DrumBeat: June 13, 2007

Irrational incandescence

SOME ways of cutting carbon are cheaper than others. So, at different carbon prices, different sorts of methods of abatement become worthwhile. Vattenfall, a Swedish power utility, has tried to quantify which ones would be worth undertaking at what price.

The result is a testament to economic irrationality. The measures below the horizontal line have a negative abatement cost—in other words, by carrying them out, people and companies could both cut emissions and save money. At a macroeconomic level they would boost, rather than reduce, economic growth.

Four Takes on Global Oil Demand, Supply and Disruption

Four major oil- and energy- related reports emerged this week: the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Oil Market Report (OMR); BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2007; the Short-term Energy Outlook (STEO) from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA); and the EIA’s 2007 Outlook for Hurricane Impacts on Gulf of Mexico Crude Oil & Natural Gas Production.

Water for the World

A $3 gadget that promises to quench a user's thirst for a year without spare parts, electricity or maintenance.

Companies will 'buy' their way out of polluting

Big European companies will be able to buy their way out of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, an environmental watchdog claims today.

India snubs West on climate change

India will not curb its greenhouse gas emissions as long as the West continues to treat it as a 'second class global citizen' with less right to pollute than the developed world, a senior Indian environment official has said.

Businesses accused of green hypocrisy

At a "summit" on the issue organised by the Guardian in London, Tony Juniper, executive director of Friends of the Earth, accused Shell of sponsoring the event in a bid to align itself with green issues while failing to clean up its own act.

Stay cool without overheating your wallet

Is your home equipped to handle the heat waves many areas experience in the summer months? Even though you may not be able to control the weather outside, there are still simple steps you can take to keep your home cool and comfortable and reduce your utility bills at the same time.

John Michael Greer: A depopulation explosion?

In the examples [ibn Khaldun] surveyed, agricultural societies were conquered by new ruling classes of nomad origin, who saw their subjects as cash cows but failed to realize that cows have to be fed. Revenues needed to maintain vital infrastructure were thus diverted into unproductive uses, sending societies into a downward spiral of economic collapse and depopulation from which they rarely recovered.

In the the twilight of the industrial age, ibn Khaldun’s insight is likely to be worth close attention. There aren’t a lot of nomads at the edges of today’s civilizations, but too many members of the political class in the modern world have no more sense of the importance of infrastructure to survival than the nomad rulers ibn Khaldun critiques, and the malign neglect so often visited on infrastructure in the US and elsewhere may be a foretaste of worse to come.

World Energy Patterns Showed Evidence of Shifting in 2006

The year 2006 was another year of high and volatile energy prices. But despite high prices, world energy consumption growth remained above average, continuing the trend of recent years

Energy use is also increasingly shifting away from OECD countries and becoming more carbon-intensive.

Three Triggers for Higher Oil Prices

After hitting a nine-month high last week, oil took a shellacking. I guess that means we can all breathe easier and go out and buy HUMMER H3s, right? Not so fast!

Securing the future - An oil company perspective

Tony Hayward, BP's group chief executive, gave a speech that discusses some of the 21st century challenges the world faces in the matter of energy and what we as an industry might do to meet the challenge.

Report says biofuel puts developing countries' water at risk

Increasing agricultural output for biofuels is further expected to put more pressure on water resources, says a new report from India-based research company RNCOS.

Maize of Deception: How Corn-Based Ethanol Can Lead To Starvation and Environmental Disaster

As the Bush administration continues to push its alternative fuels agenda, it has become increasingly evident that corn-based ethanol could be as much the global villain as a boon to society. Instead of improving the environment and moderating oil prices, corn-based ethanol could result in mass deforestation, strained land and water resources, increased food prices, augmented poverty and swarms of farmers uprooted from the land.

Spain Farmers Root out Biofuel Myth

The current increase in biofuel production is threatening livestock, and leading to a rise in the prices of cereals, chicken, pork, and beef, the Spain s Union of Small Farmers (UPA) warned on Monday.

Biofuel is gold rush of the 21st century, says FAO

The worldwide upsurge of interest in biofuels can best be described as the "Gold Rush of the 21st Century", said Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) deputy regional chief for Asia and the Pacific Hiroyuki Konuma.

Japan: Govt eyes boosting domestic biofuel output

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry plans to introduce new legislation to establish measures to boost domestic biofuel production, according to ministry sources.

Beijing dispatches energy-saving cops

Quick, check the thermostat -- the energy police are on patrol.

Businesses in Beijing will have to be more aware of their energy use after the city formed a team to monitor energy-saving practices in response to the central government's calls to cut consumption in big cities, state media reported.

Opec rigidity will bleed oil markets - IEA

Oil markets risked tightening later this year if Opec was inflexible over supply, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday as it sharply raised its estimate for world oil demand.

The IEA pointed to unexpectedly strong demand in big emerging economies, a sharp supply fall last month and another crimping of supply this month because of routine maintenance on infrastructure outside the Opec zone.

Bills rise as China gets a taste for milk and honey

The cost of the weekly food shop is being forced upward by global demand for cereals and dairy products.

Higher standards of living in China and India are driving inflation in food prices as a move to a more Western diet has led to a greater demand for meat and milk.

...The problem has been exacerbated by severe drought in Aus-tralia and the United States and a growing trend for farmers to grow crops for fuel instead of food, which has caused a worldwide shortage of cereals and milk.

Palestine: Gas reserves and the national energy system

The discovery of off-shore gas reserves in Palestinian territorial waters alters Palestinian energy policies dramatically and may have repercussions on relations with Israel, currently the Palestinian National Authority’s principal commercial and energy partner. The drilling activities of British Gas in Palestinian territorial waters seem to open new opportunities to a country strongly dependent on the importation of petrol (in particular for the production of electricity) and at the same time open new political questions and frictions with the Government of Tel Aviv. The results of negotiations regarding the use of the gas reserves will be conditioned by parallel negotiations (currently suspended) between Palestinians and Israelis.

Pakistan: Energy crisis may go from bad to worse

The country may witness an aggravated energy crisis in the years to come as the proposed thermal power house at Chichuki Maliyan with a capacity to generate 500 megawatt electricity is in the doldrums, as the project has been withdrawn from Wapda in a strange development, The News has learnt.

Thailand to build first nuclear plant

AFP reports that Thailand’s largest energy utility said it will invest US$6 billion to build the country’s first nuclear power plant, expected to start operations in 2020.

Experts cautious on Malaysian oil pipeline

Oil industry players have given only cautious approval to Malaysia's multi-billion-dollar northern pipeline project, citing slowing oil demand in the Asian region and cost concerns.

Senate bill would hike fuel economy

As motorists face near record gasoline prices, the Senate took up an energy bill Tuesday that would raise auto fuel economy standards for the first time in nearly 20 years and make oil industry price gouging a federal crime.

Honda aims to bring green diesel cars to Japan soon

Japanese carmaker Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday it plans to introduce vehicles with low-pollution, fuel-efficient diesel engines in Japan and North America within the next few years.

Dem claims meddling in waiver request

The Transportation Department acknowledged Tuesday encouraging members of Congress to weigh in with the EPA on California's request to implement global warming controls on automakers.

California officials criticized the intervention by one executive branch agency with another as improper and possibly illegal, but a Transportation Department attorney said it wasn't.

John Edwards wants U.S. to back G8 on climate change

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Tuesday said the United States should join the Group of Eight in a call to cut global warming gas emissions in half by 2050.

Colleges make green commitment

Colleges and universities are hardly the worst offenders when it comes to producing the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. But with about 17 million students, they are massive energy consumers — and some schools say they consider it a moral responsibility to be at the forefront of the green movement.

Scientists to Canada: clean your dirty snow

Even Canada's thinly populated Arctic regions can play a role in curbing global warming, by reducing soot from dirty, old cooking stoves which are blackening snow and making it melt faster.

It's one problem on a list of many outlined by researchers at the universities of California and Colorado. They urged Canadians to filter smoke stacks, reduce ship traffic and burn fuels out in their entirety to minimize dirty waste.

High Oil Prices, Looming Deadlines Spur Brazilian Exploration

Brazilian and foreign oil companies reported 33 new oil discoveries in the first five months of 2007 as companies rushed to meet the minimum drilling requirements of exploration contracts and boost reserves as oil prices remained high, industry experts told BNamericas.

From Hiroshima to Iraq, 61 years of uranium wars

The “peak oil” scare is a hoax, which any geologist knows because it recycles every 20 years to boost oil prices. His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Saudi oil minister from 1962 to 1986, believes that the oil age will end not for lack of oil but because of technology: “(T)he oil prices were destined to crash in the long term and the world would never use up the last drop of oil, because it would not need to: ‘The Stone Age did not come to an end because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will not come to an end because we have a lack of oil.’”

Alex Petroff's Congo project gains momentum

After graduating from Hampshire College last year, Petroff returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo to start building a village, patterned after his 80-page senior project that proposed self-sustaining, oxen-powered agrarian villages as a mode of economic development.

..."It's a model that we may all need to adopt as peak oil becomes more and more of a reality," supporter Rosalie Paul of Georgetown said of Petroff's plan for a sustainable project.

S-Oil freezes $4bn refinery project

South Korean refiner S-Oil Corporation yesterday put an indefinite hold on its $4bn plans to build a major new refinery, the latest energy project to fall victim to tight contractor markets and soaring costs.

A Saudi Summer Surprise

A little Saudi Surprise or was it just another excuse to buy back into the oil bull market? Monday turned into a big buy back session as the oil came storming back. Traders who dumped positions on Friday seemed to think the market all of a sudden had value on Monday. Yet if you talked to two or three different traders as to their reasoning's to get back long the market, it was hard to find one defining reason.

Without much in the way of news the crude oil rally was larger enough get back a big chunk of what they gave back on Friday. Some traders thought that the rally came about because Saudi Aramco the state run oil company announced that it will cut crude oil exports to Asian refiners for the ninth straight month. Of course that shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone who has been following the situation. All the comments coming out of Saudi Arabia make it quite clear that they have no intention of raising oil production and that they would be complying with their agreed upon production cuts at the last OPEC meeting.

Nigeria: End the Energy Crisis Now!

The other day in Abuja, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua gave stakeholders in the Nigerian Energy sector a marching order: Enhance the supply of electricity immediately or risk the declaration of state of emergency. Rightly so. If there is any aspect of national life that needs urgent, combative attention, it is power.

Philippines pays off nuclear power plant

The Philippine government has finally paid off the Bataan nuclear power plant almost 32 years after started on what became one of the country's biggest follies.

The final payment of $US15 million was settled in April, but the plant has never produced a single watt of electricity.

Millions could have been better spent

Dr. Helen Caldicott, the author and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is an English MD/scientist who has done a superb job of research. Her findings clearly show that nuclear is not the way to go.

First, uranium is scarce and therefore becoming expensive. Costs of new power plants is prohibitive. Note that the French built their plants mostly in the 1970's when materials and labor were cheaper.

Official: Ethanol goal to be hit early

A top official with the National Corn Growers Association said Tuesday he expected 15 billion gallons of ethanol to be produced annually in the United States much sooner than the group had once predicted.

Alberta's era of abundant natural gas coming to an end

Age is overtaking the top money earner that paid off the provincial deficit and fuelled budget surpluses as energy prices rose since 1999.

After more than half a century of growth as the Canadian supply mainstay Alberta natural gas production has peaked and entered a decline that will continue no matter how much drilling is done, the province's industry watchdog agency says.

BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2007: World has enough oil for forty years; Growth in emissions from fossil fuels tripled to annual average of 3.4% in 2001-06

BP says that the world still has enough proven oil reserves to provide 40 years of consumption at current rates, in spite of a slight fall last year.

Russia Considers Increasing Coal Use to Facilitate Gas Exports

A series of deadly incidents has dealt Russia's coal industry a serious blow, as the sector's safety standards apparently remain low. Nonetheless, the Russian government is still considering long-range plans to increase the use of coal in power generation in order to reduce natural gas consumption and maximize gas exports.

Big oil companies cancel expansion projects

Instead of expanding their refinery capacity – which could drive fuel prices down – big oil is canceling expansion projects, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Russia's new oil order

Over the past decade, Russia's oil and gas companies have held two big lures for investors. The first was their privileged position in a country brimming with oil and gas. The second was the silver lining of decades of Soviet mismanagement. By applying western methods and technology to existing, poorly developed sites, Russia's majors could milk them for cash with less need to invest in exploration.

Intel and Google's energy drive

Web search leader Google Inc. and semiconductor maker Intel Corp. launched a broad-based program on Tuesday to introduce more energy-efficient personal computers and server systems to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ben Stein's perfect portfolio

What do you recommend for a portfolio distribution in light of the collapsing dollar and peak oil?

Chris Skrebowski: How close to peak oil are we?

My conclusions at very best

● Supply will remain tight and prices high barring a major economic setback
● Oil supply will peak in 2011/12 at about 92-94 million barrels/day
● There will be supply shortfalls in winter before Peak
● Oil supply in international trade may peak earlier than the oil production peak
● Aided by CERA's optimism we are still in denial
● There are huge challenges and huge opportunities

People are starting to notice that Central Banks worldwide(especially China) have started to divest themselves of US dollars through one means or another. That means the bill is in the mail. When it arrives, hyperinflation has a good chance of being the result.(See German Hyperinflation story below.) Since the average American uses only US Dollars, they stand to lose everything that isn't a hard asset. A good place for the average American to put their money, is to pay off their home. The property will continue to retain value. You won't be able to sell it, but if you live in it, you are getting the value of it. The monetary value will eventually return.(Probably after the issuance of a new currency.) The stock and bond markets ARE NOT the place to go.(Think 1929.) Even overseas investments will tank when the US goes down the tubes. In a world where the primary concern will be the next meal, precious metals will be useless as a barter instrument. It will regain it's value post monetary collapse. Since what you would be bartering for will probably be food, think about secure storage of a couple of years worth of food for personal use. For a barter instrument food will be king during the crisis. Several smaller secure storage sites for barter would be a good investment. Just remember, not all your eggs in one basket. These will be desperate times and people will do desperate things. Which leads me to personal firearms and security. Investing in a security fence and weapons capable of repelling small bands of people might be in order. Think personal survival. Don't, under any circumstances, show your assets. Friends in fair weather will stab you in the back if desperate enough. Strangers won't think twice. If you look well fed, when others around you are starving, you will attract the attention of "Local Authorities" who may try to commandeer your assets with promises of payment after the crisis. Avoid the situation in the first place. Dress down for the duration of the crisis. Avoid contact with "local authorities". Do your best to be invisible.

Mohammad Ali Khatibi, deputy director for international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said, “In the most optimistic situation, future supply and demand will seriously get close to each other and we will not have any additional supply, in the pessimistic situation, oil demand in winter will reach an amount which supply can not meet ... “

Isna also reported him as saying non-Opec production was disappointing but that Opec members did not have major additional reserves available to boost output, so consumers may have to use their own reserves.



With the Natural Gas situation It could be difficult to stay warm this winter.

Looking at the top book cover, I don't hold much hope that people are going to grow or can their own food.

They don't have seeds (OP naturally).
They don't have fertilizer or compost.
They don't have sufficient water.
They don't know how to can.
They don't have a canner.
They don't have canning jars.
They don't have jar lids.

Even in my boondocks area where you'd expect many people to preserve/can food, my wife and I are one of the few who do.

I wonder how useful canning will be if energy gets really expensive. It takes a lot of energy to boil everything and sterilize it properly. Heck, even glass was not affordable for the poor before the age of fossil fuels, because it took so much energy to make it. (Hence the Bible saying that wisdom is worth more than gold, glass, or rubies.)

Well, in my case I can run the electric stove off our PV system if necessary and, in a worse case, fire up the wood cookstove in the kitchen.

What's even worse is that many foods require pressure canning. How many people have a pressure canner these days? We're the only ones of the four families within a mile of us.

I agree, preserving food would be difficult for most people. Of course, they could always dehydrate. Unfortunately they won't have a dehydrator and won't know how to make one. Even our 2 bushel one would be hard pressed to dehydrate a significant quantity of food.

"...I can run the electric stove off our PV system... "

Really? I haven't spent a ton of time on PV calculations but I do know that electric resistance takes a LOT of electrical energy. How big is your PV system?


The system is 3.6kW which isn't huge. The thing to remember is that no one is going to crank all the burners up to high and turn on the oven when they can.

In our case, we run the jars through the dishwasher and leave them there so they stay hot. (And, if you've missed it in my other posts, I run a 40 gallon electric HWH on the PV everyday the sun is out.) Then we have one small pot simmering for the jar lids which takes hardly any juice.

We use a big burner for the hot water bath or pressure canner. Again, there is no need to turn the burner up to high. The thing to remember is that burners cycle. In other words, the temp control is not like the burner was on a rheostat by rather it pulls a mimimal load of juice and them periodically calls for more juice, maybe 2-3k, for maybe 10 or so seconds. Therefore, the PV system isn't being challenged for any prolonged periods.

Finally, we almost always use the grid for canning since it's sort of set and forget. I was refering to using PV were it the only choice. And, I'll tell you, it would beat the heck out of having to use the wood cook stove on a hot day!


the dishwasher? ... I take it you have no children?

Also as far as a wood stove on a hot day, have you not heard of the Russian summer kitchen (all out doors), or even noticed the intrusive barbecue. Actually I envy your PV system, my remarks are from jealousy there and as well, from the sound of it, the dependable Sun you have.

dishwashers are wastes of money, electricity, and water.

get your kids to do that, or both you and your significant other can get it done right after dinner, 5 mins tops with both working on it.

Thanks Gilgamesh, for a while I thought I was the only crank about dishwashers and dishwashing. I actually enjoy dish washing, not drying though, air dry is best anyway and cleaner. Also when you have a headache it's better than all analgesics, with the possible exception of Demerol. ;>)

A hint. If you use paper assiets, which you can throw away after dinner, you don´t have to dish at all.

And of cource onetime use plastic knifes and forks.

Actually, it is kids who are the energy suck - we chose to never have any. As far as my case, it is run off the PV system in the afternoon. The water is solar heated. It uses 6 gallons a load which is once or twice a week. My experience is it is more energy efficient than hand washing. But, suit your self.

I'm not sure about the 'water' bit...dishwashers have been shown to use less water than handwashing.... although it's not clear whether any water required in the manufacture & disposal of the dishwater, as well as that required to cool the power generation plants is included.

A standard "Stove circuit" in a North American breaker panel is 40 Amps @ 240 Volts = 9.6 kw, there are a few 30 amp stoves available (= 7.2 kw) , used mostly in mobile homes or old houses with 60 amp electrical services but they are getting hard to find and are more expensive than the larger ones.

Solar dehydrators can be made using a variety of scrap or recycled materials that will likely be available, especially once the abandoned suburban houses start to be salvaged.

We've got a pressure canner, but the truth is that there is very little that we absolutely would have to can under pressure. Sweet corn could be dehydrated instead, and green beans could be salted away in crocks; lots of other vegs could be salted away as well. (That presumes that there will continue to be a salt supply; as salt is among the oldest of all trade goods, that seems like a pretty safe bet.) As I'm sure you know, tomatoes and fruits can be canned by hot water process rather than pressure -- considerably more people would have a large enough pot do do this over a wood fire outside if all else fails. It is also a more forgiving & foolproof method; almost all beginners start with this and later move on to pressure canning.

Then of course there are also root cellars, which can include a variety of non-structural underground storage methods. In many locations, some root crops can just be wintered over right in the garden.

Finally, as I said in another post on this same thread, people traditionally would keep pigs, and a lot of the garden produce that was not immediately eaten would end up being fed to the pigs. That was not waste, but rather a different and highly efficient form of storage.

As I explained on another post, I anticipate that people with the equipment and know how will specialize in this. People that don't have a clue when it comes to producing and preserving food will have to produce something else of value to exchange with these neighborhood specialists.

As I'm sure you know, tomatoes and fruits can be canned by hot water process rather than pressure -- considerably more people would have a large enough pot do do this over a wood fire outside if all else fails. It is also a more forgiving & foolproof method; almost all beginners start with this and later move on to pressure canning.

Of course, every book I've read on the topic strongly cautions about water-bath processing, since you have to have a high enough acid content to naturally kill botulism bacteria. The only thing we water-bat process is tomatoes, and even then only when our pressure canner is full. I certainly haven't found water-bath canning to be more forgiving, especially when we were newbies. Our pressure canner takes much less time, energy, and effort than our water-bath canning. It only takes a tiny flame to get our pressure canner up to pressure and even less to hold it there. Our water-bath pot takes gas at full blast and you can't turn it down much until you're done.

Then of course there are also root cellars, which can include a variety of non-structural underground storage methods. In many locations, some root crops can just be wintered over right in the garden.

Root cellars rock! We had some of our potatoes in there until a few weeks ago (eight months!). And that was just a closed-off corner of our basement. "Putting Food By" covers both canning and root cellaring, but "Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables" covers root cellaring in much greater detail.


I have two large pressure canners and two waterbath canners.

I use the pressure only for foods that require it. Tomatoes,jams,jellies..etc, and pickles don't require it as plenty of acid.

If questionable then I pressure can.

As to Leanans statement on energy. Its easy to do outside with a wood fire. With waterbath all you are really doing in most cases is creating a vacumn to seal the lids.

Botulism and salmonella prone foods need the higher heat (via pressure) to destroy the spores and such. But with greenbeans many did not pressure can in the older times but just cooked them a long time to destroy whatever might possibly be tainted and thats IMO why country food like greenbeans are very throughly cooked down here. To be sure no getting sick. That translated so most southern cooking is highly seasoned with jowl,fatback or bacon and cooked extra long.

Canning is a lot of fun. You get great satisfaction from seeing all those nice jars full of healthy food and no middle men involved ,except for flats(lids),everything else you saved.

You can also ferment foods. Very healthy too.

I know you are aware of all this Todd but just using your post to speak on the subject.

However even here in the rural outback many (most) do not can food anymore. They go to Walmarts or whatever. Just lazy or the younger folks just don't care to. Having never had to do it before.

Blue Ball puts out and excellent book. Also 'Putting Foods By' is very good.

