DrumBeat: June 3, 2007

In Oil Producers' Brave New World, a Key Word Is 'Partnerships'

The time is over when major oil companies can dictate the terms of development deals to host countries. About four-fifths of the world's reserves are already controlled by state-owned firms, and political strongmen like Chavez and Russia's Vladimir Putin seem intent on tightening their hold on their countries' oil wealth. Russia has the world's largest oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia.

"The ability of major oil companies to exert their muscle has diminished," said David Fleischer, a principal with Chickasaw Capital Management in Memphis, Tenn. "They still bring a lot of technology and expertise, but that's less important in today's world. Countries like Venezuela don't care as much as they should about maximizing their revenues. They care about control of their resources."

JFK arrests raise issue of pipeline vulnerability

A foiled plot to blow up a jet fuel pipeline under John F. Kennedy International Airport drew attention to what counterterrorism experts have warned could be a key target.

With Korea as Model, U.S. Ponders Long Role in Iraq

Critics on the left who have argued for years that the Iraq war was really about oil leap on such talk as evidence that the administration’s real agenda is to put its forces right on top of Iraq’s still-broken pipelines. Those who fear the next target is Iran — including the Iranians — will see the permanent bases as staging areas, in case the United States decides to take military action against Iran’s nuclear program and deal with the repercussions later.

Russia bullies BP - U.S. motorist, take note

This would be the latest in a string of incidents generally interpreted as Russia strong-arming its partners into deals more favorable to the government. These moves, analysts say, could hurt worldwide production and drive up energy costs for consumers everywhere.

NAFTA Kicked Up A Notch

Instead, the SPP has three fundamental objectives. The Bush administration wants to create more advantageous conditions for transnational corporations and remove remaining barriers to the flow of capital and crossborder production within the framework of NAFTA. It wants to secure access to natural resources in the other two countries, especially oil. And it wants to create a regional security plan based on "pushing its borders out" into a security perimeter that includes Mexico and Canada.

Longtime oilman reflects on evolution of industry, Basin

The one source I believe will eventually impact oil and gas consumption is nuclear power. Europe has greatly increased its use of nuclear energy and with more education about the increased safety of the new plants, the U.S. will probably follow Europe's example at some point in the future. For the public to be comfortable, it will take time, and the planning and construction of modern nuclear facilities will be a slow process and costly.

Mr. Gowger offers rich answers on rising gas prices

Motorists demand cheaper gas and complain while filling the fuel tanks on their home-size Hummers. Americans want inexpensive gas, but aren't willing to sacrifice to get it. Instead, they delude themselves into believing that this season's price hikes will subside later, as they have before. We call it the "roller coaster." We raise prices and keep them high. Just as the public is about to revolt, we lower them until calm is restored. Only this time, they may not get lowered.

Gas prices create dilemma

As fuel prices flirt with the $4 threshold, Michiana's small delivery-oriented businesses are left combating the same fuel price problems facing their larger corporate competitors.

Only, they have fewer resources.

Some in area opt to roll with single vehicle

In today's world of the three-car garage and the drive-through espresso shop, the notion of getting around Toledo as a one-vehicle family can seem quaint and impractical.

A Smarter Way To Use Power

Giving Connecticut consumers the power to take advantage oflower, off-peak rates will lead to the more prudent use of electricity.

75 gallons at $3.50

With the price of gasoline at marinas hovering around $3.50 a gallon, power boaters are still going out on the water, but not going as far as in past years.

"I think you're going to see guys using (their boats) as floating condos," said Wentworth Marina Manager Pat Kelley said. "These 30-, 36-foot boats with gas engines, it's too expensive to use them."

It Costs More To Mow

Drivers have been seeing red at the gas pumps. But now the high fuel prices are spilling over onto green lawns.

Farmers can cut fuel costs by not tilling

"At $3 a gallon, a farmer pays $29,500 in fuel costs for a 1,000-acre farm using conventional farming methods. Using no-till, that same 1,000-acre farm uses only $16,500 in fuel."

More drivers, including Utah's governor, are switching to natural gas

Primarily through the efforts of Questar Gas, Utah has one of the best CNG filling station infrastructures in the nation - 25 public refueling sites from St. George to Logan. Two more facilities, one in Bountiful and another in Brigham City, are due to go on line by the end of the year. There are another 75 privately operated refueling stations.

13 great fuel-efficient cars

Kelley Blue Book names cars in every category that save fuel without sacrificing very much else.

Biofuel gangs kill for green profits

A surge in demand for biofuels derived from agricultural products has unleashed a chaotic land grab by a new breed of gangster entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on the world’s thirst for palm oil and related bioproducts.

Vast areas of Colombia’s tropical forest are being cleared for palm tree plantations. Charities working with local peasants claim that paramilitary forces in league with biofuel conglomerates – some of them financed by US government subsidies – are forcing families off their land with death threats and bogus purchase offers.

Quest for better biofuels

Two critically important energy problems face us at this early point in the 21st century, and our best approach to dealing with each of them is likely to involve technology that resembles a lawn mower much more than it does an oil well. Our increasing dependence on foreign energy supplies and the climate-disrupting greenhouse effect are separate but closely linked issues, and our search for effective ways to deal with these challenges may ultimately focus on two seemingly unlikely suspects: plants and enzymes.

Texas leads carbon emissions: report

● Wyoming's coal-fired power plants produce more carbon dioxide in just eight hours than the power generators of more populous Vermont do in a year.

● Texas, the leader in emitting this greenhouse gas, cranks out more than the next two biggest producers combined, California and Pennsylvania, which together have twice Texas' population.

● In sparsely populated Alaska, the carbon dioxide produced per person by all the flying and driving is six times the per capita amount generated by travelers in New York state.

High gas prices hurt nonprofits

“Higher fuel costs ultimately force us to reduce the amount of services we can provide to our clients,” Williamson said. “It affects the ability to provide transportation to our Head Start children, delivery of food for Meals on Wheels and Congregate Dining Sites and the range of locations in which we can provide weatherization services.”

Stations watching for gas drive offs

"Gas is very expensive, and we aren't making anything from the gas," said Ghulam Sabir, manager at the AmPride station on Whitetail Drive in Cedar Falls. The store uses high-definition cameras to check license plates, and employees call police with the tag numbers of drivers who don't pay.

The Petroleum Marketers of Iowa, a Des Moines-based trade group, has been giving convenience store owners stickers to place at their pumps warning that people caught stealing gas can lose their driver licenses under a new state law.

Entergy Louisiana launches Energy Awareness Program

Everything points to a typical Deep South hot summer this year. And in keeping with past efforts to partner with customers in meaningful ways, Entergy Louisiana is urging customers to take a few simple steps to conserve energy and manage their summertime bills.

Opec still has us over a barrel - Will prices ever come down again?

IT takes a plucky writer to admit he is wrong, particularly when there is a certain type of reader out there – usually anonymous, sometimes using joined-up writing – who is happy to tell me I am wrong every week.

But I have been wrong, so far at least, on oil. High oil prices, one of the factors that have complicated the task of the Bank of England and its fellow central banks, are still with us, having climbed back above $70 a barrel in recent weeks. Last week they remained close to that level. Futures markets suggest $60-$70-a-barrel oil for the foreseeable future.

Global warming 'is three times faster than worst predictions'

Global warming is accelerating three times more quickly than feared, a series of startling, authoritative studies has revealed.

They have found that emissions of carbon dioxide have been rising at thrice the rate in the 1990s. The Arctic ice cap is melting three times as fast - and the seas are rising twice as rapidly - as had been predicted.

China set to confront climate change, defend growth

China's first plan for climate change will seek to fortify the country against damage from global warming but also against international pressure to cut greenhouse gas pollution that Beijing calls the cost of growth.

Greener by miles

Conscientious consumers are being urged to buy locally sourced food in the battle against climate change. But, as Richard Gray discovers, produce from the other side of the world can actually have a smaller carbon footprint.

Self-interest will do more to cut carbon emissions than all the low-energy light bulbs in the world

Only when rising prices and supply fears force the top 10 polluters to conserve fuel will progress really be made.

Cracks on climate as G8 leaders meet in Germany

Leaders from the world's major industrialized nations will try to paper over deep divisions on global warming and a range of foreign policy issues when they meet on the Baltic coast this week for a G8 summit.

Nigerian militants vow to halt attacks

The main militant group responsible for attacks on foreign oil installations in Nigeria's lawless south announced a one-month cease-fire Saturday, giving the new president a chance to resolve the crisis that has helped cause global crude prices to spike.

A few good (oil) men

Armed with their one cent worth knowledge that West Texas intermediate prices have not risen proportionally to gas prices, the politicians are looking for oil company scapegoats. In addition, a number of “experts’ have come out and blamed oil companies for not investing in new refineries.

5 bucks a gallon to clear the mind

In a USA Today/Gallup poll, people overwhelmingly said they would not move or change jobs in order to cut commuter miles, or use mass transit as their main transportation, even if gasoline prices climb to over $10 a gallon. In fact, they reportedly wouldn't take such actions no matter how high the price goes.

What might be more surprising is that 41 percent of the respondents said they would not replace their cars for models that get better mileage no matter how high the price of gasoline climbs.

Propafghanda: The Battle for Canadian Hearts & Minds

If maintaining Canada’s Afghan occupation requires a “perception war” on Canadian soil, then are Canadians now the enemy?

Iraq’s Curse: A Thirst for Final, Crushing Victory

PERHAPS no fact is more revealing about Iraq’s history than this: The Iraqis have a word that means to utterly defeat and humiliate someone by dragging his corpse through the streets.

The word is “sahel,” and it helps explain much of what I have seen in three and a half years of covering the war.

Weather spikes or Climate Changes speaks out.

The corn was up nicely. At the very stage where deer like to browse it,and thereby totally destroy it in the process yet they had paid no visits.

Here is how the weather can play havoc with corn either in the garden or in the field.

Its came a hard fast slashing rain yesterday afternoon. That quickly turned the soil to mush at the top 2 or so inches. Then came very high shifting winds. The winds just blew the corn to the ground.

Already a lot of almost mature wheat had been blown down in some areas in my region, creating what many would say were crop circles yet it was just the effects of wind in circular patterns or whatever the wind preferred to do as it hit the topography of the fields. When it does this the wheat stays down. It does not recover.

This was not widespread as I observed but yesterdays high winds were likely broader in coverage. The corn in the fields is at this stage of not having enough roots(nodal) to be able to withstand the winds.

I have not surveyed the fields to see what happened as yet. This was what happened to me and there was a barn that prevented some damage. In the fields with no wind breaks it could be bad.

So cut down the trees along your fields. Let the wind come thru like a wailing banshee and see what it does to your crops. Its called 'Conservation Trees' or was but now that program seemed to not exist anymore for googles show no revelant hits.

Out in the ag lands this is what IMO climate change is all about. Sure the weather is changeable as one posted on a drumbeat the other day. Sure you can't predict it......
..BUT if you get this spiking weather in rain,wind and moisture and you used to be able to win most of the time but now it is worse...then what do you call it? Ohhh just variability....years of experiences by farmers show that at least much can be depended on as far as the way weather normally occurs and how to plan around that.

With what I have seen its changed in its variability. If you live in a ivory tower and make prognostications based on some wireless weather instrument then you are not seeing the whole picture. If you live in an area like Georgia and your in a loooonnnggg drought and suddenly get 4 inches in an hour...it doesn't help much YET the averages all say something else.

Averages don't mean much in this venue.

I also recall harvest of last fall when the rain and wind knocked the field corn to the ground and most just simply could not combine it. It was one huge mess. Tractors stuck,very dirty corn, most corn unsalvagable.

Airdale-topic was not about gardening..its about weather

Interesting report from reality. Thanks, airdale.

Remember when I said the 'burbs of central Texas were buzzing with bees? I have been taking notice as I walk my dog every morning. There must be a dozen species of privet around here -- spikes of tiny white four-petaled flowers, an almost intoxicating fragrance as we walk to the park and back. In past years, I can remember making an effort to avoid brushing the branches of these plants as I walked past them. They would be emitting a noticeable buzzing sound from all the honeybees.

The bush that inspired me to make that remark a few weeks ago has finished blooming, and there were a handful of bees on a nearby crape myrtle. But of the currently in-bloom privet, most of it is eerily silent in the early morning hours. It's not a scientific survey, but I don't think there are as many bees around here as in past springs.

