DrumBeat: June 12, 2007

Come on in - the quicksand's fine: my part in the energy crisis

For example, if we wish to boost nuclear power in the teeth of dwindling liquid fuel supplies, we will discover that the "cost" of plant, mining, processing and other infrastructure will become uncomfortably high by present expectations. The more we try (and the more gasoline and diesel we burn in the process) the higher will go the "price" of the essential ingredients. It will be like chasing our own shadows. The same effect will plague the remnants of the oil industry itself.

And once burned, the energy is gone forever.

We could call that the Quicksand Effect.

Energy efficient, but still using more

Many household appliances have become more efficient, using less electricity than ever to cool rooms, wash clothes and chill food. But the increasingly wired American home, where outlets are charging cell phones and iPods and powering multiple computers and big-screen TVs, is creating higher demand for power than was the case even a few years ago.

Ghana: Energy Crisis Devastates Mining Sector

THE PRESIDENT of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr. Jurgen Eijgendaal has bemoaned the effect of the nation's energy crisis on the mining industry, describing it as very devastating.

According to him, mining is an energy intensive economic activity and as such obtaining full energy requirements at competitive rates was vital for the containment of the sector's overall production costs.

Petroleos Venezuela May Explore in Vietnam, Argentina

Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the country's state oil company, plans to explore for oil and gas in Vietnam, Bolivia and Argentina.

OSHA steps up refinery oversight

Nearly 300 federal safety inspectors will fan out to refineries across the country over the next two years as part of a stepped-up enforcement program prompted by the BP Texas City blast and other deadly refinery accidents.

To some, high gas prices have a silver lining

A sprinkling of experts and consumers welcome paying extra at the pump.

Ethanol to Take 30 Percent of U.S. Corn Crop by 2012

Almost a third of the U.S. corn crop will be used in five years to produce fuel ethanol, possibly raising animal feed costs for farmers and meat prices for consumers, a new government report warned on Monday. Assuming U.S. ethanol production continues to expand to the Energy Department's projected 11.2 billion gallons by 2012, about 30 percent of the corn crop will be needed for the fuel supply, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Solar Panels, Biofuel and Tidal Turbines in Bloomberg Plans

Moving to harness cleaner forms of energy to meet the city’s growing power demands, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a plan yesterday to outfit municipal buildings with solar panels and to begin buying heating oil containing biofuels.

Builders create suburbs with downtown appeal

Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is typical of dozens of developments sprouting along the nation's light-rail lines and near subway stations: stores, theaters, restaurants, offices and housing connected by sidewalks to mimic a walkable urban neighborhood.

Just one thing is missing: transit.

How Published Oil Reserves Figures Confuse The Oil Supply Situation

I occasionally read commentaries which imply that there is no concern about global oil supply because the world has huge global oil reserves. We know that because huge, and growing, reserves figures are published in World Oil and Oil and Gas Journal, which then make their way into the mainstream media.

While those figures are published in respected oil industry journals, the figures are essentially worthless. No outside agency audits oil reserves for individual countries. Since there is no outside auditing, governments of many countries exaggerate their reserves figures. Also, multiple countries don’t update reserves figures for extended periods of time by subtracting off what they produce.

Nigerian government calls unions for talks over strike

The Nigerian government has invited unions to a meeting on Friday to discuss a threatened strike in Africa's top oil producer over rising prices and privatisations, authorities said on Tuesday.

Unions have threatened to stage an indefinite general strike demanding President Umaru Yar'Adua reverse hikes in value-added tax and fuel prices introduced in the dying days of the previous government, which stepped down on May 29.

The EU's agrofuel folly: policy capture by corporate interests

Despite growing public concern about the risks associated to agrofuels, the European Union (EU) is throwing its weight behind the promotion of these often very harmful crops.

Battling Baghdad's petrol crisis

Filling up your car in Baghdad these days means organising a minor expedition, with the capital in the grip of a new fuel crisis.

Book review: The Last Oil Shock

There is something very strange about listening to the mainstream media, even on a solar radio, covering such weighty topics as the potential Collapse of Civilisation and hearing someone as confident and erudite as Strahan explain just how deeply dependent we are on supplies of fuels that will become increasingly unreliable over the next few years. It seems eerily at odds with 99% of the media content.

California lawmaker promises to revisit guzzler fee

A Silicon Valley state legislator vowed Monday to try again next year after the defeat of his provocative bill that would have given buyers of new Toyota Priuses and other fuel-efficient vehicles rebates of up to $2,500 - paid for by fees on buyers of new Hummers and other gas guzzlers.

Nuclear shutdown sparks energy fears

ONE of Scotland's ageing nuclear reactors had to be shut down manually over the weekend, the latest in a catalogue of problems which prompted experts last night to warn of a possible looming gap in energy supplies.

...Experts last night said the shutdown cast doubt on British Energy's plans to extend the lives of Hunterston B and the company's other nuclear station at Torness, in East Lothian.

Good companies, bad karma

I began researching this and found that the life expectancy of companies has been declining dramatically since the 1970s, when the first energy crisis occurred. Where earlier a company would be in existence for 50 to 60 years, now its lifecycle is down to just 10.5 years.

Guvs see money in saving planet

While many Americans see global warming and the country's dependence on oil as impending disasters, there are those who view finding solutions to these complex problems a colossal money-making opportunity.

Assembly Commission Approves PDVSA-China JV

Venezuela's national assembly energy and mining commission has approved the creation of Petrozumano, a joint venture between state oil company PDVSA and China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), according to a statement posted on the assembly's website.

Official warns of energy crisis

Construction of new electrical generation in the West is projected to grow by 6 percent, while demand for electricity is projected to increase by 19 percent over the next 10 years, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

FERC commissioner Suedeen Kelly, speaking on her own behalf, said the situation is nothing short of a crisis.

"There's not enough time to build our way out," Kelly told the Western Governors' Association here Monday.

Energy Scenario of Bangladesh Going from Bad to Worse.....

The helpless people of Bangladesh are gradually getting hopeless. People have started loosing confidence in the managerial efficiency of the caretaker government as far as improving the acute energy crisis is concerned. Caretaker Government (CTG) declared Jihad against energy mafias and promised various initiatives to manage the crisis and set the energy sector on the right track from the brink of collapse. People whole heartedly welcomed that. But after 4 months of CTG rule the energy supply situation showed only marginal improvement. Traders and businessmen spontaneously cooperated with government in adjusting business hours of shopping malls and markets in the cities when government requested them to pull down shutters in their otherwise peak business hours. Citizens in particular spontaneously cooperated with all other initiatives government suggested. But massive load shedding continues to make life miserable. Some people say it has turned worse.

Senate Energy Plan Debate Set to Begin

The U.S. Senate is set to tackle a comprehensive energy policy proposal this week as Democratic leaders aim to keep their campaign promise to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil.

It’s Still All About Oil

Our short-term energy policy very much requires the use of our own oil resources that can be easily extracted now.

Ghana: Scientist Blames Energy Crisis On Global Warming

AN ENVIRONMENTAL Scientist, Mr. Padmore Baffour Adjapong says global warming - an increase in temperature of the world - is the cause of Ghana's current energy crisis that is suffocating businesses in the country.

He believes the increase in temperature has put much stress on water supplies to the Akosombo hydroelectric dam, from where the country generates the highest percentage of electricity for industrial and domestic usages.

U.N. seeks to conserve genetic resources

The United Nations is stepping up its campaign to conserve the world's genetic resources so crops and animals can adapt to global warming and other challenges, focusing on fish for the first time since fish are increasingly being bred to meet the world's food needs.

Carbon Traders Attracted to China’s Vast Methane Reserves

Carbon traders are utilizing the Kyoto Protocol's clause on 'certified emission reduction' credits to capitalize on China's vast coalbed methane reserves. The Asian director of Fortis' carbon trading desk calls China's methane 'easy pickings.' For every tonne of methane captured, about 20 tons of CO2 credits are obtained. CBM projects in China should indirectly benefit from foreign capital racing to exploit these credits before they expire in 2012.

WWF Awarded Grant to Study Negative Impacts of Damming Amazon Tributary

The Blue Moon Fund recently awarded WWF a grant to ensure that construction of the Madeira dams in the Amazon River basin does not permanently harm the region's biodiversity, economic potential and local communities. Established in 2002, the Blue Moon Fund supports nonprofit organizations working to build a sustainable balance between humans and nature.

Shell Begins Nigeria Ops Cost-Cutting Program to Offset Costs

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB.LN) said Sunday it has started implementing a number of cost cuts to its operations in Nigeria, which are likely to include job cuts, to combat rising costs and falling oil revenues caused by production outages.

Crying Wolf or Crying Uncle: Does our dependence on foreign energy and credit really matter?

For a country founded on rugged individualism, our current state of affairs is looking a lot less rugged and a lot more dependent. With a massively expanding debt to foreign creditors, and an insatiable appetite for energy, we as a nation become more dependent each and every day. Even if we eventually import fewer Chinese products, the trade deficit may march higher because the percentage of energy (crude, natural gas, and refined products) from overseas sources continues to grow. More ominously, if we are in fact nearing the front door of Peak Oil, the price of energy will be headed in one direction, higher. This will only exacerbate our trade deficit.

Sinopec's Move To Trim Gas Prices Rekindles Debate

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.'s decision to cut the cost of gasoline at some filling stations in Guangzhou city has reignited the debate about market pricing in China.

How to Trade Like a Rockefeller

Check out the Stockpickr portfolio and you'll see that the Rockefellers haven't left their oil roots behind. Rather, it's probably the most comprehensive oil-infused portfolio I've ever seen. The Rockefellers clearly believe in peak oil theory, and they are putting their money behind it full force.

The Supreme Court Doesn't Matter

California has been asking for permission to regulate greenhouse gas emissions since 2004, but the philistines at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have yet to grant it permission to do so.

For quite some time the EPA's excuse was that they didn't have the power to regulate emissions. That's funny--greenhouse gases harm the environment and the EPA is supposed to protect the environment. Maybe they should consider a name change.

Saudis increase focus on gas development

Karan is thought to contain at least 9 trillion cubic feet of gas and when development is completed in four years time the field is expected to produce one billion c/f a day of gas.

The project is part of an ambitious gas exploration programme which is aimed to increase gas reserves by more than 20 per cent in the next five years.

Loose Wheels - Kunstler

My eerie thought was this: what if a time came in America when the conspicuous display of wealth was not such a healthy thing for the displayer? What if these displays only made them conspicuous targets for the hordes of economic losers that the Long Emergency will shake loose? What if wealth is actually forced into hiding instead of displaying itself for all to see?

I admit it was not a big deep thought, just an eerie one. Of course, one would have to begin by asking what kind of society would worship clowns like Donald Trump in the first place — and the answer would be: a society of envious slobs deluded into thinking that they could become the next Trump if only the Baby Jeezus would whack them over the head with a sock-full of silver dollars. This is, after all, a culture currently fueled by two dangerously childish ideas: that it's possible to get something for nothing, and that when you wish upon a star your dreams come true.

World Bank plans international fund to fight deforestation

The World Bank is planning an international fund of at least 250 million dollars to fight deforestation, which contributes to global warming, a bank official said Monday.

BP: World's proven oil reserves edge lower

The world's proven oil reserves at the end of 2006 stood at 1.208 trillion barrels, fractionally lower than 1.209 trillion at the end of 2005, BP Plc said on Tuesday in its Statistical view of World Energy.

The one billion-barrel reduction reflects in part a decline in Norway's reserves, which fell to 8.5 billion from 9.6 billion.

IEA raises estimate of world oil demand in 2007

Global oil demand will increase by two per cent this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday, revising upwards an earlier estimate by about 400,000 barrels per day and warning the market will be tight.

Highlights of the latest OMR

● Global oil product demand is revised up

● May world supply fell by 565 kb/d to 84.9 mb/d

● Nigerian outages cut OPEC crude supply by 425 kb/d to 30.1 mb/d

● Dated Brent rose above $70/bbl in late May as markets tightened

● Global refinery crude throughput rose by 0.6 mb/d to 72.4 mb/d in April

● Total OECD industry inventories rose by 9.9 mb in April

Issues facing the oil and gas industry

Demand for oil is surging and unless significant investments are made and technology improves, the high demand growth will not be sustainable, according to a captain in the oil and gas industry.

“Society is concerned over increased carbon dioxide emissions and other environmental consequences of energy development, and these concerns must be addressed,'' ConocoPhillips chairman and CEO James J. Mulva said.

Oil shortage could spark conflicts in world: SIPRI

The prospect of a future scarcity of oil and gas could lead to conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, South America and Southeast Asia, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.

'Paradox' as Mideast faces power shortage

Oil and gas-rich countries of the Middle East are facing a worrying paradox - how to meet rapidly expanding power demand to feed their fast growing economies, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

"Shortages of natural gas - hitherto the fuel of choice for electricity generation - have become a regular feature, forcing governments to consider alternatives such as coal, fuel oil, nuclear and even imported gas," the IEA wrote.

Opec biofuel brinkmanship is a sign of things to come

It was always going to happen. Like a lover fearful they are about to get dumped for a younger rival, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) appears to have its scissors poised and ready to cut up the rest of the world's suits unless it stops flirting with those wanton biofuels.

Nigeria hostage takers free 13 captives

Hostage takers in Nigeria's restive oil heartland released 13 captives Monday, including three Americans, officials said.

The militants said earlier they were releasing the hostages on "humanitarian grounds," while indicating they would continue attacks despite conciliatory efforts from new President Umaru Yar'Adua.

As N.E. warms, tiny pests take root

One of the most sobering projections about global warming is that species -- including those that bring disease or harm -- will reach a climate "tipping point" that will allow them to survive in new locations. Now, researchers are racing to unlock exactly what temperature, humidity, and other climate thresholds could drive the spread of scores of species. The answers are critical, these researchers say, because even a tiny change in temperature could have an exponential effect on some populations.

UK’s richest man in slave labour row

Coalminers working in Mittal’s Kazakh mines claim his firm is endangering their lives by using dangerous, outdated equipment and by cutting corners. More than 90 have died in the mines since 2004.

Miners claim that conditions are worse than in Soviet times and say they would rather work in Siberian mines.

Sole U.S. Company That Enriches Uranium Is Struggling to Stay in Business

Seventy years after the United States invented uranium enrichment, the sole American company in the business is struggling to survive, while nuclear power experts worry that its failure would leave the Russians dominant in the market for fuel processing.

ThaneEnergy Report: The Coal Peak, Historic Data (PDF)

There has been a lot of interest lately in the idea of non-renewable resources peaking. The basic idea is that natural resources do not suddenly run out, but instead experience a period of growth, a peak, and then a decline. Because resources do not suddenly run out but instead nearly always experience a decline curve, our usual idea of a resource “running out” is nearly meaningless. Resources experience two major periods: this first is pre-peak when they are cheap and abundant the second is post-peak when they are expensive and scarce. This is somewhat simplistic way of looking at a complex economic event, but it is much more accurate then the commonly thought of idea of “running out” and the associated metric of reserves over production to determine how many years a resource will last.

Most peaking investigations to date have focused on oil and gas, but coal, as a nonrenewable resource, will also experience a peak and decline. Figure 1 shows the coal peak that has already occurred in the United Kingdom. The peak, as well as the year in which 50% of the original coal in place was depleted, are labeled. Many who study resource peaks, believe that the 50% depletion point coincides with the production peak and this is the fundamental way that peaks are usually predicted by analysts before they occur. The question that we can ask is whether coal production peaks coincide with the 50% depletion point and if they don’t why not.

The WSJ has an article on the front page that I found interesting:

For Troubled Firms, A Flood of Big Loans
They Gain Time to Fix Woes -- or Delay a Fix; Hedge Funds Play Role

In a world awash in investable funds, even many of the most troubled companies are finding lenders willing to offer them big money. This rescue financing, as it's sometimes called, can give companies time to clean up their balance sheets and avoid a trip to bankruptcy court. U.S. filings for bankruptcy reorganization -- a painful experience for employees, creditors and shareholders alike -- are at a 10-year low. Also at historic lows are U.S. corporations' debt defaults.

This absurd situation cannot go on forever. Will the present rise in interest rates be enough to prick the bubble? Or will peak oil need to become evident to everyone first?

This "situation" will go on as long as the US is able to create money at will and as long as other countries are willing to fund our debt.

I think the rest of the world is afraid to stop this cycle because currently, the majority of the world economy runs on the USD. Pulling the rug out on the USD means the countries will get hurt as well as the US.

This is why you see Putin sending out grumblings to the contrary. He understands the situation and is testing the waters to see how much support he can drum up for breaking the cycle.

The US is providing 'free' debt through easy credit rather than free money. This cannot go on forever. Eventually the debt that has saturated the economy will become unsupportable and the 'house of cards' (IOUs in this case)will collapse under its own weight. IMO that point is not very far away.

Losses already incured, due for instance to the decline in the housing market or commodity trading losses in the derivatives market, are currently being disguised through shell games (ie moving losses around rather than declaring them). They are also being effectively veiled through reliance on credit-rating agencies which will not downgrade entities they rate, unless forced to do so by declared losses, for fear of losing business. The conflict of interest is evident. As was the case with Enron, companies may only be downgraded near the very end, creating a situation where everyone tries to make it through the exit at once when the downgrade finally comes. Needless to say, this is a crash scenario!

On-going coverage of the global credit bubble is provided in the Round-Ups at TOD:Canada.

Hello Stoneleigh,

Thxs much for your work on TOD:Can. With all the energy problems looming up north I am amazed that so few Canadians are not reading and commenting. I would have expected this branch of TOD to be thriving discussion site by now.

Perhaps you need to get a stronger grassroots penetration, but I am unsure how this could be accomplished. Have you tried handing out cards to strangers? Letters to editors of newspapers? Emails to Canadian leaders? Is denial a prevalent trait of Canadians even worse than here in the US?

I wish you the best of luck.

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

Finance markets are global.

US can raise their interests rates, but the huge Yen-Carry-Trade may still continue and provide plenty of liquidity for some time.

And Russia is also printing money like mad (45% y2y increase in M3 2005-2006).

I'm no economist and don't play one online, but several prominent finance and economy experts have said that there seems to be a growing risk of a systemic failure in the financial markets, including the central banks (hence including economy at large).

Then again, it could just be normal economist/finance analyst scare talk.

I don't think anybody knows for sure.