I ferment,can,dehydrate and freeze. I just dehydrate fruit and tomatoes,,some peppers. I usually also grow my own spices. Garlic,oregano,basil,sage and so forth.

Its the only way to go.

Today I brought a sack of cane sugar. Now they are putting it in 4 lb sacks and charging $2.49...no more 5 lb sacks I guess, so I went and brought a 25 lb sack for $5.00 at Sams Club.

The merchants are starting to rape us with food prices. How is it that Sams Club can sell 25 lbs of sugar for $5 yet the grocery stores charge half that for 4 lbs? This tells me they are really screwing the public.

Thats one reason I preserve my own garden produce.

Next year,chaos suspended a bit I will bring up a hive of bees. Build my supers and uppers this winter. Then I won't need their sugar anymore.

I don't find canning a chore. Sit out on the porch with a fish cooker fired by propane,some mixed drinks and a good cigar and easy chair. Not that much work. Preparing the food is a tad of work. Cleaning cutting etc.

I can put up 3 canner loads easy before the day heats up. Two huge burners on my fishcooker brings them up to high temp fairly fast. I have a 500 gal propane tank I own and am going to rent another. Just using it for cooking I think I can get 5 to 10 years out of 1,000 gallons.



Each of the seven subtypes of C. botulinum produces a different botulin toxin.[3] These are labeled with letters and are called A to G types. Types C and D are not human pathogens. A "mouse protection" test determines the type of C. botulinum present using monoclonal antibodies.

In the United States, outbreaks are primarily due to types A or B, which are found in soil, or type E, which is found in fish. Optimum temperature for types A and B is 35-40° C. Minimum pH is 4.6. It takes 25 min at 100°C to kill these types. Optimum temperature for type E is 18-25°C. Minimum pH is 5.0. It takes about 0.1 minute at 100°C to kill type E C. botulinum.

This is why two of my principal items to stock from other peoples' street-waste has been glass and mirrors. (Also Aluminum Sheet Flashing and Foil-lined rigid insulation)

These materials are very durable if treated well, and can set you up to do that precious boiling and canning with a nice, sunny day.. also dehydrate foods for longer-term storage, bake, simmer, clean etc..

At the recycling center, nice big panes of storm-window glass are just smashed up into the bin. With all the people replacing old windows with DoublePane Vinyls, there are lots of storms windows floating around which could be working for you.


Thanks jokuhl,

I wondered what your seemingly perverse fascination with mirrors was, glad to hear I surmised incorrectly, ... even here on the coast we get enough sun to make a food dehydration under glass a possibility instead of the usual mold infested stuff and with mirrors cut into parabolic reflectors, my goodness what a variety of joys to be had. We need some sort of depository to put good helpful ideas like that in.

My small addition here which, I mentioned before about self employment in a PO work environment, is to stock up on a few glass cutters.

If you have any more information on how you are building your sunshine machines, I for one am interested.

My pleasure.

Yeah, I've seen dehydrator plans on MotherEarth News that are just a glazed box with black inner faces sending the heated air up into an 'oven' chamber where the food racks live. The Solar Ovens out there can be as simple as Tinfoil glued to cardboard walls, helping about 2-3 suns worth of light heat up a glazed, insulated container with a darkened pot or breadpan inside.

I'm also using some 30"x78" Patiodoor tempered glass to make Solar Hot Air boxes, which can warm up the household air by blowing it through a sun-warmed sheet of black felt or similar fabric that divides the box into front and rear chambers. Supposedly (and understandably) better heat transfer than the similar flat-plate versions. I scored a dozen of these from a neighbor, and another 8 to 10 that are about 44" square. In this game, it all becomes about surface area..

So many projects, so little (free) time..

Bob Fiske


One of my clients tells of his grandma and her collection of wooden racks. Always had some veggies on these wooden racks all over the home, drying the veggies.

Lehmans used to sell the wooden racks for drying.

Those are WWII posters. The govt successfully campaigned for these things before, they could do it again. Leanan's concern about energy used for canning could probably best be answered by Airdale. He's here this morning.

The flip side of that, of course, is that people used to put away food for the winter without canning.

Look what I found. Energy free refrigerator.


not energy free but free energy : uses stored solar energy (in the form of heat) for evaporation. I have used this system quite succesfully for cooling some beer on sailboats.

Be aware that like all open-cycle evaporative coolers, that design depends on having a low relative humidity. It'll work wonderfully in dry areas like California, and not at all in places with 100% relative humidity, like NYC on a hot summer's day.

Ultimately, to can things you first need to mine the ore, and a smelter to render the ore into the metal needed to make the can. Mines could use renewable electricity. Smelters can be run on wood or charcoal. Then you need a rudimentary manufacturing facility to make the cans themselves, which could be run by solar/wind/hydro. It is a very complex process, but the technology is several centuries old, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canning.

Vacuum sealing is my preferred method. I can stockpile several rolls containing several million plastic bags in a much smaller space than cans or jars and the solar and wind based electricity I produce will run the mechanism. It may not be sustainable over several generations, but for the moment it makes the most sense.

As for envious unfriendly visitors, the best defense is to have your whole community doing the same as you--a confederation if you will. It's the building of such a confederation that provides the challenge.

We've gone to mason gar lids because they are more foolproof and thus safer, but that isn't what they used to use. They used to use jars with wire bales and a rubber seals. The jar & bale are of course reusable over and over again unless they take a quick trip to the floor. The rubber seals should not be reused, but rubber is a renewable resource (presuming that at least a little trade can be maintained with tropical areas). Thus, once a sufficient inventory of jars has been produced to provide a sufficient storage capacity for the population, the ongoing resource flows required are quite minimal - glass and steel wire for a few replacement jars each year, and rubber for the seals.

Jams,preserves,and jellies were once sealed in jars with wax.

Lasted quite well too. My step mother did this a lot. Myself I never tried it but it looks easy. No metal required and really any jar would work, pints or half pints preferrably since it can grow mold once opened in time,however the mold is usually harmless.

Tomatoes are the best and easiest to can IF you use ones with enough acid, like Rutgers. Hybrids usually need an infusion of citric acid or lemon juice.
Drinking home canned tomato juice in the winter is one of life's great pleasures.

Airdale-City folk don't know what they are missing.You can hardly buy something this good and this healthy. No additives, no chemicals, no middlemen.


My mother used to home can jellies and jams with parafin, I suspect you could also use bee's wax. My favorite was dewberry, a ground growing blackberry here on the Texas Gulf coast, followed by mayhaw, a kind of crabapple of the southern swamps.

My father kept a couple of hives of bees. Lots of honey, our big honey producers in Houston were chinese tallow and ligustrum and other privets. Bees also keep strangers out of the back yard, they're great security.

Momma also canned a few pickles-exotic varieties like watermelon rind and hot, garlic pickled okra. Also a few chiles, jalapenos and serrano peppers. Its all fun and good, and a few jars of jam or exotic pickles make excellent christmas gifts- they're very personal gifts. I got a great gift of one from a friend last xmas-a lime/loquat marmalade, my best present.

OilmanBob, I have several fig trees in my back yard and I still make fig preserves every year using pint Mason jars and parafin. The birds get about one third of the figs, the squrrils and raccons get about one third and we humans get the rest...if I arise early each morning and pick the ripe figs before the critters beat me to all of them!

Loonking forward to life in bananaville...

I was just watching that David Attenborough show on amber, Jewel of the Earth. Inside the amber, the Poinars found these insects and miniscule parasitic worms that live most of their lives inside figs. They can't survive without figs, so they know there were fig trees millions of years ago.

Interesting, but it didn't make me want to eat figs.

I suspect you could also use bee's wax.

I would not. Bees wax is a target for many different critters to eat. Moth larve, bacteria, et la.

You can even powdered beeswax and use it to break down fossil oil stains. The beeswax attracts fossil oil and provides an energy source boost for microbes.


Dewberries once were common around here. Not any longer. Haven't seen one in years and years.

My pear ,apple and peach trees produced nothing this year. No bees and hard freeze.

I will miss the pear preserves, bees wax or not. I have planted one hell of a row of okra and peppers as well. I am going to have a good time this fall.

BTW my garlic grows wild and rogue. I have a huge harvest coming up this July as a result.

Happy canning,


No peaches or apples here in my little piece of WNC either. Blueberries and grapes doing well, though.

I tried the parafin wax thing once, but couldn't get it to maintain a tight seal all the way around the lip of the jar. Maybe I didn't do it right. As long as jar lids are available I'll keep using those.

We ate our last jar of tomatoes from last summer this evening.

Leanan's concern about energy used for canning could probably best be answered by Airdale. He's here this morning.

I doubt it, unless his advice would be to burn a bunch of wood. His 1st posts where 'bout being a hunter gatherer ferchristsakes.

A project that has been mentioned here (and on worldchanging I believe) used evacuated glass tubes in a trough based heliostat with oil being the heat transport medium. The most recent post on this type of tech was MIT engine thingie.
The article mentioned how the output temp was over 400 Deg and is being used for canning by the remote villages in Central America. If there is enough interest in me digging up the links, I'll bother.

I was going to post about the plastic canning lids but the site seems to be gone.

Don't bother.

And drop your 'project' to harass me. Its getting stale and if you make me mad you will wish you hadn't.

In fact put the put the heliostat up your azz and I'll stick with the waterbath.

You need to go back to the teenybopper chat rooms where you could make a few good impressions and come off as the expert to all the cooing nimrods. All your 'googling' and passing it off as knowledge is quite obvious.

For my part you can ditch the plastic canning lids,,unless *YOU* have some real life experiences with them that you wish to share instead of googletrivia and hearsay claptrap.

Airdale-I'm getting tired of your dogging me. The next reply won't be so pleasant and likely result in some deletions. Save us all some bandwidth and change you mantra boyo.

Don't bother.

As you asked so nicely, I opted to do a bit more digging.

In fact put the put the heliostat up your azz and I'll stick with the waterbath.

Normal English is ASS not AZZ. (and you are welcome for the correction)

And that hot water bath gets hot exactly how? A Heliostat is a good way to convert photons to heat. Far more direct than making wood to burn, natural gas, biogas, PV, wind, hydro ....

(and for all kinds of heliostats http://www.redrok.com/main.htm If you visit the MREA show this week, Duane should be there.
For the theory about them and showing how they are not at all applicable to anal insertion - a matter that seems to confuse Airdale.
http://www.appropedia.org/Understanding_Solar_Concentrators#PARABOLIC_TR... )

For my part you can ditch the plastic canning lids,

The plastic canning lids are far cheaper than the older glass bottom/glass top with rubber seal models.

The old zinc/rubber ones are find for sealing non-pressure.

,unless *YOU* have some real life experiences with them

I do. They work. I would not have mentioned them (again) if I had not. Check the rubber ring closely, if there are failures of the molding it won't seal. The wider the glass lip is, the better.

From my old order form: lcstieg@sbcglobal.net
L&D Enterprise
17526 7 mile road
Reed City MI 49677

that you wish to share instead of googletrivia and hearsay claptrap.

???? do you have a point you want to make?

Now here's research into a solar powered system. Its not the one I'd seen reference to before (it looked like an architect had designed it - lottsa swoops and colors, but it uses some of the same basic tech.)

8 pages with data.

And here's one where the sunlight is reflected into your home for cooking:
A better picture set of a “Scheffler” dishes

And a system like what I was looking to post:

Even MORE links!


Glass lids, rubber gasket, glass jars. Cheaper than the wire ones I saw in leamans

I asked these questions last winter, when infinite postings/possibilities was still allowed onsite.

What is the actual energy consumed in home canning with a pressure cooker on an electric range. How does this compare to industrial processes and transportation for a can of green beans. How does this compare to home freezing? Alot of discussions, no hard answers.

When will Hints from Heloise cover this?

Dry your food.

Native Americans and many other pre and post-industrial societies use this extremely low energy method to preserve foods. You can also preserve by pickling.

Skip the canning. Why waste the energy?

Don't have time to find the hard numbers for you, perhaps your county extension agent could help you. I do know as a general rule that industrial processes are going to be more efficient on a per-unit basis due to economies of scale. Home freezing vs. home canning depends upon the amount of time that it stays in the freezer.

In Addition:

They don't have much topsoil because it has been removed prior to contruction.
They don't know that you can't just till a lawn and plant a garden.
They don't know which crops or varities grow well in their area.
They don't know how to control pests.
They don't know how to maintain soil fertility.


It's taken me two years to get my soil to be productive, and I have the advantage of being friends with egg farmers who have mounds of glorious manure for the asking.

Ag extension agents can help with variety selection and pest control, but they tend to have the annoying habit of recommending chemical-heavy solutions to gardening issues.

Sounds like a chickenshit solution!

Indeed! You can't really call yourself an organic farmer until you have experienced manure envy.

There are people in Houston who wait patiently each year for the elephant poo giveaway at the Barnum and Bailey Circus. They have to bring their own garbage bags!

Another little hint-coffee grounds have more nitrogen than chicken or rabbit doo, and don't burn the soil. Generally the local coffee shop will save them for you. Earthworms love them and they add tilth to your soil, so get to sweet talking the manager at Starbucks!

Earthworms are a great indicator of the health of your soil too.

Anyone interested in growing their own food should get serious about nurturing them.

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

Hello Klee,

Recall my earlier postings on engineering manipulation of the sewage spiderweb for Humanure Recycling. A downstream neighborhood could be identified as a good spot for future relocalized permaculture, then the buildings within are removed and recycled. Then an earthen wall is built around the area, and then by sewage valve settings: the area could be sewage flooded up to six feet deep. Give it time to ripen and dry out, then voila'--instant compost for a relocalized community garden. Rinse, lather, and repeat in other neighborhoods to speed urban & suburban relocalization. Of course, it would have to be sprayed to keep mosquitos and other pests down to safe levels.

EDIT: this controlled flooding makes more sense than waiting till the sewage infrasructure breaks down causing uncontrolled flooding and vastly increased health problems.

Consider the ongoing Project Murambatsvina [Taking out the Filth] in Zimbabwe: I wonder if engineers are purposely flooding some neighborhoods to speed relocalized permaculture and further out-migration? This gravity powered overflow declination method is much more energy-efficient than sending out bulldozers to wreck well-built neighborhoods. The overall effect is to drive cityfolk out to the farming areas reducing overall energy consumption.

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

Here's an idea that deserves wide circulation: Introduce sharecropping gardening.

Every community has a few people who are serious and successful vegetable gardeners. These are people with the equipment and know how. Most of them, however, have limited land -- in many cases, far less land than they could potentially work. Most of the other people in the community don't have the equipment and know how. But they do have lawns that could be dug up and gardened. The serious gardeners could offer them a deal: Let me dig up your yard & raise vegetables, and I'll split the harvest with you. This would enable the serious gardeners to expand their production to not just cover their own needs, but even to produce a surplus that could be sold at community farmer/tailgate markets. I would also venture to guess that 50% of the yield produced by an experienced gardener will probably exceed the 100% of the yield produced by someone that lacks the tools and know how. In any case, total food production in the community increases substantially.

For storage, the same idea applies: Those with canners and the know-how to use them can go into the local food processing business. Jar and especially lid supply would be a problem; these would be good things to start stockpiling now. Because these are so importaqnt, I would anticipate that these would be among the very last manufactured goods to disappear. Remember that canning is not the only way to preserve food, there are also root cellars, dehydration (solar dehydrators can be built from various scrap & recycled materials), and salting. Surplus food, scraps, and rotting food can also be fed to pigs, thus storing it on the animal and increasing the local meat supply. (This presumes that cheap-oil-era zoning laws will be scrapped when enough people in the community get hungry enough. We're going to need to bring small livestock back into the towns anyway, not just for meat and eggs but also to produce manure for small-scale methane production and for compost to maintain soil fertility.)

The principle of division of labor will not be going away. Anyone with a skill set in the non-discretionary side of the economy is likely going to find it more advantageous to use their time mostly trading the product of their higher skills for necessities produced by people with lower skill sets but plenty of time on their hands. For example, it would be stupid for a blacksmith to be spending most of his day in the vegetable garden when there will be tons of things that people need him to repair or make in exchange for their surplus food.

A lot of the people with useful skill sets will quickly have more to do than they have time to do themselves, so they will hire helpers and apprentices. Thus will the necessary skills eventually be learned by more and more members of the community.

I heard an interview with a Canadian gentleman who farms this way. He offers to maintain the yards of rental homes for their landlords, and converts their lawns into organic gardens. The interview was on a radio show out of British Columbia called Deconstructing Dinner and can be streamed or downloaded here. They also produced a show on peak oil and food early last year.

Sharecropping amounts to a 50% tax rate on producers in favor of owners, and therefore I think that is a major bad idea.

It is not a tax, it is land rent.

I'm working on a project like this here in my town. I need two more growers and a marketer

Here in Seattle, we have three enterprising young farmers who opened a small business, Seattle Urban Farm. They will come to your house and create a veggie garden for you, and maintain it. They also just added chicken coop building, and stopped by last weekend to assess the site at my house. Yes, it's legal to have chickens in the city, so I am getting two. I figure any extra eggs can go to friends and the local Food Bank.

We use our collective farming and gardening experience to establish a productive organic vegetable plot in your yard. We plant the garden with vegetables of your choosing, maintain it throughout the year, and by using succession plantings and intercropping techniques, we can harvest a weekly supply of vegetables for you and your family to eat!

here you go, saved again by those intertubes. This site has everything you need and everything you need to know.


Mose in Midland

Opps! Copied 1st post from my Blog and didn't notice the (See German Hyperinflation story below)

Are We About to Enter a Weimar Type Hyperinflation?

"China is using no-strings-attached dollar credits to gain access to Africa’s vast raw material wealth, leaving Washington’s typical control game via the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) out in the cold. Who needs the painful medicine of the IMF when China gives easy terms and builds roads and schools to boot?"


China's 'Dollar Credits' to purchase oil and mineral rights and to purchase goodwill abroad are an excellent strategy for reducing their US dollar currency reserves. For China.
For the US, those dollars will come home to roost, weakening the currency further while at the same time, China is becoming the Big Man on Campus, the Good Guy, Voted Most Popular.
Spending it as 'US Dollar Credits' also allows them to go on a spending spree for hard assets and diplomatic clout without immediately sending the US dollar into a tail spin. But, the surplus in US dollars is building, like credit card charges that don't have to be paid right now, but the bill will come; and it will come to the US, not to China.

Hyperinflation, anyone? We are also still monetizing the debt for the war. Just because we still have checks left in the checkbook, doesn't mean we aren't already massively overdrawn.




The German Hyperinflation of 1923 and Parallels with the US Monetary Policy


Given that the Super NAFTA/North American Union project is still moving forward, and further given that the people involved have publicly spoken about the need for a unified currency in North America (nicknamed the amero for now), there would seem to be good reason to suspect that the central banks will play to hyperinflation at some point. Hyperinflation blows off all previous debts externally while laws can be forced onto the North American populace to accept the same levels of debt by mandating fixed currency exchange rates from dollars to ameros. So the real question is when is the North American Union far enough along that it makes sense to wipe out the dollar and start the game all over again? The hyperinflation that is coming will almost certainly be a deliberate act, just as almost every other hyperinflation by various governments in history (in an effort to blow off debts).

I suspect they won't deliberately hyperinflate until they are ready to push the North American Union hard. The wild card here is China, who is holding a large volume of dollars but may not agree to play by the same rules. Japan holds a large dollar portfolio but has already demonstrated that they will play by the global finance rules thus they are not a threat.

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

Did you ever wonder? This planet is only so big. There is only so much land. So how is it that there is still land to buy. Maybe, every so often they have to orchestrate something like this so they can forclose and take everything back so they can re-sell it.

There is no record of the world ever having been in this particular situation before, Cid Yama. Just a bit over 200 years ago, global population was still under 1 billion. When North America was discovered by the Europeans, global population was almost half of China's total today. Global population was just a little over double the US population at that point - 750 million or so. That is worldwide. We've never been here before and I suspect that the financial moguls don't realize the multiple horsemen that nature has unleashed on humanity and instead continue to focus on their financial games for control. They may be in for a rather rude awakening.

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

Not quite what I meant(was more thinking 1929). I totally agree with what you said though. I think we're all toast. I think the little creatures around the thermal vents at the bottom of the ocean will be pleased that we terraformed the planet for them.

why not wait for hyperinflation to occur and just pay off your mortgage with a wheelborrow full of paper $'s ?

Ahhh, but there are many variables here.

If your mortgage is (was) in parts of, say New Orleans, the land you hold paper on could be 'underwater'. If there is a rapid sea level rise - the land along the sea will be underwater. If energy prices rise, rural land that is being used for McMansions should drop because a commute to the city will become expensive. And if there is a pandemic, the lack of demand should lower house prices.

Hyperinflation means other expenses of yours will go up also.

It is a hard bet to make.

To supplement the parent comment I found this interesting Blog post on the BBC news website. Enjoy.

We're all doomed?

One of the great, global, economic forces of our age, which I’ve bored you rigid discussing in this blog, is that it has been possible to borrow long-term money at relatively low interest rates.

For the past few years, the impact of these low long-term interest rates has been visible in a surge in borrowing by individuals and companies together with the related phenomenon of rising prices of almost every kind of asset or commodity. Here are just three important manifestations:

a) UK house prices that keep going up and up – almost regardless of what the Bank of England does to short-term interest rates;

b) share prices, that have increased more-or-less in a straight line since the spring of 2003;

c) a boom in takeovers of companies, financed by borrowing, and a great wave of repurchases of shares by companies, again funded by debt.

Now, a fall in longer term interest rates is simply the corollary of a rise in the price of certain US Government bonds.

And what has kept the price of those bonds high has been two trends.

First, the accumulation of vast foreign exchange reserves by China, Japan and other (largely Asian) exporting nations, which have been invested in US government bonds.

Second, a decision taken some years ago by large insurers and pension funds to become more risk averse, and reduce their exposure to shares while increasing their holdings of bonds.

Now according to analysts, for some years long-term interest rates have been significantly lower than they should have been on the basis of their normal historical relationship with short-term interest rates and the health of the global economy.

Which is why what has been happening over the past few days is important, though largely unreported outside of specialist financial publications: there has been a sharp fall in the price of 10-year US government bonds, known as US Treasuries, and thus a precipitate rise in the benchmark price of borrowing for ten years. Yesterday, the yield on 10-year US Treasuries rose to its highest level for more than five years (to 5.27%).