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

We have honeybees in Cottage Grove, although my subjective sense is that there are fewer than in the past.

The fruit trees in this area are loaded this year. We have a red plum that was loaded to the point of breaking branches three years ago. Then, for two years running, it blossomed at inopportune times when the weather was cool and wet and the bees stayed in. This year we lucked out on the plums as well as the apples and cherries.

There are plenty of mason bees, the original native pollinators of this region. There is an interesting parallel here of imported honeybees fueling a huge boom in various types of agriculture. Now, as with imported crude oil, we have developed an agricultural 'infrastructure' dependent on the imported bees and it would (will) be disastrous to try and revert to the former state.

Best hopes for more eager pollinators.

Boy do I get what your saying airdale.

I'm in northern Alabama and put all my eggs in the permaculture basket. I have a little over half an acre in a subdivision, but I planted it with assorted fruit and nut trees.

Thanks to the false spring and late freeze this year I got zip. Just when the fruit and nut trees were mature enough to start producing significant crops, the spiky weather killed them, lost all the fruit and it actually killed my pecan trees.

Then it was followed by drought.

Then last week everything got covered in a cloud of smoke from the fires in Georgia. The trees were not happy about that (nor was my asthma)

It's just barely June, an already everything is dieing in the heat.

According to the history channel. When the weather got wild a couple of centuries ago, farmer switched to root crops like potatoes because the could survive the weather spikes. While the grains would be wiped out .

It certainly seemed easier to plant a garden back in Pennsylvania when I was a kid. Predictable rains and better soil.

"According to the history channel. When the weather got wild a couple of centuries ago, farmer switched to root crops like potatoes because the could survive the weather spikes. While the grains would be wiped out."

As I understand, during the Hundred Years War, they switched to root crops to prevent them from being looted or burned.

In one of the previous Drumbeats Leanan spoke about a trip to Youngstown, OH and encountering a Kunstlerian nightmare. Well, there's no substitute for eyes on the ground...but one thing I "like" to do is look at these places with satellite eyes...

Youngstown, OH: On a Kunstlerian scale of 1-10 this probably rates about 3. Not super terrible or anything.

Los Angeles, CA: This is the mack daddy by which Kunstleriness is rated, this pegs the meter out at 10.

Atlanta, GA: Don't let this one fool ya. The city center is small and appears to be otherwise sparsely populated, but emanating for miles upon miles from the center is sprawling suburbs of McMansion farm Cul-de-sacs. This too receives a 10 for Kunstleriness.

Tampa, and St. Petersburgh, FL: 9...maybe another 10. You can be the judge.

If those beauties don't make you cry and lose faith in humanities survival...I'm not sure what will.

If you want a nightmare feet-on-the-ground along with your eyes on the ground, take the train to Atlanta and try to walk around the town.

It might be the most depressing place I have ever visited. There is no place for pedestrians, no green space, nothing but roads and fast cars and tight-lipped people hurrying to get somewhere -- the few that are actually out of their cars seem afraid to be unprotected.

I'm sure there are nice places in Atlanta -- but you need a car to get to them.

Funny, I live in Atlanta without a car. I guess it is a question of being willing to make the effort or just waiting for everything to be served up on a silver platter.

Yes the suburban sprawl surrounding the city is terrible and it does put a toll on the city with major interstates cutting through the heart of town to make it easier for suburb-to-suburb commuters to get around. But the city and the metro, while intertwined, are not that same thing. There are lots of people who live in the city without a car and do just fine. Many of the city's oldest neighborhoods, so called street car suburbs, with shady streets, walkable neighborhood retail, parks, and other amenities that create a great quality of life are accessible by mass transit. The city has one of the strongest tree ordinances in the country and working hard to undo the Robert Moses type mistakes of the 1960s in the central business districts.

Getting off at the AmTrak station and walking around a few blocks tells you as much about the city as does seeing a city from the interstate. I realize that it is trendy to bash Atlanta but some of us are working for real change instead of taking easy potshots on the internet based on limited superficial observations. So how about not condemning everyone in a city based on group think. If people here weren't friendly enough for you, perhaps you should look at your own comments and ask why that might be.

I live downtown, get around on mass transit, my bike, and my two feet. I could move to another city, get a car, feel smug and superior about the appearance of my surroundings while actually living a more environmentally destructive lifestyle but I'd rather walk the walk instead of talking the talk.

Sorry if I sound overly defensive about all of this, but it really annoys me to hear the same old recycled speaking points about where I live. I get tired of hearing it is impossible to live in Atlanta without a car, when I do it quite easily. I get tired of hearing there is no green space in Atlanta when there are two large green spaces right outside my window. I get tired of hearing there is nothing but concrete here when according to the national forest service, this is the most heavily forested major urban area in the US. I get tired of hearing how environmentally ignorant builders are when Atlanta has one of the highest concentrations of LEED certified high rises in the country. Yep, sounds like the absolute worst place in the country!

See this kind of superficial judgment makes me wonder about all of the other observations here and how many of them are similarly based on such shallow observations and guilt by association. Suburban Atlanta does have many terrible characteristics and the city isn't perfect but it certainly isn't the dehumanizing moonscape that many make it out to be.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm biking over to the farmers market to buy some locally grown produce. Since I'm not arriving in my car, I guess all the veggies will be wilted and the fruit rotten. Afterall, you can't get anywhere nice in Atlanta without a ton of glass and steel wrapped around you, right?

Wow. I'm glad to hear it is really a pleasant place.

I was reporting a personal experience, not making a blanket judgement of anything. Actually, not having or expecting a silver platter, I hired a taxi and went out to a very pleasant part of town where the Martin Luther King memorial is, and walked around. It's just that between point A and point B wasn't really walkable or bikeable, so far as I could see. But then, I didn't know what to expect, being a tourist from a small town in Oregon. I hoped for peach trees downtown, I suppose -- sort of like English peasants believed the streets of London were paved with gold. Silly me.

See this kind of superficial judgment makes me wonder about all of the other observations here and how many of them are similarly based on such shallow observations and guilt by association. Suburban Atlanta does have many terrible characteristics and the city isn't perfect but it certainly isn't the dehumanizing moonscape that many make it out to be.

I am quite hopeful that most people on this blog are less superficial in their immediate judgements. Sorry.

My rule of thumb (imperfect as all such rules are) is that any place laid out and developed before WW II is going to be a fairly decent place to live (at worst) unless it has declined into a slum.

Any place developed from 1950 to 1970 is "not the worst" for human scale and pleasantness.

Anyplace developed post-1990 *IS* the worst.

Best Hopes for Back to the Future,


The city has one of the strongest tree ordinances in the country and working hard to undo the Robert Moses type mistakes of the 1960s in the central business districts.\\

Funny... I lived in Atlanta several years back. And I don't remember things the same way. Every piece of land that could be built upon was in play. KFC's and condo's mixed it up. Sidewalks? Forgetaboutit. Waste of concrete. There is a lot of ornamental landscaping, bfd, the sound of leaf blowers and line trimmers never ends.

When you leave you'll realize how lousy it really is.

Yeah, downtown Atlanta isn't that bad.. but the other 95% of the city is horrible. It isn't just the car centric city planning but also the attitude.

When I lived in DC, pedestrians would typically step boldly in front of traffic as they crossed the street knowing the cars would stop.

In Atlanta, pedestrians are typically seen making a mad dash across the street to avoid being run over by swarms of SUVs who may stop for pedestrians in the cross walk or may just swerve around them.

It brings back memories of the old Atari game Frogger.

Atlanta is the least pedestrian friendly city I have ever lived in or visited.

Type in 1300 St. Andrew St., New Orleans, LA 70130 and ask for the hybrid view.

Note the low % of land area devoted to the automobile (streets and off street parking), and our maze of one-way streets. On zoom you can barely see the mix of 1,2 and 3 story buildings.

The larger homes typically either have one rich family or 4 to 10 apartments/condos. Many of the smaller ones are duplexes.

Best Hopes for walkable neighborhoods,


Whether or not you are a fan of 'James' - I am in a reserved way - you have to admit that he seems to have spawned a term that may have a long future. Darwinian, Newtonian and now Kunstlerian. Inevitability is on his side.

My paltry thought for the day is that the actual PO point in history which so many seem so intent on defining and sharpening may be less historically important than the psychological effect that will follow. We are probably right at that great turning point of peak expandability, at least using the paradigm of fossil resources. While the possibilities of such strategies as CTL may seem tempting, the fact that they are merely mitigating and postponing strategies rather than actual sustainable solutions will both divide and dishearten the masses. This turning point will not play out instantaneously, of course, but will be the long distance runner to the sprinter of propaganda.

The geological realities are pretty straightforward as is the realistic long term solution. The real challenge will be to maintain some sense of progress and hope against a background of loss of 'growth'. Growth is not only an industrial and economic crutch but a cultural one too. Did I just say 'cultural one two'? Must have been Freudian. Or Kunstlerian.

progress and hope are spiritual ideals, not material reality. There is no need for endless increase in stuff, powered by an endless supply of oil to have a fulfilling life -- in fact, those things just get in the way.

Actually, there are very material reasons why those are
not merely phsycological realities but also physically
inseperable from the continued survival of this economy.
the oil fuels an intensity and scale of that game orders
of magnitude greater than ever before possible, and with
that contrast in mind perhaps even recent history looks
stable or even static in comparison. However, all things
must grow or die. Living things can't grow beyond very
modest limits, and the abundant diversity of life is a way
the grow-or-die dynamic yields healthy outcomes. Tipping
the balance of power through technology begins to turn
a stable though dynamic biological community into a runaway
escalation, which will be more destructive the longer it
goes uncorrected. Clever being that we humans are, we
stepped into the trap. Once you start this avalanche going,
the rules of the game are the same, but you have to run
faster and faster. It's not just the same moves of the
game played over and over in a circle, but the same kind
of moves of the game played with an ever-higher ante and
ever-higher stakes spiralling up to where we are now.
Oil is one of the major factors fuelling this escalation,
quite literally. It isn't th eonly one. All such runaway
processes eventually run out of steam and crash. The one
we live in today is breaking down, and oil peaking is only one of the reasons.

But no, you have it backwards. It isn't spiritual ideas
which have dictated material reality. Quite the other
way around- the material reality of living in an escalation
played a significant role in the evolution of human cultures
over the past 5 to 10 thousand years. Those cultural
attributes which were more compatible with the material reality of escalation have become more pronounced.

Vision does not drive material culture, except insofar
as those aspects of material culture driven _do not affect
the bottom line_ of competition and survival. Those material
realities dictate the viable parameters of vision, and
incompatible vision is eliminated.


The Value of Boosting Our Miles Per Gallon

...After 237,000 miles and 18 years of hard use, the shine has evaporated, but this car still gets 43 mpg. And though it won't win any beauty contests - we had to bolt the bumper to the car because of a little rust - it chugs right along, giving us more than 500 miles for every tank of fuel.

Say we had bought instead a car that got 20.7 mpg, the average for all U.S. passenger vehicles in 1989, according to the Energy Department. We would have burned an additional 5,937 gallons - more than twice as much fuel.

Now, imagine that everyone in 1989 had a car as efficient as our little Lucy. Given the roughly 148 million household vehicles in the United States in 1989, and that each traveled on average 10,000 miles, we would have saved almost 40 billion gallons in just that one year. Multiply that by the 18 years since, and it is enough to make one stop the car and weep.


But simply improving efficiency is not enough. Historically, efficiency has led to even more consumption of resources, so we'll need to raise fuel taxes to ensure we don't drive away our efficiency gains.

And who will benefit from the use of those taxes? It is safe to say that the proceeds would not be used to improve the lot of the average person, or to make the environment more pleasant, or try to restore some destroyed patches. Likely, they would build more roads, hire more police and burn it up in conferences about how nice it would be to have alternative sources of energy.

You got that right. Since the Rio conference of 1992? there have been never ending meetings and conferences and accords but as yet I haven't seen one - one - actual deed that could be construed as a result. Zip. Okay, maybe some windmill subsidies, but that goes way back.

Europe has done something, but there's such a long way to go. All they've done is put out a peashooter contract or two to prepare for the air raid. So let's have another Memorandum of Understanding that we have a common problem and agree to meet again to discuss guidelines for protocols.

When all you have is a pen, all problems are on paper.

