes any kind of human thinking about human's own situation rather pointless...?

Or what?

So, you're saying there's no social or political or other human-interaction aspect to it?

Anyway...I'd like to understand better, if you can elaborate.

Article in NY Times on rising infant mortality in US South. I have the uneasy feeling this may be an indicator of 'peak health care' in the US. Obviously, life-style issues (obesity) play a large role, but inaccessibility and expense and mal-distribution of income are big issues as well.


For comparison, Cuba's 2005 infant mortality rate was ~6 vs total US of 6.9 and US South of 11.4

The connections to peak oil are complicated, some direct, some very indirect.

Partly they are a function of attitudes, the perspectives of large corporations, the politicians they fund and own... all of which filter down to cuts in Medicaid spending and access to care for low income people, and which filter down to the low price and ubiquity of corn syrup products which lead to obesity and diabetees, and which filter down to the construction of urban infrastructure that doesn't promote exercise.

So yes, there may be kind of connection, and perhaps we are now on a downward slope of health in the U.S. already. For example, the Wash. Post reports that baby boomers are entering old age less healthy than their parents.


We can point to some of the same factors.... inexpensive corn sugars, lack of exercise, the somatification of economic stress ( reference to how position in social hierarchies influences somatic health , and how unequal societies score lower on measures of health than more equal societies at the same average income level... numerous studies demonstrate this, I can provide references if you want.)

On the other hand some changes associated with peak oil (biking, walking, eating more locally) might improve these measures, while others ( you tell me! food inadequacy? economic impoverishment leading to lower quality of medical care?) might exacerbate these measures.

So it is difficult to say whether the emerging health problems are directly peak oil related.... or only correlated through a more tenuous chain of causation related to the pathologies of a society on an energy binge.

It is also difficult to say whether some of these measures of health might not even improve in a peak oil and post peak environment. Haven't we read that some measures of health (obesity?) have actually improved in Cuba since the 1990s oil shock there?

Interesting to think about however.


The 52-year-old farmer rallied his neighbors, spent three months in jail for denying the oil company access to his land and eventually halted the largest energy project in Irish history while raising the question on a national scale about economic development versus community consent and environmental concerns.

Little Ice Age?

George Ure, over on Urban Survival, had some charts showing the recent slowing in the Gulf Stream, in the context of a discussion of the recent very cold spring weather.

A couple of interesting news items:

Picture of Canadian seal hunter's boats trapped in ice: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2007/04/21/4091861-cp.html

The East Coast lobster catch is way down because of cold water: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2007/04/16/lobster-prices.html

Sounds not god. I live near the arctic circle. Maybe the global warming offtakes the cooling if the gulf Stream shuts off.

EDIT: Here in northern Scandinavia have we not experienced a cold spring. It has been normal temperatures. Here the spring begins about now. The ice in the river outside my window is just beginning to brake. And that is ten days earlier than last year.

Who knows what is happening climate wise, but when I started reading reports of widespread crop failures, due to cold weather, this is the first thing that occurred to me, especially because of the recent reports of slowing of the Gulf Stream. Of course, this isn’t the first time that we have had cold spring weather, but . . .


Published on 4 May 2004 by From The Wilderness. Archived on 4 May 2004.
Global Climate Change and Peak Oil - Part II
by Dale Allen Pfeiffer

Unfortunately, the ocean conveyer does have an Achilles heel. And this Achilles heel lies in the Northern Atlantic region where the deep limb of the ocean conveyer originates, drawing warm equatorial waters to replace it. If the cold, salty, dense waters of the North Atlantic somehow failed to sink, then the global circulation could slacken and halt. Currents would weaken and/or be redirected, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the whole biosphere.

Were this to happen, the North Atlantic region would cool by an average of 5º Celsius. This would mean that winters in Eastern North America would be twice as cold as the coldest winter on record in the past century, and Europe would be even colder. The summer growing season in these areas would be shortened, and summer crops might fail altogether. Previous conveyer shutdowns have been linked to widespread droughts throughout the world, and the disruption of the Asian monsoons.

Check out this photo: http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/sealed-in-by-ice/2007/04/19/11766...