I have a question, maybe a dumb one. In this article about the latest IEA Outlook
there is talk about "pushing outright demand through 86 million barrels a day for the first time".

Now, how do they measure that "demand"?

Naively, I imagine how someone wants to buy oil, saying "10,000 barrels of oil, please" to some broker. The broker, maybe, answers "I have only 5,000 barrels to sell." Finally, there are two options: buy those 5,000 (or less), or try it with another broker.

I'm asking myself how these 10,000 barrels he wanted first are becoming "demand"? Wouldn't all brokers have to deliver information, what customers had in their mind when they contacted them, to some central point, saying, "this mornin' there was a guy who wanted 10,000, but I sold him only 5,000", so one could put all that together for a worldwide picture? How realistically can demand be calculated?

Calculating future demand isn't done at such a micro level. It is based upon projected growth in certain sectors. Automotive, industry, agriculture, etc. Based upon historical information, one can extraplate that if the growth the economy is projecting is to take place, it will consume X amount of oil products.

If that amount of oil isn't available, some sectors are going to be disappointed while others will pay a higher price to get the oil they must have.

Organizations project demand all the time. For instance, a company will project its need for engineers over the upcoming year based upon projects that are planned for the year.

During the tech bubble, combined with Y2K, many companies couldn't afford their projections, and even lost employees to companies that could. There was a shortage of engineers and a huge demand from certain sectors. Projects fell behind and many companies (that weren't part of the IPO bubble) went out of business.

Interestingly, when the tech bubble/Y2K debacle was finally wound down, many of the previously established and stable companies were gone, and there was a glut of engineers. The price of an engineer fell dramatically.

"Demand" in the sense you use the term is what economists call "quantity demanded," which is a concept quite different from what economists mean when they say "demand."

See any economics textbook for this distinction.

Quantity demanded is the same as "amount purchased" during a particular period of time. You get this number by counting. It is a lot of work, but not exactly brain surgery. By the way, by definition, "quantity demanded" always is identically equal to "quantity supplied."

Unfortunately, on TOD and most other places there is no evidence in most posters that they understand the crucial distinction between the concept of "demand" and the much narrower concept of "quantity demanded."

Welcome back stranger!

Sailorman...you're back. Holy smokes...how are you old man? Tell us some stories of the sea. What the heck have you been doing?

Good to hear you voice back at TOD. We are in need of calm and collected comments these days.

Thanks. I'm back after a three-month vacation from TOD. Glad to see that level of discussion is still high.

Am plotting a new series of mystery novels at this time and use the TOD for relaxation and mild stimulation. (It's better than drugs . . . or is it a drug?)

It's a drug.

Good to see ya, Jubal!

What's the theme?

Always looking for good mystery novels - please tell more.

This is a new series that won't be published for a few years--am looking for a three-book deal.

I have a couple of unpublished mystery novels, one of which is pretty good and may one day make me rich and famous, but what I most enjoy is writing post-Peak science fiction novels for young adults--have two books in this series so far but will get the third one done before I try again to market them. So far, if you want to read my published stuff, try ECONOMICS: MAKING GOOD CHOICES by Don Millman, which you can get used and cheap from amazon (is no longer in print)

Actually, demand is always a function of quantity AND PRICE. At $0.01/bl, the demand for crude oil is almost infinite, while at $1,000,000,000,000/bl, the demand for crude oil is nil. It just drives me crazy to see all this talk about demand with no reference whatsoever to price. Of course demand will increase is the price of supplies is falling in real terms, and of course demand will fall if prices increase. All the worry about there not being enough supply to meet demand is nonsense -- there is a price at any moment where supply and demand will be in equilibrium. What I think people really mean to say is that producers will be unable or unwilling to supply enough oil to meet growing demand AT THE PRICE THAT CONSUMERS WOULD LIKE TO PAY. At $1,000,000,000,000/bl, we'd figure out a way to go to Titan to supply the demand - but of course we all know that isn't going to happen.

To cut out the obfuscation once and for all:

The cheap and easy oil is pretty much gone. There is a large quantity of oil left but it will be increasingly difficult and expensive to extract, and it will only be worthwhile to producers to supply it at increasingly higher prices. As prices go up, demand will have to come down as oil becomes increasinly unaffordable to more and more consumers. Net result: continuously decreasing quantities of oil produced and consumed, all at continuously increasing prices.

I have yet to see one shred of geologic, engineering, or economic data that can refute the above statement.

Glad to see the question of what constitutes a measure of demand being addressed here. I ran it up the flagpole yesterday but no one saluted. Being as it is a matter of conjecture it may also be subject to conjure. As was pointed out it isn't a hard number.

Demand deconstruction?

Petrosaurus: Yes, demand destruction, or Peak Demand, may be with us right now. If anyone bothers to download the BP report mentioned above, they will find world oil consumption figures. They look like this 2004, up 3.4%, then 2005 up 1.4%, then 2006, up 0.7%.
Ye the world economy grew nicely. We are decoupling economic growth and oil consumption very rapidly. And conservation measures and alternate fuels are just getting traction now.
Runaway demand for oil? Come on, it was up 0.7 percent last year, and probably declining from there. At more than $60 per barral of fossil, the world is saying, "We can do better, and cleaner by the way."
We are transitioning to a post-fossil world, and we are doing it easily.
Rapier is hot on some new cellulosic process. We have seen wonderful posts here about the future of solar and wind. Whole nations, such as Sweden and Indonesia, have goals of taking themsleves off the world energy grid, so to speak. Europe is shooting for 20 percent biomix in diesel in 13 years. India too (by planting jatropha). The US may stumble forward into ethanol.
Ahead (if this oil price regime can be maintained) are PHEV cars which effectively get 100 mpg per gallon of ethanol. Widespread fossil crude demand destruction is ahead. We can easily juice up our elelctrical grid with solar and wind to power PHEV cars.
Peak Demand. It is here, if not now, then very soon. Mr Price Mechanism sets the trend, and the trend is our friend. Just look out for a price collapse. It could get ugly.

So everything's good in Pleasantville?

I think that comment is out of line. The peak was 2+ years ago, and we have somehow muddled through a decline of 1%+ without any harm what-so-ever. His contention seems to be similar to JDs: PO will be a non-event because a convergence of market transitions and technological developments will ease the transition so to speak.

Peak C&C was two years ago. All liquids is more recent and the decline is not even 1% yet. Production is basically flat right now so you haven't seen anything yet. Just hope Bakhtiari is wrong and we don't see 55 mbpd by 2020.

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

Bakhtiari also uses a BTU based total liquids calculation, making his numbers different than every other agencies. He should be slightly more forth-coming with his stats.

Hi PartyGuy,

Thanks and

re: "...technological developments will ease the transition so to speak."

Did you have particular ones in mind? If so, how do you expect them to ease the transition?

And, the transition is to...?

I think the simple fact that people are looking at PHEVs, Air Cars and a myriad of other technologies speaks volumes about the worlds attempt to decouple our lives from FFs. I mentioned before about a working plan to use wind farms to make fertilizer in the great plains. Since a good portion of our NG is used in fertilizers alone, this is an excellent start.

The peak was 2+ years ago, and we have somehow muddled through a decline of 1%+ without any harm what-so-ever.

Oh really? No harm what-so-ever?



You wanna put money down on that claim?

I suppose now is the time that I respond with some witty comment, then your respond with a series of retorts linking conjecture and opinion under the guise of facts in a vain attempt to 'internet pwn' me in front of all your peers.

You will have to forgive me if I choose not to engage in this vain attempt at your own self-glorification.

So you don't actually believe what you have stated.

Or believe it enough you are willing to defend your statement.

That is fine, just wanted to know if you had the courage of your convictions.

Then perhaps YOU would like to list off your 'facts' as to how we have all suffered terribly so far. Show me your convictions, and I will show you mine.

He does this sort of trolling all the time.

You may be waiting a while.

Issuing a challenge to discuss the failure modes of fission power. is "trolling"?

Interesting. You lack the rhetorical skill to defend your position, ergo its the other person's problem, not yours.

Interesting. You lack the rhetorical skill to defend your position, ergo its the other person's problem, not yours.

Hypocrisy and irony are allways the best of friends. Run along now.

You are the one who made the claim of no effect. Now here you are changing the goalposts from 'no effect' to 'suffer terribly'. But I'll go ahead and show how you lack the courage of your convictions and post a few effects of mans desire to collect and use energy.

Under suffering - how about Iraq, the Congo, Zimbabwe, or even Pakistan as examples of peoples who are 'not muddling through' the energy crunch?

If Iran, who claim they are just building a fission plant, is attacked over their plant(s), would that too be 'muddling through'?

WNC observer:

you're right. The supply of crude far excedes our ability to extract it economicaly. When any oilfield depletes below the extraction cost yeilding a profit, its abandoned. Texas is littered with these fields- all have at least 50% and some of them have as much as 90% of the original oil in place still there. Plus there are a lot of fields that were'nt economic to produce with old school technology that are now worth completing-that's Jeffry Browns living.

So technicially the cornucopians are right about the oil-there is plenty and it will never be exhausted. What they fail to convey is "the rest of the story"-nobody can afford it after the cheap supplies are gone. The real peak story.

And that's our best attack on their disinformation campaign. The silver bullet is using energy more efficently, and switching to renewables while making them more practical. New battery technology, mass transit,cheaper solar, wind ect..Even nuclear.

oilmanbob -- Good summary. You've covered some of the reasons I own certain 'oil & gas' stocks in my trading account(s): a portfolio that not only has performed well the last few years but one I often jokingly refered to as my 'diversified' portfolio. Sure, it's all in 'oil & gas' stocks, but since it directly hedges my future cost of living & possibly my future wage rate in a Peak Oil world, I am in many ways more diversifed than those who own the classic diversified basket of stocks and are completely unaware of the coming economic 'sea change'.

I expect that the ever increasing price of energy will get most to use energy more efficiently. Most people appear to be 'reactive' rather than 'proactive' on energy issues.

What still amazes me on the topic of PO is the mental block that people have concerning the differences between stocks/reserves and flows. I have attempted to use the Canadian Tar Sands as example to make the point that reserves aren't really the issue, but most people's eyes quickly glaze over...


The Canadian tar sands cost $100,000 per level barrel per day of production, plus extraction costs of $25-$30 barrel per day. Plus royalty, transportation, taxes, refining-I seriously doubt they make a reasonable profit unless oil prices go up above $80 per barrel. The Colorado oil shales are projected to cost even more-and there is no functioning kerogen extraction process beyond the experimental stage. I think its as big a boondoggel as ethanol.

As far as diversification, one of the most successful stock investors I know got a huge windfall in 1975-$550,000 from selling his $20,000 GI house built about 1960. He was the last house purchased in Greenway Plaza in Houston. Jim took his money, plus money he had inherited and bought Exxon stock, and held on. He told me at the time that diversification was bullshit, and that when he saw the Farishes and the Blaffers(founding families of the Humble Oil Company) selling Exxon, he'd sell his. The result? Exxon has split 4 times since then, he's recieved regular increasing dividends, paid no capital gains, no stock commissions. He's slept very well since, in a paid for house.

...and hasn't had to lift a finger to accomplish this heroic feat(as in American Hero).

The Canadian tar sands cost $100,000 per level barrel per day of production, plus extraction costs of $25-$30 barrel per day. Plus royalty, transportation, taxes, refining-I seriously doubt they make a reasonable profit unless oil prices go up above $80 per barrel.

So the companies investing billions in the tar sands that are posting billions in profits are fools or liars?

You can argue with results if you want, but it doesnt look very credible.

In your second to the last paragraph you used the term "demand" instead of "quantity demanded" or "quantity purchased." This confusion wounds the heart of an old instructor who spent thirty-one years teaching economics to undergraduates.

My gosh! Welcome back, Don Sailorman!!

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

What units are this theoretical "demand" in?

Neural limbic-brain impulses per second?

A couple of days ago I drove out to a half empty hydro dam with someone on a break from a near depleted gas field. I guess the unspoken line of thought was 'what will replace this?'. I have 3 theories on what the powers-that-be might be thinking
1) the magic of the market will solve it
2) people will quickly accept more coal and nuclear
3) no thoughts whatsoever.

Silly Boof. That dam was half full.

It is dry in the southern and western United States, a severe drought has set in. One third of the nation is in a drought.


Australia had some flooding problems in the past month. They wished they had built more dams to catch the flash floods that quickly disappeared.

The Australian floods you mentioned missed their resivoir catchment system and amount to no more than a drop in the bucket in denting their drought.

Hello Rainsong,

Don't forget my North American Drought map in yesterday's Drumbeat. The drought extends far into Mexico too; from eyeballing-- about 1/3 of the country and primarily across the prime mechanized crop-growing areas along the coasts.

If this keeps up, I expect Mexico to be seeking huge grain imports for their people. If they cannot afford it--then expect an increasing flood of humanity northward. Recall my earlier posts on saltwater penetration into their rapidly depleting aquifers miles inland.

They may have to imitate Zimbabwe in the future: start shutting off power to the cities so that they can shift the juice to pumping aquifers for crops.

EDIT: Mexico will probably need huge desalination infrastructure too for processing these brackish aquifers like Oman--this will take even more electricity from the cities.

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

Hello TODers,

Arizona just test-ran a mothballed desalination plant due to low flows in Colorado River:

Sid Wilson, general manager of the Central Arizona Project, which delivers Colorado River water to the Phoenix and Tucson areas, has said he believes the plant will come back on-line because water sources are critically limited in Arizona, Mexico, Nevada and California.
In the meantime, more houses, shopping malls, and golf courses are being built in the North American Southwest.

High-end tourism growth is criticized
Environmental stress seen around Gulf of California

Rapidly growing tourist corridors in northwest Mexico are time bombs that strain environmental resources and threaten the region's long-term economic potential, a newly released study concludes.

Developers have increasingly focused on the tourism potential of the region, and many areas have been experiencing an unprecedented real estate boom fueled in large part by U.S. customers. Just last week, a Spanish company, Fadesa, announced plans to build a $5.4 billion project in the small Baja California Sur community of Loreto; its plans include 6,500 residences, 7,000 hotel rooms and four golf courses.

Throughout the peninsula, “in terms of sustainability, the main problem is water,” said Rodrigo Gallegos, a consultant to IMCO.

The study singles out golf courses. The typical golf course uses enough water for a population of 6,000, the study said. Although many use recycled water, in some areas where there is not enough supply, the golf courses are sustained by fresh water drawn from local aquifers.
And TODers wonder why I am a fast-crash realist. =(

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

It's relatively dry in the East (just east of Raleigh, NC) too.  One week after Tropical storm Barry helped douse fires in Georgia and soaked the coast, I drove past a number of dam spillways in rivers and creeks which have barely a trickle going over them.

I had an idea for making cheap micro-hydro turbines for some of these dams (something requiring little or no modification, just drop on, wire in and go), but if they're going to sit idle all summer, who'd want one?


A non-profit Swiss engineering firm, they specialize in sub-MW hydroelectric turbines. They have designed hydropower units for sewage outfalls that are dropped in my helicopter, and potable water units that replace pressure reducers (they found that a bypass valve was needed for halftime at football/soccer matches).

The smallest unit the have designed was 100 watts (a generic design for summer cabins). Few other designs below 10 kW.

Best Hopes for the Best Renewable Power, Hydroelectric,


As for seasonable demand, the Louisiana Hydroelectric Plant is idle every August (peak demand) which they use for maintenance. This hydropower plant uses about 1/3rd of the flow of the Mississippi River.

Fill the bottom half with nuclear waste and that will raise the water level to the top. Kill two birds (and a whole lot more) with one load of stones.

(Sarcasm off)

WNC Observer wrote: Fill the bottom half with nuclear waste and that will raise the water level to the top. Kill two birds (and a whole lot more)

How would nuclear waste, covered with many feet of water, kill anything (except for the few fishes that swam too near, and not even them if the waste were covered with a reasonably-thick layer of sediment capped with concrete)?

Lake Powell is down 90 ft from full, about 50% capacity.

It's a BIG lake (reservoir).

From today's Houston Chronicle:


OIL COMPANIES GO DEEP INTO GULF'S POTENTIAL -- They are taking the bet they can extract oil lying 30,000 feet below the sea floor


"But the challenges of pulling oil from the region still loom large. Not only are the reservoirs more than 30,000 feet under the sea floor in places, they are hidden under nearly 10,000 feet of water. Getting to the rock means sending drills into densely compacted formations that will be stubborn in yielding resources and that may require new tools that can withstand higher temperatures and higher pressures. All of that means huge costs."

But isn't 30,000 feet well below the conventional "oil window"? Wouldn't one most likely expect to find NG? And that's assuming that working at such depths is technically & economically possible.

The Eocene trend offshore is in sediments that apparently are not as hot as normal, so the oil never cooked to gas. As far as economic, the buzz around Houston is that Chevron has still not decided whether to develop the field. I've heard Devon and Chevron are planning another appraisal well this fall. At an AFE of $100 million smackers!

If completed, the wellhead will be in 7,000 ft of water. The technology is still not invented or tested-look at the troubles at Thunderhorse, about 3 years behind schedule at coming online in a water depth of about 4,000 ft.

not as hot as normal and apparently the source rock subsided rapidly so the time and temperature product is lower than normal. also, are we sure that what chevron has discovered is properly classified as oil. it very well may be a retrograde condensate. the distinction is not necessarily obvious. an example is the east anschutz ranch field in sw wyoming. the controversy went on for years ( oil and gas were subject to differing royalties).

Hello TODers,

A company that I work for wants to implement a blog to generate discussion among employees about the company's strategy. I've pointed them to The Oil Drum as a great example.

The risk of course is that employees might not find a blog about the company's future strategy all that interesting, and it could just wither on the vine. Does anyone have good/bad examples of internal company blogs? Any suggestions for software?


Who in their right mind would say anything honest (or anything for that matter) on a company blog where they know that management is monitoring?

What about security when discussing proprietary information?

Good point karlof ... someone with ill intent could probably cut and paste some ideas or internal debates and send them outside the organization...

Funny how these blogs work really well in some circumstances and (perhaps) not at all in others...

What if it were anonymous?

My advice would be to start a wiki as well as a blog, then let each person contribute to the wiki as a reference point for materials so people don't have to post the same information over and over again. Instead they can just link to their latest writeup of an idea.

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

Of late there is a lot of conjecture occurring about the lack of moisture in Illinois and its effects on the corn crop.

Apparently they are not getting much rain.

Georgia is being hit hard as well.

I call this 'spiky' weather and observe it locally as well.
Right now my region needs rain but we are not in any real trouble as yet. Further East of this area its very dry.

I have watered my garden more this year than any other that I can recall.

Again the important area is temperature when the corn is tasseling. High heat can kill pollen. Some say 100 degrees but around here I hear more like a sustained range in the mid 90s.Of course this has to be in the window range of actual pollen drop or whatever.

What the weatherman says is the temps is not what is occurring in the rows and at the tassel level. Witness the April extreme cold weather when the temperatures vary at different levels in the field. Sometimes quite a bit. So we lost a huge amount of winter wheat. They then sowed corn over it.

This years growing season will be watched closely. It will be very important as well for watching the effects of Climate Change as well as the economics of ethanol and other issues.


What the weatherman says is the temps is not what is occurring in the rows and at the tassel level.

That's right. The reported temperature is taken in the shade. Your corn is out in the bright sunshine.

Just wondering about Ft. McMurray and 170 kph rail access ?

Any word from your wife ?



Check out the labor supply in the pic--6 kids, ma & pa--and the yard looks like 1/2 acre+

Cid Yama, Check out the 'house' behind the garden. It isnt a house at all but a false front, like you would find on a movie set. I am an old timer and dont recall seeing a 'house' like the one pictured untill the recent advent of 'modular homes.' The house on the left side of the photo looks more real, but still questionable. What sort of foundations do you think these 'houses' are sitting on? In addition the 'houses' appear to be sitting in the middle of an orchard of some sort, not pecans but what? Very curious.

Waiting on bananaville...

This was the cover of a pamphlet put out in WWII by the US Govt. I too noticed the house looked like a modern modular home, but didn't know what to think of it. Perhaps there was some modular home building as part of the New Deal?

I figure right here is a good place to add my anecdotal 2 cents regarding ethanol production and its effect on the landscape.

I drove through northeastern Oklahoma this weekend and was shocked to see the amount of pasture that had been plowed up and planted in corn. Oklahoma doesn't do corn. We do wheat, rye and cattle, but in 2002 we only planted 183,000 acres of the stuff. In comparison, Colorado (Colorado!) planted four times as much, and Iowa planted 64 times as much.

This was in the region between Adair and Miami, which was originally tallgrass prairie but is mostly improved bermuda pasture now. This is some of the best cattle-producing land in the country. Oklahoma is fifth in the nation in cattle production, and a lot of that beef comes from this region I'm describing. And now those healthy, permanent pastures are being plowed up for a quick buck. Our rivers have been extremely silty this spring; I thought it was due to the constant rainfall, but now I'm not so sure. I think the plow might be playing a role.

Anyway, that's the report from Green Country.

Oklahoma DID do corn, right up to the time that it withered in the drought and the soil started blowing away. That's why Oklahoma HASN'T been doing corn. . . until now.

Santayana's saying about history repeating itself applies here.

Pretty dry in WNC, too, although we did get a little rain locally yesterday. I've had to water my gardens a lot too, although thick mulch has helped a lot.

Rain? ha ha...severe T-storms. 1" and 3/4" hail beat the h3ll out of everything and the downpour washed out gullies. It just kept coming, had a hail blanket over the fields by the time it was done. I'm actually glad I didn't plant a garden this year...between the false spring, cold snap, drought, and severe T-storm yesterday it'd be toast anyway. My friends that planted this year are also having a banner year for pests. Due to the aforementioned problems, the natural food supply took a hit and they're looking for "alternative food sources" aka "gardens." Bears included.

On another agriculture-related note, I saw something yesterday that disturbed me somewhat...but probably shouldn't have surprised me, the way things are these days.

