DrumBeat: July 5, 2007

"Accumulating risks" to world energy supply: NPC

When Bodman called for the study in October 2005, he asked the council to study the concept of "peak oil," whether the globe was running out of hydrocarbons.

"Perspectives vary widely on the ability of supply to keep pace with growing world demand for oil and natural gas," Bodman wrote at the time.

In a draft letter to Bodman outlining its findings, the group says, "The world is not running out of energy resources, but there are accumulating risks to continuing expansion of oil and natural gas production from the conventional sources relied upon historically."

The group calls for "a new assessment of the global oil and natural gas endowment and resources to provide more current data for the continuing debate."

Oil on troubled waters

UNTIL Iraq's economy recovers fully is there any chance of tackling its other woes? The prospects seem dim. Getting the economy in shape means, mostly, getting the oil industry back on its feet. Iraq has the world’s third-largest reserves but they are of little use as long as the crude remains mostly beneath the ground. The oil infrastructure is in parlous condition after 17 years of war and sanctions. Output remains well below the (depressed) pre-war peak of 2.5m barrels a day.

Iran admits sanctions hurting oil industry

Iran admitted on Tuesday that international sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear programme were harming its ability to invest in oil infrastructure.

"The problems that they have made for banks have troubled financing of some projects," Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh told the official IRNA news agency.

Brown says UK energy supply would be 'safeguarded' by new nuclear power

Speaking at his first Prime Minister's Questions, Brown said last year's events in Europe, where Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, 'should make it clear to everyone that we cannot rely on an energy policy that makes us wholly dependent on one or two countries or one or two regions around the world'.

Statoil makes new gas discovery in Norwegian Sea

Oil officials said preliminary estimates of the find showed between one and three bln standard cubic metres (Sm3) of recoverable gas.

Britain has slashed its reliance on Mideast oil

Britain is now importing only the tiniest fraction of its oil from the Middle East, sourcing its crude instead from the Americas, Africa and Norway, according to intriguing new Government figures.

Ideas panel: Oil dependency comes with consequences

Oil is a valuable commodity now but 200 years ago, before the invention of refrigeration, so was salt, said R. James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA and current vice president of the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

"People fought wars over salt mines. It was very valuable back in its day," he said. "Then toward the end of the 19th century, electricity and refrigeration destroyed salt as a means of preserving meat. Most of the developed world is totally dependent on oil for transportation like people in the early 19th century depended on salt to preserve meat.

"We need to decide it is an important national objective to break our oil dependence," he said.

Change will "kill humanity"

HUMANS will have to learn to use the planet to save themselves if they hope to combat climate change, says Festival of Ideas speaker James Lovelock.

King Coal on way back with £50m Russian boost

The prospects for coal have been helped by resurgent prices and a pressing need for energy diversity because of the decline in North Sea oil.

Kirchner denies energy cuts and blames “lobby of companies”

Argentine president Nestor Kirchner denied emphatically on Wednesday that his administration was assessing the “rationalization” of electricity supply to homes and insisted that those versions are only looking “to destabilize his government”.

EU states slow on energy-efficiency, environment

Only Finland, the UK and Denmark have met a 30 June deadline for submitting national action plans on energy-efficiency and the European Commission recently reported that environmental policies are the most poorly implemented across the EU.

Few Are Investing in Alternative Energy

Most U.S. investors see putting money into alternative energy companies as both potentially lucrative and a way to support the environment. But while many might see opportunity, few are taking it.

Wilmar reacts angrily to "defamatory" FoE palm oil report

Wilmar, one of the world's largest players in the palm oil market, has reacted angrily to what it sees as an "erroneous, misleading and defamatory" report about the conduct of its palm oil operation in Indonesia.

North Sea is running too dry to meet target

The energy industry warned yesterday that government targets of keeping Britain's oil and gas production at 3m barrels a day by 2010 look like being missed. North Sea competitiveness is falling and financial backers are losing confidence in the wake of tax increases introduced 18 months ago.

Energy guru: $4 per gallon gas still likely

An exclusive interview with one of America's leading energy gurus, Phil Flynn, in Chicago last week disclosed the hard facts U.S. oil producers and consumers will be facing this year.

Some Coffeyville workers back at flooded refinery

Office staff returned to work at the Coffeyville Resources refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas, which was shut by severe flooding earlier this week, the company said in a press release.

Part of the 108,000 barrel-per-day refinery remained under water. Workers will wait until the floodwaters subside before making damage assessments and determining when the refinery can restart.

Nelson: Oil a factor in Iraq deployment

The Howard Government has today admitted that securing oil supplies is a factor in Australia's continued military involvement in Iraq.

Australia PM: Oil not reason for staying in Iraq

Prime Minister John Howard insisted oil had nothing to do with Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war, contradicting his defense minister who said Thursday that protecting Iraq’s oil supplies is one of his country’s motivations for keeping troops there.

More than half of Finns find fuel too dear

More than half of Finns are of the opinion that current fuel prices are too high, according to a survey carried out for Royal Dutch Shell and made public Thursday.

Almost 90 per cent of the respondents said they expected prices to rise further in the future.

Mexican natgas pipes explode, no casualties

Three pipelines carrying natural gas for domestic use and owned by Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex exploded early Thursday, Pemex said.

...The reason for the explosions on the pipeline was unclear, but Pemex regularly suffers accidents and spills because of its aging pipelines.

How We Can Survive the Age of Energy Anxiety

There is a way to attract a sustainable majority of Americans who will enact, and then defend, comprehensive policies to solve the climate crisis.

Kathmandu’s Fuel Crisis (includes photos and video)

An unprecedented growth rate in the number of privately owned small and large motor vehicles as well as an unmonitored influx of mini vans and buses used for mass transit during the last five years in Nepal have helped steadily increased the country’s demand for petrol and diesel. However, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has been consistently unable to clear their dues with the Indian Oil Corporation, largely because of their monthly losses which run up to millions of rupees.

Australia: Oil shortage pumps up price

FUEL prices appear set to jump by month's end after the International Energy Agency warned many refineries around the world seemed unable to process sufficient quantities of crude oil.

A dark future

PAKISTAN’S chronic power shortage is now assuming critical proportions. And what is worse than the unending electricity breakdowns is the lack of any planning to correct the situation.

Not all that long ago, there were many discussions about selling surplus electricity to India. Already, that moment seems an eternity away. With relentless population growth and economic expansion, there is a growing and entirely predictable shortfall between the supply and demand of energy.

Biofuels Could Reduce Poverty Gap

Biofuels will help reduce the global gap between rich and poor nations by making many developing countries energy exporters, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva said Thursday.

"Consider that everyone has the technology and the knowledge to dig a little hole of 30 centimeters to plant an oil plant that could produce energy, the energy they couldn't produce in the 20th century," he said.

Inflation fears smother China's ethanol drive

Beijing is putting the brakes to China's ethanol production drive after increases in corn prices worldwide rekindled worries over inflation and food security.

A shortage of raw materials -- because of dwindling arable land, difficulties in importing and a rush enmasse by state firms into the once Beijing-sanctioned arena -- is pushing up grain prices and could throw a spanner in the works of one of the world's largest ethanol production campaigns.

Technology's the answer, but what's the question?

We've reached the point where technology is not only an answer, but the answer to repairing some of the effects of our huge footprint, and it's high time we used those new technologies to clean up our environment.

Is Oil's Next Stop US$85?

Back on February 25th I made this post: Get Ready for $70 Per Barrel Oil Again. Okay, so every so often I get something right. The real lesson in this is that worldwide supply versus demand is the key issue. We do not live in an energy vacuum.

These two pictures tell why crude oil will soon take out the all time high in the $78 range and move higher from there over the next several months:

Saudi Aramco Raises Oil Prices for Europe to a Three-Year High

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest state oil company, increased prices of most crude oil grades for export to Europe to a three-year high as maintenance at North Sea fields increased demand for Middle Eastern and Russian supplies.

Localized way of life cuts demand for oil

Peak oil is here and the U.S. is unprepared.

This is my opinion and the opinion of Eugene Linden in his article "From Peak Oil to Dark Age" in a recent edition of Business Week. Recently, the online "Drudge Report" posted an excerpt from a story critical of British Petroleum's optimistic Statistical Review of World Energy. In other words, the idea of a diminishing world supply of oil combined with increasing demand is suddenly mainstream.

Argentina: Power Play

Power and natural gas shortages have meant rolling blackouts and rationing to businesses, underlining the fragility of the surprising recovery since the country's economic crisis and devaluation in 2001. With residential power cuts looking increasingly likely, it has also put at risk the political popularity of the center-left Peronist government that engineered the recovery, led by President Nestor Kirchner, whose four-year term ends in October.

3-year-old girl kidnapped in Nigeria

Kidnappers snatched the 3-year-old daughter of a British worker as she was being taken to school Thursday in Nigeria's lawless southern oil region, police said.

UN official: Cuba solved energy crisis

Cuba has solved crippling energy shortages that plagued the island as recently as 2004 without sacrificing a long-term commitment to promoting environmentally friendly fuels, the head of the U.N. Environment Program said Wednesday.

China's Natural and CBM Gas Ambitions Include Beijing Olympiad

Beijing has a more serious problem. It is one of the more toxic and polluted cities in the world.

This calls for a different recipe – using more natural gas in the ramp up time before the 2008 Olympics, which will be held about 13 months from now.

Residents urged to cut electricity use; Program will save money, help environment

Brantford Power and Brant County Power, along with Ontario Power Authority, used the new transformer station on Powerline Road on Wednesday to launch the Summer Savings Program, designed to encourage customers to conserve electricity, save money and help the environment.

Toyota, Ford post strong China vehicle sales

Toyota Motor Corp. sold 212,000 vehicles during the period, up 77 percent from a year earlier, powered by brisk demand for its Camry sedans, the best-selling car in the United States in eight of the past nine years.

...Ford Motor Co. said retail sales of its wholly owned brands in China rose 25 percent during the first half to 93,206 vehicles.

Nearly half of electricity from renewable resources by 2030: Berlin

Germany plans to boost the percentage of electricity generated by renewable resources to 45 percent by 2030 in a bid to curb global warming, environment minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday.

Global warming in Asia: Six degrees and China

The discussion centred on the most critical issues in the coming years in China: “climate change” said our friend, “there’s no getting away from it.” Then he and the partner consultants in the room were taken aback when the China head launched into a tirade about climate change. “All rubbish,” he said, “So what if the world heats up a few degrees? If it’s 80°C today and next year 82°C, or 83°C, who’ll notice? Next?”

The room sat aghast, and nobody said anything as they needed their jobs and our friend was pitching a bit of business. So as a service to the outraged China chairman, we’ll spell out what a few degrees of global warning means for China.

Motorists sue oil titans, retailers over 'hot fuel' losses

Think gas is expensive? It's even more expensive on hot summer days. Gasoline expands as temperatures rise. That means motorists get less energy from a gallon of so-called "hot fuel" than from a cold one.

When Brent Donaldson, a restaurant owner in Kansas City, Mo., discovered that fact earlier this year, he joined hundreds of consumers in more than a dozen states who are suing oil companies and gas retailers, alleging that they have been overcharged by billions of dollars.

Steorn's Orbo a No-Go

Last night at 11pm, a device by Irish technology company Steorn that claims to create energy out of thin air, failed to make its first public appearance, as promised, live on the internet.

As members of the public milled around outside the Kinetica museum, and many others logged on to the webcam last night, it was revealed that the hypothetical perpetual motion machine fell victim to the laws of physics and failed to continuously power the rotating outer wheel.

The intense spotlights surrounding the perspex case in which Orbo is enclosed have been cited as a possible reason for its malfunction, although engineers are still investigating.

“The display case itself is under a lot of lighting, it’s very hot. We think we’ve destroyed one of the bearings on the system, it’s not the technology itself,” said CEO of Steorn, Sean McCarthy, speaking to SiliconRepublic.

Aramco project 'on schedule'

The world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is on track to complete in December the project that will give the largest boost to global output capacity this year, the state oil company Saudi Aramco said yesterday.

The Khursaniyah project to bring online around 500,000 barrels per day of light crude is more than double the next largest Opec capacity boost due this year.

Oil sands no quick fix as Big Oil leaves Venezuela

For Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips it may appear simple: shift efforts, people and resources to Canada's oil sands now that the oil majors have retreated from Venezuela.

In reality, it's no simple matter.

The oil sands have their own set of risks: surging costs due to a squeezed labor force, technical complexity and a shrinking pool of attractive available properties.

Governor's order allows truckers to cross the border for fuel

Commercial truck drivers hauling fuel are allowed to cross the border into neighboring states in search of gasoline, under an emergency order issued by Gov. John Hoeven.

Texas Begins Desalinating Sea Water

Desalting sea water is expensive, mostly because of the energy required. Current cost estimates run at about $650 per acre foot (326,000 gallons), as opposed to $200 for purifying the same amount of fresh water.

However, it is a growing field around the world as governments and private investors ante up where water drinkable needs are crucial.

James Hansen, NASA GISS live at Zero Emissions Conference, Melbourne Australia (Powerpoint with audio)

James Hansen opened the Zero Emissions Conference to a full house at RMIT University yesterday in Melbourne, Australia.

Hansen, speaking via conference link from Sweden, spoke about the latest scientific predictions on climate change.

From the Fuel truck link above:
A big problem is that a refinery in Coffeyville, Kan., that represents a large chunk of Great Plains production has had flooding problems and is not expected to contribute any gasoline or diesel fuel to regional terminals for the rest of the summer

Does anyone have a feel for whether this Coffeyville refinery shutdown will impact fuel availability on the east and west coasts? Will it's impact be limited to the midwest?

They were having serious problems even before the Coffeyville refinery shut down. The impact of Coffeyville is probably not yet being felt.

I posted several articles in yesterday's DrumBeat about what the impact of the flooding might be. It will impact the middle of the country the hardest.

It seems likely that the main impact will be in the Midwest, but in order to combat shortages there it's necessary to drain fuel from other parts of the country.

Yes, but that's easier said than done. Higher prices might lure some trucks to the middle of the country. But I suspect the real issue is the pipelines.

There have been shortages in the middle of the country for weeks, maybe months. Colorado, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, etc. I remember over the Memorial Day weekend, I was struck by how high gas prices were in Ohio and Michigan, when they were usually cheaper than in the northeast. Heck, prices were cheaper in notoriously expensive San Francisco than in Michigan that week.

Especially when you compare it with this map.

Those maps really demonstrate what is going to happen as fuel gets even more scarce.

Being at the end of a pipeline is not a good thing.

Ireland and Great Britian take note as well. Ugliness.

Is there a larger version-hard to follow all the lines. Also, a legend-assume blue is crude, black is gas?

I'm sure there are better maps out there. IIRC, some huge, detailed ones were posted here after Katrina. I'll ask around and see if anyone remembers where they are.

Black are trunk lines. Blue are regional.

The airlines can do the "tankering" trick, but truckers only carry about 100 gallons onboard so they can't "tanker" too much. Drivers of cars are out of luck. Unless your hybrid car can go clean across the continent, you can't do the "tanker" trick.

The "tankering" trick is often found in the case of ordinary drivers near large cities. A driver will often go to the damn cheapest gas station to get the gas even if it's out of the way. Unless that gas station is close enough, the fuel use will cause more expense that tankering is useless. This is why I do not bother. With a weekly fuel use of less than 7 gallons, the money to be saved is less than a buck. It's a case of "Why bother?".