The Euros are not "doing enough" I agree, BUT they are doing something.

One cannot get a building permit in Germany w/o plans for R-49 walls (if I converted properly) et al. Hyper-Efficiency by US standards. Half the world's PV is going into Germany AFAIK.

And a repost of mine about France.

I have been staying up late researching the French tram building boom. They can, and often do, go from financial decision to ribbon-cutting in 3 to 4 years.

Below are the French towns of 100,000 or more without tram lines or plans for them.

Limoges (they have Electric trolley buses)
Metz (nearby Nancy opened one in 2000)

The following towns have unfunded plans

Le Havre

And the following cities and towns have Urban Rail (several under 100K population)

Valenciennes (under construction)
Le Mans (just opened)
St. Etienne

And La Rochelle has a factory test track with limited public use.

Note that the Metropolitan area population can be twice or three times the city population and many tram lines go into nearby villages.

A slightly dated quote (2005) mentioned 120 km of tram lines (almost all extensions or additional lines) under construction in France at that time. A review of plans indicates that the pace is at least that high today, if not higher.

The number of French that can get around without oil is quite high, even if they drive today. A strategic asset par excellence. Rail has an elasticity of supply that high fuel mileage cars lack.

Other than border crossings, only 100 km of TGV plans are left unfinished. A nationwide network of high speed rail.

Plus large scale bicycle rental programs in Paris & Lyon.

Best Hopes for French Non-Oil Transportation,


alistairC on June 3, 2007 - 6:57am

I work in Lyon, and in a typical month I use the train, metro, public bicycles, sometimes tram and bus. Unfortunately I live outside the metropolitan area and commute mostly by car.

Despite the very positive points outlined by Alan, this is the weak point in the French transport schema : urban flight, especially in the past couple of decades, has created vast zones of individual suburban houses around the cities (up to 50 km). Inner cities have been upgraded since then, but urban real estate has become prohibitively expensive as a consequence, ruling out an inversion of the tendency for most people.

The big squeeze will happen as transport costs escalate. I feel it myself.

AlanfromBigEasy on June 3, 2007 - 7:27amS

One of the differences between new trams in France & UK is their location.

The French (with a few exceptions) take a busy bus route that goes through the city center. They take a traffic lane (HORRORS !!) and dedicate it to the new tram (with traffic signal priority) and rework the area around the tram for pedestrians. Stops every 500 m or so. They also often beautify the area. Results are an immediate 25% increase in ridership over the bus line and lower unit costs to operate than the prior bus.

The Brits take old rail lines out to the suburbs and convert them to trams. No partnership with the buses, no urban changes, stops every 1 to 1.5 km. Uneven ridership results. Lower per km costs to build than the French, but higher operating costs (apparently due to lower density service).
No significant changes in Urban form.

Adding "British" style service would better serve the outlying suburbs, but I doubt that the French will do that.

Of course, not everyone is served by the new trams, but it does provide an alternative for towns and cities to coalesce around.

And once one tram line is installed, it is easier to add a second, and a third. This is precisely what is happening.

Post-Peak Oil, the French will have to build more tram lines faster. But speeding up to, say, 250 new km/year is entirely doable given their "running start". And, IMHO, adding 250 km of new tram lines every year plus other reasonable actions will keep France ahead of the depletion curve.

Best Hopes for Running Starts in Mitigating Peak Oil,


One cannot get a building permit in Germany w/o plans for R-49 walls (if I converted properly) et al. Hyper-Efficiency by US standards.

This high an R value only makes sense in certain situations and certain building configurations. It makes no sense, for example, if the house has a huge amount of window area, as the major loss of heat will be through the windows and increasing wall R will likely be well past the point of diminishing returns. It also only makes sense in a climate where there is a large temperature delta between inside and outside.

In Wilamette Valley OR where I live (on southernmost tip) the temperature delta is not very large. Typical winter day ranges between around 30F and 50F. Oregon has (or had) what they called 'Super Good Sense' standards to which our house is built. This includes ~R25 walls (6" with Hi-R fiberglas) as well as good sealing and at least 2 pane glass.

The person who built our house was a Southern California person and put lots of huge windows in. Fortunately they are mostly South facing, but still represent a huge heat-loss problem. We have spent a couple of $K so far on single cell shades along with drapes, which I figure raises the windows from ~R1.5 to about R4.5. In our case, adding insulation to the walls (R25) or ceiling (R40) would make no sense at all and have virtually no effect on heat loss. Getting those last two big picture windows outfitted with shades and building storm doors for the five sets of French doors (yes five!) and 2 other glass doors (12 individual doors altogether!) will be my main focus. For anyone curious, the price/quality of the house was unbeatable at the time.

Best hopes for regionally sensible building standards.

I agree with the regionally sensible standards. The weather variations within Germany are such that a unitary standard can make sense (I assume it is one nationwide code from what I have read).

Besides wall standards, there are also window standards (including "how much" as well as R-values) that are as strict as the wall standards. Tightness and air exchanges are also covered.

Willamette Valley OR is not that different from Southern Germany in climate that their standards could not also be used as a guide for new construction there. They will require "modification" for application to New Orleans :-) (I am looking into that).

In other words, if I was building new in Willamette Valley I would use the German standards as a guide.

The "take home" message is that German MINIMUM standards are NOT "common sense" or "reasonable" but extreme, edge of the envelope standards WHEN JUDGED BY TODAY'S ENERGY COSTS.

But, over a century plus, I think that the new German houses will make sense.

Many Germans opt for even higher standards, and there is a voluntary standard as well (forgot the name but it is something like PassiveHaus).

Best Hopes for Minimum Energy Maximum Conservation Building,


Well, I am unable to find a listing of heating degree days for Munich Germany, but I am reasonably certain, just based on avg. monthly temperatures that the Willamette Valley is quite a bit warmer than Southern Germany and more warmer still than Germany as a whole. Willamette Valley has the maritime effect keeping the temperatures from swinging to the extremes that I would expect you would see in Germany with it being inland at 4 degrees or so farther north latitude on average.

Anyway, I do agree that it makes sense to build houses as small as one can be comfortable in, with high quality materials and sensible heat engineering designed to use as little energy as possible. Put that extra $40K into building or buying a sensible house rather than buying that Hummer.

Although I wrote Southern Germany, in my minds eye I was thinking Rhineland. Further north, but closer to the sea and a bit lower altitude than Bavaria.

White wine grapes (a very few reds) grow there. That is where the comparability came in.

And "wasting money" on too much insulation, windows that are "too good", etc. seems to me to be a preferred waste of resources.

Best Hopes for "Too Much" Energy Efficiency,


This is Pinot Noir country here. However, GW is making it more like Cabernet country every year. But we have ideal red wine climate.

You have to go to Northern Washington state (coastal area) to get into white wine country.

Best hopes for fine vintages...

The Rheinland is a lot warmer than the Munich area: closer to the Gulf Stream influence, and further from the Alps. The latter is why Munich is cooler on average than Berlin as well. The Willamette is much warmer than Bavaria (in which there is nearly no wine except for the Franconia area near the Danube).

Also, according to our experience the Willamette is much warmer than it once was... summer temperatures 35 and over are common now and were rare when I was a student (70s).

A bit late in posting I know.

Alan, one other thing that the French are doing is re-building and upgrading the medium/long distance buses and the medium distance trains (50 km or so).

I know that where I live (to the north of Nantes) they're planing on re-opening the rail link, so that I would be able to commute 5km, take a train to the city, and then go to work by tram. Also we already have flat-rate buses operating at 2$ a trip all over the departement.


Regarding the inelasticity of the demand for gasoline in the US, I followed up the linked story from the Jackson Hole newspaper which had included this statement:

In a USA Today/Gallup poll, people overwhelmingly said they would not move or change jobs in order to cut commuter miles, or use mass transit as their main transportation, even if gasoline prices climb to over $10 a gallon. In fact, they reportedly wouldn't take such actions no matter how high the price goes.

However, checking http://blogs.usatoday.com/gallup/ and http://www.galluppoll.com/ I couldn't find that exact statement. Here are the lastet surveys that Gallup has done that I could find:
do indeed speak to the inelasticity of the gasoline demand.

What I wonder though is what the difference will be between what people say they will do, and the subsequent actions should the situation arise.

For example (from the second link of mine), on the question of whether one would move from their existing home, indeed 86% rejected the idea no matter what the price of gasoline. However that is the wrong question to ask. The real question (which Gallup dared not ask?) would be: If you could no longer be assured of enough gasoline to support your required driving given your current residence, which choice would you make...

The article does note that the poll replies may be more bravado than reality.

But more and more, I think it was shortages, not high prices, that drove the cutbacks in the 1970s.

I concur that it was the unavailability of gasoline that really woke people up, not the (modest by world standards) price of gasoline. But Gallup didn't, and I doubt will, ask the question of what people would do when they can't find gasoline to buy.

Even without any supply disruptions, we are likely to see spot shortages (perhaps a week at a time rotating around the country). And I see little reason to think that next year will be much netter.

Add a supply disruption (just the threat of a hurricane shuts down coastal refineries, Intercoastal Canal barges and offshore production) and shortages are assured IMO.

One response to the 1970s gas lines was a move to larger gas tanks (i.e. more weight). I can still buy on eBay a second circular diesel tank that fits into the spare tire wheel well of my old Mercedes.

We may see the 110 gallon option on Hummers !

I am afraid that the lack of micro elasticity in demand (driving less, driving a higher fuel mileage car) will result in that old macro fuel saver; recession and depression. Works EVERY time !

Demand cannot exceed supply for an extended period, and we have already drawn down our inventory stocks.

Best Hopes for Conservation,


Alan, MPG with your old MB?

I get 30 to 31 mpg in city driving. Manual transmission, synthetic lubricants, good maintenance all help. I even have LEDs bulbs (except headlights) to reduce parasitic losses.

I got 30 mpg with 8.5 hours of stop & go driving evacing for Katrina with a full load (3 people w/o cars + luggage). Diesels idle on almost no fuel.

35 to 38 driving the speed limit on highways.

I can burn used motor oil (do NOT tailgate me then), ATF and veggie oil.

But the key to using 6 gallons/month is not driving most days.

Best Hopes for walkable neighborhoods,


We may see the 110 gallon option on Hummers !

Yes, but how do think Hummer owners will react psychologically when hundreds of dollars leaves their hands everytime they fill up. The other day I happened to watch a couple of gas-guzzler fill up. After they left I couldn't help checking the gas pump meters that these two vehicles had just used. What a surprise -- one had just bought $10, the other $15. I guess they were probably hoping that the price would soon drop or cheaper fuel could be found around the corner!?

My wifes comments exactly. With most prices on the rise it will be interesting what people continue to buy vrs home heating, gasoline, food.(ELP anyone?)
Was thier demographic - early 20's males? I have some neighbors like this with GIANT trucks. If it didn't have some nasty repercussions for all of us collectively I would find it ammusing.

But more and more, I think it was shortages, not high prices, that drove the cutbacks in the 1970s.

In theory, if the price was set right there never would be shortages, at least not for long. If there started to be less gas around than people were willing to pay for, then very soon the price would continue to go up until the buyers equaled the supply.

Unless it was an completely inelastic demand, but we know that's not the case. If gas was $1000 a gallon tomorrow, no one would contend that would not reduce demand tremendously, so it's not a completely inelastic demand.

But beyond that theoretic world, in the real world there would no doubt be rationing as there was in the 1970s long before prices spiraled totally out of control. So in the end I guess I agree with you.

Gasoline will, however, consume an increasing proportion of the household budget. Many, especially those near the economic margin will be forced to make savings elsewhere - that means less discretionary spending and less jobs. Those laid off will naturally drive less thus, in the scenario detailed in the survey, gasoline savings will be primarily be due to job losses.

My view is that the survey was mainly capturing 'instant responses' - once commuters have had to chance to appreciate how the gasoline price hikes will impact their budget and, above all, once word gets out that the prices hikes will not be temporary, attitudes will change.

The article didn't say why people would not switch to a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Maybe it was, "Because a Hummer is my substitute penis." But...maybe it was, "I want a Prius, but I'm upside down on my Explorer. I can't trade it in, and I can't afford to make payments on two cars."

During the Katrina price spikes, there was a waiting list months long for Priuses. Used ones were going for higher than new. Prices and sales of SUVs and pickups dropped, even in Texas. Once "attitudes change," it will be too late for many.