From realclimate.org, latest article.

"The news this week though is that all of that 'cooling' was actually due to combination of a faulty pressure reading on a subset of the floats and a switch between differently-biased observing systems (Update: slight change in wording to better reflect the paper). The pressure error meant that the temperatures were being associated with a point higher in the ocean column than they should have been, and this (given that the ocean cools with depth) introduced a spurious cooling trend when compared to earlier data. This error may be fixable in some cases, but for the time being the suspect data has simply been removed from the analysis. The new results don't show any cooling at all."

"Putting to rest nearly a decade of scare scenarios involving polar ice caps quickly reclaiming Canada, the northern United States, and northern and central Europe, scientists now report there is no chance of the Gulf Stream shutting down any time soon, regardless of any predicted global warming.

Science magazine, New Scientist, and other scientific publications reported in November 2006 that new research shows no recent slowdown in the Gulf Stream.

Moreover, reported the November 7 New Scientist, "models of the North Atlantic show that a shutdown would not occur in the way oceanographers had expected."


There is lots of talk about de-industrialization in this thread. I find the idea incredibly stupid as a post peak oil survival strategy for a country or a region. I advocate investments in industry that produce goods that are needed during the peak and post peak.

Locally in Sweden I advocate long lasting investments in electricity production and infrastructure and to try to get all kinds of industry to prosper on its own merits and become more efficient.

I dont think it will matter much where "light goods" are manufactured as long as a decently run industrialized country has some such industry, good schools, good infrastructure and some high value goods to trade. These industries gets better and better at moving to cheaper labour in contries that are industrializing. Moving to countries with good roads, electrified rail, plentiful electricity, lots of solid buildings, civil order etc must be much easier. I locally dont expect any of this to disappear during a reasonable decline.

Magnus, I agree !

But you want more nuclear reactors in Sweden, not fewer. (Perhaps you can sell surplus power to the Germans ?)

Best Hopes for Sweden,


Hey, thats my idea! Ok, its an obvious one.

We realy like having a consensus in Sweden and we have been fighting pro and con nuclear power for about 30 years. The power producers advocating different kinds of power plants have been at each others throats for the same time giving us a low quality debate and lobbying and bad lawmaking.

I am planting the idea that we should stop this kind of competition between nuclear, hydro, wind, combined heat and power and savings and instead invest brodly ASAP and export electricity to combat global warming, (peak oil) and earn money. This line of thought resonates well! It even scares some of my political oponents who would like to see the current government fail.

I realy would like to see the building of a few more nuclear reactors. The four party coalition government has recently gone from two partis advocating more nuclear power to three. The fourth has been one of the extreme anti nuclear parties but now they accept life lenght extensions and upratings, nuclear research, planning for new nuclear reactors and searching for uranium ore to mine. They have turned about 120 degrees and need to turn a full 180 but that might not happen untill the 2010 election. It probably will happen since we seem to be in global bad luck regarding peak oil and global warming.

I have some ideas about investments that can be made or started prior to 2010 that would benefit both "alternatives" and nuclear power. Preparing for both and giving them an even market playground is of course good.

No new builds will start as long as the fourth party dont agree. Technically there is probably nothing to hinder our utilities from ordering long lead time parts such as turbine axels, reactor preassure vessels and so on. But such a move could be bad for the internal change in the remaining nuclear sceptic party. They now have very strong political support for investments in biopower both wehicle fuels, heating and combined heat and power, wind power, etc. Getting those businesses well established to ease the fright for additional nuclear competition is an ok strategy as I see it. And I actually want both, more power is good and the investments are at least EROEI positive even if new nuclear power would be cheaper.

The current per capita electricity production in Sweden is roughly 8000 kWh hydro, 8000 kWh nuclear and 1300 kWh other mostly heat power. We can muddle thru with no new powerplants but this is not about muddling thru but doing whatever we can to ease European and global problems while earning our living.

It would be great if we could attract more power intensive manufacturing such as electrochemical industry, automated large volume metal cutting, semiconductor material processing and so on. And why not casting and milling of very large very high performance steel componets for nuclear powerplants and windmills? We still have a fair ammount of such industry and some steel works making high performance steel but more could be done.