In the Chicago area, any drive into Chicago means that you go by more costly gas stations than suburbs. So, you get your gas while in your desired flight plan to avoid wasting fuel and money. If you pay a nickel a gallon more than farther-from-city gas stations, you save a little money compared to going several miles out of the way. The exemption is a special mission to the suburbs. If you must go on a mission to the suburbs, you may as well get a less costly load of fuel. But it's not really worth it if you must divert by a few miles to get that load of fuel.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

Hello Leanan,

Have there been any reports yet on how fuel shortages in the Heartland may impact farming and later harvesting? Thxs for any reply.

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

Diesel took a spike in New Orleans (about a dime) for a couple of weeks this spring due to MidWest planting season.

This is despite the fact that farmers can use higher sulfur diesel than road diesel (0.05% vs 0.0015% from memory). In a pinch, farmers can use road diesel of course.

If diesel supplies are disrupted due to a hurricane (which later floods part of the MidWest(, not good.

Best Hopes for Harvest,


Once upon a time, Harvest was SO important that we had a national holiday to give thanks for one in late November.

Australian Prime Minister acknowledges peak oil?

Globalisation will continue to facilitate not only terrorism and other forms of transnational crime, but the proliferation of the technology and materials necessary to acquire weapons of mass destruction. It could also spur a resurgence of protectionism and increasing rivalry over globally traded resources, particularly oil.

Presumably it wouldn't be a problem if everything was hunky-dory with the supply of crude?


It occurred to me yesterday that I had never quantified what percentage of remaining recoverable reserves on my Export Land Model would be exported. Note that the percentage of production that goes to consumption at the start of a production decline has a big effect on when a net exporter becomes a net importer. For example, the top five net exporters, in 2006, consumed about 25% of their total liquids production. Offsetting this, many of the top exporters, based on HL, are at fairly advanced stages of depletion, especially the top three.

In any case, the answer to the question of how much oil would be exported from Export Land follows (I based URR on Texas URR versus peak production):

My Simplistic Export Land Model (ELM): http://static.flickr.com/97/240076673_494160e1a0_o.png


URR 38 Gb, peaking at 55% of URR (approximately same range as Texas and Saudi Arabia);

Post-peak production decline rate of 5% per year (approximately same range as Texas, historically, and Saudi Arabia, currently);

Post-peak rate of consumption increase of 2.5% per year (less than half the current rate of increase in consumption for top exporters).


Net exports go to zero in nine years (note that the UK went from peak exports to zero exports in about six years).

From Year Zero on the ELM, only about 10% of remaining recoverable reserves would be exported.

Wow - thats stark. Anyway sensible governments will institute rationing in both consuming & producing nations which will mitigate the situation.

As Alan says:

Best hopes for sensible governments.

We'll never see actual rationing in the US. Fuel will be "rationed" by price so only the rich will be able to afford it anymore. It's the "American Way"...

There was fuel rationing in the US during ww2 in the US and all the other participating countries

True. However, there was also a gigantic black market in the stuff.

"gigantic black market"?

The War Production Board controlled oil production at the well-head as I understand, and allocated shipments from the refinery.

Just what fraction of production went on the black market? Was it diverted from the military?

Are you counting people selling each other their ration coupons as "black market"?

Could you kindly supply something in the way of references? These bald assertions sound to me more like tripe designed to discredit necessary responses to peak oil rather than creditable contributions.

By 1945 more than half of gasoline was being sold on the black market. My reference is John Kenneth Gailbraith, who was in charge of price controls during the Second World War.

It was easy. You drive out to Farmer Old McDonald, who has no limit on the gasoline he can get under government allocation rules. You give him the money, and he pumps you enough to fill up the tank.

Note that one thing a government does not want to do is to restrict gasoline or diesel to farmers, because food is even more essential than fuel.

There were a number of other ways to cheat on gasoline rationing--which was pretty much a failure by 1945. Anyway, the U.S. had plenty of gasoline; what we did not have was rubber. Can you imagine washing out and reuising latex condoms? That is how short of rubber we were during WWII.

Hello Don Sailorman,

Good points on automotive mechanical Liebig Minimums. No need to ration gas if it is impossible to get lubricant oils, antifreeze, or tires. Controlling market access to tires will gradually remove millions of vehicles from the road as the owners put them up on blocks in their front yard.

The Govt could decree that semi-rig tires, farm tractor tires, and giant tires for earthmoving equipment could be priority one to keep the economy moving. Bicycle and wheelbarrow tires will hopefully be priced cheaply for the masses as we move 60-75% of the labor force to relocalized permaculture.

EDIT: My favorite postPeak photo:


The technology exists so that any postPeak automotive tires made for copcars, military police, and ambulances could be embedded with RFIDs and/or color-tech. Then it would be easy to spot anyone who bought these heavily restricted auto tires on the black market. The angry mob would then close in...

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

During World War II we could buy neither tubes nor tires for bikes. However, we could buy rubber patches--and we did.

Few of you now can remember the joy of buying new bikes and new bike tires and new car tires. The joy of the end of rationing was about as good as sex. It took years after the war for rubber products to become freely available, though war surplus products (such as life rafts) were very cheap.

I remember war surplus DDT at 10 cents per "bug bomb." My sister and I used to spray one another with this--cheap fun and it kept the mosquitos away.

I can remember having to have coupons for kerosine as late as 1947. Kerosine was cheap, but you still had to have coupons for it. (I might be off by a year, but I do remember walking to the service station with a dime for a half gallon of kerosine and being refused because I did not have the required coupons. It might have been 1946, when I was only six years old but still expected to do errands for the family. I wonder if anything is expected of six year olds today.)

Hello Don Sailorman,

Thxs for responding. You were probably on a TOD sabbatical at the time, but I had written an earlier posting outlining the details of using the GM ONSTAR network to wirelessly disable as many vehicles as desired when the postPeak time comes.

For example: Lots of 4-door V8 pickups in my Asphalt Wonderland are blinged out, then only used to haul groceries and golf clubs, or a gas-guzzling ski-boat to the area lakes. By massive computer data-mining examination of Motor Vehicle Registration and business licenses--> it would be easy to separate the VIN #s of pointless pickup owners from those that really need them for construction or critical utility spiderweb maintenance.

Send out the vehicle-cpu disabling code and voila': lots of rich kids, lawyers, etc have instant pieces of expensive junk. These vehicles can then be bought very cheaply by those who need them, or stored until needed later. The new owners [Blackwater?] can then have the reset code sent out by ONSTAR to reactivate the pickup. .50 cal machinegun mounts can then be easily installed in the truckbed.

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

My father, who died last December, said there was rationing on the Texas Gulf Coast in order to keep the national policy consistent. The shortage during the war was because of not enough tankers to take oil to the east coast and Europe. The "Big Inch" (oil) and "little Inch" (gasoline)pipelines were laid and relieved the US problem. He also told me my grandfather used to buy coupons, while gas field pumpers would sell condensate for burning in old fords also. We discussed this during the 2nd oil embargo.
I miss my father a lot. He was an oil and gas title attorney, and an archeologist, and a great guy to talk to.
Bob Ebersole

Hi Bob,

I'm sorry about your father. He must have been a good person to talk with, as you are, also.

When a man cares
He is unafraid
- Lao Tsu

I thought that synthetic rubber (made mostly from sulfur) was the answer to the rubber shortage problem? Plenty of sulfur around.

Synthetic rubber during World War Two was a bad joke in the U.S. First, you couldn't get anything made out of it. Second, if by chance you got an inner tube or something it was no darn good and would have a hole in it by sundown.

I think the Germans had much better synthetic rubber than did the Americans; for some reason our chemists just fell flat on their faces when the call came for synthetic rubber.

The man who hoarded tires was a national figure of fun--because there was nothing--absolutely nothing--worth more than tires during the War. You had to be very deep into the black market to get even a retread. I think for about four years there were no tires whatsoever produced for civilian consumption, just as no cars for civilians were produced 1942-45. Even in 1946 you could not get flashlight batteries or a whole bunch of ordinary things. 1948 was the first year you could get cars and tires and flashlight batteries (zinc shortage?), but even then rubber was not abundant. "Neoprene" was the latest miracle, but it was no good for inner tubes. We had quite a problem finding rubber for sling shots, but of course we could scrounge in the dump. (This was before "sanitary landfill," when we used to go to the dump and shoot rats with our BB guns.)

You can take your gold and shove it where the moon don't shine---give me rubber. (Can you imagine a shortage of latex condoms? Yep, it happened. Bear that in mind when stocking up your survival kit.)

'I think the Germans had much better synthetic rubber than did the Americans;'

That's true. Hitler knew that he would not have access to natural rubber. Already in 1937, mass production of sythetic rubber started. In 1940, 70% of the rubber used in Germany was synthetic, in 1944 100%.

There was a similar preparation for CTL, Hitler knew very well that there was no crude in Germany.

The patent for synthetic rubber was held by Standard Oil of New Jersey, but they had an agreement with I.G. Farben not to sell to the US.

Bob go ahead & order those wheelbarrow tires to be made of steel. A friend gave me one( he was embarrased & asked I not be offended by his offer since it was such a white elephant & he could get rid of it himself) & a number of times it has been the tool of choice due to flat tires; not to mention it requires a high output CFM compressor to get the tires to reseat.

My neighbor of 80 still uses a steel tired one- reworked the wood frame a couple of yrs. ago.

I guess the wagon wheel(only metal rim) was the best use of materials available then.

Oh what a web we weave.

Yep, part of the US ration scheme in the war was that you had to attest to not owning more than 5 tires, and turn over any beyond that to the gov't (this at least was what the law said)

Was it diverted from the military?

My parents used to swing by my great-uncle's farm, where they could draw some gas for free from his non-rationed tank.

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

Yes, but it was a different country then. That US only exists in our memories and imaginations now.

That US only exists in our memories and imaginations now.

Sadly, that vision of the US has also departed the imagination of most peoples of the free world. Recovering that "reputational capital" is nigh well impossible.

Never say "never". Even the rich may be forced to accept rationing when they come to realize that their company sales are a function of the consumers ability to buy all that stuff depends on their being able to get to work and to get to the mall or Mao-Mart. Those of us in the "Services Industries" depend on a functioning transportation system too, like it or not. Once Peak Oil is confirmed, there won't be any other way (such as increasing gas taxes) in the short run, as prices will be rapidly pushed way up. If the rich folks can't accept the fact that we are all on this planet together once TSHTF, then the road warriors will eat their lunch.

E. Swanson

The current rationing scheme hits EVERYBODY. well except deliveries "USPS" and Police etc are not rationed.

All businesses are rationed. All people are rationed. I read though a huge chunk of it. However I do think I will be one of them who does not get impacted by rationing as I use very little fuel each month.. Maybe 25 gallons?

Motorized Bicycles allow for huge gas mileage! :) However the car sucks most of the gas when I do grocery trips getting my months worth of stuff at a time.

The plan presently on the books is 1970s era, and is technologically obsolete. It will either be revised before implementation, or within a few months after rationing is implemented.

Simply put, you will be affected as well.

neighbors stealing your gas?
theives taking your bike? (it will appreciate in value compared to a guzzling car!)

Businesses with no gas = no deliveries
no electricity at your work = no job

rationing has never worked.

economics (intersection of the supply and demand curve, the equilibrium price point) is the ONLY way to ensure equity and a fair distribution.


"rationing has never worked". Are you joking?

A decent place to start examining the history of the US War Production Board is in wikipedia:


"economics (intersection of the supply and demand curve, the equilibrium price point) is the ONLY way to ensure equity and a fair distribution."

Got shortages? Get Capitalism. hmmm.... When the janitors and other low-paid but indispensable labor can't get to work while accountants, lawyers, sales reps etc... tool around in their SUVs, we'll gave a live demonstration of the usefulness of your ideology.

Amen WG.
We haven't heard from the pro-tax faction yet.
Now that the crisis is seemingly at hand, folks are smellin' the coffee.

then the pay of janitors will have to be raised won't it? (if their services are essential)

it is not an ideology that economics is the fairest way to distribute goods, it has been worked on for greater than 150 years with the DIRECT application of giving the fairest distribution of goods.

Goods go to he who can make the most use of them, defined by his willingness to pay for a product.

You seem to live in a happy world! If the janitor can no longer afford to work, he simply need tell his employer, "gee boss all us janitors can't afford to get to work anymore! whatcha going to do?"

The free market BY DEFINITION, not by some fancy handwaving, but by the relationship between buyers and sellers OF ANY GOOD or SERVICE, minimizes SCARACITY and EXCESS.

Rationing distorts the market, and is a bad choice. Binding Price ceilings and floors are the same thing.

Taxes upon specific goods are better, and allow for discrimination in figuring out how to fine tune consumer demand.

I implore you to take up an economics book, an intro to micro economics (micro econ is most simply explained as "how firms and individuals make decisions")

The market is perfectly fair, except in cases of failure (monopolies, oligopoties). It need be as volitile as possible, to let people percieve the swings and make proper plans.


Rationing distorts the market

Ummm... yep, that IS the whole point of it I.E the State wants scarce goods to be available to a given consumer on some other basis than their income, or available time to que in a lineup.

So for example Mary Jones can go to work at the machine gun factory rather than spending all day in the que outside the grocery store waiting for the potatoes or whatever to arrive, and to be able to get 3 eggs a week for the kids without having to work as a hooker as a part time job.

The market is perfectly fair...

Thanks for that one, I needed a good laugh! :)

Yes the market is the most fair way to distribute goods and services - but I think you may have missed the point

The pay of the Janitors will not be moving up, with a large labor pool of poor people they will have to find a way or starve.

In our society the contract to fulfill the janitor services will go to the lowest bidder. - This will cause class resentment. If the wealthy is looked upon as as not caring or even mean and explotive during a crisis to the rest of us suffer when TSHIF - well lets just hope you don't stand on the wrong side of the phrase "Let them eat cake"

The failure of the market is not its ability to price a commodity or some labor in the present; it is its willingness to think all solutions are better solved tomorrow. Global Warming and Peak Oil require broad consensus and an urgent change to pricing models that include mitigation and transition costs.

The free market BY DEFINITION, not by some fancy handwaving, but by the relationship between buyers and sellers OF ANY GOOD or SERVICE, minimizes SCARACITY and EXCESS.

And when America is a "free market" you'll let us all know so we can all check to see if your claims are correct...right?

Raise the wage of janitors? Are you absolutely, positively nuts? That's why we import labour!. Fun thought experiment. Imagine with yourself as, let's say, a trucker. Do you REALLY think you can be a homeowner? People from Mexico are willing to work nearly for free. It's "free-agent slavery" in the real world. I'm lucky to make $50,000/year. Can I be a homeowner? Only in my dreams. And only in my dreams do I drive a Grumman F-14 Tomcat.

What does it take to be a homeowner? An income good and far over $100,000/year. ARM mortgages are only "al Queda mortgages". An ARM mortgage only means that the bank parks an invisible car bomb in the garage. Now, you must move or re-fi. Ask yourself this: Would you REALLY call that being a homeowner? I sure don't. Thus, the "American Dream" of home ownership is not too much closer to driving a Grumman F-14. Or better yet, the Lockheed-Martin F-35.

The invention of the ARM mortgage means that a weapon of mass destruction is ticking. In 11 months, it will go off. Have fun, everyone!

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

Hi Gilgamesh,

Certainly very important and worth pursuing, these ideas about how things work and might work.

re: "The market is perfectly fair, except in cases of failure (monopolies, oligopoties)."

The Q is:

Who determines what is a "failure"?

Who recognizes "failure"?

Who makes distinctions between legal, illegal, de facto, etc.?

In other words, who determines (and who is in a position to determine) the "failure" you talk about?

re: "It need be as volitile as possible..."

I thought volatility in the oil market was the scourge of planning, hence the establishment of the Texas original version of OPEC, etc.

How can there be any planning at all with volatility?

The current system of farming, for example, has many farmers securing loans for the next years crops ("outputs").

Price collapses, they are out of business.

Out of business, and no food.

