DrumBeat: May 31, 2007

George Monbiot: What if the Oil Runs Out?

Motorised transport is a form of time travel. We mine the compressed time of other eras - the infinitisimal rain of plankton onto the ocean floor, the settlement of trees in anoxic swamps - and use it to accelerate through our own. Every tank of fuel contains thousands of years of accretions. Our future depends on the expectation that the past will never be exhausted.

One Crude Oil Languishes, Another Spikes

Oil prices have held comfortably below $70 a barrel so far this year _ or have they?

The benchmark oil in the U.S. on the New York Mercantile Exchange has lost some status to other grades of crude, analysts say, as supply issues at home have depressed its price relative to competitor crude oils. Brent crude, for example, topped $71 a barrel last week.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Will Be Tough Sell, But Policy Incentives Will Widen Use

Imagine a vehicle that runs on hydrogen or biofuels and offers the same features, performance and price as today's gasoline vehicle. Will it capture half the market? Not likely, concludes a new MIT analysis of the challenges behind introducing alternative-fuel vehicles to the marketplace. Not even if it's three times more fuel-efficient.

The Perils of Pushing Atomic Energy as the Climate Change Panacea

Is nuclear power on the verge of a renaissance? Its supporters argue that atomic energy is the only way to satisfy humanity's hunger for more energy without aggravating the effects of global warming. Critics, however, regard the nuclear hype as over-simplistic optimism fueled by an industry in distress.

Terraform: Building a house out of living trees

Want a treehouse? A New York architect is taking orders for buildings constructed out of—and by—living trees. Mitchell Joachim developed the Fab Tree Hab with some colleagues while at MIT, but now he's gone past the conceptual stage with his nonprofit, Terreform.

EU, OPEC See World Still Hooked on Oil

Oil will remain the world's major energy source, despite Europe's recent efforts to shift toward renewable energy, the European Union and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Wednesday.

Despite EU moves to widen the types of energy it depends on and where it comes from, both said they expected no major change to global reliance on oil, and said there was still enough to meet demand.

Shell Shuts in Production at Bonny Light Terminal Due to Attacks

Oil prices rebounded slightly on news of further militant attacks in key producer Nigeria, after falling sharply yesterday.

Shell announced today that 150,000 bpd of crude oil production has been locked in at its Bonny Light terminal in Nigeria after pipelines were sabotaged.

Mideast firm makes move into Alberta's oil patch

In a startling reversal of history, a Middle Eastern energy company is pushing into the Canadian oil and gas market looking for secure supplies, and, thanks to a battle with activist shareholders on this continent, it may be getting a good deal in the process.

Uganda, Congo Border Spat Could Hurt Oil Exploration

A border dispute between Congo and Uganda over the River Semuliki Valley could disrupt oil exploration activities in the Lake Albert Basin, a government official told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday.

Sinopec shares jump 9.7 per cent on news of oil find in northwestern China

Shares of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. jumped 9.7 per cent Thursday, a day after its parent company said Sinopec had found more crude oil in northwestern China.

Weekly Offshore Rig Review: Angola Activity Accelerates

There is never a lack of activity off Angola, it seems. Both Total and BP announced discoveries on Blocks 31 and 32 recently. Total announced its tenth and eleventh oil discoveries on Block 32 and BP announced its fourteenth discovery on Block 31.

Oil refinery boom skips U.S.

Investment shifts overseas; domestic community resistance and regulations blamed.

US motor gasoline demand remains resilient

While US retail motor gasoline prices climbed to new record highs last week, US motor gasoline demand reached 9.4 million b/d, 1 percent higher than year-ago levels.

Oil-shale effort focused on tech

The last effort to exploit the vast oil-shale fields in western Colorado and eastern Utah foundered in the 1980s after crude prices tumbled 72 percent.

But today, in the high desert near Rifle, workers from the major oil companies are back, trying to develop breakthrough technology that would allow oil to be extracted from the rock.

BP inks largest exploration commitment in Libya

'This is a welcome return to the country for BP after more than 30 years and represents a significant opportunity for both BP and Libya' said Tony Hayward, BP group chief executive. The acreage awarded is the size of Kuwait.

Was Iraq invaded to boost oil prices? Value of Exxon reserves rose by $666bn

Iraq was invaded in order to limit its oil production and thus keep world oil prices artificially high, a noted investigative journalist reports.

"Iraq's output in 2003, 2004, and 2005 was less than produced under the restrictive oil-for-food program," writes Greg Palast in his new book Armed Madhouse (Plume). Oil-for-food allowed Iraq to sell 2 million barrels per day during the 1995 to 2003 period.

Who Owns the Wind?

With a growing number of wind power stations in Germany, a new kind of legal case is rearing its ugly head. The crime: stealing wind.

Air-Car Ready for Mass Production

The world's first commercial compressed air-powered vehicle is rolling towards the production line. The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre, will be built by India's largest automaker, Tata Motors.

Energy Efficiency Investments And Renewable Energy Purchases Together Are "Twin Pillars" In Reducing Carbon Emissions

Funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the report examines key synergies between efficiency and renewables, including:

● On hot summer afternoons, efficiency can help reduce peak loads while solar and wind systems can operate at high outputs, reducing the use of high-cost, high-emission peaking generation.

● Where options for renewable sources currently are limited, such as in the Southeast U.S., the emphasis on efficiency should be multiplied.

China to allow foreign investment in nuclear power plants - report

China is expected to allow foreign and private domestic companies to invest in nuclear power plants, the official China Securities Journal reported, citing an official from the country's Commission of Science Technology and Industry For National Defense (COSTIND.)

The Misconception About Oil

If access to oil field data were available, then I think we would already have an exact date for peak oil. Unfortunately, major players like Saudi Arabia refuse to disclose that information.

Also, the competition between oil producers has led to suspicious increases in oil reserves. Looking at the chart below you just want to scream one word . . .

Interview with Thomas Homer-Dixon (podcast)

KMO talks with Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization about the fragility of out vast centralized systems, the need for resiliency & diversity, and the possibilities for renewal and reinvention which only present themselves in historical moments of disintegration and collapse.

Energy wisdom is knowing that you do not know

The great Victorian economist, Stanley Jevons, published an exhaustive study of the coal industry in 1865. An exemplary exercise in applied economics, comprehensive in its analysis of supply and demand, geology and technology, it proved influential. William Gladstone, then chancellor of the exchequer, devoted much of his Budget speech to praising Jevons's achievement and implementing his recommendations.

Russia to Cut Natural Gas Production Amid Warm Weather

Unusually warm weather this year has forced Russian natural gas producers to lower 2007 production targets by billions of cubic meters, gas industry leaders said after a meeting Wednesday.

Because we're worth it

The baby-boomers’ culture of hedonistic consumerism has left their offspring with the crumbs from their table. And 65% of them say their children’s lives will be worse than their own. But are they bothered?

Going West in China

Every road throughout the nation is being refinished with concrete. From highways to one lane roads that were formerly dirt, nearly every road in every province is being up graded to allow movement of goods and people at a faster pace. This would account for the usage of 45% of the worlds cement year upon year. This is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 8.5% (or 90 million metric tons) during the 2006-2007 period.

The winds of public opinion: Turbines in Brome-Missisquoi

A proposed plan for a wind farm at the western end of Brome-Missisquoi has been modified, but the community remains divided on whether it should exist at all.

Minerals Management Service Marks Hurricane Season 2007

In preparation for Hurricane Season 2007, which begins June 1, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced operational and administrative improvements that have been implemented to prepare oil and gas infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico for the possibility of hurricanes this season. Key goals of the enhancements are to promote the nation's energy security, environmental protection and personnel safety.

Iraq to Set Up National Oil Firm

The Iraqi parliament will vote in weeks on founding the state-owned National Iraqi Oil Company, former Iraqi Oil Minister said on Tuesday.

Internet to Aid Global Power Crisis

KLG Systel Limited, a US $100 million company, based out of Gurgaon, has launched a worldwide revolutionary intelligent network, www.connectgaia.com, which according to company sources, is India's answer to the global energy crisis.

Pain at the Persian Pump

This Tuesday, western news outlets reported the beginning of gasoline rationing in Iran with terse certainty. But the view from Iran is much more complicated, and shows the disarray of oil refining operations in the world's number-three oil producer.

New energy department not brightest solution

The House Science Committee approved a bill last week that would create a new Department of Energy research branch, modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, that would focus on energy-technology breakthroughs instead of weapons.

It’s a terrible idea.

Energy Minister: Big Australian Oil Finds May Become Rare

Significant oil discoveries in Australia are likely to become rare in coming years, the country's resources minister said Wednesday, although he expects upstream companies to keep drilling.

Gas prices drive change for area folks

Wahoo Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Director Doug Watts said that this would not be the case for everyone. While he said most people probably followed through with their Memorial Day Weekend plans, trips scheduled for later in the summer might not fair so well.

"I could see people cutting back on long vacations if they're driving," he said.

The false hope of a biofuel free lunch

The problem is that policy-makers have forgotten the basic biophysical facts behind the energy in biofuels. Through the miracle of photosynthesis, plants are able to convert the energy of sunlight into chemicals containing energy that can be made useful for humans. Indeed, this amazing process is the source of all the energy in oil, coal and natural gas. However, the wonder of that process does not mean it is sensible to grow corn or other crops and convert that biomass into ethanol to burn in place of gasoline.

White water torrent to die as nation gambles on huge Nile dam project: Climate change fears dampen hopes of power from tourist attraction

Six miles north of Lake Victoria, the Nile awakens, exploding into a cauldron of white water known as the Bujagali Falls. Offering some of the world's most spectacular rafting, it is one of Uganda's top attractions. Soon it will be destroyed.

After 13 years of seeing plans delayed by corruption allegations, financial strife, obdurate spirits and opposition from environmental groups, Uganda last week authorised an international consortium to begin a 30-metre-high dam across the Nile just below Bujagali Falls.

Oil traders prepare for bumpy DME ride

The launch of Middle East crude futures may herald a more transparent Asian oil market but before that, physical traders are bracing for a period of uncertainty, prompting them to continue trading under the existing system.

Saudi Electricity says has Aramco support

Saudi Electricity said on Wednesday it was getting the support it required from Aramco, in response to a report that the utility needed the oil firm's help to avoid a repetition of last year's power cuts.

Keeping the Lights On in Europe: Brussels bank hopes on technology and open markets

Pooling rides an option to combat gas prices

Much like the frog sitting in a pot of water slowly coming to a boil, commuters facing increasing gas prices haven't leaped from their sport utility vehicles and trucks.

10 Years After: Solar-powered vision keeps home off the grid

Perched atop a wooded hillside overlooking a canyon of redwoods, Bob Stayton and Mary Tsalis have created a sun-powered paradise.

Tom Whipple - The Peak Oil Crisis: Preparing For Depletion

Unaffordable gasoline will affect each of us differently depending on how dependent we are on our automobile and what our alternatives are. In the U.S. we have something on the order of 210 million cars and light trucks in service and, even if the resources are available to replace a fleet of this size, it will be many decades before they can be replaced with vehicles that use little or no gasoline. Worldwide, the situation is even worse.

A Call To Lower the Speed Limit to 55

Fifty-five! Now there's a number that used to unite the United States. Coast to coast the law of the land was fifty-five miles an hour. Just as patriotic Americans worked together and planted victory gardens to fight food shortages during WWII, in the 1970s, with help from the insightful policies of an enlightened congress, Americans responded to the OPEC energy embargo with character and resolve. We reduced our consumption of petroleum.

South Korean consortium finds huge oil deposit in Russia

A South Korean energy development consortium said today that it has confirmed the existence of a huge offshore oil deposit in Russia's Kamchatka region.

Dennis J. Kucinich: It's All About Oil

The Iraqi "Hydrocarbon Law" is an issue of critical importance, but has been seriously mischaracterized and I want to provide the House of Representatives the facts and evidence to support the concerns I have expressed.

What's behind the 'perfect storm' of rising gas prices?

As gasoline prices surge past the $3-a-gallon mark, it's tempting to blame "Big Oil" for "price-gouging," the idea being this is all part of a conspiracy to control oil supply.

Price-gouging? Perhaps, and indirectly. I'll touch on that later.

Scientists warn on biofuels as palm oil price jumps

Biofuels are likely to speed up global warming as they are encouraging farmers to burn tropical forests that have absorbed a large portion of greenhouse gases, climate scientists warned.

4 American hostages released in Nigeria

Four American oil workers abducted three weeks ago in Nigeria's restive oil region were released Wednesday.

As journalists looked on, a judge who mediated in the matter escorted the four men to the governor's office in southern Rivers State and turned them over to authorities. U.S. Embassy officials weren't immediately available for comment.

Everest ice forest melting due to global warming, says Greenpeace

One of the world's most spectacular ice formations - the towering serac forest near Mount Everest's base camp - is rapidly shrinking as a result of global warming, Greenpeace said today.

Before and after photographs released by the environmental group show how the past 40 years of climate change are transforming the Himalayan landscape as ancient glaciers melt and retreat higher up the slopes.

Global warming heats up White House race

The 2008 White House race is bringing American global warming politics in from the cold, as candidates churn out complex plans on an increasingly key campaign issue.

US-Russia clashes sour G8 meeting

A clash between the United States and Russia over a proposed missile shield overshadowed a meeting of G8 foreign ministers Wednesday also marred by differences over climate change and Kosovo.

Exxon Mobil chief cools global-warming dissent

Global warming was a hot topic at the Exxon Mobil Corp. annual meeting Wednesday, but Chief Executive Rex Tillerson continued his effort to cool some of the criticisms of the oil-industry giant.

Earth nears tipping point on climate change: A rise of 1 degree Celsius could be enough to trigger 'dangerous' warming, scientists warn.

Dangerous climate change has not yet arrived, but the tipping point may not be far off. And it may be reached with a smaller temperature rise than recent studies suggest.

Welcome back! I missed your postings. I hope you enjoyed your time off.


I was actually back yesterday, though. I put up the DrumBeat, they just hadn't deactivated the ThreadBot yet. :-)

Welcome back, Leanan! We missed you. Robert and Stoneleigh filled in heroically though.

Population has been a topic before, and now it seems the rural Chinese are rioting over the one child policy:

It's obvious that population control wouldn't work in a democratic environment. Looks like it might not work anywhere for that matter, at least in the long run.

I read the article, but I'm still confused. It said the riots were over a reduction in fines for violating the one-child rule?

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

Well, thanks to the one-child policy in combination with the desire to have male children, there are a lot more males than femals in the country. Unless there is sharing of wives, the inability to hook up with a girl would certainly inhibit your ability to have children. If they keep it up, there might end up being a substantial population drop in China.

Here in the US for instance, population wouldn't be growing if it wasn't for immigration. That 1.X-2 children that each couple has.. lol

"Here in the US for instance, population wouldn't be growing if it wasn't for immigration. That 1.X-2 children that each couple has.."

US population would still be growing without immigration, just slower than it is now. TFR would probably be around 1.8 without the level of immigration we have had since the early 90s (extrapolating the downward TFR trend at that point), as opposed to 2.09 in 2006, which is still nominally at 'replacement' level.

I don't think it would be growing. If it were, it would be barely growing.

Immigrants have larger families for several generations after they arrive. That's what has kept our population growth rate up, as much as the actual first-generation immigrants.

But look at what they rioted over:

The latest riots erupted Tuesday in rural parts of the southern region of Guangxi, apparently in the mistaken belief that the government was reducing its fines for violating family size limits, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

(Emphasis mine.)

They were upset because they thought the government was lowering the fine for having extra kids.

That's amazing, protesting the lowering of a fine. It must be that children are viewed like pollution. I could see protests here if fines for dumping toxins in the rivers was lowered.

Or...it could be that they paid the higher fine, and are upset that others won't have to.

Or... that the poor people who wouldn't even be able to afford the lower fine don't want to the rich to get off easy, and to have their own One kid swamped by a bunch of rich kids because their parents could pay the reduced fine.

Or...it could be that they paid the higher fine, and are upset that others won't have to

You are correct.

See http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/PEK95542.htm

Never believe the MSM! ;)

I believe that the riots occurred when the people realized that the fines were not, in fact, going to be lowered. The 'mistaken belief' got their hopes up, and they rioted when they were told they were mistaken...