The whole derivatives market is so complex nobody even remotely claims to understand all of it. And many of the hedge funds are leveraged up to their ears through cheap loan money.

It's probably a shaky construction as it is, but it may take more than just US raising interest rates, to actually topple it.

At least, that's the impression I get from all the reading.

I agree, i have also read a lot, and the whole global financial system seems to be on mudlegs. We have the biggest ever global credit/financiel asset boom in history. It can only end badly. The timing of the crash is very difficult, it can go on longer than you can stay solvent. And the longer time it takes the bigger the crash.

Then the whole monetary system can collapse, its an experiment since 1971, when Nixon closed the gold window, and the whole world embarked on a fiat money system, where the central banks can print/create money out of thin air at will. And they are doing it at double digit rates as we speak. No fiat money system has survived. This will surely also collapse in the not so distant future.

The only way to defend your savings, i believe is to buy PM:s(gold and silver).

Why don't you just buy heroin or cocaine? They'll retain their value and you can make slaves after the crash.

sarconal alert! Level red (high)

It is illegal to buy drugs.

Not in my neighborhood! Anyway, scarcity adds value. And, if you are wishing the total collapse of society on our heads, why do you have any scruples? If you want to stash gold and guns and shoot your neighbors, entertain Conan the Barbarian on Viagra fantasies, why not just enslave them with narcotics? Saves ammunition!

They'll be easy to barter, provide analgesics as the medical system is destroyed, and they're easily stored with little deterioration. the IRS doesn't track the cash-ought to be perfect for you doomer anarchists would-be warlords.

Insted of praying for the apocalypse, you will be preying on the apocalypse. So think it through, it will be much more practical than precious metals.

As the fossil-fuel supplied inventory runs out during and post-crash, there will be a huge demand for local tobacco, coca, cannabis, and alcohol, all of which have many other uses than human ingestion.

The huge demand, however, is both opportunity and risk.

If I had something of real value, why would I part with it for gold or silver? If people don't see it has having value, then it doesn't.

In a world that's falling apart, for arguments sake, then peoples values are likely to be all over the shop. Gold, silver or dollars require the participation of all parties in agreement of its value and generally accept it as a useful medium of exchange. Keeping in mind that history doesn't repeat,but mimes.

To my mind, the medium of exchange is defined by cultural acceptance, a rather fickle or even random process. Physical gold may be close to worthless and paper claiming to be gold definitely worthless.

Looking to the future, would I be happier sitting on a farm with acres of fertile land or a stack (at today's price) of gold?

When governments accept payment of taxes in gold, then it will have a value. Otherwise, it is just another exotic investment IMO. Better to turn a failing currency into something of real worth.

Too many people seem to believe that they can outwit economic crises, climate change and energy depletion by simply turning their notional net value into some other object of notional value like gold (with the click of a mouse) and come out the other side smelling of roses. I doubt it.

Perhaps playing at speculating with bits of paper and notional investments is coming to an end and only real physical investments are allowed in the game. If you're going to speculate with the future, then speculate, you're life may depend upon it.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

I suppose while I'm at it, I should mention my outlandish view on property and property investment.

The intrinsic value of a property IMO is due to its vicinity to wealth creation. Originally this being close to the farms, ports and markets; then close to the Lords and other seats of power; during the industrial revolution close to the factories and during the services revolution simply close to everyone else. For the poor souls during the "30 years war" in Europe, it was being close to the mercenary armies, so tents were the thing to have.

Of course most property is now centred around the latter revolution, that of services; non productive activities in a Keynesian economy. Should services fail (or should that be simply the creation of money through credit), then the intrinsic value of properties dependant upon the service economy will also fail to hold any "intrinsic" value.

I would expect key industrial towns, ports, market towns and power centres to remain important. Although many of these centres may already have seen more development than will be required for the future.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

I don't think anyone is suggesting that you sell everything and invest it all in gold + silver. However, a modest portion of your wealth invested in physical gold + silver (not paper), may be turn out to be very convenient. People would likely still need some medium of exchange if there were a financial collapse. Its not very convenient to sell off very small portions of land to buy food, supplies, a vehicle, whatever. People would not trust paper money after a collapse, but gold + silver would probably hold value and provide a medium of exchange. However, if things got so bad that there was a total collapse of civilization and chaos reigned, then I suppose even gold + silver might not be worth anything. At that point, even land might not be worth much if you had to contend with invading hordes. (They might not respect your property rights.)

IFeelFree...Gold, silver or prescious stones during times when the necessities of life are scarce will have value only to those that have plenty of the necessities and want to trade some of them for a more portable and longer lived store of wealth. When people are searching for their daily bread they will not be interested in trading their bread, if found, for gold. In a situation of a financial collapse I dont see much use for a store of gold until some order is restored from the resulting chaos of financial collapse. After order is restored, if it is, then gold will become very valuable. Below is a link to an article about the suspension of M3 monthly reports in March 2006 by the Federal Reserve. Note that the excuse the Fed used was 'we want to save money and the elimination of compiling M3 will accomplish that.' Pure bs. When did the current administration and Fed show so much restraint in spending money? The government clerks that compile M1 and M2 are still on the payroll so how much money did the Fed save?
I have linked below to an article and charts showing the increase of M3 in the form of more fiat dollar printing injected into our economy since 1959. The rise in M3 was moderate untill 1980 and then began a rapid increase. Since 2001 the rise has been breathtaking. The most bizarre feature of this upward spiral in M3 is that M1 figures remained almost flat, meaning that the 'new money' being created was electronic. Only one dollar in ten in the US is a real greenback, the other nine are electronic. Most of the real dollars are held overseas in foreign banks in the form of reserves. How difficult is it to erase an electronic dollar?
After looking at the charts and reading the accompanying article you can draw your own conclusions about why M3 reporting was dropped. Those in the US that hold a great deal of wealth are not going to hold it all in dollars when they see the money supply skyrocketing. They know that their wealth is being stolen by inflation, a hidden tax imposed by the Fed. The other 98% of us are going to live in interesting times. BTW, I am not affiliated with any financial institution, gold outlet, etc. I am a retired electrical engineer and not a trained economist but I do pay attention to what our government is doing, or not doing.
I have an interesting tid bit of information for those that want to live on a small farm and be self sufficient 'after the collapse.' During the middle ages in Europe when wars of every sort were continually sweeping the lands the farmers turned to growing potatos instead of cereal grains. The farmers found from bad experience that the armies and thieves would not take the trouble to dig the potatos and destroy them but they would set fire to a crop of cereal grain if they did not stop to harvest it and steal it outright. This allowed the peasant to escape to hiding while the danger was present and return to his plot of land to find potatos to survive on when the thugs had gone moved on. It is estimated that about 1/3 of the population of Europe died off during these wars, primarily by starvation and disease, and they did not have an oil based economy and were not confronted with climate change.
Just another day in paradise...

As I have said before, precious metals are not for the day after the collapse. They are for the day after the day after the collapse, if you follow my meaning. ;)

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


You depict a situation where the economy is so completely defunct that age-old stores of value (e.g., gold) lose their intrinsic value. That’s called anarchy. In that situation, it’s survival of the fittest. Given this week’s BlogAds Survey Results, this martial arts-studying, marathon-running guy in his 20s has a leg up on most TOD readers!!

But in all seriousness, you have to concede that certain stores of value will retain their worth better than others in a failing economy. Millennia of history show that precious metals do this better than others.

While you state that one cannot out-wit the economy, I think it’s important to remember that we (those of us embracing PO as a harsh, inevitable future) are the fringe – the 1/10 of 1% minority. Let’s be serious – the average American truly believes that in 50 years we’ll be zipping around in flying cars and vacationing on the moon. Those of us who take simple and logical steps to prepare themselves for what we believe will happen, simply put, will be better prepared. Is that an example of out-witting the economy? I’d say so.

Nobody is suggesting that investing in gold and precious metals is a panacea for post-PO wealth that will allow one to drive stretched Hummer limos and vacation in the Caribbean. That’d be as silly as suggesting gold will have the value of dirt!

I don't subscribe to the "mad max" scenario of collapse. What we face will not be a sudden collapse of everything or anarchy, but a slow or multiple stage collapse where people and institutions have some time to adapt, albeit, without the wherewithal to adapt successfully. Each failed attempt to adapt leading to the next stage of collapse.

The US occupation of Iraq may well be an example of an attempt to adapt to new global realities, but without the wherewithal to do it properly. Result, advancement to the next level or stage of collapse. Turning food into fuel may well be another.

I suspect the first phase of collapse will be economic in nature, secondly the ecosystem and finally energy. Except, of course, that each phase will not be discrete and all elements will be present during each phase to some degree and influence the outcome.

As for gold and silver, it is only an assumption that they will play their historic monetary role, it is not a foregone conclusion. As they say; "assumption is the mother of all f*@k ups". I suggest that it will be cultural preference rather than historic precedence that will define what we use to facilitate trade and transactions.

For example, I've been helping out some of the neighbours with their unruly gardens. In payment, as they insist on it, I simply ask for something towards the fuel costs. If money was no longer trustworthy, I would simply ask for the fuel instead.

I believe gold and silver will have a role to play, but likely much further up the chain than at a personal or even local level. It may form the basis for a currency, but not be legal tender in itself. It may also be confiscated by the State in its attempt to adapt to new economic realities.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

I don't subscribe to the "mad max" scenario of collapse. What we face will not be a sudden collapse of everything or anarchy, but a slow or multiple stage collapse where people and institutions have some time to adapt, albeit, without the wherewithal to adapt successfully. Each failed attempt to adapt leading to the next stage of collapse...
I suspect the first phase of collapse will be economic in nature, secondly the ecosystem and finally energy. Except, of course, that each phase will not be discrete and all elements will be present during each phase to some degree and influence the outcome.

You need to watch Mad Max again. That's exactly what happened. In the first movie Max is a highway patrol man and society is basically intact. There are lawyers, judges, policeman, towns, stores, even functioning rail.

Its not until the second movie do things really break down. Even then its only in the outback. There is still civilization on the coast, which is where they bring all the gas to.

The third one, is well, what everyone thinks of as the Mad Max scenario.

I agree. You hear about other areas that suffered economic collapse, like Argentina and Sarajevo, and precious metals were of limited use. In Argentina, gold did retain value, but only very small pieces. They didn't give you any more for big, expensive pieces than for cheap wedding rings. In Sarajevo, goods like shampoo, toilet paper, and cast iron cookware was more valuable than gold.

Gold might be better than cash if there's a dollar collapse, but I'm not sure it will hold its value better than material goods. The thing is, gold is not particularly scarce now. Just about everyone has a lot of gold jewelry, even people who don't care for jewelry, like me. (Gifts from friends and family.) You see even poor kids in the inner city wearing a ton of gold chains, pendants, earrings, etc. If everyone starts selling their gold and not many are buying jewelry, I'd expect prices to drop.

I'm no expert in precious metals, but as I recall the Argentina story, local merchants couldn't test whether high-carat (24 or 22) gold pieces had been cut with lesser value metals, so they treated all pieces as if they were the lower-carat (10,12,14) gold found in ordinary jewelry.

Donal, The jewelers of India are very efficient at testing the gold content of any piece of jewelry by using a touch-stone. I have seen this done in documentaries of India and found the technique fascinating. A jeweler uses a black touch-stone and rubs the piece of jewelry on the stone to get a 'color.' From the color is determined the purity of the gold. When I asked my local jeweler (upscale and in business at the same location for over 30 years) he stated that he had never heard of a touch-stone and that he had no easy way to determine the gold content of jewelry.
The older cultures found long ago that paper currencies are just paper and tend to wear their excess wealth in gold. A collapse in paper currency in older cultures would have less effect than in America.

I have seen this done...the gold is rubbed onto a stone (and I cannot remember what kind)to leave 'smear' of gold..a chemical I think a form of acid is dripped onto the smear in increasing concentrations, the point at which the gold is disolved by the increasing concentration of acid determines the purity...the higher the potency of the acid to remove the gold the higher the purity..

something along those lines anyway.

I have never said, that i believe, that the whole world falls apart. I am not a doomer.
I only, like not so few economists believe, that this Ponzi like worldwide credit/speculation bubble is unsustainable, and will at som point(helped by PO) bust.

I only suggest, that when you have what you need in shelter and so on, and still have some paper savings left, then it could pe prudent to shift theese (or part of it) to PM:s.

Or maybe a good stash would be aluminum foil. The energy inputs required to produce it are enormous, so it should eventually become as rare and expensive as PM, but a lot more useful.

If civilization collapses, there will be hoards of people mining landfills for metals/plastics/etc., and will be putting these materials into the market for decades. I doubt that they will find much gold and silver however.

Now toilet paper would be a good investment, since you won't find that in your nearby landfill.

I take it we are looking for sensible suggestions for long term barter savings.

I have thought about this a bit. It needs firstly a long life, then it must be hideable [survive burying or damp, still air etc].

Cheap chinese running shoes - start with your size
Tea lights [small candles]
Toilet paper [bulky, fire risk etc]

Drugs may have a shelf life. I have always wanted to know which euthenasia drugs can be obtained and last forever without refrigeration [because I'm 40 years away from thinking about it]. Heroin seems a bit complicated to obtain outside afghanistan. Any easy painless suggestions? These would be very tradeable one day.

Many effective over the counter meds (such as aspirin) will keep ‘forever’ (dry, cool place) - the ‘shelf’ dates are made up so that ppl. throw them out.

Don't get tea lights, they're crap. You need a thin candle with a strong wick, so you get a good flame and little shadow from the lip.

For euthanasia, a good supply of whisky and a kindly soul with a mallet should do the trick. Or see the 'smother party' from the foreword of Burrough's Naked Lunch. If you want to use a chemical substance, there's plenty of herbs that will do the trick, but I don't know which are sedative as well as lethal. The opium poppy grows wild in the UK, anyway.

Also try cosmetics, soaps, lipstick. The Yanks used Nylons with my grandparents generation to good effect. Chicks love that stuff.

I think you're right... though aluminum is fairly easy to recycle and there should be some around for a good while. Still, at the dirt cheap price it's available now, it'd be a killer trade good. There are many other things which would fit this description as well.

However, it may be a bit problematic in terms of holding onto a fair amount of trade goods. Will the society of the future be so fair-minded that they'll grow food for you for the rest of your life so you can dole out aluminum foil and stuff they weren't bright enough to store away, or will someone with a bad attitude relieve you of it all?

That's one thing about gold, and to a lesser extent silver - you can hide it.

However, other things would be more cost-effective, and that brings up, to me, the concept of hiding your stuff like a squirrel hides nuts. You'd have to be a bit Machiavellian about it, since if it were known that you 'had stuff' you could be tortured for it. I'm not taking my dystopia overboard, there are many places even now where you could be tortured by folks if they thought they could get wealth thereby.

So... how does one stockpile trade goods and trade them safely? I suppose you could specialize in ammunition, but even that might attract the wrong kind of attention. In doing my own sneaky thinking on it, it might be an interesting niche to be known as an itinerant trader who facilitates trading between different communities. In such a position you could insert your own transactions into commerce without being obviously rich.

You still might end up tortured, but what the heck.

While this is not legally bankruptcy, it is logically the same thing just with a private arbitrator (the lender) rather than the court.

What is happening is that lenders are giving out bankruptcy conditions that are more favorable than the law so of course corporations will turn to those. In the past, lenders often offered to bail out troubled companies but the terms were worse than the law so the corporation took the public bankruptcy route.

Someone might do some legal digging to determine why the current law is viewed so differently than past law or why the terms of private lenders have changed so much. One (or both) of those must have changed to affect the situation so drastically.

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

Buried in yesterday's DrumBeat, Todd asks:

let's say the economy contracts proportionally to the decline rate, i.e., -2% oil/energy = -2%GDP. (Perhaps, someone has some real numbers.)

Here are some real numbers:

"When the U.S. last paid attention to oil, in 1977–85, it cut its oil use 17% while GDP grew 27%" - Executive Summary, Winning the Oil Endgame. link

Best hopes for a pleasant future :)

And as I replied in that thread, that is highly misleading. The cuts were achieved by switching power plants from oil to natural gas, and by moving heavy industry overseas, where energy was cheaper.

Obviously, those were short-term solutions, suited for a local peak but not a global one, and cannot be repeated. The low-hanging fruit on energy efficiency has been picked, and we will have a lot harder time of it this time.

We believe that preempting Parasitic Energy Consumption is low hanging fruit. Look at the niche of highly repetitive travel.

In highly repetitive travel, why are we moving a ton to move a person? Parasitic Mass is the mass we pay to move that is not the cargo or passengers.

In commuter traffic every Start-Stop consumes energy at an exponential rate (velocity squared); kinetic energy is (ek=.5*mass*velocity2).

With vast number of different vehicles, mode, speeds, differing Start-Stops, etc... evaluations are simplified by comparing the moving mass to the mass you want to move. Parasitic Energy Consumption (PEC) is a ratio, divide the moving mass by the mass of cargo and passengers. The exponentials cancel and a relatively simple number is left indicating the relative energy waste. In typical commutes, PEC for cars is about 275, trains about 310, PRT about 6.

PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) is an automated warehouse for a city. It is the integration of the Internet and roller coaster mechanics.

If we can open our transportation regulatory process as we did with communications, we might have the innovations we have on the Internet.

It costs less to move less

Taxi 2000, rebranded jPods after a decade of hype and no delivery, is unproven gadgetbahn.

First, regenerative braking recovers most of your self described PEL for grid connected Urban Rail.

Usually greater losses are frictional, steel/steel or rubber/concrete (or asphalt) plus aerodynamic. jPod is a disaster for aerodynamic losses/pax from your artistic renderings and no details were given for the rail drive mechanism so I could not judge that.

You stated "roller coaster mechanics". jPod is a suspended monorail. Roller coasters I am familiar with are NOT suspended monorails. AFAIK, less than a handful of suspended monorails are carrying passengers today in the world.

And the daily safety inspections required of roller coasters would bankrupt any public transit operation. (All PRTs, even those that work, are financial disasters).


Come back in 20+ years to the US when you have a dozen operating systems overseas. We do not have the time or money to waste on gadgetbahn here. We are TOO far behind !

Best Hopes for Reality Based Planning,


BTW, do you have crash test data for end-to-end collisions between jods ? And plans for evacuating wheelchair bound pax from a stuck jPod ?

No ? I did not think so.

This idea is more than a decade old. I remember reading about it twenty years ago, in a transportation engineering journal. Even to the starry-eyed young technophile that I was back then, it sounded ridiculous.