I think Sweden also has hopes for more small hydro (many old sites dismantled) and others never developed plus redeveloping existing power plants for more efficiency (even 2% is good over 50 years !) and to accept more water for power during high flows.

What is Sweden's wind potential ?

Best Hopes,


There are a few possible TWh in small hydro, renovated turbines and infill hydro powerplants in mostly developed streams. But its to late to dig out the references.

About 10 TWh of wind power is probably not a problem for our current grid. The limit is not physical siting but what the neighbours accept, grid strenght and avaiability of ballancing hydropower. But it makes even more sense to build in Norway since they have stronger winds.

The "alternative" I like most is combined heat and power plants in district heating networks. Add some diesels for black start capability and a fairly cheap control system for icelanding and you got an emergency powersource for about 1/2-1/4 of each towns non industrial need. Cheap redundancy is good if for instance some terrorists would damage our main grid.

As GreyZone keeps pointing out, this misses the population problem.

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

If we run our country well we can probably get additional skilled people to migrate to Sweden, perhaps even people with some capital. But we need to get better at integrating/assimilating migrants, we dont have the USA tradition.

And large volumes of energy intensive export goods help people in other countries. We cant save the world on our own but we can contribute more then what our % share of the global population indicates.

Sometimes i wonder what happens with the good roads after PO. Think asphalt and fuel to road maintenance vehicles.

BTW we have already some problems with the maintenance(due to insufficient fundings by the politicos). The economy won´t be better WTSHTF.


Road maintainance in Sweden is unfortunately not especially good. Too much of he funds have been redirected for building new roads. Or rather, the total investment volume is too low.

If there is fuel for traffic there will be fuel for road maintainance since it only needs a small fraction of the fuel use. But I suspect that lighter axle loads will be enforced to cut down on road wear and that studded(?) winter tires will be made less common.

Bitumen will become more expensive due to refinement to fuel oils but there is quite a lot of it. I thick it will be a hundred years or more untill roads start being paved with cut stone instead of asphalt. Another possibility is concrete road surfaces.

Hello Magnus

You mentioned concrete for roads once asphalt is too costly. Well, I understand that portland cement (used for concrete) consumes immense quantities of natural gas in its manufacture. We all know the future of NG supplies, so I don't see how roads can really be maintained.

Portland cement can be made with just about any heat source.  I found a study about making it with coal fines for fuel, and if coal fines will work so will charcoal.

The end of petroleum isn't the end of asphalt, either.  ISTR that some of the heavier bio-oil fractions get tar-like, especially after they have had time to polymerize.  It stands to reason that thermally-processed biomass can make tar, as that's pretty much what it all came from in the first place.

Well, actually, I was kind of hoping to see the end of asphalt and the end of concrete, at least as far as roads were concerned. Let the vast majority of them deteriorate so that only the truly dedicated will venture far from the cities, in autos that is. Maybe if it takes a couple of days to get to work , there would be far less long distance commuting.

I volunteer the highway to my town. It is a pain, anyway, since it gets totally resurfaced every three years and causes gobs and gobs of noxious fumes. The old road was good enough for my grandparents, so let's go there. No more casual trips to the city for the person who just "must" spend several gallons of gas getting those new shoes.

If the road networks deteriorate it will become harder to use the biomass resources in the countryside. Good and safe roads
also encourage the use of light cars and bicycles.

I would expect the total lenght of the road network to increaser thru building of parallell bicycle routes alongside the major roads. I expect a handfull of missing links in the Swedish motorway network to get built and then they will probably stop making sense to build.

During grandparents and great grandparents youth large efforts were made in road paving and building to make roads more bicycle friendly and then car friendly. If we maintain it those investments can last manny more generations.

Concrete wont go away anytime in the next couple of centuries, and neither will roads. Both are just too darned convenient and cheap.


I can't fathom using charcoal and other biomass to pave roads. Which planet are you talking about?

Maybe you can't fathom wooden railroad ties, either.  Same principle.