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

The reason was that they weren't reducing the fines enough:

In the latest case, the catalyst was a purported government document said that fines for having a second child would be reduced to a few dollars from the current minimum of $1,300.

Bah, population won't be a problem soon enough.
DR. JULIE DR. GERBERDING, DIRECTOR, CDC: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us for this press conference. I'm here today to describe a situation that has involved many public health officials from around the world who acted together to protect people's health in a circumstance where an individual with drug resistant tuberculosis may have served as a source of exposure.

It's obvious that population control wouldn't work in a democratic environment.

Studying the situation and coming to this realisation is what turned Jay Hanson into a doomer. It is possible for humans to come up with solutions, but the imperatives our species have grown up with have made this very unlikely.

On the topic of gas prices, the self styled conservative commentator that comes on CNN mid-evening (Beck, I think his name is) went on a large rant about how we have to do something, a "moon shot effort" to reduce dependency, that some people have technical solutions, that politics and congress are blocking it etc etc (he promised more on that this evening). Lots of awareness that demand is supposed to rise (he quoted the 120 mb/day figures that came up in the studies widely discussed on TOD). Lots of awareness that we are in an energy crisis of unprecedented proportion... ... not a word on the likely inability of the world oil industry to produce 120 md/day under any circumstances, and certainly none on the likelihood that 20 years from now we won't even see production at current levels.

Lots of apparent indulgence of fantasyland pseudoscience, but seemingly no awareness of the real issue, which is limitation of overall supply.

Maybe he just got all that from "supply side economics" which is another name for creating what you need out of nothing. Fiat Lux.



As long he Catholic religion outlaws birth control there will be no controlled
lowering of the planets population!


Ha! Italy has one of the lowest birthrates on the planet, and this right under the nose of 'Il Papa' in the Vatican. Now do you really think (stereotype alert) all those Italians are practicing abstinence?

No, they have an extremely high abortion rate -- they use it for birth control. Hard to imagine the logic that makes abortion less of a sin than birth control though.

If il papa would just tell the world to wrap that rascal it would make such a difference -- on a recent trip to Brazil, looking out from the airplane window at the endless sea of apartment blocks in Sao Paolo, that's all we could think to ourselves.

The above speech by Dennis J. Kucinich It's All About Oil ( http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0705/S00525.htm ) is an amazing read and an excellent review of the history of Iraqi oil and other countries participation in developing it.

It's worth the read, but unbelievable that I have only seen any news of it from a New Zealand media source.

It's all about oil, it's all about food, it's all about life. Or, perhaps lifestyle. Dennis is stating the obvious. Really, almost nobody believes that Iraq had nothing to do with oil. I would guess that a majority think it was mostly related to oil. Who is he trying to convince ?

Virtually all of my Republican Evangelical Christian friends and relatives say that the war is about bringing democracy to Iraq...they don't believe for a minute that the war is about selfish reasons because George W. Bush is not selfish, he is a good, good Christian.

Note, that is not my opinion.


George W. Bush and his cabal are criminals that belong behind bars. If there is a God he will surely burn in hell.


I think your website has been phished. I keep clicking on the comments link and it takes me to the Daily Kos instead.

Mose in Midland

In fact, one of our contributors is Jerome a Paris from dKos.

What makes you think that iof there is a God that there is a Hell. Pehaps He may send him back to earth to redeem himself.

The willful blindness of some people (not you, Rick) is astounding.

Why would anyone suppose that our legislators would read a proposed Iraqi law when they dont read proposed US laws...like the patriot act.

The Iraqi National Oil Company has stated that if this oil law is passed that they will go on strike and completely shut down production...so, that means another 17 bpd gone from the world market.


The last legal dump closed on Saturday.

As trash dumps filled up over the years, new places or ways to get rid of garbage were not found, largely because of local protests or protection by one politician or another. Years of postponing the problem finally caught up with Naples (and by bad luck just as the temperatures rose, creating as much stink as unsightliness).

Worth the read. Nasty stuff. Luckily we've got lots of places to dump our garbage. Don't think that's all that great though. Are we the most dispersed per capita nation on the planet with as much land as we have. We could be the world trash dump at some point. We're not squeexing 1.5Billion people into our borders.

My family lived in Naples from 1976-1979, and I graduated from high school there. I loved it. However, Naples always had a garbage problem - the garbage men would go on strike, and the stuff would pile up. One of our friends came up with a localized solution - he gift-wrapped his garbage, drove downtown with it and left his car unlocked. It was stolen 15 minutes later.


I observed a spontaneous instance of that at a mall parking lot in Houston a few years ago. A woman was changing the diaper on a child and thoughtfully left the dirty disposable diaper in a department store shopping bag next to her car near the bus stop. A woman gets off a bus, grabs the bag and runs back on the bus! I've chucked about it for quite a while.

Nice to hear about another ten billion barrels off Kamchatka. The world can breathe easy for another three or four months. Four of these a year in perpetuity and there's nothing to worry about; well, as long as you remember to move to higher ground.

God may be on our side, but I suspect Manitou bats last.

Leanan, Its great to see you back! Nothing like a vacation to make us all appreciate the long hours and dedication that you put in on the site.
Theres an interesting article about a biodeisel refinery being put on Galveston Island. It's our first refinery, local powers-that-be have always preferred refineries across the bay. Chevron has a 22% interest in the project!
The article is in the May 30 edition of the Galveston Daily News, www.galvnews.com

Peak rare metals.


The dwindling supply of commonly used transition metals may
have an impact in areas not usually considered by the
general public to involve much chemistry.

The only good thing about this situation is it may spur serious recycling efforts as the rare earth metals make it worth it. Next we might see innovation in extracting metals from sea water. The trick here in my opinion is very high selectivity instead of brute force extraction methods.

One concept I have is a whale like sub that strains water through selective ion exchange membranes and works over the rifts in the deep oceans extracting rare metals from the rich plumes.

One more thing on the subject the cat cracking towers and other parts of complex refineries are dependent on various fairly exotic metals for the catalyst. These are recycled but its could be a big cost factor as the world moves to complex refineries. You should see a significant increase in the price of catalytic metals used in the refining business. This will strain the entire petrochemical industry.

So finding out what these metals are and who mines them may provide a hefty longer term profit as the market heats up over the next few years.

Shortages of rare metals could slow or prevent the development of new, more efficient solar panels (by, for example, DayStar Technologies Inc.) that use a combination of copper, indium, gallium and selenide.

So much for the dream of scaling up solar photovoltaic enough to mitigate peak oil or global warming.

Might give that article today on concentrating solar technologies added importance.

No, it just means that silicon will be the basis for the coming massive scaleup of PV. Check your geology textbook to see how much of the earth's crust is made of silicon. Impossible to run out of it!!

Impossible to run out of it!

1. Silicon is finite, just like oil is, and for well over a hundred years people said we'd never run out of oil. Look where we are now.
2. Depending on the distribution of silicon, it could be like trying to mine uranium from seawater. The Law of Receding Horizons.
3. Please check out Dr. Albert Bartlett's video, "Arithmetic, Population, and Energy" for a discussion of growth rates and doubling times.

geonic, Hi all- my first post. Congratulations to those who manage this sit, for a daily dose of essential material.My background is in mineral exploration (39yr)
The exploration for, and production of rare metals and RRE are something of the black arts. TRhe first thing you learn about them is that they arnt particularly rare and there are many unexploited deposits which are of reasonable grade. Like most metals the situation is not like for oil-most of some metals and some of nearly all can be recyled at some energy cost. (We might be near Peak Copper tho)
BUT BUT (big buts) the reality that PO will seriously inhibit large scale mining of all 'bulk' comoditites and virtually all speciality metals at at least some part of the exploration/development/mining cycle is critically dependant on 'cheap'oil. Even in large coal open pits, where draglines and face shovels are electric, trucks and mobile plant use diesel-and a lot ot it. So 'geologically' things arnt too bad for most or all? non fuel commodities, this will be irrelevant thanks to PO

Hello and welcome. Thanks for the info.

Pertinent observation that PO necessarily means a limit to the low hanging 'mineral fruit' since we can't really gauge the cost of extraction of any common or 'rare' material w/o thinking about availiability of future energy inputs.

From your experience how energy intensive is uranium mining as practiced today?

geonic Thanks xburb. The answer to yr question depends a lot on the grade of the deposit, where it is, how difficult to extrect the stuff ( metallurgy) etc etc. Generalizing a lot, I would say that the U mining cycle in Australia is very energy positive. But does use a lot of liquid fuels. Low grade deposits of U mined in Europe by the Soviets during the cold war would have given a very poor energy reurn. For what it is worth, (although I dont theoretically object to nuclear electricity)I think the present boom in U exploratiopn is verging on a scam. Nuclear cant be accelerated enough to make much of a difference, and re-enforces the 'big is beautiful' paradigm.
Society just has to face that a substansial contraction in all energy use is required.

As pork prices soar, Chinese put brakes on corn for ethanol

With a famine less than 50 years in its past, China remains sensitive about using food for fuel.

Ethanol production has put the Chinese government in an unpleasant bind, as fears rise that the environmentally friendly gasoline additive is also fueling politically dangerous increases in the price of food – particularly pork, a key staple.

With the ethanol industry gobbling up a growing share of China's corn harvest, authorities have stomped on the brakes to slow what one official report calls "blind" investment in distilleries.

"China cannot sacrifice food security for energy: that seems to be the majority view in the government now," says Zhang Zhongjun, deputy head of the Beijing bureau of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao offered the latest sign of government concern when he made a highly publicized visit last weekend to a piggery and a meat market in Xi'an, about 750 miles southwest of Beijing. The price of pork has gone up by 29 percent over the past year and the price of live pigs by 71 percent, according to the Agriculture Ministry

Hi Leanan,

Nice to see you back! Thanks again to RR and Stoneleigh while you were on vacation!

Re: Saudi Electricity

I guess this 'support' would pretty much guarantee we would never see LNG from the Kingdom, but don't think anyone was counting on that anyways.

I guess this 'support' would pretty much guarantee we would never see LNG from the Kingdom

But Qatar may have a "cash on the pipeline" customer close by that does not require expensive LNG plants. And whom it would probably want to keep happy.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency and solar water heaters,


Wasn't Qatar having it's own internal shortages recently - gasoline IIRC. Nothing to do with NG but interesting none the less.

These are our unlimited gas cans - as it is portrayed.

I just wanted to thank ASPO Canada and Bart at EB for posting Homer-Dixon's book, The Upside of Down. http://aspocanada.ca/images/stories/pdfs/upside_down.pdf
(448 page pdf warning) I actually read a couple of hundred pages on line and have ordered the book. I found it far better that any of Kunstler's or Heinberg's stuff.

I second that....I'm reading it now, and it's excellent. For those who read books, of course...

When did this become the climate change website? What happened to peak oil? Why don't we just call this crisis.com so we can fret about everything on one website?

Peak oil and climate change are intimately entwined. Even PeakOil.com, which is pretty strict about news being energy-related, allows climate change stories.

If you look back, we've had a lot of climate change stories, including highly technical ones by Stuart. It's part of TOD, and has been for a long time. It was the hurricanes that really put TOD on the map.

Here's climate change from the flipped side-apologies if already posted.

Nasa administrator Michael Griffin:

First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown, and second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings -- where and when -- are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.


Let me guess. A White House appointee?

Right again, the lady wins a kupee doll hanging by its nose on a chain. Kidding aside, nice to have you back.


yikes ! i think they guy has inherited both rummy's and kkkarl rove's genes.

I didn't even know KR was pregnant. Don't neocons reproduce by budding or something?

Neocons reproduce through spores and parasitic infection.

To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change... I guess I would ask which human beings -- where and when -- are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings.

I suppose that he did a reasonable job of explaining the "conservative climate-skeptic" point of view but two things in his remarks jumped out at me:

  • To his contention that we may not be living with the optimal climate, I would respond by saying that our architectural and agricultural systems are tuned to climatic conditions that exist at present. Therefore, one could argue that the climate that we now have is "optimal" and that changes -- while potentially beneficial for some -- are just as likely, if not more likely, to be disruptive to others.
  • If indeed climate change is, by some measure, human-induced, then the first world has already assumed the "privilege" of deciding what climate is best. And if that isn't "arrogant," I don't know what is.
  • When you add in that those who are causing climate change are not the ones who will suffer the most from it, it crosses the line from arrogant to evil.

    What exactly is it that we are calling evil? The question is genuine, not rhetorical.

    I would hope that we are not calling individuals who question the human contribution to global warming evil - that has a way of stifling intelligent discussion: "I believe X and anybody who disagrees with me is evil." Now I admit that someone who does not believe X may in fact be evil, but is it necessarily so for everyone? Maybe he doesn't have all the facts?

    Or are we calling individuals who participate in global warming evil? That would rope in all of us who drive a car, for starters. Or are we calling our society collectively evil?

    I would call anyone connected to the Tobacco Institute evil (except perhaps the receptionist). Employees, funders, people that spread their message.

    LONG after any scientific doubt about the link between cigarettes & lung cancer and other diseases, they kept pushing the idea of doubt, lack of scientific proof, as a means to slow restrictions on tobacco use..

    Lee Raymond (former Exxon CEO) *IS* EVIL because he funded GW doubt research, not to find the truth, but as a means to slow restrictions on carbon use.

    I strongly suspect that the head of NASA is also evil, as are many (but not all) of the GW deniers. The moral question is one of intent.

    Best Hopes for calling Evil by it's true name, but also recognizing true honest doubt,


    Good try but a little too pat Alan, by that tobacco logic. I don't think there are many here that don't both use petroleum, and understand what it is doing to the planet, yet rationalize our use of this product in excess of personal survival.

    Or are we calling our society collectively evil?


    I don't really believe in a religious kind of evil. Evil is just selfishness. Even serial killers...they commit murder because they want to, and their needs are more important than their victims'.

    Another example: Andrew Speaker, that guy with a potentially fatal form of TB, who flew to Europe on his honeymoon even after being told he shouldn't.

    I'm sure he doesn't think of himself as evil. He just wanted to go to his wedding and honeymoon. He'd probably planned it for a year or more. It must have cost tens of thousands of dollars. His friends and family had all taken time off work, bought nonrefundable plane tickets, etc. And all that outweighed putting the lives of dozens or hundreds of other people at risk.

    We all do the same thing every day, though on a less dramatic scale.

    An example from some interesting neuroscience work being done at MIT:

    If you were walking along and saw a baby drowning in a pond, would you wade in to save him, even if it meant ruining your $200 shoes?

    Of course you would. Anyone who wouldn't is a monster.

    But...buying $200 shoes (or an iPod, or whatever) is essentially the same thing. You could save a bunch of babies with that money, if you donated it to Oxfam or the Red Cross. But we don't see people who don't do that as monsters.

    Intellectually, we can understand this. But our brains are hard-wired with Stone Age morality. If we don't actually see the dying children in front of us, they don't exist. The parts of our brain that govern morality simply do not engage (as MRIs show).

    I don't really believe in a religious kind of evil. Evil is just selfishness.

    What is your fundamental basis for deciding what is good and what is evil? In other words, why is selfishness evil?

    Because it's bad for society. That is what we are discussing, are we not? Whether our society as a whole is evil.

    For an atheist - which I am - that is what ethics boils down to.

    And no, I don't think this is off-topic. This is why "doing something" about peak oil and climate change is so difficult. It requires sacrifice...for something that is not tangible to the average Joe.

    But you are still making a value judgment. You are saying what is good for society is more important than what is good for the individual.

    As long as an individual can afford their lifestyle and defend it, so be it, so what if it is not beneficial to society? Who is to say that it is wrong?

    But you are still making a value judgment.

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    You are saying what is good for society is more important than what is good for the individual.

    Because, from my view, that is the whole point of ethics/morality. It's a societal framework that allows us to live and work together.

    There's really no need to encourage people do what's good for themselves. That comes pretty naturally.

    Welcome back, Leanan.

    NASAguy: “Or are we calling our society collectively evil?”

    Leanan: “Yes. I don’t believe in a religious kind of evil. Evil is just selfishness.”