It was proposed, IIRC, for LA and other areas where traditional public transportation didn't work because of the sprawling development pattern. IOW, it's an attempt to preserve sprawl with technology.

If we're going to lay out big bucks, it makes more sense to use it to reduce sprawl and hence the need for personal transportation.

I believe it is essential to narrow the scope.

Would you rather wait for a shuttle bus from the airport terminal to your hotel, or take a horizontal elevator that is waiting to service that need.

We are making horizontal elevators to solve specific needs. They require 1.6 kw to move a 30mph. They require an additional 2 kw to run the air conditioner, aux power, etc...

How much waste is there in running empty or even full shuttle buses around airports? Answer is a lot.

So, JPods preempts waste in a niche. We believe that about 4 billion of the 8 billion miles Americans drive every day are highly repetitive and may someday be managed by changing moving a ton to move a person. But for now we are not capable of deploying very large networks. We will crawl before we run.

And we are doing this with our money. There is no governments helping us. Efficiency is critical when it our money on the line.

It costs less to move less

Would you rather wait for a shuttle bus from the airport terminal to your hotel, or take a horizontal elevator that is waiting to service that need.

I'd rather walk, actually, and usually do, unless traffic or distance prevent it.

I usually take the stairs instead of the elevator, too, though one time when I stayed on the 19th floor, that was a challenge.

But if this is a niche application, fine. However, it won't make a whit of difference in the big picture, and therefore is not relevant to peak oil.

Since children became a part of my life, I use an elevator much more than in the past.

Just an abrupt self-observation - I also generally used to use stairs, but in truth, not that often since the kids were born.

It was much easier, in a number of ways, to handle children that way..

Heh. I use the stairs because I was a child who grew up in high-rise apartment buildings. We lived on the 9th floor. There was an elevator, but we kids preferred the stairs. Too impatient to wait. And no way to run if a bully or child molester got on.

Besides, it was a great way to ditch the grownups. They never wanted to take the stairs. :-)

Thanks expat.

There are niches. I am all for people walking and using the stairs. But my mom is not capable of that any more. Nor is a mom with 2 kids and 4 pieces of luggage.

Our approach is we want customers not mandates. If we offer a better way, people will use it. If we do not, they will not.

A free market can adapt. The problem with transportation is there has not been a free market for some time. Rights of way are controlled and segmented so badly that iterative innovation has been restrained to death.

It costs less to move less

Good luck with your enterprise.

However, your basic assumption is (IMO) a little flawed.

Your basic assumption is that people will be moving as now, from non-communities in the suburbs to non-jobs (Involving the movement of electrons, or 'little green bits of paper' according to Douglas Adams).

Why the need for movement, much beyond 'bottom meadow' to 'five acre field' and, at the pace of a heavy horse...

Some interesting little prodromes on Radio 4 tonight.

'Inflation' fell from 2,8 to 2.5 in May.
But the price of food is rising way above 'inflation'.
Some snippets from the collective talking heads on this programme:
Bread up 14 % (Energy costs in baking, wheat costs in general)
EEC Butter Mountain (we used to make more than we could eat)now flattened.
EEC 'Milk Lake' (Actually powdered milk) Almost gone
Basic foodstuffs depend upon key ingredients: All key ingredients going up.
UK Farmers planting increasing levels of Fuel Crop rather than Food Crop.
Australian and New Zealand Drought impacting Wheat and Grain Exports.
USA Fuel Crops impacting foodstuff crops.

And get this little Gem:

'With an increasing number of food exporters now becoming food importers, prices will remain high.'.

I dont believe this talking head said that. But I heard it.

When we are all food importers, where will we get the food from?...talk about not joining the dots... If this guy picks up a salary as an 'expert', what would they pay anyone one of a number of hobbyists and professionals on this website?

Like I say, good luck with your mass transit. Dont know if ploughboys and dairymaids will need it though.

Looks to me like Peak Oil is just one facet of Peak People.

In the future, airport terminals will be good quality copper mines for easily smelted copper turned into pans, kettles and skillets. Assuming you can get the charcoal :-(

I think the odds are substantial for a major population drop. Perhaps it is because I spent so much time as a soldier I am unwilling to just wallow in self-pity and bemoan the end of time. Perhaps I am just not smart enough to accept that there is nothing we can do.

As for ploughboys and dairymaids not needing this nothing could be further from the truth. As a child in the 1950-60, I had my first experience with a JPod like device. It was an overhead manure loader used to clean the barn. You filled it, rolled it on its rail to the spreader outside the barn.

It costs less to move less

But in the future, why would any body want to go to or from abandoned airport terminals and aiprort hotels?

All these efforts seem to be geared towards preserving the status quo of the spread out, warehouse on wheels paradigm that cheap energy led us to. Why preserve this lazy setup?

Personal train cars? Worried about getting from the airport (soon to be extinct) to a business meeting that could have been handled with a phone call, email, or even a letter? I see that the authors all presume that it is somehow "normal" to move Merkins 8 BILLION miles every day!! Doesn't anyone see the that this type of thinking is like observing the world from a fast helicopter at treetop level? Not much understanding about what is happening on the ground and lots of concern about what is happening in the helicopter. On the ground, the truth is moving Merkins 8 billion miles each and every day is the problem, not how we do it. Can't you guys see this?

Use the cheap energy while we still have it to decentralize and to bring the built environment down to human scale. That means a human scale which is not assisted by cheap energy.

Hi Alan

More of what is not working will not work.

"The significant problems we face. cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
Albert Einstein

I like and accept that we are a gadget. JPods fill a niche and are not a silver bullet. Our objective is not to solve the world's problem but to solve someone's problem. JPods is a gadget for a specific purpose. Automating highly repetitive travel. It fills a niche of connecting buildings in much the same way elevators connect floors in a building. BTW, based on riders per day, the elevator is the most successful form of public transportation.

As for unproven. Flight was unproven until we flew. Just because you have not done something does not mean we should not try to do it. It just requires lining up the right the right physics and engineering. The physics behind JPods is that it costs less to move less.

If things go as them seem to be going, we will start building networks this year. ULTra is currently building at Heathrow in London and Vectus in Upsaals Sweden.

We may be wrong; if so we will either adapt or die an obscure death. But the path we are on is absolutely correct, we can convert the lifeblood of our economy from cheap oil to ingenuity.

It costs less to move less

I personally believe, based on history, that your goal is to destroy workable solutions by throwing dust in the air and promising snake oil nirvana.


Hi Alan

What workable solution do you mean? Cars have a 97% market share trips. They work today but congestion and energy waste are substantial.

If you mean light rail, I have no problem if people want to spend their money on that. For the next 5 years I think a major aspect of JPods' business will be in providing feeder lines to existing rail. At $4-10 million per mile for JPods verses $50-150 million per mile for light rail, we can substantially expand the feeder networks.

But with a 3% market share, I do not think you can call light rail a current success. Especially if you add the fact they require subsidies to operate.

It costs less to move less

I would like to point out that the two links supplied by Mr. James are NOT jPOds/Taxi 2000. They are NOT suspended monorails. They are very similar to the West Virgina system linked above and Miami MetroMover (not to be confused with the very functional Miami MetroRail)



Both from the 1970s. Both very high cost with low reliability in the beginning.

Best Hopes for avoiding "snake oil" cures,


If it were your money or tax payer money I think your emotional verses logical comments about "snake oil" might make sense.

But since I am betting my money, the risk is mine. Denigrating an idea your have not done the engineering on seem silly. We are pretty good engineers and time will tell.

It costs less to move less

We are pretty good engineers and time will tell

No. I do not think you are good engineers, or perhaps engineers at all. Just promoters with questionable intentions at this stage.

Where are your end-to-end collision tests between jPods ? How are you going to evac a single wheel chair pax ?

And it has been over twenty years for this concept (PRT with suspended monorails) AND TIME HAS ALREADY TOLD !


I already refuted Bill James' propaganda some time ago. He refuses to accept that energy use is not directly proportional to mass - the whole concept of "parasitic energy consumption" is completely fabricated bullshit. On top of that he uses grossly misleading figures such as "3 tons of vehicle per passenger" for trains and buses. 3 tons per passenger for a bus would mean it is only carrying 4 passengers. If a transit system is so pathetic as to carry only 4 passengers per bus on average, it should be shut down and replaced with a taxi service! Claiming 3 tons per passenger as normal for bus and rail is simply intellectually dishonest. I have challenged him to remove this statement, but he has not responded so far. Again, Bill James, I ask you: if JPods are so great, why do you have to lie about the competition?


To wit, I said:

F=ma. Yes, you will need more force to accelerate a larger mass at the same rate. That does not mean, however, that a lighter vehicle will be more efficient at constant speed. What matters is the force required to overcome frictional losses; at high speed this is overwhelmingly air resistance, and at more "normal" transit speed it includes a fair component of rolling resistance. Steel wheel vehicles have far less rolling resistance to overcome than rubber-tired vehicles, in fact the coefficient of friction is an order of magnitude smaller for steel on steel! At a low speed where rolling friction dominates, the same force would be required to maintain the speed of a rail vehicle weighing 10 times as much as a rubber-tired vehicle!

I mention this because you have come up with some magical new measurement ("Parisitic Energy Consumption") which bears no relationship to reality. The universe doesn't work like that. You just multiply by the number of stop-starts?!? No consideration for, for example, recovery of energy through dynamic braking? No consideration of speed, or of the power required to maintain that speed?

In the real world what matters is energy consumption per passenger moved over a certain distance. Let me know when these promoters have some real energy consumption results, not made-up comparisons using useless metrics calculated with bogus data.


This is more than a little different than the "pod cars have 1/100 the parasitic energy consumption" story that the pod car proponents are putting forth as the basis of comparison. It is either a gross error, or intellectual dishonesty in a blatant attempt to deceive. I invite you to investigate the facts in the real world, as they point to light rail in service today being more energy efficient than what you are proposing.

I would certainly support a "pod car" system over a highway filled with cars, but suggesting energy efficiency relative to light rail is a reason to build a pod car system is, to go all British on you just for a second, STUFF AND NONSENSE. A person interested in intellectual honesty would remove the section on "parisitic energy consumption", or replace it with one discussing actual energy consumption - something like "isn't it amazing that a car dedicated to one person could be almost as efficient as a light rail transit system" would be a whole lot more honest.

and, much more succinctly, Alan stated:

An 8 car train uses about as much energy as one bus.

But (mock shock) how can that be, as an 8 car train has a much higher "parasitic energy consumption"! Alan must not know very much about physics. Trains are inefficient. 'Cuz we said so, we did this PEC calculation. Don't confuse the issue with real-world measurements.

Hi JustIsGuy

I agree with some of what you say. Once rolling a train is pretty efficient. I love trains for the niche they are best at, long haul, heavy loads. Here is a graph of rolling resistence.

Studying rolling resistance in congested, Start/Stop traffic is a bit silly in that it is a minor factor.

Parasitic Mass and Parasitic Energy Consumption are not precise but are more relevant to energy wasted in Start/Stop traffic. Each Start requires power to create kinetic energy, ek=.5*mass*velocity2. Each Stop depletes that kinetic energy. The more mass you move the more power required to rebuild the energy of the moving vehicle and passengers.

The objective is to move passengers and cargo, not trains, cars or buses. The term Parasitic Mass refers to the fact we are paying to move mass that is not the primary objective. Send an overnight letter in a box and FedEx will charge you for shipping a box not a letter. How you package the objective makes a difference in cost.

It is not the rolling energy that is the problem in congested travel, it is the Start/Stops.


The precise weight of light rail verses buses, cars and JPods varies. The way I came up with weight of trains was to divide the passenger load for a year, by the number of train trips times the weight of the train.

If you have better numbers please provide the source.

Here is another way to look at it, JPods operate with a 3 HP motor. What is the horsepower of your car? train?

It costs less to move less

Each Stop depletes that kinetic energy

This shows that you are not engineers but merely promoters (or worse).

Regenerative power as a source of braking has been common for a couple of generations. Medium size electric motora commonly found in Urban Rail vehicles are more than 90% efficient both as motors and generators.

Even in streetcar duty with stops every 2 or 3 blocks, the hotel load (a/c and lighting, which is more efficient the larger you get) plus frictional losses are greater than start/stop losses (data from worst case Canal Streetcar Line). In your fictional analysis, I noted that your hotel motor (for a/c but not lighting or heating) was almost as large as your locomotion motor. jPods are *VERY* inefficient for a/c and heating (maximum surface area/pax and near total loss of interior air every time the door opens).

In Light Rail duty, with stops every half mile to a mile, the Start/Stop energy costs decline much further.

It costs less to move more (economies of scale)

Even your motto is a lie,


If trains are so efficient can't they not run on solar power like JPods?

When a train is running near empty in non-peak hours does it really save money that they use regenerative breaking?

How can half-empty trains be more efficient than JPods that do not generally move unless there are people or cargo to move?

You believe the Start/Stops of trains massive trains are more efficient than an origin to destination non-stop trip of a low mass vehicle?

The 1.6 kw to drive a JPod at 30 mph is what it is. The .8 kw to run the A/C is what we have budgeted. On many days it will not be necessary.

It costs less to move less

The 1.6 kw to drive a JPod at 30 mph is what it is.

If its all about getting the lowest possible watts at speed, I can get 30 MPH outta a 600 watt electric assist bicycle. (and that is without regen breaking)

So the spiderweb and wheelbarrow plan is the clear winner if its all about 'moving less'.

It costs less to move less

Which is all fine and good, but what are the other operating costs?

At least with the RUF design, one can leave the rail and drive the last 10,20 whatever miles.

And one could load up many 100's of pounds of produce or manufactured goods and transport them into a city for consumption, and the city could transport out night soil back to the land. What exactly is the cargo capacity of jpod?

I missed your projected cost per mile for the taxi 2000/jpod system. The ruf is 7 mil a mile for 2 way traffic.

For ANY of these changes (lightrail RUF jpod) there is going to have to be some land and buildings 'repurposed for the public good' (aka - government taking land) At least with a ruf design, the land value within an extended range from the rail will have more value than a lightrail/jpod design where land close will be very expensive and land farther away will be cheap.

How are either of your design plans going to gain the political capitol when one set of landholders become rich via land holding while a whole bunch of others become poor?

And finally what are the failure modes for jpod? The failue modes for light rail are a known, and many of the failure modes for RUF are answered with 'drive away'.

Studying rolling resistance in congested, Start/Stop traffic is a bit silly in that it is a minor factor

Simply false, due to regenerative braking and rail start/stop is not like auto start/stop. It is every couple of blocks for streetcars. every half mile to a mile for light rail. (every 0.3 mile for French trams). Rolling resistance is a major factor.

Likewise the hotel load, especially electric resistance heat in the winter, can be substantial. and jPods are the worst possible for that (max surface area/pax, all heated air lost every time the door opens.

Not engineers writing this stuff for jPods AFAIK,


Hi Alan

Why be insulting? It makes you seem small and petty.

Have we done all the tests we will do? Neither have the Detroit car makers. Will we need to? We will as we deploy networks and certify them for operations. With very low mass vehicles, crashes do not have to dissipate nearly as much energy.

There are several evacuation plans. You may read them as we submit them. Generally they will be posted to our web site.

It costs less to move less

Why be insulting ?

Because I have seen Taxi 2000 in action, serving as a tool of the Road Lobby to kill good Light Rail proposals. I was close to the Austin vote in 2000 (it lost by about 1,400 votes).

Had it not been for Taxi 2000 & monorail, Austin would be opening a very useful Light rail line (about 18 miles from vague memory) right about now.

I strongly suspect that you are also either a tool or a fool. TOD, as a community, has rigorously examined Urban Rail and generally embraced it. You MAY have been sent to this site to disrupt that with false and misleading claims like "It costs less to move less" when reality is that economies of scale make it "It costs less to move more".

You may be a fool that does not realize that jPods will never have cost competitive pax-mile figures but I doubt that. (Automation costs are VERY high and quite problematic).

So, IMO, you are either a tool (get some honest work !) or a fool. If you are a tool, I have not insulted you enough, for you are trying to destroy our last chance as a society. That is an epic form of evil, pi$$ing on the rations in the life boat !

If you are a fool, perhaps I have been too harsh. Although it is clear that you are here to preach and sell your snake oil and not to exchange ideas.


It is hard to fool voters for a long time. It is not Taxi 2000 or my fault that light rail presents such an uncompelling offer.

It costs less to move less

Suspended roller coasters are a joy to ride. That being said, I have trouble imagining wide-scale implementation of them.


Dont leave your non-community every morning to go to a non- job at your hot desk cubicle with a hangover...


I have never seen one ! I was wrong, in my too limited experience with amusement parks I only knew the old style type roller coaster on dual rails.

The rotation must add a new sensation to the other roller coaster extremes :-))

Best Hopes for Post-Peak Oil amusement rides,


PS: Any idea how many ? First one ?

Just be glad it you weren't on this jpod

Discounting someones ideas because you do not understand them limits the possibility of innovation.

It costs less to move less

""The low-hanging fruit on energy efficiency has been picked, and we will have a lot harder time of it this time.""

I disagree from the viewpoint of Transportation. My next car will be a citroen C2 1.4Hdi. It's COMBINED milage is 69MPG. Just an example. I don't believe we have been trying very hard to achieve better energy efficiency and are no where near the stage of diminishing returns WRT using better technology to reduce our energy consumption. I have heard many times 'But we will not switch to smaller cars any time soon'. Nobody is asking us to switch. We are being forced to by the increasing cost of energy AKA market forces. As Jeffrey points out; we are juast a bit higher up the food chain but it will bite soon enough.

I have also asked previously can we have an increasing GDP with a reducing energy base and all answers have been inconclusive. I would venture that no-body knows the answer to this quesion, until the time comes to deal with the problem; and as we are at a unique point in history there is no model to base a complete set of assumptions on.

Moving beyond transportation, agreed that new technology will NOT deliver the same amount of energy to me that I currently use but there are plenty of ways I can still increase/maintain my productivity given a reduced amount of energy; I just can't be bothered doing it [meanwhile demand destruction is happening on a frightening scale in many third world countries]. Provoke me and I will take up the challenge and list to anyone 20 ways that an individual could slash their energy usage by 50% and still maintain productivity!


Hmmm. Silence.