There must be other examples.

As far as I understand it, there is volatility in oil price now, relatively speaking.

However, this doesn't seem to get any point at all across to consumers or voters. Or do you see it differently?

i also implore you to look upthread somewhere for posts on ww2, gas rationing didn't work because a secondary black market opened up, and those who were willing to pay the market price for gas COULD GET GAS.

ergo, you lose sir.

That previous examples of rationing didn't work is no proof of the claim that rationing can't work. Also, your reliance on the market ignores the large negative impact of inflation, such as we saw in the early 1980's after the Iranian Revolution.

Consider a rationing system that gives all users equal share totaling something less than the available quantity, perhaps 2/3ds, with a white market allowing the trading of ration "credits" and the purchase of the extra quantities available above the amount of credits issued at some market price. That would produce a two price market, where the average consumer would likely have an excess amount, while the large consumers would be able to acquire some (but not all) of their needs. The people that didn't use their credits could sell them on at the market price and offset the other negative impacts of the shortage, such as higher prices for other purchases.

Remember, Peak Oil won't be a temporary disruption, but a reduction each year from the previous year's production (on average). The market can't really handle that, especially if there turns out to be no alternatives which may be quickly brought online to replace the dwindling oil supply. The Export Model situation only makes this situation worse for the importing nations. Looking back at the U.S. experience during WW II, when the U.S. was still a major producer and the war only lasted some 4 years, presents the incorrect picture. Look at Germany and Japan too, as described in Yergin's book "The Prize". No amount of money would have helped their wealthy after the energy supply systems were destroyed. When push comes to shove, the people with the wealth are the ones that must pay for the alternatives and any delay in their doing so will only make things worse. If the wealthy fraction of the consuming public is hit hardest, they will get off their respective butts and DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW!

E. Swanson

Hi Black,

I had meant to write before, and hope you see this.

I very much appreciate the points you make here.

I'd like to see you expand upon them. Perhaps if you do, we can also see this as a guest post.

re: "If the wealthy fraction of the consuming public is hit hardest, they will get off their respective butts and DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW!"

Could you possibly please expand upon this?

Could you please take examples, perhaps from history, perhaps from the perspective of picking particular representatives of the "wealthy fraction"and show how:

1) They will be hit hardest - specifically.

2) That it is in their best interest to act.

3) What those actions might be?

In regard to policy ideas, practical/local ideas - or whatever.

Good luck stealing gas that is premix twostroke... They will thrash their engine.

Theives? I am not too concerned.

Rationing has worked it just worked better previously due to people actually wanting and knowing they needed to help. There was not this sense of selflessness of today as seen.

Regardless I am not too worried.

Hello SlicerDicer,

Regarding postPeak motorized bicycling:

The good thing about motorized bicycles with their non-cpu controlled tiny engines is that they should be relatively easy to make impervious to an ElectroMagnetic Pulse [EMP]weapon discharged over a city. Storing the engine in a metal box when not in bicycle usage mode, or shielding it on the bike inside a Faraday Cage should be sufficient to keep the EMP from melting the wiring and/or fusing the points. I think this is the main advantage of motorized bikes over electric bikes. An electric motor and associated control-wiring would be much more difficult to protect postPeak.

If TSHTF in the Southwest US: a series of EMP weapons detonated over Phx, Vegas, etc would instantly reduce mobility for nearly all to pure pedal bicycles. Escape across the blazing desert would be essentially foreclosed. A motorized bicycle would be priceless for the person trying to escape the parched SW to reach Cascadia.

Then somehow trading this motorbike to the Cascadian Earthmarines in exchange for your life maybe the best you can hope for postPeak. I imagine it would involve a desperate gamble: if they shot you, a pre-rigged bottle of fine silt would instantly enter the engine to grind it down to junk as the mechanicals seized. Hopefully, you can negotiate a safe handover, then a two-hour headstart before they then fire the engine up to hunt you down.

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

So, Bob, you are concerned about protecting your motorized bike motor from an EMP pulse? What are you going to do about protecting your body? Those rinky-dink bicycle motors have no longevity so they will wear out fast and then where do you get parts to repair them? You would be better off to concern yourself about protecting the motor on a real motorcycle that is reliable and gets reasonable gas mileage. Everything is a trade off.

Hello River,

Thxs for responding. As I am not an engineer--so I am no expert at this technique, but here is some more info [EMPs can be non-nuclear]:



We basically bathe in low levels of EMP now: a hyperburst won't affect us but will fry non-shielded electronics and electric systems [hope you don't have a heart pacemaker]. Unfortunately, I hope they don't decide to reduce our Overshoot numbers with selected geographic release of bioweapons. If Ebola-Smallpox hits Phoenix & Vegas-- nobody will even get close to being admitted to Cascadia.

Cheers! =(

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

Well just as a example I have nearly 1100 miles on mine and its not missing a beat yet.. just tighten a bolt here or torque a screw there every 50 miles. And this is a stupidly cheap chinese one.

1100 miles? That is nothing. 5,000 miles is considered break in for a Harley. I walk over 700 miles per year. I would appreciate it if you would keep in touch and give me an honest evaluation when your bike motor has 11,000 miles on it...If it is still running.
Extracting a lot of hp from a lightweight air cooled engine is easy but making the beast reliable is not. What % of the time is spent at maximum output? I am not saying that there is no place for lightweight motorized bicycles but I dont think there time has come. Once some type of gas rationing is in effect and the traffic is cut in half it will be safer to ride one on the street surrounded by cages, now is not that time.
Road rage is a huge problem and will get worse. Many in autos see a motorcycle as a roadblock if it is going too slow and a motorcycle going too fast damages their stupid egos. The morons dont think, they are reactionaries. If rule of law becomes less effective (hard to imagine but very possible) then anyone on a motorcycle will be seen as a target to the masses that are wondering what happened to thier world. A rider on a bigger bike that is reliable and fast has a better chance than someone riding a motorized bike with a top speed of 40? mph. Who can handle a motorized bike in a full slide while negotiating a curvy road? Maybe a handfull of people in the country.

I usually run at about 80% I rarely run at maximum.. I do not like the way it sounds :)

I will give you a evaluation I will be doing about 10,000 miles a year or so.

I ride on roads all the time around here but I live in the middle of nowhere. I guess that makes a massive difference. The big difference between a motorcycle and a motorized bicycle. I will give you a example here. I was tooling up a road here it was uphill blind hill. Car came up behind me so instead of blocking him I tore off the road doing about 25mph and slammed into dirt/weeds and divets. Moral of this is I do not mess with drivers and give them a reason to be mad or hit me. I stay the hell out of their way :)

Bob, old fashioned carburated non-computerized engines will be just fine, as would any that have old fashioned tube electronics instead of the new-fangled stuff. This is the reason the Soviets didn't use the sohisticated electroncs of the Western warplanes -- atom bomb explodes, Western planes head for the earth but the Soviets don't.

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

Hello ImSceptical,

Thxs for responding. Again, I am not an expert, but my reading of the WIKIs suggests that even older vehicles will not be immune to this EMP attack unless the vehicle is totally metal-enclosed and earth-grounded in a well designed Faraday Cage. Example: military ships fit this requirement very well, that is why they have to be periodically Degaussed:


You are free to disagree, of course.

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

My 1982 Mercedes Benz 240D (as in diesel) only requires electricity to start and to run auxiliaries (headlights and brake lights most importantly).

Mechanical fuel injection, vacuum system for many auxiliaries (and shifting for automatics, mine is manual).

I suspect that the metal body (yes, even the bumpers are metal) will serve as a partial Faraday cage and the battery and electromechanical relays will survive an EMP unless VERY close (in which case I may die of radiation).

Throw in ATF (transmission fluid), motor oil, jet fuel, vegetable oil, diesel, heating oil or other burnables to keep it fueled :-)

Best Hopes for old M-B diesels,


"partial Faraday cage"


Alan, Alan, Alan. A partial Faraday cage is a broke Faraday cage. Which is no Faraday cage !!

I worked as a space track radar troop many years ago. The signal processing department had a Faraday cage. This department contained the radar's non-shielded equipment. Some PM's required us to generate various signals with various radiating devices. The cage was the ONLY way we could keep the radars operational equipment signals outside and our PM signals inside, so interference didn't occur.

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

A EMP pulse from a hydrogen bomb from some distance away (say 250 miles) could still disable unshielded modern electronics (your TV for example) from what I know.

OTOH, I would expect my old M-B to survive. Since the hood and fenders are steel, the only viable path for the EMP is bouncing off the pavement or "bending" around the fenders. It would then have to bounce off the underside of the hood and angle towards the battery (enclosed all sides but one by steel).

An EMP can destroy a lead-acid battery, but a very strong pulse is required. The access path could (WAG) give an 8 or 10 db reduction in strength of the EMP.

There may be transistors in my car (other than the aftermarket LEDs I retrofitted), but electromechanical relays are the norm. Most are enclosed in metal and these old tech relays are robust to EMP. Likewise the switches and the vacuum system is simply immune.

The attenuation of the path to my relatively robust battery is such that any H-Bomb that does not get me, is also unlikely to get my car.

Best Hopes for NEVER testing this !


Hi Bob,
FWIW a neighbor of mine claimed to be an electrical engineer and worked on M-1's.
I asked him how they protected them from EMP and he told me their circuitry had ceramic nodules installed that cancelled the effects of a burst. Good(?) to know that if the rest of the country is shutdown the tanks will still roll!

Yeah its a magneto coil that turns and sends a spark to a CDI that fires the plug no more no less. Faraday cage would be incredibly easy to make for it and take less than 20$ I would bet.

And the way I see it sure gasoline will be less available but that means I will go further with less. I live in New Mexico desert so yes I understand but I doubt I would leave.

I think that the gov't will hold off as long as it can, then quite a bit longer than it should. It will not be imposed out of concern that everyone get an equal share, but rather as a mechanism to spare the elites long waits in line to get gas. Their time is so much more precious than yours or mine, after all. . .

I think you have to keep in mind that even if the elites can afford to spend money to buy gas at any price, they will do anything in their power to get out of it. Much like taxes right now.

Hi Jeffry

I've been trying to think up holes in your ELM model. There's only one flaw-differing exporters have different levels of production over consumption. Angola has about 25 Billion bbl. of reserves, but their internal consumption is very low because 70% of their population is in villages that are subsistence level. Same way with Khazakstan. So they'll be exporting longer.

The total oil available on the word market-exports from all countries-is about 50 mmbopd. Russia, Saudi Arabia and Mexici are producing around 3/5ths of that amount, and they will institute a ban on exporting crude first. So what I'm saying is your graph should show more dips and spikes as different producers stop exporting, and should never reach 0 as a level of exports.

But I know your concept is probably correct. Its shown by the Saudi drop and their increase in prices just posted and their cutting exports to their Asian customers. Bob Ebersole

On our upcoming Net Oil Export magnus opus, we are going to generate (with Khebab doing the hard work) individual HL based models for the top net exporters, and then probably use two consumption assumptions, 2.5% and 5.0%, to generate two net export models for each country. We will then sum the results. It will not be a pretty picture.

(BTW, the ELM graph above is Khebab's work)

If you are giving it some serious work, one thing you need to build in is demand destruction in the exporting nations. Some, at least, will allow rises in fuel costs as at least a reflection of the world price, dampening demand. That is coupled with the effects of the worldwide recession you could expect - cutting business demand.

Of course, you can also expect those same countries to move into energy intensive manufacture in a big way, increasing the 'domestic' demand as they gather industry close - killing it off elsewhere. You can see SA beginning to do that.

Khebabs my hero, too. His mother must have fed him a lot of fish when he was growing up, he's smarter than the rest of us.
Question: does the drop in exports account for the growth in local refineries and their export of products? Apparently Saudi has a large unused petrochemical capacity, and maybe other producers too.

Bob Ebersole

The main thing I would question is whether the demand trendline in a post-global-peak environment would behave the same way it has in a pre-global-peak environment. We really have no experience to go on yet, so it is anyone's guess. My guess is that national governments would not wait until domestic demand absorbs 100% of production to implement energy conservation measures, they would probably kick in well before that point. We also don't know if the production curve would be a steady decline in that environment -- they might realize that there are advantages in manipulating a steeper decline initially in order to preserve more oil in the ground for later. Manipulating such a premature decline might also help to hammer down domestic demand earlier rather than later.

This does not threaten your basic hypothesis - net exports would have no place to go but down.

We have already seen some interesting moves and/or discussions in exporting countries, e.g., Saudi Arabia looking into importing coal; Pravda calling for measures to reduce domestic Russian oil and gas consumption and of course Iran trying to implement a rationing program.

I just have my doubts about how successful these measures will be, and by the time that exporting countries are literally forced to reduce domestic consumption, I suspect that net exports will have fallen to a pretty low level anyway, and in any case there will be enormous resentment in exporting countries against measures to reduce domestic consumption, in favor of foreign consumers. Imagine how well it would go over here if Americans were asked to conserve so that we could ship gasoline overseas.

I am reminded of the movie "The Sixth Sense," i.e., many dead people don't know they are dead, and they only see what they want to see. The signs of an imminent problem with net export capacity are all around us, but many people are choosing not to see them. How bizarre is it that the Saudis are talking about importing coal? It sounds like a headline from "The Onion."

While I think the concept of the export land is very valid, one key point to keep in mind is that if exports drop significantly in countries like Iran and Venezuela, where are they going to get their money to continue to fund their economies as they exist today? (which in Iran's case includes importing huge amounts of gasoline)

A significant drop in oil exports by these countries will cause as significant upheaval for them as will the drop in imports for the US and other cosumers. Trying to predict the end result seems fairly pointless, just that their will be massive upheaval.

Oh, that's simple. Coal is cheaper than oil. Oil is a feedstock for things other than burning as energy, such as making plastic, while coal is good for.. Well, burning.

~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

If the geology says 9 years, the politics say 6 years. Autocratic oil exporter governments will be incentivized to crack down on the unwashed masses to slow domestic consumption and preserve export volume in an atmosphere of insane profits. Saudi Arabi for example will become much more vulnerable an Islamist revolution, which will be the public face of a "who controls the oil" revolution.

The assumption of rising profits with prices is unfounded.

Currently we have high prices, but profits are falling, because increased wages, capital, and drilling costs eat away at the profits!!!

Simply put, the cost to find oil is rising, so new finds will be at the far right of the supply schema. At the same time older finds are running out of oil, as they must. As the oldest and most profitable producers are put out, the next lowest cost, highest profit fields replace them.

These two items work to REDUCE the Producer surplus (or profit) through moving the supply curve to the left. The consumer surplus will also shrink because the consumer surplus equals the producer surplus at market equilibrium at the maximum efficiency point. Seeing as the problem is supply driven(no longer are there cheap oil fields), the consumer can only reduce demand.

Other factors to consider in calculating a range:
Those arguing that a rate of export decline should be higher:
1) Oil exporting countries will continue to accrete wealth, allowing their subsidized citizens to buy more cars, planes, jet skis, etc., further increasing domestic consumption;
2)More energy intensive industries relocate to oil producers, as countries like KSA build refineries and other energy consumers, further accelerating domestic consumption;
3) Oil exporting countries realize that they own a finite resource, which should be preserved for production at a higher price later; and
4) Oil poor and militarily strong countries invade on pretextual reasons to gain control of the resources, only to see production collapse as civil unrest, insurrection and war break out all over.

Factors which would argue that domestic consumption will not increase:
1) Control of the oil resources, and of the countries themselves, fall into the hands of foreigners who artificially suppress consumption;
2) A controlled civil war, funded by oil consumers, drives half or more of the populace away from the oil resources (such as into the desert); and
3) The world gets serious about climate change.
Boy, this was depressing typing these reasons. Anybody have any other reasons to expect WT's lines to move one way or the other?