    Generally, I’m a lurker (or at best part of the chorus), but Leanan’s rationally ethical response is a large part of why I read TOD. It seems to me she first makes a distinction between religion and evil because of the great deal of evil that all-too-often arises out of religion. Then she says Evil is “selfishness,” which is a good description. Part of the insidiousness of evil is how easily and blandly it sneaks up on us. In my family there are people who I would call evil, who cause chaos, pain, and even death to people around them. But they didn’t start out that way. Since I’ve grown up with them I’ve been able to watch how evil develops. It began in my own family when certain people began to make consistent selfish choices—and as they grew older making selfish choices became a habit (and seemed even a virtue to them; as in, “I’m practical! I’m proactive! I’m not weak!”)

    This is why I agree that our society is collectively evil—in the name of being practical, proactive, and strong we’ve made a habit of not seeing our effect on others. But then, CrystalRadio points out:

    I don't think there are many here that don't both use petroleum, and understand what it is doing to the planet, yet rationalize our use of this product in excess of personal survival.

    I still drive a car to work and commute about 300 miles a week. Am I evil for this activity, given what I know of PO, GW, and global economics? (Obviously, I'm stupid). Am I evil for eating food that’s been shipped from other continents or across country? Am I evil for eating animals and plants? For killing microbes and bacteria? To the degree that I’m selfish about it—yes, it’s evil. If I’m sincere about this kind of ethical trap (not wanting to harm others, yet knowing that by being alive, something has to be hurt or killed)—I’m in terrible personal conflict. So the more ethical-- the more “unevil”--I want to be, the more conflicted I become. If I give up on the problem, or ignore the conflict, I all-to-easily grow increasingly evil—perhaps eventually becoming all-consumed selfishly. If I confront the conflict, then I jump from the frying pan into the fire—and the question becomes, “Is it even possible not to be evil?”

    If we’re still sane by this time, we know in our gut it’s possible not to be evil. But how? Leanan concludes that:

    But our brains are hard-wired with Stone Age morality…. The parts of our brain that govern morality simply do not engage (as MRIs show).

    I read a lot on this site about people being “hard-wired”—and there is no question we are—but is that the extent of our physical bodies? Are there aspects of our bodies that we do not sense with our neurons? Are humans a closed system of machine-like hard-wired neurons (selfishness) or an open system to an unknown our senses and neurons can’t perceive that connects us to each other, the planet, the cosmos, and possibly even to a transcendent? If the later is true, then it is possible not to be evil, because we know that we are more than ourselves and by being of service to others we serve a greater good, despite ourselves. This, I believe is the origin of ethics—and if we take ethics seriously, becomes our morality (which is our code of behavior toward what is greater than ourselves, and which may even become a genuine spirituality).

    This why I like CrystalRadio’s comment so much: it makes me wonder whether I evil for driving 300 miles? For me the answer will depend on my ethical actions when TSHTF—this is when ethics, morality, and spirituality will meet reality and the question of whether I’m any of these will finally be answered for good.


    Thanks for the kind remarks, but I'm really just here for the popcorn and the show. We fell out of the garden after biting into that rosy red dichotomy of good and evil and haven't (yet) been able to taste the orange of wisdom.:-)

    And no I don't think we are hardwired to good or evil, everyone is just doing the best they can with what they've been dealt. If we are hardwired to anything I think it is cooperativeness and that results in both good and evil.

    As well, as Pierre Trudeau was fond of saying, 'The universe is unfolding as it should'.

    I also like no fault auto insurance.

    Hi CR,
    It's possible you're hardwired for cooperativeness--which would mean you're socially ethical by nature. I wish your wiring weren't so hard to find elsewhere.... ;-)

    Ok, let's play Evil or Not Evil. The Federal Government subsidizes Ethanol(with your tax dollars) which promotes farmers to switch from planting food or livestock feed crops to crops for ethanol production. This reduces food supply which increases the cost to eat. Then, China makes a higher bid for the Ethanol. ADM has a choice to sell their ethanol either domestically for a lower price or to China for a substantial profit. ADM chooses to sell to China. Evil or Not Evil. You decide.

    Rant warning..

    It seems you are still making value judgments. You seem to be implying that selfishness is still WRONG. Or that it would be WRONG to not rescue that drowning baby.

    It seems that everyone here wants to deny a God, and say that we are all just chemicals and our actions are nothing more than hard wired reactions from evolution. fine....

    But then you can not say it would be WRONG for someone to just sit by the pool side at watch the baby drown for entertainment. Why would that be WRONG? Sure the parents wouldn't like it, and the person would probably even be arrested because society says it is not beneficial to behave that way. But why would it be WRONG? remember we are nothing more than just chemicals.

    The same way, how can everyone here complain about SUV's, suburbia, consumerism? If we are just chemicals and products of evolution, there is no right or wrong, there are no absolutes. As long as a person can afford 12 mpg per gallon, so be it. That may be at your expense, and you may not like it, but why is it absolutely WRONG?. As long as a country can invade another for its resources, so be it, why is it WRONG? Survival of the fittest, remember? Might makes right.

    We as humans cringe at certain things (babies drowning, selfish consumption,etc) and think that there is just something inherently not correct. In those cases it would seem there is only two choices, an absolute truth speaking to us or a matter of us just being completely irrational.

    Rant off...

    It seems you are still making value judgments.

    Of course I am. If you don't believe in abstract good and evil, then value judgments are all that's left.

    But then you can not say it would be WRONG for someone to just sit by the pool side at watch the baby drown for entertainment. Why would that be WRONG?

    It's wrong only in the context of our society. There are societies where it would not be wrong. Indeed, there have been societies where the sacrifice of children was considered religious duty.

    Though morality seems to be hard-wired at a young age, the software counts, too. Eating pork is a moral issue for Muslims, for example, but it's hardly universal.

    Hi Leanan. Do you believe that capitalisim encourages evil, greed, selfishness?

    No more so than any other religion. ;-)

    I don't believe that our religions, economic or spiritual, create our culture, so much as they reflect it.


    What do you mean by culture.

    The closest I could get to ours in a dictionary was this:

    #7 The raising of plants or animals
    "the culture of oysters"

    Not too off the mark I think.

    It is interesting to see in these scenarios how Leanan, Shawnott and I, along with others, have reach the same conclusions, but for different ethical reasons. We would all save the drowning baby. For Jews or Christians, this is because we are expected to "love your neighbor as yourself" as an absolute (hard to achieve, but that's the standard). For the atheists, saving the baby is considered the best thing to do in the context of our society.

    It also points out where we could reach divergent conclusions on other matters, or on similar matters in the future. Shawnott and I would continue to consider child sacrifice to be wrong, even if the surrounding society considered it to be a religious duty.

    To pursue the subject a bit farther, we all seem to agree that we ought to do certain things. For example, we ought to show courage rather than cowardice (the baby might be in dangerously rough water and I'm not positive I could swim it). This value is pretty deeply ingrained, and I doubt that we arrived at it through a coolly rational calculation of what's best for society. Leanan can correct me if she disagrees, as I think I am speaking even for atheists on this point. But does this not suggest that perhaps this ethic came from outside us?

    Back to the subject of shared conclusions - I agree with Leanan's comment above that selfishness is one of the reasons it is so hard to address peak oil and global warming. It would take great sacrifice on everyone's part to materially improve the situation, and the sacrifice of each individual (for example, just me) will make only a negligible contribution.

    For example, we ought to show courage rather than cowardice (the baby might be in dangerously rough water and I'm not positive I could swim it). This value is pretty deeply ingrained, and I doubt that we arrived at it through a coolly rational calculation of what's best for society.

    Disagree. Courage = sacrifice for the greater good. That could be selected for, via evolution. A person who shows that willingness to sacrifice for the greater good puts himself at risk, but may also increase his chances at reproductive success. People like other people who are not selfish.

    But does this not suggest that perhaps this ethic came from outside us?

    No. Animals can show "courage," after all.

    That could be selected for, via evolution. A person who shows that willingness to sacrifice for the greater good puts himself at risk, but may also increase his chances at reproductive success. People like other people who are not selfish.

    This seems a doubtful line of argument to me. If I'm an 18 year old man about to get married who wants to have seven kids, I still will feel like I ought to risk my life to save the baby, even if it's a foreign baby of a different race and religion and no one is watching. This does not increase my chances for reproductive success, nor does it enhance the chance of success for the gene pool of those close to me.

    View the video downthread-the jungle utube I posted. At the risk of entering a religious discussion, there was no reason for the unrelated young bulls to come back to the feeding pride. Saving the collective's young or the group seems much deeper than primates

    If I'm an 18 year old man about to get married who wants to have seven kids, I still will feel like I ought to risk my life to save the baby, even if it's a foreign baby of a different race and religion and no one is watching.

    That is not a universal instinct, though. Indeed, I suspect a lot more people would say they would save the baby in that situation than would actually do it.

    This does not increase my chances for reproductive success, nor does it enhance the chance of success for the gene pool of those close to me.

    Disagree. You'd have to tell people what happened, they'd be suitably impressed, and beautiful babes would be throwing themselves at your feet. (Being married doesn't matter. Most animals, humans included, are not naturally monogamous. Probably because seven kids with one mate is not as good as seven kids with different mates,.) Even disregarding that...the heroic act would increase your standing in the community, and this would benefit your family.

    Anyways, there has been some interesting research about this. "Altruistic" behavior is not unique to humans. It does improve the chances of survival, but you have to look beyond the individual. With mammals, it often boils down to larger pack size being advantageous.


    Leanan, courage does not mean sacrifice for the greater good. Check any dictionary.

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

    I was not giving a dictionary definition. I was explaining how I saw it in the context of the discussion.

    Two comments about morality - these may be mutually inconsistent -

    First, morality is culturally defined. But the golden rule seems to go a long way to defining behavior that is desirable in any culture.

    Second, we have to do some growing up about the question of babies. How did those small island cultures moderate their populations? I suspect that lots of babies died. Stoneage people didn't have birth control pills but they did know about sex.

    Even though it sounds awful to let babies die, the alternative in an overpopulated situation can be worse. Garrett Hardin thought long and hard about this and formulated a powerful idea which he wrote about in Carrying Capacity As an Ethical Concept

    Hardin's big idea is that sanctity of the carrying capacity of the ecosystem trumps the sanctity of any individual's life. Because if the ecosystem fails, then everybody loses. So if we are really moral about preserving the well-being of members of our own species, we should be working to preserve our ecosystem's carrying capacity.

    This idea doesn't get much play, although it involves a very high level of morality.

    Diamond touches on this. Population control is indeed a big part of sustainable societies. Abortion, infanticide, suicide, warfare, and late marriage are some of the ways societies achieve this.

    My dad, a scientist who is a strange mix of rational and rightwing nutjob, always told me that life would inevitably become cheaper. He is anti-abortion, but expects that abortion rights will win out in the end as human population outstrips available resources.

    Sorry, shawnott, but I don't see why the development of a system of ethics is proof of God's existence. It could just part of the human survival strategy. Nothing more.

    I don't know that I am saying it is a proof of God, (though I think CS Lewis did lean that way in Mere Christianity), but I am saying there is a choice: either there are absolute right and wrongs, which are provided by a God, or there is not a God and our 'rights' and 'wrongs' are nothing more than relative choices we as chemical beings make. But they would be relative, and it would be difficult then to call someone like Hitler 'evil' or 'wrong'. As long as something can be justified or rationalize, then go for it.

    Shawnott, I hope I'm not too blunt but your reply is characteristic of someone who doesn't know how to think outside of an objectivist worldview. What I mean is that your reply takes the position that right and wrong exist independently outside of the human species and therefore must be "given to us". As if that's the only way to think about it. In this view, we know what is right and wrong because some Authority (who else than God?) tells us what is right and what is wrong.

    Most Americans are raised to accept this way of thinking. Christian religions support this view, and so do the public schools. So when Americans encounter the possiblity that truth does not have intrinsic existence, or that right and wrong are defined by cultural groups rather than being defined by some Authority, they think the only choices are "morality is defined by authority or else there is no morality". But this is just the result of limited intellectual experience.

    If you do some reading and think a bit, you'll find that there are legitimate ways to think about truth, or to define right and wrong, that do not rely on authority yet still are not "anything goes" free for alls. This is a big part of the understandings that were reached in the so-called Modern era, a century or two ago. Westerners have been fighting against the more enlightened aspects of modern thinking for a long time.

    This is probably because western religions are all about authority and absolutes. By comparison, eastern religions have much less in the way of authority and absolutes, and look more like "philosophy" to us westerners. But on average, Buddhists are every bit as moral as Christians, probably more so. For one thing, they generally don't start wars.

    Seriously, those who have thought about this the longest and hardest have realized that right and wrong are culturally defined, even in this country. Want references?

    My appologies for the reply to the off-topic reply here.

    It seems that everyone here wants to deny a God, and say that we are all just chemicals and our actions are nothing more than hard wired reactions from evolution. fine....

    But then you can not say it would be WRONG for someone to just sit by the pool side at watch the baby drown for entertainment. Why would that be WRONG? Sure the parents wouldn't like it, and the person would probably even be arrested because society says it is not beneficial to behave that way. But why would it be WRONG? remember we are nothing more than just chemicals.

    You seem to be assuming that God is required for people to be moral and have the ability to determine right from wrong.

    Maybe it would be wrong because your genetic programming says it's wrong. What if genes for altruistic behavior evolved right along with the genes allowing complex thought? Richard Dawkins talks about this in his book "The God Delusion".


    I'm sure he doesn't think of himself as evil.

    By your guidelines, which I generally agree with (evil=selfishness) I'd lean to that judgment. Especially as he's a personal injury lawyer - whose father works with TB for the

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

    Especially as he's a personal injury lawyer -

    Take him out and shoot him. It's the kindest thing, really :^)

    Hopefully, at a minimum, he can disbarred.

    Best Hopes for Fewer Lawyers,


    You mean fewer "bad" lawyers I am sure. :)

    Leanan, I'm an Episcopalian, which is a very tolerant religeon, basicially because we're too arrogant to care what anyone else believes. And, no matter what you believe, you're sure to find another Episcopalian that believes the same way you do.
    In the American Episcopal Church we have a Catechism, a statement of beliefs that is taught to kids and converts. The Catachism defines "sin" as doing your own will instead of God's will. Considering how contradictory the scriptures are, and how much current morality has transcended Old Testament morality, its impossible to determine God's will from the bible. And the state of current biblical scholarship pretty well shows that our ancestors edited and changed the bible its impossible to determine from scriptural sources.
    So what are people left with? I think its your version of morality. I don't know if altruistic impulses are divinely inspired, logical, or just our genes trying to save themselves. But I do know they exist.
    "Nuff said". This ought to stir the pot!

    Why not use Aristortle's writings as the basis for morality an ethics? He was learned, logical, thorough, and undoubtedly the greatest thinker of all time, and an atheist.

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

    And he was also bent by his own cultural bias. Morality is influenced enormously by culture. Just as an example: The ancient Greeks believed that the ideal of love (physical and emotional) was between older men and younger boys (teens). In general women were considered more for procreation/raising a family.

    We already rely on the logical foundations set by the ancient Greeks - I think we can come up with our own culturally biased ideas on our own without being entirely beholden to them...

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

    But...buying $200 shoes (or an iPod, or whatever) is essentially the same thing. You could save a bunch of babies with that money, if you donated it to Oxfam or the Red Cross. But we don't see people who don't do that as monsters.

    I don't wear $200 shoes. I wear $40 sneakers I bought at Target about 5 years ago. They have holes in them, and that's the way I like it.

    So you can see how many babies I'm feeding right now. No wait ... the shoes were probably made in a sweatshop somewhere. But by keeping them 5 years and not buying new ones, I'm hurting Target. Maybe. Probably not, Target is having a pretty good quarter.

    Should I buy new shoes to give a job to the sweatshop girl? Or would I just be contributing to the already rich plutocrats who run the merchandising megabusiness?

    I'm confused ...

    Is it moral to save babies in an area that is overpopulated and where people are malnourished, under constant threat of death, etc. from maruding bands of 11 year old thugs with machine guns?
    Is it moral to bring any babies into a world which will probably not be living in now, in some places, and later in other places. Saving a bunch of babies in the world we have today may just be sacrificing a bunch of babies and adults in the future.

    It may be that the most moral stance given the current and projected situation is Voluntary Human Extinction.

    Or should we buy, buy, buy in order to help improve the GDP of China, knowing full well that all this buying leads to producing which leads to massive continued expansions of coal plants by China which will in turn kill both Chinese and others throughout the world.