Hi, Marco. I just read your 50% challenge to my wife ( while I am stuck for the moment in a hospital), and we both agreed that despite the fact that we use less than 1/3 the energy used by our friends, we could EASILY reduce it further by half.

So then, why not? Too lazy, too tangled in other things, not enough $ incentive. So we again come to the same conclusion- until we see a MUCH higher cost on energy, we will not do the simple and obvious things we could do right now to cut our energy use.

We are very far from really hurting from lack of fuel. Too bad.

70 years ago I could have come up to this dam hospital by interurban, in about 90 minutes. I did come up in 90 minutes-in a toyota getting 40mpg. The interurban would have used much less, and I might have bumped into an interesting neighbor to talk with.

Of course, 70 yrs ago I would have arrived dead, and that would have saved a lot of energy too.

I could do more to cut my energy consumption, too. The thing is, I've done most of the low cost things already. The next steps all require more substantial investments. I'll do those, but I'm not willing to incur debt to do them so I'm having to save up to pay for the investments, and that will take a while.

Ahh, if it were really silence, but in fact your question is buried under a world of noise, Marco. I suspect most of us have some thoughts on it, but really just don't know..

I suspect the chance to study and discover answers to your question relies on someone funding that study, and most funding goes for things that will MAKE money, not save it. Some of the technocopian energy solutions out there that we regularly struggle with (Ethanol, Nuclear, BioDiesel, Hydrogen) seem to me to be the publicized 'alternatives' exactly because they have the potential of being marketed commodities, while even wind and solar are much more 'buy once, no refilling contract required' solutions, and so have a harder sell to an energy market that understands pipelines and reserves, much less the 'carpool and use the A/C less' approaches to an energy challenge. Ultimately, those calculations, while easy enough to do, usually even in your head, are not going to be something you buy at the mall, and so implementing them means a whole, different approach than we've grown up learning. Advert Formula: "Problem+Product=Solution/Happiness"

I tend to agree that the basics of home economics would support your claim, and that people could reduce their expenses, simplify their lives, reduce some stresses perhaps; with a number of lifestyle (and appliance) changes, without really affecting their ability to earn a salary or produce an income somehow. I'm building some, and have installed some, but like Wimbi there, my prep has definitely been stalled as there are bigger fires (at the moment) to put out. I have some PV stocked in the basement, but haven't even been able to install it yet.. But really, I got it because I wanted it 'in my hands', in case a serious energy event caused either the availability or price of PV to become instantly prohibitive. Same with the glass and mirrors for a collection of hot air and water projects, the insulation and plumbing for my 'Winter Fridge' system (which awaits the assembly of a temp control module).. etc, etc. So far, I've stocked parts, batteries, generator motors, construction materials, plans, and so on. But my roof is still pretty bare, and hasn't had any big holes cut into it yet.. which has been another impediment to installing stuff.. it's a little intimidating to cut holes in your house, even if you know it's for really good reasons..

Bob Fiske

As mentioned, GDP itself is in question.

If I smash my imaginary new car, break many bones, use a lot of medical services, and buy a new car and hire a chauffeur, I contribute to GDP.
My present slim lifestyle is not contributing at all to the % of growth CH is experiencing.

The concept of ‘growth’ - it is a concept after all - and its measures are intertwined; if we state that the second reify the first, then GDP will sink or fall with energy inputs. (Hmm. one might yet question that.)

Other measures are needed. Linked to other models.

One aspect is that ‘capitalism’ leads to waste. (or is said to. This blanket statement could be a good topic for exam essays!)

Just one astounding example:

New figures show about a third of food grown for human consumption in the UK ends up being thrown away.


40 to 50 % seems about right to me, but the changes would have to spread beyond the home.

I would also argue that comparing these two time periods is comparing apples to oranges. The economy of today is different than the economy of previous periods in a number of ways.

One of the most obvious differences is the extent of offshoring of manufacturing. People do not "need" to buy services. In my view, the service nature of the economy is unsustainable as more money must, of necvessity, be devoted to basics.

Second, there is a significant difference in the levels of debt between the two periods. In essence, people today are trapped by their prior decisions. People are trapped by being upside down on their debts. The SUV or McMansion owner is not going to be able to trade down without significant financial losses so it is more likely they will cut back spending elsewhere leading to a cascading decline in the economy. I believe the fact that Wal-Mart sales declined indicates that rising costs are eating into people's ability to purchase stuff.

The level of goverment debt will also preclude them from capital expenditure on energy efficiency programs. Further, as tax revenues fall, they will not even be able to maintain current programs.

Third, wages are not keeping pace with real inflation. An economy cannot grow when more income is required to stay in the same place. This will be compounded as energy costs rise. Not only will it cost more for basics but the price of goods will also rise to reflect that cost. One only has to remember Gerry Ford's WIN program.

Third, the vaunted productivity gains of the past few years in the US now appear to be more smoke and mirrors. An article was recently linked on Fiendbear.com outlining this.

Fourth, even a low two percent annual decline is still exponential as someone noted yesterday. My personal belief is that it will be higher than 2% leading to an even worst case of the Red Queen Syndrome.

Finally, as Leanan noted above, the low hanging fruit has been picked.

People are welcome to believe what they want.


Ahhh Todd,

The old Class of '57...still hanging on and still reading the tea leaves extremely accurately.

Good reply. I love it.

We live in a disneyish,make believe, have it YOUR way world and now the chicks are zooming into the roost. Now begins our time of testing.

I figure those Class of '57 members who are not dead as yet are real survivors and will be there til it all crashes down and a tad longer mayhap.

I move into the pole barn this month. I leave the undefensible dwelling behind me. I will be happier. I can live far slimmer lifestlye.

BTW to those who were upset about no options for toilet paper you will find that corn shucks are quite a good replacement. Carry one or two in your bib overalls since we will have no usable indoor facilities to speak of.

Also great for starting kindling to make a fire. Corn cobs as well fire starting.

Airdale-Class of '57 Rulz!!

Pages from the cheap give-away bibles also work well, the large scale ones with both old and new testament. Haven't tried the book of mormon or the koran yet, but will report soon.

"...will report soon..."

thanks for causing the coffee I was sipping to come spewing out my nose!


Religious texts also make good rolling paper for tobacco and whatnot.

swan necks make good sanitary towels for medeval princesses.

Hi Airdale,
Ya, the old farts are hanging in there. But, you and I have other things in common besides our age. My wife and I also lived in a barn when I worked in Dover, DE. It was a converted apple packing barn. It was a truly unique place. We also lived in a log cabin when I worked in NJ. It looked neat but had no insulation and we froze every winter. Hey, have you lived in a dome? I built a 40' diameter one in the 70's.

On a more serious note, I think one thing lacking in many TOD discussions is a lack of persoanl historical perspective. Our age group tasted the Depression, saw rationing during WWII, the draft, rampant inflation, odd and even gas days, wage and price controls, civil unrest, etc. What I see among younger posters is a belief that change can be controlled, the "soft landing." I believe this is a serious mistake.


Hello Todd,

"We also lived in a log cabin when I worked in NJ. It looked neat but had no insulation and we froze every winter."

Well I am typing this still in the loghouse but I move before the end of the month...just 100 yards to the back forty and the pole barn.

Right now its about 85 degrees out. The geothermal heatpump is set at 74 degrees CoolMode. Its cycling very intermittet. I am cooling about 3200 sq ft and not counting the basement. My last electric bill was $74.00 and the one I just got is $110.00. So it is very efficient both in heating and cooling yet the loghouse biomass is what is making a lot of the difference. Once the log mass has cooled then the average is quite sustainable. At nite it rarely runs so I keep an overhead fan on to circulate the air. I normally run it at 74 degrees but for the auction I had it down to 72 degrees and yet the bill was not that bad.

The loghouse was just too frigging big and I wanted my equity back.


Well old farts class of 57' add 20 + raised by depresion era parents will suffice.
Built a fence to keep the deer from eating my new apple trees. Hoping to reconstruct my gravity flow water system this summer. Most of it is in place so no big deal.

Ya I think it will get tough as well. Picked up a pr of GP141's (.357 M)for the missus and me. Funny how she drug her feet but now the local back was robbed last week at the time she was planning to be there(she changed her mind and came home instead). So it will be ugly.

Not so sure on the whole corn husk thing. I live in tree moss valley so thinks I will pass.

Bottled 2 cases of apple wine (very good).

So you two what time do you get up? Birds here start at 4:00 am it's a bitch getting woke up that early.

best D


Class of 57 + 20? Does that mean your 20 yrs older than me?

I get up usually around 6 AM. Just naturally wake up at that time. Best to drink some coffee then do garden work before it gets too hot.

Lately we have had fairly hot weather and supposed to get hotter. The closer we get to corn pollination the more one has to observe the temperature due to heat destroying or altering the pollen. You end up with small ears,twisted rows and so forth. A bad crop and I must say one hell of a lot of corn has been drilled into the grounds in this region. A lot.

If it comes off will be a lot of hard work come harvest. Interesting to see what the CBOT does on the prices.


Todd, you're right, many things are different: debt levels, offshoring, productivity etc. But does this mean -2% less oil = -2% GDP? Or, could it be that if a recession happens (due to say the subprime situation), -2% GDP -> -2% oil consumption? I guess we'll know by the price of crude...

But a lot seems to be hanging on this question of the link between oil consumption and GDP: it could make you either a doomer, a cornucopian, or a cautious optimist (like myself).

For the record, I interpret ASPO's graphs as saying we'll experience a straight line (not exponential) annual decline of 1.4% from 2010 to 2050. That is from 90Gbpy to 40 Gbpy (all liquids).

Oops! That should be from 90 Mbpd to 40 Mbpd (compared to approx 85 Mbpd today). Source: ASPO.

For the record, I interpret ASPO's graphs as saying we'll experience a straight line (not exponential) annual decline of 1.4% from 2010 to 2050. That is from 90Gbpy to 40 Gbpy (all liquids).

That would be a graph line of oil PRODUCTION, NOT EXPORTABLE Quantities right?\

I agree with WT that there will be MUCH less available for Export.


Baktiari, who has a far better track record than ASPO, says 55 mbd by 2020. That's a loss of 30 mbpd before we apply exportland rules to the remaining oil. Think about that.

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

Sorry Leanan, hadn't seen your response on previous thread. I guess a better statistic would be reduction in total energy use in that time frame, not just oil. Also globally, and not just USA.

I don't for one minute believe we have exhausted the low hanging fruit. But obviously, you do! We have been very wasteful of cheap energy since 1990...

Some low hanging fruit:

1) Cars with 60+mpg, plenty makes and models here in Europe.

2) The bicycle

3) The bus

4) Car-pool

5) More trains.

6) Ground source heat pumps

7) Remote access at work (work from home)

8) Micro generation (not city centre/dense housing)

blah blah blah blah 3 minutes worth of picking low fruit. The Doomers will not answer this as they are too busy looking into their crystal balls.


That is all fruit that has been picked. That is, it's been invented already, and is available here in the U.S. Higher prices might encourage more people to use it, but I don't see the kind of sea change we saw in the '70s. The wealthy will have no reason to give up their mansions and SUVs, the middle class and the poor won't be able to afford to buy ground pumps or new 60mpg cars.

The '70s energy crisis caused major changes. A bunch of new small, fuel-efficient cars entered the market, and are still popular; not everyone drives an SUV or truck. Power plants were switched from oil and diesel to natural gas. Building standards were changed, to require new construction to be energy efficient. Appliances also became more energy-efficient.

There's room for improvement on all those, but diminishing returns applies. We won't see the big savings we saw in the '70s.

""but I don't see the kind of sea change we saw in the '70s""

The oil drum is a good place for data analysis, but unfortunately what you see happening and what will actually happen.......... none of us have a clue what will happen. Maybe there will be a sea change, triggered by market forces. We have seen HUGE demand destruction in the past and we may see it again.

""The wealthy will have no reason to give up their mansions and SUVs""

It's not just the wealthy that are buying those. that is part of the bubble problem. This is why demand destruction on a huge scale is possible.

""Power plants were switched from oil and diesel to natural gas""

We need to go nuclear/wind/tidal/wave. All Old technologhy, low fruit. Nuclear gives us a few years reprieve , especially in view of the fract there is already demand destruction.

My whole point is though that we will be forced to change. The forced conservation will lessen the decline slope.
To be honest my reply is not exhaustive and i would need to spend weeks fully thinking through the case against collapse in favour of controlled decline in energy base againsta backdrop of +VE GDP. This whole argument even calls into question the meaning/definition/philosophy behind what GPD actually is.


And I think the time to change was in the '70s, when we got the first warning. Trying to build all that infrastructure once the global crisis is upon is is too late.

Lets say for the sake of argument we all exercise ELP. Are we less happier as people? We have less resource but is our lifestlye worse? Is GDP then relevant?

If our benchmark is the great depression or other periods of -VE GDP did anyone ever do any analysis on the wellbeing of society.? Did for example mortality rates increase during times of -ve GDP.

This is why the meltdown scenario makes me uncomfotable. Not because of the possible outcomes and the decent into feudalism but for the unknowns that we talk about that take us to that conclusion.

Humans are very resourceful. There are just as many reasons why we could stay afloat as ther are that we might sink. It's about the path we are about to take. it is not yet decided.

Marco, I agree that in principle enough people can downsize their lifestyles to make a big difference. However, the problem I see is the snowball effect that this will have on the economy. Once people began consuming less, en-mass, factories will begin shutting down, people will lose their jobs, more businesses will go bankrupt, etc. etc. Modern economies are IMO unable to adjust downward very well or at all smoothly.

The best scenario I can conceive is that we will go through an economic implosion like I describe, and slowly work our way out of it into an overall more 'sustainable' way of life. The biggest reason the this may not happen is that the population is still rising and any improvements in efficiencies of lifestyle are overwhelmed by more people needing more resources.

Unless you are one of the starry-eyed cornucopians that sees deserts full of PV panels and a nuclear power plant on every corner, it is tough to figure out how we can proceed from here without some very rough, and very possibly catastrophic times ahead.

Once people began consuming less, en-mass, factories will begin shutting down, people will lose their jobs, more businesses will go bankrupt, etc. etc.

Fortunately, that has all happened already. There are not all that many factories left to shut down, globalization has already taken care of most of them.

It seems clear that the economy will have to change, but that doesn't mean it will necessarily crumble. There is a prodigious amount of work to be done, and labor will probably be scarce as we build new energy industries, adjust our housing setups and roadways, and start to produce both more food and more energy-UNintensive accoutrements for a changing set of demands.

I'm not saying we will avoid chaos, as it has been said already, we already have some chaos. Hell, we already have a warlord, as far as I can tell, a resource war, a bit of die-off.. We're there!



All one has to do it go out on a major interstate around 3:00 PM on a Friday. Drive from one large metro/suburban area to another. Like St. Louis, Mo. to Nashville, Tn...

What you see should convince you of the reasons why we will descend into the gorge!!

They don't drive the speed limit. They throw caution and courtesy to the wind. They will kill you if your not careful. Its a dog eat dog trip.

The SUVs, massive pickups, motorhomes and so forth is very convincing that most Americans have no clue whatsoever and don't really give a rat's ass about anything.

Its the mental aspect of sheer stupidity that you come away with.

I just made that trip last week. It was sheer living hell. I couldn't drive over 60mph due to a shimmy in my front end. I was almost backended several times but ignorant drivers in a hurry to go somewhere. Even 18 wheelers were skidding their brakes and cussing and missing me by inches.

I continued on at 60mph(5 miles under the 65 speed limit in Ky. and just let them rave on.

We are not going to have where withal to do anything because they just do not care at all.

Speaking to them is even a worse exercise in futility.

The mental attitude is what I speak of. The drivers atttitude and bullish mannerisms out on the fourway. I never never take my motorcycle out into that madness these days. I stay far away on the back roads.


I mentioned this in reply to your post about this the other day: I've found that taking the older US highways that mostly paralel the Interstates is starting to become the better alternative. One can drive at 55 and live to tell about it.

The phenomena you describe are all associated with purely discretionary activities. When the price of gasoline gets high enough, people will use their discretion to curtail activities that their discretionary income can no longer fund.


I believe all the behaviour you have exhibited is due to traffic levels.

I take it you are not then a peak oil soon believer and think that there will be just as much traffic on the roads in say 3, 5, 10years time as there is now?

I am not as optomistic for the future of the motor car.


Leanan has hit the nail on the head.

The emergy we take for granted in the built environment seems free as it is already there. Now, imagine removing the old built environment and replacing it entirely. How much energy will that take? How can we sustain it? Since no one seems to care about population, how will we expand it, and then maintain that expansion?

The idea that we will switch from one giant inefficient energy sink to another more efficient energy sink is preposterous.

The idea that this could happen for every built environment everywhere is insane.

There is a way out and it does not involve trying to buck basic thermodynamics.

A lot of what will happen will be not so much replacement as retrofits. For example, many of us assume that suburban and exurban housing will be abandoned. The slack will not necessarilly be made up with a massive construction program of high-density housing in urban areas, but is more likely to come from larger single family homes converted into multi-family housing. Some of the building materials for the retrofits will come from recycling of salvaged materials from the abandoned housing.

The "high-density housing" I expect will be mega-slums, as we see in the third world today. Particularly around southern cities that lack brutal winters.

"The emergy we take for granted in the built environment seems free as it is already there. Now, imagine removing the old built environment and replacing it entirely. How much energy will that take?"

My example to people on this is to say,

Imagine in your mind a D9 Cat(bulldozer) or an earthmover.

Now, how many PV panels or windmills will it take to build that?

I'm still waiting for my Electric Plane.

And when are those PV panels gonna start producing PolyEthylene or PolyProp???

...always a practical one in every crowd...;-)

Yes, we are going to bitterly regret the path not taken. There will be a sea change of attitudes, and some crash infrastructure projects, but it is all going to be too little, too late to avoid some major pain and suffering.

The U.S. is very far behind what Marco is talking about - but it is certainly true, it has been invented.

In part, he is describing living differently - and that is something the U.S. seems to reject, almost instinctively.

But there is no question that the change in the 1970s was abrupt, and unlikely to be duplicated today. In the 70s, we ran aground, but were refloated - now, the ship is inexorably setting deeper, till now on a fairly even keel in calm seas.

The U.S. has done little to nothing the entire time I have been posting about such things - this is not true of other societies, however.

And that widening gap is interesting itself.

I agree that we will need to live differently - far more differently than Marco thinks.