Watching CNBC, they invited somebody on to talk about predictions for this years corn crop. Now, if you were to ask yourself who might be best suited to comment on this topic, who might it be?

The U.S. Sec. of Agriculture, perhaps?

Apparently CNBC's answer was Hugh Grant, the Chairman/President/CEO of Monsanto. He predicted a record crop, of course.

Now, obviously, someone in that position would be expected to have a great interest in such data...and access to it...but it just seemed so reminiscent of Yergin et. al. talking about how much oil we have and how everything is just peachy (well..."peachy" might not be the best term given this years peach crop woes).

Unfortunately, I suppose I wouldn't expect the Sec. of Agriculture to be much more forthcoming either.


In other news, Hugh Grant is the head of Monsanto?

Yes, but Sandra Bullock makes all the decisions. :-)

Here in Cumberland County Illinois we haven't had a decent rain in well over a month. All of the adjacent counties are likewise experiencing an extended dry spell with very low humidity. Every time it looks like storm clouds are coming this way they cross the Mississippi and just fade out of existence. The ground in the fields looks like dust. I heard some people at the local gas station/restaurant starting to grumble about the surface moisture. No one says the dreaded “D” word yet. Yesterday I bought three fruit trees from Rural King that were bargain basement closeouts and digging through the soil to plant them was like digging through concrete – a jackhammer would have been useful. This soil in April was nice soft Ava silt/clay/loam that sliced like butter with my shovel. My garlic is really fading fast, although it’s close enough to maturity where I’ll at least get some small bulbs. Yesterday I dug next to the house to intercept a well line that has not been used in two years when the previous owners decided to have county water installed; guess the got tired of cleaning and changing filters – they left behind a nice filtered UV purification system. I’m making a small pump house and I’m going to use the well water to fill a small reservoir to water the garden. I should have it hooked up when I get back from Chicago Thursday.

It takes a village to run an electric railroad. Discuss.

I was thinking we could spend time today digging into what it would take to run a hypothetical eletric railroad. Using the blog format, we can place each discussion in its hierarchical position. I will start by listing the various parts of a functioning electric railroad.

E.g. if the railroad uses power, then we need to talk about the source of power, it's distribution, and what it takes to maintain all that. And if the source is a coal-fired power station, we need to talk about what it takes to keep that running. Etc.

The idea is to get a sense, for a very specific service (electric railroad) of the other things that need to be there, and what the alternatives are.

Steel Tracks.

These come in long sections and are then welded together onsite with special machines into a continuous rail.

THere are other machines involved. Special "tamping" macines straddle a section of rail, and can lift the section and level the crushed stone railbed underneath.

Tamping requirements differ based on local conditions and usage, but is needed (say) once a year. So we need tamping machines to run a railroad.

Or use a work gang with crowbars and hydraulic jacks.

What level of tech and cost of labor are we talking about ?


I guess my point is (same as yours) that we need to design upfront for the type of maintenance and technology we are going to employ.

The systems being deployed today are designed for a lot of third-party support, and some aspects will be hard or expensive to change (such as bolted vs continuous rail, or electronic vs electromechanical control systems).

Francois, I worked on high speed commuter rail for a number of years in design and testing of automatic train control (ATC). High speed rail takes a fair degree of engineering skill to design and skilled technicians to install and maintain. Safety is of paramount importance and ATC systems are designed to fail into a safe mode. A train on the tracks receives speed commands based on how many unoccupied blocks of track there are ahead of the train. As one train nears another the speed commands drop unill they are zero when the two trains are in the same block. This is all done automatically regardless of where the engineer/driver pushes his speed lever. The engineer can only go as fast as the speed command that his train receives. He/she can opt to go slower but not faster. The relays through which the speed commands pass are very large by todays microchip standards, about the size of a quart Mason jar, and they are either in the 'picked' or 'fall' mode. If for some reason power is cut to the many banks of relays they all 'fall' into the safe mode and no speed commands are transmitted. Once these large relays are installed they last practically forever. I dont think that this is a model to use for a village transport system for its too complicated and expensive. You might be better off with streetcars and catanary (overhead power lines). Streetcars did a great job untill GM bought them all up and closed them in every city it possibly could.

Waiting on bananaville...

A comeback for the gandydancers?

Francois, the rock bed underneath the rail is called 'ballast stone.' The tamping machines have a regular schedule for tamping and add stone where necessary at the same time. Railroads need regular inspections and scheduled maintence as do highways, bridges, etc.

Waiting for bananaville...

One nice thing about cracked granite is that it "locks" into place with little shifting. Unless the ground underneath moves or someone physically moves it, it tends to stay "as is". Even ice has little effect I am told.

Costly (the not-so-nice thing about it), but that is what they used on Greenbush.

Best Hopes for durable infrastructure,


Or just bolted together. Welded rail has become nearly universal only within the last couple of decades (and spurs are still often bolted together).

Like much else, are we talking about basic service using circa 1910 technology, circa 1950-60 technology or modern technology ?

Signals can be semaphores and paper, trackside or cab. 110 mph is about the limit for trackside signals. Using all tracks for dual direction service at high speeds requires some quite sophisticated cab based signals (Amtrak's NorthEast Corridor for example).

IMO, concrete ties are here to stay. Bugs have been worked out of them, they can last in heavy service for 50 years or so (light duty service for ??) and costs are reasonable. Wood and labor will have to become very cheap indeed for them to beat modern concrete ties.

Rails can be heavy or light. Given labor costs, heavier is better in almost all cases. Heavier lasts longer in either heavy ro light duty service.

The new Greenbush commuter rail line south of Boston should last well over a century before major maintenance is required (perhaps two centuries). First class materials for light duty (100+ 86 or 8 car commuter trains/week) service.

Bets Hopes for Long Lasting infrastructure,


Let's take Greenbush as an example. The bulk of the rail may last 200 years, but what about the rest of the infrastucture and control systems? What would be a practical strategy for keeping this rail running for 200 years? Do you gradually unwind the modern electronic systems? Do you try and keep them going, with their associated specialists and outside companies?

I am not saying this is not doable. I am trying to explore today what it takes, and draw on all the expertise and perspectives on TOD to get a sense, for this particular example (running a railroad) how much of a village is needed.

The cracked granite ballast, concrete ties and rail will last a long time.

To save money (very reasonable) it is a single track line with passing sidings.

It is set up to be electrified but is not (3 bridges closer to Boston on an existing line have to be raised to allow electrification).

Paint and spring maintenance on bridges and abutments (no salt used on tracks). Grade crossings will wear out sooner. Crossing gates earlier than bells. If fiberglass crossing arms become too expensive, use wood.

I would keep with the modern electronics as long as available. I do not foresee our ability to make these in small volumes for critical applications disappearing.

The strategy changes as the world changes and economics changes. Go back to 1800s with a guy at a switch ? Run it single track only with lower frequency ? Replace high speed switches with low speed switches ? Accept a lower degree of safety ?

You apparently foresee a complete collapse of the electronics industry. I do not. It will be a lucrative export market for any nation that can make them (as it is today).

There are layers and layers of alternatives and work arounds in railroading ! We have learned SOMETHING in 175 years !

Best Hopes,


I dont think the electronics industry will collapse in general. I do think that very specialized electronic equipment will become unmaintainable.

Take a safety interlocking - if a component fails, and you have the same part - no problem. If you need to substitute, you then need to verify the safety criteria for that part, and this can typically only be done by the original manufacturer with access to the safety documentation. If you ignore this, you are now running a potential "unsafe" interlocking.

If the replacement part requires an adjustment in the safety software, or if you need to change an interface (perhaps you want to use a different switch machine) you are up for even more effort from the original manufacturer to recertify and test the new version of software. Special test configurations and procedures may cease to exist over time.

I think the space shuttle is possibly an example of technology that we can not readily build again, not because we dont know how, but because the underlying infrastructure is no longer in place.

Rolling Stock - locomotives and freight cars.

Basic eletric locomotives were invented a long time ago, and used electromechanical relays, contactors, resistors, etc. in their control circuits.

Today, even if the basic idea is the same, and the motor is similar, an electric locomotive is saturated with electronic power control systems. THere are microprocessors controlling power flow to the motors, interacting with the engineer, (drive by wire), and various safety systems.

So it takes sophisticated electronics to run an electric locomotive. We can say that this is not needed - i.e. we can revert back to older more basic technology, but that is not what you would get if you bought an electric locomotive today

Francois, it is very dangerous to run high speed rail without assigned block speed commands. There is no way to stop a train doing 120 - 180mph using eyesight alone. By the time the train ahead is seen it is too late to stop. Stopping a train with its massive momentum is not like stopping an auto.

Waiting for bananaville...

In Cambodia, they use small diameter steel wheels (salvaged and machined I know not where or from what), small gasoline engines 100 cc or so from motorcycles and bamboo framed flat cars for people and freight. When two meet, passengers and crew from both lift off the lighter one, let the heavier one pass, and then lift it back onto the tracks.

On the first post-K run of the New Orleans streetcars, I was one of the passengers who got out and lifted (push up & down on shocks repeatedly and push laterally at highest point) a car (Texas plates of course) that was blocking the tracks.

It depends upon what level of service one wants or can support,

Best Hopes for Technology and Social Order,


Hello AlanfromBigEasy,

As you well know, I am greatly in favor of your programs. But in case Phx never has the funds, time, or energy to build out a successful full-scale RR + TOD infrastructure 'spine': I think the earlier postings of mine discussing canal buildout and a minitrain spiderweb to augment what RR + TOD we do succeed in building will be a great help postPeak. But I have been unsuccessful so far in alerting the area's leaders.

If this is done in a timely fashion to mitigate what lies ahead: it could greatly help reduce the size of the multi-million mass-migration into Cascadia and other biosolar areas. The most difficult part for the Southwest will be creating sufficient compost to enrich our urban and suburban caliche soils--this will take years or decades [as I am no expert farmer]. Hopefully, our city leaders will get this started soon before the ongoing drought really causes TSTHTF.

Unfortunately, our leading sustainability institute [GIOS or Global Institute of Sustainability] and largest newspaper has not yet responded to my email asking them to get everyone in my Asphalt Wonderland up to full-on Peakoil Outreach speed.


IMO, they are just pissing away tax-dollars that will only add to our blowback forces. I really wish they would go to Asimov's Foundation concepts of predicted collapse and directed decline as their basic planning tool instead of promoting sustainable growth. =(

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

Bob Shaw - could you email me at:


Thanks Bro!!

In Thailand a pick-up truck is a small bus for 10 people. A roof is put over the back, and slats running the long way, over the wheel wells. Presto, you have a small bus.

Make it a PHEV, and you get 1000 mpg per passenger.

Man is inventive and adaptive. The future is bright.

PS The pick-up busses also become ambulances. If one passes an motor accident, the bus stops, people get off, the injured is lifted into the pick-up and taken to the hospital. No one complains, and only some passengers ask for their money back, I think depending on how far they rode.

When you see that, you realize there is lots of hope for mankind.

The intermodal shipping container has been so revolutionary in its impact that I do not see it going away. Flat cars that can accept containers, along with the associated cranes, etc to load and unload at rail yards, must be essential components.

The Electric Catenary and its associated switchgear and control systems

An electric railroad needs an overhead catenary. These are divided into sections, and each section is fed power from an available substation or local utility supply. A remote operator monitors the catenary voltages and power flows, and can intervene as neccesary to re-route power by opening / closing breakers.

As in the case of the locomotive, a modern catenary system makes extensive use of microprocessor-based communications and control circuits.

Signaling and Dispatch system

A railroad uses switches and signals to control the movement of trains. Historically, this started out with manned switch-positions where a man would physically move the switch with a lever based on instructions he received over a phone from a remote dispatcher. He would signal the train with a flag when it was safe to move. Today, switches are moved as necessary using electric motor power, and signal lights are used to instruct the train engineers about their speed and movement permissons.

To ensure that the system operates safely, electronic interlockings monitor the position of switches and trains, and prevents the dispatcher from making stupid mistakes, such as running trains into each other. Older systems used electromechanical interlockings, but that is not what you would get with a new installation today.

To maintain these electronic interlockings, require a whole cadre of specialists trained in signaling principles, and at a level up, safety-software engineers trained in their discipline of writing safety-software.

An interlocking may have a design life of 50 years or more, and if it is electronic, then during its lifetime many of the components will become obsolete. Signaling companies deal with this by maintaining engineering support so that replacement components can be sourced and the necessary safety evaluations can be redone.

So to run a railroad, you need an army of highly trained signaling and safety-software engineers.

To put this a different way - if you were to build a railroad today - what signaling and safety system technology would you employ?

One the one hand, you could use state-of-the art electronics, and then be beholden to the supplier of that equipment staying in business over the next 50 years to maintain the equipment.

On the other hand, you could revert to older electromechanical technology. This is almost not an option any more - the design expertise and components are almost no longer manufactured, and are typically much more expensive than the electronic equivalent. They also require more maintenance and ongoing testing.

What would you do?

New Orleans went with the electro-mechanical for the new Canal Streetcar line (opened 3 AM April 18, 2004). We are used to using and repairing 80 year old streetcars for 24 hour service.

OTOH, the switch at Canal & Carrollton (under 6' of salty water for a week) is still switched with a 4' long pry bar every time (half the cars go one way at this switch, the other half the other way). FEMA Oked that "maybe Katrina DID cause this switch to fail", and a replacement was ordered just a couple of months ago.

Best Hopes for a Hot Place in Hell for FEMA bureaucrats and their masters,


Standard industrial PLC's (programmable logic controllers) can simulate the electromechanical tech, with all the modern advantages of reliability, quiet operation and low power demand.  If you can't buy the equivalent of an Allen-Bradley PLC any more, pretty much all industrial automation is going to disappear.

Administration - Marketing, Purchasing, Maintenance

Equipment on a railroad breaks.

Today, (e.g.) the signal department of a railroad employs maintainers, each assigned (say) 200 miles of track. The maintainer is a multiskilled person, capable of greasing a switch machine and hooking a laptop computer up to diagnose faulty equipment. He has a big truck with lots of tools and parts on it.

Keeping the maintainer rolling (and the railroad running) requires that he is able to refuel his truck on the road.

So to run a railroad, fuel needs to be readily available or some other arrangement has to be made for maintenance transportation.

One advantage of large centralized rail systems like the French is that they can standarize on equipment. Economies of scale can thus be realized in their manufacture. A smaller number of repair parts need to be kept in inventory, and can be ordered in larger and more economical quantities. Training of maintenance personnel is simplified, thus reducing the skill level required for some maintenance jobs and thus lowering labor costs.

The down side, of course, is that there is less scope for innovation. Such systems do not tend to be early adopters of new technologies. Opportunities for early realization of significant improvements are thus sometimes missed.

RR maintenance trucks tend to be rail-capable.  If that rail line is electrified, the truck can be electric too (run off-rail for short distances on batteries).  No fuel requirements at the truck.

A note on administration:

Railroads are an example of toll goods. Toll goods are distinct from public goods like police protection in that a user fee can be charged to minimize the free rider problem. Toll goods are distinct from private goods like stuff sold in a store in that usage is collective rather than individual, and they tend to be natural monopolies.

State socialists advocate having the government run all toll good providers. Occasionally this works OK, often it does not. The reason is that there is an inherent conflict of interest between the government's role in protecting the public safety through regulation on the one hand, and operating the enterprise efficiently enough to at least break even with an adequate level of capital reinvestment. The typical scenario is for governments to initially price the toll good too cheaply. The quality of service then deteriorates, the enterprise starts losing money, the government has to subsidize it, and the temptation then presents itself to be too loose with regulation in order to cut the drain on the treasury. Not a good scenario.

The pendulum has more recently swung the other way, with toll goods being privatized. The problem with that is that these are natural monopolies. Classical neoliberal economic theory is only really valid for markets characterized by many sellers and many buyers; monopolies are almost always a cause and/or symptom of market failure.

My preference is for toll goods like railroads to be publicly owned, but not government owned. In other words, they should be structured along the lines of a cooperative, run by a board of trustees that is directly elected by the people of the service district, NOT appointed by the government. In my opinion, this arrangement would avoid the problems inherent both in state socialism and in privatization. Directly election of the trustees is the best way to strike the right balance between cost of service and quality of service; a tip too far in one direction will result in a popular movement to elect new trustees that will move the system back into balance.

Thanks, WNC,

Things I never would have thought about. I believe you've mentioned the co-op idea before - yes?

A few questions:

re: "In other words, they should be structured along the lines of a cooperative, run by a board of trustees that is directly elected by the people of the service district, NOT appointed by the government."

Have you given much thought to the details, for example, are there any "checks and balances" inherent in the make-up of the board? I'm wondering how "power politics" might get into the system, and if this can be guarded against. For example, would there be any incentive for the elections to become expensive events, such as is the tendency in US electoral politics? Etc. On the other hand, would there be much financial incentive (or any incentive) to become one of the trustees?

1) How would you determine who the "people of the service district" are?
2) Have you thought about any specific examples, and if so, perhaps you could share them - either here or with the "Energize America" folks?
3) What is the structure for interface between service districts, in order to avoid problems at the borders?
4) I'm wondering if it's possible for this structure, like the smaller structure of "food co-op", to have some way for public input to be heard and acted upon - do you suppose? This might be an example of real democracy, if it were to work.
5)I haven't looked it up myself, but there are some co-op electric utilities in the US, aren't there?

1) How would you determine who the "people of the service district" are?

Intra-urban commuter lines should be organized on a metropolitan area district. Inter-urban networks should be organized on a statewide or multi-state regional basis. I think the US is too big for a centralized national rail system. Regional units with interconnections are the way to go.

2) Have you thought about any specific examples, and if so, perhaps you could share them - either here or with the "Energize America" folks?

I am not aware of any rail system that has been organized along these lines. I would love to learn of any.

3) What is the structure for interface between service districts, in order to avoid problems at the borders?

I'm not sure that some overlap is all that much of a problem. For example, some inter-urban lines will likely also serve as commuter lines the first 20-50 miles out from metro centers. The important thing is to provide for good interfaces between systems. For example, the intra-urban metro commuter hub should be co-located with the inter-urban line station. All regional interurban lines terminating or passing through a city should share a common ("Union") station. This is pretty tried & true stuff by now.

4) I'm wondering if it's possible for this structure, like the smaller structure of "food co-op", to have some way for public input to be heard and acted upon - do you suppose? This might be an example of real democracy, if it were to work.

Even smallish metro commuter systems tend to be preetty big and complex organizations. Management by elected trustees is the most practical approach.

5)I haven't looked it up myself, but there are some co-op electric utilities in the US, aren't there?

Yes, and also some co-op telephone systems. My preference would be for every single one to be organized this way.

I am not aware of any rail system that has been organized along these lines. I would love to learn of any

Japan National Railways was broken up and partially privatized in 1987. An outstanding success according to all observers.



The division split JNR into six independent passenger railway companies (commonly called JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku, and JR Kyushu) and one freight railway company (JR Freight). The passenger JRs own their own infrastructure while JR Freight carries freight on the infrastructure of the JRs. Although breakup of JNR was described as a privatization, only some shares of JR East, JR West and JR Central have been sold by the initial public offering so far with the rest being held by a government holding corporation (now a part of Japan Railway Construction Public Corporation). However, the government has announced that it intends to sell its remaining holdings in these three companies before the end of 2001


Hi Francois,

This is a terrific idea -

re: "The idea is to get a sense, for a very specific service (electric railroad) of the other things that need to be there, and what the alternatives are."

I've wondered about this in regard to say, manufacturing bicycles - from ore to finished product. Can it be done in one country? In one region?

It seems crucial to have this discussion (organized - perhaps as it's own article on TOD?) - regarding many systems; water (extraction, purification and transport), etc.

Some of the general issues have been discussed, for eg., under Luis post June 6 on localism.

I can't seem to find the ref., but I'm curious about the idea of efficiency gains with centralized assembly-line production (for eg.) v. localization? Although this argument would apply more to manufactured goods (even agriculture) than to "services", per se. Still, as your example shows, the two also intersect.

I like your proposal and would like to see it have it's own article.

Spoke to a fishing buddy yesterday. His brother works for Shell in Oman. He told my friend the death toll was estimated at around 600. Complete villages have been washed away.

And yet, we hear little about what happened. There are a couple of reasons for that, including the fact they are still sorting things out. Another reason is likely the 'discrete' military presence in Oman in the coastal area where the cyclone hit.

I still think the damage is much larger than currently (un)reported.

My understanding, could be wrong , is that the Arabs and other MidEast people are very, very closemouthed about sharing with others, particularly foreigners. They do not wish to demonstrate any signs of weakness. Perhaps from the tribal warfare in the past, or even now.

We will find out way after the facts are on the ground but it sounds more reasonable than the very low numbers we are hearing about.

This story claims 70 dead but curiously it claims 40 dead in Iran and 30 in Oman. Odd how these are nice round numbers? Additionally, other reports say that Oman has had at least 49 deaths with a few dozen still missing. If the Oman number is valid and the Iran number is valid, then the total is at least 89. The 49 number is repeated Al Jazeera as well. However since the 49 number has not changed for days now and since there has been no word out of Oman, there is good reason to believe that this number may be understated.

I believe that Airdale is correct here about these being very close mouthed societies about certain matters and this may be one of them.

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

EIA inventories

Gasoline unchanged

Crude up 0.1 million barrels

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 8, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) inched higher by 0.1 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 342.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories were unchanged last week, and remain well below the lower end of the average range. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.3 million barrels per day, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. While high-sulfur distillate fuel inventories fell by 2.8 million barrels, regular diesel fuel (low-sulfur) and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel inventories increased by a combined 3.1 million barrels. Propane/propylene inventories rose by 0.2 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 0.7 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

Refinery Utilization down .4 % to 89.2%

Mark Haynes on CNBC said, "This is insane! How can the market be up on these figures."

UH UH and I wonder why Mark Haynes doesn't understand why the market is up on those figures.

Now if the reporters would tell the truth instead of offering conjecture to the audience, then that would be a start

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Mark Haynes comments about the disconnect between the markets and the figures were reflecting the truth. These are very dismal numbers. Another thing I noticed is that it appears Joe Kernen is a peak oil person. Now, everytime he has to interview one of those "everything's wonderful, the sky's the limit" people he gets visibly angry and short with them. I think the truth is being massaged from the top of the network, and he's not happy with it one bit.