    We have limited resources. The question is, what do we do with our discretionary dollars? What do we do with our charitable contributions? Personally, I think we should focus on those investments which will do the most good for the long term health of the planet. Future babies, hopefully, will grow up into a world that is bearable, not completely resource depleted, and not so hot that it is unbearable.

    Morality is sooooo tricky.

    "To whom much has been given, much will be expected" - Jesus of Nazareth

    "With great power comes great responsibility" - Spider Man

    We differentiate in our assessment of "evil" because the distribution of wealth and privilege and power has been differentiated. If we were all truly equal in every way, then it would be correct to simply say that "society is evil" and that we are all equally responsible for that evil. However, because there are those with great wealth and privilege and power, they can and should be held to a higher standard. It should also be noted that those with great wealth and power also have more capacity to do more good or more harm than the rest of us.

    Sarcastic, Hairy, Insipid, Todtroll (still no acronyms please) missed Leanan the most for observations like that.

    Q1 GDP revised down to 0.6

    WASS = we are so screwed

    And besides, a rising sea level lifts all boats. . . or all yachts, anyway.

    crisis.com so we can fret about everything on one website

    Heh heh, good idea - fret.net.

    Dr Gray continues to call for an active hurricane season in his May 31 forecast:

    Information obtained through May 2007 continues to indicate that the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will be much more active than the average 1950-2000 season. We estimate that 2007 will have about 9 hurricanes (average is 5.9), 17 named storms (average is 9.6), 85 named storm days (average is 49.1), 40 hurricane days (average is 24.5), 5 intense (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.3) and 11 intense hurricane days (average is 5.0). The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is estimated to be about 140 percent of the long-period average. We expect Atlantic basin Net Tropical Cyclone (NTC) activity in 2007 to be about 185 percent of the long-term average.

    Here is a link to a video on youtube.

    It shows sea ice being formed on the shore. Takes some pretty cold water to do this doesn't it.


    as an aside I wish everyone that buys a video camera remember ONE rule. ITS NOT A STILL CAMERA. HOLD YOUR FRIGGIN SHOTS at the minimum of five seconds preferably TEN seconds. Point and got it and move on, bad bad bad.

    I believe its from this past winter. The post I found it linked to on a forum was from Feb 07. Its New Foundland

    could this be showing a salinity decrease.

    also the new graph released today of the Current shows it to be picking up. The stop has started again, slowly,

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    Yesterday I had a comment about an upcoming CNN program that was about oil. At the time, it wasn't clear whether this would be a new program, or a re-run of "We were warned: Tomorrow's oil crisis".

    I found a bit more on CNN's website, and it appears that this is just a rerun of the old program under a slightly different name:


    We Were Warned, Out of Gas

    As Americans face the highest gasoline prices in the nation’s history, CNN special correspondent Frank Sesno investigates the obstacles to finding solutions for the world’s addiction to oil.

    At the dawn of another busy summer travel season, this hour-long documentary examines a hypothetical, yet plausible situation: A series of natural and man-made disasters interrupting the already strained oil supply chain, driving prices higher still and confronting the United States and the world with a full-scale energy emergency.

    There seems to be a fairly decent mix here politically. I would be curious to have any comments on Ron Paul. I am more and more impressed by him. Caught this today on BullnotBull. I hope it is OK to post. http://www.dailypaul.com/node/213

    Paul has opposed every bill supporting alternative energy investment:

    • Voted NO for the Clean Energy Act of 2007 - To reduce our Nation's dependency on foreign oil by investing in clean, renewable, and alternative energy resources, promoting new emerging energy technologies, developing greater efficiency, and creating a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewable Reserve to invest in alternative energy (01/18/2007)

    • Voted NO for the Energy Policy Act of 2005 – To develop an energy policy that addresses tax incentives, conservation strategies, regulatory standards, research and development programs, energy efficiency, and alternative sources of energy (07/28/2005)

    • Voted NO for the Energy Omnibus bill - To enhance energy conservation and research and development, to provide for security and diversity in the energy supply for the American people (06/15/2004)

    • Voted NO for the Securing America's Future Energy [SAFE] Act of 2001 - To enhance energy conservation, research and development and to provide for security and diversity in the energy supply for the American people (08/02/2001)

    Voted no to increase rail funding.

    Plus, he'd sell off the national parks and forests and remove protections for endangerd species.

    (Oh and Cyrus, thank you for the bullet point list on the No's)

    Which is consistent with the positions he's held in the past.

    Should these things be what fed-gov pay for? Are these things 'supported' by The Constitution? He thinks no, and I'm hard pressed to find arguments to say how such a position is wrong.

    When I sent Ron my money for his bid, I asked about his lack-luster energy policy. Thus far - not a word back.

    Dr. Paul also has other stinky laundry

    The Houston Chronicle story linked above contains quotes from a newsletter Mr. Paul put out in the 1980s and 1990s. It includes quotes referring to blacks as crime-prone and "fleet-footed." Mr. Paul also wrote that "By far the most powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government" and that the goal of the Zionist movement is to stifle criticism.

    The upside to a Dr. Paul win would be lots of veto'd bills and a congressional complex with a speed bump in its way. A 'do nothing' congress might have to do something to get bills passed. Dr. Paul would be a change from what's been happening - at this point any change would be worth a try.

    "By far the most powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government" and that the goal of the Zionist movement is to stifle criticism."

    ...which, of course, is something that we don't talk about, but we should. It is likely one of the reasons behind the US invasion of Iraq.

    Am I the only one who has noted the religious affiliation (practicing or not) of many of the most prominent of the Neocon cabal?

    If the goal of the Zionist lobby is to stifle criticism, then it is not the most powerful lobby in Washington, but the weakest. I hear criticism of Israel constantly.

    I hear criticism of Israel constantly.

    I hear criticisms of Wal*Mart all the time, yet their bank account keeps going up. As long as they get cash, I don't think the critics bother them all that much.

    Lobbing, to me, seems about getting money directed on way or the other. By that metric, the "Zionist adjenda" is winning, no?

    Well, Ron Paul isn't the only one to have leveled this charge. Former CIA analysts Ray McGovern and Michael Sheuer have noted the difficulty of talking openly about America's strategic relationship with Israel.

    What kills me is the lack of historical context. Think about how the arabs felt when a group of powerful countries shows up and demands land that some people claim is theirs. Rightly, I'd be pissed too, especially after my people fought for how many centuries? And we won fair and square only to get this bull$hit later. Gee, wonder why so many are so pissed. We're locked into this fight until the bitter end, IMHO. I read a long article on attacking Iran yesterday and after reading why we shouldn't attack Iran, I am 100% convinced we do attack them before Bushy gets out. As much as I don't like McCain, he made a good point. The only thing worse than bombing Iran is letting Iran get the bomb.

    The only thing worse than bombing Iran is letting Iran get the bomb.

    Why? Is the theory of MAD invalid?

    Yes, but I've read both sides. Good insight to reach the thesis.

    I wish I could find the article. I tend to read so much I have no clue where stuff comes from. I have yet to find a software program to cure this. Anyone use anything to catalouge what they read daily? I use reader, but I don't get that much from the feeds. It seems to be linking from sites like financialsense.com or lewrockwell.com. Financialsense seems like one of the best all around commentary sites...WAIT i think it was in REASON's feeds. Hold on....nevermind.

    So no comment on how MAD no longer works as a theory?

    As for your other question - how about this?

    When one party believes in martyrdom as a sure way to Heaven, MAD doesn't seem quite the same. Iran's President seems like a pretty wacky guy to me.

    We al know in our hears, he isn't going to win. Sad, but very true.

    "Should these things be what fed-gov pay for?"

    The Governments, federal, state and local are how we develop plans and an infrastructure to carry us on past the ephemeral private-business desires of today, and prepare us to get by over a longer timeframe. Roads, Bridges, Schools, International relationships..

    Why is it inappropriate to invest towards turning our energy directions Away from the dead ends that put our future in peril? Instead, we invest in supporting failing car manufacturers and overly prosperous energy companies through bailouts and tax breaks, give them military security details, while undercutting the military with no-bid, cost plus contracts to private security armies, and military support to keep Israel's claws sharp, but the pencils dull..

    If you're going to oppose Government spending, there are a lot of likely targets to aim at before challenging subsidies for an alternate to our oil dependency.

    snip of the reply because those are good arguments but...

    Are the 'in line with The Constitution'? Constitutional Law is not a strong point here on TOD. :-(

    I've not seen a good argument that a strong energy policy in collecting the photons that hit the land mass within the nations borders translates to a strong foreign defense.

    If you're going to oppose Government spending, there are a lot of likely targets to aim at before challenging subsidies for an alternate to our oil dependency.

    And Dr. Paul has alot of No votes on those too.

    re; Strong Foreign Defense..
    "Provide for the Common Defense.."
    There are those who read that as the pivotal line in the constitution's preamble, and yet how hard is it to claim that there would be definite security advantages to a Strategic PV Reserve, deployed on hundreds of thousands of rooftops with smart neighborhood grids, so that our Enemies couldn't paralyze us with knocking out central powerstations, so that our citizens wouldn't be using critical fuels that the military required, and maybe most importantly, that with the advent of wildly escalating energy costs, we would be far less likely to descend into civil unrest, ruckus and downright mayhem?

    But following that, is
    "..promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,.."
    Not being an originalist (since the framers could not have known what the implications of National Electrical Grid(s) or an SPR might require) I have to suggest that only from the Federal Gov't can we devise certain of the essential tools and incentives for making the changes we have to start. There is plenty of room for private business, state and city govt's to have their work on this, but no less so with the Fed'l Govt.

    I don't usually agree with the Libertarian 'Govt out of everything' camp. I guess it depends on whether you think govt can be, must be 'us', or if it's inevitably 'them'

    Bob Fiske

    Provide for the Common defense
    Promote the General Welfare
    Secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

    National Parks, National Forests, All our few remaining wilderness areas and Refuges must be Federally protected for they are integral to our General Welfare and are National Treasures.
    As in so many things, we are failing miserably


    Oh, I'm convinced that one of the reasons why there is no interest in Washington in balancing the Federal Budget, is that it is "in the plan" -- when the bills finally come due -- to sell Federal lands off to the highest bidders. You wait.

    10:31U.S. crude supply down 2 mln brls last week: Energy Dept.
    10:31U.S. distillate supply 100,000 brls: Energy Dept.
    10:31U.S. gasoline supply up 1.3 mln brls: Energy Dept.

    Robert...looks like that gasoline build is way below where we need to be for the summer "drivefest". The crude drop is not surprising now that we have some higher refinery capacity.

    How should we react to this? I'm expecting next week crude to drop again and I'm not so sure about next week's gasoline supply numbers since it will cover Memorial Day weekend.

    It's amazing how close this was to a draw. If imports hadn't been so incredibly strong - 3rd highest on record - we would have seen a draw this week. And this is almost 3 million barrels lower than the previous Memorial Day low inventory mark.

    I wrote a few comments on it:


    Doug MacIntyre has posted some comments, so if anyone has a question for him, you better catch him while he's there.

    I want to remind everyone that this report does NOT cover most of the driving that was done over Memorial Day weekend. The report ends on 5/25/07. The bulk of the driving was on 5/26/07 to 5/28/07. Next week's report is really going to set the baseline for the rest of the summer and give us a better indicator where things are headed.

    I note that if imports had been at last week's level - which was itself pretty healthy - we would have seen nearly a 1 million barrel draw on gasoline stocks. That is how dependent the summer is on gasoline imports.

    Yes...I think that will be the big story...export/imports of finished product.

    Who can provide the most finished products to countries that do not have enough refining capacity to meet growing demand?

    Who can pay for the most for imports in a world where the demand is higher for this product and the price is increasing on the global stage.

    As long as the USD$ remains the petrocurrency of choice and as long as the US gov. can create USD$ at will without the world losing faith in it, the US will win this export/import game every time.

    Watch these two situations closely to understand the price at the pump.

    Westexas...care to chime in here?

    The fact we seem to be able to get the gasoline imports we need makes me seriously wonder about the claims of refining capacity problems. I think the best answer is the simple one the market is actually fairly balanced for the amount of crude we have in the world. This means we must have seen a good bit of demand destruction world wide. To look at it in perspective
    demand destruction of say 1-2 mbpd represents only a fraction of a percent change in world wide usage and can still be absorbed from stocks and delocalized demand destruction. I think that we will need to see about 4mbd decrease in oil production world wide to get into the real post peak squeeze. But if the problems we are having now are any indication things will get nasty fast. 2007 can be seen is our first real post peak year since most of 2005 and 2006 utilized a good bit of of the worlds stockpiles of oil and money for subsidies.

    I'm now looking forward to 2008 and man is it going to be a crappy year I'm not ready to even think about 2009.

    The refining problem were there for sure, but the thing is, importing finished gasoline is far higher than doing it all here. If we are importing gasoline finished, then the original oil must have been Brent which is $5 above WTI at any given moment. I do think S&D have found temporary equilibrium.


    Monday, May 28, 2007

    Russian car boom catches eye of Japan, Germany



    Oil boom's impact

    All in all, the maximum output capacities of plants operated or planned by overseas automakers is approaching 1 million cars per year. Clearly, something is up in mother Russia.

    To put matters simply, Russia is experiencing a good old-fashioned oil boom. Its deepening ties with European energy suppliers, along with rising prices of crude oil and other resources, has created a steady stream of revenue. Having gone through a major economic crisis as recently as 1998, the country has made a complete about face and is now prudently stockpiling funds for future rainy days.

    It has also been generous with its citizens. Income tax in Russia is levied at an across-the-board rate of 13 percent, making it the lowest of the major industrialized nations. Combined with extremely low utility costs, as well as pent-up demand for goods after decades of state rule, and the deepening thirst for cars comes as no surprise.

    Furthermore, car ownership in Russia is still at a relatively low level of less than 20 percent. Compare that with Germany, where it's over 50 percent, or Japan, which has 44 percent. And the average age of a car in Russia is approaching 10 years, which means many car owners will soon be looking for a replacement. All of these factors add up to a steeply growing market, especially for foreign makes.

    In 2002, only 112,000 foreign cars were sold in Russia. This year, the VDA is forecasting that 1,350,000 foreign vehicles will be sold — a 12-fold increase (a compound growth rate of 50% per year). Conversely, sales of Russian-produced cars have been on a steady decline, from 857,000 in 2002 to a forecast of 750,000 in 2007.


    Liked your FinancialSense piece and agree on gas import dependence for summer, but don't see a 1.0 million draw on gas stocks if imports stayed at last weeks level.

    imports last week: 1.3
    imports this week 1.6

    difference .3

    Stocks last week 196.7
    Stocks this week 198.0 up 1.3

    Am I missing something, is my data wrong?


    The imports are barrels per day, so the weekly difference is 2.10 million down

    Thanks Bunyonhead.

    And one more dumb refining question:

    All this imported gas has to be reformulated for the different US markets, doesn't it?

    If the refineries are full and producing flat out save maintaince/repair issues, how is this done-all imported gas is of the formulations needed for a particular US market?

    Most imports are in the form of blending components rather than finshed product, the US refiners blend them into their own refined products to create the necessary formulations.

    Stock build in gasoline very much as predicted by analysts once again. Over the past week wholesale and spot gas prices have eased, with a growing feeling amongst commentators that supply fears are diminishing.

    I'm not sure everyone can afford to be so sanguine. 4-week average demand inched up again, now back at 1.4%. If this persists throughout July and August, then we'll be looking at a sustained supply requirement of 9.71 mb/d of gasoline for a period of 9 weeks. In turn this means no let down whatsoever in the high level of imports required, which last week were the third highest ever.

    As a longer-term consideration, these high import numbers can't be doing much for the U.S. trade deficit, and if that in turn increases downward pressure on the dollar then prices may ultimately rise via that route too.