For example, fewer or no cars, not 60mpg cars. And communities arranged so that this is possible.

And I think this will probably be accomplished via the free market, which is likely to be unpleasant.

Don't get me wrong, I've been through the whole denail, realisation, denial, depression thing (well not quite depression). I've been to Kunsler and back. Flirted with Twightlight in the desert and Partied till it's all over. I realise the full consequence of removing energy from the system and of the rising of the global population on the back of abundant fossil fuel. BUT.. when it gets to crunch time I can't see society standing on the precipice saying:

"look I am not taking the BUS OK. Yes i know the fridge is empty, do you think I am stupid." as they merrily throw themselves off the cliff they were hovering over.

We could all slash our energy usage tomorrow easily. Yes the lifestly change has to happen but we are talking about humanitys' survival here. Of course we will act (once the message get across!!!!) We will be forced to act.


BUT.. when it gets to crunch time I can't see society standing on the precipice saying:

"look I am not taking the BUS OK. Yes i know the fridge is empty, do you think I am stupid." as they merrily throw themselves off the cliff they were hovering over.

I don't, either. Instead, I see what happened during the Katrina price spikes:

Bus ridership increased, but service cut back. Governments and transit companies can't afford fuel. And the cash-strapped riders and taxpayers are not in the mood to accept a fare increase or tax increase to pay for it.

School cancelled for a week, or shifts to a 4-day week, because of the cost of energy.

School buses cancelled on some routes due to cost. It's the poorest neighborhoods that are cut off first, naturally.

That is why they won't be taking the bus, not because they don't feel like it.

Pre-K, New Orleans had a pretty good bus and streetcar system. Over 300 buses operating daily, and 65 streetcars. Today we are down to 8 or 9 streetcars and 60 buses on a good day.

Despite the specific assurances of our President in his infamous Jackson Square speech, the streetcars are not running on St. Charles.

The result. Pre-K, I would have taken the streetcar to the FQ last Sunday, instead I drove. Many people without cars are riding bicycles instead of taking the bus. Fortunately we are compact enough for bicycles and the post-K wave of out-of-town massive SUVs and dually pick-ups has diminished.

Such is our fate.

Best Hopes for non-Oil Transportation, by any mode.


Pre-K, New Orleans had a pretty good bus and streetcar system. Over 300 buses operating daily, and 65 streetcars. Today we are down to 8 or 9 streetcars and 60 buses on a good day.

Of course, this will also have implications for evac should another K-scale hurricane threaten.

After the great stuff you ate at the festival I'm surprised you were'nt arrested for "Driving While Fat".

"Those who restrain desires do so because theirs can be restrained" -William Blake, Marriage of Heaven and Hell

"Many people without cars are riding bicycles instead of taking the bus."

And there is your answer.

I expect a massive population shift from the north to more bearable climates in the south, complete with shanty towns.

Go take a look at latin american cities.
That's what the future will be.

BTW it's also interesting to note that e.g. Cuba has a fairly large size city (Havana) which is a net food exporter.

Nope - I don't expect death and destruction, I expect us to become POOR.

Again, Leanan has hit the proverbial nail on the head.

The very nature of the infrastructure will cause it to implode. A high energy system requires high energy input for maintenance. As long as the system is tied to a laissez faire economic system, the chances for redistribution of energy to crisis areas remains slim. In a world where money is scarce or worthless, the little bits of green paper will stop having the influence they once had. In an economy which relied upon the constant expenditure of low cost energy to do "service" things for people not really creating anything except fat Merkins, a sudden drop in that cheap energy spells catabolic collapse.

The American "can-do" mentality springs from cheap energy. In fact it springs from an even earlier time when Europeans came to the Native's lands and found "free" land. Back then, to the Europeans, that was the equivalent of 5 buck a barrel oil. With such riches, it is easy to think that you as a people are superior in your craftiness, your wiles, your ability to get the job done. But those times are over.

That misplaced egotism is about to get a pinprick.

more like a stab with a carving knife.

"look I am not taking the BUS OK. Yes i know the fridge is empty, do you think I am stupid." as they merrily throw themselves off the cliff they were hovering over.

I can see them saying: "The fridge is empty! I'll take your food...and the car!", and throwing each other from the cliff.
Of course, that may be (as I hope) avoidable.

If I recall correctly, Marco already lives (or could live very, very easily) in the world you are describing.

And it wasn't exactly done by the free market, either - though it certainly played a role, for good and ill.

The TGV now stops about 10 minutes before my tram leaves, on the same tracks - a neighbor has said that several of the cheap airlines have now cancelled their flights to Paris from this region (Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg) because of the train service. I don't think this process can exactly be described as the free market - but over the longer term, it is likely very viable, meaning that it will continue to be used for decades.

And it seems as if the route is supposed to be extended until it ends in Budapest - which means London to Budapest with high speed rail is realistic in the next decade, along with other routes.

Slow alternatives are possible - as long as they are done, and not merely discussed.


I agree that Europe from my time there, is from past history, more prepared for an energy crunch.

Though with the above ground factors added, which I think is Russia holding the cards for energy, that can be a major factor in how much energy is available to run those trains and have a "growing" economy.

Cherenkov and Leanan in posts don't think the US can survive in the coming more expensive, declining economies paradigm.

I can't think of an argument that really holds water to question them.


As long as that alternative has an energy source cheap enough to pay and maintain it's existence, yea, if not, no, imo.

WHat is not included in the "future" ideas is what the political world is going go be like. That I think is why most don't see another "world" in the downturn.

Thats going to change, and has changed, and that is going to be the wild card.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

I used to think that Europe was in better shape than the US with respect to post PO.

No longer.

We are actually in the same shape than the US.

Except we have more whinging, snivelling pensioners who believe that a second home in Spain, Universal , free medical care, automated botty wiping by low paid Poles and North Africans, and a 70% marginal tax rate to pay for these creatures is some kind of earned right.

At least the USA has Mexicans.

Consider yourselves fair game. Stringy though you may well be.(Though stewed over a low fire with Garlic may create a more pallatable dish...). And Apples go well with pork.


The great generation has almost gone.

The ME generation is retiring.

The which pensioner shall I eat next ? is soon to be upon us

well I'm one of you pensioners, 70 years old, live on 12 acres
grow my own food, heat myself with wood I grow and cut myself,
have my own stream for water which I filter through a rig I built myself, One small diesel Peugeot 205. no cottage in Spain, no Poles
should you fancy me to eat next, take care I keep my chainsaw in the house :-)

Geez I am chipping in real late in all these discussions.

On the numbers - besides bicycle lanes, some wind farms (etc.), tax on fuels (note), good public transport, nice green parks, and all the rest, much of it quite interesting of course in various ways, several EU countries use more fossil fuels per cap. than the US.

The reason, baldly stated, is that they are richer, they can afford those frills. The US is not amongst the very biggest consumers, nor is it amongst the richest countries, as measured by 'well-being', education, literacy, diet, infant mortality, average income / buying power, and much more. There is a big ‘poor’ pop. in the US. (duh.)

But social organization does count for a lot; how much exactly we will find out 20 years from now.

note. The Greens plus allies, not all from the left, in Switz, put forward a motion to forbid the import of agro-fuels; the response from the Minister came today; it is contrary to WTO rules so cannot be done, but he promises to tax them the same as fossils...or even more if ‘considered destructive’.. a study group or what not..

"That is all fruit that has been picked. "

No, it's fruit that is overripe, but so far not rotten. Only a very few people have picked it, and it is still the low-hanging fruit, as far as I can tell, since it represents the quickest workarounds to the energy we consume at the individual level.


One retort:


"One retort : FOOD"

One counter retort: Permaculture.

You cannot create permaculture overnight. If you suddenly find yourself poor, where will you begin to create your permaculture? How will you maintain it? How will you eat until it actually produces?

You need to be building permaculture solutions right now because waiting until you need them is too late. And it will be too late for anyone who does wait. They will simply starve.

Note: The global grain supplies have shrunk again as for the 7th out of the last 8 years the world has consumed more grain than produced. Global stockpiles that once could feed the entire world for more than a third of a year are in the 45 day range now and still falling.

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

"If you suddenly find yourself poor".

Emphasis on the word "suddenly".

This is the crux of the matter:
If we have a sudden collapse (e.g. weeks or months) then yes, you're right.

If we have more like a string of dead cat bounce recessions then enough people may clue in to the permaculture solution.

For example: My personal issue is that my immediate neighbors have no clue and I am loathe to tell them because they already have me placed in the "crazy person" category due to solar panels and an "overgrown" backyard as well as some kind of "hippie freak who grows his own vegetables".

But here's the crux: I could probably feed the four houses around me for about three months on tight "rations" if we got a sudden collapse. In that scenario (empty stomach) it would be far easier to convince them to start the digging and planting which they could do if I chose to share some of my seeds with them. And we would only need 3 months to be able to stretch out till some food started arriving.

The unknown is this: How many "oases" of people like myself are there?

There's more: I have been more or less silently going around the park department's land sowing seeds all over the city for the last two years. *Some* people will be pleasantly surprised to find *some* berries and various other vegetables growing in unexpected places...

Marco, not one of your eight items fits into the category of low-hanging fruit; they are all mitigation strategies!

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

Well spotted sceptical! Thank the Lord you are hear to show me the light:-).

Society has been mitigating it's way out of the stone age. You can give all the energy saving methods in the world any label you like. But lets just DO them.

Of course it is mitigation. If it eaks out the oil to allow society more transition time then great. If it gives us another 10 years to start a nuclear/renewable crash program unlike the efforts seen since the 2nd word war then great. If nuclear only mitigates for another 20 years then we've beaten Hirch at his own game. He'll have to write another report telling us we need 20 years to prepare for peak Uranium 3 years before it peaks!!


Freudian slip "2nd word war"!!!!

He'll have to write another report telling us we need 20 years to prepare for peak Uranium 3 years before it peaks!!

If we're using breeder reactors, thats sixteen million years from now.


As we all know, we're just trying to make educated guesses. I never thought I'd live during a period of wage controls but I did. I got a raise via a change in title to get it through gov rules - went from pilot plant superintendent to pilot plant manager.

When I designed and built my house 20+ years ago, I thought it was hot stuff because I used R-20 wall insulation and R-47 roof insulation and we got 30% of our heat from insolation. This was all way beyond code. Now I wish I had gone with R-40 walls and built an active solar heating system (I heat with wood now.)

I made an educated guess about the future during the design process. And, while it was in the right direction from an energy perspective, it still fell short. The trouble is lots of more difficult decisions will have to be made regarding societal resource use.



Oil price spikes and GDP
1973-75,recovery, 1979-82,recovery, 1990-91,recovery, 2001,and so on

JN2, during that period oil production was not contracting over the entire period. For the period in which oil production contracted (1979-1982), the US experienced the worst recession since the Great Depression. That period, not 1977-1985, should be your model.

Point #2 - all the easy cuts were made back then. Utilities no longer use petroleum so they can't switch off it again, can they?

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

Here's an excerpt from a recent article on my web site that discusses just this question.

The standard economist's position has been based on a theory developed by Robert Solow in 1956. In Solow's analysis economic growth was driven by two factors, capital and labour, both of which were quantified financially. 70% of the money flow in the world goes to labour as salaries, 30% goes to capital as rent, dividends etc. Solow used some equations called Cobb-Douglas equations to map the growth function of an economy as labour and capital increased. He got nice curves, but when he tested his theory using historical data he found that it under-predicted the observed economic growth by two thirds. In other words, economies grew three times as fast as his theory predicted. The discrepancy was never explained (or even much discussed for that matter) but Solow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1987 anyway.

Two physicists, Reiner Kummel and Robert Ayres, independently observed the global economic slowdown following the oil shocks of the 70s and 80s and wondered if the role of energy in the economy was being under-valued. Their analysis convinced them that the price of oil (which was used by Solow in his analysis) underestimated the productive contribution of oil by a factor of ten. In other words, to truly reflect the contribution of oil to the economy, it should be priced about ten times higher. They developed their own economic model that started from Solow's work but incorporated their findings about oil's productive contribution, and found that their predictions matched observed economic growth perfectly. In other words, for the role of oil to be properly reflected in a purely financial economic model, it would have to be priced at over $300 per barrel (they did their analysis when oil prices were much lower than they are now).

It looks as though economic growth is actually being driven by four factors, the most important of which is energy supply. The other three are energy efficiency, capital and labour. If any of the four increase an economy will grow, but energy supply has by far the largest influence.

What does this imply for a post-peak world? Well, the models by Kummel and Ayres predict that for every 1% increase in energy inputs you get about a 0.7% increase in GDP on average. The immediate implication is that a reduction of 1% in energy will cause a corresponding 0.7% drop in GDP. So if the the world's oil supply were to decline by 30% (as would happen in ten years of a 4% annual decline), the global GDP would lose 23% of its value.

Of course, this is a linear extrapolation, and doesn't take into account such things as the effects of investor psychology in the context of a declining global economy. The realization that the economy is in permanent decline will have a dramatic impact on investors' willingness to fund capital, thereby worsening a bad situation by reversing another of the four crucial growth factors. In addition, there is much speculation that a third of these factors, energy efficiency, may not be able to keep growing because efficiency improvements are asymptotic and we have already picked much of the low-hanging fruit. That leaves labour, of which there is likely to be a growing under-utilized pool.

Mod that post up, thanks.

From "Paradox" article:

"Shortages of natural gas - hitherto the fuel of choice for electricity generation - have become a regular feature, forcing (Mideast) governments to consider alternatives such as coal, fuel oil, nuclear and even imported gas," the IEA wrote.

From the peak coal article:

This is somewhat simplistic way of looking at a complex economic event, but it is much more accurate than the commonly thought of idea of “running out” and the associated metric of reserves over production to determine how many years a resource will last.

I would argue that as net exports collapse--for example what we saw in the UK (about a 37% annual decline rate) and what we are seeing in Mexico (a 16% annual decline rate, 1/06 to 4/07)--an accurate description for the event is "running out," because it is not a simple exponential decline curve. Net exports are a function of two independent variables: production and consumption, so we don't tend to see the long gradual "tail" that we see in a simple exponential decline curve.

I am relentlessly (and repetitively) arguing that the very lifeblood of the world industrial economy--net crude oil and petroleum product export capacity--is draining away in front of our very eyes.

I'm really starting to "get" this land export problem. I think it needs to be quantified and, for lack of a better word, graphic-ied.

That is. We need to *see* this problem in action.

Maybe TOD should start up a new series of posts... Marching through each country, one at a time, where this export problem is manifesting itself.

Perhaps if we can build an entire section showing countries going through this transition from exporter to importer, in the current, past, and future then that resource itself would serve as possibly the most vivid demonstration of what happens in a peak-oil situation in our growth-based economy.

I would suggest Russia, the UK, Mexico, and perhaps Venezuela? Maybe we should make a list of the best candidates to start with and then divide and conquer...

I have seen HL plots of six of the top 10 net oil exporters. All six, including the top four, are either in close proximity to, or past, the 50% of Qt marks on their HL plots.

Take a look at Euan's graph of UK production, consumption and exports: http://www.theoildrum.com/uploads/3246/UK_oil_import_export_model.png

The UK showed peak exports to zero net exports in about six to seven years.

As I said in an email to PG, I remain stupefied that the net export story is not the #1 story in the world.

The real killer is the Phase Two decline in net exports. On my model, Phase one is 16% per year (for 4.5 years). Phase Two is 37% per year (for 4.5 years).

Perhaps we TOD:ers should keep this WT Export land calculations in our inner circle. We could with this knowledge make personal financial and survival killings, and leeve the others in the dust and in the Die-off crowd.

OK OK this is a little morbid thinking, and not politically correct. And perhaps only sick humor from me, but who knows?


I don't see it as a problem if your moral compass points in the direction of: there isn't enough room in the lifeboat for everyone.

and on that same note west Texas could of just kept this to himself, made a killing like goldwater, and just up and left here laughing as we fiddle while rome burns.

that being said i am glad he chose to share the information.

The oil Land Export model also applies to food.

And almost certainly riperian and acquifer rights.

In the same vein, I would expect capital controls to make a comeback.

I would expect the 'African Express'* to become increasingly the mechanism of daily business.

*AK47 - Dont leave home without it...

It is called affirmative shopping for the politically correct...

I do not think oil is the lifeblood of our economy. I believe cheap oil is. The days of cheap oil are gone and we are coasting on the momentum of a past era.

We need to retools while we still have momentum. For our part we are implementing JPods. In highly repetitive travel, instead of moving a ton to move a person, we are striving to move only the person. This is ultra-light rail, an integration of the Internet and roller coaster mechanics.

It costs less to move less

Cheap oil is the issue where the cornucopian crowd is most vulnerable. I think argueing with their reserves is a waste of time, what the public wants is easy access to liquid fuel at a bargain basement rate. We'd have fewer problems in education if we focused on price, because none of their miracle silver bullets-biofuels, hydrogen, kerogen (oil shale) or bitumen (tar sands) can replace oil at a cheap price.

The one silver bullet I can see is ingenuity. If we deregulate transportation and energy as we did communication, we have a shot at surviving.

It will not create "an answer". It will create many niche solutions to specific need. We will migrate from unsustainable to something else.

It costs less to move less

rant warning!

We have deregulated energy and transportation. There are essentially no production controls on oil and gas, coal lobbys have gutted the clean air standards in the name of free enterprise. The airlines are going rapidly bankrupt, and we've allowed the railroads to merge their way to monopoly. The car companies based in the US are nearly bankrupt in spite of the heavy subsidies in road building.

The Republicans ditched prudent fiscal policy with Ronald Reagan. Insted of "Tax and Spend", they adopted don't tax the rich and spend even more.The Democrats aren't a lot better. Both US parties are more concerned with aiding their contributors than the entire US.

Free Market solutions are a method of rationing designed to favor the rich. A guy with a $10 million net worth isn't concerned about the price of gas. The divorced mother who can't drive her kids to the beach on the weekend will have to cut her useage to match her budget, making more fuel available for private jets and yachts.

Karl Marx said 150 years ago that a society defines wealth by its conditions of ownership of that wealth, and its true.
We need high inheritance taxes so that idiots like Donald Trump and Steve Forbes are paid on the basis of their worth to society.

OK, Rant over. You can go back to watching reruns of The Apprentice , Deal or No Deal and Who wants to be a Millionaire?

humor break

Or watching the clock,


I'll leave each to ponder their own interpretations and projections

and I like your rant.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Personally , I would be happy if all came into this world buck-naked had survive on wits, intelligence and imagination.