If you dont want to use mined coal you can use electrical heating. The interrim fuel is partly and will be waste, used oils, rubber and plastics. You dont have to use one of the most valuble fuels there are, natural gas.

This I believe is the problem with Kyoto. Instead of giving money to other countries as a penalty for polluting we should encourage relocalizing of green manufacturing and investment in infrastructure such as light rail.

RE: Check your carbon footprint

I got 13.3 Acres for 4 people ... Interesting because that is about how many acres I have.

BUT .... acres of what ?

I take it, it means acres of carbon sequestering land ... right ??

Not acres of parking lot or buildings or streets or .....

BUT Acres of photosynthesis right ???

Hello Magnus,

I agree too. If I was a young lad: I would choose gunsmithing, blacksmithing, amd metal machining tradecraft besides learning all I could about relocalized permaculture, bicycle repair, solar water-heating, and basic emergency medicine in my spare time.

That way a person would have a sufficient skillset that they would be deemed highly worthy of community protection behind the battlelines. Having the metal-working and forging skills to make ball-bearing races for wheelbarrows, bicycles, and railbikes from discarded car parts will always be more valuable than a supply of gold or food.

Lathe-machining gun parts will be highly valued too--> IMO, Earthmarines and/or Blackwater Mercs will go to the most drastic & extreme measures to protect their respective metal-workers and bullet makers. What will an accurate rifle scope, sniper rifle bolt-action, and multi-bullet gunclips be worth postPeak?

The use of decreasing FF-net energy to decrease frictional losses in human-powered equipment can always be postPeak justified as a good tradeoff. If a person can blacksmith essential handtools this will be a postPeak industrial plus too. A barrel of oil = 25,000 man/hours of labor, thus anything that helps leverage human labor will be essential.

The essential use of future unrefined crude oil will be as a lubricant for metal surfaces to reduce friction. Using it for anything else, especially combustion, will be seen as a tremendous waste at some future postPeak time.

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

Earthmarines, contradiction in terms soldiers? :-)

I expect local and national government to do farily good long term planning and handling of short term emergencies. The correction of bad handling of such seems to work although it could have been better.

You seem to prepair for quite another scenario then gradually falling fossil fuel production forcing large changes during a few generations within a basically well functioning society with intact democratic institutions.

Hello Magnus,

Thxs for responding. It just depends on each person's speculative future prediction--I make no claim to being a seer; an accurate prophet. I sincerely hope, for all our sakes, your prediction turns out to be the more accurate. My prediction may be more accurate if Peakoil Outreach fails. Who knows?

Regarding my word-combo creation -->Earthmarines: soldiers dedicated to protecting land & sea life, or latin: related to terra-aquae. I think the opposite: Blackwater, is self-descriptive and self-evident.

I am saving the reverse of aqua-terra--> loosely created as water-land terror or "water-terrorists" for when California & Arizona revert back to the Wild West shooting wars over the Southwest's declining water. Currently undecided as to which way I will go: I am possibly thinking of calling the battles ahead as: California's AquaMarines vs the Arizona Berserk Deserters.*

Desert: dry and cacti-- not to be confused with dessert [as after dinner treat] or deserter [soldier abandoning his position].

Obviously, detrito-terrorists are rampant already: see Iraq & Nigeria for examples.

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

The essential use of future unrefined crude oil will be as a lubricant for metal surfaces to reduce friction.

Only if the technology level is very low.  Castor oil is a perfectly good lubricant for non-demanding applications, and any technology which creates liquid fuels from gasified biomass can create synthetic lubricants also.  They'll be more expensive, so we will use them more wisely; perhaps more teflon and molysulfide.

For the last year, without conciously thinking about it, I've been insidously dropping career choices onto my son (7 years old) and his friends. My son now wants to be a vetenarian. Another wants to be a farmer, another wants to be a botanist. She said she wants to plant flowers, I suggested botanist and explained what it was, she then starts saying she wants to be a botanist.

These are first through third graders.


There is lots of talk about de-industrialization in this thread. I find the idea incredibly stupid as a post peak oil survival strategy for a country or a region.

But that is what WILL happen. The making of do-dads like happy meal toys will go away. The loss of the do-dads will be a contraction of the economy.