    U.S. Gasoline Data 2006 vs 2007
      Capacity Prodn Imports Stocks Stock Chnge Demand
    W/E 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007
    4/6 85.6 88.4 7.87 8.53 1.10 0.95 207.9 199.7 -3.9 -5.5 9.30 9.47
    4/13 86.2 90.4 8.10 8.66 0.91 1.04 202.5 197.0 -5.4 -2.7 9.10 9.25
    4/20 88.2 87.8 8.47 8.54 1.34 1.16 200.6 194.2 -1.9 -2.8 9.01 9.16
    4/27 88.8 88.3 8.60 8.78 1.02 1.15 202.7 193.1 +2.1 -1.1 9.10 9.26
    5/4 90.2 89.0 8.92 8.93 1.65 1.22 205.1 193.5 +2.4 +0.4 9.35 9.34
    5/11 89.8 89.5 9.18 9.05 1.45 1.53 206.4 195.2 +1.3 +1.7 9.33 9.40
    5/18 89.7 91.1 9.20 9.20 1.63 1.30 208.5 196.7 +2.1 +1.5 9.19 9.43
    5/25 91.4 91.1 9.21 9.26 1.55 1.61 209.3 198.0 +0.8 +1.3 9.43 9.48
    6/1 91.0   9.14   1.40   210.3   +1.0   9.37  
    6/8 92.7   9.21   1.41   213.1   +2.8   9.41  
    6/15 93.3   9.35   1.08   213.4   +0.3   9.43  
    6/22 93.8   9.33   0.96   212.4   -1.0   9.54  
    6/29 93.8   9.21   1.27   213.1   +0.7   9.65  

    [These are weekly estimates, subject to revision. Data source - EIA. Week ending dates are for 2007 (2006 is a day more). Capacity is utilization% of fully operable. Imports, production and demand are million barrels per day. Stocks are millions of barrels]

    U.S. Gasoline Stocks 2007 by PADD District
      East Coast Midwest Gulf Coast Rocky Mtn West Coast
    5-yr avg 60.0 52.1 64.0 6.2 30.5
    W/E Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge
    4/13 52.8 -1.5 47.6 -0.4 63.1 -2.4 5.7 -0.1 27.7 +1.7
    4/20 52.7 -0.1 46.7 -0.9 62.4 -0.7 5.4 -0.3 27.0 -0.7
    4/27 53.2 +0.5 46.4 -0.3 61.8 -0.4 5.4 0.0 26.3 -0.7
    5/4 52.6 -0.6 46.7 +0.3 61.4 -0.4 5.4 0.0 27.4 +1.1
    5/11 51.9 -0.7 46.4 -0.3 62.8 +1.4 5.5 +0.1 28.6 +1.2
    5/18 52.5 +0.6 46.1 -0.3 63.7 +0.9 5.6 +0.1 28.8 +0.2
    5/25 52.3 -0.2 46.9 +0.8 63.8 +0.1 5.5 -0.1 29.6 +0.8

    [Source: EIA. 5-yr average is the average inventory level at the end of May]

    Thanks for the chart FTX.

    I have to agree there is nothing here to suggest the worry is over. Next weeks numbers will definitely put this in perspective - postive or negative.

    With demand growing, imports will become critical if utilization doesn't spool up quickly.

    At this point, it looks like the entire summer will be within a couple days of minimum operating levels (MOL), unless a significant price spike reduces demand growth.

    Production + imports = 9.26 + 1.61 = 10.87 mbpd
    Demand = 9.48 mbpd
    Inventory build = 10.87 - 9.48 = 1.39 mbpd * 7 days = 9.73mb

    Reported build = 198.0 - 196.7 = 1.3mb

    Obviously I'm missing something, here. Can somebody tell me what?

    I think blending components have been double-dipped. That is, they are counted as imports, and again as production.

    So blending components would be:

    9.73 mb - 1.3 mb = 8.43 mb / 7 days = 1.2 mbpd

    1.2 mbpd out of 1.61 mbpd of imports. That makes some sense, since we have so many unique blends to supply. It would make sense to do it here in the states, rather than try to create the appropriate blend in Europe and fill a tanker and try to get it to the right port at the right time.

    I don't suppose ethanol is part of this creative accounting scheme? Is the ethanol blended into gasoline part of the production figure (I imagine it would have to be)? But it does not show up as a feedstock in the weekly report? Or is it folded into domestic crude production?

    1.2 mpbd / 9.26 mbpd = 13% of production is simply blending imported components? Does that factor into refinery utilization in any meaningful way? Do I get the same utilization figure if part of my crude to gasoline production line is down, but I am blending a lot of imported components? If I have everything up and running and am still doing a lot of blending, am I at over 100% utilization?

    If ethanol blends are reported by volume as gasoline production, would that help to explain why gasoline demand (mbpd) is increasing in the face of higher prices? Driving the same vehicles the same number of miles would require more gallons of ethanol blend since the miles per gallon is reduced. If they all get folded together in the weekly report, that would be more fuel consumption for the same consumer activity level.

    Agree it has to have an effect. I think we figured that .6 eff. times 4 percent of the market means an extra 1.6 percent total fuel burned for the same miles. (less bang more buck)

    The other thing is this means around 7 million barrels not in the pipeline system. (a little OT but would affect the MOL hence the cost and ease of transport) Industry folks noted this in the API conference call at Dryki's prompting.

    I clearly misread this post...so I better shut my trap.

    FTX, e-mail me if you would about this chart. Address is in my profile. Cheers, RR

    Here's the weekly U.S. natural gas storage report summary:

    Working gas in storage was 2,053 Bcf as of Friday, May 25, 2007, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 107 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 179 Bcf less than last year at this time and 355 Bcf above the 5-year average of 1,698 Bcf.

    Check it out:

    HIGH GASOLINE PRICES Part 1: Immediate Causes

    I owed them an article, as I had been promising them something for a while. I will publish over here in a few days. It is a complement to Stuart's recent essay on gas prices.

    That is a very nice summary. In fact, that was one of the easiest to read explanations of the current gas price situation that I have read. I have bookmarked it so that I can forward it on to those who think that we are being gouged.

    Very well written.

    Is the story of ‘massive untapped oil reserves’ fact or fictions?

    The Province of Anbar is Iraq’s largest, occupying 31.1 percent of Iraq’s area of 434,934 square kilometers. The province, the scourge of U.S. invasion troops, is inhabited by 1.3 million people and more than 95 percent of its land is barren desert.

    Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) carried out seismic surveys of the province and dug numerous oil wells between 1955 and 1961. The National oil Company made its own surveys which continued for over two decades and only came to a halt after the imposition of punitive U.N. trade sanctions in 1990.

    During the same period major oil firms like ExxonMobil, Japex (Japan Petroleum Exploration), Ascom, Petronas and Repsol made extensive surveys through joint agreements signed with the Ministry of Oil.

    The reports of all these surveys, which are part of the Oil Ministry’s archives, were discouraging and could not come up with categorical results that the western desert, that is the area falling within the provincial borders of Anbar, holds substantial oil or gas reserves.

    That conclusion was substantiated by an article in MEES, the authoritative Middle East Economic Survey, in a report about the results of 2004 surveys by American geological groups which said the area’s oil reserves run between half a billion and one billion and a half of proven reserves.

    Brushing all these findings aside, the U.S. energy analysts I.H.S., for reasons yet to be uncovered, reveals surprising and shocking figures of estimates totaling 100 billion barrels.

    Who are we to believe? Is it logical and sane to doubt the surveys by IPC, the National Oil Company, giant foreign oil firms and recent surveys by U.S. groups and believe the I.H.S? I.H.S. report smacks of politicization. It was written and made public with the aim of pacifying the violent and restive province by telling its rebellious population it is better for them to lay down their arms and make use of their oil riches under the new oil law and federal system.

    Life post peak? Naw, just a day in the jungle. It's a little long, OT, but just amazing to watch:


    Hello Doug Fir,

    Great video, thxs--don't you just love how closely linked the blowback loops are around water in Nature?

    water buffalos, lions, crocs...OR....

    Californians, Arizonans, Nevadans once there is insufficient water in the Southwest?

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

    To me, it became tense to watch, because it was real and I knew there could be any ending-a Hollywood, or a Nature channel if you will, either way. Much like us. I guess you noticed the background-all is dry save 2 feet from the water. Interestingly, I found the video embedded on a Financial News site.

    You have to marvel at the calf-I watched coyotes get into our sheep-a group of rams yet- last winter and in less than 50 seconds, one was dead.

    A son just took a job in Bakersfield-sorta near you I believe-I told him the river there was operated like a faucet-and rarely open.

    Hello Doug Fir,

    Thxs for responding. To early to tell, but the SE US appears to be in a tight horserace with the SW US in terms of drought.

    Lake Okeechobee at record low:
    National Drought map:
    Arizona Drought:
    Tucson rings drought alarm while Phoenix avoids drastic steps

    Ray Quay -- an assistant director of the Phoenix Water Services Department -- says his office is telling everyone it's time to prepare for a drought.

    He adds that there's a possibility that the drought could continue for 20 years or more, and there could be a day to ask customers to reduce consumption.

    Duh! Ya think? In the meantime, my Asphalt Wonderland's golf courses, lawns, homeowner pools, water fountains, and car washes are wasting water like there is no tomorrow.

    BE SURE TO SEE these historical drought maps:


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

    Given the drought situation last year vs this year (TX,WY, Parts of MT drought to ok this year),what it seems is more like a rolling drought.

    US drought maps one fourth down page, for 5-26-07

    Rolling droughts, rolling blackouts, nature takes a page from power companies, or vice versa?

    The theme fron "Rawhide" may be the perfect theme song for the coming peak everything.

    rolling, rolling, rolling...

    Mose in Midland

    Great song! Brother plays it flatpick, stepped up a beat, lotta fun.

    Bottom of page audio download

    "All them things I'm missing....are waiting at the end of my ride"

    Hello Doug Fir,

    Yep, weather and/or climate volativity can really yank us around. Recall farmers like Airdale and others' comments where the timing of rain can be the difference between a bumper crop or disaster.

    Wild & Crazy Speculation ahead!

    Obviously I am no expert, but when the South America to Antarctica land bridge was breached by the ocean-- it allowed the Circumpolar Current to start, thus starting the South Pole deepfreze.

    In 1883 it was realised there was a tidal range of 20 feet at the Pacific, whereas, the Atlantic range was only about 1 foot. It was concluded that this difference in levels would be a danger to navigation. It was proposed that a tidal lock should be constructed at Panama to preserve the level from there to Colon. This plan would save about 10 million cubic metres of excavation.

    If we were to totally breach and widen the Panama Canal-- could the massive flows from Pacific to Atlantic setup an Global CircumEquatorial Current than would moderate the weather and/or climate warming volativity? Could it prevent the gigatons of potential methane clathrate release and eventual Oceanic Anoxia? Could it even reverse Global Warming, then start a rebuild of the Northern Ice Cap, and create a more ideal climate regime? If the planet starts getting TOO COLD--could we just refill the Panama Canal or build a huge dam?

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

    This is an article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution today on the farms in Georgia. Crops are not looking good, both because of the freeze this spring and the drought. A quote:

    As of last week, only 41 percent of projected cotton acres had been planted, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Only one-third of the planned peanut crop is in the ground.

    "We've had a few acres of peanuts planted, a few acres of corn, but I don't know of any cotton that's been planted," said Danny Stanaland, the Bacon County extension agent. "None of the peanuts are up. The corn is twisted knee-high and burning [in the sun]. People are having to sell their cows because they don't have hay to feed them. It's not a pretty picture for South Georgia.

    Is U.S. culture toxic?

    There has been some interesting work done on why Americans suffer such high rates of depression and other mental disorders. I found this article interesting, because it's about studies of immigrants to the U.S. If we were genetically prone to mental illness, then immigrants should be immune. But they are not, which suggests it's American culture that is the problem.

    Wealth, once basic needs are provided for, does not make you happier...but can it also make you depressed? Some studies have suggested that the answer is yes. Basically, the more you have, the more it takes to make you happy. Winning a million dollars in the lottery would make me very happy (if only temporarily), but I doubt it would affect Bill Gates' mood much.

    There's also Barry Schwartz's work on The Paradox of Choice. You would think more choice = more happiness. But he found that the opposite is true. Having a little choice might make you happier, but having a lot of choice creates stress and unhappiness. Beautiful people who have their pick of mates are less happy in their marriages than average or unattractive people who have less choice. Companies that offer three 401(k) funds get higher participation and more employee satsifaction than companies that offer 20. Honor students who got their dream job are less happy than average or below average students who had to settle for whatever job they could get.

    Why? Basically, because more choice equals more responsibility. If you had your pick of jobs or mates or houses or cars, then you blame yourself if anything goes wrong. People who have less choice tend not to blame themselves. They also find it a lot easier to make the choice in the first place, since the options are limited.

    Anyway, it's pretty ironic. Mexican immigrants struggle so mightily to come to the U.S. and experience the American dream. They do succeed in becoming wealthier...but they end up less happy than those who stayed at home.

    Anyway, it's pretty ironic. Mexican immigrants struggle so mightily to come to the U.S. and experience the American dream. They do succeed in becoming wealthier...but they end up less happy than those who stayed at home.

    You are onto something!

    Here is a simple formula for happiness :

    Happiness = Achievement / Expectation

    By "achievement", I mean the generally regarded consumerist trappings of success, social standing etc, as opposed to spiritual enlightenment. This is "Consumer Happiness".

    Generally, the more you have, the better you feel. But, the more you expect to achieve, the less happy you are. In the West we are constantly bombarded with messages to buy more stuff, with the deliberate implication that having more stuff = successful person.

    Perhaps increasing wealth makes you hanker even more for things you can't afford. Certainly, in the USA not only is there a perception of increased opportunity, there is an expectation to succeed. Given a free opportunity, if you don't succeed it must be something wrong with you. The American Dream is actually a cruel myth; social mobility is among the lowest among developed nations.

    More choice means more things to have; there are more things you don't have and yet to achieve.

    Acheivement is a dead end game, the race to acquire more stuff is never ending, and usally at someone elses expense. Instead, lower your expectations. I don't need 2 cars, a big house, a big TV etc... that is "Iron Triangle" brainwashing.

    But better still, just don't play the game. Redefine Achievement in terms of personal development:

    True happiness = Personal development

    Happiness = Achievement / Expectation

    Since for me Expectation = zero, my Happiness should be infinite.

    Seems to me, Doomers are setting themselves (OK, ourselves) up for a lot of happiness. If I'm still alive in twenty years with food and a roof over my head I'll be a very happy man!

    I think I must have broke the formula because being a doomer does not make me happy.

    Tom A-B

    Tanderson, research indicates that material satisfaction is relative; that is, if everyone is poor they are all roughly equally satisfied. In the US, advertising and a fascination with the rich and famous results in people feeling inadequate and somehow shortchanged by comparison. So they get on the stressful debt treadmill trying to "keep up with the Joneses".

    If we doomers guess right in our preparations, we will indeed feel relative satisfaction, gratitude, and self-esteem in 20 years.

    However, those who won't listen now and can't bother to prepare will label those who did "hoarders" and try to foment a social consensus for confiscation. So I recommend keeping a low profile when TSHTF.

    Errol in Miami

    Regarding the prevalence of depression in the United States, I don't think that the fact that immigrants are subject to higher rates than in their old country necessarily says anything about culture. I think it just as likely says something about American food.

    The food in this country now days is very heavy on Omega 6 fatty acids, and very light on Omega 3 fatty acids. Research has shown that the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids is important in many mental disorders, including depression. Thus, we need to keep down the amount of Omega 6 fatty acids we eat, and raise the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids.

    The fatty acid mix in the United States has shifted over the years, for several reasons:

    1. Food processors discovered a long time ago (1970s?) that foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids require refrigeration, and so removed them/used other types of oils in processed foods.

    2. Meat which is from animals which are grass fed contains a moderate level of Omega-3 fatty acids. Meat from grain fed cattle has more Omega-6 fatty acids. The meat industry discovered that cows fatten up much more quickly when fed grain than grass, so our meat is not mostly from grain-fed cows.

    3. Americans do not each much fish. Fish tends to be high in Omega 3 fatty acids. One issue of concern to many is the possibility of mercury poisoning in many fish - also the declining wild supply.

    4. One of the biggest problems in the Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio is the large amount of vegetable oil and salad oil we are now consuming. Prior to the 1970s, we ate a lot of saturated fat, and about the 1970s, we were told that vegetable oils would be much better. In fact, most of it is very high in Omega 6 fatty acids. Olive oil is fine - it has neither Omega 3 nor Omega 6 fatty acids. Canola is OK, if it is refrigerated after opening. Soybean oil, corn oil, and most of the rest are terrible. (Soybean has a little Omega 3, but the ratio to Omega 6 is too low, so it should be avoided).