That was my endowment. ( ok, so it wasnt that big to start with...)

But I now have kids.

Call me a cave-man, but I would happily tear the throat out of any who gets in their way. - I dont know why, may be some thing to do with the Cambrian Explosion...

Might be instinct.

Might be Genes.

Might even be Jean's

or Jeans'

Might even be Jeans...

Dorme Bien.

Call you a cave man, happily tear out throats, using punctuation with the possessive apostrophe to illustrate the possessiveness of your cave man nature.

a desire is a start, but it doesn't get things done.

Seems to be a lot of people on this board that just can't wait to kill.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

It is not the desire to kill, it is the desire to extract revenge, at least in my case, on those that should have known and those that have heard the message but refuse to listen. I view the situation as a local one and I have warned, emailed, chided, blogged, ranted and coerced to no avail. I am planning for this eventuality, but I am also planning using "best hopes", by investing in local farming, shopping at local producers and only working for clients that are not merchants of death.

If it all comes down I have the list of those "most responsible" and it would give me great pleasure to look them in the eye prior to handing them the shovel that they will use to double dig the country club they called home. A bullet would be wasted on the like, it is too merciful.

In communications, the granting of rights of way favor the building of the network. In transportation, if a network crosses a thousand jusidictions, any one of them can block the entire network.

It costs less to move less

If we deregulate transportation and energy as we did communication, we have a shot at surviving.

Deregulated energy - please explain how Enron was good for surviving?
Deregulated transportation - Ok, POOF! you have it. Now exactly HOW are you going to get the land for your jpods?

Hello Bill James,

Please read my postings on bicycle free-ride hitch-hiking on mini-trains in yesterday's Drumbeat. This allows cargoes and 'passengers' to move by express routing from outlying permaculture areas to the urban core. The hitch-hikers are free to choose entry and exit points; no stations needed.

At the minimum, it would provide tremendous, cheap extensions to the urban 'spine' of RR & TOD that Alan is pushing for implementation.

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

I did a quick impromtue poll, and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association is ready to endorse your plan!

I ran across this interesting page on the EIA site while putting together an Export Land Model email yesterday, Top World Tables. It shows the top 15 producers, consumers, exporters, and importers. There are tabs for 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006. Can't explain the date gap.

First generation data tables. ('000 Bpd):

Absolute Numbers
Yr Production Consumption Export Imports
2000 59,060 54,485 35,474 32,781
2004 62,912 58,009 38,964 35,905
2005 63,790 58,717 40,039 36,542
2006 63,666 59,131 39,325 36,474

Absolute YoY Changes
Yr Production Consumption Export Imports
2000 - - - -
2004 3,852 3,524 3,490 3,124
2005 878 708 1,075 637
2006 -124 414 -714 -68

Percent YoY Changes
Yr Production Consumption Export Imports
2000 - - - -
2004 6% 6% 9% 9%
2005 1% 1% 3% 2%
2006 0% 1% -2% 0%

Of course, the first date increment (2000 - 2004) is different than subsequent intervals. So the 2004 delta numbers should maybe get interpolated. Math geeks, back me up on the best way to account for this. Real data would be better.

Top World Oil Net Exporters, 2006
Rank Country Net Exports ('000 bbl/d)
1 Saudi Arabia 8,651
2 Russia 6,565
3 Norway 2,542
4 Iran 2,519
5 United Arab Emirates 2,515
6 Venezuela 2,203
7 Kuwait 2,150
8 Nigeria 2,146
9 Algeria 1,847
10 Mexico 1,676
11 Libya 1,525
12 Iraq 1,438
13 Angola 1,363
14 Kazakhstan 1,114
15 Canada 1,071

How many of these are already in decline?

What does 2007 to-date look like?

Russia looks like the long pole in the ExportLand tent.

As illustrated in this graph:

The Canada number looks way off, some 80%:

Total Canadian crude oil exports last year were 1.8 million bpd, up 163,000 bpd from 2005.

If the rest are off by similar margins,......

I think that the answer is gross versus net. Western Canada is a net exporter. Eastern Canada is a net importer. The EIA shows net Canadian exports to be 1.1 mbpd.


It's possible, there are divergent stats, but the EIA's Canada page says:

In total for 2006, Canada exported to the United States 2.3 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and petroleum products.

If I'm not mistaken, that would mean their net exports are smaller than their net imports. Well, unless they export a whole whole lot of petroleum products.

The key question is what Eastern Canada imported.

Here are some 2004 numbers for Canada. I suspect that this is for crude oil or crude + condensate.


Oil - exports:
1.6 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
963,000 bbl/day (2004)

Note that all of these numbers are for Total Liquids. Also note that the ongoing sharp decline in Mexican exports (down 18% from 1/06) is not reflected in these numbers.

Rembrandt has a great post on exports. He puts total liquids exports at 47 mbpd in 2006. I posted a question for him as to whether this is for net exports. In any case, the top four net exporters account for about 43% of the 47 mbpd number.

The top four (combined) showed a 1.8% decline in production, a 3.9% increase in consumption and a 4.3% decline in net exports (all from 2005 to 2006).

Based on the HL models, the top three are way past their respective 50% of Qt marks. Iran is probably also past 50%.


I believe that your model is fantastic and I fail to see why others have not adopted it into their algorithm.

Nothing is more frustrating when an obvious physical reality is challenged. I think it speaks to the intellectual capability of the challengers.

As they say, "In gravity wells, there is a downside."

i just find it funny that many people here selectively apply critical thinking skills.

Professor Goose asked me for a suggested cover letter introduction if he wanted to send my Oil Quiz PDF to some friends and acquaintances. This is what I suggested:

Oil is hugely important to our economy. Each year we use more of it. But we started out with a finite supply, and it is gradually being drawn down.

This quiz provides an overview of where we are now, and some of the issues we may face in the near future if production should begin to decline.

Modify this as you like, if you would like to send copies.

Gail, some linguistic/grammatical nitpicking:

5. Increases in Canadian oil production as a result of developing the Canadian Oil Sands can be expected to offset declines in oil production elsewhere.

a. True
b. False

As the question is stated now, this is true, but you say it's false.

One may argue that no matter how small oil sands production is, it will always offset SOME production declines elsewhere. What you mean to say is something like "offset ALL declines".

NB: since conventional oil production in Canada decreases fast, there may well be no such thing as net "Increases in Canadian oil production" to begin with. That could be part of your answer/explanation.

We've just spent the 20th century configuring the whole world for cheap, abundant energy, a market condition that is literally changing under our feet.

Joseph Palmer

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

A little OT from a persistent lurker, dedicated to small car lovers.

Fiat is about to launch its updated and gentrified (along the lines of the VW Beetle and the Mini) version of the Fiat 500, the extra-small, no frills model which was the first car many Italians could afford during the post-WW2 economic boom (from the fifties to the seventies oil shock).
For the occasion, the newspaper "La Repubblica" asked its readers to send the photos of their Fiat 500, and here are the results:



One of the readers observes that her 500, bought as a prize for her high school graduation, is still working today, as she is about to retire. The last of the "old" Fiat 500 was produced in 1974, but even today it is not uncommon to see them on the Italian roads.

On a personal note, I remember seeing one of these little critters in Shanghai (we are talking of more than 20 years ago) with a "taxi" rooftop sign. Having been more than once a rear seat passenger on one of them, I still cannot understand how someone in their right mind could think of making a taxi cab out of a 500.

Hey, those pictures are great! Why did they ever stop making cars like that?

I would love to get one, but I can't say I think the new model does justice to the old vintage design.

The trouble with being a male 'small car lover' is that it's just seen as so uncool and from personal experience - not at all popular with the ladies !

Last year, in preparation for the coming oil crunch I bought myself a second hand Citroen C3 Diesel. It does a highly respectable 600+ miles on one tank (about 9 gallons) that's going on for 70 mpg. I also pay a mere £50/year road tax because of it's low emissions. So naturally I was pleased with my shrewd investement.

Since then I've had the p*ss mercilessly ripped out of me by my fellow BMW/Audi owning colleagues and on unveiling it to my now ex girlfriend she was heard to utter ' Ohh, it's small isn't it'

Who says (engine) size isn't important :)

Well, I, for one, have had my first sex in my flame red 126 (actually, the model was 126 personal).
When, years later, I saw for the last time before it was sent for scrap, it was the only time in my life I cried for a bunch of metal and plastics.

Mind you, YMMV!

Did the back surgery work, or are you still crippled?
I think tales like that are why the Beatles wrote "Why Don't We Do It In the Road?".

Retooling Period

As important as defining the problem of Peak Oil is, the real need for action is in retooling.

What happens when the circulatory system of an organism fails to deliver enough critical resources for even a short time?

Transportation as the economic circulatory system is having heart murmurs with clogged veins.

What are we doing? Sending troops to protect access to oil; spending capital resources to expand roads and oil additction, and, oh yes, sitting on the couch watching Paris Hilton whining "Its not fair."

Transportation and energy policies need to mirror communications policy. We need the wild and adaptive attitude of the Internet to invent, implement and commercialize the transportation and energy sectors. We need an exercise program for our circulatory system.

It costs less to move less

I think biological analogies have merit. Another might be the mother wolf suckling her cubs so their bone and muscle is developed enough to hunt. If current battery and solar technology is our future bone and muscle then we need to build it with much of our remaining fossil energy. Example; using coal to smelt metals like silicon.

The biological analogy also applies to the JN2 post above. The US ratio of GDP:energy improved after the 70s oil shock since there was fat to burn. When the body eventually becomes anorexic calorie cuts mean starvation. I think GDP must decline in real terms, perhaps within a decade.

Ha ha

That graph was compiled by a familiar name....


Your assessment is an obvious one (at least to peak oil people), in that the time to develop alternatives is when energy is available.

The problem is that we need to "retool" our economy model not just our infrastructures use of energy. It is unlikely that we can find a sustainable energy source that can replace the massive energy supply that oil, NG and coal are currently delivering.

The mindset hurdle we have to get over is that there are other ways to do things than the way we do them today. I include transportation, farming, manufacturing, lighting, HVAC, and all the other interwoven things that equal our economy/standard of living/culture. For each of these component parts of society we need to find a workable solution that consumes less energy.

But many of these solutions, as elegantly described by TOD posters, usually requires a change in how we do things. New technologies will force people to live in a different way, but most of the population are not changing right now. I have found that most people, including my family, don't WANT to change right now.

Why buy a solar oven for cooking when the crock pot works just fine and appears easier? The solar oven may cook as fast, use less energy and not heat up your house, but people won't use them yet when they can use a modern kitchen appliance. As long as people think (justify?) they can afford to do things the old way they will not change. You can't force them to either, no matter how altruistic or economically beneficial your motives. They have to want to change first.

I, as I suspect many TOD posters, go through alternating periods of depression and optimism about how peak oil will play out. Right now I am in an optomistic phase where I see many examples of early adopter technology being tested. Some are successful some are not. But the early adopters are allowing ideas to actually be commercialized with respect to energy and how do things as a society.

My thought for you is that now that YOU are enlightened about the problem AND the solution it will appear that change is occuring at a snails pace. Remember, for those who don't want to change, the changes are coming at them faster than they can cope and it appears to be getting worse every week. I suggest you be kind and patient to your neighbors, friends and family and help them see the problems first. Keep peak oil current as a topic. Link it to problems of debt and consumption. Cite numbers on why we can't just switch to alternative energies and not change our consumption of energy.

If we all do this this, over time a large percentage of people will start searching for solutions to the problem. I was certain about the value of the Toyota Prius II when it was first launched and waited for 6 months to get one. Every car pundit, magazine and "expert" said it was interesting but that hybrids would never get more than 2% market share because people wouldn't buy them.

Well, hybrids were 2.6% (if I remember right) of new cars in May 2007. The funny thing is hybrids aren't the answer, mass transit is. But I now see that we have to go through hybrids to get to mass transit or before we stop commuting! I am already thinking about these issues and how to get off cars but my neighbors still don't know what hybrids are. Talk about different realities.

Welcome to the enlightened club. Work hard to change other peoples minds. But always remember how you acted before things clicked in your head about energy. Most people are not there yet and need our help understanding the problem before the solution makes any sense.

I think you have hit the nail right on the head; solutions will work if people want them more than what is currently used.

Our efforts, JPods is targeted at highly repetitive travel. Instead of waiting for a shuttle bus, on-demand you get in a "horizontal-elevator" that weights 350 pounds and uses a 4 HP motor to take you from the airport terminal to the hotel/rental car, etc....

Making the shift will depend on making products and services that produce and service better.

It costs less to move less

But why can't you be bothered to explain how your plan is better than the RUF.


At this point it seems worthy of considering all possibilities. We should try lots of things and let the markets and time pick the winners.

I do generally think innovation should be privately funded. It keeps the focus on value.

Relative to RUG and JPods specifically, our focus is not niche solutions. Shuttling people and cargo around airports does not require a duel use vehicle. The core of our physics is the belief that Parasitic Mass (the mass we pay to move that is not cargo or passengers) should be driven towards zero. There may be markets where RUF is better suited than JPods.

It costs less to move less

At this point it seems worthy of considering all possibilities. We should try lots of things and let the markets and time pick the winners

True in the 1970s, not true today. We do not have the time or money to waste on gadgetbahn given how far the USA is behind !

We wasted enough money 30 years ago to build a decent subway system (18 miles) in Houston on a half dozen PRTs (including the two I linked).

PRT had it's shot. It is a proven, high cost, low reliability failure ! No more experiments needed. We can afford neither the time nor the money to play around with gadgetbahn toys.

I personally believe your goal is to confuse and frustrate real solutions to our problems, given the past history of Taxi 2000. You are casting about for a snake oil pitch that will resonate here.


PS: You have not yet explained how you would evacuate wheel chair pax trapped in mid-air. The 1970s PRTs are exempt from this requirement since they are grandfathered in before ADA was passed.

A show stopper for US use.

And I found your use of New Orleans as an example on your website both personally offensive and factually wrong.

Alan, more Zydeco and jazz, less computer monitors! I don't want you to get ulcers before I have time to make a sacred pilgrimage to the Mecca of Music and crawfish etoufee!

Hi Bob,

This is a great idea - only can we make it a TOD pilgrimage?

let the markets and time pick the winners.

As in free markets?

Great, when you find one, lets us know.

Be sure to address the whole money angle, that has to be 'free market' too.

Relative to RUG and JPods specifically, our focus is not niche solutions.

At this point I'd say both of you are both niche.

The core of our physics is the belief that Parasitic Mass (should be driven towards zero.

So why can't there be 'only rail use' Ruf'ers?

I would like to point out that Taxi 2000 (rebranded jPods) has a long dark history as hand maidens to the Road Lobby.

Several times, when communities were discussing and voting on real Urban rail systems, "someone" would finance trips to town by promoters of PRT & monorail who would have flashy artistic drawings of "21st Century" technology and promises of better ways of doing things. "Don't vote for old technology (which happens to work at affordable prices), vote again later for our "new & Better".

The communities that did vote down real solutions never got their Taxi 2000 system, or any other monorail.

jPods do not exist in any proven form and are a minimum of two decades away from being proven (I think the technology, if tried, will have low reliability and very high unit costs).

Based upon my prior experience, I see the appearance of Mr. James peddling snake oil as an effort to distract and confuse what is becoming a source of support for Urban Rail.

Good news perhaps that we have been noticed by TPTB.

Best Hopes for the Judgment of TOD,



Mr. James made two mistakes in his salespitch:

  1. He posted a graph by Freddy Hutter
  2. He wants efficiency where it counts least: to take you from an airplane to a rental car, both less efficient than the shuttle bus he wants to replace

That's all we need to know.

Well, allright, I have a third one:

The one silver bullet I can see is ingenuity.

Just so we avoid confusion: would that be the same ingenuity that got us in this mess, or will we be ingenuous enough to invent a new type of ingenuity?

Mistakes are OK, failing to adapt, over the long run, seems fatal.

It costs less to move less

Your pods represent that very failure to adapt.

What exactly are you working on HeIsSoFly?

I'll take work towards unproven ideas over scabby postings on the web.

Looks like something from one of those old Popular Science articles I like to read for amusement. This is not a technological problem, and we don't need a new transportation technology. It is a societal, economic, infrastructure, and willpower problem. We need to get busy implementing a proven, developed, economical solution. We know it works because we had it before and it worked then.

I have no idea what this gentleman's motivations are, but I'm already tired of the promotional advertisements.

Yes, I agree that the spam quality of the posts is annoying, but what I also find annoying is the knee-jerk doomer reaction from people on this site. It's entirely predictable and just as tiresome as spam posts.

Taxi2000 and JPods are entirely separate companies and technology.

It costs less to move less

Taxi 2000 (now rebranded SkyWeb not jPods) and jPods are both gadgetbahn 4 person PRT. The difference is, as you say, that one is suspended monorail and the other is on a straddle track (very close but not quite straddle beam monorail).

My apologies for confusing jPods and SkyWeb.

Two extracts about SkyWeb,

The TAXI 2000 system was developed by Dr. J. Edward Anderson and the TAXI 2000 Corporation over the span of time from 1981 to 1993. In 1993, the design rights were sold to the Raytheon Company. Raytheon continued to develop the concept, using their own design and called it PRT 2000. In 1999, Raytheon terminated its work on PRT 2000 and no longer has an active PRT project. The TAXI 2000 Corporation bought back its rights from Raytheon and has continued to develop its concept, now called Skyweb Express...

Line capacity should peak at 7200 vehicles per hour, with 0.5 second vehicle headways and a line speed of 48 km/h. Line speeds will vary between 32 to 80 km/h (20 to 50 mph) depending on track topography and geometry.

I have a very personal animosity towards Taxi 2000. They and the monorail supporters were the margin of defeat (about 1,400 votes) for the Austin Light Rail vote. Were it not for them promising "rail in the sky" and snake oil, Austin would be opening a very useful North-South light rail line just about now. Austin is not the only time the Road Lobby has used gadgetbahn to defeat light rail proposals, but I was close to that campaign.

Best Hopes for Reality Based Planning,


The funny thing is hybrids aren't the answer, mass transit is. But I now see that we have to go through hybrids to get to mass transit or before we stop commuting!

But hybrids, in certain circumstances, like with four people aboard going to an urban rail station or local farmers market, ARE or could be mass-transit. Fuel efficiency of from 160 to 200 passenger miles per gallon would compare well with a half-full bus.