I distinctly remember in the 70's and early 80's in Western NC mountains seeing rural good ol boys who had sworn that they would never drive one of them furrin cars, driving whatever junky VW or Subaru they could get ahold of. Reality will sink in as gas gets painfully higher.

It would be interesting to see what the breakdown was for household income. Census Bureau figures show that households at the poverty level spend 15% of their income on energy (gasoline, heating oil, electricity, etc.) where households at the median spend only 5% of their income on energy. Of course, households at the poverty level will generally have the fewest options for improving their energy efficiency -- if you're already making a choice between food and taking the baby to the doctor, even buying a CFL instead of an incandescent may be a difficult choice.

5 bucks a gallon to clear the mind

The quote posted above is from the Jackson Hole Star Tribune http://www.jacksonholestartrib.com/articles/2007/06/03/news/business/f31...
a place where it likely resonates with a people who supposedly never surrender anything....

In a USA Today/Gallup poll, people overwhelmingly said they would not move or change jobs in order to cut commuter miles, or use mass transit as their main transportation, even if gasoline prices climb to over $10 a gallon. In fact, they reportedly wouldn't take such actions no matter how high the price goes.

What might be more surprising is that 41 percent of the respondents said they would not replace their cars for models that get better mileage no matter how high the price of gasoline climbs.

From the same town, different paper, http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=1795 an interview with Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the town residents:

Cheney acknowledged the national and international debate over climate change and asserted the Bush administration’s philosophy that technology can help address the problem.

“You don’t get to choose,” he said. “You don’t get to say, well, we’re going to just have a clean environment or, we’re just going to have plentiful supplies of energy.”

With attitudes like this, there is no "debate." Compromise is not on the minds of such people. Nature will have her way.

At the bottom of that article on jhnewsandguide.com is the full quote:

And I think to some extent, a lot of this gets solved by technology, as we move forward and we find ways to satisfy all those requirements. You don’t get to choose. You don’t get to say, well, we’re going to just have a clean environment or, we’re just going to have plentiful supplies of energy. We need to be able to do both.

That seems like a reasonable statement to make. Good governance has to be able to satisfy as many requirements of a nation as possible, and I'd agree that we can't choose to just do (1) efforst to have a clean environment, or (2) have plentiful energy supplies. Indeed, both are desperately needed, which is the problem.

true, quotes ripped from context are used to the advantage of the quoter, not the quotee.

However, "clean environment" and "plentiful supplies of energy" are both pretty relativistic terms, with a lot of flexibility built in to the definition.

There would be "plentiful supplies of energy" at present production rates if Americans were even a little more sensible about energy use. But the "American way of life is non-negotiable." And highways trump wildlands any day.

You don’t get to say, well, we’re going to just have a clean environment or, we’re just going to have plentiful supplies of energy. We need to be able to do both.

Which means we'll get neither.

Someone once said (or something to this effect): "More than one objective is no objective."

In "Five Bucks to Clear the Mind" the author cites a USA Today/Gallup poll: "people overwhelmingly said they would not move or change jobs in order to cut commuter miles, or use mass transit as their main transportation, even if gasoline prices climb to over $10 a gallon." Brave words, but how much faith can one put in "I can tough it out" statements once the pocketbook is seriously pinched? Besides, one has to wonder too about the origins of this kind of report. What question(s) did the poll ask? I wouldn't move or change my commuting routine either at $10 per gallon but I can walk to work.

My guess is that probably most people thinks of prices like this ($10 a gallon) as TEMPORARY and base their answers on that assumption.

' xactly. they think it will be temporary. that and a lot of machismo "i can take whatever those arab raghead terrorists can dish out, and "no, those arab ragheads terrorists cant tell me what to do" "i'm a 'merkun and i have a right to cheap energy", and "i drive a hummer because they are safer in an accident".

Hello Kwark,

This is not directed at you, but is more a general comment:

Obviously, as energy becomes much more dear, dramatic choices will have to be made in all aspects of our lives. I could see employers telling their employees that the heat or A/C will be shutoff in an effort to keep the company financially viable. The company cafeteria will be closed, even the microwaves, coffee-makers, and refrigerators will be removed to reduce costs-- back to the olden days of a sack lunch and a Thermos bottle.

The Dilbert computer cubicle will become quite uncomfortable when even personal fans are forbidden to save energy and jobs-- I expect workers to be head draped with moistened towells in the summer, then heavy jackets and gloves during the winter in colder climates. Still beats unemployment by a long shot.

During the heat season: your now unrefrigerated neighborhood grocery store will forbid shoppers lingering with their heads inside the freezer cases trying to temporarily cool off--too energy wasteful. Instead, expect filling out a 'picklist' of your choices, which store employees will quickly fill, then push out a small opening for you to place in your grocery cart.

When it is very hot & humid: the summer employee desireability of working in these grocery coolers and freezers will skyrocket. Especially if you cannot afford A/C or even swamp cooling at home; you can barely afford electricity for your refrigerator and a single lightbulb.

EDIT: IMO, grocery stores could use these coolers as 'profit centers': some people would PAY for the privilege of working inside a cooler when the outside weather is really hot & humid!

Emergency medicine or dentistry will offer interesting tradeoffs. For most postPeak, it maybe a long way [40 miles by oxen-cart ambulance?] to the modern hospital or dental office. Many will only afford to have a broken arm reset without anesthetics at the local medical tent, as is now done in some places. Bring your own whiskey to heavily imbibe before your root canal.

If we are smart: expect Humanure Recycling J-Jons in most corporate and shopping parking lots. This should be preferred to the stupid Zimbabwe choice of broken sewage infrastructure draining back into their potable water supplies, flooded housing, and sewage clogs. The J-Jons will also make it a lot easier to rescue abandoned newborns.

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

What is considered an acceptable P.O. total commute distance? <10 miles? <20 miles? i.e. if a Prius gets 48 city miles and the commute is 24 miles a day total, that's only 1/2 gallon of gas a day or $5 in this $10/gallon scenario. In cases like that, even paying $20/gallon for a $10/day commute still doesn't seem that much - only $220/month.

I have recieved calls from Gallup polls twice in my life; once while living in Walnut Creek, CA and another while living in Grosse Pointe Woods, MI. Both are very well off communities. Both calls were during the day, during the week. I lived in Walnut Creek a couple years, Grosse Pointe less than a year. I have lived in rural communities the other 40+ years. Why have I never recieved a call from them there? I suspect the polls are very skewed, representing the views of the very well off in the country. If you make over a quarter million dollars a year I imagine $50.00 a gallon gas would be no big deal.

NO MORE TALK OF DEMAND – FOR OIL (!) – is this fair to say ?

DOES the market-rules concerning oil demand / supply actually apply anymore?
(..for other energy sources for that matter ...)

…AS there are presumably no longer any swing-producers left, to mitigate the seasonal fluctuations (??!!)

I mean this – “the 85mbl/d-thing is” …… pumped – sold – transported - processed AND consumed “on-the-fly”, so to speak. AND the next day’s 85-thing follows the exact same pattern ….

-I can see the supply-issue (producers; this is ALL we have today, sorry), and
-I can also spot the demand-destruction-issue
(Sold out at 70$ …sorry, come back tomorrow, then bring 71$ ...… This will be the order of the day when realization of PO sinks in ...I guess)

BUT – “the REAL mental”-demand for oil is way higher world-wide than today’s 85mb/d, referring to EIA/IEA future forecasts, but not at 70$ plus, only at 40-50-60$ …

Someone (most people?) are curbing their average usage of petroleum, it just must be so – because there have never been more cars and drivers on the planet – keeping in mind China/India are adding millions of cars to the overall number each year now. And these new drivers buy their cars to use them, yeh ?

Whatever you understand from the above – I will try to explain how and where I understand demand / supply. And keep in mind the fancy ideas the Japanese incorporated in the 90’s – those of “JUST-IN-TIME”-supply, supposed to reduce the excess costs of stock-piling…

I understand the concept of demand /supply for ITEMS
- stuff coming in a box or from a shop – so when stock piles go down , they just order more from the manufacturer – who in turn just produces more, NORMALLY at a fixed and preset price.

I do not understand supply/demand anymore for oil (energy) – I only see supply / demand-destruction – where do I go wrong?

How much will the “last barrel” cost – and for what use?

I'll try to supply you with an answer.

There doesn't seem to be a problem with the supply and demand model. Supply and demand are lines or curves on a chart. Where they cross is "the price." But you can plot a quantity and price anywhere along each curve.

Where one can purchase a product for much less than one is willing to pay, the difference IIRC is called economic rent. Companies spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get at those economic rents.

One way is to form a cartel and limit supply. The diamond industry does this. The trick is to figure out whether revenues from the people who drop out (demand destruction) will be favorably offset by people who are willing to pay more.

There are lots of things I would like to buy but cannot afford. An original Monet painting comes immediately to mind. Yet selling Monet paintings is highly profitable. There are people who would pay virtually anything for one. Rare wines come to mind as well.

When you speak of telling someone to "come back tomorrow and bring $71" that person may never be able to pay $71 and he is out of the market until the price drops down to $70 again. On the other hand, there are lots of people who can easily pay $100 and plenty of people who can pay $500.

The old story goes like this. There wasn't much $1 gasoline. There was a little more $2 gasoline. There is a fair amount of $3 gasoline and lots of $5 gasoline. There are oceans of $50 gasoline but it isn't for you and me. It is for governments and the wealthy.

If I'm willing to pay $1,000 for gasoline, even if the entire economy has collapsed, someone, somewhere, will be willing to get me that gasoline. Even at $1,000 there will be sufficient supply, and if there isn't, well just tap into that unused sea of $2,000 gas.

Imagine the psychological thrill of driving your Bently past the rest of us in our horse and buggy.

By the way, if you think India and China break the model because they pay the same as us for gasoline, they have made tradeoffs. Their cars are built like 60's era Datsun 510s. There is no safety equipment. They have traded safety for gasoline. And even in China, there are those who can purchase $1,000 gasoline.

thx John McFadden

I follow your assumptions - and sort of agree. ..and (but)

My point is that oil start to resemble the Monet, “old one of a kind wine" or diamonds – unique stuff – NOT possible to crank up volumes anymore (finite) – Only possible to get hold of through auction-kind of procedures.
“WHO bid the most today-style?!” – will get it, there is no asking-price so to speak.. it is all about psychology

I can draw a weird parallel towards a famine, where food is in short SUPPLY, BUT DEMAND for the same is at a premium … but it is simply not there … consequence is death.

Oil (and fossil energy) will follow the same pattern as in this famine anecdote …

Adding some philosophy

In some decades when the unavoidability of “no oil” is for all to see - Who can speak of demand / supply then …(?) , remember we are entering this path these days ...
In 2100 there is no supply – BUT there is an “old hang-over named DEMAND” inside the rich mans head – but can this DEMAND be served? – as there is no supply?

– Reverse chicken / egg-story - As for OIL, who goes first Supply OR Demand ?
- I say DEMAND is gone, leaving us with the consept of DEMAND-destruction only - from here on and out....

If I'm willing to pay $1,000 for gasoline, even if the entire economy has collapsed, someone, somewhere, will be willing to get me that gasoline. Even at $1,000 there will be sufficient supply, and if there isn't, well just tap into that unused sea of $2,000 gas.

This only makes sense if there are fewer enough people able to pay the $1000/gal price to adjust the demand downward (destroy demand) to meet the available supply.

In a hyper-inflationary environment, I can see where suppliers might be reticent to sell gasoline at any price to a country where the currencies worth is dropping on a daily or hourly basis.

I was, of course, talking in constant 2007 dollars. Regardless, anyone who would be willing to pay $1,000/gal for gasoline is sufficiently diversified that a collapse of US currency isn't a great concern.

Even in a total economic collapse somewhere off in the future, the very rich and the very poor will always be with us.

I like the sign over the bar that says "Free beer tomorrow."

From a news item above about rising gas prices in Indiana:

"Some small businesses on the move are looking for properties with rail access to eliminate some high shipment costs, he said."

Can this be true? A great many businesses are still located along rail corridors, but their sidings are rusted and overgrown, the rail-loading doors bricked up, and they receive and ship by truck.

Rail obviously has a big, and growing, advantage for long-distance transport of large shipments. But does that apply to local service to smaller businesses?