I understand that it starts at the top. "you think" Joe is a peak oil person. They are being held back?, or is it they hold back because of personal reasons, and its easier to tow the line than risk having to find a real job. They are talking mouthpieces, I watched them for years, going all the way back to the dotcom days. They didn't get short with guests then, they lead many a person down a path of destruction with their coverage. It became pretty obvious they were a tool of companies to help sell stories and pump the stock. Pump and dump, they were a major player.

Ever hear Mark say anything about the Plunge protection team.

Tom Pissani or however his name is spelled, from my observations and his comments is one sold out MFer, a good lunch gets you an "insider secret" that is usually full of crap.

The day they start talking reality then I will start to pay attention to them, I haven't watched them in over a year, and good riddance.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Sounds like you know Tom Pissani personally. As far as Joe is concerned, in the early days before he had his first child, he was a maverick, practically a loose cannon. He was constantly getting in hot water with those upstairs. You could see at the time, once he had his child, the thumb screws were applied and he was forced to 'tow the line'. I think he is now finally getting sick of it; all the lies and manipulations. Joe ultimately is a good guy who doesn't like the idea of people being 'taken to the cleaners'. Mark uses a lot of sarcastic wit and rolls his eyes a lot to get across his true views. I've noticed he's been a lot looser lately. I guess he's getting close enough to retirement he could care less.

Gasoline stocks were flat this week, against an expected rise of 1.5-2.0 mb. Utilization fell (again!) to 89.2%, and imports were significantly lower.

With limited refining capacity, the East Coast district is heavily reliant on imports, and stocks fell by 1.7 mb to just 49.8 mb. There seems to be plenty of gasoline available on the Gulf Coast, but are they having problems redirecting it to the East?

U.S. Gasoline Data 2006 vs 2007
  Capacity Prodn Imports Stocks Stock Chnge Demand
W/E 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007
4/6 85.6 88.4 7.87 8.53 1.10 0.95 207.9 199.7 -3.9 -5.5 9.30 9.47
4/13 86.2 90.4 8.10 8.66 0.91 1.04 202.5 197.0 -5.4 -2.7 9.10 9.25
4/20 88.2 87.8 8.47 8.54 1.34 1.16 200.6 194.2 -1.9 -2.8 9.01 9.16
4/27 88.8 88.3 8.60 8.78 1.02 1.15 202.7 193.1 +2.1 -1.1 9.10 9.26
5/4 90.2 89.0 8.92 8.93 1.65 1.22 205.1 193.5 +2.4 +0.4 9.35 9.34
5/11 89.8 89.5 9.18 9.05 1.45 1.53 206.4 195.2 +1.3 +1.7 9.33 9.40
5/18 89.7 91.1 9.20 9.20 1.63 1.30 208.5 196.7 +2.1 +1.5 9.19 9.43
5/25 91.4 91.1 9.21 9.26 1.55 1.61 209.3 198.0 +0.8 +1.3 9.43 9.48
6/1 91.0 89.6 9.14 9.22 1.40 1.51 210.3 201.5 +1.0 +3.5 9.37 9.49
6/8 92.7 89.2 9.21 9.33 1.41 1.16 213.1 201.5 +2.8 +0.0 9.41 9.49
6/15 93.3   9.35   1.08   213.4   +0.3   9.43  
6/22 93.8   9.33   0.96   212.4   -1.0   9.54  
6/29 93.8   9.21   1.27   213.1   +0.7   9.65  
7/6 90.5   9.18   1.10   212.7   -0.4   9.62  
7/13 92.9   9.23   1.05   214.2   +1.5   9.57  
7/20 92.5   9.09   1.01   211.0   -3.2   9.57  
7/27 90.8   9.04   1.33   210.1   -0.9   9.64  

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

U.S. Gasoline Stocks 2007 by PADD District
  East Coast Midwest Gulf Coast Rocky Mtn West Coast
W/E Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge
4/13 52.8 -1.5 47.6 -0.4 63.1 -2.4 5.7 -0.1 27.7 +1.7
4/20 52.7 -0.1 46.7 -0.9 62.4 -0.7 5.4 -0.3 27.0 -0.7
4/27 53.2 +0.5 46.4 -0.3 61.8 -0.4 5.4 0.0 26.3 -0.7
5/4 52.6 -0.6 46.7 +0.3 61.4 -0.4 5.4 0.0 27.4 +1.1
5/11 51.9 -0.7 46.4 -0.3 62.8 +1.4 5.5 +0.1 28.6 +1.2
5/18 52.5 +0.6 46.1 -0.3 63.7 +0.9 5.6 +0.1 28.8 +0.2
5/25 52.3 -0.2 46.9 +0.8 63.8 +0.1 5.5 -0.1 29.6 +0.8
6/1 51.5 -0.8 48.1 +1.2 65.4 +1.6 5.6 +0.1 30.9 +1.3
6/8 49.8 -1.7 49.0 +0.9 67.2 +1.8 5.8 +0.2 29.7 -1.2

[Source: EIA]

Holy cow!

Unchanged! And look at the east coast - down 1.7 Million barrels.

Overall, this is one of the worst pictures this spring (not summer for 1 more week). (given timing, and position in demand cycle)

This was effectively the last week of historical builds - its pretty much all downhill from here. (Yes, there are some minor builds, but overall the average is negative builds(draws)).

Over the next 6 weeks, the NET DRAW is 3.0 million barrels, leaving us at around 198 Million barrels again. BUT this is based on 2006 demand numbers.

Fasten your seatbelts(er...rather...actually don't).

BTW, what is going on with the utilization?!

Yes Indeed and thanks again FTX;

What stands out for me.
Gasoline imports are down from 1.6Mbpd to 1.2Mbpd.
Refinery capacity is down to 89%.
Gasoline products supplied has pulled the consumption average up to 9.5 from 9.3Mbpd.
The Central Atlantic shows a stock draw down to 25.5Mb

Of the cuff I'd say the price lull in gasoline has encouraged two things to happen. The traditional seasonal increase in consumption from May to August is moving along nicely. Prices for gasoline imports are not sustaining the larger import volumes of the past few weeks. Refineries are straining, with crack spreads high, and it looks as though 90% ultilization may be the higher expectation. (Picturing 'Scotty' in engineering :-)

We are headed back into the market tightness of a few weeks ago with inventories sitting right at 15Mb above MOL. With falling wordwide crude inventories now evident exporters may be reluctant to let go of finished product before the next round of bidding ensues. The US gasoline price shock many would like to see is still a very real possibility this summer with or without a refinery-in-the-crosshairs event.

I'm not sure which is the most worrying - the fact that utilization seems to be stuck around the 90% mark, or the low import number this week. We've noted before that if refinery utilization doesn't climb then we need to see imports consistently high throughout the summer.

The production number was likely flattered by the carryover of blending components that caused the anomalous stock build the previous week. To put it another way, if we get the same utilization, demand and imports next week then we'll quite likely see an inventory fall.

Market reaction has so far been fairly subdued. A number of commentators (e.g. Tom Kloza) have been poking fun at analysts/traders who talked of prices heading towards $4.00/gal, and it seems there's some fear at being long the market now because of past price history. Nevertheless this latest report looks pretty bullish to me.

Email I received from a financial/trader insider (posted with his permission):

Mr. Brown: Read the exports report piece on TOD. Fascinating. And scary. The takeaway for a financial player is that as the available pool of exports declines, the US, Asia and Europe outbid the rest of the world...the flow of
cash into the exporting countries enables the exporters to buy stuff that increases their consumption....thus reducing their exports if gross production cannot or will not be increased....talk about a serious feedback loop. You have
described this exact scenario.
The WT landexport model is beginning to be recognized on trading desks around wall st. Right now, I would describe it as a seep in Pennsylvania circa 1855...people see that it is there....but they do not know what to do with it yet. The idea that the producers will not meet the "call" is gaining traction (the market has gotten tighter out on the
curve)....hence the WT landexport recognition. However, the thinking is that the problem is either financial (Russians and OPEC will not produce more @65 in 2007 currency), political (Putin won't do any favors for the OECD or the Arabs are cross with us for our bungled handling of Iraq) or infrastructure constraints (not enough
rigs...people.....twinkies...whatever). The one that is
not even considered is the big one....geology. If geology ever gains traction, the tremors will be profound. If May 2005 marked the peak in total liquids, it may be a combination of the four previously mentioned factors. In conclusion,IMHO, the game will continue until geology is explicitly known as the cause.

The one that is
not even considered is the big one....geology. If geology ever gains traction, the tremors will be profound. If May 2005 marked the peak in total liquids, it may be a combination of the four previously mentioned factors. In conclusion,IMHO, the game will continue until geology is explicitly known as the cause.

Did he say "if"? Still not understanding the concept of "FINITE".


But on a congratulatory note: Kudos WT for some recognition with the traders(direct or indirect).

I think he means "If geology ever gains traction in the psychology of the market...", not whether he personally believes in the geology of peak oil. In other words, when the market realize the consequences of the finiteness are beginning to play out in the near term.

Cosgrove is correct, he must have meant psychology.
As a long time equities trader turned commodities trader i can tell TODers that you give way too much credit to traders. I can only guess because traders make a lot of money that people think they know something.
I'm sure there are intelligent traders out there, but in general, the ones i know from NYBOT, NYSE, and PHLX aren't nearly as intelligent as the ChemE's i met in undergrad.
This letter to WT is a perfect example... exactly how many sticks of dynamite had to go off in his ears before considering the geology of oil?
Unfortunately, as these sleeping traders still trying to bleed money out of AMZN, GOOG, and AAPL finally jump on the 'geology' bandwagon, the government will be forced to impose price controls. They may even tax oil and precious metals profits at 75% or more, as politicians blame traders for consumer woes at the pump and a falling dollar.
It will be a gasping attempt to protect pension assets that do not stand to gain from either scenario.

Book Smart and Street Smart big difference

I would have to agree - but it is an interpretation, and using the word "if" in EITHER context is incorrect as it is just a matter of time.

Interesting. Reminds me of the explanations for not building new refineries in that WSJ article. First it was environmental restrictions and poor return on investment. Now it's high construction costs and labor shortages. Twinkies shortages will probably be blamed next. ;-)

What about the blazingly obvious possible fact that they may actually believe that we are past peak and it would be a waste of money to build more refineries when the oil spigot is shutting down?

IOW they are knowledgable but profess ignorance to keep the bottom line secure as long as possible and continue to play the foolish game.

Spending money on building resources would be really dumb in that case since the time to utilize is lengthy and the time to lessening oil is far shorter.

Did I miss something here?

BOOM! Achnecarry Agreeement abt 1921 among 7 Sisters et al mandated refineries to the extent of only 'balancing' [from their viewpoint] demand; no new refineries or refining capacity beyond just balancing. The principle was agreed as it was so obviously sensible from all participants viewpoint... and still is. [source from The 7 Sisters by Anthony Sampson...a knockout workproduct].

Surely you notice that, consistent with this policy, any hiccup in capacity produces instant justification for price increase of refined product. As does a hiccup in projected feedstock deliveries. And a desired refiners' price increase can even be planned, ahead of the "reason" for it, when the "balancing"is done correctly.

Especially since people are also screaming at the majors to make mega-investments in unconventional and high-cost/high-risk exploration & extraction, plus renewables, plus conservation, plus GW mitigation. Oh, and by the way, the government might change the rules of the game and take away a big chunk of their profit stream at any moment.

Is anyone else mildly curious as to just who this financial/trader insider is?

He fails to mention the possibility that the chaos in Iraq is planned to cover the geological aspect for as long as possible.
The longer they keep the ball in play the longer they can milk the cow.

Why else would impossible rules of engagement be left in place?

Gasoline imports are down from 1.6Mbpd to 1.2Mbpd.

Yes, but

  • total imports (crude + product) are up 0.4% YTD.
  • domestic crude production is up 2.0% YTD.

Domestic crude production is up 2% YTD, but that compares ytd 2007 to ytd 2006--and in early 2006 the industry was still very much just bouncing back from the 2005 hurricanes. In other words, the comparison is cold comfort. If you look back a little further, say to early 2005 or before, you will see a picture of unequivocally declining production.


Thanks for the link, lago. Agreed, the trend is down, eg from your link: March 1997 = 200 Mb and March 2007 = 160 Mb. That is 20% over 10 years or 2.0% per annum straight line.

This compares to ASPO's predicted 1.4% per year global decline from 2010 to 2050 (all liquids).

BTW, what is going on with the utilization?!

My intuition tells me it due to the lower grades of crude running through the system causing problems. No one can drum up any information to really dispel this notion, but to me it is parsimonious to the results we are seeing.

It's a very relevent question IMO. Was trying to find you a specific quote on this subject relating to the BP Whiting refinery outage which as you know is heavy crude related. But yeah you are right on. The Saudi's cutting back on their Asian customers makes perfect sense in this vein as (according to these articles)they tend to need the lighter sweet varieties. That argues for a lack of Saudi light and more S. Ghawar crud. Also accounting for the high premium on Tapis and Malaysian.

Other thing in here was how sensitive the market is about that disruption of Nigerian oil sometimes graded as Brent or Bonny Light. Most refineries who can mix heavy and light still need enough light to make their runs work. Even the US refiners can't take on too much (although it's profitable) and the picture is that of a world wide push toward heavy sour but refinery problems running any more than currently.

Like you I keep bumping into this info and it just makes too darn much sense as a large component of the present refinery throughput problems.




I don't mean to say that I believe there is a limitless supply of heavy either. I'm amazed at how far down the food chain we are on heavy sour already and after that ..well let's just say it's gonna be tough to coax it through the fuel injectors on all those shiny new automobiles most everyone in the world seems to still want.


Thanks for the charts. It appears that the national build from 4/27 to 6/8 was +8.0 in 2006 and 2007. Further, it seems that production during those weeks is slightly higher in 2007 than it was in 2006. The drop in stocks last year from 6/8 to 7/27 was 3.0. If were to repeat that trend, we would drop to 198.5, a level we have been below already with only limited supply disruptions. However, in 2006 hurricanes were not a problem. Do you have data showing what happened in years with greater hurricane activity?

On a related note, the regional data shows the East Coast taking a beating over the past two weeks. Is this normal for this time of year? Do you have regional data comparing this year to last year?

Thanks for your effort and those of so many others. I rarely post, but am enlightened every day by TOD.


It's not so much the absolute level of stocks which is the problem currently, but the regional distribution. The five-year end-May average for the East Coast is 60 million barrels, and now we're below 50. There seem to be growing logistical issues in distributing gasoline to where it's required.

Re hurricanes: I don't think it's fully appreciated what effect a hurricane might have, especially if one came early on in the season. Look at this EIA table of Gulf Coast gasoline production, and notice w/e Sep 30th and Oct 7th 2005. Production fell by nearly 1 mbpd for two weeks. This was due to the aftermath of hurricane Rita, which didn't damage facilities nearly as much as feared, but still resulted in significant shutdowns (the evacs alone caused a material loss of production).

Fortunately Rita arrived in late Sept when gasoline demand was on the wane and other refineries could make up the loss. This year however the market is much tighter. A similar hurricane could take 15-20 million barrels of gasoline production out in just two weeks, with no chance of imports arriving quickly enough to mitigate the crisis (even if exporters could cover the shortage). If stocks are below 200 million barrels in such circumstances, then shortages would be virtually guaranteed.

There is simply no slack in the system - no buffer for emergencies. If stocks were actually quoted ex-Minimum Operating Levels, I think everyone would be far more aware of the seriousness of the situation.

East coast supply graph ..been trying to get this up as an image ..PDF. page 13

Only time they normally see these levels is in October.

``Gasoline supply in the U.S. is going to be tight this summer,'' Shum said. ``In view of the low refinery utilization rates and decline in imports, refiners are going to have a tough time ahead building up adequate stocks to meet summer demand.''

From Bloomberg.. the earlier quote was more animated "no buffer" "no slack" "hurricane will put us in big trouble" thought they we're quoting you :-)

East Coast gasoline supply is a developing problem. I suspect that we will see what we saw here in Dallas a few weeks ago--distributors driving tanker truck loads of gasoline to higher priced markets (that are short on gasoline).

What we are seeing is simply the system trying to cope with very thin margins in excess of Minimum Operating Level. Currently we have less than two Days of Supply in excess of MOL nationwide. In some areas, e.g., the East Coast, it's worse than that.

On a broader scale, we are seeing the early signs of the upcoming epic collision between expectations of an exponential increase in the rate of consumption of a finite energy resource base, versus the quickly developing reality of an exponential decline, especially a decline in export capacity.

BTW, there is no "solution." Alan Drake does have a plan to makes things better than they would otherwise be: http://www.familyoldphotos.com/tx/2c/chadbourne_street_trolley_san_an.htm


Have you looks at Chris S's presentation above?

Many points don't seem to add up with the 2006 data. Has he published the database for 2007, since the jumps in the projections seem odd. I would really like to review his bottom data. However, it appears that he is not factoring in the Mexico or KSA declines yet, so that is part of the error.

Many questions, any insight?

On a separate note:
FTX's chart really is invaluable in illustrating the coming supply/demand picture for gasoline. The MOL picture is very tight.

Does anyone know if the Colonial pipeline is still on Allocation? (this could be one reason why they cannot build on the east coast - transport is at maximum)

I have always thought that Chris is underweighting the effect of the decline of the super giant fields. I've phrased it this way: what would he have predicted, in 1972, for future Texas production? Note that Hubbert (in 1956) predicted that Lower 48 production, inclusive of Texas, would peak between 1966 and 1971.

Chris did note that we may see Peak Exports before we see Peak Oil.

In any case, the "epic collision" that we are going to see is the collision between the following expectations and the reality of declining exports:

Expectations for an Infinite Increase in Imports:

The New Reality, the Export Land Model:

The following number blows me away

The EIA has export numbers out for 2000, and then 2004, 2005, 2006. The last year that the UK showed net exports was 2005. 2000 was the first year that they started declining from peak exports. The decline rate from 2000 to 2005 was 60% per year. The kicker is that the UK "only" showed a single digit production decline rate since peaking in 1999. Like Jim Kunstler, I may have been an optimist.

Is it possible that imports are down due to the hurrican GONU? Would the effect of the hurrican show up that fast in the numbers?

Unlikely, it is a 45 day trip from the gulf to the US. So, if there is any noticeable disruption from the 5 day blockage, it will occur in July (mid).

Also, I don't have the numbers but there isn't that much finished stock shipping to the US from the gulf.

The last year that the UK showed net exports was 2005. 2000 was the first year that they started declining from peak exports. The decline rate from 2000 to 2005 was 60% per year. The kicker is that the UK "only" showed a single digit production decline rate since peaking in 1999.

What do these numbers look like for the USA? Sorry my ignorance is showing... but wasn't the USA a major exporter back whenever? When did the USA change from a net exporter to a net importer?

If we can get the data, I might try to do some historical models. It's hard to imagine any major exporter crashing faster than the UK. I think that the US slipped into permanent importer status some time in the Fifties time frame.


East Coast gasoline supply is a developing problem.

One other product category that I'd like to know a little more about is Residual Fuel Oil (RFO). I'm particularly interested as to whether there's a relationship between the gasoline supply situation and the recent heavy fall in RFO stocks. This is best appreciated if you look at the charts for RFO stocks here (small PDF).

The EIA defines RFO as:

A general classification for the heavier oils, known as No. 5 and No. 6 fuel oils, that remain after the distillate fuel oils and lighter hydrocarbons are distilled away in refinery operations. [...] No. 5, a residual fuel oil of medium viscosity, is also known as Navy Special and is defined in Military Specification MIL-F-859E, including Amendment 2 (NATO Symbol F-770). It is used in steam-powered vessels in government service and inshore powerplants. No. 6 fuel oil includes Bunker C fuel oil and is used for the production of electric power, space heating, vessel bunkering, and various industrial purposes.

In particular, Gulf Coast stocks of RFO have plummeted from 18 mb to just over 12 mb in only 6 weeks. Can anyone here throw any light as to what's going on with RFO?

Residual fuel oil, heavy fuel oil, 6 oil call it what you will is the heavy end of the barrel from the refining process. It is used in one way or another in a boiler either in a power station or industrial boiler to generate steam or in a ships engine for propulsion. It is also used as coker feed, where it further 'refined' to get the last vestiages of light ends out of the oil...the by product is petroleum coke.

If a coker is down for turnaround as you say then that would increase the supply of heavy fuel not decrease it. When the coker comes back from turnaround the demand for resid will go up and reduce stocks even further, so with the coker down we should be increasing resid stocks.


Thanks for that. I edited my post to mention the coker turnaround at Hovensa, then immediately realised that it didn't make sense so I removed that part of the comment. Sorry for the confusion.

Could the bunker fuel be going into the cokers to substitute for the Venezuelan heavy/bitumen which is being shipped to China?

In a word no...the product ex Venezuela you refer to is called Orimulsion....emulsified bitumen...used in power stations..ships engines not designed to run on that kind of fuel.... I dont think anywhere else but China uses the stuff....the Italians had a trial run but the sulphur was too high and tightening regulations knocked it on the head. Also it was tried once at the Ince power station in the UK...unfortunately the ash out the smoke stack settled on tthe cars in the Ford compound... lots on new paint jobs all round... needless it was the one and only cargo.

One of the Canadian Atlantic provinces has a power plant that uses Orimulsion.

Dirty stuff,


You got my hypothesis backwards.  I was not suggesting that Venezuelan bitumen was going into ships' engines in lieu of bunker C, I was suggesting that the bunker C fuel was going into refinery cokers in lieu of bitumen (or other high-sulfur, low-gravity sludge).

Sorry......to answer the question I do not believe ormimulsion is used in cokers....bunker c could be used in cokers but bunker c is usually a spec which has to be blended to... heavy fuel will a splash of cycle oil or some other distillate to tweak the viscosity or reduce the metals. You would not blend to bunker c to use as coker feed, you would just use the 'raw' unblended fuel.


In other words, that is a reasonable explanation for the decline in bunker fuel inventories along the Gulf coast.