KSA is very hot and dry so they desalinate a lot of their water. IMO without energy to do that they literally die, so I would expect them to keep as much FF as they can for their own use. That assumes that they are sensible people and I think they probably are. Xeroid.

To the best of my recollection, much Saudi water goes to irrigate the wheat that they grow. Growing wheat in a desert with desalinated water may make sense from a national security standpoint. (It certainly makes no purely economic sense.)

Actually Saudi does not use desal water for irrigation, they use non replaceable fossil aquifer water. Which is even worse but it doesn’t cost quite as much.

Saudi Wheat

Wheat is grown at eight times world prices and then subsidized for exports. To that extent, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Block once called the Saudi wheat program "crazy".

The above quote is from 1995 but here is one a bit more recent. However it is a bit of Saudi propaganda itself. It states that desal water is used for urban and industrual use, freeing up water for irrigation. Now I ask you, is that sound logic or not? ;-)

Saudi Agriculture

Water, of course, is the key to agriculture in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom has successfully implemented a multifaceted program to provide the vast supplies of water necessary to achieve the spectacular growth of the agricultural sector. A network of dams has been built to trap and utilize precious seasonal floods. Vast underground water reservoirs have been tapped through deep wells. Desalination plants have been built to produce fresh water from the sea for urban and industrial use, thereby freeing other sources for agriculture. Facilities have also been put into place to treat urban and industrial run-off for agricultural irrigation.

Ron Patterson

I did recall a song made in the late 70's - No crude, No food

That would be this one, probably.

From this page.

With WFMU around, there is no need for another radio station.

I researched Saudi wheat crops and found that while they once were able to export wheat, currently they can not export wheat. Large families and many people under the age of 25.

Same with most farming subsidies in the USA!

(snicker) Thats why WT wants to buy farmland! :-)

Growing wheat in a desert
Bobby Butler - Cheaper Crude Or No More Food (MP3)
A song of economic retribution written by Brent Burns in 1979, this song was supposedly the only song ever played on the Paul Harvey show, selling hundreds of thousands of copies within a few days. Today, the specter of $1.50 per gallon of gas seems so... quaint.

In keeping with the Aussie PM's comments, I wonder if US crude oil inventories are benefitting from Iraqi exports being directed to the US (recall the PIW headline last week? "Iraqi June exports up to US, down sharply to Asia"). Based purely on price differentials, I would think that the headline should have been reversed.

It's interesting that Dated Brent Spot prices are knocking on $75, while US prices are down to slightly flat. The monthly post-5/05 peak Brent spot price was $74.

I expect that we may see Bush/Cheney come out of the "Peak Oil/Peak Export closet," and increasingly admit that they think that the US has to stay in Iraq, in order to maintain access to and/or control of Middle Eastern oil fields.

As I have previously noted, one possible flaw in their reasoning may be a decreasing willingness among junior and mid-level Army/Marine officers to sacrifice themselves and the men and women under their command in order to keep H2 Hummers filled up.

Jeffrey's quite brilliant insight of compounding factors in the ELM needs even more "compounding" (beautiful and meaningful as the model itself is). While it is the most important factor in peak oil, it must be placed in a larger context for its impact to be fully understood.

Oilpossom names quite a few factors, but we need to add a Godzilla sized gorilla: The impending global financial meltdown.

While that may seem to suggest less demand, it won't be so simple. A decline in total "available to market" oil of just between 5-10% would probably be enough to decrease supply and raise prices sufficiently to seriously disrupt many economies, certainly including the US. And overall we're not talking buying a few less gadgets, but people living or dying.

The double whammies are similar: Where in the ELM less production leads to much less export, the financial factor will mean that amidst soaring prices for fuel, there'll be much less money to pay for it.

Still, every drop will be bought, and prices won't go down, because there will be no net demand destruction. Armies and police forces will become much bigger consumers and hoarders. They have no choice. We'll buy all we can get, just so China won't get it. Oil equals power.

Amid the ensuing unrest and warfare, you can be sure that people will NOT get more serious about climate change. That is a luxury issue.

In poor countries, there will very soon be -much- less food (re: droughts, biofuels), less water, less oil, and all of this will be aggravated by more pollution, whether directly greenhiouse related or not. And not everyone will go down quietly.

In rich countries, sharply higher prices for oil and food will lead to other kinds of unrest, just as ugly.

And so the only solution I see most economies doing when faced with ever growing prices of Oil... is to inflate the crap out of their currency!

Sweet! Hyperinflation here I come!

Hyperinflation can likely stop a financial meltdown until annual compound interest reaches 1000%, that is the level at which no economy has ever recovered.(they just collapse!)

Of course they will, WT. That bit of noise from Australia was simply running up the flag to see how it flew... Private contractors now outnumber number of US Troops in Iraq. Baltimore Sun.
And private security contractors, who protect government officials and buildings, were not fully counted in the survey.
The number of U.S.-paid private contractors in Iraq now exceeds that of American combat troops, new figures show, raising fresh questions about the privatization of the war and the government's capacity to carry out military and rebuilding campaigns.
More than 180,000 civilians - Americans, Iraqis and others - are working in Iraq under U.S. contracts, according to State and Defense department figures obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Including the recent troop buildup, 160,000 soldiers and a few thousand civilian government employees are stationed in Iraq.
The total number of private contractors, far higher than previously reported, shows how heavily the Bush administration has relied on private corporations to carry out the occupation of Iraq - a mission criticized as being undermanned.

"These numbers are big," said Peter Singer, a Brookings Institution scholar who has written on military contracting. "They illustrate better than anything that we went in without enough troops."

I expect that we may see Bush/Cheney come out of the "Peak Oil/Peak Export closet," and increasingly admit that they think that the US has to stay in Iraq, in order to maintain access to and/or control of Middle Eastern oil fields.

where upon they declare martial law(to keep the peace),
dissolve the senate and or congress to prevent them from being removed(under the banner of streamlining the government to better deal with the Temporary crisis) and they will re-instate them as soon as it's over.

I seem to recall ,wes, that the loss of young officers,due to fragging,as well as a unhappy public, ended the last millitary adventure.I have spoke with several Iraq vets,who came back as unhappy with the .gov as one can imagine.Their rage at this administration should not discounted.They have been used,badly,and are aware of "The first Reasorce war",and all it portends.

Hi WestTexas,

I looked at your graph again, managed to reproduce it in IDL with

IDL> time=findgen(100)/10.
IDL> prod=2.*exp(-0.05*time)
IDL> cons=exp(0.025*time)
IDL> export=prod-cons
IDL> plot,time,prod
IDL> oplot,time,cons,line=2
IDL> oplot,time,export,line=3,thick=2

That's a 10 year range, with exports hitting zero, as you said, just beyond 9 years. So a general version would be simply

exports = 2 EXP (-decay * time) - EXP (growth * time)

where time is in years, production and consumption start at 2 and 1, with given decay and growth rates. You can also vary the 2/1 ratio besides decay and growth to get different values of T, the time at which the exports curve reaches zero. A simple, but elegant model indeed! Very easy to teach the concepts with.

Another simple exercise would be to take a model like ASPO's production curve and extrapolate today's demand curve with a percentage growth in exporting nations. For this you replace the above production curve with a Gaussian:

production = peak * EXP( -[(t - t_peak)/width]^2 )

where width is the 1/e drop time (for the half-peak time find t_2 = t_peak + width SQRT( LOG 2 ), where

SQRT( LOG 2 ) = 0.83


Do you mean nine years to zero from today(2007)= Zero exports 2016???

Net exports go to zero in nine years

Are you talking about global oil exports or only the exports by top 5? Also, when do you think the 5% production decline rate will commence? At what rate are the exporters declining today?

Thanks in advance. Your perspective is very important.

The Export Land Model is a simple mathematical model of a hypothetical country, which is however based on real life examples of production, consumption and exports. The hypothetical case history indicates that only 10% of remaining URR--from the zero time point forward (Peak Exports)--would be exported.

As an interim exercise, while waiting for the HL models for the top five to ten net exporters, I have run some numbers on the top five net exporters (which accounted for half of net exports in 2006).

For the top five, if we were to see a 5% rate of decline in production and a 5% rate of increase in consumption, their combined net exports would be down by 50% in five years and pretty much at zero in 14 years.

Right now, my guess is that the HL models will show that perhaps only 25% or so of remaining URR in the top five net exporters will be exported.

For the top five, if we were to see a 5% rate of decline in production and a 5% rate of increase in consumption, their combined net exports would be down by 50% in five years and pretty much at zero in 14 years.

OK, but if we use actual decline and consumption growth numbers (for exporters) as of today, what do we get?

The top five showed a 3.3% decline in net exports from 2005 to 2006 (production down 1.3%, consumption up 5.5%, EIA total liquids), but this is with Russia showing an increase in production. I expect Russia to start showing lower crude oil production, probably this year, no later than next year, and the EIA has been showing basically flat crude oil production since October.

In any case, the plan is to use the HL models to predict future production for the top exporters, and then use two different consumption numbers, 2.5% and 5.0%.

Yes, as I have mentioned to some offlist, the ELM describes the real-world situation pretty well, and the most relevant part of the situation for importing nations like the USA.

Something which may not be properly appreciated is that as grim as these decline rates may be, the simple ELM is in many ways a "best case" set of scenarios. Other posters have noted a number of real-world problems which could make matters 'worse'.

What I found myself thinking of the other night was the "WTH Export Land" model, because I think another major factor - which may cause more decline than the physical realities of oil discovery & extraction - will be an abruptly shifting paradigm.

In other words, Why The Hell Export oil? Once the actual situation starts to become apparent, it will be abundantly clear that it's simply foolish to do.

Of course, there are factors which will tend to keep exports flowing - keeping the Sauds unlynched, keeping weak export nations from being invaded, being so poor that exporting oil is the only way to keep from starving in real time. However, I think it will increasingly be seen only as an act of desperation.

This "new paradigm" could make a large difference just on its own, even without taking wars and sabotage into account. It could also flatten the peak in a way that will not be achieved, I think, by demand control.

Hello Greenish,

Interesting (as only grim scenarios can be) point.

1) re: "In other words, Why The Hell Export oil? Once the actual situation starts to become apparent, it will be abundantly clear that it's simply foolish to do."

This relates to discussion about the possibility of financial collapse simply from the realization that continually decreasing energy inputs means continually decreasing economy. Who will loan?

The thing is, though, it's really hard to say who will (and can) understand what.

There are individuals involved, with ties to others.

Who do these individuals consider their "group" to be, for example? It may be a case, in the end, of who poses the most threat to whom and how is this perceived? It doesn't even have to be "true", really. In other words, who is doing the "seeing" (as in "be seen only as")- ?

2) Q: When you say "flatten the peak", are you talking about a decrease in production/extraction that is a result of physical destruction of infrastructure?

Or, are you talking about lessening production as a strategy to keep one's own country/territory supplied?

3) Q: Have you given any thought to a more positive (humane) paradigm to replace the one that appears to be about to dissolve?

Sigmar Gabriel: German renewable power production to meet 50% of demand in 2030.
Prices for PV power to decrease at 8% p.a., offshore wind up to 14ct/kwh.
That way, he wants to phase out nuclear and achieve the CO2 targets all in one shot.
The other 50% would be coal and gas, so he also bets on CCS.

As always, he forgets that electricity is not even half of the problem. We are still waiting for solutions for heating (thermal and passive solar), and above all, mobility.

Will need some time and effort to lower the cost of solar panels:


The cost of electricity averaged about 10 cents per KWH in the U.S.

A 10 watt compact flourescent generated 40 watts worth of incandescent light.

Cost of electricity:

About 18ct/kwh in Germany, including all taxes, i.e. 2,05ct electricity tax and 19% VAT, and including co-generation and renewables subsidies.

Because of regulation, the utilities now sell the electricity they produce at the electricity bourse. Their own sales buy it from there and sell it to the customers. Four companies produce 80% of the electricity, so that bourse is a charade.

In addition to that, German consumers keep complaining that power is so expensive, but they are too lazy to switch the utility, even though switching is so easy.

The fixed price is way to high, so the solar industry is extremely profitable, good for their shareholders. But prices are simply too high that way. It does not matter much yet, because PV is only 0.5% of the power production.

Open question: Currently oil is the number one energy source. By what year do you expect it to slip to #2? Personally, I have no idea so I am putting the question to any experts out there.

Talking about Argentina: The German constitutional court has now decided that Argentina has to pay back the outstanding debt since the 2002 crisis, that amount to $100 billion.

The court ruled that the crisis was over, so the payments could be resumed.


Iraqi Petroleum Law - Fatwa forbids voting for the law.


Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Sunni fundamentalist Association of Muslim Scholars, a major clerical grouping, has issued a fatwa forbidding deputies from voting in favor of the present draft of the petroleum law. Unlike in Shiite Islam, the authority of Sunni clerics is limited, and the AMS fatwa may not be decisive. But given that Sunni fundamentalist deputies already oppose the draft, it adds oil to the fire.

The WSJ has a comment:

"The influential Sunni organization, the Association of Muslim Scholars, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, blasting the bill as "religiously forbidden" and warned that those who back it "anger God for usurping public money."

(subscription required)

E. Swanson

Noting the link above on Khursaniya, it will be interesting to watch and see just how much oil this complex does produce and for how long. Matt Simmons seems to think that 500,000 barrels per day, for decades, is pure fantasy.

But Simmons has this to say:

Khursaniya occasionally produced significant amounts of oil, but it also exhibited an odd behavior pattern. Oil production would gradually increase, only to soon fall off again:

From 1965-1967, the field reached a production rate of 100,000 barrels per day before it fell back to 40,000 to 75,000 barrels per day.

In 1979, oil output surged to a peak production rate of 208,000 barrels a day.

In 1980, it made 201,000 barrels per day

In 1981, it fell back to 177,000 barrels per day; this was the year Saudi Arabia had to open all its wellhead chokes.

In 1982, Khursaniyah’s production had declined further to 107,000 barrels, about half its 1979 peak…..

The technical papers written about Khursaniya describe an older oilfield that seemed poised to fade quietly into oblivion. It was surprising then, to say the least, to read in October 2004 that Saudi Aramco’s next big development project to bring on yet another 500,000 barrels per day of oil production capacity would focus on Khursaniya and nearby Abu Hydriya and Fadhili fields. When this new project is completed in 2007, the Saudi Petroleum Ministry has been widely quoted as saying, “these three fields will steadily produce 500,000 barrels a day for decades.” It seems quite amazing that each of these projects to rehabilitate old, underperforming oilfields targets a production level of 500,000 barrels a day for a very long period of time. It is even more surprising that so many experts simply accept these aggressive predictions without question or comment, as if predicting high production were tantamount to achieving it.

As noted, Khursaniya did achieve a peak oil output of over 200,000 barrels per day 25 years ago, while Abu Hydriya and Fadhili peaked in 1977 at 13,000 and 59,000 barrels per day, respectively. That these three old, small fields could suddenly anchor the growth of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply presses optimism right to the edge of fantasy and invites a reality check.
Matt Simmons, Twilight in the Desert, pages 221-222.

Ron Patterson

SA politics could have much to do with outlandish production predictions from old fields. The leaders of SA know that someday they will have to stop all or almost all oil export and use what they have left for SA. In the meantime they will never divulge their true reserves and will not tap into fields that they intend to reserve for their own internal consumption. So they tap into some older fields, sock the water to them, and proclaim their disappointment when they fail to produce what they predicted. Political ploy.

Is anyone keeping a list of "countries in the midst of an energy crisis?" Just from the past view days in Oil Drum links:


Resisting the urge to include every country, I would like to tally the nations where a minister or other government official has declared a crisis, emergency, state of emergency, etc., related to access to electricity, heating, motor fuel and so on, with links.