    This issue is well understood in many other countries, but here the government has decided to ignore the issue. Big business rules. "Under-developed countries" don't eat these kinds of foods.

    I would recommend:

    1. Eat fish oil pills.
    2. Use olive oil on salads.
    3. Refrigerate canola oil as soon as it is opened.
    4. Try to keep other liquid oils and margarine to a minimum.
    5. Ground flax seed (keep refrigerated) is a good source of Omega 3s also.

    Sorry if I sound like I am on a soap box on this issue - I think that this is an important issue that the press and the government generally ignore.

    If I didn't put a big bunch of ground flax in my porridge I think I would find this a very depressing site. :>( and if I, as well, ate the usual diet that includes massive salt inputs I would still have high blood pressure to go with that depression. (Seriously anyone with high BP should take a real close look at everything that contains sodium including the Na in other forms than sodium cloride, including things like baking powder, look at anything sodium that goes into the old cake hole. (Speaking of cake we get to sugar and yada yada etc.)

    Big eating mistake leaving the trees.

    It sounds like you're reading Sally Fallon or Weston Price. We're reading a lot about oils and the excess of Veg. Oils in the modern, industrialized diet. Until I hear a better argument, it means I get to cook my eggs in bacon fat again, woo hoo!


    "Hypertension (high blood pressure) is known to result from improperly functioning kidneys. Research carried out during the last few years indicates that both saturated fat and cholesterol play important roles in maintaining kidney function, as do the omega-3 fatty acids.

    The kidneys need stable fats both for their cushioning and as their energy source. We know that the kidney fat normally has a higher concentration of the important saturated fatty acids than are found in any of the other fat depots. These saturated fatty acids are myristic acid (the 14-carbon saturate), palmitic acid (the 16-carbon saturate), and stearic acid (the 18-carbon saturate). When we consume various polyunsaturated fatty acids in large amounts, they are incorporated into kidney tissues, usually at the expense of oleic acid, because the normal high level of saturated fatty acids in the kidney fat does not change.1 "

    Great points about fish oil. I would also strongly encourage getting a high-quality liquid fish oil of pharmaceutical grade. Sears Labs sells one (no affiliation) in which every batch is independently tested and reported. There is virtually no mercury, PCPs, etc. (It cost about $60 for an 8-oz bottle which lasts between 4-6 weeks. I have recommended this to so many people over the years with amazing results. Most people notice a marked improvement in their blood levels with lower cholesterol and higher LDLs. When I had my blood work done, my doctor said it was close to an olympic athlete, and believe me, I'm no athlete. (Although, if I spent as much time working out as reading and preparing for peak oil, I might be!)

    'If we were genetically prone to mental illness....'

    Actually, according to someone I knew who was involved in DNA testing in Germany a few years ago, there is no 'American' genetic framework. That is, you could pretty much use simple samples when knowing the nationality (German, French, etc.), but that approach was worthless when dealing with Americans.

    A bit dated observation (DNA testing has advanced tremendously), but there is not really an 'American' genetic framework by any reasonable definition of the term used by people who actually did testing (and yes, this was somewhat relevant - a lot of Americans live near Heidelberg, and some of the testing had a legal background).

    Hello Expat,

    'If we were genetically prone to mental illness....'

    Actually, most lifeforms, including us humans, are genetically programmed to freak out at the worst possible time: Hans Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome [GAS]


    Hope this makes everyone become a preventer of the fast-crash scenario before it is too late. Please TODers: continue your best efforts at Peakoil Outreach to help optimize the Bottleneck Squeeze.

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

    You're right, of course - we all share much more as homo sapiens than what we often think of as differences.

    I'm glad to see this written in the US by an American. Europeans tend to get this if you explain it to them (i.e., I am asked to explain all the time why, when I say I probably won't come back to the US to stay). When I try to explain this where I am visiting (Princeton) it is met with incredulity. Like, why am I so anti American all of a sudden. I was not as eloquent as you, but still, this may be something people either "get" or they don't.

    Economic growth is not all good, and in Germany the abuses (in a country with no legislated minimum wage -- with decent unions it was never necessary before) with starvation wages are only really getting going now that there is some overall growth. More growth and more immigration... just what we need.

    Gasoline was 1,35 EUR/liter (95 octane unleaded) when I left (20 May). Don't know about now.

    I find the charge of 'anti-Americanism' one of the most interesting things in terms of merely pointing out facts - like the fact that many Americans spend a couple of hours a day in a car - from small children on.

    Or how little free time Americans have - as free time can be considered the very base of freedom.

    Fracturing remains my personal guess of what the future holds for American society - what happens after that is impossible to predict.

    I find the charge of 'anti-Americanism' one of the most interesting things in terms of merely pointing out facts

    That is very true and, to connect with Leanan's posts just above, reflects a social mentality which is very out of balance. Shrill, desperate. Other than what one would expect, were the level of self-confidence in the US consistent with the level of bravado with which the "way of life" is often expressed.

    Fracturing remains my personal guess of what the future holds for American society

    I would say that process is already well underway.

    It remains amazing to me, to consider the level of paranoia over the price of which is very dirt-cheap gasoline. Comment on that CNN show I mentioned was that people couldn't live with seven or eight dollar gasoline in this country... Mr Beck said while trying to get people to imagine that.

    We've had gasoline that expensive in Germany for several months now. Nevertheless, demand for larger and/or very powerful cars continues essentially unabated. The number of cheap supermarkets just outside the borders of villages increases. At least where I live the bus coverage improved last Winter.

    That's the difference between the giant monster cars our grandparents drove and the giant monster SUVs we drive. A '59 Cadillac with 42 inch tailfins is a quintessential statement of optimism. Whereas the French marketing psychologist who worked with Ford US in its development of SUVs told the firm, "If you put a gun on top it would sell better."

    I think the average SUV buyer is a lot like the typical Oil Drum reader.

    Each in his own way is preparing for the apocalypse. SUV buyers are of course deluded, but they feel the threat, and they are doing what their culture tells them to do in the face of a threat... buy a military off road vehicle, gird themselves for war.

    Lots of folks here seem to be preparing for the marauding hoards too. Maybe they've figured out that there won't be any gas around, but the defensive mentality is the same as the SUV owner.

    Contrast that with the rocket ship iconography of the 1950s... which might have embodied some high tech optimism. But the original Cadillac fins were borrowed from the p-38 fighter plane. Those cars too had a military sense. You too could be a glorious fighter pilot, an American dominator of the Japanese and other foreigners, you too could partake in a military defense/aggression fantasy just by buying a car. So I'm not sure that the aggressive military iconography has ever really been absent from the car culture.

    Be that as it may, the SUV is highly convergent in attitude with the doomer mentality, but built on a mistaken set of assumptions about what equipment will be helpful when the SHTF.

    The real futurist and optimists are the permaculturists and the solar/wind crowd, and the bicyclists. Those are your optimists. Or your techno solutions folks of any stripe.

    The peak oil doomers/gun hoarders/"let's move to New Zealand" crowd seem hardly different from the SUV buyers, except that the peak oil doomers have evaluated the mechanics and details of civilizational collapse at little more carefully. Still at root, they are both buying into the same coming disaster, the same limbic fear system, the same visceral imagery. (Some days I'm with them, believe me... but most days not.)

    Peace dude.

    Shrill and desperate pretty much sums it up. A lot of people - perhaps a large majority at this point - are dependent on everyone else acting in the same insane fashion.

    There are a lot of ways to see this from the outside. A tiny example - generally, Germans don't trust credit, since they tend to have a certain basic mathematical education. (Which isn't the same noting that a number of Germans use credit to appear more wealthy in public - people are pretty much the same everywhere.) More than that, Germans feel that cash is real, while credit is illusory - borrowing from the future to pay for the present seems dumber than saving so as to be able to meet future needs from the past.

    But the more I read housing bubble stories, the more inescapable the truth that access to credit is considered a critical measure of worth in American society. Not actually owning something, not actually saving - but just the access to credit. Paying with cash is considered a burden, a sign of extremely low status.

    Stunning - still something very hard to grasp.

    SUV'S war. YEP, when the admin went off to Afghanistan and war the populace in their minds see's the SUV as their war wagon. HUMMERS sold like crazy. A military vehicle for the citizen to show how warlike they were (in their own minds). If they terrorize us, I will be safe in my extra large home and extra large vehicle. Size equals power (in their own minds).

    SUV's and HUMMERS the American way to show your patriotism and that you're a "warrior" (in their own minds).

    wonder if tavis.. tock research had any part in the selling of those vehicles. ... what advertisements have hidden "signals" to influence the viewer, nooo, no. not the all so smart American.

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    My weekly column

    There's some CERA criticism, that's always fun —

    On the Likelihood of Peak Oil



    Unrelated Photo Op!

    Dualing Narcissists

    If I had their money, I'ld be smiling like that too.

    Story posted above: Air car ready for mass production

    "The CityCat model will clock out at 68 mph with a driving range of 125 miles."

    Many people will have experience of air tools (and scuba diving). There are lots of companies able to supply you with air motors and they give charts showing how much compressed air (stored at 2000 PSI?) is required.

    If you do the math I think you will find that this is yet another load of bollocks. Also, like a lot of so called 'alternatives' the failure mode hasn't been considered.

    In the UK it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident ... if you cause the slightest split in the air tank of one of these I think it might leave the scene in a quite spectacular manner!


    Anyone that has taken a scuba diving class understands what will happen if that tank at pressure was tipped over and the valve broke off. A rocket.

    Actually I took mine back in the seventies and the classes these days aren't as complex as they used to be. Technology takes the place of understanding.

    I was shocked when they don't teach buddy breathing anymore. "don't worry the other guys has a spare". uh uh

    First rule never leave a tank upright without a hand or other device to keep it from falling over.

    They don't care though, as long as they can drive something, its all cool,


    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    But what fun you could have customizing your exhaust system. possibilities:

  • kazoo
  • bagpipes
  • whoopee cushion
  • ...
  • "If you do the math I think you will find that this is yet another load of bollocks."

    I though pretty much the same thing. I want to see an independent test of how many kWh it takes to fill the tank and the real range at a steady 50 or 80 km/h.

    Me too. But consider that the expanding air from the system will be very cold - a possible replacement for the air conditioner, the toughest accessory to put on an electric car.

    My battery research convinced me that with lightweight construction, a battery performance of 40+ watt-hours/lb at a cost of under 30 cents per watt-hour would be a real breakthrough. So those are the numbers I'd look for on air storage.

    I am also concerned about the noise of the compressor.

    Biofuels - I just don't get it

    I don't pretend to be as smart as many of the people on here really are... so when I sit around twiddling my thumbs and playing with numbers I feel the need for a sanity check...

    Using round figures (like 25 hours per day not 24 - that sort of rounding):

    - we use 10million barrels of oil per day in the US
    - i hear that a barrel of oil contains energy equivalent of about 25,000 person-hours of labour
    - that is about 250billion hours of labour equivalent, right?
    - that's about 10billion hours per hour of the day
    - so just for being alive Americans get about (10MMM/300MM) 33 hours of labour done for them by oil... factor in that oil is 30-40 percent of total energy so we are talking about 100 hours of labour done per hour of eating breathing and sleeping by an American

    I started this out just looking at working people - 3billion barrels a year, 25,000 person hours per barrel, 100 million people in workforce, 2000 hours per year worked = 375 hours of labour done by oil per hour worked by an American

    Now, the exact amount doesn't matter... point is we have a planet stressed by the fact that the plant matter we grow is not supporting the population already - certainly not once the fossil fuel inputs disappear. So just to get the man-hours of work we get out of the world today through turning biomass into food we are stressing the planet. How do we get 100x the amount of energy out of the same amount of biomass?

    What sort of cockamamy scheme, what sort of nonsense numbers are the biofuels people living with?

    Now, I have probably got some of the numbers wrong - but surely I am in the right ballpark in terms of order of magnitude.

    The arguments all seem to run:

    - the rest of the world consumes less than Americans
    - not all the biomass in the world goes to food now
    - high-tech growing allows growth in places not viable for food growing

    I just don't get how you can factor down things in so many areas so many ways to get this down to a workable solution in anyone's fantasy.

    I know most people here don't buy into the biofuel craze, but I also know people here like to have robust arguments and smash down sloppy thinking even if it purports to share the same conclusions (as weak arguments undermine an otherwise strong case). So tell me - am I wrong or is this pretty much the picture we are being sold?

    When no-one around you understands
    start your own revolution
    and cut out the middle man

    You are right, biofuels are not "THE ANSWER" that ise going to allow us to continue growing upwards into automotive nirvana.

    There are small-scale appropriate technology applications involving biofuels that make a good deal of sense as solutions to specific, small-scale problems. Farm-produced biodiesel can make it possible to keep agricultural equipment running, for example. Locally-produced ethanol can make it possible to keep local public service vehicles running, for another example. But for the most part society is going to have to restructure itself so that people don't need to get around so much, and to the extent that they do, they can do so under human power (walking or bicycle) or with something that makes more sense than biofuels.

    The big push for ethanol is all about politicians desparate to come up with something, ANYTHING, to supply at the gasoline pumps, irregardless of economic sense. It is just denying reality, putting off the inevitable, and making a bad situation worse -- what the federal government does best, after all!

    That all seems to make sense to me, what you say here. I can see it as a way to fuel farming machinery - a bit like growing extra crops to feed the carthorse.

    I still see a crash happening... because nothing can keep things going as they are and the global economic system is already precarious. A crash will cause a big die-off, IMHO, as it will lead to food not getting to where people are, among other things.

    But in a post crash scenario I can see what you are saying. For those of us trying to group together and build the lifeboats then it is still worth looking at that biodiesel machinery for the farm, and an Ethanol fueled ambulance.

    When no-one around you understands
    start your own revolution
    and cut out the middle man

    Read William Catton's Overshoot for a pretty clear picture of 'the human predicament'. You are absolutely right, we are living on scads more energy than current photosynthetic production. Catton calls it ghost or phantom acreage from the past. When it fails, so do we.

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

    And it's impressive, again, deserving of much more attention than it gets normally. So as a thank you for Stoneleigh's Drumbeat efforts this week, thought I'd do a summary. Go check it.

    Major Loss Of Gas Reserves Seen If ExxonMobil Scraps Pipeline
    Tillerson says: Give me your wallet or else.
    Mackenzie Valley pipeline project not dead: Imperial
    Just needs taxpayers’ money, that’s all.
    Canada lacks integrated energy policy
    And the US like it that way.
    No easy answers for looming power crisis
    Big Oil a good investment? Throughput’s the magic word. Flow. Cash flow.
    North America cooperates on efficiency
    SPP for a good cause. Right.
    Partnership courts Gazprom for Quebec LNG plant
    Putin puts his leash around New England throats. Sit, Fido. Roll over. Good dog.
    Selling Canada by the cubic foot
    Why does an “energy superpower” need to import Russian gas? Can you spell NAFTA?
    Avoid using taxpayer dollars for Alberta CO(2) pipeline; project currently uneconomic and not needed
    Right-wing think tank has enough of public money?!
    Enbridge pipeline costs swell
    All pipelines are estimated at 10% of true cost, it seems.
    The peak oil crisis: Preparing for depletion
    Whipple gets stuck in his subject a little.
    Alberta finance minister feeling nervous about energy royalty review
    He just hopes the truth can wait till he’s gone.
    Cheaper form of ethanol on the way
    Cellulosic professor forgets to explain his process. Too busy talking money?!
    Hot granite and steam could clean up oil sands
    Alberta wil try anything by now.
    Study shows hundreds of dead birds, bats at wind turbines
    Yeah, they do kill... Sorry...
    Helicopter Ben's Co-Pilot
    Chinese want to be my friend. Or so they say.
    I Knew It Was Bad, But...
    How trillions in derivatives losses remain hidden. Don’t look, don’t tell.
    Derivatives, Derivatives, Derivatives - everything is fine until...
    Total amount of over-the-counter contracts rose 39.5 percent to $415 trillion,
    Project Turquoise is Goldman's scheme to put markets in the dark
    Bankers’ next investment scheme requires secrecy.
    The Bank of Canada Sounds Hawkish Again!
    Let’s all go buy homes. What could possibly go wrong?
    An ATM That's Out of Money
    A grinding halt.
    Canada can do more to go green: Schwarzenegger
    Schwarzenegger: research and technology "the saviour of everything,"
    Dwindling of Rare Metals Imperils Innovation
    No synthetic replacement can be developed.
    The Perils of Pushing Atomic Energy as the Climate Change Panacea
    Critics regard the nuclear hype as over-simplistic optimism fueled by an industry in distress.
    Tropical storms 'distribute ocean's heat'
    15% of earth heat swept about by storms
    Models underestimate global warming impacts
    No, not Kate Moss. Climate models predictions are off.
    Fossil fuel damage will last thousands of years
    Much of the carbon emissions would persist in the atmosphere more than 5,000 years
    Report shows challenge of food production
    British Columbia needs to grow food or stop growing.
    World's great apes face disaster, says Leakey
    Climate change and biofuels spell the end of our closest family.
    A National Water Crisis Is on the Verge of Gushing
    US drinking water crisis right around the corner. Drink beer.
    Is the story of massive untapped oil reserves fact or fictions?
    Iraq discoveries a political lie.
    Where anti-Arab prejudice and oil make the difference
    4 million dead in DRC, We do that. Yes, you.