Alan or someone, please enlighten me.

Some railroads are interested in single car shipments, some are not.

*ALL* short line railroads want the small shipper. Some Class I RRs want the small shipper, some do not. It also depends upon the rail line. If you are on a main line operating close to capacity, they will not sacrifice dollars to pick up pennies.

Today, I would expect erratic deliveries in most locations, but that is improving. Freight RRs are investing $10 billion this year.

Boxcars are passe. It costs $ to handle containers but that is becoming the standard (unless one handles bricks, lumber, steel, etc.) Note the VW tram in Dresden. Those are containers on the back.

Perhaps boxcars will make a comeback (more labor to load & unload) so serve mixed cargo. I do not know.

Best Hopes for Rail Transportation,


Thanks, Alan

The moral would seem to be: if you want a rail option, locate on a short line.

I'm no expert, but my impression was that the ubiquitous shipping container has made intermodal the way to go. It should be feasible for all the businesses in a given community to truck containers to and from a central freight rail hub. It isn't that 1st or last mile where most of the savings from switching back to rail from truck will occur.

A bit off topic but a relevant economic observation I think.
I have for the last six years been in the rental property business in Texas. It is the worst market right now that I experienced yet. No explanation but it seems to be almost impossible to fill vacancies in the $600-$900 range. Hardly any lookers, and the ones that are are not qualified. People seem to be staying put at the moment.

I assume that you are talking about residential real estate?

The first thing that occurs to me is a sharp drop in the number of people working in construction, especially illegal immigrants.

This presumed drop construction employment among undocumented workers is widely believed to be a contributing factor to the official unemployment rate being "low."

In any case, I think that the real estate slowdown (slow motion collapse?) is having effects throughout the whole economy.


Another factor, investors/speculators who can't flip their properties for a profit (or even enough to payoff the loan) and who are putting them on the rental market. From the Housing Bubble Blog:

The St Petersburg Times reports from Florida. “Last year, New Tampa real estate agent Sabrina Westenbarger sensed that home buyers were disappearing. She branched into managing rental properties. Real estate investor Rob Duncan sensed the same trend. And in Pasco County, Betsy Morgan has seen accounts double in the past two years in her office in Trinity.”

“All are profiting in the hangover following the homebuilding boom. All are signing up clients who need to rent their houses, townhouses and condos because they cannot sell them in an overbuilt housing market.”

“‘Now there are more than just intentional investors,’ says Morgan, who has worked in residential property management for 23 years. ‘They’re what I call the accidental landlords. They’re not always the happiest or most knowledgeable of landlords.’”

“Yet, they collectively own a flood of homes for rent.”

“Over the past three years as the number of owner-occupied dwellings around Tampa Bay increased 5 percent, the dwellings with tenants, or needing them, rose 32 percent. In Hillsborough County, that included an increase of nearly 30, 000 properties whose owners live elsewhere.”

“‘You can get a $260,000 house for $1,200 a month,’ said Westenbarger.”

“‘Rents are trending down,’ said Lincoln Crone, president of St. Petersburg’s Alliance Property Management. ‘I think that’s more of a temporary situation. There’s a lot of competition for tenants now.’”

Regarding the real estate bust.

I just went thru the process of first listing my farmhouse(loghouse of over 3,000 sq ft..4500 under roof) for 6 long months.

Not a serious offer in that time. It had 23 acres of prime very prime open land also. Lots of water,near big rivers,privacy and much more. Not a serious offer.

Next I just auctioned it off, but kept a barn and some land for myself.

There was duing the 30 days prior to auction some fly-ins from many far states(Washington State,California,etc) and the advertising was world class. Of those who looked not a single once came to the auction. Not a one. Ohhh they talked of how they would love to live in the country in a real loghouse..oh they raphsodized so elequeotetly about it..yet not a single one came or bid online. Not a one.

The result was all the bidders and final buyers were local folk and people I knew.

It appraised in the $245-285 range but only brought half of that. The land went at a good price but not the residence.

Learned?: That those in the burbs and cities just want another McMansion. They are not really wanting to buy into the country. They want fake country. They do not want to survive. They are not serious. Its all a big fakeout.

But at least I beat out the even worse that I sense coming down the road. The total collapse of all real estate.

That was my plan. To beat it. I sorta did and let the rest go as water under the bridge but I was and still am convinced that most Amurkhans are living a dreamworld existence andt they do not wish to be awakened.

I will own my remaining land and building/s totally. No foreclosure to be forthcoming. No wannabe city types or suburbanites need come down my lane seeking succor. They will be met with a demand to get the hell off my land and never come back.

They have/had choices. They will live and now die by those choices. I have made mine.

I will network with my kinsmen and neighbors. Outhere will be a united front against pillagers and beggars. The lines are drawn. Let the cities fall then if they aren't able to see the handwriting on the wall before them. Let the 'Empire' die. Sorry but 'The Upside of Down' is wrong. There is no more time to pull something off.

Call me selfish. Call me a survivor. Its not evil. Its simply reality coming down and I await the first signs,not eagerly but just keeping a watch. Getting more and more prepared.

I had to get down on my knees in the dirt and rows and straighten all my corn that was blown over. Not all of it was but it was a muddy messy job with what had. Not something a yuppie wants to dirty his paws with. Not something the yuppie mommy wants to even consider. Its work if you want food out of the ground. Not something Oprah and Dr. Phil will clue you in on.


I think that I posted these lyrics last year. It’s a safe assumption that 95% plus of Americans (yours truly included) would consider this lifestyle the end of the world. But this is very close to how my mother grew up on a farm in South Carolina in the Thirties.

Coal Miner's Daughter
Loretta Lynn

Well, I was born a coal miner's daughter
In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler
We were poor but we had love
That's the one thing my Daddy made sure of
He shoveled coal to make a poor man's dollar

My daddy worked all night in the Van Lear coal mine
All day long in the field hoeing corn
Mama rocked the baby at night
Read the Bible by a coal oil light
And everything would start all over come break of morn

Daddy loved and raised eight kids on a coal miner's pay
Mama scrubbed our clothes on a washboard every day
I've seen her fingers bleed
To complain there was no need
She'd smile in Mama's understanding way

In the summertime we didn't have shoes to wear
But in the wintertime we'd all get a brand new pair
From a mail-order catalogue, money made by selling a hog
Daddy always seemed to get the money somewhere

I'm proud to be a coal miner's daughter
I remember well, the well where I drew water
The work we done was hard
At night we'd sleep, cause we were tired
I never thought I'd ever leave Butcher Holler

Well a lot of things have changed, since way back when
And it's so good to be back home again
Not much left but the floor
Nothing lives here anymore
Just a memory of a coal miner's daughter

>Learned?: That those in the burbs and cities just want another McMansion. They are not really wanting to buy into the country. They want fake country.

Thats a good thing. Would you really want a mass of people moving next to you, taking your crops or doing who know what. What happens in the Urbs stays in the Urbs.

>loghouse of over 3,000 sq ft..4500 under roof

Thats one hell of a big log cabin!

Our neighbors across the road have decided to sell their 5 acre parcel (with relatively new house and horse barn) and move back to town. The owner told my husband it was just too much work keeping up the property. It had a a pretty big garden but these folks who moved in three years ago never planted anything - just took care of the horse and mowed the lawn. They paid $750K but bought at the top of the market. They came from a McMansion neighborhood and are hoping to return there. I guess contry living was not all it was cracked up to be.

Funny how you have to be qualified to rent, but not to get a mortgage.

I remember a comment last year by a real estate pro (who owned several rental properties) on Financial Sense, who noted that people--whom we would not rent to--could get 100% loans to buy the same property.

From the Housing Bubble Blog:

The Modesto Bee reports from California. “A bleak picture was painted of the region’s housing market at a recent conference for real estate appraisers. ‘This year, we’re going to see prices drop in every market across the country for the first time since the Great Depression,’ said Steven Smith, a property appraiser and consultant from San Bernardino.”

“Smith predicted that home values throughout the country will fall 25 percent to 50 percent below what they were at their peak, which was in 2005 or 2006, depending on the region.”

“New home prices already have declined dramatically in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. This March, the median-priced new home in Merced County was $310,990, which was nearly 22 percent below March 2006, according to Hanley Wood Market Intelligence.”

Well, not every market.

Here in Huntsville Alabama, we are on the receiving side of the latest BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure).

A major command is being moved from DC to Huntsville. They are building McMansions as fast as they can for all the bigwigs.

I had a tenant a couple years back who went through a bankruptcy a year or so before he rented from me. He and his family stayed for a couple of years and always made the rent, but during that time had his truck repossessed. Six months after that he purchased a house with 100% financing and if I recall correctly, somewhere around 6% interest.

boby, what city are you in?

I've got a house next door to me that was remodeled and sold a few months ago to some spanish-only speaking people. They seem to have walked off, but I'm not sure the note owner has noticed yet.
Mortgages are still low enough and property values inexpensive enough in Galveston that many potential renters are purchasing homes. If you want to subdivide a property into a rooming house, it will stay rented. And if you have a property that will command a premium price, it will stay rented. But the people with good working class or lower management/white collar jobs were all siphoned out of the rental market here to buy homes in the new-house suburbs on the mainland.
My last girlfriend is in the rental house business. She's been having the same problems with a couple of her properties, but her solution was to be less picky about criminal convictions and not raise rents on good tenants. This of course means her income is down.

I'm in Tyler (100,000). My (residential) rental properties are a dozen or so miles away in Lindale (10,000). It has always been a good growing area up there, often I could hardly get the sign out before my phone was ringing. This time I have had to add an ad in the local classified but I haven't gotten a half dozen calls in two weeks.
My properties are clean and comfortable, and in the price range of working class folks.
Interestingly, a large portion of the calls are people who are moving from farther out communities who want to get closer to Tyler (for work) but don't
want to live in the city (haha, like Tyler is the city). The crux of the problem, in my opinion, is gasoline prices.
Funny but true: I took an application from a young guy who had a $1200 month take home income. So far so good right?

What kind of car? 350pickup, 4WD. So I said "how much gas does that thing burn?" He says, "Well I fill up every two days" I said "H'mm, how big is the tank?" He said "Oh, 26 or 28 gallons I think." Well lets see, 15 tanks a month at $75 a tankful, thats $1125 a month leaving $75 for food, shelter and truck note.

The F350 will soon be meeting the brick wall of reality.

Tyler is a nice city, best in East Texas. My former girlfriend, the one with the rent property, is always muttering about those monster trucks "Do you know how stupid you look?". The car companies have financed every halfwit in America with a new car or pickup and $5,000 cash back. I think they're imploding, too, just like the homebuilders and mortgage companies.
I'm pretty scared of debt. When oil prices crashed in 1988, I damn near took bankruptcy. Now, the only debts I have are month-to-month, I pay off my credit cards. I owe $70,000 on a mortgage and the payments are less than rent. I could sell some stock and pay off the mortgage, but I'm not going to overreact

I agree with you Bob on Tyler being a great small city. I live in the old district in a house built in 1931. It was considered to be "out of town" when it was constructed
back then. Still has a cistern behind the house hand dug with brick walls about 40 ft. deep. I guess during the depression you could get anybody to do anything.
You are also right about the monster trucks around here. They are everywhere, I shake my head everytime I think about what the note probably is on those $40,000 monsters.
I'm scared of debt too. Had some hard times after the oil crash took everything back in the 80's. Everything I have for rental property I own outright. If I have to I can take the rent down to get some income.

Yesterday the local paper said real estate values increased in the county an average of 9%. Ha. Further down in the article they said "appraisal" values went up 9%. In short, retail prices are in the real world falling but appraised values are going up in order to collect more taxes. In my opinion county funding is standing on shaky legs.

The article in The Independent. Is climate change happening "three times faster" than

  • the three times faster it was last week
  • the three times faster a month ago
  • the five times faster than before that
  • does it take into account the ice melting?

Everytime I look at climate change, it's "much faster" than previously thought or predicted by models.

My guess is that is how energy depletion will feel. It will hit all of a sudden. The systems are not linear and there is all sorts of feedback.

cfm in Gray, ME


"There will be more flooding and less drought than has been forecast in widely used projections of global warming, according to a new study.

The new findings suggest climate modelers are overstating how much rainfall will dry up in a warmer climate, says Wentz. "With respect to severe weather events like hurricanes, I am not sure what the implications are. But this much more rain worldwide could certainly pose one of the most serious risks (from flooding) associated with climate change," he says."