Hi Kenny,

I was thinking the same thing too.

BTW you forgot Zimbabwe and possibly a large chunk of S Africa

And North Dakota.


I believe Ghana has had numerous links published in the drumbeats.

Give it a rest guys. How many times has this subject been kicked around? It's been proven on a consistent basis that Zimbabwe's problems are not due to Peak Oil, but Peak Stupidness.

Mugabe is simply having a run of bad luck. For two years he had a problem with tooth decay and bad gums, then his wife was going through the change, then he had a mid life crisis, and after all that he came down with a severe case of atheletes foot. The guy has a heart of gold and wants only the best for his people. I feel sure he will soon have the country humming again now that his problems are behind him.

Whats the matter with Kansas?

River, the main problem with Kansas is that it exists. I know, I've seen it. Very few people realise that the first part of the Wizard of Oz was actually shot in technicolor-Kansas really is black and white, look at Bob Dole.
Bob Ebersole

I was making a joke, Bob...'Whats the matter with Kansas' is the title of a book. The person that penned the book was questioning the reasoning, of lack of, in Kansas, since they seem hell bent on teaching 'creation science' in their schools. That was not the only action that the author took Kansans to task for. Personally, I avoid Kansas. Why should I spend any money there to prop up the economy of a state that is so backward? I could care if the whole state goes belly up.

I was making a joke, Bob

So was he, bright light.

I know he was...bright light to you.

I would add Nicaragua, where electricity reportedly is 90 per cent produced from oil, and Senegal.
Quite recently there were reports about serious blackouts and smoking diesel generators in official buildings in Senegal, and their president wrote an urgent letter some month ago that was available on some web sites.

All of Sub-Sahara Africa, without a doubt!

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0705/12/i_if.01.html "> Africa's Energy Crisis

The continent is in the middle of a serious energy crisis, and it's getting worse. The World Bank says that in another decade, the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who do not have access to electricity could jump from 20 percent to about 60 percent.

Ron Patterson

And there are also major oil exporters that are having refined product crises, Iran and Nigeria.

This is an important topic. What are the signals to John Q. Public that there is an energy supply problem brewing? Really, there are only two: price and shortages. We all know what is happening with prices, but everyone thinks it's just oil company profiteering. On the other hand, the average American or European has no idea that there are energy shortages happening right now all around the world.

We need a TOD essay compiling all the energy shortages that are occuring. I think it might surprise a lot of people to see the overall tally.

That's probably because the number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa is going to "jump" in the next ten years...

I'm compiling a list with links to MSM stories.


I'll try to keep up with it.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 29, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) rose 3.1 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 354.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.8 million barrels last week, but remain below the lower end of the average range. Increases were seen in both gasoline blending components and finished gasoline inventories. Distillate fuel inventories rose by 1.2 million barrels per day, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.9 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories climbed by 8.3 million barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

Utilization 90%

Production 9.4 MMBPD

Imports 1.4MMBPD

Demand at 9.6MMBPD.

So everything is lovely?

Inventories grew 1.8 Million barrels.

But as you can see above, there is a 1.2 million barrel gain per day...this math makes my head hurt(as it is from another dimension - or rather all the double counting)

It would be nice of all this math added up somehow...hypermath.

Still one well-aimed hurricane away from a nightmare.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 29, 2007

It's pretty quiet in The Oil Doom about this week's inv report. Whereas gas inventories are "normally" flat in June (beginning to end) we are up a decent amount. The market continues to do unprecedented things. Prices are up in the face of this "bearish" report.

Of course if we take off 5m for July and 10m for August, we'd be down to 190 which may be MOL.

The market continues to do unprecedented things. Prices are up in the face of this "bearish" report.

The market is up in the face of this "bearish report" because of a very tight supply of oil in other parts of the world. Brent crude is up $1.76 today to $75.78 at last check. Maintenance in the North Sea I heard.

However oil is up all over the world. Tapis is up $1.30 at $77.85. Sometimes it is good to reflect that the US is not the entire world and we are not the tail that wags the dog.



Ron Patterson

With inflation running at 10%, you could expect a 10% increase in the cost of energy every year - irregardless of supply/demand issues.


Garth, oil is priced in dollars and the inflation rate, of the dollar, is running about 4% this year. That is bad, very bad, but nowhere nearly as bad as 10%.

And there is no such word as irregardless.

Ron Patterson

M3 is growing at over 10%. According to John William at http://www.shadowstats.com/cgi-bin/sgs/data - using the M3 SGS Continuation data - it is actually over 13% now. M2 is over 6%.

Merriam-Webster defines inflation as:

a continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services

Although I suppose we could use the "official" hedonic government statistics if it makes you feel better.


I'm in a state of bemusement at the oil market. It may be that we are simply bidding away oil from the parts of the world at the edges of supply -- and this may go on for some time. Things always seem to remain irrational longer than rational people imagine.

Here is another link for world oil prices.
The data is only weekly, but the list is more extensive.


Edit: Also included in the list is the API gravity for each.

It reminds me of the "restaurant math" used to power Slartibartfast's spacecraft in one of Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books. It seems normal mathmatical rules differ somewhat for the EIA just as they do in all restaurants in the universe.

Richard C

I think it's Bistro Math.

Hah...so there are other HH fans here...was disappointed no-one commented on my Breathe-o-smart reference the other day.


As I understand it Gasoline Production + Imports does not equal Demand.
Gasoline Production + Imports = Demand + Exports

Yep...tried that a few weeks ago...still doesn't work...by a wide margin. Double counting blending components might be the culprit.

Generally, doesn't add up, but I am not saying it a conspiracy just odd accounting.

Are you familiar with the word smuggling? Both governments and individuals participate in smuggling...especially those governments that might have OPEC quotas that they would as soon ignore.
Smuggling is probably the worlds second oldest profession.

Whatever has been happening to the numbers seems to correct itself the week afterward. Next week I'd expect a sharp drop.

If you look on TWIP at the "US Gasoline Stocks" graph you can detect a divergence in the last six data points as if there are actually two parallel lines.

This will be a fascinating test next month:

Beijing to ban a million cars in clean air test

The usage shutdown of so many vehicles could make a radical improvement in climate conditions. Remember the clear skies we had the week after 9/11 when air traffic was shut down in the US? Taking the optimistic view, let's hope this injects greater awareness into the public sphere about fuel and our options.

But cleaner air reflects less sunlight back into space, so if they actually do this it will contribute to Global Warming! (can't win nohow...)

which also means better plant growth.

it's not all bad, just mostly.

cleaner air reflects less sunlight back into space

That is correct. The effect of 'global dimming', caused by vapor, aerosols and the like from aircrafts, was observed in the days after 9/11.

"The near-total shutdown of civil air traffic during the three days following the September 11, 2001 attacks afforded a rare opportunity in which to observe the climate of the United States absent from the effect of contrails. During this period, an increase in diurnal temperature variation of over 1 °C was observed in some parts of the U.S., i.e. aircraft contrails may have been raising nighttime temperatures and/or lowering daytime temperatures by much more than previously thought."

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming)

yes one interesting aspect.... how are they going to accomplish a reduction of this magnetude? some question if they acctually can. maybe they will just say they did, declare "mission accomplished" and make everyone happy.

The lead article in this week's New Scientist (UK popular science mag) is "Biorefineries: Curing our addiction to oil". The first few paragraphs can be read at: http://www.newscientist.com/home.ns (most of article is behind a paywall). Full article in the printed edition is, sadly, just re-heated old hype about biofuel, bioplastics, etc. etc.

Written by "freelance writer" Jessica Marshall from St. Paul, it takes no account of amount of land needed, feasible production volumes, EROEI, the fact that we might still need some space to grow a little food for 6.5 billion people, etc. Basically, just a demonstration of scientific illiteracy and innumeracy which will unfortunately be read by a large proportion of scientists, academics and science students in the UK and beyond.

Meanwhile, Brent crude heads towards $74 and UK interest rates rise again ...

The article mentioned above: How We Can Survive the Age of Energy Anxiety is worth a look. (The article is focused on global warming, but similar issues apply in preparing for peak oil.) Here is a quick summary of the idea:

1. US Voters are more concerned about energy prices (a present danger) than global warming (a remote, future, abstract, theoretical threat).

2. The vote on Calif Prop 87 is a case study. (Prop 87 would have imposed a tax on oil production in Calif... tax would have funded alt energy... oil cos convinced voters this would increase energy prices).

3. Global warming activists are focused on regulation, not govt investment. This is a strategic error.

4. Voters WILL support large govt projects that promise energy price reductions in the future.

Some quotes from the article (with my emphasis):

Proposition 87 would have imposed a tax on oil production in California to support $4 billion in expenditures to develop and promote alternative energy technologies. The ballot initiative, which began with strong approval ratings, and whose proponents spent almost $50 million to secure passage, was defeated by a ten-point margin. Why? Oil companies succeeded in convincing voters that it would increase gas prices.

The kinds of large-scale, long-term investments that were instrumental in producing the Internet, the interstate highway system, and the biotech revolution came from government, and for a reason: Private capital won't stay in the game long enough, and the benefits of private investment are likely to be largely private.

A recent survey of public opinion research conducted by American Environics for the Nathan Cummings Foundation reveals just how sensitive voters are to energy costs.

Prior to the 2004 presidential election, the Apollo Alliance asked voters in Pennsylvania what they thought of the proposal to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to speed the transition to a clean energy economy. The results were surprising -- 74 percent approved, and among white, non-college educated males, classic "Reagan Democrats," the approval rating was 81 percent. In fact, the higher the dollar figure, the more these voters liked the idea. These were the very people who were thought to have bought the conservatives' anti-tax, anti-spending, anti-government message lock, stock, and barrel.

These results were confirmed and our understanding deepened by American Environics' recent review of public opinion data. The analysis revealed that, while the public sees global warming as a threat, they see many other issues as a higher priority.

Among those high-priority concerns are the nation's dependence on foreign oil, jobs, and energy costs. Fortunately, these concerns -- combined with concern about global warming -- create an appetite for the kinds of investments experts agree will be necessary. A policy with enough investment to credibly claim to lead to increased energy independence, reduced energy costs, and job creation will generate the widespread public support necessary for sustained, serious action to solve global warming.

But it appears we have reached a point where the public is less sensitive to congressional spending than they are to regulations that will increase the cost of energy. Today energy costs seem to generate the kind of ire taxes did a decade ago. Based on this analysis, we believe that investment as a frame can help build support for comprehensive global warming legislation.

Many proponents of global warming legislation have convinced themselves that a solution containing substantial public investment is not politically viable. But this fear of proposing serious investments backs them into a reliance on regulatory policies that will drive up both energy costs and voter anger.

The public opinion data and California's experience with Prop. 87 suggest that it will be better for proponents to risk conservative name-calling, stand up for spending commensurate with the threats and opportunities, and adapt Mayor Bloomberg's vision to the national stage: They should become the champions of a Greener, Greater America.

So the idea is to:
* fund such government investments by printing funny-money, which will further raise fuel prices via inflation, or:
* fund it via new fuel taxes, which would raise the visible price of fuel, exactly what prop87 shows won't fly, or:
* fund it via broad-based taxes (e.g., income tax), which will reduce people's fuel-purchasing ability, but in an unfair way that would do nothing to encourage the best strategy: conservation?

Maybe we could fund it by not waging useless wars? Iraq has cost $440 billion so far.

Don't try to predict the future. Get ready for it.

I agree, and I also personally use a lot less energy than the average. But the sad fact is that humans as a group won't sacrifice present comfort for future gain, nor to avoid future pain. Except for military spending, which is always in a separate category, sort of like the "ice cream stomach" that allows one to have desert even after refusing the main dish for being "full". Thus, mixing the war issue with the energy spending issue does not help in real-world politics, which is what that article was supposed to be about?

Currently here in Vermont we're having a big political fight over a legislative effort to create a public "energy efficiency utility" (expanded from the current electricity program to all fuels) and fund it via increased taxation of... the local nuclear power plant. The original idea was to tax fossil fuels (about 1%) for this purpose, which makes sense to me, but politics intervened. The nuke-tax too was vetoed by the governor. And the need for such a government program is because most people will not borrow money to insulate their own houses, even though it will save them money in the long run. And it's not the fear of debt: they will borrow to buy an SUV. We're not any smarter than yeast.

vtpeaknik wrote:

The original idea was to tax fossil fuels (about 1%) for this purpose, which makes sense to me, but politics intervened.

This is exactly the point that the article was making! People are not voting their gas taxes up. You should have seen the fights here in Washington state over the "car tab" (car licensing) taxes! (Another example: I believe that it was using car tab taxes for financing that killed our monorail in Seattle a couple years back.)

People hate any direct costs to driving, anything they have to write a check for. Income tax and payroll taxes... those only work because most people never see the money, it's taken out by the employer.

I think there is also perhaps a strong emotional attachment to the idea of cheap driving... it's deep in the American psyche.

Don't try to predict the future. Get ready for it.

interesting, el'befuddleoso wants to do it by lowering the taxes of 'murkuns.

Global Warming is a "remote, future, abstract, theoretical threat" ??? Temps in the San Francisco Bay area are going to approach 110 degrees today. Just one example.

Can I move to your planet?

I suggest looking at the opinions of climate scientists.

I entirely agree about the threat of GW/CC. The article is about how the mass of voters in the US thinks and votes.

Why bring this up? In case anyone wants to think about changing the future through political means.

Don't discount the idea that at some point in the future, the world may become hungry for the ideas of careful thinkers on energy and resource issues (as we like to think of ourselves at TheOilDrum).

Al Gore has often said something like this: "just because something is politically impossible today, doesn't mean it can never happen; conditions change and sometimes they change suddenly."

It makes sense to be ready with sensible proposals for responding to Peak Oil. Of course, these proposals are all over the map, but that's another problem.

Don't try to predict the future. Get ready for it.

A basic flaw in the above analysis invalidates it.

The $4 billion would have been wasted lining the pockets of V. Kholsa and other promoters of corn ethanol.

The word got out that corn ethanol is a scam, and this affected the voting.

I would have voted against Prop 87.

Best Hopes for spending $4 billion/year on Urban Rail in California,


Ethanol from corn has greatly increased the price of corn. This increase in price has greatly reduced the subsidies that the U.S. pays to compensate for low corn prices.

I think this factor should be taken into account in doing cost/benefit analysis of corn-based ethanol.

I do not think the "avoided cost subsidies" for agriculture should be taken into account when looking at corn ethanol subsidies.

Why ?

1) Two entirely different (supposedly) goals for the two programs.

2) There should not be agricultural subsidies anywhere close to the current scale.

Dairy farmers get massive subsidies. Beef cattle farmers do not. Yet, beef farmers & ranchers are doing at least as well as dairy farmers.

Likewise fruit & veggie farmers vs. grain farmers.

Overall, current ag subsidies are a waste of limited public funds.

Best Hopes for "Freedon to Farm",


The one thing I'll say in favor of agricultural subsidies is that they result in chronic surpluses of the subsidized commodities. Surpluses are better than shortages;-)

Beef ranchers depend on cheap corn to fatten their steers. Thus corn subsidies also subsidize beef.

I try not to eat beef that has been fattened with corn; this limits me to Brazilian, Argentinean, and some locally produced grass-fed beef, which tastes ten times better than the fatty yucky corn-fed variety.

In my opinion, the amount spent (or not spent) on subsidies should be taken into account when looking at whether or not corn-based ethanol makes sense.

BTW, I'm a big fan of Robert Rapier and am waiting with baited breath (as it were) for more on the cellusic process he thinks has promise.

BTW, I'm a big fan of Robert Rapier and am waiting with baited breath (as it were) for more on the cellusic process he thinks has promise.