    I just noticed a series of discussions in Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo about petropolitics:

    I've gotten a number of responses from TPM Readers to my earlier post arguing that the only credible understanding of the guiding aim of the Iraq adventure -- at this point, with all we've learned -- is long-term domination of strategy natural resources. Or to put it more bluntly, to control the oil.

    A few readers say this is too sour an assumption. TPM Reader BH, after outlining a democratizing theory, says ...

    If you view the situation through the lens of neo-conservative foreign policy, it becomes clear that ensuring the successful installation of a functioning democracy in Iraq -- which will theoretically spark democratic revolutions across the Middle East, all benefitting the U.S. indirectly -- is the Bush administration's likely justification for maintaining a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq. At present, your logic seems to be: There are only two possible purposes of maintain a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq: nefarious (i.e., securing the world's oil supply), and virtuous (i.e., ensuring democracy for Iraq). Bush is nefarious. Therefore, the purpose of Bush's desire to maintain a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq is to secure the world's oil supply.

    I don't find any of this persuasive. In fact, I find the whole bit of reasoning needlessly over-determined. I myself wrote a long article just before the war started, explaining how the grand neo-con plan was to institute an outward unfolding cycle of democratizing and chaos in the region that would ultimately topple almost all the governments in the region.

    So is it about democracy after all? Of course, it is. But approaching the matter at this level of soft and vague generality is meaningless. If you're out to control a country, its territory or its resources, of course having the country be stable, respectable and democratic is a great thing. There are always these great tag lines that we want an Iraq that is democratic, is allied to the US in our various endeavors, doesn't threaten its neighbors, fights with us in the war on terror, etc. If nothing else, even the most cynical and militaristic of Americans -- the Dick Cheney type -- wants democracies so long as they are pliant and generate the right policies. But this is only the idealism of laziness, a fuzzy coating for real aims that sometimes the deeply cynical even half believe.

    But given the particularities of the situation, the permanent occupation of Iraq simply isn't compatible with the aim of democratizing the country. It's just something that would be nice. And wouldn't it? Look at their words and their actions and you see that what the people in the White House mean by 'democratization' is to keep our troops in the country long enough that they start ordering their affairs peaceably and through orderly processes and decide through those processes that they want us to stay and continue using the country as a base for US power in the region. It's a grand have your cake and eat it too.

    Is it all to get hold of the oil? I don't think large groups of people are often able to sustain such crude goals, at least not that baldly stated, even to themselves. But that's the heart of it. Bundled up in their own shallow and lazy thinking, the main actors' idea was that we can take this region where a lot of people really don't seem to like us much and if we just sit on them long enough we can get them to like us, because that's what happened in Germany and Japan, right?

    -- Josh Marshall

    Another TPM Reader chimes in on our running debate ...

    Of course oil is the motive, not just oil in iraq but in iran and saudi and kuwait. democracy is the sales pitch; it's not much of one since there's no intent to have democracy in saudi or kuwait but it's the sale pitch. some salesmen believe such pitches. but what follows is a national commitment to dependence on oil and a refusal to reengineer energy to stop global warming. this is perhaps in the long run the single worst aspect of the whole mad crazy cruel plan.

    The election of 08 is really about this plan versus some alternative. Hillary unfortunately is pretty much aligned with the bush plan, although she doesnt want to say so. she would not withdraw all the troops and would stay in the region forever.

    This really is the big picture. I broach it in today's episode of TPMtv, which will be coming up later this morning. And I'm hoping we'll be able to get into it more in next week's episodes. We're fast approaching the time when the time required to organize an orderly departure from Iraq is longer than the time left in the Bush presidency. I'm not saying we let the dying continue in January 2009 and not try to do anything about it. I'm just trying to focus on the fact that as we try to end the president's disastrous policies now with the very blunt implements of congressional power we need to also be thinking of a broader strategy for what comes after Bush. Because getting out of Iraq is only one part of the puzzle, in some ways not even that big a part. We can't get back to where we were before the invasion. A whole series of dynamics have been let loose that can't be bottled back up just by getting out. Troop deployment in Iraq, combatting terrorism, the organization of our economy are all part of one puzzle. And the reader's right. That's the puzzle that's on the table in 2008. So who's talking about it? Who's addressing the issue at that level?

    -- Josh Marshall

    TPM Reader DM chimes in ...

    I think saying that our current adventures are all about the oil is only half right. I think that it’s more about political economy broadly speaking, with oil being a necessary factor in the case of the Middle East. Since the dawn of neoliberalism in the 1970s and its takeoff as a grand strategy in the 1980s, a key ideological aim of American policy makers from the Reagan administration through the Clinton administration and up to Bush II has been fostering neoliberal economic policies around the globe: freer trade, rule by law (necessary for the predictability in rules that transnational firms seek), an animus against price fixing, privatization, and anti-import substitution. If a nation or region has had any real potential as trade partner, consumer, and exporter of goods, the US has pushed neoliberal policies on them. Sometimes they have succeeded and sometimes they haven’t. And when the US has succeeded in causing policy changes, the results have been very mixed. The bottom line, though, is that neoliberalism – which is of course amenable to democracy – drives much of American foreign policy.

    At any rate, when you look at the Middle East in 2001 (and now, frankly), you see the following: an economically important region whose lone key export industry is run by a cartel of states, not private firms. There is also very little rule of law in the economic sense, and price fixing has long been the order of the day. And a cartel of state-operated industries engaged in rampant price fixing goes against most of the core classical tenets of free trade.

    When you look back to the 1990s, the neoliberal agenda acquired the veneer of common sense in the US among both liberals and conservatives. And you could see it pushed everywhere from Eastern Europe to Latin America to South Asia to parts of East Asia (particularly after the 1998 crash). It never penetrated the Middle East, however, despite the fact that unlike Africa (the other region beyond the pale when it came to neoliberal theory), it was economically very important.

    So yeah, it’s about oil, but it’s about a much bigger thing as well: fostering a proverbial new world order of democratic capitalism based on neoliberal principles. The vision is hostile to socialism in all its guises, the corporatism that emerged in the interwar years, and to a lesser extent Keynesianism (because it’s harder to attack – Keynesianism’s intellectual and policy hold has remained powerful). Outside of economically unimportant states like Cuba and a host of African countries, Middle Eastern states are the last unreconstructed holdouts to this bold new era. The oil has allowed them to do this, but despite their oil wealth, they are by and large poor countries which outside of oil exports are very poorly integrated into the current global economic system. We want that to change.

    Venezuela seems to be going in this direction now too, and our beef with them is about the same set of issues – state control, price fixing, reversing privatization, etc.

    Even China has come around a bit, and while the US continues to complain about their economic p/olicies, they’re too big for us to tackle.

    This is all true, to an important extent. But let's add on a few more issues. In one sense what we are talking about here is simply US-backed globalization based on neo-liberal economic principles. This is a story we're all familiar with. In a modified form at least it's an agenda I agree with. And part of this broad meta-discussion is the role of US hard power in providing the undergirding of a neoliberal world economic order -- much as pre-WWI free trade era was an ideological and economic construct made possible by the dominance of the British Navy.

    Okay, so set all that to one side. And let's get at another part of the question.

    I think the perceived need to exercise de facto physical control over these oil resources points to a different goal, a different perception of the kind of world system we're trying to build and where we fit into it. It suggests that we no longer believe we will continue to have the sort of economic and political clout that will allow us to maintain our standards of living and power in the world. So we need to lock down physical control of the oil now with our military power -- the lagging indicator of national decline. In other words, we need to use it before we lose it. It's a very pessimistic vision. And a strategy that's really not panning out so well.

    -- Josh Marshall

    A good discussion. IMO, two points worth re-inforcing:

  • The promulgation of the so-called neo-liberal economic agenda began in earnest shortly after American oil production peaked in the early 1970s.
    • Success in Iraq is not dependent upon creation of a stable, democratic society, but merely on establishing a permanent, self-sustaining presence in the heart of the M.E. oil producing region.
      • I don't know, I'd say anyone who thinks that even 1% of the whole thing has to do with democracy should drink a gallon jug of dirt cheap moonshine and stand on his/her head for an hour. Not necessarily in that order. Maybe that helps.

        This democracy thing is a notion that is so pervasive and persuasive, people can't seem to feel safe if they can't hold on to at least some of it. No conversation about the invasion seems complete without it, no matter how critical. It's like always having to say God bless America. I'm more partial to Tiny Tim's God bless Everyone, myself.

        And I'm also quite sure those 700.000 dead Iraqi's don't feel blessed either by God or democracy. Which brings us back to the discussion above about good and evil: in whose name were all these people killed?

        Fly, I do think that -- nasty as they are -- there is a very real Pollyana quality to the PNAC\Neocon crowd. I *really* do think they're convinced that -- given the opportunity -- they can bring the heathen into the fold and teach them the infallibility of Western ideals. Recall that Richard Perle boasted that if they could pull this off (the "civilization" of the Middle East), that "our children will sing great songs about us." This speaks to me of an almost child-like provinicialism or parochialism of thought amongst this group of people. Read about the Straussians and their cult-like devotion to their godfather, Leo Strauss. This is a weird bunch of people. Little wonder that they were widely referred to in Washington as "the crazies" (actually, I think Colin P. was said to have referred to them as the "fu@king crazies.")

        What I think happened in Iraq can be boiled down to this: Various groups with somewhat different but overlapping interests -- the Neocons, the corporate interests (big oil + the Wall St banks dependent upon perpetual growth), the Christian right, the Israel lobby (which includes members of other previously named groups), the Pentagon -- all made common cause in order to pursue their separate agendas. When someone says "It's only about oil" -- ultimately, yes, that was "The Prize." Oil is the key. Without oil there is no New American Century, there is no Wall Street, there is no trillion dollar American war machine, there is no state of Israel, and -- without Israel -- there is no Second Coming.

        But it is also undeniably true that Saddam Hussein was a threat to Israel, that the invasion of Iraq was a golden opportunity for the Pentagon brass and the military-industrial complex to consolidate power, hand out some medals and line everybody's pockets with taxpayer dollars, and that it was an opportunity for the ideologues -- the PNAC/Neocon cabal -- to pursue their ivory-tower fantasy of bringing Aristotle to the unwashed masses of the Middle East.

        And GW Bush, IMHO, was the perfect front man for this fiasco: full of macho bluster and lacking the brains to think for himself.

        The first question that Bush and Cheney should be asked at their war crimes trial is what the hell do they mean by "democracy"? I'll bring the sodium pentathol and electrodes.

        How did we get so easily brainwashed into accepting that "democracy" equals capitalism, meaning a system where there are no limits to absolute wealth or its use to purchase political influence? The way we seem to define democracy is a society where the people, of their own freely sold will, approve post facto of the elites dredged up by market forces. Always approve. Never disapprove. Select millionaire A or millionaire B. You are finished selecting. Go home and consume.

        Well, no wonder we find the Arabs so alien. They don't seem to have given their very souls to their business classes. Instead, in the monarchies the rulers simply became the business class, but are respected as tribal chieftains, not as sacred entrepreneurs. Very bad. Nazi Germany and Fascist Japan, they had business elites. So when we beat them our occupation forces knew who to deal with to fix things. And normal citizens in those societies were already programmed to obey their private-sector bosses in all things. Vietnam, conversely, was a civil war against a propertied elite, so the obediance part was down the tubes. Our grip on post-Soviet Russia failed because Russians refused to accept the new business class as their sovereigns. In every example, Yankee intrusions could only function when there was a business class to regulate "democracy" for us.

        Does this mean that America will eventually lose control of every single country that refuses to obey a business class?

        FIRST thing to remember is that the UNITED STATES IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. They use this word to confuse the public. Oh they wish it was a democracy. Much easier to manipulate the agenda.

        the United States is a REBUBLIC, a democratic republic.

        Democracy basically means majority rules. That can lead to some bad blood. Ask the Greeks.


        How soon we forget and buy into "buzz words" meant to change your perspective.

        Thats exactly what "they" want. For you to not understand how your govt works, or should work and how it REALLY is set up. Notice how King George has proclaimed himself above the law and the other branches, that is a "democracy" POV, which they want you to believe is how it works.

        Quid Clarius Astris
        Ubi Bene ibi patria

        It's the "Liberty and Justice for all" I'm having a hard time seeing.

        The ending of the "Pledge of Allegiance" needs a modern set of disclaimers, like you find in various advertisements.

        "With liberty and justice for all. Some restrictions may apply, not available in all areas, please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery, void where prohibited, offer may be rescinded without notice."

        I say most only need to look in the mirror to understand why the liberty and justice for all is missing.

        Al Gore states that GW should not be impeached. (do I really have to list all the crimes against the constitution and your liberty and Justice.

        The media, congress, senate, and the courts ignores all of this. have you not noticed the "gold fringe" on certain US flags.

        The American people think liberty is watching the tv and justice is carried out just fine on all the tv shows each and every night. They don't see that the real liberty and justice they have given away for "safety" is a problem. Not as long as they can scoot on down to appleby's and have the newest burger and a cold drink. yep liberty and justice are thriving in the movies and tv, thats the american peoples NEW reality. spoon feed and manipulated to ignore real liberty and justice.

        I'm not going to go into why I don't fight for the average American anymore except share that A bullet hole and other "stuff" to stifle any such notions made it clear that liberty and justice, and free speech is no longer tolerated, and if you do, there will be consequences if you persist.

        from where I stand this country and other modern countries that claim they have citizen representive govts. are doomed unless a miracle occurs, and sooner than later.

        Quid Clarius Astris
        Ubi Bene ibi patria

        a society where the people, of their own freely sold will, approve post facto of the elites dredged up by market forces

        Who was it that said: "The Melting Pot: where those on the bottom get burnt and the scum rise to the top."

        How long can Japan keep this up? Nothing mentioned on inventories but this is a bit scary! Anyone have any inventory scoop on Japan? Implication is they could be getting a bit desperate for some oil

        Crude oil imports drop 14.1% in April

        5/31/2007 3:41:00 PM ET
        Japan Today

        TOKYO Japanese crude oil imports fell 14.1% in April from a year earlier to 112.97 million barrels for the 12th straight month of decline, the Natural Resources and Energy Agency said Thursday. Imports from the Middle East accounted for 90% of the total, the agency said in a preliminary report.

        Saudi Arabia was Japan's largest oil supplier in April, with its exports to Japan down 28.1% to 32.27 million barrels. The United Arab Emirates ranked second with shipments shrinking 10.6% to 28.56 million barrels. Iran was third with exports to Japan up 12.8% to 15.47 million barrels.

        Doesn't japan receive oil from our Alaskan fields.

        Didn't the pipeline have some problems again in the last few weeks. could that also have put them in the hole.

        Quid Clarius Astris
        Ubi Bene ibi patria

        Hello KansasCrude,

        What will be interesting is the longterm future Japanese postPeak response: Kamakazi and Samurai march into Manchuria again, or isolationism for a repeat of the Edo Period? With their low birthrate and aging population--I am leaning towards the latter choice for their Olduvai.

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

        Bob, have you checked the size of Japan's army, and especially navy? Post WWII deals held them back forever, but do we doubt they have nukes?

        You might be EDO right, but lying down to die is still not a natural response.