As for the "timed release" it seems of the new dire warnings. That also seems to be a pattern of media manipulation.

Note that science is now "modeling". If its wrong, oh just change the model to fit the concluded paradigm.

Imagine that Water vapor wasn't properly taken into account in a CO2 model.

Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

PrisonerX, any comments on something I posted the other day:

Is it possible that the unusually warm winter and hot spring have accelerated ice melt in the Arctic thus causing the cooling in the Atlantic?

The spring weather pattern seems to be the same as last year; hot April followed by a cooler wetter May. If the pattern holds then we will see a change to drier hotter (20c+) weather during June, very hot (30c+) in July followed by a wetter cooler August and an Indian summer in the Autumn.

This hotter then cooler pattern would seem like a natural reaction to a hotter climate; heat melts ice, ice melt cools Atlantic, Europe receives cooler weather, cycle repeats.

A layman's view.


The following article seems to follow on in the same vane:

Greenland ice melt speeds up
Warming: Trend is confirmed via satellite, flyovers

Their observations confirm the climate's warming trend in the far northern reaches of the world, they say, where changes in the circulation of waters feeding into the Arctic Ocean are altering crucial patterns of ocean currents there with effects that are increasingly uncertain.

The pace of glaciers sliding into the sea along Greenland's southwestern coast "is speeding like gangbusters this year," said William Krabill, leader of a NASA team that has just ended a three-week airborne mission probing glacier dynamics with lasers and radar.

Ironically, the cool May(s) in Europe may actually be a sign of the climate heating. But, as I said, my view is only that of a layman, albeit, one that has to make decisions based on what I believe is happening without the comfort of actually knowing what is happening.

I'd be interested on peoples views on what is actually happening.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Hello Burgundy,


Ice on land breaks up, flows, and melts dramatically different than ice in water. The rising occurence of glacial earthquakes demonstrates how fast glacial conditions can exhibit rapid change.

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

Greetings Burgundy,

My views differ from most on this board. I think CO2 from man is not playing the role that is claimed. What is disappointing is that there is no middle ground on that subject. You're labeled a heretic so to speak.

Anyway. Over at a board I visit there were some recent shots showing that on one side it appeared Greenland was melting and the other was ice buildup.

The subject of underwater heating by volcano's is brushed off as it can't be doing it. This answer is totally without any merit. Volcanic activity on this planet above the water is only 25 percent or less than what is happening under the surface. I just watch a documentary on Mt Kilamanjaro (speeling). The glaciers at the top are melting. The CO2 crowd says CO2 is to blame. The temperature up at the top is below freezing at that altitude, so I can't understand that logic. And the group that climbed took some readings while up there of the volcanic activity. The top of the Mountain is HOT. From memory I think the magma is just below the summit, only 400 feet down. Steam vents and holes with steam and heat. So hot the guy was burning his fingers trying to insert the tube to get a reading.

The ocean at depths of 9000 feet are warming. Even the researchers that found this say, its means people have to reexamine their thoughts on GW.

This year the seal fleet complained of not enough ice for their hunting. A month later the Coast Guard had to pull them out of the build up of ice. One of the CG ships was stuck. That was a fast freeze. Salinity perhaps an additional cause.

There are reports of huge snowstorms in China, and Europe, and I think it was even Nepal. If its warming overall this to me doesn't say Global Warming, it says CLIMATE CHANGE, and something and I think it starts with the sun. I didn't post it here, but a recent find showed that the sun when it emits a blast of energy had the "fractal" shape that is common in all of nature. Shocked the researchers, and now they have to find why.

Sea ice is melting. Look at the maps, its sea ice for the most part, and that means the seas are warming.

People poo poo that mars, Pluto and the other planets are also showing warming and say its not the same. How can they make that claim without explaining why the other planets are warming as well as the earth (planets with an atmosphere)

Water vapor has been causing terrible floods for the last several years all over the world. Huge amounts of rain. The US had huge record snowfall amounts. All signs of water vapor in the atmosphere that has to be purged. Its coming from the seas. I think the seas are warming. I don't know about you and Al Gore, but when I put my tea kettle on the stove I find its better to locate the flame UNDER the pot than try to heat it from above.

Just a piece of what I think and search. Others here don't agree, but also note, they don't look either.

75 to 80 percent of volcanic activity is under the sea and no one knows the volume. Gakkel Ridge and the Woods Hole people. They were shocked, and I mean shocked when they went to investigate it. Damn near melted their gear at a place they thought was dormant, and thats a long ridge up north. Woods Hole is also going to the South Pole to place instruments to find out about melting "from below the ice". They are very careful in how they state things. Funding is a major issue for many, and to go off the CO2 bandwagon is dangerous. Woods hole went back later to check further on what they had found at Gakkel ridge, and I have asked and looked and can't find out what they found. It was a partnership with some Europeans, and I have asked on other boards if they have found the data, and either they didn't go or they aren't talking. Or none of us can locate the data. Though I have to admit I need to write them now, because I can't find it. They have been generally responsive to questions.


They actually thought the instruments were set up incorrectly and re-calibrated them. Nope same result. I think they even had to helicopter in a tech to do it because they didn't believe the findings. he reset them and still it was way hot down there. I think the above link will tell the story.

Water vapor drives our climate and its changes in my laymans opinion and in several experts too.

Note volcano's put out a lot of greenhouse gases inlcuding CO2. They say they include that, and it isn't enough. What they don't say is "WHAT" activity they are including. Above ground is just a fraction. Might explain the huge influx they are claiming now. Why the oceans are "saturated" in the Artic. Places that are known to have lots of underwater volcanic activity. Yet, its ignored, why/

this link also says they are going back this summer. The second voyage I referred to was supposed to have happened 2004/05 I recall. This then will make their third trip back. Check out Woods hole for the info on other under sea research. They just had to pull out one of their devices that was melted into the rocks. didn't expect that either and that was recent. Might still be on the first page. Another location looking at magma under the sea.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

"They are very careful in how they state things. Funding is a major issue for many, and to go off the ... bandwagon is dangerous. Woods hole went back later to check further on what they had found at Gakkel ridge, and I have asked and looked and can't find out what they found. It was a partnership with some Europeans, and I have asked on other boards if they have found the data, and either they didn't go or they aren't talking. Or none of us can locate the data."

Very familiar story. Dr. Peter Wadhams who has been measuring the thickness of Arctic Ice from British(and now American) Submarines, has had his funding to analyze the data denied twice.(probably more) The powers that be don't want this data out there.


"Peter Wadhams of the University of Cambridge collected the data during a cruise on a British military submarine in 2004. He says oceanographers at the Natural Environment Research Council, who hand out government research funds, won't pay for analysis of the data. This week, the saga seemed poised to escalate as Wadhams surfaced in Alaska after another cruise beneath the Arctic with new data that NERC again won't pay to have analysed. Only close-up investigation from submarines can measure what is happening to the ice, and after being denied by NERC Wadhams received funding for the latest trip from the US government's Office of Naval Research."

I took out the CO2 because I'm not sure we are making the same point. If your research is saying Global Warming is a far worse problem than suspected, your funding is being cut.

prisonerx says:

Note that science is now "modeling". If its wrong, oh just change the model to fit the concluded paradigm.

All the hard sciences rely on models. The point is to refine the models as new data points arrive and can be fitted. So, of course, an early model is going to be problematic. That's scientific research, for you.

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

No, thats scientific research for you. Modeling becomes the method and the "grail". Like you said you get new data and you plug it in. That doens't make the model correct from the get go. You rely on what you started with and then fit, twist, bend.

The models showing water vapor input and drought are now claimed to be wrong. But you say oh, Okee dokey, just plug in some data and keep it inside the framework so we still have CO2 as the culprit and make it work.

This is not good science.

Models are not facts. Models are stated as facts, the model says this, etc. Anyone knows you can take numbers and models and make them say what you want, just like the hockey stick.

has he released his data for that yet, no, will he give out his method no. But you expect people to buy it because he is a "scientist". Baloney. What about the united Nations report, you want to stand by it and its conclusions and it processes to make its claims. Thats a model too.

PS I posted because Burgundy asked. I don't intend to get into a debate on this. Go right ahead with your belief system. I will go on with mine. If you wish to debate this, there are plenty of sites that include what I have stated above. Go argue with them if you wish or dare. They have more expertise than I. I find their arguments and the data they show a better fit than what CO2 models spit out.

Nile River Findings and the Sun, but no thats an exception you say. Baloney.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Sir, prisonerx, you can believe anything you want, but the hard sciences are based on the building and testing of models[usually called hypotheses which becomes theories as fact]; so as new data points arrive, the model may be tweaked if necessary to accomodate them. Atmospheric science is exrremely complex, and requires complex mdoels based on computer programs. Newtonian physics is much simpler so the model [Newton's laws of motion] is easier to express.

I don't claim to know if global warming is wholly, partially, or not at all man-made. I also know that my opinion on this matter is irrelevant, but presumably from the tone of your last post, yours presumably is. Personally, I have a tendency to trust experienced scientists over quacks.

I suggest that you go to http://www.realclimate.org/ where real scientists provide balanced discussion of the issues.

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

I live in North Central Texas on the OK border. We have had thunderstorms every night for almost 2 weeks. This is totally unheard of here. By now we should be hot and dry.(Not that I'm complaining; I prefer it this way.)

Weather and MY observations,those observations being worth little to scientists but mean a lot to me.

When I was a youngster and lived on the farm with my grandparents about 3 miles from where I now sit typing this,I remember the winters very well. I think all kids do for snow was a blessing to us then. School maybe out, the ground suddenly covered in white, playing it in and making snowballs. A magical wonderful thing to a child.

We had to chop pond ice for the cattle to drink. You couldn't pack water to the animals and so the pond was the only way they could drink,mules as well. All animals had to get water somewhere. We drew ours from a cistern which caught the runoff from the roof.

As a teenager living in North St. Louis county I also remember the winters. We would ice skate and play on a large lake across the road from the then brand new suburbs that were something new on the scene in the north county. It previously was just outlying very small farming towns but were now starting to become suburbs since McDonnell Aircraft was a huge employer and the automobile plants likewise.

So the ice formed very very thick on that about 3 or 4 acre lake. We played on it for weeks and weeks. We had enough snow that it stuck around a long time back then. Later as we had cars we would drive to Forest Park and skate with girls on the iced over ponds there.

Later married in the same area I would take my children to play in the snow and on the ice. I then moved to the south and goodbye to the winters.

Buying my farm in '85 and having horses it was now only the ocassional winter when I had to chop pond ice. Now its 2007 and I haven't seen a pond iced over in years. It never snows much here now.

The weather has changed in the 68 years I have been on this planet. It has changed and hasn't returned to what it once was like. Not here and not in north St. Louis county.

It gets far hotter earlier in the year. It stays hotter longer in the year. I don't care what scientists say. This is what you live with.

Now the rest of the world is melting suddenly they admit that YES boz and girlz the world IS CHANGING.

I knew it all along. Polar bears knew it too. Eskimos I am sure did too...but until the intrepid 'scientists' told us so we weren't supposed to be ASS-UMING anything. They have to bless it first.

For all the science in the field of agriculture? They have not prospered us much IMO. They have introduced foreign species into our environment. They have experimented on the living earth and many times got it totally wrong. The 'globalization' movement has not been kind. Our foodstuffs appear to be tainted a lot of times and the highly scientically processed junk at the grocery stories tastes like SHIT.

We have genetically altered swine and it tastes like pink mush. Won't take a cure. Hogs raised on concrete and fed God know what are tasteless mush. Ditto the beef. Full of ground up sinews,bone chips and other unsavory items. The good stuff appears to go elsewhere, perhaps to rich Arabs, or whatever or whoever. What is left is abysmal.

Milk now is at almost $5/gal. Bread is still going up. We eat trash and they tell us its good.

I ate far better on the farm as a youngster back when we might now have been considered poor white trash and in need of welfare entitlements and food stamps.

The scientists are now in bed with the corporations and apparently in total control of our drugs and medical care. They appear to have a firm hand on most of our life and lifestyles as well.

They got it all wrong. What appears to be best for the common good? Its wrong for the soul of man. (not my quote and not that accurate but good enough for me).