Hi Don,

Still on vacation, but checking in now and then. I am negotiating with my company to allow me to serve as a technical advisor on the project. The first answer I got back came from the lawyers. You can guess what they said. They always say no. No questions were asked. Just "No." But I had 3 levels of management who supported it, and they bumped the discussion to our internal biofuels group. I am now discussing the issue with them, and it looks like I will get a green light to work on it. I have some meetings scheduled for next week when I get back to work, but I am optimistic.

And I would add that I am still just as bullish on the process. I have turned it over and over in my mind, and I have not identified a knockout factor. And they have already demonstrated that they can produce ethanol - from cellulose - up in the range of the concentrations achieved by sugarcane. That is the best anyone, anywhere has done with cellulose. But they are doing it in a very novel manner. I hope to be able to write much more about it soon.

Cheers, Robert

Remember--more than a year ago--when we had a misunderstanding. At the time I was more optimistic on cellusosic (sp?) ethanol than you were at the time. To my great humiliation you misinterpreted some of my comments as an attack on your integrity. (I think this must have been my fault for not making myself clear.)

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you are with your family in Scotland. I do recommend learning to sail and navigate in the North Sea, because if you can sail safely there you can sail anywhere.

If you're ever near Minnesota my offer of unlimited free sailing lessons for you and your family is still open.

Remember--more than a year ago--when we had a misunderstanding.

Don, I remember, but not the specifics. Regardless, it's water under the bridge. My apologies for my part in the matter.

I do recommend learning to sail and navigate in the North Sea, because if you can sail safely there you can sail anywhere.

I will be flying back and forth to the platforms, but I hope to never end up in the water. As far as sailing in the North Sea, I choose life instead. :)

If you're ever near Minnesota my offer of unlimited free sailing lessons for you and your family is still open.

I passed through Minneapolis in January on my way to Scotland. I doubt I will set foot back in the U.S. for a couple of years, but I haven't forgotten about the offer. In fact, I thought about it when I was there in January, but I wasn't there long.

That sounds great, but remember to stay on vacation! Your kids and your wife deserve time with you, and your kids are only going to be this age once, you need to enjoy them.
Bob Ebersole


Been out jumping on the trampoline with my boys ever since I wrote that last message. I even managed a couple of backflips. But I made them promise they wouldn't try it. :)

I am just taking a break now and then. It will be a while before I write another long essay. But I will comment now and then, and I have been reading the Drumbeats and most essays every day.

Take the kids sailing.

Usually there is a restored/reproduction large sailing vessel near tourist centers offering short trips. It is a great experience, they may even let the kids steer the ship.

I've gone out on ones in Annapolis and the Florida keys. It fun to go slicing threw the water without the sound of an engine.

Also large sailing ships don't seem to make me seasick. The heavy keel makes them quite stable.

What makes people seasick is a corkscrew motion through the water. In over 4,000 hours of teaching people to sail, I have had only one guy get seasick. Why? Because the pressure of the wind on the sails tends to prevent the corkscrew motion--except under extreme conditions. (And for extreme conditions, I postpone lessons;-)

Overall, current ag subsidies are a waste of limited public funds.

And yet your concern for public funds do not extend to spending on New Orleans or how New Orleans, San Francisco and New York should be 'saved' at all costs.

It is a matter of values.

Subsidizing large scale industrial agriculture for some crops (dairy, grain) and not in others (beef, fruit and vegetables) is *VERY* close to the bottom in my scale of values.

The International Space Station is down there as well (I do not expect anything of value to come out of this political boondoogle).



The farm bill is a huge, amorphous concoction, hard to pin. Yet it is the method by which the government handles rural America. Though I agree it is heavily slanted to agribusiness, (according to the USDA, large commercial farms make up 9.7% of farms, but receive 59.5% of payments) some programs help not only small farmers, but are one of the primary safeguards of the nations soil and water. As I hear it berated so often, and much of the criticism is warranted, it also would be a shame to throw out the baby with the bath water. A few points.

Much of the criticism centers paying huge farmers money for crops produced. This direct subsidy only applies to a few crops, as you allude, but specifically they are: corn, wheat, rice, oats, soybeans, grain sorghum, peanuts and cotton. These payments are rapidly decreasing. For 2003 and 2004, direct payments were made only on cotton, rice and peanuts. USDA expects only cotton and peanut growers to be paid in 2007. Market prices were above support levels for the other crops.

I believe that this is the aim of USDA and Congress at this time-let inflation and the market eliminate the more controversial elements of the farm bill. Neither likes them, but don't quite have the fortitude to stand and eliminate them. So since these payments are not indexed, inflation can do the work, leaving the rest of the bill alone.

With dairy, it is a mish mash of 4 different programs, highly political it seems to me, but a couple of things stand out. The commodity portion of this program results in free food distributions, and the last time they tried to overhaul it, everyone yelled with the only result, I could see, was the dairy men flooding the beef market with their older or non-producing cows, depressing it for over a year.

On the other side, the farm bill supports rural communities, and our soil and water. It also provides support for specialty crop producers, including organic production, fruit and vegetable producers, the National School Lunch, your extension programs, wetland programs, private land trust, and basic ag research.

I urge all to learn about the farm bill, and contact their representatives. Let them know what is important to you.

The extension program is going to be critical for ramping up local food production, and must be preserved at all costs. While I find subsidies distasteful, if that is the price of obtaining political support to maintain the extension program, then so be it.

On the lighter side, The Truth About Cars website has been running a series of "GM Deathwatch" articles. This quip in the comments section of the most recent article caught my eye:

I take it you guys have by now seen the GM “Transformers” movie tie-in commercials, the latest desperate bid to move moribund GM metal.
The only way I’d purchase any GM vehicle (save for a Corvette, possibly) would be IF it turned into a robot and fought evil. ...

Not so sure the Transformers movies comes "just in time".

CalculatedRisk cites a WSJ paywall article:

GM: June sales decreased 21%

From the WSJ: GM, Ford, Chrysler Sales Slide As Toyota Reports 10% Gain

Major Detroit auto makers reported weakness in June U.S. sales despite a flood of new sales incentives intended to overcome market pressures created by high gasoline prices and persistent weakness in the U.S. housing market.

General Motors Corp.'s results were particularly weak, with June sales down 21% from a year ago amid weaker retail sales and continued reduction in sales to rental-car fleets. The company's shares fell as much as 4.8% after hours following a shortened holiday trading session.

That same 21% decline was a feature of the TTAC article.

I was searching for that American Splendor soliloquy today and ran across an old article written under a pseudonym, but revealed to be by Harvey Pekar.

Which brings me to what you might call Letterman’s Dilemma, or even if you wanna get Shakespearean about it, the Tragedy of Letterman (Prince of Late Night). It is the dilemma faced by every artist who wants to create popular art in late 20th-century America. The dilemma is founded on the assumption that any person of intelligence and sensitivity is eventually going to run up against the fact that something has gone wrong in American life. Whether you come at it as a conservative (the family is falling apart, our kids learn nothing at school, drugs are destroying our value) or as a progressive (communities are falling apart, people are denied jobs and opportunities, commodity fetishism is destroying our culture), something’s obviously haywire.


Things are damp in Kolkota - I'm guessing that's how we spell Calcutta nowadays.

And here we complain about biking in the rain ...

Hello Donal,

Thxs for the photo. We Americans flush our toilets all the time. The Monsoon Season in Asia is when their multi-millions of outhouses, open latrines, and uncovered sewage ditches get their annual flush to the open sea. No, that is not a Baby Ruth candy bar floating by.

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

I wouldn't buy one either, and I get the employee discount. Of course, part of that is I will never buy another "new" car. I've found that good deals can be had for very low prices as long as you just buy them when they're available, as opposed to buying them when you need one. $300 for a 1985 Honda Civic CRX that gets 57mpg HWY. The alternator needed replacing, and that was it. I did that myself with a $60 rebuilt alternator. Laughing at the Hummer owners who gawk at my ghetto-looking car: Priceless.

Cars are status symbols, and mine says "I don't give a Fv*k"
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

I also buy used cars and drive them until they drop -- the only way to go if you are serious about living frugal.

It should also be noted that there are significant energy inputs in the manufacture of automobiles. Before we all rush out to buy the latest and greatest new car that gets an extra 10 mpg or something, some consideration should be given to this. How many miles/years does a more fuel efficient new car have to be driven before the fuel savings make up for the energy inputs that went into its manufacture?

Here is an informal on the ground 4th of July scorecard based on my 11 hour drive from Rochester, NY to northern MI.

Traveling on June 30th:

  • On major highways the SUV/sedan ratio was around 50%, possibly around 66% in some areas.
  • Very few people had any trailers carrying gas-powered equipment such as ATVs, jet skis, boats, 4-wheelers, etc.
  • Traffic was very light after getting halfway up Michigan. No delays or backups.
  • Very light speed enforcement, even in OH.

Camping June 30th to July 4th:

  • State park typically 66% full, 80% full at most.
  • Not many powerboats or jetskis in the lake. Mostly fishermen in the early morning. Made for good kayaking without the crazies around.

Driving north on US-31 from Traverse City, July 4th 9-11 AM:

  • Never seen it this quiet during summer in TC for years. Few cars on the road.
  • US-31 dead for all intents and purposes, made record time north.
  • Counted 25 vacancies, 5 hotels with mostly empty lots, and only 5 no vacancies coming out of Traverse City. Wow.

General cruising around:

  • Far fewer boats on the water in general, plenty of open space on the lakes.
  • Dozens of people running, biking, rollerblading, biking, around northern MI. That would be completely unheard of just a few years ago.
  • Tons of leftover fireworks at the grocery if you want to bug the neighbors.

No fireworks for me this year - I'm pretty down on our shared open-air asylum. I assume those were well attended. I did hear that two shows basically got ruined by low hanging clouds. Ouch.

Funny to see a Traverse City comment here. Maybe you saw my abandoned house? They are closing 3 elementary schools this year, on top of closing 3 in the last 5 years!

Once one or more of the big 2.8 go bankrupt it will get even worse.

I just moved from TC MI to Asheville NC. Me a civil engineer, my wife an elementary teacher. Most of our friends say we left 'just in time'. Except we have a farm w/house left in the downward spiral, luckily we own it?!?

I might have. The old Pirate's Cove on US-31 by the State Park is a wasting eyesore. There is also an out-of-place Hooters on US-31 farther down the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay.

Agree 100% on what happens when one or more of the Big 2.8 drop. It's a matter of time now because those guys don't want to seem to get it.

Also agree about getting out. I grew up in northern lower Michigan and went to school in Ann Arbor to get an electrical engineering degree. Right now I'm picking up checks in the defense industry in western NY, and I'm really glad I'm nowhere near the Big 2.8.

My heart aches when I think of the beauty of the U. P. Maine is very similar.

I was raised in Northern Ohio and had the privilege of driving up to the Porcupine Mountains to camp for two weeks.

That was over twenty-five years ago.

Welcome to Asheville. Glad to hear you're not just building a 5,000sq.ft. 3rd vacation home in once nicely forested area! Drop me a line at corsairxvi ått aol dött commm (hoping the spam bots won't catch that)...I can give you some pointers on the area (places to eat, hike, etc) and perhaps even meet up sometime and show you around.

A DNR officer told me yesterday that traffic was down on lakes all across the state but he blamed it on the economy.
Alpena fireworks (a huge draw) cancelled due to "technical difficulties", somebody forgot the matches!
Too bad about your not having fireworks, I got some this year for my 7-year old (sure) and am having a blast.

I agree totally with the DNR guy - this year people just don't have the discretionary income to burn up $200 in gas in a boating weekend.

I've been cruising around northern lower Michigan today, and the traffic is light and the roads are easy. That's really not good for this area.

I've got some fireworks to set off in the road, maybe I'll head to the grocery store to get the $100 package so I can really terrorize the neighbors.

To be more precise, the fireworks that were ruined were actually done in by fog, rather than low-hanging clouds.

A positive development taken by European train operators: formation of the "Railteam" alliance.

Railways join forces to compete with airlines

European rail operators threw down the gauntlet to low-cost airlines yesterday, launching a continental alliance that aims to get passengers off planes and on to trains by offering them sweeteners such as train miles and appealing to their green credentials as well as their wallets.

... train operators hope to create a rail revolution, capitalising on the public's growing fears about climate change and frustration with lengthy airport checks. [Railteam] will create one system to book international train fares. So instead of purchasing tickets from separate operators for the various legs of a London to Amsterdam journey, for example, there will be a one-stop shop that will issue passengers one ticket for the whole trip. And because prices will be more easily comparable, fares are likely to drop.

... High-speed rail networks are being extended like never before across Europe. More than 5,000 kilometres of track links 100 major destinations across the Continent, and that is set to triple by 2020.

More info at the Railteam website: http://www.railteam.com

Finally they seem to get it. When travelling from London to Berlin last year via train, I had to buy four different tickets...

It was also way too expensive.

I hope they also manage something similar in the freight business, the same fragmention there. Result: Loss of market share to the road.

All this oil in storage, and still, oil companies are buying like crazy at the highest prices of the year.

It sure looks like hoarding. Why else buy 71 dollar oil if there is a glut and prices are about to tank.

I asked my wife if we were to have more milk than we could drink, and milk prices were going up, would she buy more milk? She answers she's not an economist. (Translation: Don't bother me with your conspiracies, I've got to get the kid fed and off to school.)

Lessons from our ancestors about the countryside

The BBC series Tales from the Green Valley follows historians and archaeologists as they recreate farm life from the age of the Stuarts. They wear the clothes, eat the food and use the tools, skills and technology of the 1620s.

It was a time when daily life was a hard grind, intimately connected with the physical environment where routines were dictated by the weather and the seasons.

You read reddit and I claim by $5

All the indicator crudes at thie site:


are now over $70 for the first time this year. You'll note the particular strength of Tapis (used as one of the principal Asian markers) - its about $5 off its all time high.

Brent is very close to its all time high, and I think Dubai is now at most a $ or so off its all time high.

All this attention given to WTI is obscuring the true nature of how very very tight the WORLD market is

A hurricane at this juncture would see prices in the high $80s.

The end of the Implode-O-Meter ? Let's hope not. But that's "justice" in America these days. A frivolous suit is all it takes to shut people down/up.

Aaron Krowne needs support, and he deserves it too.

Loan Center of California Sues Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter; Motion to Strike Filed

On May 9th, 2007, we received (from the Fulton County, GA Court System) the initial complaint of a lawsuit filed by Loan Center of California ("LCC"), of Suisun, CA (Solano Co.).

The complaint is in response to an email posted on the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter website on April 18th, 2007. LCC alleges that as a result of that posting, nearly $4 million of funding was withdrawn by Credit Suisse and Washington Mutual (along with a variety of other business injuries).

The post that day consisted of little more than the contents of an anonymous e-mail we received, which painted a bleak picture of LCC's condition. In accordance with our usual procedure, we checked and found other information strongly suggesting LCC's business was no longer functioning, and discovered at least two mainstream media articles to the same effect (including quotations by LCC CEO Eduardo Blanche that the company was having difficulty selling loans on the secondary market---i.e., that the company's business model was breaking down). Considering the state of the market and the specific evidence on LCC, we provisionally posted them to the "imploded" list.

LCC alleges that Credit Suisse and Washington Mutual consequently cut the company's credit lines.

Jim Kunstler at his best, off topic or not. We can all use some fashion advice.

Thuggo and Sluggo

As someone who spends a fair amount of time in airports, I marvel at the way my fellow citizens present themselves in public. I see middle-aged women who appear to have left home in their pajamas. But it's the costume and demeanor of American young men especially that raises interesting questions about who we have become.