There is not just one explanation as to why the stocks of bunker c are low in the gulf it could be a host of reasons including but not limited to.....

Low refinery runs therefore not producing fuel oil

All cokers up and running therefore increased demand for fuel oil

Limited amount or pricey blendstocks impairing or discouraging fuel blending to bunker c

Realtively cheap prices of bunker c in the usgc, encouraging ships to bunker in the usgc as opposed to alternative locations.

Relatively cheap price of usgc fuel encouraging arbitrage to other areas.

Lack of oil imported from other areas to facilitate bunker blending.

In all probability it will be a combo of some or all of the above..it would need to be studied in further depth

10:31U.S. crude supply up 100,000 brls last week: Energy Dept.
10:31U.S. distillate supply up 300,000 brls: Energy Dept.
10:31U.S. gasoline supply unchanged at 201.5 mln: Energy Dept.

Housing Foreclosures Jumped 90% in May From Year Ago

U.S. home foreclosures in May jumped 90% from a year earlier, reflecting a poor spring housing market and foreshadowing even higher levels later in 2007, real estate data firm RealtyTrac said on Tuesday.

The May foreclosures -- a sum of default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- totaled 176,137, up 19% from April, the firm said in its May 2007 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

The number of filings in May was the largest amount since RealtyTrac started tracking foreclosure activity in January 2005.

"After a barely perceptible dip in April, foreclosure activity roared back with a vengeance in May," James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

"Such strong activity in the midst of the typical spring buying season could foreshadow even higher foreclosure levels later in the year," said Saccacio. "Certainly not every community nationwide is seeing an increase in foreclosures, but foreclosed properties are becoming more commonplace and adding to the downward pressure on home prices in many areas."

RealtyTrac said there was a national foreclosure rate of one foreclosure filing for every 656 U.S. households during May.

Gee.... No commentary as to WHY the increasing foreclosures?
Doesn't gibe with "good" economic news that retail sales rose 1.4% in May y/y, http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070613/economy.html?.v=14

I would also argue that incresing foreclosures is reflected positively as "growth" by GDP.

It's a big picture problem as usual.

I suspect that if you cross reference the increasing retail sales with credit card balances it will be DISTURBING.

Just a little retail therapy.

I don't believe the new retail sales numbers. After the last bad number, they simply couldn't have another without crashing the market, so they massaged it into shape as they have the "core inflation", employment, and other numbers that no longer bear any relation to reality.

>I don't believe the new retail sales numbers. After the last bad number, they simply couldn't have another without crashing the market, so they massaged it into shape as they have the "core inflation", employment, and other numbers that no longer bear any relation to reality.

You got that right. Several Retail Chain stores have reported that the May sales were below expectations. So we have Fed statistics saying retails sales are up, yet retailers are reporting a completely different story.


"Wal-Mart's (WMT) meager 1.1% gain in same-store sales in May, reported Thursday, shows the lingering effects of gas prices, even as they creep downward. May sales at some midtier retailers, including Macy's (M) and J.C. Penney (JCP), also slumped as shoppers curbed purchases in the face of still-high gasoline prices and a sluggish housing market."

Since the Core CPI is at 2.6% Walmarts 1.1% gain is a loss of about 1.5% adjusted for inflation.

Today US Treasury Yields dropped like a rock. I guess the bond market didn't buy into the argument that the Fed was on the verge or hiking rates.


On the contrary: If expectations are for a rise in interest rates, then bond prices should crash.

Recall that bond prices move in the opposite direction to changes in interest rates.

>On the contrary: If expectations are for a rise in interest rates, then bond prices should crash.

Yields fell (Dropped like a rock) and the bond prices rose. You misread my post.

Why is TOD at all worried about this? Why poster PartyGuy says "The peak was 2+ years ago, and we have somehow muddled through a decline of 1%+ without any harm what-so-ever. " here

So the fall in sales has NOTHING to do with Peak Oil - Right?

From the Housing Bubble Blog:
"It's not the return on my money, it's the return of my money."

From Business Week. “Investors in a 10-month-old Bear Stearns (BSC) hedge fund are learning the hard way the danger of investing in risky bonds with borrowed money. The investment firm’s High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Fund, as of Apr. 30, was down a whopping 23% for the year.”

“The situation is so bleak that Bear Stearns’ asset management group is suspending redemptions at the onetime $642 million fund—meaning investors have no choice but to sit on their losses. And that’s got some hopping mad.”

“‘At the end of the day, I’d like someone to be honest with me about what’s going on,’ says one investor in the hedge fund, which bet heavily on bonds backed by subprime mortgages.”

“An investor in Europe, who didn’t want to be identified, says he’s been trying to get his money out of the hedge fund since February.”

“In a June 7 letter to investors, Bear Stearns says it’s suspending redemptions because the ‘investment manager believes the company will not have sufficient liquid assets to pay investors.’”

So who bought most of these toxic Bear Stearns instruments?

The housing fall-out starts to take shape:

Last week, there was this excellent Bloomberg piece:
Banks Sell 'Toxic Waste' CDOs to Calpers, Texas Teachers Fund .
Below, Bill Fleckenstein at MSN digs a bit deeper into the matter.

Pension fund managers have en masse bought into the worst credit instruments available. What's worse, barring audits and/or other forced reviews, they won't come out and admit they did. It may be years before people find out their funds are holding many $ billions "worth" of worthless paper.

If you were born after 1960, your chances of ever getting a pension are fast approaching zero. Social Security? Get real. You're on your own.

Public pension funds take a risky gamble

At a recent presentation to pension managers, a Bear Stearns shill described the bottom rung of the CDO ladder as follows: "It has a very high cash yield to it. . . . I think a lot of people are confused about what this product is and how it works.''

I'm sure that's the case, but not in the way the Bear Stearns marketer meant it.

At the presentation, she likened CDOs to financial institutions in terms of having strict oversight: "The outside agencies that oversee these structures are the rating agencies,'' she said.

However, her comment drew the following from Gloria Aviotti, managing director of global structured finance for rating service Fitch: "It's not accurate. We don't provide any oversight.'' That view was echoed by Yuri Yoshizawa, group managing director of structured finance at another rating service, Moody's Investors Service: "It's a common misperception," he said. "All we're providing is a credit assessment and comments.''

Thus, the ratings agencies are trying to have it both ways: They want to be paid to rate these structures so people will feel good about them. But they're also trying to say: If they blow up, don't blame us, as we're really not doing any work.

Bloomberg's Evans noted the motivation of the buyers: "Many pension funds, facing growing numbers of retirees, are still reeling from investments that went sour after technology stocks peaked in March 2000."

So, because the funds took too much risk or weren't competent, or both, they got themselves into a hole. Now they're attempting to dig themselves out by reaching for yield in the form of debt that's been ginned up and blessed by the ratings agencies. I would not be surprised to find out that these pension funds are the biggest subscribers to high-risk leveraged buyout (LBO) funds, as well.

The real criminal is the one that made the decision to buy these instruments.
Very few people in the US would be able to survive a team of forensic accountants even for a couple of hours.

Foreclosures are way up to 0.15% of all mortgages. Sure sign of economic collapse if I ever saw one. With only 99.85% of home owners paying on time it sure calls for panic in the markets!!!

From Calculated Risk (if recalled correctly), 1/3 of homes have no mortages - so the percent needs to be correspondingly adjusted on both sides.

And the real point is - is the start, or the end?

I could be mistaken, but I think this is one month's filings. On an annual rate, this suggest that close to 2% of US households would have been in foreclosure proceedings. In some areas, the percentage of households in foreclosures proceedings is much higher.

In any case, a 90% increase from a year ago doesn't sound like a promising trend.

My opinion is still that increase in oil prices since May, 2005 was the match that started the mortgage meltdown fire, but the underlying cause was the gargantuan buildup in debt.

Tell me about it. I just lost $150,000 in the busted housing market. I have just learned a very serious lesson in what the future holds and I thought to beat the rising tide, the one that lifts all trash(not boats). When the backwater rises all the trash from upstream rises with it.

I await as the rest learn this as well. And they call me a doomer without credentials.

The koolaid is mixed and waiting, so everyone who is in the market needs to get in line. I suspect I came off good by exiting early. Lord knows what next year will bring.


Early was 3 years ago, they all thought I was nuts.

You know how it goes, leave a little on the table for the hyenas, walk away while they eat and live to play the next game.

When I retired I was permitted to take a lump of my pension fund in cash tax free. A load of "investment consultants" came and gave us a presentation on how much we could make if we invested it with them.

I said I was going to pay off my mortgage with it, they all said I was crazy but its a decision I have never regretted
Its great not to have to worry about fluctuating interest rates and not to be in debt to anyone

A small useful tip, I live deep in the countryside and we get frequent power outages. I have a couple of those LED headband lights which I use with rechargeable batteries, I now see that you can get a solar battery recharger. This set up and a wind up radio might be good additions for peoples doomsday kits.

The Freeplay wind-up radio people also make wind-up lanterns and flashlights; there may be other makers as well.

I have a couple of those LED headband lights which I use with rechargeable batteries, I now see that you can get a solar battery recharger.

CC Crane sells a 12DC powered charger - works great off a PV panel.

Black diamond headlamps from REI work great - I don't bother with lighting in many situations - I wear my head lamp as I wander to and fro. Well worth the $50.

Re: infrastructure: The real story is thing like water, sewer, roads and bridges. But this caught my eye in today's news:

Hurricane satellite could fail anytime

"An aging weather satellite crucial to accurate predictions on the intensity and path of hurricanes could fail at any moment and plans to launch a replacement have been pushed back seven years to 2016."

"If the satellite faltered, experts estimate that the accuracy of two-day forecasts could suffer by 10 percent and three-day forecasts by 16 percent, which could translate into miles of coastline and the difference between a city being evacuated or not."

I've been following this story for years now. The Bush administration is not keen on climate satellites. They'd rather spend the money on military satellites.

Actually, Bush isn't keen on science, in general. Funding has been cut back for everything except military research.

But I expect this trend to continue as energy gets more expensive and the economy suffers, no matter who is president. Funds will be increasingly tight, and military concerns will outweigh everything else.

Something to keep in mind, if you're living in hurricane territory.

Leanan, Why dump more money into the 'defense' budget when we continue to lose wars? One would think that we could win at least half of them, but no, we lose them all. Even if a miracle were to take place and we came out of Iraq looking like we knew what we were doing, the oil companies would reap the benefits of our military adventure while the treasury is drained. The only people making money on the Iraq adventure are the contractors on site and those building the hardware for the war. The overall picture is so foreign to the America that I grew up in that I sometimes pinch myself to make sure it isnt all a bad dream.

Stoically waiting for bananaville...

You assume that the chaos, death, and confusion in Iraq is not the actual goal. What if that is the goal? Then by that measure the war has been a roaring success with very low US casualties. Further, I would expect growing intervention in the Middle East by the United States, the establishment of more permanent bases in each country which it attacks, and continued unrest and chaos in each such country.

Or, you might choose to believe everything that George Bush says about us being there to bring democracy to Iraq. If you believe that, then I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. Small bills, please, and no checks.

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

Hi Grey,

Difficult to contemplate, let alone imagine others consciously thinking about.

re: "What if that is the goal?"

It may be more along the lines of - the human beings (the effect on same) simply do not count. At all. One way or any way.

Then, without making positive (as in giving existence to) plans for those human beings - to provide for their safety and at least minimal well being - they suffer.

OTOH, if this is about "peak oil" and Cheney knows it, then a lack of stability gives ostensible reason to remain. Is this what you're getting at? And that "they" have actually thought this through?

Aniya, are you aware that Iraqi security forces have, on more than one occasion, arrested British special forces troops who were dressed as Arabs and deliberately causing mayhem in various areas of Iraq? That the Iraqi government has demanded apologies for these incidents? That rather than apologize and admit their troops were engaged in what amounted to sedition against the Iraqi government, the British used heavy armor to fight into the Iraqi jail where 2 British SAS soldiers were held and free them?

This is not at all about ignoring the Iraqi people. No, this is about deliberately fomenting violence between as many factions as possible to cause as much destruction and instability as possible.

Why? Ask those doing these actions. They are the only ones who can answer that question.

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

Actually the explanation is very simple.

The old "if you can't fix it fu(k it up so bad no one else can either"

Peak Satellites

hehe well put WNC

I'm looking forward to the day we reach Peak Ignorants

I feel absolutely certain that we passed PI some time ago, perhaps 2002.

The atricle on irrational incandescance at the top shows a great graph but it buried deep in vattenfall's website, but the graph is a copy of the economist magazine's article graph. Here is a far more detailed graph of the same thing - You'll find it here on page 8 of the PDF.



I see fluorescent lights for sale everywhere I shop. Here in California, we actually get discounted bulbs--the kind mentioned in the article at $5/bulb are only $1 here subsidized by the state and placed in the check-out line where you can't miss them. I've tried a variety of them and have had so-so results. I realize that not all fluorescent lights are created equal and that these consumer-grade ones aren't representative of the current best-in-class units. However, I think plenty of people have tried them, not liked them, and have decided to go back to incandescent in spite of higher purchase price, higher running cost, and shorter lifespan.

My experience with fluorescent lighting in my home has been mixed. Some of the problems: bad humming sound (usually OK once they are warmed up), unpleasant color, too slow to warm up. For example: I bought a set of 5 low-wattage ball-shaped ones as a replacement for my bathroom lights; the problem is that by the time they have warmed up to be bright enough to see anything I've finished using the bathroom and already left; am I suppose to leave these things on 24/7 or something?

I hope LED lighting can give us all the positive properties of incandescent and halogen bulbs with the cost benefits of fluorescent.

I've replaced almost all my incandescents with CFLs, and have saved a lot on my electric bill. You get used pretty quick to the 1st minute warm-up.

1 minute?? The ones we have have about a 1 second warm-up, and they were cheapies.

Yesterday, an article Al Gore Wants to be President showed up at the Energy Bulletin. Ronald Cooke, the "cultural economist", wrote it. In it he attempts to make the case that all the IPCC SRES scenarios are wrong.

If, as the IPCC claims, human fossil fuel consumption drives global warming, then the depletion of oil, natural gas and coal resources will automatically force a decrease in the production of CO2 and other Green House Gases (GHG). Current projections indicate total fossil fuel consumption will peak around 2045.
We have all seen this argument before. Kjell Aleklett is fond of making it. Now, I am in the "peak oil" business, and so I am also conversant with fossil fuel depletion. Some in the worldwide community purport to know what the world's supply of recoverable fossil fuels is. I don't know how they could possibly know this. What I do know is that when oil, natural gas and coal become scarce, people will go to amazing lengths to exploit what is left, e.g. the Orinoco extra-heavy oil, the tars sands of Canada and elsewhere, the gas in the Arctic. These resources will remain economically favorable. Others, like the oil shale in the Western U.S. will never be heavily exploited because of the costs.

When CERA, XOM and Saudi Arabia talk about 4 trillion barrels of oil equivalent out there, they are wrong about the timescales on which these resources can be exploited. And, they are wrong about the size of the potential (e.g. oil shale, EOR). None of this talk affects the peak of world oil production. However — and this is important — there are still one hell of a lot of barrels out there that will be eventually exploited in the "tail end" of the various curves.

Therefore, when Cooke purports to say that resource depletion obviates climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions, he really does not know what he is talking about. And neither does anyone else who makes the same argument.

Now, Cooke could have stopped there and it would have been OK. Peak oil folks like to make this argument because they are pissed off that climate change gets all the attention while peak oil gets little. Perhaps he and others forget how long it took for climate change to become acceptable in the media. In any case, Cooke goes on — much further than he should have — and says that climate change is a bunch of hooey anyway because of natural variability.

Is Global Warming Real?

Absolutely. There is plenty of real data and empirical evidence to support the contention our planet is going through one of its natural, normal, climate cycles. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), over the last 420,000 years temperatures on our planet have ranged from plus 4 degrees C (five periods of very warm weather) to minus 10 degrees (four periods of very cold weather) versus a fictitious baseline. If we go back 600 million years, temperature variations are even larger. In fact, average temperatures have been significantly higher (over 18 degrees C) than today (about 14 degrees C) for much of the earth’s history. We can associate warm periods with lush plant life, dinosaurs, swamps, deserts, overflowing oceans, and high concentrations of carbon dioxide. Our treasure trove of coal, oil and natural gas (all are forms of carbon) was created during these warm cycles. Low temperature cycles have been associated with expanding glaciers, ice ages, struggling animal populations, limited vegetation, and low concentrations of carbon dioxide.

The point, of course, is that global warming and cooling are natural processes.

There is no evidence whatsoever that our planet is going through one of its "natural, normal, climate cycles." This natural cycle is unidentified. Global warming and cooling are natural processes? Sometimes they are — e.g. the Ice Ages that began 2.5 million years ago after some geological events in the Pliocene. Give that man a Nobel Prize!

There is no excuse whatsoever for this nonsense and as part of world's peak oil community, as a person who is cognizant of and worried about resource depletion, I am totally embarrassed that someone else in that community would spout drivel like this.

These remarks reflect my personal opinion only.



They reflect my psersonal opinon too, so you're not alone, if that's any help. Think Aleklett and Cooke are part of a new movement?

Apart from the uncertainties concerning remaining fossil "stocks" that you cite, what I brought up when reacting to Aleklett's assertions were things like feedback loops, methane and CO2 releases from melting permafrost and peatlands, mass albedo changes etc., all of which will have long lasting negative consequences for the climate.

As i said a while ago, Aleklett made himself irrelevant and redundant when publishing his nonsense, and did a lot of harm to the ASPO community that he purports to represent. Yeah, I know, so do you. I also realize that many people will believe that what Mr. Kjell says must be true, exactly because of his ASPO role and professorship.

I am glad you take the stand you do, and try to leave some of the positive reputation of ASPO intact. Let's hope it's not too late.

Imagine if our fossil fuel usage has been on the downslope of one of those natural rapid cooling phases marking the start of a new ice age. Now that would have be interesting! As we scurried to burn anything that looked remotely black.

I don't think the intelligent people are now asking "is global warming real?".

They are asking "How does man made global warming effect the system and superimpose it's effects on top of the natural variability?" That is why so much study is being done on paleoclimatology. Abrupt climate change has happened countless times in the past and we have to discern the natural variability from the anthropogenic component. Not an easy one. Especially for idiot politicians with an agenda to manage and some sheeple to brainwash.


Nice point, and one that probably shouldn't have to be repeated, but probably will have to be... natural variability of climate and anthropogenic effects are NOT mutually exclusive.

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

They are asking "How does man made global warming effect the system and superimpose it's effects on top of the natural variability?" That is why so much study is being done on paleoclimatology. Abrupt climate change has happened countless times in the past and we have to discern the natural variability from the anthropogenic component. Not an easy one.

This is where that thing known as "laws of physics" come in.

Back in paleohistory, we didn't have large networks of manned physical sensors. Today we do. Even in the past, natural climate change had specific causal physical mechanisms.

There is no doubt that the dominant, contribution today is greenhouse forcing increase due to human-induced chemistry changes. It's the only answer consistent with the current observations and laws of physics---other alternatives are firmly rejected by data and physics.

""large networks of manned physical sensors""

They must be getting pretty cold up there:-)

""greenhouse forcing increase due to human-induced chemistry changes""

You will have to fasmiliarise me with what this term means. Do you mean that as my bodily juices change PH value, we must buy greenhouses that get larger the more you grow in them?

""It's the only answer consistent with the current observations and laws of physics""

Which laws are these? can you specify? E=MC^2 or perhaps F=GMm/r2. Or perhaps v=IR. Or YOU + speech/non-mastery of the english language = uneducated cretin - hot air.


If you don't know what "greenhouse forcing" is, your use of "uneducated cretin" in any non-self-referential sense is deeply ironic.

I know fine well what greenhouse forcing is, but his sentence is just gibberish. As you see I have quoted the whole sentence. Comprehension sir.

I read the whole thing (including your quotes in context) and found nothing to object to (disclaimer:  I used to read sites like Real Climate and even some of the cited papers).  You could have asked for specifics and pounced on any obvious errors, but you decided to sneer instead.  You may have been premature, and I'm not sure you're in a position to declare yourself superior.

Uranium Options

More than 4 million tons of uranium oxide reserves might be found as long as the price of uranium stays above $65 a pound.

One ton of uranium oxide is the equivalent in BTU's of 80,000 barrels of oil.

These inferred resources of uranium are the equivalent of more than 300 billion barrels of oil. The world may consume 300 billion barrels of oil in about ten years.

Currently there is a deficit in the supply of uranium mined vs. the amount consumed in reactors. With the price of uranium soaring, old closed mines were being reevaluated for future production and exising mines were being expanded. According to a Cameco communication new lines of uranium production were opened in 2006 and worldwide uranium mine production should grow 11% in 2007.

The current comsumption of uranium oxide was about 60,000 tons per year. Resources might last 65 years. In the short term most of these resources are not producible and it will take time to build more mining infrastructure.

The United States has more nucear power production than any other nation. The construction of several new reactors was being considered in the United States with the potential for an additional 50 GW of electrical production by 2020 (NEI).


The rapid increase in the costs of fossil fuels and the incidence of global warming made nuclear power a more attractive option.

There is a natural cycle, but it doesn't point the way that Cooke thinks it does. Check out "Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum" by William Ruddiman ( Princeton Press 2006). It won the 2006 Phi Beta Kappa science book award.

The natural cycle would have us slowly heading into an ice age right now and for the past few thousand years. We aren't heading into an ice age because of anomalous increases in CO2 and methane, which (*surprise*) correlate fairly well with human emissions of CO2 and methane, first from agriculture and now from burning fossil fuels.

... And Ruddiman's take on Climate Change? It will be bad, but we'll probably adjust OK - except that Peak Oil and other fossil fuel depletion will probably cause severe disruptions.