The answer is not mass transit, or hybrids, or personal jetpacks, or any other high-tech nonsense. the answer, for transport, inasmuch as there is one, is back to non-mechanized
methods. What you saw a thousand years ago is what you will
again see in a hundred years. The most sophisticated transport that is viable long-term is a small sailing ship. On the
land, your own two feet, maybe animal power if you're wealthy enough.

i agree with you, however i dont plan to live another 100 yrs. so my model is more like ww2 and the "great" depression.

I realize that on this forum, people are concerned about peak oil, global warming, war in the Middle East, overpopulation, and the impacts of all the above on the world economy.

However, at times we need to look beyond our narrow interests and get a broader perspective on what is really important in the world, as this video clip makes clear:


Keep in mind that you could be looking at the next US President.


Ozonehole, that's my new favorite song! Its helping with my ongoing depression about the death of Anna Nicole.

Oil market report - claim

Global oil product demand is revised up to 84.5 mb/d for 2006 and 86.1 mb/d for 2007 (revisions of +250 kb/d and +420 kb/d, respectively). This results from baseline adjustments for non-OECD countries and also has the effect of reducing the miscellaneous-to-balance. World demand is now estimated to rise by 2.0% or 1.7 mb/d in 2007.

Where do they take the NEW number 86.1 mb/d for 2007 from ?
... I see alot of demand destruction happening all over due to rising prices - and this has been the case for Africa and beyond for years ...

Is there a gnome telling the "Oil market report"-boss this number in a dream ...or ? anyone ?

Personally I'd like to demand to drive 10-times more, but I cant afford it, does the gnome really know this ?

Paal, One can't argue that some demand destruction is occurring in the OECD countries and the 3rd World. However as noted in one of the Drumbeat articles China is putting 666,000 NEW cars on the road EACH month. India's new middle class is also buying and consuming more. WT consistently points out the increases in the producing countries thru the Export Land Model. Net Net people are being elevated into increased consumption thru their micro economic conditions and that is still driving positive demand growth. Others are just wearing down and not decreasing consumption. A couple of women I work with started carpooling last year when gas broke $3USD. They went back to driving their own car when prices dropped over the fall and winter. This year prices have been well over $3 and they are still driving their own cars. Obviously the hassle of carpooling is greater that the intrinsic value of the gas. No surprise to most Americans.

You are not touching my query KansasCrude ...

To rephrase my question -

What is the value in this “demand-number” of 86.1 mb/d for 2007 ,as mentioned The Oil Market report?

Who can use this - and for what purpose?

As I see it, if 90 mb/d where put up fore sale in 2007 – it would have been sold and consumed – period –

In that case 90 mb/d WOULD have been the demand (and supply of course), and above number would turn out wrong …and meaningless

(eg oildemand numbers are meaningless to me - these days... anyway, as it all is taken...)

Sorry I missed the gist of your question. My guess would be that given their price projection they are estimating a demand number. So in Econ 101 terms that is the demand that will be supplied at their price projections. It infers an equilibrium position so to your point could the world absorb 90 MBD ? My guess is yes but at a price the suppliers aren't willing to or unable accept profitably. So is their demand forecast moot? IMO only if you also choose to disregard their price forecast.

The key word is "demand" not supply. I've noticed in many IEA and EIA forecasts or for what demand will be with the assumption that supply will magically appear. If the oil companies fired all their scientists and engineers and only employed economists and MBAs then we would have gas for 27 cents/gal again.

Biofuels: DOE Lacks a Strategic Approach to Coordinate Increasing Production with Infrastructure Development and Vehicle Needs. GAO-07-713, June 8. Highlights

USEC is denying the NY Times report:

Uranium enricher USEC denies report of struggles

I live in the region where one of the USEC plants are located.

I could tell some horror stories told by workers of its past history. It definely IMO needa to completely shutdown. As well as most paper mills who consume the woods and spew filth into the environment. As well as hog and chicken confinement feeding.As well timber logging.

It has had a very troubled past and IMO was managed very very poorly.

I went Googling, and came across this article from November of last year:

Costly centrifuge plan key to Piketon revival

It was, however, a good deal for William H. "Nick" Timbers, the man picked to head USEC.
How Timbers in a few years went from earning a $325,000 salary to pulling down $2 million in salary, bonuses and stock options is a tale of secret meetings and corporate intrigue.
The Energy Department initially hired Timbers as a consultant. As a first step toward privatization, Timbers pushed for the creation of a government company: U.S. Enrichment Corp. The government company then picked Timbers as its CEO.
Although it was government-owned, USEC operated much like a private entity. Not only did the board close its meetings to the public, it kept the minutes from those meetings private - so private that even Strickland, a U.S. congressman, couldn't get access to them.

Timbers continued to head USEC until his board fired him "for cause" in December 2004. He sued for wrongful termination, and received an out-of-court settlement of almost $15 million in February.

Ah, I love the smell of free enterprise in the morning. It smells like corporate welfare.

Whatever you opinion of Nuclear Power, this article gives a chilling look behind the curtains at the business side of fuel enrichment.

re. article: Opec biofuel brinkmanship is a sign of things to come

OPEC has no difficulties selling its products, won’t in the future.

It fears competition, not.

If it makes noises (i couldn’t read the screed) about ethanol or biofuels, well that seems only sensible - many oil producing countries are big importers of wheat, grains, other agri. prods. Such guff is just supposed to give pple a warm fuzzy feeling, like there is some alternative to oil imports and the exporters fear the competition of smart agri types or whatever in the casino of the world free market!

Well, open doors, always liked that draft, impelled, a sucker. Me.

Interestingly, my french friend tells me that one can no longer buy cheap vegetable oil (sunflower) in nearby French supermarkets. (I live in Switzerland.) Some number of ppl have converted their cars - and they show up when the stocks come in and buy it all. Of course, in F and CH gasoline is taxed heavily, while cooking oil is subject to VAT only, high in France, almost 20% - still basic food products are very cheap - and practically nothing in CH, a few %. This a local curiosity (I know no more than that little story) is not likely to impact OPEC.

:) ;)

China:Food price rises force a cut in biofuels

China’s communist rulers announced a moratorium on the production of ethanol from corn and other food crops yesterday at the very time that Western leaders are rushing to embrace alternative food-based fuel technology.

Beijing’s move underlines concerns that ethanol production is driving up rapidly the costs of corn and grain. It appears to reflect a growing reality about food-based alternative fuel: it is far more expensive both economically and environmentally, than Western politicians are likely to admit.

Calls for biofuels are politically attractive for European and US politicians, amid rising petrol prices and concerns about global warming and an overreliance on Middle Eastern oil.

Communist officials in Beijing, however, who do not have the political concerns of democratically elected leaders in the West, have reacted to a rapid rise in food prices and an intense demand on farm land that threatens to make ethanol production unsustainable.


Amazing. After so many mistakes, the Communist dictatorship has in one stroke proven it has more wisdom than the leaders of all the democracies combined. Which is an awful statement on the condition of democracy in 2007.

Not wisdom, just more recent history. They lost 30+ million to famine during the Great Leap Forward in the '50s, and they've watched 3 million starve in N. Korea in the last ten years.

Biofuel is less an issue for them because they still have large coal reserves, and they can kill the car culture dead and keep their core economy going.

In the West, killing the car culture would be TEOTWAWKI after nearly a century of social reorganisation around the car.

I'm having some 'issues' with the concept of demand. How do you measure demand while it is being destroyed? If you sell ten zillion gallons, it is easy to come up wityh a number for supply, but how do you know if you could have sold twelve? Is demand equal to the number of people who have the cash or those who would have had it if the price were lower?

When these guys say demand will increase by fifteen percent but suppy by only five, where do they get their facts? In a glut it is assumed that the market's demands are fully met and documented, but in a shortage all I can come up with is a guess.

I'm prepared for a lot of Ministry of Truth hooey appearing at Think Tank Institute now if not sooner.

A banner on bloomberg.com says that Senator Chuck Hagel will be on bloombergtv at 5:30 (I would assume eastern, but it didn't say)

He is supposed to be discussing "Energy Security".

Wonder how it will get spun.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

My guess: corn ethanol

Gas inventories looks to rise again:

"Gasoline stocks were forecast to have increased by an average of 2 million barrels last week. Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, were forecast to have increased by an average of 1.5 million barrels, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey of energy analysts."


What was decided on last weeks analmoly-very large build in gas inventory with refinery utilization dropping?

I never heard anything clear here after R.Rapier said "they don't make sense." AFAIK that's how it was left.

Baghdad Burns, Calgary Booms

I'm hoping some tar sands experts here can verify if this article is factually correct.


That's an old article. What facts are you referring to?


Now you see it, now you don't. Priceless.

and from the below post, what are reverse magnets. A coin term, did you mean magnets that reverse polarity, just curious, I couldn't find it via google.

?WHOA, interesting.

His wedding ring is missing too.

someone suggested that he took them both off before he entered the crowd. I can understand the watch, but taking off his wedding ring. someone snatched that, whoa.

You would have to think that the people in the crowd were vetted at the least if not hand picked. Wedding ring?

Talk about symbolic in any event, (why is it a story)

No one will talk from the WH, the Press core will not ask. If he says he took them off, then it will be an insult to the People of the town and country. Though if they do, What will Tony Snow say.


Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

RE: "What are reverse magnets?"

I asked the same question after I was told they are used to repel out the aluminum cans.
Aluminum cans aren't magnetic in the sense I know. I was told by the plant manager they use an electric field. I still don't understand the physics.

Here is what I found


This is an intro page to the Eddy current method

"The aluminum cans are the last to go. As they reach the end of the line, a magnetic system that uses an ``eddy current,'' which is made from a rare earth metal, repels the aluminum into a separate sorting facility".

above is from a news release about a sorting facility in a town.

the rare earth metal which is not identified is a factor.

But reading more info from the site, copper can be used. It doesn't say anything about the ability to "repel". They seem to be used to scan materials to identify or check or (the video) for cracks etc in materials.

Unless someone says they can provide enough power to "repel" the cans, I am going to guess that they identify aluminum and some other method is used to "repel" them, like wind or other.

jeesh how much energy is needed to repel aluminum if it does do this.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

When recycled material arrives at the MRF (material recovery facility), a huge magnet pulls out any steel cans.

Aluminum cans, however, aren't attracted to magnets. Instead, an eddy current, created when a conductor is placed in a changing magnetic field, is used to repel any aluminum. Air currents "blow" aluminum cans into holding containers as much as 30 feet away, with almost perfect aim.


Reverse magnets are used in warp drives to stabilise the antimatter field.

Yes Korg,

but only in the older models, with the advent of linear chaotic replication in contained plasma fields sustained by photon enhancement, there is no need for reverse magnets.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Yes, but due to peak plasma the old reverse magnet is making a comeback I hear...

Both warp engines pale in performance compared to the prototype running on human stupidity, of which there is a limitless supply, as predicted by Einstein.

Yes, as revealed by this photo, being and acting stupid is a birth right on this planet. Everyone contributes,


because I suspect Einsten knew, it took one to be one, or did Ghandi say that.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Basically the whole article. It was interesting to see such a technical treatment from this author and publication. But in particular those additional reserves at the different prices.

"those additional reserves at the different prices??"


In March 2003, the price of oil reached $35 a barrel, raising the prospect of making a profit from the tar sands (the industry calls them "oil sands"). That year, the United States Energy Information Administration "discovered" oil in the tar sands. It announced that Alberta--previously thought to have only 5 billion barrels of oil--was actually sitting on at least 174 billion "economically recoverable" barrels.

I’m familiar with this 174 number. So as long as oil is above $35, that works, I guess.

If prices stay high, it will soon become profitable to extract an additional 141 billion barrels from the tar sand, which would place the largest oil reserves in the world in Alberta.

I haven’t heard this “extra” 141 number before. Where did that come from? This sentence is somewhat unclear. “Stay high” suggests these barrels should exist at current prices of $65. However, “soon” implies we haven’t reached needed prices.

I hadn't even really noticed that, thanks for pointing it out. It's a bit careless, the way Naomi Klein cites the number(s) in the article. It's unclear where they come from.

The idea of course is that there is a minimum price for what you can get out by digging ever deeper, and the deeper you dig, the higher the minimum. As you can see, it presupposes there is no theoretical maximum. Which shows how bad economics is at describing the real world. The tar sands already have an abysmal EROEI, and digging much deeper than today will make that negative.

The problem with all that is why I coined the Law of Receding Horizons.

These calculations are based on present circumstances. They ignore for instance the fact that the next deeper level seems profitable because oil prices rise, and that this means that at the same time production costs for tar sands will rise too. It equally ignores energy input, but it should be abundantly clear to everyone that expending even more energy on a unit of tar sands oil than it takes today is a dead end street and an energy sink (but they don't get it).

On top of that, you have enormous problems with energy supply, natural gas supply for hydrogen, and then there's water supply. A primeval boreal forest the size of Florida is being destroyed and left for dead, for which no costs are calculated. An insane amount of pipelines and roads need to be built, costs in both energy and money that should be added to the economy and EROEI of the "extracted" oil, but imost definitely are not. And I could go on.

I bet the entire industry is dead by 2015. Receding Horizons. The pot of gold can be seen, but never touched. Which is kind of good.

I had a tour of our new regional recyclable sorting facility yesterday. It is a multimillion dollar system of conveyer belts, discs, air streams, magnets, reverse magnets, crushers, compactors and sensors which separate out cardboard, other paper, grades of plastic, glass, ferrus metal and aluminum. It was built because households will not separate out paper, plastic and metal themselves. The amount of energy and capital spend doing this was overwhelming to me. There was even a special machine to separate out shredded paper which I was told presents a particular problem to the system. There were bales of sorted plastic headed as far away as Georgia (from Maine). Glass bottles were crushed up to a small aggregate. There is no market for glass so it is given away to local contractors to mix with asphalt.

We certainly generate a lot of waste. It reminded me of a simpler time in my childhood where there were no plastic bottles. Liquids came in glass bottles which were returned, washed out and reused. We have gone too far in the name of convenience. This could be an example of reaching or surpassing our maximum level of complexity.

In my area, we are required to sort our garbage. Recyclables, newspapers, office paper, lawn waste, regular trash.

However, it is all mixed together and buried in a landfill after it's collected. Seems ridiculous, but they say they're going to recycle eventually, and they want to train people now to sort their garbage. It's been something like 15 years now, and they still haven't actually started recycling. But someone made a lot of money selling the separate marked bins and clear trash bags (so they know you sorted).

I don't know about now, but they were a can of worms when I was involved. I helped start-up the first recycling center in Dovr, DE in the late 60's and was the "manager" (no pay) for a non-profit one in the Bay area.

There were times when we couldn't move the waste paper but our container was full because no one was buying. Or, someone would throw a green glass bottle into the clear glass which made it into mixed glass which no one really wanted.

Then we'd have people leave their stuff when we weren't open (the non-profit was on free land in a shopping center) like we were a dump and the stuff would blow around POing the shopping center owners.

I was glad when I left it behind.

Interestingly, our local transfer station/recycling center used to require separation of waste but went to a mixed stream a year ago. So much for progress.

Khaos's sorting facilities arise because of practical problems.

In high-density housing, there often really isn't room for a wall of different waste containers in every apartment, nor is it really possible to finely control what goes into the common-area bins. In low-density housing where people put out their own bins at curbside, it's impossible to prevent someone coming by and dumping material into a bin - which becomes a problem as the regulations and disposal charges become more onerous. And in all housing, people make mistakes.

And having a zillion compartments on the truck adds time and labor costs, and stuff meant for one compartment easily ends up in another. Or you can "solve" this by mandating a huge multicompartmented bin, but then some householders can't move it.

And in some cases it takes only a little mis-sorted material to spoil a whole batch and defeat the purpose.

Of course, the New York City solution to all but the truck issue is to have Garbage Police impose heavy fines on 90-year-olds who can't see well anymore, and on householders unfortunate enough to get dumped upon. But then again, NYC is often a very nasty place, where officialdom, including Mayor Bloomberg, and Giuliani before him, gets its jollies by punishing, fining, and generally stepping on people.

No matter how you run the system, you wind up having to process the stuff. And if you have to examine every piece anyhow, it probably becomes an in-for-a-penny in-for-a-pound deal where pre-sorting merely wastes a lot of time and space, while making no particular reduction in the monetary cost of running the system.

In the end, as your story indicates, this has little to do with practicality and much to do with grandstanding and moralizing. After all, you've got to rinse the stuff or it becomes a magnet for bugs and vermin, so you've probably wasted an hour of time and plenty of water long before you've binned even $1 worth of materials. But Conspicuously Wasting Time makes you a Good Person.

All those 5C deposit glass bottle returns follow an even more inefficient path. They are returned to collection points, money is transfered, and the bottles transferred again. In the end they are just crushed into aggregate of little value. Why do we need to buy everything in dispossable plastic and glass bottles instead of filling up our own containers or using containers which can be returned, cleaned and reused? I expect the energy cost of all this waste is going to send us back to the old method of reusing containers.

I wanted to also mention the sorting facility will be worn out in 10 years when it will have to be junked and a new one built. Before then we will also need a new mercury filtration system on the waste to energy stream. At the same time mercury laden compact fluorescent lightbulbs are being subsidized by the State as a way to save electricity, the emission standards for mercury stack emissions are being tightened. The cfl's are going to end up in the waste stream. We are not motivated as individuals to practice what is best for everyone. Instead we rely on these expensive projects in an attempt to deal with our waste. It gets ever more complicated. This won't work post peak oil.

I supposed if you buried it carefully enough with some sort of marking then it could be recovered later without resorting.

Sort of an "entropy reduction for the kids" campaign.

But seriously, burying recycling in a landfill is the sort of thing that gives consciousness a bad name.

In my neighborhood we have poor people cruising for scrap iron and aluminum in old pick-ups and on bicycles. Since its sold for cash, it doesn't affect the SSI checks or food stamps. For a while they were picking up cardboard too, but the price of cellulose has come down since the building boom collapsed.

Sometimes I'm amazed at the supposedly educated people on this site. Are we all white and living in a Kunstlerian suburb? Our cities are stuffed with people camping out under the bridges who can't afford rent, our public hospitals are crammed with uninsured poor-in Houston in the Montrose, Heights and West University I've seen people going around picking up the cans in the recycle bins to sell at the scrap yard. Our town are filled with illegal immigrants who will do anything, hiding because they want to work.