The fashion and body language of male youth in 2007 comes from three sources: prison, the nursery, and the pimpmobile. It's an old story now that many conventions of gangster fashion come out of the jail experience, where they take away your belt and shoelaces so you won't hang yourself.

Apparently, at some point in US history, they stopped giving the belts and shoelaces back on release, and it became stylish to wear your trousers falling down below the top of your underpants (or butt crack as the case may be). Jail being a kind of accreditation device these days, the message may be: I passed the entrance exam.

Less obvious is the contribution of the nursery. Pants that are ambiguously neither long or short, worn with XX-large T shirts, tend to make grown men look like babies. Babies have short legs and large torsos compared to grown men. They also make big awkward gestures and touch their sex organs a lot.

Add a sideways hat and unlaced sneakers and you have the complete kindergarten rig. Why a 20-year-old male would want to look five years old is another interesting question, but it may have a lot to do with the developmental failures of boys raised in households without fathers.

They simply don't know how to be men. They only know how to behave like five year old boys. They even give themselves nursery school nicknames. But they are men, and what could be more menacing than the paradox of a child bent on homicide.

PS thanks Jim, that made me laugh.

It should not be funny.

It is the flat-out unvarnished truth.

Hello Don,

I am horrifed at the true African continental fashion trend: Recall the photo posted months ago of an young preteen boy accessorized with the ubiquitous high-style AK47, and deluxe pink teddybear backpack for his extra bullet clips! Yikes!

P.S It would be interesting to find out if this child is still alive, and if so, what has become of him. Judging from the crazed, ruthless look: perhaps an 'officer', but not a gentleman now?

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

Every decade had its bad fashion, and this one is no different. I almost expect Kunstler to start bitching about the kids who walk on his grass.

Right, I see you're a fan..

By the way, Kunstler does refer to a specific decade's fashion. He probably didn't have space to do them all, I'd venture.

By the way 2: thanks for reminding mr why not to expect humor at TOD. Or, for that matter, in Chicago.

Actually I am a fan of Kunstler. I never miss his blog every Monday. This column was not meant to be humorous, and it sounded like a rant from a bitter old man drinking his shot and beer at the end of the bar at the local VFW. I wonder how he dressed as a youth. He probably long hair, ripped jeans, tie dye shirt, and maybe in need of some personal hygiene. And some columnist back then was lamenting how such dress indicated the end of the world. By the way, Chicago has provided more comedic talent both home grown and developed than just about any other city.

Chicago has provided more comedic talent both home grown and developed than just about any other city.

That'a awful, that makes it even worse. What happened, pray tell?

PS I don't know how you dress, nor your sense or level of humor, but connecting this description with alcohol abuse doesn't cut much of anything.

PS2 The column was very much meant to be humorous.

I left that beach ball way over the plate on that one. I would have been disappointed if you did not hit it.

You mustn’t have listened to many crotchety old men in dusty gin mills to realize Kunstler's latest column sounds just like these old farts. Just to make sure my interpretation was not out of line I went to the comments after the column and many other people thought he sounded like a bald old man.

PS. Don’t confuse sarcasm with humor.

Next generation styles aren't any good if the prior generation approves of them. Kunstler is predictably normal in this case (or maybe he's just misanthropic or more specifically "Americanus" misanthropic <-- my guess).

But the most interesting thing is how these styles eventually become accepted and even nostalgic! Tie-dye used to seem sloppy, now it's stylish. Gangsta seems threatening (has he got a gun?) but will eventually seem...playful? friendly? youthful? Watch what happens when pretty young white girls borrow from this (or Madison Ave sells it to them). I can't wait to change my Kunstler-like opinion of these clothes.

Great column! Definitely one of his best. Kunstler is certainly spot-on with his "youth Cult" observations And the thug culture is so easy to caricature - almost too easy.

I have always thought it to be funny how each generation expresses their "nonconformity" by dressing up in outfits that make them end up pretty much looking all alike.

Group concerned with oil depletion forming in Washington County

With gas, oil, and energy issues on the minds of many Oregonians, a new citizens group is forming in Washington County to address the issue for the general public. The group, Washington County Peak Oil, will launch with a screening of the internationally acclaimed film, “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash,” followed by a question-and-answer session and discussion.

Hello Tux,

Thxs for the info. After viewing the film, it would be interesting to see the crowd's reaction when someone suggests that 50 million Southwesterners and 50 million desperate people from Mexico may want to move there very soon.

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

Puh-leeez, Bob, I wish you would leave this one alone, I mean, I guess it's flattering in way to find that citizens in an arid climate fantasize about relocating to 'Cascadia'but I would suspect we will see as much out-migration as in-migration post-peak. It is cold, wet, dank,grey, even in summer up here. No solar option up here, even if you could capture a few hours of direct sunlight in a month, you would have to be constantly scraping algae off the collectors. Our grid is vulnerable to prolonged disruption from storms. Road-beds will degrade rapidly. Beating back the jungle (incredibly energy intensive, as this is a temperate rain forest) will yield to abandoning large tracts of present suburbia. Most of the land that isn't currently in agriculture is unsuitable for farming much else besides trees. (I mean, I can't grow corn or tomatoes or grain crops.)The landscape is morose, dark, claustrophobic...so just drop this one idea,ok, I mean, I like a lot of your other ideas, even some of the goofy ones. Meaning no disrespect, even Bucky Fuller and Leonardo had a few clinkers, you're an idea guy, I'm ok with that. Incidentally, what's become of the Hell's Angels' gas stations, I thought you were onto something there.

Hello Sidulin,

Thxs for responding, and I assume you live along the NW coastline--Good for you!

Sorry, but water is not a fantasy; pursuing a desert mirage is a lethal mistake. Just stating the obvious with my postings, but I can appreciate and understand your desire to dissuade any more newcomers to your area. I try to do the same to keep newcomers from relocating to AZ, but I am failing badly: we are growing at record rates.

Clean Water is Priority One for any human, far exceeding any 'desire' for FFs at Liebig minimum crunchtime. We just take water for granted now because it is cheap, but numerous experts on many websites and newslinks posted here on TOD suggest that this will radically change postPeak as the water & sewage infrastructure spiderwebs crumble.

Recall my earlier newslink that detailed how providing this H2O service was four to five times more capital intensive than even the FF-industry or electricity industry. Mind boggling amounts of energy are used to pump and process water and sewage nationwide too. Yet most people think gravity makes running tapwater and toilet-flushing a low cost, low energy event.

It all depends upon Stuart Staniford's famous quote: "How permeable are their minds to accepting new evidence?"

If everyone in my Asphalt Wonderland was required once a week to carry two 5-gal jugs of water a mile--> we would never have gone into Overshoot. Recall that Cascadia was much more populated pre-fossil fuels than the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. Anasazi and Hohokams just couldn't hack it when prolonged drought kicked into high gear in a desert.


The Oregon Trail was the national highway system pre-fossil fuels for a good reason as water was crucial, good roads were not. Consider that AZ has towns named Tombstone, Bagdad, and Why. Study the wild west water wars and the Colorado River Compact. Like any other animal, we will do whatever it takes to get a drink of water, or die trying.

My advice is Cascadia, New Vermont Republic, etc, better decide what they want to do before the incoming swarm arrives. Alternatively, we could still build a pipeline from the Great Lakes or the Columbia River if solar power gets suddenly cheap [filtering freshwater is much cheaper than desalinating ocean water]. =)

What's become of my Hell's Angels' gas-station idea? Wish I knew: I assume the American Petroleum Institute [API] has been reading TOD and may be asking TODers R-squared or AlanfromBigEasy for more info for their next interview session. Or else they think it is a nutty idea allowing the common people to safely store, and personally arbitrage gasoline prices. They want only TPTB to do this.

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

Bob, your HA gas station idea depends on a couple of false premises. That rule of law will exist after the crash. That people will remain cooperative after the crash. After tshtf there will be no rule of law and little cooperation among people scrambling for their daily bread...and water.

Hello River,

No doubt, good points. If this was started four years ago or more, it might be a pretty common sight around the nation today. If WT's ELM is true, it won't be long til the crash arrives.

And it makes one wonder why Bob thinks that anyone without a patch would get anything. :-)

Alternatively, we could still build a pipeline from the Great Lakes

Over my dead body. The midwest, especially Ohio, is perfectly suited for agriculture and we made need to irrigate when things heat up. The Great Lakes Initiative should be enforced and the people that moved west should reap what they have sown. The Great lakes and the Canadian Provinces will band together, move to the cities which were built on water and send our youth to finish off the east coasters coming through the Cumberland Gap or up the ST. Lawrence seaway. The desert takes care of the West.

Hahahahaha! Very well done, sldulin! But you give yourself away with your first line. ;)

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

Tux, that's great news. I think one of the solutions that all TOD readers should look at is forming local groups. Community is a wonderful way to help people adjust to a problem.
I think the distruction of a sense of community by the TV culture is the worst problem affecting our society. The more I read the more apparent it becomes that we are going to have to take individual responsibility and implement local solutions to peak oil, and we're going to need each others help for that, because we're sure not going to get much help from the MSM.
Bob Ebersole

Local groups? Who will make up the local groups? Community watch groups hold the most hope. Church groups will become dangerous...Would you want to fall under the law of Pat Robertson? Who wants another inqusition or a Salem witch hunt? Most church groups are led by narrow minded people that are more interested in the bottom line than saving souls. Many church members use their church to network and help their businesses prosper.
I notice many people looking back on the 'good ol days' through rose colored glasses. Those little communities were not forgiving of any people that did not fit into their 'mental model.' The little communities were not destroyed by tv, but by the automobile. Autos gave freedom to those that did not fit in and 'those considered different' used the autos to flee from what they perceived as an oppressive system. TV came much later...after Henry Ford was a multi millionaire.
MSM? We are not getting any help from the MSM now and will get no help in the future. As a resource they are dead, they just dont know it yet. Small local radio stations of 50 or 100 watts will serve communities and they will get any outside news from amature radio operators that are still using HF.
I think the best bet is for a community based group that is diversified; ie, different religions, different ethnicities, different cultures, but all in the same neighborhood. Maintaining rule of law will be the most important task after food and water. Medical care will come next. Religious zeal is not on my list.

Tennessee Williams used the train, and not the automobile, to escape to New Orleans. As did Faulkner.

Prior to WW II, New Orleans was the most "gay friendly" place in the USA. After WW II, SF surpassed us.


Interesting info about Russian auto sales:

Sales of imported cars jumped 60 percent to 510,000 units

``Everyone expected the growth to slow down after the last year's record,'' Stanley Root, a partner at PwC, told reporters in Moscow today. ``It has accelerated.''

Russian auto sales may exceed Britain's this year, and Germany's in 2010, Root said. Annual sales may reach $96 billion and 4.5 million units in 2011, provided growth in consumer loans continues and the country invests heavily in roads.

Hello Hifisoftware,

Thxs for the info. That is too bad, I had really hoped Putin would have pushed for Alan Drake's RR & TOD ideas, and my ideas of SpiderWebRiding, plus a massive Strategic Reserve of bicycles and wheelbarrows. Lots of horses for pulling winter sleighs, massive building of Eco-Tech housing, plus any other efficiency and conservation ideas.

FF-Depletion is unstoppable: any exporting country that trades only for biosolar import goods will enjoy far-reaching advantage over an exporter that doesn't.

Dubai's refrigerated ski-slope is a good example of stupidity. If I was the King: I would be using my remaining FFs to power the desalination plants to totally top off all the desert aquifers and oases. They already admit that future generations will be dune-riding camels in the classic rock-bottom Bedouin survival tradition. Recall the famous quote.

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

That is too bad, I had really hoped Putin would have pushed for Alan Drake's RR & TOD ideas, and my ideas of SpiderWebRiding, plus a massive Strategic Reserve of bicycles and wheelbarrows. Lots of horses for pulling winter sleighs, massive building of Eco-Tech housing, plus any other efficiency and conservation ideas.

:-) Eco-Tech building are bit too expensive for Russia for now. Not much you can do to push rail roads. RR is very well developed already (it was persived as more efficient mode of transportation in former Soviet Union thus the extensive development). The problem is that people never cared much for it (cars provides freedom of movement that can not be archived with mass transportation). Even in Moscow with excellent subway system it seems that people prefer driving a car. Moscow (and other cities in Russia) subways system is being continuesly expanded, but it seems to have no effect on the desire to have a car. A week or so ago, Russian government had a meeting with Japanese officials with the intent to speed-up passenger trains in Russia to modern speeds. Not sure if anything will come out of it, but that would probably be mostly a replacement for airlines. But in General Russia can switch relatively quickly for much more heavier use of mass transportation (in a way this would be going back in time so not very desirable but doable and without major negative effects). Compare this to LA where Amtrak only goes from San-Diego to Santa-Barbara (no way to ride a train even to San-Fransisco) and even worse situation with mass transit within a city.

FF-Depletion is unstoppable: any exporting country that trades only for biosolar import goods will enjoy far-reaching advantage over an exporter that doesn't.

But it's really a question of economics right now. There are more profitable businesses to invest into... This more of an issue for energy importing countries. Energy exporting countries will have energy to switch over latter that is if there are not colonies (such as Nigeria)

Russia did finish electrifying the Trans-Siberian RR in 2002 (an IMPRESSIVE accomplishment !) and to Murmansk on the Arctic Ocean in 2005. More in progress.

Since Russia is a major oil EXPORTER, "exporting more diesel" was one of the reasons given.

Best Hopes for North American RR electrification,


I was reviewing the St. Petersburg subway expansion plans (VERY difficult ground to build in) and they were quite impressive except for the time scale. About as slow as the equally impressive plans for Miami. 30 years from memory for St. Petersburg. 25 years for Miami.

Russia can afford to "go slow", they have the oil. We do not.

Best Hopes for building Urban Rail *FAST*,


30 years from memory for St. Petersburg. 25 years for Miami.

- Miami does not have the subway does it? St. Petersburg expansion schedule calls for doubling of subway length by 2050, is this what you are refer to?:

Seems pretty fast to me (and only more so considering that it the deepest subway in the world to the the fact that ground is so wet around.)

I agree that instead of hot-air talk by Congress about ethanol, it would be far better to build a comprehensive subway system in large cities. If 1 Trillion $ were spent on subway and railroads instead of Iraq, the US would be in far better position regarding energy security.

Miami has elevated Rapid Rail. Subway is also Rapid Rail. The rail cars and systems of Miami would run perfectly well in a subway (as would Chicago's El).

Functionally it matters little if Rapid Rail is elevated or below ground.

2050 is very slow, especially if Russia is not longer self sufficient in oil after, say, 2029.

Best Hopes for FAST construction of Urban Rail everywhere,


This link is for you Alan, allthough I'm sure you know everything about this already. :)

A good resource !!

I was impressed by the new Metros going into China and India, copied Iran and Israel by mistake, but they are interesting as well.



Shanghai will go from first subway line opening in 1995 to world's largest subway system (surpassing NYC, London, Moscow and Tokyo in several metrics) by 2020.