From chapter 19, "Consuming Earth's Gifts"

"Even though I have made the case that future climate change is likely to be large (chapter 16), I do not rank the oncoming global warming as the greatest environmental problem of our time. Other environmental issues seem to me far more immediate and pressing, and in the future I suspect our concerns will focus heavily on the eventual depletion of key resources.
We live today in an era of remarkably cheap oil, gas, and coal. It took nature hundreds of millions of years to create the world's supply of these resources... We only began using these resources in significant amounts in the middle 1800s, and yet the first signs are already at hand that the world will reach the year of peak oil production and consumption in just one or two decades, if not sooner (chapter 16). World supplies of natural gas will last a bit longer, and coal for a few centuries. I wonder if we will ever find a substitute even remotely as inexpensive as these carbon gifts. We are investigating alternative sources of energy, but as of now none of them seems likely to be as widely available and as inexpensive as the solar energy stored in carbon-based fuels."

What I do know is that when oil, natural gas and coal become scarce, people will go to amazing lengths to exploit what is left

Don't forget deforestation that will probably explode, see for instance the oil palm plantations in Indonesia (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2214). The contribution of deforestation to global warming is believed to be around 15-25%.

Cooke is obviously poorly informed on the GHG theory.

Global warming is not the only observation that is well predicted by the GHG theory but also the cooling of the stratosphere, the geographical and temporal distribution of the observed warming that no other competitive "theories" (solar, etc.) are able to predict.

>However — and this is important — there are still one hell of a lot of barrels out there that will be eventually exploited in the "tail end" of the various curves.

A lot of this oil is likely to remain in the ground indefinately. As cheap oil depletes the global economy will fall (eventually into a depression). There simply won't be the capital available to spend on production from non-conventional, deep-water, etc projects. Remember not only is the world's economy depend on oil, it needs very cheap oil to sustain itself.

Lets suppose the price of oil soars and the cost of gasoline and other transportation fuel rise into the $6/gallon range. People cut back on consumption (not just fossil fuels, but goods and services). Factories and other business layoff workers, demand for oil and gas decline. Drillers and Oil companies become concerned about the economy and choose not to invest in new production as they are uncertain of demand in the near term. Gov'ts put capital into wealthfare services and raise taxes or make it unprofitable for the Oil Biz. to explore or start new projects. You have a spiraling scenerio where little new production is developed while existing fields continue to deplete.

In the past (during the 19th and 20th centuries) previous energy sources were replaced with cheaper sources of energy. We transitioned from wood to coal to oil and gas. During each stage to the cost to produce and bring energy to market declined. Now we face an uphill challenge as there no longer are cheap alteratives. On top of that challenge we need to sustain a massive population that has had astonishing growth, fueled by an abundant (but finite) cheap source of energy. Not only did we use Oil and gas for energy, we also used it for a huge petrochemical industry which made revolutionary changes in agraculture, medical, materials, you name it. IIRC, there no longer exists a major fertializer production plant in the US. We now import close to 100% of chemical fertializers.

Hi Dave,

I was wondering if anyone had gotten back to Aleklett on this topic? Do you know?

It would be nice (gratifying, less distressing) to see this discussed on TOD, perhaps inviting him to post and then prepare to receive polite, thoughtful responses?

(Or some way to have a conversation that includes him.)

I explain to people that even if there is an underlying natural phenomenon driving global climate change (and there could be), there is no way that we can dig up and burn all of the carbon that has been geologically sequestered without that having a massive exacerbating effect.

The fact that we will not be continuing to burn up FF at an exponentially increasing rate is good news, and should help make the worst case IPCC scenarios a little less likely. However, the fact remains that even if we are a peak, we still have the whole 2nd half left to burn. In other words, we are not through putting more CO2 into the atmosphere. At this point, every little bit hurts.

I wouldn't go so far as to say resource depletion *obviates* climate change by limiting GHG emissions, but I do think that the upper-end scenario in the IPCC report is highly unlikely, because the economics of fossil fuel extraction are just not going to hold up: a "business as usual" plan implies (to me) that we simply let existing market forces determine what energy sources to use. If we did that, then nuclear/renewable power would eventually be cheaper than fossil fuel sources anyway (and as fossil fuel energy became more expensive we would tend to use it more efficiently). I can't see that we're ever going to burn all the known available fossil fuels we have - at least, not in any time-frame that it makes sense to talk about.

Regarding the interesting article from The Economist, I have been browsing Vattenfall's climate change website (the Swedish power utility that is the source of the graphic shown here), and I have found the presentation from where the graphic has been made: Global Mapping of Greenhouse Gas Abatement Opportunities (PDF). It's worth to check it because it gives a lot more detail.

What kind of company is Vattenfall? By looking at their proposals they seem to take CC as a very important responsability...

Vattenfall is the Swedish state-owned electrical utility. It has a large part of the Swedish market (circa 50% I think) and also is one of the big four players in the German power market (along with RWE, E.On and EDF)

The Vattenfall presentations are not the original source of this graphic. It is: Enkvist, P., T. Naucler, et al. (2007). "A cost curve for greenhouse gas reduction." The McKinsey Quarterly(1): 35-45.

It's available online here: http://www.epa.gov/air/caaac/coaltech/2007_05_mckinsey.pdf

Frankly, I'm shocked that the Economist didn't track down the primary source. Once you get into it you'll see that the analysis isn't very rigorous--basic economic assumptions like discount rate are not stated. See footnote 4 for complete ridiculousness. They appear to ignore the capital costs required for system implementation, or do they? Also, the cost curve was developed for 2030. Seems like it's not appropriate to talk about it for 2007.

Bottom line: we shouldn't be jumping on this as evidence of systematic market failures. I think there are better sources to justify that claim.

I don't understand the graph at the top that shows the cost of cutting carbon. Is this country-specific? For instance, in the US, we have been gaining forested land for the last hundred years or so. The population has moved from farms to the cities and those fallow fields have been filling up with trees. The cost to do this has been zero; trees grow without our help.

Shouldn't this be below the 0 line on the graph (i.e. on the left side along with new light bulbs and insulation)? I just don't get this graph.

'A CRUDE AWAKENING: The Oil Crash' is finally available on DVD. In my opinion, it's the most important documentary ever made. If you don't want to drop $21, rent it from Netflix.

Watch the trailer and the first three minutes of A CRUDE AWAKENING.


WT- plug this into your Export model:

If production is at ~55MMBD as Baktiari says then thats about ~4% declne per yr. assuming its starts this yr. If not then it may be worse. Exporting countries are going to use about 10% more oil per yr. internally? (more). Now include importing countries that produce oil and their declining production. Add all this up and I think it points to exports being cut in half in only 5-6 yrs.

If true, the US will be a very screwed up place with only 13MMBD available. We can't adapt that fast and all these utopian light rail and move to cities plans are going up in smoke.

A *MUCH* poorer United States, without access to advanced technology (and less than a third of the population) built subways in the largest cities and streetcar lines in 500 cities and towns in twenty years (1897-1916) with "coal, mules and sweat".

Best Hopes for even more this time,


Consumers warned as food prices rise and rise

The era of cheap food is over, as prices of basic ingredients on the global markets continue to climb, consumers were warned yesterday.

It came as official Government figures [UK] showed that food inflation is running at five per cent higher than the growth in wages...

...Climate change, which has led to a series of catastrophic droughts around the world, has been blamed for a shortage of basic crops. This has come at the same time as demand for these commodities is soaring, both from Chinese consumers who are switching to a westernised diet and from US drivers who want to run their cars on biofuels.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

I have a friend that is a dairy mgr for wal-mart here in Texas. The per gallon price increase as of tomorrow will be 35 cents on a $2.50 gallon of milk. And we have "low" inflation. Yeah right. John

People that think we have high inflation now are either very young or too senile to remember real inflation.

Just wanted to throw some water on the idea in the top post that paying off your mortgage is a good idea if you anticipate hyperinflation. Inflation is good for debtors... it allows them to pay back their debt with less valuable, potentially worthless currency. Instead of paying off your mortgage, buy a few hundred grand worth of gold or some other commodity. After a few years of hyperinflation, you'll be able to pay off your whole mortgage with a few ounces of gold, and pocket the rest.

Your assuming that the cost of that mortgage is not going to rise. What about interest rate rises, think they are going to be 6 percent unless you have a locked in. Insurance costs will rise and you will need that to satisfy the mortgage requirements. Tax payments etc,. I have heard this argument before and what is also not included in the happy ending for debtors is that where will they get such dollars. How many each day after work will be needed for food and other necessities that will rise also.

Happy endings for fiat economies, care to list an example of a successful fiat economy, hey only one, just give us one, its easy right, only need one.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

PrisonerX, most mortgages are fixed rate, and even the ARMs usually have a cap on how high the rate can go. Likewise, insurance costs are going to track inflation. In the current financial environment, housing prices seem to be falling (counter to inflation), so maybe property taxes will not go up that much.
It makes sense to me to purchase/invest in hard assets now, in anticipation of high inflation. However, nothing is certain, so it also makes sense to have a cash reserve and even some bills stuff into the mattress, to hedge against deflation.

How many aren't fixed rate. Most is from 50 percent, that could mean 49 percent aren't.

The Arm's have a cap. Yes, but its been my observation that cap is extremely flexible and the state legislature moves it. I remember when interest rates were 18 percent with good credit, houses required 20 percent down etc.

The number of people at risk is high. Credit card dept is a part of this to, and to define a situation and not include all the parameters is pounding sand.

City taxes falling. Well that question is so loaded its more than most are willing to go. Start having tax revenues go off. How much of this economy is based on tax revenue, how many salaries, pensions, and current large projects are based on tax revenue. Start cutting that down and laying those people off, cutting pension money or locking it (what happens to those LOCKED in income). Crime rises and police costs go up while fee income to the city drops. Taxes don't go up. Where in the history of this countries economy can you point to examples of that. THat means they would have to be locked or go down. Where is an example of that.

Maybe it will be Peak taxes too ;). I bet that depends on what crawls back out.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Exactly how much which mortgage form adjusts is not so important. In chronologiocal order, three waves are about to hit, and we'll have to see how bad they will be (don't expect anyhting pretty):

  1. Millions will lose their homes, simply because they can't pay their mortgage fees. Foreclosure numbers are surging right now, but far more loans will reset by 50-100% later in the year. At a certain point you have to wonder what to do with the 10+ million Americans that are thrown out on the street.
  2. Housing prices will go down, anywhere between 20% and 60%. Most find it hard to contemplate the higher number(s), but if you look at prices 5-15 years ago, you'll see that a loss in value of 50% falls within decades-old trendlines.
    Then you have the same mortgage payments set against far less equity, which in many cases is the collateral for the loan. The lender will come knocking telling you your equity is too low, please give us more, or else..... Many lenders will struggle just to stay alive, and they WILL pay a visit.
    Whether your mortgae is fixed rate or not, will make precious little difference.
  3. With home prices down 50%, property taxes will fall as well. In most communities, they are what pays for maintenenace of vital infrastructure. Many towns will effectively go bankrupt. Forget road repair, water mains, sewage upkeep.

A 4th effect of it all: everyone invested in instruments related to mortgages will take a 50% hit. That means individuals, pension funds, hedge funds, and a lot of foreign bodies. If mortgage instruments go, they will topple ever more stocks and derivatives. Nothing remains immune. US money supply has increased by 100% in this century so far, and it's based on nothing but air.

It's hard to estimate how bad it may get, but there's no doubt it has the potential to topple the entire global financial system.

>It makes sense to me to purchase/invest in hard assets now, in anticipation of high inflation. However, nothing is certain, so it also makes sense to have a cash reserve and even some bills stuff into the mattress, to hedge against deflation.

Virtually all gains from asset apprecation are taxable. Lets suppose that you buy a 10 ounces of gold at $700/ounce ($7000 investment). US inflation goes vertical, and the Price of gold soars to $7000/ounce. Your gold is now worth $70,000. When you go to sell it you will have a tax liability of $70K - $7K or $63K. Lets not forget that during periods of hyper inflation, expect hyper inflated taxes to go hand and hand. When you buy and sell PM there is always a middle man cut as a PM broker always charges fees on PM sales (adjusted for inflation of course!). So the belief that precious metals and other hard assets are safe from inflation are false. You will lose your buying power no matter what actions you take to against inflation.

Generally during times of inflation, consumption rises as consumers immediately spend every dollar that they earn. During these times, most investors flock to the stock market as the businesses continuely raise prices and consumers go on spending every dollar, leading to ever increasing record corporate profits. Its likely that investing in stocks would deliver a better protection on your money as gold inflates at the rate of inflation, while stocks would inflation at the rate of inflation + growth in consumption. Remember consumers will spend every dollar they earn, fueling economy growth and perhaps hedging some savings in the stock market. Its likely that the stock market would outperform PMs.

FWIW: I am not recommending that you invest in the stock market, just pointing out something you probably didn't think about much. Overall, I don't believe we'll experience a bout of hyper inflation because as declining energy resource would depress economic activity no matter what the gov't does. The price of Oil and gas might rise, but the cost of homes, cars and other goods and services will likely fall because of a lack of resources to fuel them. The gov't would only fuel inflation if it provides a solution to a lack of financial liquidity. When the effects of gas and Oil depletion take effect, inflation isn't going increase consumption as production is constrainted not by the money supply by a lack of resources. No amount of inflation will save the economy from a lack of resources to fuel it.

What is a "fiat economy" ?

And how does an economy end ?

Depending upon definitions, the Democratic Republic of Germany (East Germany)

The investment advice is highly questionable, not based on facts, and seems to be written from a purely emotional state of mind.

He advises to pay off your mortgage, however, in the German Hyperinflation, farmers and holders of urban property benefited by having inflation wiping out their mortgage debt. However, property owners received no income, since rents were frozen by government intervention. After the stabilization, heavy new taxes and the urgent need for cash forced most holders to re-mortgage their property, often more heavily than originally, so that their gains were illusory. Still, those who held real estate throughout managed to save the capital thus invested. However, those who sold during the inflation (often through desperate need for cash) fared poorly. Because it brought no income, real estate sold at extremely low real price levels during inflation.

It makes absolutely no sense to use today’s dollars, which are more valuable than each subsequent dollar received in the future during the hyperinflation, to pay off debts with fixed interest rates today. The beauty of a hyperinflation is that you can pay fixed interest rate debt off to the lender with worthless currency. Almost all mortgages were completely paid off during the German hyperinflation.

He indicates that stock markets are terrible investments during periods of hyperinflation. If you study the German Hyperinflation, January 1918 through November 1923, one stock index share went from 126 to 23,680,000 million in nominal Reichsmarks. The German stock market provided one “release valve” for the pressures of hyperinflation.

However, if you measure the German stock market during this period in US Dollars (at that time backed in gold). The German stock market index was equivalent to $100 in 1913 and by January 1918 it had reached $101.55. In October 1922 was at $2.72 [sic], and in November, 1923 was $39.36. So the gain of 187,936 million times in Reichsmarks amounted to a 60% loss in US dollars."

So, during the initial stages of Hyperinflation (1913-1918; 5 years), investments in the stock market during a period of hyperinflation actually maintained their purchasing power.

From USA Gold, an article written about the German Hyperinflation in regards to using stocks as an inflation hedge:

In inflation, common stocks are generally considered a desirable hedge to protect against or even to profit from the rise in prices.
Getting down to specifics, we can say that those who bought a well-diversified list of stocks in solid, well-established companies quite early in the inflation and who held on throughout the period and also through the stabilization crisis saved much or all of their capital. However, there were many pitfalls along the wayside for the greedy, the fearful and the over-clever. Those who did best were investors with a certain unemotional, stolid character, a basic confidence that strong, well-managed companies would come through, and immunity to excitement, anxiety and speculative temptations.

He also advises that foreign markets (external to US bonds and stocks) will also crash. While the foreign markets may go up, or may go down, he is not factoring in that the foreign stock and bond markets are denominated in foreign currencies. If you have a good interest bearing foreign bond or a dividend paying stock, it will pay you income denominated in a currency other than US dollars. During the German Hyperinflation, those investors that had the foresight to exchange their Reichsmarks for other currencies maintained their purchasing power and holding a bond or a dividend paying stock denominated and paid in a foreign currency would do the same thing.

The only sound advice that he had was that bonds and cash denominated in US dollars are horrible investments and a sound portfolio should include gold and silver.

Your comments on what happened during German hyper inflation matches how I believe things likely would proceed here in the US if (when?) hyperinflation occurs. I have always doubted the "pay off your mortgage" advice seen so often here in this site, because in a hyperinflation era it would be easy to pay off a fixed rate mortgage with worthless inflated dollars. This is exactly WHY hyperinflation will hit the US since the US government has to pay off trillions in debt, and the easiest way to pay it off is with worthless inflated dollars. The folks who will take it in the shorts, and be left out to dry will be pensioners and those with lots of money in the bank or stock market. To me, tangible assets of value (land, farming equipment, firearms, access to clean water, etc..) will be where value is retained. I also think when TSHTF, and tons of citizens are in default on loans and mortgages, the govt won't have anywhere to evict them to! I expect homestead exemptions and squatter's rights for current residents to triumph over bank's rights.

I understand your logic in pointing to Germany as an example.

Only problem is there was a cheap reliable energy source to provide the building of a new economy. Oil was plentiful and it became more so. So your case is built on the fact that a growing economy will be rebuilt and in what less than a decade.

I don't see how you can claim the economy is going to be able to take the hit, and then everything settles back out to another fiat growing economy, and in time terms, not very long at all.

Now how much of the economy has middle class status and how many have poor status, and how many rich maintain in your cases. How many bring out your dead bells will need to be rung and what kind of population do you see. Because one thing, there was a huge shortage of people during that time too, before the war started and after percentages. Population was down and men were gone after the war. So is that part of why you see it the way you do. Plus a need to rebuild on a massive scale. We have to many buildings now.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

OK< this is getting silly, the idea of us hitting real hyperinflation makes little sense. We may have a short shift of it, but we'll get a lot more deflation, and that will be much more painful.

Also, Germany had no oil at all. Which most people think is good, because Hitler would have won the war of he had had it. I'm not sure who prevented the Baku-Berlin pipeline from being finished, but someone somewhere deserves a statue for that.

Germany had no oil during the war, they certainly had access to it after the war and before, And it was on the market when the economy was rebuilt. As for not having oil, yep, but they did a hell of a job with coal didn't they.

Just speculating, I tend to agree with you HESF, hyper, deflation, then stagflation, for a long time. Unless a power source and a proper economy are found, implemented, and oh yes, freedom of the individual is still a right.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Try Peter the II of Yugoslavia... I believe when 17 he renaged on a treaty agreed to by his predecessor, as a result Hitler had to deal with the upstart and delayed the invation of Russia...had Peter not done so operation Barbarossa would have started earlier and missed the russian winter...Hitler may have captured Moscow and had unfetted access to Caspian oil.

Hats of the Peter the II of Yugoslavia... sometimes its good to be 17 yrds old when you think your 8 ft tall and bullet proof.

I shall clarify. You don't know how it will play out. Legislation could be passed to freeze the value of motgages to prevent profiting in just the manner you describe.(At least by the average individual.) Mortgage holders will recognize the problem long before you can profit on it and push for the legislation. In a Hyperinflation senario Liquidity dries up fast. No Re-financing, no new credit. Economic activity shuts down and everyone is thrown out of work. Today, if you own farmable land and default on your mortgage, they forclose, knock down your house and plant corn. If you own your land outright and don't have an income, you still have a place to live and grow some food. We are talking about different things. You are talking about continuing to play the game under challanging conditions, I am talking about surviving a crisis. On thing you overlook, with the globalization of markets being so interdependent now, when the US tanks, so does the world, just not as bad. The game is rigged. You don't want to play. It's time to batten down the hatches and put yourself in the best financial (and survivable) situation possible. Get out of the game before the game is called and all that electronic money evaporates into thin air.

A shocking radio ad I heard on the way home today:
"Global warming is not just a fact, its a choice"


(Don't skip the intro and let it play through "save energy" to "don't")

I;m really beginning to dislike flash, one trick pony.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Did you bother to click on save energy or don't? They are clickable links. The point of the ad is that the choices we make now will determine the future course of global warming. It appears that you did not even bother to view the entire ad.

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

Thank you for your kind reply Greyzone.

As a matter of fact, I did click on “save energy” and “don't” which is why I specified to just let the movie run to get to the part I heard on the radio which was the “I leave my children …” message.

That Pacific Gas & Electric would air an ad with such a strong message, I found quite shocking.

The point of the ad is that the choices we make now will determine the future course of global warming.

Well see, you got the point.

And PrisonerX, Flash certainly has its limitations as I could not link directly to just the part I heard on the radio, but it has its place. (I actually do Flash programming, though it is not my primary occupation.)

As I am shy and sensitive, I will go back to being a good girl and shut my mouth and fold my hands in my lap.

No, I apologize for the tone of my reply then because as I read your statement, it appeared to be an attack on those placing the ad when the ad actually appeared to be very responsible.

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

Number me among those who find Flash annoying.  (I have no Flash support on my Linux machine, and the un-searchability of Flash makes me wonder why web monkeys put actual content in it.)

PrisonerX- If you have a fixed rate mortgage, the cash to pay in full, and your crystal ball says that hyperinflation is just around the corner, it would be a foolish move to pay off the mortgage. You should keep your cash, invest it in assets that will do well in inflationary environments, and use it to survive. Somebody has to eat the inflation, either you or the bank.... may as well be them.

Well OK if you want to define the playing field now and say that you HAVE the cash to pay off the fixed rate mortgage, In that case you could very well be correct.

However if you don't have the cash,.. you are on rate tied to prime, and all your other debt is tied to prime, then you have a problem when costs go up, and your ability to make money is hindered, pays less in the real world, etc., debt is horrible imo.

People do desperate things when they are in debt. What happened in the twenties and the great depression. Those people didn't have the lifestyle that is held in the US today. Think about today's man and what goes when the dollar stops. How the youth will react. I've read some comments here I was pretty shocked at. On other boards that kind of stuff is like water. When bad times hit people, how will they react. Compare to how people handled it then, and how people will handle it now. Lifestyle and family's being centrally located made a difference in the twenties. What's that like now.

Didn't have a Fiat economy you could point to with a happy ending?