And you know it too.

I advocate investments in industry that produce goods that are needed during the peak and post peak.

See, you DO know it.

More amazing stories from the Housing Bubble Blog:

The Press Enterprise reports from California. “Inland home foreclosures this year have increased more than ninefold over the same period a year ago, driven by flat appreciation and sagging home sales. Ana Ibarra and her husband, Guillermo Macias, adore their five-bedroom house in a new tract of executive-style homes in north Fontana.”

“But Ibarra said the couple doesn’t have enough money to furnish the house. Ibarra said she and Macias, a 30-year-old commercial plumber, together earn about $5,400 a month after taxes. Since moving into their new house in December, they have spent $4,000 a month of that on the house’s interest-only mortgage, property taxes and homeowner insurance.”

“They have wiped out their savings. What’s more, they are responsible for a $2,000-a-month mortgage payment on another house they own in south Fontana. They rent that three-bedroom house.”

“Ibarra said after they signed an agreement with Lennar Homes for the house in north Fontana and made a deposit, they learned their first house had not appreciated enough to help them pay for a second one. She said they tried to back out of the purchase but were reminded they had signed a contract.”

“‘We are really not buying. We are just paying interest and we are in debt for almost $1 million,’ Ibarra said.”

Their story is sad but I for one am having a hard time feeling sorry for them. Perhaps I've grown hard hearted.... but it really sounds as if they just didn't know what they were doing. Also, the bit about earning $5400/mo "after taxes" is questionable, given that mortgage interest can of course be itemized. So the $4000/mo interest only loan (itself an idiotic concept) means $48,000/yr itemized; plus as a rental unit the other house's expenses can be written off... in other words their taxes should go way down.

But the point remains, there are plenty of home "owners" who are upside down with their mortgage. If stagflation is the near term result of peak oil, I wonder what housing prices would be in, say, 5 years after PO?

Hi In,

Well, my guess is if you can figure a way they can improve their situation, they'd be welcome to hearing it. I wonder if there's a way you might contact them?

re: "Perhaps I've grown hard hearted.... but it really sounds as if they just didn't know what they were doing."

Perhaps they trusted the advice they got, and no one had ever taught them how to think about these types of things.

I remember in the 1990's there was this fuzz on "just-in-time" -production,-storage -shipment and -procurements (bla bla) - comming from Japan - I guess.

Now probable this buzz-phrase is part of all industrialization and economics - let alone in politics and other planning ... 'JUST-IN-TIME'

I wonder if the planning for PEAK-OIL is following something along the same lines - in that case 'ship o'hoi'...

So the second law of thermodynamics is no longer valid?
Wow! Basic physics just got upgraded!
Maybe i had better google this--
Inquiring minds need to know!
I guess entropy was just a left wing conspiracy to prevent me from my divine right to prosperity and to take away my SUV.

if it was we would be hearing about it in lots more places then a blog..

"This Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard."

Ecological Footprint means acres of "productive land and water" needed

How many on this have "any" productive land and water ???

The second law is nearly allways misapplied in discussions about energy issues; We're far more concerned about the first.

You notice we're not going on about the depletion of space as a heat sink.

I was looking at Pemex production figures

They only have up to Feb published. Is it normal to be 2 months behind like that?

Mexico's production looked steady in Jan and Feb. Is the increase in drilling offsetting Canatrell?

So it is late at night and few are reading this, but here is a Monday article from Bloomberg:

"Gasoline at $4 Coming to a Pump Near You, Unfazed by Rising Tab"
that the Monday Drumbeat will likely include.

That article is so rich with quotable material, it is as if Bloomberg was looking for quotes to feed Kunstler!

Here is one:

``We live farther from our jobs than we did in the 1970s, and with the rise of dual-income households, we now have two people who drive those distances every day,'' Knittel said.
Consumers also do more driving for things such as taking children to soccer practice, which they are unlikely to quit, he said. The U.S. population has increased 1 percent a year in the past decade to 301 million in 2007, adding to demand for gasoline, economists said.

[emphasis mine.]

Apparently as an economist Mr. Knittel doesn't think much of demand destruction.