        PS Ever seen the Ballad of Narayama? That's Japan post-peak.

        POT thanks for the link not sure about the drop Industrial Production being totally correlated to the drop in imports especially given that the Ind. production was still up 2.3% over last year.

        Thought this sounded familair:

        The head of the country's trade union confederation said this week that corporate managers were to blame for a widening income gap in Japan.
        The employment structure has changed drastically in recent years with an increase in the number of lower-paid non-regular workers, RENGO president Tsuyoshi Takagi told reporters.

        I am afraid this is a problem in all the OECD's with the Chinese working for a couple bucks a day. I don't know what the answer is but I do believe individual succss can come to the person with the greatest number of alternatives .... as stressful as that is from the point of having to make choices. (uplink reference to too much choice relating to lower happiness)

        Bob agree with demographic issues in Japan not sure how they will deal with sustainablity on their islands in the post P.O. world. I wouldn't sell them short but don't know how they can resolve without maintaining a trading economy as attractive as the isolationist bent may be to their traditional tendencies.

        It is indeed interesting to see Japanese imports drop so sharply. However, Japan was badly burned in the 1970's and as a result adopted a policy of maintaining very large stockpiles of oil - about 6 months worth.

        I have a link giving good statistics on Japanese inventories, but it's at work and I can't find it now (I'm at home). I'll add a comment tommorow with the link.

        Here is the news release from METI (the Japanese ministry responsible for these things):

        While it is in Japanese, there are links to download English versions of the actual country by country import data.

        Yes, April imports were down significantly from the previous year. Please note though that the previous month (March) saw large imports. The release linked to above goes on and mentions that fuel oil stocks were nearly the same, though gasoline stocks were down a little. Consumption of some items (including gasoline) were down from previous year.

        Note too that economic information released this week indicates that Japan is still (and IMO will always be) in a very weak economy. The data this week on salaries showed a slight decrease in take home pay, a trend that is continuing. With a negative population growth it is inevitable that less will be consumed, including oil, regardless of other factors.

        To me, the interesting news from this import report is the return to increasing Iranian imports. Japan had been endeavoring to decrease its reliance upon Iran. Perhaps it can't find another source?

        A dedicated group of young and old :) people have put this site together to combat this huge fossilfuel plant on the doorstep(1000 feet from northern border) of the L.N.W.R.(Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge). LNWR is a one of a kind refuge spanning 147,000 acres. Home to over 30 endangered and threatened species this treasure is vital to the health of one of the most unique and diverse ecosystems in the world the Everglades. This Nations taxpayers are currently
        funding a Everglades restoration to the tune of over 12 billion dollars.
        I understand that this site will from time to time peer review information, would anybody favor me with a peer review of this site?


        Thank You in advance for your consideration

        Fifty-five would be the first baby-step, albeit a symbolic and psychological one, toward the collective acceptance of the eventual decommissioning of our entire private transportation system that will be the inevitable consequence of peak oil. It would represent a national avowal of the geologic reality that faces us. It would be growing up; a step back from the childish yet catastrophic consumption that characterizes our American culture.

        I had to laugh at that one, although the author expresses it much better than I did:
        Got into a debate with Aniya over whether there was "resistance" to this idea at TOD...seems to be a measure of our national character, if you believe in such a thing, in the US.

        Funny that they put a Prius topping out at some 48mpg, driving at what, 50mph? I just carpooled in a Prius for Memorial Day, 3 adults and a child and baggage, over some 500 miles in somewhat hilly New-England, averaging 66mph, and we got 53mpg. Did their Hybrid have to take a handicap, or pull a boat?

        Bob Fiske

        Roger that jokuhl. I got 51 MPG on my Prius this weekend, at about 60 MPH avg. On numerous trips over the last several years have seen 46-52 MPG, with average speeds around 60-70 mph. Chart seems off by around 10+ MPG.

        I would fight this to the end! We need less government regulation, not more. There's something absolutely un-American about having government tell me what I can and can't do with my own property - in this case a gallon of gasoline.

        I can afford gas at $3, $4, $5, even $10+/gallon. How I want to utilize my property is my own business, not anyone else's. Today's modern cars, especially the German ones, and supersport bikes are designed for comfort and control at high speeds. To put an artificial limit and severely restrict the full capacity of my vehicles screams of authoritarianism.

        It's my money and my tank of gas. I can afford it, so I can use it as I please. Hands off, TODers! Our efforts at PO are better spent combating the red tape (i.e. less government) to build nuclear plants, refineries, LNG terminals, wind farms, etc.

        You will make more enemies than friends telling people how to live their lives.

        Pedal Pusher,

        Your concept is entirely wrong. You have a car and you have a Drivers License. That is not a right to do as you please with the car and its fuel.

        Your license is a privilege. The States/Fed govt. own the Roads or controls them. You don't have control of that gas just because you paid for it. never have and I doubt you ever will. Its a privilege and you share the roads et all with others. You have no inherent RIGHT to do as you please on the Roads. Your claim is frivolous.

        Its like saying, I own a gun and the bullets, I paid for them and I can shoot them when I damn well feel like it. Perhaps you can, and perhaps you can't. Try it in the city and you loose the gun, and more. In the country on your own land with lots of area, shoot away. But you in that instance have complete control and don't have other citizens to think of.

        You're just selfish imo. And I love to drive fast, I will miss it, and do. I would love nothing more than to switch back to the Stealth or drive my 66 convertible withs its 389 Holly 4 barrel, but I don't anymore. Unless its an emergency and my gas saver is down for some reason.

        Quid Clarius Astris
        Ubi Bene ibi patria

        Nonsense. In Germany you can drive as fast as you can safety control your vehicle. The only reason we have highway speed limits, and artificially low ones at that, is to generate income for the local police departments.

        No one drives the speed limit because everyone knows it's nonsense. The only slow-pokes are the ones in the far right lane, shared with 18-wheelers. You can safely cruise at 80+ mph in a German vehicle or supersport bike. I can easily hit 55 in 3rd gear and still have 3 more gears to go.

        And my taxes pay for these highways roads. Your comparison to firearms is not fair. A bullet can kill someone and no one fires their guns into the air in the city. However, everyone is already driving. Driving faster than others in the slow lane doesn't hurt anyone. (Weaving in and out of traffic, however, can cause accidents.)

        I always find it morbidly amusing that the same group of people that complain about government regulations that restrict the use of nuclear power, wind plants, LNG terminals, etc. are the same group that calls for more government regulation in the same area: energy.

        You make an impassioned argument for the right to drive >55 mph on the highways. What about the rights of those of us that would like to drive more slowly? On many highways, it is illegal to drive < 40 mph. Why is it fine for the gov't to establish a minimum speed limit, but not a maximum speed limit? If you try to drive 55 mph, or even just at a 65 or 70 mph speed limit, you risk your life, even if you stay in the right lane. Is this right? Do those drivers that are speeding really have the right to endanger the lives of the slower drivers, just because they are too impatient to put up with a few seconds delay in their trip?

        And my taxes pay for these highways roads

        My PROPERTY taxes pay for the city streets where I burn my limited oil use (at 35 mph and less). But the taxes that I pay on that fuel goes towards highways I rarely if ever use (and I would be pleased if Interstate 10 from Elysian Fields to Canal Street was simply removed).

        So I pay for the highways that I do NOT use.

        You have no special rights to commons space. Especially if you pollute the air I breathe by burning more oil (which you do) and force me to pay extra taxes to secure the extra oil you use and force me to pay for the disabilities of the people you maim and your own SS claims. And warm the climate faster.

        50 mph is an entirely reasonable and safe speed. And enforcement by traffic cameras that automatically issue tickets at 55 mph should help pay for SOME of the external costs of your preferred mode of travel.

        BTW: Even Germany has speed limits on most of the autobahns and all have night speed limits AFAIK.

        Best Hopes for Quick and Easy Oil Conservation,


        You can safely cruise at 80+ mph

        Belied by statistics. Old #s show that the Germans kill about 2,000/year on the autobahns with RIGID & STRICT vehicle inspection standards (talk about Gov't intrusion into your personal property !!) and strict driving license requirements (I am sure that you will appreciate and support that in the US, when your right to drive AT ANY SPEED is removed at age 74 when YOU still feel competent). Just hop on your bicycle :-)

        A bullet can kill someone and no one fires their guns into the air in the city

        Cars can and do kill about 43,000 Americans every year. Your "safely" comment is ludicrous on it's face. Traffic camera tickets @ 55 mph would save TENS OF THOUSANDS of lives every year ! Part of the savings would be people simply choosing to not make non-essential trips. (Less congestion for others) and savings lives by staying at home (or taking other means of travel).

        Louis Armstrong was sent to a Corrections School as a boy for discharging a pistol into the air, a cultural practice that has finally died out just during my 14 years in New Orleans. Iraqis still do it.

        Best Hopes for STRICT auto licensing standards, and none before age 18,


        Do you live in Germany or the US. And I believe I heard that they are restricting the autobahn in Germany, or plan to. Ive been on it. Its damn scary sometimes.

        People dont shoot their guns in the air in the city, WTF, where do you live. Happens all the time. Up in the air, across the air, for fun and to kill. Where I live we had six gun murders on memorial day from people shooting their guns at people they intended to hit, and some did, and some killed others not intended. Its a fair comparison of right to do as you please at the benefit of the one over the many.

        Your taxes pay for the roads, but that does not entitle you do as you please, the taxes went to the govt. They decide not you. You seem to be a libertarian, and that method of govt will lead to plenty of people that do what they want at the expense of the welfare of the whole. You like that, then convince the rest of the world to do it, good luck, I doubt they will wish to have to fight others for the right to do what they want when someone says, no I choose to do this, out of my way. Yea libertarian govt will lead to a very peaceful society.

        You find it amusing do you that people wish for a well regulated and orderly society that benefits all. Says a lot about your greed does it not.

        Quid Clarius Astris
        Ubi Bene ibi patria

        well said Prisonx

        It will be perfectly legal to GO AS FAST AS YOU WANT on YOUR OWN PRIVATE ROADS for which you will, of course, pay property taxes.

        But on MY roads, NO FASTER THAN 50 MPH !

        Best Hopes for HIGH tolls on as many roads as possible ! Pay for police, schools, fire protection and the Dept of Defense with highway tolls. And lower the cost to ME for disability costs, policing costs, etc with 50 mph speed limits.

        WHY should I pay for YOUR speed ?


        The highway roads are our roads. Our taxes pay for it. And, quite thankfully, the majority of us do NOT want lower speed limits.

        Again, TOD'ers should focus their energy not on regulating people's lives but instead on encouraging the use of nuclear plants, wind farms, LNG terminals, refineries, etc.

        Honestly, as a Peak Oil believer myself, we will never, ever reach a "utopian" PO solution. I'm very practical. People will never change until forced to. So in the meantime, enjoy the benefits of hydrocarbons because they won't last forever. No need to restrict ourselves and be unhappy when others aren't.

        Why do you want to regulate MY life by making me pay taxes for YOUR roads, and the infrastructure that lets you drive as fast as you want?

        Why do you want to control MY life by telling me how I should work to create a more ecologically sustainable society?

        Why do you think I should work on immoral energy approaches that burden future unborn generations with nuclear waste (people who have no vote on our generation of nuclear waste), instead of consensus based democratically defined regulatory ones (that mostly affect people alive today, and who will I'm sure you agree generously bow to the will of the majority)?

        And so on...

        I could imagine "drive as fast as you want", but the local DOT is probably not going to be building them to standards that will permit more than a lowered average speed. Speed limits won't so much matter at 25-35mph or so.

        One of society's/government's roles (which it has grossly failed) would be to protect future generations from the plundering of the current generations, esp where our current economic system is designed to facilitate that plunder.

        cfm in Gray, ME

        Wow. Just...wow. And right here on TOD, at that. Thanks for that comment...really opened my eyes to what we're facing (or not facing, if you prefer).

        You wish to drive as fast as you want. Go to the dragstrip, or get your ticket to drive in any roadrace competition. There you can do what you want, because you have paid for the right on private roads.

        go burn the carbon up,.. party on Garth, party on Wayne, don't worry about the future, just grab the Gusto. You have watched and believed way to much propaganda and let it pollute your mind

        Pedal Pusher, you're a greedy SOB, and to claim you believe in PO and can do what you want until the party is over is just plain sick.

        Quid Clarius Astris
        Ubi Bene ibi patria

        Great chart. Trend is pretty obvious.
        It would be interesting to see it as emmissions output by speed too.
        BTW as a practical matter I worry about some folks driving slow to save while others speed out of a sense of whatever. It smacks of 'Road Warrior'. We need to slow down.

        55mph is the minimum needed to help mitigate PO and GW. Yes bikes, EV's, Urban rail, walking of course. Give Gaia a chance to resequester some carbon before she fries us. Give people a chance to adapt to powerdown.

        Is the symbol of a speeding 1 passenger SUV with that ubiquitous yellow sticker really how we want to go down? (Any question that overconsumption and armed conflict don't go hand in hand in this energy constrained world?)

        PO outreach along with the coming shocks may help slow down the pace a bit. Any high energy imperative is a headlong streak over into the gorge. Least we can do is postpone it a while.

        Otherwise (in every sense) just flame on.

        One of my biggest disappointments in Clinton was that he repealed the 55 mph speed limit. Too bad it took him so long to wake up. Now, he's all over peak oil and global warming. But he squandered his presidency.

        Reagan, not Clinton, repealed the 55 mph national speed limit.

        Clinton is working hard to return to the White House.

        Best Hopes for severely reduced sarconol supplies in January 2009,


        Article at financialsense

        "But this reality has not sunk in with the public. It is quite possible that if Gas Pains increase we will see Big Oil CEO’s dragged into the senate to answer the same inane questions.

        One can only hope it will play out as it did in “A Few Good Men”
        We start with Lt. Kaffee interviewing Rex Tillerson on why he has not built new refineries.

        Kaffee: Just one more question. If you plan to increase capacity to 5 million barrels per day and Exxon always executes on time then why aren’t you building any new refineries? Mr. Tillerson? You stopped building refineries because you knew there is not going to be enough oil to run through them didn’t you? You saw your own discoveries and that of other companies, you saw that accelerating treadmill you were climbing just to stay in place and you knew we were in deep trouble. Fearing windfall taxes from hell and nationalization everywhere you spun this yarn that peak oil will arrive after 100 years. Mr. Tillerson are we at Peak oil?

        Mr. Tillerson: You want answers?

        Kaffee: I think I'm entitled to them.

        Mr. Tillerson: You want answers?

        Kaffee: I want the truth!

        Mr. Tillerson: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world of petroleum products and those products have to be produced in increasing amounts to keep our economy alive. What are you gonna do it with? Corn ethanol? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom as the acknowledgement of peak oil will itself have grave consequences for the world economy. You weep at the gas prices and you curse the Oil Companies. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that gas prices though higher than before are still cheap. And Exxon’s existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, produces 4 million barrels of oil a day for you NASCAR morons. You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me producing all I can. You need me producing all I can so that your American Idol obsessed culture can be spared the truth for as long as possible.

        We use words like oil, rigs, refinery...we use these words as the backbone to the American life you have got used to living. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who consumes petroleum products 24/7 and uses those very products to protest against oil companies! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a shovel, dig yourself an oil well and build a refinery in your bathtub. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

        Kaffee: Are we past peak oil?

        Mr. Tillerson: I am doing the job you want me to!

        Kaffee: Are we past peak oil?

        Mr. Tillerson: You're goddamn right we are!"

        thats an amazing interview, do you know when it was conducted? Are you perfectly convinced that its real and complete? I just wish it was at the beginning of the drumbeat, or a keypost of its own.

        I only wish that Mr. Tillerson would respond as clearly as in this ficticious interview. Unfortunately, he's smarter than Tom Cruise playing Lt. Kafee. And unlike a Perry Mason show,probably wouldn't fall into a trap through anger

        Conducted in a land far far away ...We can hope that this happens though. What I would pay to see this in real life.

        CBC radio program 'Ideas' right now, is talking about peak Oil. June 11 will be on podcast.

        Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, Today is my Birthday, I've been a member at The Oil Drum for 1 year; and what a year it's been. The coming year looks even more interesting. I love this site. This is what the internet is all about.

        It being the start of Hurricane Season, I think a look back is in order. This is a post by Stuart Staniford.