And, thats our vaunted free enterprise system. Going to solve everything by making us homeless and destitute. Thats what collapse means.

Returning bottles.

Taking a Boy Scout hike back in the 50s..one could pick up enough empty soda bottles to stop at the next roadside market and trade them in for enough to buy another bottle of coke or pepsi. Keep that one and pick up a few more and repeat.

Now that very road is now a major interstate and no roadside markets. You walk it and you take your life in your hands. You can't trade in bottles either AFAIK and the price of a bottle of coke is over $1.00 per.

Times have changed then..was it for the better?
Thousands going nowhere important,driving like morons,consuming the planets resources ...sounds like Doomerville to me. This is progress? Just for a soccer mom to hold a cellphone to an ear and almost kill someone just so she can chat up someone while traveling 80mph? Sounds like Doomerville to this Boy Scout.

Airdale-Troop 64, Panther Patrol,Star Scout, Ferguson, Mo..1950...and still have my official BSA compass. You never know.

Locally there is a shrunken man on a ticycle plying backwoods roads. I've often seen him, bins nearly full. Rural legend says he bought a new car from his deposit savings.

Been there, done that. The lesson is that when there is enough of a demand for recycleable materials, there will be a price offered for them, and if there is money on offer, there is an incentive for someone to gather them up and turn them in - properly segregated per specifications. The problem right now is that it is still too cheap to make metal, glass, plastic and paper stuff out of non-recycled raw materials. When that changes, so will everything else.


I don't think you get it. Bottles weren't recycled - they were washed and reused by the company. A guy down the hall in college had diabets and had milk delivered. I thought, what the hell I like milk so I had him leave milk at my room. The bottles went back to the milk plant and were reused. Do you get it? The glass wasn't broken down and new bottles made.

My wife's father had a retail dairy and he couldn't have survived buying new bottles. The used ones came back to him for reuse.

My wife and I bought milk from a major dairy and it was all predicated upon returning bottles for resuse.

Hell, every soda and beer company had returnables. There was no such thing as recycling. It was all resuse.

I know, but the point still applies - pay even a penny or two and you'll get the stuff back for recycling, resuse, whatever. The problem right now is that even offering a penny for returns and washing and reusing the containers is more expensive than buying & using brand new bottles. We all know that is bass-ackwards, but unfortunately that is presently the way it is. As the cost of energy increases, the economics will eventually change so that $ for returned packaging will become feasible.


The yuppie grocery store here sells bottled milk from a local farmer. There's a $1 deposit on the bottles, but even so, a lot of them don't get returned. People are too lazy, or they like the bottles and keep them to use as vases and such.

In one day I collected enough bottles to find, sell, and buy a ticket to go see The Who, with Keith Moon.

Ticket was ten bucks.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

khaos3, you are in Maine aren't you? That topic came up today while I was petitioning at the local elections. Gray recycles a lot, way more than most towns. But Ecomaine wants Gray to move to a "single waste stream", meaning much less recycling. Turns out, that means they get to *burn* more of the stuff that doesn't get recycled. In this state, trash is not so much waste as it is considered "economic development". And unlike New Hampshire where they recycle it and the other New England states where burning is forbidden, Maine burns trash. Big time. Of course, it's OK by the DEP; they don't even feel the need to test what comes out of the stacks [but do advise you treat it like lead]. The Tribes and Bands are testing, however, and with their semi-sovereign status might be able to raise a little hell. One can dream.

cfm in Gray, ME

We only went that far because it was so cheap to do so. "Going to far" wasn't a decision anybody made, there was just an incentive to do things that way.

The short article about BP's reserves totalling has a fascinating facet - the decline is equal to Norway's, a country with enough transparency that it is not possible to play games with reserve numbers.

Imagine what a Norwegian level of transparency would do to next year's review?

Makes you wonder if the real decline was able to be lost in a statistical shuffle of new finds (we don't know Jack, much less other more exotically named contenders).

For example, what are Saudi Arabia's reserves after pumping how much last year? One hopes the numbers seem to match in a reasonable fashion.

And sneaking the oil sands in - was that the rest of the numbers they couldn't shuffle?

Just amateurish questions, in the face of professional skill.

re: Come on in - the quicksand's fine: my part in the energy crisis

That Quicksand Effect sounds far too eerily much like the Law of Receding Horizons, I find. What's up with that?

Still, this one line from the article is pretty brilliant:

Money is the best way there is to put the greatest distance between our actions and their consequences.

No wonder money trumps science and ethics.

According to the following unimpeachable source, the UN is attempting to address the claim made in the "Quicksand" article that once energy is used, it can't be used again. I think that Congress should pass a resolution in support of the following proposals.


Laws of Nature to be Repealed
By Paul V. Cameron
Apr 16, 2007, 21:10

As a result of recent disasters and extreme weather, in a move some say will only incite anger and retribution by none other than the Almighty, a UN-led group is planning to repeal most, if not all laws of nature.

"There are four laws we don't like," said UN spokesperson Liam Snugglam. "If it weren't for these laws, we could prevent the deaths of innumerable vulnerable citizens world wide."

Drawing on an unconfirmed source, Snugglam noted the laws and the specific problems this UN-led group hopes to eliminate.

The law of universality (all laws of nature must work the same way everywhere) - "This sounds discriminatory. Each nation must have the right to interpret the laws in the context of its own culture," said Snugglam. "This is a fundamental right so long as it doesn't violate universal human rights."

The law of causality (causes must exist for all effects, and must come before the effects they produce) - "This law is a problem for everyone," commented Snugglam. "It smacks of predeterminsim. The UN is against predeterminism. This law must go."

Extrema (all systems, by themselves, tend toward a state of minimum energy) - "Sounds foreign, no need for it," bluntly stated Snugglam. "Look, the UN is pro-energy, so to say things have to focus on minimum energy, well that goes against our economic stance."

Conservation of matter and energy (matter and/or energy are neither created nor destroyed over time) - "This perhaps," laughed Snugglam, "is the most ridiculous of laws. Natural disasters are constantly destroying things - people, their homes, and their lives. We don't even think this is a real law at all. It's a faux law. All dressed up to look like a law, but, on all sorts of levels, it is not."

Entropy (in any real-world situation, entropy irreversibly increases for an isolated system) - "We aren't sure what this entropy thing is," offered Snugglam, "But we're against it philosophically, if not practically. We are against isolationism. We think that the world needs to come closer together as one community. Entropy sounds like it pushes people apart. That is going in the wrong direction as far as the UN is concerned."

That UN thing is eerily reminiscent of this gem:

I have no doubt that global -- that a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change.

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


I am sure your tongue is fairly lodged up against the inside of your cheek, ;)

But a google of Liam Snugglam only revealed three hits. One to the story you linked, and two at yahoo forums, which discuss this article I would assume.

the bush watch story is number one at reddit. The missing ring has yet to be discussed.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Yeah, I recall poor Liam, he was so promising in high school, even despite his deformity. But now he can't even get himself a handful of hits on Google.

Yep in the google arena, when I outrank a UN official, well, not good for Liam. But google has gotten very poor lately, stuff that hit a few weeks or months doesn't show anymore, but its still there, and on databases that are current.

Google used to be a friend, now its getting to be and more a pay source for hits in a way.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Somehow I don't think Liam is a UN official.

Reallly, he's not, and does that mean the go-go girls in the photo aren't his staff either. Oh, what a trickster he is.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Found the article poetic in a way. Worth reading twice. Commenting on his reference to the "Bronze Age" In the Iliad, a Bronze Age story, the highest complement a man could receive was a "sacker of cities"

Global Warming Gets Religion

Historian David Barton, summoned to the panel by Sen. Inhofe and named one of the “Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America” by Time Magazine, commented on these various campaigns: “The next time we see Jesus, He will be driving neither a Hummer nor a Hybrid.”

Barton suggested that Boxer was exaggerating the religious community’s support for liberal environmentalism. “The Scriptures teach conservation, not preservation,” he said. “Man was the steward of nature and environment, and while man definitely is to tend and guard it, it is to serve him, not vice versa. From the beginning, God warned about elevating nature and the environment over man and his Creator.”

... for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. -- Kurt Vonnegut

EIA: OPEC-10 May Oil Output 26.31 Million B/D, Down 160,000 B/D Vs Apr

6/12/2007 1:23:00 PM ET


All of the cut came from Nigeria

The EIA revised April OPEC-10 output down 80,000 barrels a day to 26.47 million barrels a day. This brings flow below February's rate of 26.485 million barrels a day. May's output remained above the 10 members' combined production target of 25.88 million barrels a day. 'Preliminary second quarter data indicate that OPEC kept production fairly flat compared with the first quarter,' the EIA said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. 'In upcoming months, rising oil demand is expected to outpace growth in non-OPEC supply, and EIA is assuming that (the group) should increase production by over 1 million barrels a day to maintain normal inventory levels. If OPEC production does not increase and inventory levels decline, upward price pressures could result.' -By Anna Raff

Looks like OPEC is maintaining discipline or having a tough time producing high in demand barrels. Mystery is looking more like a Peak in Opec than them all singing Kum Ba Yah!

IEA says Opec must increase production or oil prices will rise

The IEA said that the shortage was a result of a cut in Opec production combined with an increase in consumption of commercial stocks to around 800,000 barrels per day in the first quarter compared with an average of 300,000 bpd over the last five years.

Will OPEC increase production? Fat chance! They are not even meeting until September. And they have little if any spare capacity to increase production even if they wanted to. So place your bets boys, prices are about to rise.

Ron Patterson

How high do you think they will go?

I have this - what shall I call it - fear, concern, recurring nightmare, or maybe I’ll just call it an ever present numbing sensation in the central vortex, of a premonition of waking up to the news of an Iranian attack on US ships in the Persian Gulf followed immediately with an all out US attack on Iranian nuclear facilities and military targets.

News of the sacking of General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has brought this to the forefront again. This is significant as it has been reported that Pace was against a US attack against Iran. The administration stated that the firing of Pace was to avoid a bruising and embarrassing renomination hearing, however, that feeble excuse has been challenged by Will Bunch: http://www.attytood.com/2007/06/the_pentagon_shakeup_tough_tal.html. It is unclear whether Pace’s replacement will go along with invasion plans or not, however, I would assume that he is being selected to do the bidding of the administration.

This development has not been discussed much in the MSM, however, in my opinion it is an ominous sign. As mentioned before here and elsewhere, an attack on Iran will likely gravely impact the world economy, at least in the short run, and the price of oil. The long term effects ???

Iran is very unlikely to start the dance, I think we should worry when Admiral Fallon comes home as he is on record stating that an attack on Iran will not happen on his watch.


Neither was Spain in 1898; it just looked that way. As long as it looks like self defense, it's self defence even against a self inflicted wound. Gulf of Tonkin, Strait of Hormuz - what's the difference? Sure, Iran is too smart to start anything, but the American public doesn't know that.

And who forged those Niger documents and why? Most folks think Qui Bono must be one of Cher's kids.

Nice people don't get to run the world for long, and their good deeds rarely go unpunished.

I know, it's cui bono, but there's more Spanish than Italian in me. Coooeee Bono.

Sure they can easily make it look like whatever they want and the sheeple will buy it, but presumably Fallon as CENTCOM1 would still have to go along with it.

I concur that most likely it will be started one way or another before the elections, but what I was getting at while responding to the original post is that a possible signal will come from watching Fallon and not Pace.

Just read the atimes article. I agree that Iran will not start the war, but I am certain that some sort of "Gulf of Tonkin" incident will be put out to the media. Re Fallon, there has got to be some heavy duty infighting going on in the ranks of the military elite over the Iran issue.

Yes there is.

Most of the military is loyal to the US and has no other loyalties. They also remember what happened when they war gamed the thing during MC02 before they swept it under the rug.

Google Paul van Riper (and MC02)


I was not aware of that operation(MC02).

During my navy hitch I flew in surveillance. We had ORIs on occasion and the results were less than pleasing usually. I could say more but not sure of classification of such.

MC02..Fascinating. However one notes that Riper was tuned in and was therefore capable of thinking outside the box. So why would others not be as well?

I assume you have prior military past. Navy? Marines?

I speak to a lot of ex servicemen. I find that they had their eyes wide open but poor leadership in most cases or bad judgements from up above, meaning CIC and minions.

I just finished 'Warrior Soul' by Chuck Pfarrer. Very good book BTW. In one exploit he and his team foiled an attempted terrorist attack on a navy vessel(mines,C4,AK-47s). The results were insane.

Somehow it appears that the KSA and others can twist reality to suit themselves. Complicity then seems to flow from DC and the men on the ground get snookered. NO?


poor leadership in most cases or bad judgements from up above, meaning CIC and minions

That's most of our problems right there.

Well, I'm not going to tell you much either about that, except that red team TDY is the most fun a man can have with his clothes on. :-)
My point is that every force has a few guys that can think on the fly, whether they get to run a particular show is another story.

Semper Fi.

The long term effects ???

Consider the implications of the phrase "The Future is Now".

If there is indeed major military engagement with Iran, all the financial, oil, and to some extent natural gas scenarios we consider here will be moved up by years. Whatever mitigation efforts might have happened in that time will not be possible.

BTW, I think you are exactly right about the motivation in replacing Pace.

BP's Statistical Review of World Energy 2007 is now available


Will there be a separate article on TOD addressing the 2007 report? (I assume so...)

One question I have always had about the BP report - indeed for any report - is the accuracy. How does the BP report compare to other sources? Is the data in the BP report only from the EIA/IEA and national energy ministries, or does BP have additional data sources? One fear I have is that organizations and people keep copying figures from one another, without an independent verification of the actual data.

Hello TODers,

In only gets worse for Zimbabwe:

ZIMBABWE: Forests felled for firewood

HARARE, 12 June 2007 (IRIN) - Firewood has become Zimbabwe's hottest seller, with demand shooting up since the introduction two weeks ago of widespread and prolonged power outages to give the irrigation of winter wheat fields a priority allocation of dwindling energy supplies.

Environmental degradation

The goal is to sell as much as possible during the widespread power outages and the new farmers are rapidly denuding their land of trees. Farms on the fringes of the city have been denuded the quickest, because petrol to drive to farms further away remains in short supply.

"I don't see how you can expect me to worry about environmental degradation at the expense of my wellbeing. I think the solution is very simple: if the government generated and imported enough electricity, then few people would be interested in buying firewood," said Chamunorwa.

The effects of the logging spree are easily seen in the streets of Harare, where avenues of trees have been felled and the sight of people carrying large bundles of freshly cut wood in the city's central business district is a common sight.

Adolph Virimai, who lives in the upmarket Harare suburb of Mabelreign, told IRIN: "Ordinarily, I would have wanted to install a generator or use solar energy to provide alternative energy, but that is too expensive for me. I would rather settle for firewood, which is much more affordable. Right now we are in the middle of winter, when we need energy to cook and to warm our water."

I guess if Zimbabwe needs to proceed directly to Olduvai Gorge: clear-cutting the forests for a wide, straight path for a Deathmarch is their chosen course of action.

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

Hello TODers,

A conservative website calling for the annexation of Mexico?

Time to Annex Mexico!
By Alan Caruba
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

We've done it, it's called NAFTA.

That guy has his head so far up his arse that he can french kiss himself.

Hello TODers,

It appears the SW drought is extending into most of Mexico too:


That is not good news, IMO.

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

Hello TODers,

A bicycle can mean the difference between a Thermo/Gene rock-bottom survival level, and a better way of life:



Every country should be striving for a Strategic Reserve of bicycles, wheelbarrows, pedal sewing machines, pedal washing machines, and other essential hand tools.

Even solar hot water heating is possible if you scavenge beer bottles as this link from LATOC shows:


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

Hi Bob
I understand that you propably believe in the Olduvai Theory. While i sympatize with your ideas about bikes and wheelbarrows(have myself newly bought a strategic reserve of theese items). But what you really imply, is that we won,t be able to generate electricity in the future.

Come on, we already have hydro, wind, solar and nuclear. Why wouldn´t we be able to keep it up. France and Sweden to name two examples run the electricity grids on those sources. Why should they brake down??

Short of a worst-case dieoff collapse, it won't be that energy in all forms will be unavailable, but that it will all be frightfully expensive.

A good planning exercise might be to consider: What if electricity cost 10X to 50X as much as it does today? What would you want your household operations to look like in such an environment?

My guess is a lot of electronic gadgets of marginal use would be relegated to the attic or become door stops. You would get by with a lot less electric light, all of which would be CFL or LED; maybe you would invest in a few of those wind-up electric lanterns that Freeplay makes. You might buy or build a solar cooker to use on sunny days. Presuming you do or could heat by wood, you'd have a couple of cast iron pots on top of the wood stove for cooking as well. You would only have a very small refrigerator, super energy-efficient, and would probably use a solar dehydrator to dry a lot of foods instead of refrigerating or freezing them; for the same reason, you'd also have a root cellar. You would definitely use clothes lines instead of an electric dryer. And so forth -- you would really slash your electricity usage to an absolute minimum. Then you would probably consider putting up some PV panels and/or a wind generator, if either or both were feasible in your location. At those prices, it might become worth doing.

Apply this same exercise to each other form of energy, and one has generated a pretty good to-do list. Fortunately we've all still got a few years to get this all done, but we all need to get to work and stay ahead of the crowd.

Yes, none of this will make any difference if there is a total collapse and mass die-off, but there really isn't anything one CAN do that will make any difference in such a scenario, so why worry about it?

Hello TODers,

Allies Cited for Human Trafficking
State Dept. Adds Arab Nations to List of Worst Offenders

The State Department yesterday added seven countries, including four Arab allies, to its list of worst offenders in failing to suppress human trafficking and forced labor, which it called "a modern day form of slavery."

The 236-page annual survey, now in its seventh year, added Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar to its blacklist of worst offenders, along with Algeria, Equatorial Guinea and Malaysia. Countries on the list are subject to sanctions until major reforms are introduced.
Unfortunately, it appears as we lose our postPeak 'energy slaves' that abusive elites will increasingly seek to replace them with human slaves. =(

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

I have 2 great references for anyone who is serious about possibly investing in either ethanol or energy companies. First off, Ethanol is not all its cracked up to be It is lagging in the demanding market and looks like a bust as a long term alternative energy resource. So look at these articles and learn a thing or 2 if you do nothing else...