I buy potatoes at the store. They cannot measure up to what comes out of my garden. Store tomatoes are not scientifically altered and better. They are tastless garbage. Ditto every thing else.

Where does the trash come from I wonder? China? California?
Why is food so bad? Why does science seem to be on a profit motive? Why are we apparently happy with such junk? Why does television and the MSM tell us a pack of lies and bullshit?

Now we will live with the results but I just can't understand why it went so awry?

So I am back living a few miles from where I was born and grew up. I use no medicine nor drugs. I have never been to a hospital except for getting a cut sewed up or a recommended health test. I feel pretty good for my age. I intend to die on this ground and be buried at the foot of my great great grandfathers grave.

Last week someone had a good idea in my hometown. They put up 3 or 4 metal overhead garage shelters and a big sign stating a 'farmers market' was being started. Made me happy to see that. Sometimes folks on their own do get it right. When you get others in charge who don't live near you is when things go bad. I have been to DC many times. They live in a dream world of their own making. They are destroying us.

Airdale-my observations so no URLs available and no quoted material..I make this shit up Eric Blair and Oldhippie..so don't ask.

Airdale-my observations so no URLs available and no quoted material..I make this shit up Eric Blair and Oldhippie..so don't ask.

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this. I appreciate your observations. Please keep them coming. Don't let em get to you.

Airdale, I for one enjoy all your posts and every insight you care to share.

The weather has changed in the 68 years I have been on this planet. It has changed and hasn't returned to what it once was like. Not here and not in north St. Louis county.

You didn't need a degree or super-computer model to enable you to come to that understanding, did you. What I like most about your observations is you really don't need to defer to some arbitrarily defined authority. In many ways, it would be much better if the experts would take the advice of people like you, and the Inuit, and all the locals who know what their ecology has been and has become. In my opinion, you and all those like you are an incredibly valuable resource that is too often marginalised or simply ignored.

I appreciate the role science has held in helping to further our understanding of the universe we live in. Sadly, since the end of the enlightenment science seems to have become more and more the possession of governments and now corporations, doing their bidding and advancing their agendas at the expense of the commons, as it were.

This is not to say all science and all experts are held hostage to their benefactor’s agendas, simply that so many are that it is impossible to believe any pronouncements without looking beyond the credentials and intuitions to the source of the funding. Then the truth begins to become clearer. Maybe.

You know your local ecology. You know it as it was. You know it as it is. Maybe 68 years isn’t enough to make sense of any trend but it sure is long enough for you to have noticed the changes. Just as it has been long enough for my father-in-law, 85, to remember the snows of winter that no longer fall, and the myriad other changed patterns he willingly shares whenever asked. Like you, he’s lived in the same place for his entire life, except for 6 wonderful years stuck in Burma with the RAF.

Keep us informed, as well as entertained, for as long as it brings you pleasure.

Well thank you for speaking out and as well for asking.

I think sometimes I get into rant mode too easily. Perhaps its that I saw it with different eyes back then. Some might say its just that you don rose-colored glasses as you age but around here there are many my age,ones I went to school with and we pretty much agree on what I observe, such as the above on local weather.

Yet I can remember easily that onion laced warm cow's milk. Those very good fried chicken from free ranging chickens that wandered in the yard. The homemade bacon and ham.

Then I try to buy something that I hopefully can eat. Most I almost have to force myself. So its now come time for me to 'gravel' out some new potatoes and cook up some of last years canned greenbeans with those new potatoes.

Science was supposed to be our salvation. Its looks like it is standing on the sidelines as we go into the gorge. Maybe they screamed it out loud,maybe they played the MSM games, maybe the corpo fatcats made them say it with spin.

Whatever. Its bad and its coming straight on(the future hell).

Now a cyclone in the MidEast??? Don't tell me..normal weather? Jeez Louise..what the hell is next?


Reading your posts brought to mind the scene in Soylent Green where Edward G Robinson breaks down crying "How have we come to this?" For those who haven't seen this movie I strongly suggest it. I grew up in Algonac, Michigan. Every January there would be a 'shanty town' of ice fishing shantys that would appear on Anchor Bay. They would extend out onto Lake St Clair as far as the eye could see. People would drive their cars out onto the ice and an 'Ice Festival' was held on the Bay. This has not happened in a long time as the ice no longer forms as it used to.

Femme Femme Femme

I saw this exhibition from France (a one stop only in New Orleans as a post-Katrina gift from our French Friends :-) of 85 painting of French women from the late 1800s till 1914.

Some paintings were of high society ladies and others of middle class recreation (a striking painting of the artist's 14 year old daughter with her bicycle and independent attitude :-). Two of prostitutes. And many were of working class women.

One thing that struck me was how hard the women worked and how worn most of their faces were. A woman serving soup to 4 working men on the farm, women and children collecting oysters at low tide, wine harvesting, milking a cow, cooking, factory work, seamstresses, vegetable sellers, harvesting wheat, a 50th wedding anniversary, going to church, a funeral and more.

France was far from being the worst place in the world during that period, but the faces of the peasants and working class women reflected a MUCH harder life than those "above" them in social standing. Far less true today.

Many Americans will likely have to compete for these hard working jobs post-Peak Oil. I question their ability to adapt.

Best Hopes for SOME mechanization,


Oil Producers' Brave New World, a Key Word Is 'Partnerships'

Countries like Venezuela don't care as much as they should about maximizing their revenues.

Well who here wouldn't salute that sentiment when it goes up the good old flag pole?

They care about control of their resources."

and a double raspberry here? Anyone, anyone?

This assertion--that National Oil Companies don't do a good job at bringing new production on line--is the emerging excuse for declining world crude oil production (relative to May, 2005), to which, I always ask "Why are the US Lower 48 and the North Sea in long term declines?"

There is of course some truth in the assertion about NOC's, but I think it's a rounding error. The peak of region is generally a result of the large fields rolling over and going downhill.

The function of oil companies, regarding conventional reserves in post-peak regions, is to slow the rate of decline of oil production.

And then there is the export issue.

Declining oil production in exporting countries + rising domestic consumption in exporting countries = a crash in exports.

For example, Mexico is currently showing a decline rate in exports of 16% per year (1/06 to 4/07).

WT, another possible factor is the lack of small independents to purchase old production and explore for smaller fields and step-outs. I suspect that Pemex or Aramco has a fixed overhead high enough that small producers are not economic. So the lower 48 decline rate of 2% per annum is at the low range of declines after the peak, and Pemex's 10% may be about the median range. Factored in with your Export Land hypothesis, hey man, we're all screwed!

Oilmanbob--you are exactly right, the big overhead companies, and PEMEX has some of the highest overhead anywhere, cannot afford low productivity wells. PEMEX has gotten used to 5000b/d wells at Cantarell and KU Maloob Zap.
They have a potential for a very large number of 50b/d wells at Chincontepec, but cannot affrod to direct their limited drilling capability in that direction. That is what they told a group of us a few weeks ago.

I've thought for a long time that one of the main reasons the American oil business got so big so quickly was private ownership of the mineral resources. The USA is unique in that reguard-everywhere else the sovereignty owns the minerals, and the landowners get squat.
In Texas, many of the landowners started their own oil companies from their share of the production. And wildcatters didn't have to deal with a buerocracy-they purchased a lease from the mineral owners. This cut the lead time to drill a well, and someone didn't have to be politicially connected to get a lease. It could be a poor boy thing.
Mexico had a whole lot of early production, but the operators down there acted terribly. They basicially stole the oil after the 1910 revolution started, and the Marines occupied Vera Cruz to continue the theft. The reaction was a clause in the Mexican Constitution prohibiting foreign ownership of the oil and setting up Pemex, and you've noted their difficulties in producing shallow 50bbl/day wells. If I were the king of Mexico, I would give the landowners a half interest in the production royalties, and change the constitution so that the landowner acted as an agent for the state in leasing the lands. I'd make it so any company owned in Mexico by Mexicans could lease those lands and produce. The advantage would be boom times in Mexico, and smaller fields could become economic.
So there's my pie in the sky scheme for all the countries of the world-why don't you give up a little to make a lot?
Keep your big production already found, your offshore rights, but let your own citizens get rich.

You are right. And it may happen once the existing govt. and Pemex collapse---say about 15 years from now.

Hello CrystalRadio,

As I have posted many times before:

If the FF-exporting countries trade their resources for only biosolar goods to optimize their decline-- they will enjoy long-term advantages.

If I was Chavez, I would go to full-on Peakoil Outreach, then:

Every incoming ship would be heavily laden with bicycles, wheelbarrows, hand-tools, SpiderWebRiding Infrastructure and railbikes & railbarrows, RR & TOD [yea Alan Drake!], PV panels, windturbines, Humanure Recycling J-Jons, solar hot water heaters, micro-breweries, heirloom seeds, birth-control pills & condoms, non-electric musical instruments, etc, etc.

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


Thank you for your serious and sensible answer in response to my rather facetious question. In plain English too for all viewers. I think if you passed that on to Chavez he would likely act on it, I think he is a sensible man too.

Hello CrystalRadio,

Thxs for responding. I emailed this strategic info to many embassies of FF-exporters long ago--no replies. Such is life.

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

Chavez did finish up a 2.2 GW hydroelectric dam (started before him) and started another 2.1 GW dam.

And he has speeded up construction of subway expansions and started Urban Rail in smaller cities. He has built a major commuter rail line into Caracas through tough terrain (can be used for freight) and is generally expanding the rail system there.

He has talked of a "Railroad of the South" going from Venezuela to Argentina east of the Andes mountains, mainly in the foothills of the Andes. Today these regions rely upon trucks over the Andes.

Some of his spending will last for generations.


crystalradio, every time I read these kinds of remarks, I look at the source, and usuaully see a free market moron. Why should the holder of a tangible good put it on the market? This is just the usual bleating by a person with the emotional level of a three year old - 'they're taking aswy my toy'.

Yes, I'm intending the insult.

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

Free market moron? That an oxymoron isn't it?

Just to be clear I don't think the freemarket is free and also that if a country has tangible assets they should use them to their benefit first. Unless of course the world suddenly were to go sane, throw all resources into a common pot and all eat or go hungry together. But then I still believe in the Age of Aquarius, Diggers and those little green guys from Ireland...the Irish Rovers or was that Rolf Harris from Australia?

When I was in my early 20's I believed and promoted the idea that if all the world's resources were shared, there would be enough for everyone. I now know that is WRONG. There is not enough for everyone.(Maybe there was back then but the population has doubled.) Also, from the perspective of hindsight, if you believed what I promoted back then, and expressed it, you got laid, a lot. Definitely serious reinforcement for that behavior and belief. Don't get me wrong, the free market is more rigged than the local small casinos. I guess the point I'm trying to make is, both views are invalid. There is not enough for everyone and the only allowed game is rigged. You need to go from there and base your future actions on that.

Found this on CNN.com.
13 Great Fuel-Efficient vehicles!
Chevy full size pickup at 15 MPG !
I thought you'd all love that.


These 30-, 36-foot boats with gas engines, it's too expensive to use them."

Robert works in the fishing department Sportsman's Warehouse.

We went essential non-gas-wasting bass fishing on Thursday May 31, 2007 at Abiquiu lake.

Only about 275 miles round trip from Albuqueruque. 2006 Honda CR-V AWD 5 speed manual got 26.27 mpg on trip towing 12 foot flat bottom boat.

Robert got two big bass. Here's one.

The 1973 12 foot Lowe lake jon is powered by a 1995 evinrude outboard. We probably used slightly over a gallon of gas from about 08:30 until 15:00 when it got windy and rough on the lake.

Robert said he has a friend that has a $45,000 boat. Friend, Robert said, is a professional bass tournament.

Robert commented that it is getting too expensive to use $45K boat for recreational fishing.

We are concerned about peak oil on our essential non-gas-wasting fun trips in the future.

On return to Albuquerque, I received

in the mail. Good news. It got docketed and is now before the court.

We are replying to NSA's response to our motion to void judgment in our visibilty 1997 NSA FOIA lawsuit.


to let the Court understand what happened.