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

I agree with you that our currency situation has the potential to end poorly... perhaps horribly. That said, prepaying your mortgage is just bad financial advice for most TODers. (The well educated, upper middle class, non churchgoers that we are) First off, nobody in the US has mortgage loans tied to prime.(most ARMS are capped 6% above their starting rate) My guess is that most TODers have fixed rate loans somewhere around 5-6% interest which only costs 4.5% after the tax deduction. While we may not have enough cash sitting around to pay off our mortgages, odds are we do have investments we could liquidate to prepay our mortgages, or at least partially pay it down. Don't do it!! There are much better ways to protect yourself financially from peak oil, hyperinflation, or both. I recommend a mix of energy stocks, foreign stocks and currency(maybe some of that "undervalued" Chinese currency), valuable metals, and land. You could also install a solar system on your home to hedge against rising energy prices. If you are still sitting on the fence, you can get 5% interest from several online banks, giving you the flexibility to move fast when your crystal ball clears up. Prepaying your mortgage with other funds can severely limit your options during a crisis where flexibility and ability to adapt are the keys to not only surviving, but thriving.

Moneyman, you are a much more logical creature than Cid Yama, who's opinion is written in fear and appears to have little understanding of Keynesian and Austrian macro-economics.

I am sure that Cid is terrified of your pleading to authority argument in quoting theorists.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria


I agree with you, its probably not good advice to prepay your mortgage. If shadow inflation statistics is right, and I believe they are, we already have an inflation rate around 10%. So I am making 4% on my 6% mortgage, and I've got the money to pay off all my debts in the stock market, plus own real estate and oil royalties. The real estate is very well located and should hold its value in all but an off the cliff crash.
All my monthly bills can be paid with 3 days a month billable time, and I'm a contractor in oil and gas exploration, a landman. I am thinking about refinancing to a 15 year mortgage, but thats so I can pay it off and retire at age 70, I'm 55 currently. So in other words I am already at WestTexas's sage advice, Economise, Localise, Produce. He and I are nearly the same age, I think Jeffry's 51, and experienced the Texas deflation when oil prices crashed in 1986. And if you'll recall gold prices crashed about the same time.
I don't carry credit card debt, pay it off as soon as I get the money in on an invoice. I live 4 blocks from a good wade fishing hole in Galveston, have a bicycle, am downright tight on utilities-$67 last month with a two story house on electricity, about $20 on natural gas, $54 for water, garbage and Emergency Medical Care (Ambulance).
I am doing some remodeling, but pay for it out of cash flow.I'm less than 1/2 a mile from an excellent library, an exxcellent hospital, two grocery stores.A bus and street car line, two blocks from the stop. So really, I'm pretty well fixed.
My advice to anyone is spend less money than you make, the secret to financial security. Get some skills that will survive a depression-oil and gas, learn to fix bicycles, install and repair solar panels or windmills. Just not assistant manager at a retail store. Learn a few survival skills-gardening is actually fun, so is fishing. Belong to a genuine community-I go to church and AA, belong to the Civic Club, because I'll need friends and allies. But above all, calm down-Hubberts peak is a bell curve, not a cliff.

>If you are still sitting on the fence, you can get 5% interest from several online banks, giving you the flexibility to move fast when your crystal ball clears up. Prepaying your mortgage with other funds can severely limit your options during a crisis where flexibility and ability to adapt are the keys to not only surviving, but thriving.

Prepaying makes sense with the interest rate on your loan is higher than the yields on your investments. If you mortgage rate is 6.75% and your only getting 5% from a bank ( and throw in 2.6% of inflation and taxes) your losing money! Athough it would be foolish to dump all of your capital into your mortgage. If you have an emergency expense (medical, tranportation, unemployment, etc) and you have no funds to draw on, and you could be forced to take out a high interest loan or use Credit cards which have substantially higher interest charges than a mortgage.

>There are much better ways to protect yourself financially from peak oil, hyperinflation, or both. I recommend a mix of energy stocks, foreign stocks and currency(maybe some of that "undervalued" Chinese currency), valuable metals, and land.

Investing in Foreign stocks and currencies is a poor choice because much of the overseas economy is tied to demand from the US. Europe and Asia export a considerable amount of goods to the US. If the US dollar crashed hard, they would be exporting substaintally less. The argument to this statement is that oversea manufacturing will simply sell to non-US markets, but the flaw is, why haven't they done this decades ago instead of accumlating massive ammounts of US currency? The simply answer is, that they have no other market to sell to! The deliberately loaned money to the US to fuel their economies. In affect the subsidized their economies with cheap exports. If the US dollar goes south, the global economy will crash and you may find it extremely difficult to get your money out from overseas markets during a crisis. Overseas unemployment will rise and gov't will take steep measures to prevent the loss of capital from foriegn investors. Its far better to invest domestically even if you know its going to take a huge hit.

Also see my earlier post (above) why investing PMs is not a safe haven from Inflation!

"Prepaying your mortgage with other funds can severely limit your options during a crisis where flexibility and ability to adapt are the keys to not only surviving, but thriving."

Possibly. The value of prepaying your mortgage comes forth in a deflationary collapse when YOU lose your job.

The point is that you will be poor, but have someplace to live, which is enormously better than being poor and homeless.

Even in an inflation (I doubt we'll see hyperinflation) it's quite possible to lose your job.

Since we can't prepay for food, and shelter is the other major expense, prepaying a mortgage now while still gainfully employed isn't entirely a bad idea.

I agree that using up all your cash to do so is likely unwise, and I'm not prepaying my mortgage.

Isn't that making the assumption that you will be keeping your job, and continue to have income to apply to the mortgage.

Personally I don't like being in debt. So I am paying my house off as quickly as possible, but I am also putting the maximum allowed into my 401K.

The car is paid off, the credit cards are paid off and in a year or two the house will also be paid off.

All I need, is for things to hold together for 2 more years. Then I will sell the house, for what ever I can get, then get the hell out of dodge.

African growth rates forecast to INCREASE:


Granted the oil producers in Africa will be leading the charge but as I pointed out previously only 4 African countrys last year had growth rates of 1% or less.

As yet I resubmit there is precious little evidence that PO is causing wide spread dislocation in Africa.

I think it's more accurate to say that forced energy conservation has been on more of an individual basis worldwide.

Here in the US for example, gasoline consumption is up year over year, but I'm sure that some poorer Americans have been forced to cut back their consumption.

I know a foreign diplomat living in Africa. Because of the town's inability to buy the fuel to keep the power station running 24 hours per day, the elevator in their building was frequently out, which created problems trying to move a stroller up and down six sets of stairs. So, they moved to a private residential compound where every house has its own generator.

The common link in both the US and Africa? If you have the money you can buy the energy.

Hello AndyH,

Google Zimbabwe and other African countries and read for awhile: urban trees disappearing for firewood, bicycles sales skyrocketing, increasing city power outages as whatever remianing juice is shifted to pumping water for crops, increasing violence and harsh govt. controls, increasing out-migration, newborn babies clogging sewers, on and on. Recall my earlier posting that detailed vastly reduce oil imports [facts from Google and CIA factbook].

Aid agencies examine doomsday scenario in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe ‘will collapse in 6 months’
Recall WT's earlier posting on Ghana. My posting years ago predicting widespread Sri Lankan conflict when war broke out over control of a mere water sluicegate. Bangladeshi violence over power outages. Tortilla protests in Mexico. The list goes on and on.

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

with the greatest respect (and as I think we have talked about before) the situation in Zimbabwe has next to nothing to do with PO, and almost everything to do with a political system gone massively wrong. Zimbabwe did not lurch into crisis this year, or even last year or even in 2005, the problems started in the late 1990s and is very clearly documented. What you are seeing now is close to the end-game, but it is in no way caused by PO (otherwise why arent neighboroughing countries with very similar demographics, problems (ie HIV) etc etc such as Zambia, Malawi suffering similar implosions?

I post on this stuff beacuse I think there is a fundamental misreading of where demand destruction is actually taking place. About a month ago I posted EIA figures which demonstrated that it was actually in OECD Europe where demand for oil had actually retraced in the past 2 years (and that off the back of good increases in GDP). Demand in the US had edged up a little in 2005-2007, and demand in Asia had shot up. Getting at what demand had done in Africa is more tricky (catch all phrase non Asian non OECD countries showed a jump in demand), but certainly aggregate growth GDP figures for africa as a whole in the past 3-4 years have been good (relative to for instance growth in the 1990s). Thus most African countries SEEM to be showing some sort of growth which is in contrast to the anedoctal type energy crisis news snippets that seem to be favoured here.

As a posted previously many of Africa's 'powercrisis' situations that seem to achieve so much attention here pre-date the recent rise in the oil price. Westexas often uses the WSJ quote of a crisis in Guinea (2006)to illustrate his points, and yet as I pointed out a brief search through that countries archives reveals pieces from 2004 detailing on going energy crises in the period 2003 onwards......

I think there is a problem because perhaps too many folk here want to SEE evidence of PO induced disaster in the here and now, and Africa seems as though it should be the place to be seeing it. Well as far as I can see, very little (yet) in Africa is anymore than the background noise of individual African states failing for non PO reasons. The collapse due to PO will no doubt be along shortly in Africa, but we do ourselves no favours in trying to extrapolate doom now.

Hello AndyH,

Thxs for responding [and with commensurate respect to you]. You make good points, but I think where we differ is the size of our respective focal points. I tend to examine these countries from the larger viewpoint of overall Tainterian blowback forces, rapidly increasing volativity for all goods and energies, shifting climate and political forces, MPP, rapid oscillation across many different Liebig's Law minimums, etc. In short, not just from a strictly PO focal point: you are not wrong, but neither am I; we just have different perspective scales for our data examinations and subsequent TOD discussion.

I try to do the same for my Asphalt Wonderland too. Yep, currently we have plenty of gas & food, but I can see all sorts of blowback problems rising ahead from drought, illegal migration, no-responsive politicians and corporate chiefs to meaningful mitigation, continuing infinite growth for more ecologic Overshoot, insufficient maintenance of critical infrastructures, future local outward migration causing a brain drain and wealth drain, ... on and on. Some of these might lead to tremendous social disruption long before we run into widespread energy shortages. Time will tell.

When PO comes to ahead here in Phx, Vegas, and other SW cities: then I expect the rapid interplay of all these forces to create even faster oscillation among differing Liebig minimums. Cheap energy and resources is like a full river with the rocks far below the surface; society can handle the surface ripples. Postpeak is like a very low river with society headbanging into every boulder as it goes downstream.

Don't forget that many other civilizations have collapsed before the discovery of fossil fuels. IMO, PO is just a blowback magnitude kicker to speed decline. But hopefully, I am proven wrong.

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

"Suspected al-Qaida bombers"? Why should they?

Iraq Bombers Topple Samarra Minarets

In a bold blow to Iraqi hopes for peace, suspected al-Qaida bombers toppled the towering minarets of Samarra's revered Shiite shrine on Wednesday, adding new provocation to old wounds a year after the mosque's Golden Dome was destroyed.

The attack stoked fears of a surge in violence between Muslim sects. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government rushed to contain Shiite wrath against Sunnis: It clamped a curfew on Baghdad and asked for U.S. troop reinforcements in Samarra, 60 miles north of here, and for a heightened American military alert in the capital.

But sketchy reports of sectarian strife began to come in. Police told of at least four Sunni mosques in Baghdad and south of the capital attacked by arsonists and bombers, and of a smaller Shiite shrine bombed north of here.

Hello TODers,

Wild & Crazy Speculation ahead!

As mentioned before, I am not an engineer.

The tallest skyscraper in Phx is 40 stories. Have any TOD engineers looked into converting these buildings, which will be useless soon, into postPeak solar power towers?

The current employees are paper-shufflers or Dilbert cubicle monkeys. They will be quickly reassigned to help permaculture change as 60-75% of the US labor force needs to become food-growing oriented. I expect lawyers, tanning booth owners, telemarketers, and other superfluous employment to be quickly pedaling their bicycles to the outlying fields.

Thus, can some skyscrapers be quickly refitted to generate power: turbines on top, interior cleared to facilitate max airflow, all openings welded over with steel to help maximize heat absorption, etc. How much energy could the Sears Tower generate if it was converted into a 'Searing Tower'?

Too bad the WTC Twin Towers are gone. Seems like these two huge buildings could have made a significant postPeak power-tower contribution in NYC if converted. Solar reflectors on the tops of other buildings could have been aimed to increase heat gain and power efficiency.

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

Suspect they would be of little use as energy sources... the surface area visible to the sun is not that large. Furthermore, in PHX the temp difference between the ground and the 40th floor would probably not be large enough to make thermal flow a very viable option, unlike say a column in the sea.

Sure, some use could be made of them as energy capture devices, but I believe that all of that steel could find better use elsewhere.

As always, I love your moxie and your puns. My Pop-in-Law lives in Glendale, and I might be out in the fall, expecting to count once again, on ONE hand the number of rooftops fitted with PV that doubles as a shade-source for the homes in question.

In a city like Phx, (aside from being redesigned into walkable villages.. somehow) I think PV's, Solar Water Heat and the like should be eeked from those desert sands and turned into the generic roofing material for every building.

Loving my little wheelbara, about to build another one or two!

R Fiske

The problem with that vision is the area around the towers would have to forgo the photon energy.

Your suggestion would work if the land around the tower was 'worthless' (IE not taxed)

How bad are things gonna have to be for your idea to be plausible?

Or they could do what they were built to do, house highly productive office space. If you want to build a solar tower, it would be much cheaper to just build it than try to convert skyscrapers at massive financial loss and loss of valuable rental property.

The notion that these structures will soon become useless is ludicrous.

Just a little side note, and perhaps NASAGUY can let us know if the problem has been fixed or when it is.

I heard that the Space station has a problem. The gyros that control the station are working fine. The computer program that runs them though is not. Without the program working, the gyros will not change position to keep the stations solar panels pointed toward the sun for power.

currently I think they are using the Shuttle and its gas fired jets to adjust the station. When the shuttle leaves they need to have it fixed I would think. The astronauts have their own capsule, but how many days before they have to leave because the power runs out.

I hear there are Russian computers tied to US computers to run the gyros'. I hear its a Russian computer problem. This mission sure has had its load of problems. Heat shield blanket torn, alarms go off. They thought the wing was hit, and this.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Its not mentioned on space.com, and I'm sure they have some of the most up-to-date information on whats going on. Sounds like speculation to me!

Yes the lack of mention is what is troublesome.


its here though, only google I came up with. Might be a few more.

Says they were able to track using the left array around 9pm last night. Thats only one array though isn't it. No further word after that. The left array was not tracking and they fixed it, but does that mean the other arrays were working and would when needed. When I heard about this, it was after 9pm eastern last night, and it was supposed to be a problem, unless they hadn't released the info, but the date info for the story is yesterday so it had to be filed soon after the 9pm update. Why I wonder whats the real status.

Yes, and look at the hole in the Shuttle. When it rains it pours.


"The German stock market provided one release valve.."

Right on...check
out Zimbabwe's exchange:

"I recommend a mix of energy stocks, foreign stocks and currency(maybe some of that "undervalued"'

Which is why I love the Canadian energy trusts...Your in energy, great dividend (>15%) and in a foreign currency! Hard to go wrong!

And say, what might those be? As in, specific funds I could look at? Inquiring minds...

greenish, check out US Royalty Trusts too. Hugoton Royalty Trust and Louisiana Land and Exploration Royalty Trust both look good to me.

Argh… here we go again. Yet another idiotic hit-piece on corn-ethanol, this time from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

Batter up!

RE: How Corn-Based Ethanol Can Lead to Starvation and Environmental Disaster

“Maize of Deception” is just about the catchiest title I’ve seen yet. Other favorites include Ethanol: A Threat to National Security?, Ethanol Will Not Be Our Clean Green Savior, The Ethanol Hoax and of course, Starving for Ethanol.

Most TODers who read my work, should at this point be able to read the title and recognize right away, that an ethanol boogeyman awaits.

“In his 2007 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush set out goals to produce over 35 billion gallons of ethanol fuel by the year 2017”
- FALSE. The goal was for 35 billion gallons of alternate fuels not ethanol. Alternative being the key word here that few fail to recognize.

“On March 29, 2007, Cuban leader Fidel Castro berated Bush’s economic incentives for ethanol… could result in the “premature death” of upwards of three billion people”
- Ahh yes, lets make sure to highlight the ranting lunacy of a Communist Dictator who just so happens to be secretly ramping up ethanol production from food-chain feedstocks in his own country.

“Thus, fewer low income consumers are able to purchase corn-based products, which is a very serious detriment to countries where corn is a staple of a population’s diet.”
- Shhh… don’t tell anyone that a) U.S. corn doesn’t feed people b) U.S. exports go to the richest countries in the world and c) definitely don’t provide proof of this assertion.

“The price of tortillas in Mexico has risen by 100%, resulting in mass protests by tens of thousands of enraged consumers last January.”
- Oh wait, I spoke to soon. Here’s their proof. The starving Mexicans again. Apparently the Council of Dummies hasn’t heard of NAFTA, the 2008 tariff expiry, the white corn hoarding or the Cargil investigation.

“In May of 2007, the United Nations issued a report warning the world against the production of ethanol.”
- FALSE. The UN report does not single out ethanol.

“The report stated that thus far, the production of ethanol has resulted in “the destruction of endangered rainforests, contamination of soil, air and water and the expulsion of rural populations from their homes.”
- FALSE. The UN report does not finger or single out ethanol as the culprit.

“In the long term, the Amazon Rainforest, for example, will experience vast deforestation due to Brazil’s increased sugarcane production in order to meet its ethanol export goals.”
- FALSE. Brazilian ethanol is grown in the Cerrado or Savannah. This is not rainforest. Approximately 1% of Brazil’s arable land is used for both ethanol and sugar. 1%!

“The UN also added that “where crops are grown for energy purposes, the use of large scale cropping could lead to significant biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and nutrient leaching.”

Look... it’s pretty obvious that the Council is arbitrarily pulling words from this report out of context and fitting them to suit their agenda. The UN explicitly outlines that biofuels can have both a positive and negative impact if not done properly.

The following is from the very same report but something you wont see in any anti-ethanol article.

QUOTE: “Appropriate trades offs can be made and both the energy needs of people met and the local and global environment adequately protected.”

QUOTE: “The more involved farmers are in the production, processing and use of biofuels, the more likely they are to share in the benefits.”

QUOTE: “Unlike with energy, most agricultural commodity prices today are well below the real price of 20 years ago.”

QUOTE: “Realizing the full economic benefits of biofuels development and minimizing the risks, will depend on building the human and infrastructure capacity to support it at the national level.”

Hit pieces like these are a waste of my time. More importantly, they are a waste of TOD bandwidth. There’s a million and one discussion points about ethanol that need to and should be discussed here at TOD.

Can we please, please, please, highlight the relevant ones?

Syntec, being the mouthpiece for ADM and the Ethanol Industry as a whole, your opinion about the effects of ethanol whith regards to food means less than nothing. Ethanol = higher food prices; already seen and documented. Higher food prices leads to demand destruction; When people can't afford to eat, they go hungry. (I'm keeping this simple so even you can understand.) When people go hungry they become malnourished; malnourished people have weakened immune systems which lead to disease and possible pandemics. When food becomes unavailable because the ACREAGE used to grow it has now been converted to crops for ethanol production, people starve. Currently, they are now in poor nations that could not afford food exports from the US, but it will get closer to home. Currently in the US, the poorest segment of the population is at the going hungry/malnourished stage. With ever increasing food prices that will climb the economic ladder. With people having to spend a larger proportion of their pay for food, that means little to spend on other things. It is impoverishing the nation. The worse part, Ethanol producers selling Ethanol to overseas markets because they can get a better price. In other words, Americans go hungry for nothing. No fuel price benefit, only more profits for ADM and other Ethanol producers. Take your Death Dealing elsewhere.


"Shaw said the industry expects to export ethanol this year to markets in Asia, representing the first significant U.S. ethanol exports in several decades."


A genocide criminal complaint is now on the docket in New Mexico

Let's see what happens.

Drudge Report Discovers Peak Oil!
Drudge Report

He's pointing to the report in the:Independent

Am I missing something or have the EIA still not updated their monthly oil production figures? (supposidly due early June??)

I haven't seen them either. Maybe "early June" hasn't come yet.

Hello TODers,

Angola is an OPEC member, and is pumping approx. 2 million barrels/day yet ranks last in the world in competitiveness.

Oil-rich Angola was the world's least competitive country despite being Africa's best economic performer last year, three international agencies found Wednesday.

About 70 percent of the population earn less than a dollar a day.
CIA factbook pegs the pop. at roughly 12.2 million.


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

Corn,weather,dry spells:

Farmers are getting upset about the lack of rain in Central Illinois, as well as parts of Ohio. The farmers forum I follow are sounding rather pessimistic of late. The pics they show of their corn show how extremely tight it is rolled.

Some of our corn here is rolling fairly tight as well but not as bad as Illinois. Driving around yesterday I did notice some fields where it is starting to tassel. We are forecasted for some very hot (mid 90s) this weekend and no rain in sight.

A while yet til pollen is falling..we'll see then.

Here is some bad news from Calif farmers who have to irrigate.
Sounds really bad for them. Here is the URL:


With this aspect of species preservation or food production , one has a hard time taking a stand on the issue. The wonderment is that they plant in desert like conditions and expect to be able to ship in water without it ever affecting nature or wildlife. It now will apparently affect food crops and hence human life in the form of possibly more hugh increases in the price of food. Already bad enough as it is.

I stopped for gas($2.93) and pick up some Killians Red and wanted to buy a bag of popcorn. I only found small bags of it in the 3 oz size and priced at $2.49...estimating the cost of the corn that was used to make this product it appeared to be about $.01 or less. Someone is getting rich as hell here. All those middlemen are sucking us dry on food. 56 lbs per bushel,$4 per bushel. Do the math.

Hyperinflation? We are already there. What is that huge sucking sound I keep hearing? It was a relief to leave the midsized city and traffic. Back to the shady back country two lane. I realized how happy I was to have some acreage and a garden on it. A place to live with no mortgage. Good neighbors.

Speaking of neighbors , mine was out on the tractor working some round bales. We talked about another friend in Florida who was going around the countryside here on vacation buying up round bales and hauling them to Florida where they fetch $70 per roll. Here we consider $25 to be on the high side. Apparently there is zero hay in Florida.

Airdale-the centre cannot hold,things fall apart,and the rough rude beast begins his slouch