We are likely to file a genocide criminal complaint affidavit because we are in front of the court for

In July 1980, Zbigniew Brzezinski of the United States met Jordan's King Hussein in Amman to discuss detailed plans for Saddam Hussein to sponsor a coup in Iran against Khomeini. King Hussein was Saddam's closest confidant in the Arab world, and served as an intermediary during the planning. The Iraqi invasion of Iran would be launched under the pretext of a call for aid from Iranian loyalist officers plotting their own uprising on July 9, 1980 (codenamed Nojeh, after Shahrokhi/Nojeh air base in Hamedan). The Iranian officers were organized by Shapour Bakhtiar, who had fled to France when Khomeini seized power, but was operating from Baghdad and Sulimaniyah at the time of Brzezinski's meeting with Hussein. However, Khomeini learned of the Nojeh Coup plan from Soviet agents in France and Latin America. Shortly after Brzezinski's meeting with Hussein, the President of Iran, Abolhassan Bani-Sadr quietly rounded up 600 of the loyalist plotters within Iran, putting an effective end to the Nojeh Coup.[5] Saddam decided to invade without the Iranian officers' assistance, beginning the Iran-Iraq war on 22 September 1980.

And hope for settlement before matters get far worse.


Humming along
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Sunday, June 03, 2007

After 25 years in medical sales, Marleen Sakie retired, only to begin a new career selling the ultimate statement vehicle: the Hummer. For the past two years, she's been at Central Hummer East in Beachwood, a dealership that features its own off-road test track (complete with moguls, rocks and a 40 percent side slope). The grandmother from Strongsville drives a black Hummer H3 herself. Between customers, she answered a few questions from PDQ's John Campanelli...

...Oldest customer you've sold a Hummer to?

I sold an H2 to a guy on Saturday. He was 79 years old, an ex-Marine from the Korean War. He was just thrilled...

What do people say when you tell them you sell Hummers?

Well let's see, (laughing) let's keep it clean. . . . I think they think it's cool.

What kind of mileage do Hummers get?

For the H3, which is our baby Hummer, it's between 15 and 20 miles per gallon. The H2 is between 9 and 13.

Could you sell Al Gore a Hummer?

Wow. . . . I think I could. Yeah, I could.

What effect have high gas prices had on business?

It actually hasn't had any effect at all.

Yahoo puts the total cost per mile of driving a H2 Hummer at $1.57 per mile, over a five year period (10,000 miles per year). I assume that this was at $2.50 per gallon. (A new Civic, over five years, is about 50¢ per mile.)

It looks like an increase to $3.00 per gallon would only increase the total cost by about 4¢ per mile, or a percentage increase of about 2.5%. However, this does not take into account accelerated depreciation of gas guzzlers that occurs as gasoline prices increase.

My dad sold cars for 40 year.

The first rule of the car business: Business is always good!

No matter how bad it really is. A Hummer dealer will never say their sales have tanked due to gas prices. It would be admitting a problem with their product.

Regardless of what reality and common sense may dictate, sales is about selling. And selling is about being upbeat about your product.

The bummer bs rolls right along!

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

A very interesting societal piece which has attracted attention in the UK (and which also mentions PO):


The title 'How Britain is eating its young' is excellent.


Stanley was so tuned in

something to sharpen you up and make you.... for the ultra violence

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Hello Andyh,

Yes, an excellent newslink. The Quote:
But what if the behaviour of broken British children is less a violent reaction to their inadequate pasts than calculated defiance against their hopeless futures?

This is merely the growing expression of Hans Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome [GAS]. It is important to remember that most lifeforms, including us, are genetically programmed to express increasingly detrimental and violent behavior to facilitate a rapid Dieoff. Just basic evolutionary fitness competition to maximize blowback; it merely insures that the violent young adults have the best chance to secure a future destiny.

We haven't seen anything yet compared to what is coming postPeak.

Recall my earlier posting on naming weapons procured from abandoned vehicles: Lucifer's SledgeHUMMER, Jesus' Saber of Silverado, RAV4Blood, etc.

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

Are you not taking the GAS a little too far?
My understanding from a collection of google hits is that it is the long-term response to increased stress, which in the short-term leads to an increase in the ability to cope but in the long term to burnout.

I don't think any species is engineered for die-off. If we're talking about a shortfall of a resource that reduces the carrying capacity of the ecosystem, yes, I would agree that a species-beneficial phenomena is increased intra-species violence. To get there from an evolutionary angle, you need to already have the predisposition to violence to obtain resources. But that doesn't have to have any larger 'die-off' goal, as the emotional responses we all feel to deprivation tip us into this mode without any intellectual understanding of depletion beyond the personal.

To put it another way, "calculated defiance" is giving the scrotes way too much credit.

It'll be the exhaustion phase of the GAS that'll do more for/to population than violence.

In Russia where while violence has risen, it's the number of predominantly men keeling over after drowning their sorrows that caused the big dip by '94. Also, Zimbabwe hasn't seen a LOT of violence and yet life expectancy is pretty medieval. This first report from '98 suggests a life expectancy of 39 in 2010, then two years ahead of schedule, the numbers are showing only 37.

So we have seen what's coming post-peak. Violence will continue to tend to be the prerogative of the state, but will also be a distant third behind disease and starvation as actual cause of death.

Hello Lantern Rouge,

Thxs for responding. Obviously, I am no expert on this subject, but I think it is important to inform others so they can do their own research. You may be entirely correct placing it third on the decline list. IMO, the original newslink over-emphasized problems with 'nuture', then ignored any possible genetic explanations. I was merely seeking to help redress this 'nature vs nuture' balance. Thxs for your links and further elaboration.

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

As others I thought that a superb summary of UK today. For an even more depressing read try to find this book:


totoneila ,as always you make perceptive comments. As a lifelong UK citizen, we have many social problems worse than other eu nations. I agree the kids are aware of the rocky future. I see many factors some of which are off the taboo scale eg

Pressure of land - a problem so pervasive and invisible. Some examples: adults need to work to buy houses at astronomic cost/the reverse effect - benefits pay for mandatory housing, so its not economic to get into the worksystem we call this 'career unemployment'. JK would perhaps look at our soul-less town centres without useful varied/specialist retailing/recreation/culture etc and blame the car, but landprices/business taxes etc are the true cause, and mean that most town centres only have 'pile-em-high, high turnover, globally made garbage or booze retailing' because 'hobby shops' dont pay enough for the business rates.

A surplus of people. When I was born in 1965 there was about 54 mil UK. Since the birth rate dropped in 1966/7 to below stability we should now be about 50 mil instead of [at least] 60 mil. These can only be arrivals.

Old towns. We stopped designing new towns in the 50s, the last were [sort of] complete in the 70s. Amazingingly they all have good employment, although they are way too boring, car-centric etc.

WWII killed a lot of europeans, less so in the UK, US. This means less pressure in mainland europe. The sick were killed by the nazis, in the UK it was the healthy who were injured/died abroad [obviously bombing deaths were random in both cases].This has social effects.
Germany/Japan were rebuilt. The UK is stuck with 100 - 1000 year old cities, new development pressure/money is in about 1/4 of the UK [the SE corner]. Frankly, as a UK northerner, most UK towns have no primary economic purpose nowadays, except to keep their expanding populations serviced.

I could go on..

cheers all

"British children have the most miserable upbringing in the developed world. American children come next, second from the bottom."

It's a strange experience to see children down here in the less-developed world generally happier than even the luckiest of those in the "developed" World. Living proof of the fact that you don't need a lot to be happy.

How far have we progressed, and to where are we returning?

I've never been to Panama (hope to one day) but I've been to Costa Rica a couple of times and was always struck by how happy the people were.

Why is the specific Unicef report name never mentioned in the adbusters piece? Or linked-to?

This report may technically be the "first ever" which analzses the data this way, but the document I found through unicef.org said it was the "seventh in a series".

Unicef Innocenti Report Card 7 (PDF warning)

Hello TODers,

One of my first Peakoil Outreach emails was to the National Parent-Teacher Association. I naively thought that they would readily grasp the importance of mitigation, then radically transform our children's curriculum. No such luck:

"Give me a child until..."by Richard Embleton

I also emailed various electric signage & billboard companies. I thought that they would easily agree to not practice night-time illumination to save energy, increase profits by product simplification, and help extend a better future for their offspring. Again, no luck, even though postPeak prices will force them in this direction.

Most will recall my emails to Tiger Woods and the PGA to start plowing golf courses: no replies.

It truly does appear that common sense will disappear. =(

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

Iraq’s Curse: A Thirst for Final, Crushing Victory

I saw this, this morning. It makes my blood boil. Here's a country our gov't has totally destroyed, bombed to smithereens, polluted with DU and clusters bombs, killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions, and the NYT tries to shift the blame to Iraq for its own destruction.

I remember as a young man back in the Vietname era reading a NYT headline that said something like "439 Vietcong Killed in bombing raid". Right then and there I knew so many things were wrong. 439? From the air, over jungle? Vietcong, not women and children? And where does this story come from? Are the editors stupid? Do they think the readers are stupid? And this kind of crap gets printed: "All the news that fit to print".

I sometimes annoy my wife by referring to the NYT as Nazi propaganda. I'm less than half joking.

the 13 fuel efficient cars link reminds me that point out that if you really want to save on fuel look into motor bikes and scooters. you do trade some safety but not allot if your a alert driver.

Hello TODers,

Depletion, racism and paving the road to hell

I have been trying to get a local Mexican restaurant's employees up to Peakoil Outreach speed, but the language barrier is just as formidable as the denial barrier. I am hoping to make a breakthrough someday: I have been asking them to make an espanol version of ASPO/MEX or a TOD/MEX so that Peakoil Outreach grassroots penetrates millions of Mexicans.

Since Pres. Calderon lacks the balls to inform his people: they need to understand about the ramifications of Pemex and Cantarell's decline so they can prepare accordingly. Any preparations could do much to minimize a violent postPeak exodus to the North.

Evolutionary theory says that having the greatest possible genetic variability is the best way to insure future adaptation to changing conditions. Consider the many different finches in the Galapagos Islands.

Who knows how severe the PO + GW conditions will be ahead? Hopefully, when there is just a small population on a tropical Ellesmere Island above the Arctic Circle [James Lovelock]: it will have the maximum attainable genetic differences to help prevent extinction.

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

The Energy Boom is Just Starting

"Peak oil" is not stated by Joseph Dancy in this Barrons article, but these related issues are:

Operational problems with refineries
Declining gasoline inventories
Crude oil demand increases while productive capacity grows more slowly
Mexico's declining production
Venezuela's oil nationalisation
Nigeria's violence
Ghawar production questions
Technology enhances production, but accelerates depletion
High annual decline rates for gas production

It will be a challenge for ExxonMobil and CERA to continue denying "peak oil" as mainstream media starts writing more about "peak oil".



Hello TODers,

Gazprom May Thwart Putin Drive for Russian Energy Dominance

I must admit that this is a very 'catchy title' to hook readers into the entire text.

But after reading the article: I didn't get the impression that Gazprom was now butting heads with Putin. But it does offer a pretty good analysis of the challenges for Russia ahead.

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

Putin, like Hugo Chavez, will continue nationalizing Russia's oil and gas assets.

Another asset, most likely to be nationalized within a few months, is the huge TNK-BP Kovykta gas field, containing up to 3 trillion cubic metres of gas reserves.


Hello TODers,

I claim no expertise [ala Zbigniew Brezinski] on the dynamics of the "Grand Chessboard", but making Putin spend money on next-gen ICBMs, instead of his govt. investing in further energy infrastructure and an internal biosolar transition sure seems like a dumb strategy for the US and Europe. My feeble two cent opinion.

Russia warns U.S. against missile system

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir V. Putin warned Sunday that he would take retaliatory steps if Washington proceeded with a proposed missile defense system for Europe.

Putin assailed the White House plan to place a radar system in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland. He said neither Iran nor North Korea have the rockets that the system is intended to shoot down.

"We are being told the antimissile defense system is targeted against something that does not exist. Doesn't it seem funny to you, to say the least?" Putin told reporters.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

My My, David Smith's blog for the S.Times in the UK (article in the drum beat) actually registered my comment on PO:


Unfortunately you are limited by word count so there is not much detail to be expounded upon. Maybe he might write about the dire balance of payments situation the UK is now in........

Only an American review titled "13 great fuel efficient cars" include one that gets 15 in the city and where all get an average of 20+. Pathetic.

This is heavy fuel consumption by European standards and is an indication of how far out of touch the US population is. The only diesel was being withdrawn; and there weren't any sub-compacts. When gas does get expensive you guys have a long way to fall.