China (PRC)
Beijing Beijing Subway 1969 Beijing Subway
Chengdu Chengdu metro Under construction
Chongqing Chongqing Metro 2005
Dalian Dalian Light Rail Transit 2001
Guangzhou Guangzhou Metro 1999 Guangzhou Metro
Harbin Harbin subway In Planning Stages
Hangzhou Hangzhou metro Under construction
Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR) 1979 MTR
Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) 1910 KCR
Nanjing Nanjing Metro 2005 Nanjing Metro
Qingdao Qingdao subway In Planning Stages
Shanghai Shanghai Metro 1995 Shanghai Shentong Metro
Shenyang Shenyang subway In Planning Stages
Shenzhen Shenzhen Metro 2004 Shenzhen Metro [10]
Tianjin Tianjin Metro 1980 TJDT [11]
Wuhan Wuhan Metro (Note 2) 2004 [12]
Xi'an Xi'an subway Under construction

Bangalore Bangalore Metro Under construction Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Ltd.
Kolkata Kolkata Metro 1984 Metro Railway Calcutta
Kolkata Kolkata Suburban Railway 1954
Lucknow Lucknow MEMU 1998
Chennai Chennai Metro 1997 MTC
Delhi Delhi Metro 2002 DMRC
Hyderbad Hyderabad Mass Rapid Transit System
MMTS Service started in August 2003

MRTS project is in its implementation phase due for completion next year
Ahmedabad Ahmedabad Metro Proposed for 2010
Kochi, India Kochi Metro Proposal Cleared by Cabinet
Mumbai Mumbai Suburban Railway 1867 Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd.
Mumbai Mumbai Metro Under construction
Thane Thane Metro Under construction MSRDC

Indonesia Jakarta Jakarta Monorail Under construction Jakarta Mon

Iran Isfahan Isfahan Urban Railway Organization Under construction
Ahvaz Ahvaz Metro
Karaj Karaj Metro
Mashhad Mashhad Metro MURCO
Shiraz Shiraz Metro SURO
Tabriz Tabriz Metro
Tehran Tehran Metro 1999 Tehran Metro
(Only Tehran is open today AFAIK)

Israel Haifa Carmelit List 1956 [27]
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv Subway List Under construction
Jerusalem Jerusalem Light Rail List Under construction

Could someone please explain these prices.


They mostly don’t match any other spot or current futures prices that I can find.

The dated Brent spot was reported in GMT time.

These seem close but not exactly the same this hour:


In the U.S.A. the total petroleum + products stocks grew 8.3 million barrels July 5th EIA report:

Total Stocks (Excl SPR) (7) 1,026.6 1,018.3

This was an unusually large build, if U.S. storage fills up, tankers will need to rove in search of ports needing high price oil. OPEC has been increasing output.

Nestle fears food price inflation:

Starts with realistic (IMHO) assessment:

Food prices are set for a period of “significant and long-lasting” inflation because of demand from China and India and the use of crops for biofuels, according to the head of Nestlé .

but ends with wishful dreaming:

Julian Jessop, chief international economist at Capital Economics in London, said biofuels producers would develop technologies that required less raw material or used non-edible parts of food.

I have very low expectations of the mainstream media these days, but still, when I saw the El Paso Times screaming headline today (the first part all in caps) I just had to laugh:

Officials Report No Problems on Holiday

I know the reporters were hoping for at least a fatal car accident, or maybe a house burned down by fireworks, or (best of all) a murder, but NOTHING HAPPENED. How profoundly disappointed they must have been.

Of course, important things did happen, but those are things beyond their intellect.

My guess is that even Zimbabwe has better newspapers.

Taking a break from the public corruption stories that have dominated local El Paso news recently, I suppose...

I hope everyone is well.

I just came across this writing by Samsen Bakkthiari called "personal clarification".

I'm actually not interested in "gossip for gossip's sake" (though have been known to indulge wrt topics other than energy.:)

I am wondering, though - is there an issue that relates to "peak" in between the lines here, somewhere?

I found B's description of "transition phases" interesting, for eg., summary here http://www.energybulletin.net/19701.html

The recent House bill project that Prof. Goose came up with is a good idea. But, as one comment said, if TOD submits something to Congress, it should be some kind of distilled, put-together collection of comments and/or stories pertinent to bills they are currently working on. This is something that Prof. Goose or the whole staff could put together and send every now and then maybe to their representation in Congress. They need to have some input from some of the good stuff here, but just giving them a thread, all of which mostly meander through things irrelevant to the lawmaking process, isn't really the best way. Prof. Goose's post prompted me, a total nonpolitical activist, to look through the bills in the Congress. It strikes me that they are a blatant admission that we soon have to replace peaking fossil fuels. That's good. It also strikes me that the strategy behind all these bills is - well there isn't any strategy. That's very bad. There are two huge concepts that need to form this strategy and they are both conspicuous by their absence.

The first concept is EROEI. The biggest problem with replacing oil is replacing the high EROEI that we've enjoyed from pressurized reservoirs gushing forth their bounty once they were easily found and tapped. These numbers have come down from 100 in the 50s to around 8-10 now. Alternative energy first and foremost has to replace this kind of EROEI and most of it doesn't. Going down the EROEI scale is even worse than it looks by just the ratio change as is pointed out by an article at www.abelard.org :

Consider that I inherited one barrel of oil, and the EROEI was 4:1. I could use my one barrel and end up with four barrels. Now consider that the EROEI was 2:1, and I still wanted four barrels. Well, I can use my one barrel to extract two barrels, then I have to use those two barrels to extract the four barrels that I want. Thus with an EROEI of 2:1, it has cost me three barrels to gain four; whereas with an EROEI of 4:1, it only cost me one barrel.

Economists (Ronald Cooke, for example) who've studied EROEI say that values of 3 or less are dubious and less than 2 are probably a waste of time and money. As critical as this is to oil replacement, you'd think that every bill in Congress would be crawling with EROEI numbers. Instead, one sees the occasional indirect mention as in HR2773 (biofuels R&D) that just comments on refinery efficiency improvement. And I've read that the DOE website doesn't even have one thing to say on it. Granted that calculating an EROEI is extremely fuzzy and full of estimations. But that is precisely why Congress, instead of ignoring it, should be busy about developing standards for its use in sorting out the competing alternative fuel options. If you put together a comparison chart (as if it were an exact science) with some figures that have some degree of agreement from various sources on some major transport fuels, you have:

These are by no means formal calculations, just mentions from sources I think are trustworthy, and they are all debatable since there are no uniform guidelines for calculating them. There needs to be a global standard for apples-to-apples comparison, something the U.N. should do. The fossil fuel numbers in the chart are toward the conservative end of the ranges I've found (which are very wide). Gasoline has been given as high as 10, CTL as high as 25 w/Sasol's published 40% coal/liquid loss putting the EROEI at 15, and the LNG liquefaction loss has been stated as low as 10-15% for the very large plants like the one in Qatar with some NG EROEI stated as high as 17 making a top LNG EROEI of about 14. Also bear in mind that all fossil EROEI is going down. So what's low end now will be midrange years hence. Along with the bill buzz-o-meter comparison, the main point of the chart is to show that there seems to be a law at work here: the buzz in the bills in Congress is inversely proportional to how much good the bills will do in replacing oil. The closer to the energy sink end of the EROEI spectrum, the louder the buzz. And no buzz at all on EROEI itself! Call me crazy, but I don't think this is a good strategy. China doesn't either. In a story released just last month (www.ecotality.com), China is putting a moratorium on all oil replacement government programs:

The programs are being cancelled, it looks, due to cost and EROEI. The PRC does not look to have totally rejected CTL (and biofuels), but a call for a step back to be more sure of the technology before major investment

This is what the U.S. Congress should do as well at this point - an EROEI awakening in lieu of sleepwalking our way in an ethanol induced stupor to a transportation fuel cataclysm. And this is a transportation fuel crisis we face in the near term in North America, not an energy crisis. Our electricity comes mainly from our own coal (51%) our own nuclear plants (20%) our own dams, etc. But over 70% of the oil use in the U.S. goes into mobile fuel tanks. Thus, in the 70s oil embargos, we had plenty of light to wait in the gas lines by. We need to take what's left of oil away from its massive transportation duty and redirect it from burning in our engines to its less replacable role as a raw material in manufacturing.

The other huge concept that is conspicuous by its absence from the bill strategy in Congress is even more pressing than EROEI. This is the concept of bridge fuels. The mood in Congress is to shun any oil replacement that is nonrenewable. But just throwing tax money at nonfossil options is going to get us into trouble. We need an EROEI moratorium all over the world like China has just done and a refocus of bill activity on the best bridge fuels that will get us through the next 30 years while we develope a truly effective array of oil replacement fuels for the other side of the fossil bridge. There will have to be several of these bridge fuels, but let's look at just one here - LNG (liquefied natural gas). Natural gas has traditionally been thought of as the stepchild in the "oil & gas" business. But let's look at projections of oil and gas production with what has historically been the most accurate way we have - the Hubbert math curve.

So much energy discussion (especially in Congress) gets mired in a swamp of differing estimates of how much of what is in the ground when, mathematically, all that matters is how much is going to be produced at good EROEI along a Hubbert curve. At the World ASPO Conference last year, Robert Kaufmann pointed out that one could vary the amount of oil reserves left by a factor of two and still not shift the production peak by more than six years! For any kind of serious energy policy, Hubbert curves should be used. In the above chart, look at what happens to the total contribution of gas relative to just oil after 2008 as shown by the red curves. If conventional oil follows the Hubbert curve, and there is strong evidence showing it has already peaked, then there is about to be a drastic change in the relationship between oil and gas. We may have to rename it the "gas & oil" business. The coming years will see sharply declining oil production against NG climbing to become the world's primary energy source. The two main problems with replacing oil as a transportation fuel are 1)scaling up a new industry with new technology rapidly enough to replace the current vast scale of oil use and 2)getting an EROEI that is somewhere near what we enjoy now with oil refined gasoline. Consider that global natural gas, imported as LNG for places with insufficient domestic supply (like North America), has already solved both of these big problems. The NG utility transport/processing industry is a stark contrast to the cash flow challenged, tax subsidized, shakey start-ups that characterize the other alternative fuel companies. Tankers full of LNG have been criss-crossing the oceans since 1959. And contrary to much of political fashion, LNG has an excellent safety and environmental record - better than the oil refineries that would be unnecessary in using LNG as a motor fuel. Thus it also solves another pressing problem - the stretched refining capacity of existing plants and the problems of building new refineries. And the EROEI of LNG not only does what the bio-array can only hope for in matching oil's level, it's even better than oil! Because NG is about 35 years behind oil in everything including dropping EROEI, it should widen its lead on oil for many years to come. I am not alone in this view of LNG. Alan Greenspan has repeatedly warned of a natural gas crisis in North America, where production may soon plummet, and has strongly urged the rapid building of LNG receiving terminals. And T. Boone Pickens has formed a new company, Clean Energy Fuels, that is building LNG supplied filling stations for auto use. Even if there were no supply problems with oil, we should be doing the switch to LNG for environmental reasons. The liquefaction process that's needed to send it overseas also distills out much of the usual fossil pollutants, and greenhouse gas is reduced by 1/4th over gasoline and is so much cleaner than the other obvious bridge fuel player, coal, as this chart recently published in the New York Times shows:

But if we switch from our beloved oil refined gasoline to natural gas powered vehicles, we would have to put up with the following changes in our motoring:

1. up to 30% quieter
2. reduction of nitrogen oxides by up to 90%
3. reduction of particulate matter by up to 99%
4. engines that last 2 and 3 times longer
5. octanes of up to 135 (super, super premium)
6. paying around $2.70 per gallon of gasoline equiv. (6/07 prices) in lieu of $5.70 for ethanol factoring in higher food costs, higher taxes, etc.
7. the convenience of filling up in your garage from your home's natural gas supply - something to think about when we have oil supply problems like we had in the 70s

Oh well, sacrifices will have to be made. It makes more sense to use natural gas directly as a motor fuel than seriously degrading its EROEI and cleanliness by diverting its use to manufacture of CTL, tar sand oil, ethanol, or other fuels. Maybe that's a reason why in tiny Brazil, the gold standard of ethanol use, they run 8 times the number of natural gas powered cars and trucks than for the entire U.S. As for the current bills in Congress, I guess if I were dictator, I would favor the moratorium move of China and the drafting of a new batch of EROEI research and standardization bills and LNG terminal bills. We already have a vast gas pipeline/processing network in place run by well established, cash flow rich companies in no need of federal help.

Impressive post. Might I suggest this should be the basis of a featured article on TOD?

The inverse relationship between EROEI and the word count in Congress is telling... truly amazing observation. Political machinery exists for dithering an issue more than accomplishing a worthwhile goal.


I agree, this needs to be a key post-email it to the editors.I've thought for several years that LNG is the big oil companies plan to deal with the peak. That's why all the LNG terminals are being built.

The other advantage, which you didn't mention is that the current transportation fleet can be modified to run on LNG for about $2,000 per vehicle.

We have massive shale gas potential and coalbed methane gas potential in the US, and we could have energy independence in a few years. Our balance of payment problems would be halved, and the royalties and jobs would be all American. During the time gained for our economy, we could electrify rail and vehicles without undue hardship.
Bob Ebersole



First, may I add my vote to InJapan and Oilmanbob that this indeed should be a keypost, and commend what was obviously a fair amount of time and hard work spent by you in researching, editing and constructing this detailed post.

It is not a "bumper sticker post", but more the kind that a reader can sink the teeth into, good job, and thanks for reopening an interesting subject. It's just too bad that it is near the end of what will soon be a "dead string". and again, hope the editors of TOD will remedy that!

Having said that, I would like to comment as briefly as possible on several of the issues your post brings to mind, and that have been discussed here on TOD and elsewhere:

Some interesting charts and conjecture:

Hubbertpeak, allow me to say, is not a site that I consider to be unbiased and reliable. However, since your post relied upon the "Hubbert" method in great part, this site should have "street cred" in relation to your post.

As you can see, the Hubbertpeak site shows considerable skepticism concerning the idea of using natural gas as a replacement transportation fuel.

However, Robert Rapier, others, and I once came to agreement on a set of posts on TOD that IF natural gas is to be used in transportation (and it apparently is going to in a "once removed" fashion by using ethanol and tar sand, both natural gas consumptive in their production) we would be best off to use the natural gas directly. My post at that time created a firestorm of controversy, in which people accused me of a horrible lapse of judgment in suggesting competing with a fuel used for cooking and heating to continue our wasteful transportation habits.

I took the points made by my detractors seriously: Natural gas and the associated Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG or Propane) are valuable natural gifts of nature, and use of them should be considered with care.

If no attempt is to be made to reduce waste dramatically, then use of natural gas and or propane in transportation should be put off the table. It would be a horrific "dash to gas" that would waste away our last and most clean remaining fossil fuel, with nothing gained except a few years of extravagant lifestyle. However, if the most modern drivetrains, including hybrids and hydraulic hybrid, low drag aerodynamics, and compact size and weight reduction are incorporated, then as a range enhancing, performance enhancing fuel, natural gas and or propane become absolutely stellar options, IF STRETCHED TO THE MAX ON EFFICIENCY OF USE. (caps are not intended to be rude, but to stress this absolutely essential point.

Given the manner in which Americans so easily waste gasoline, to trust the public, the automakers and the policy makers to get these efficiency methods in place, rather than just take the easy ride (nat gas on an SUV, you can still live like your parents did and with a clean fuel!, would say the ads...), my faith that natural gas would be used efficiently is skeptical at best. But, in honesty, natural gas burned directly would still be better and cleaner than the ethanol/tar sands boondoggle.

Now we turn to the real crisis, the source of the gas. Your post mentions LNG of course, and there was also mention of coal bed, shale gas, and other "unconventional" natural gas. Being at the tail of a dead string, I will not search the numerous keyposts done on TOD discussing the limits of unconventional gas (mainly involving slow production rates, massive water requirements to "fracture" and push out the natural gas, and rapid depletion rates per cost of drilling) but simply say that these methods have not been ignored. They all however, show some serious limitations.

Likewise, LNG. First, let's admit this: LNG will happen. It has to. But it is not a program to "liberate" us, it is not a "bridge fuel" in the normally thought of way, but is in fact a last ditch desperation play. North America completely misjudged the natural gas situation in it's home territory, which is one of the most isolated natural gas markets in the world. As late as 1997, the idea of "clean and abundant natural gas" was still considered valid. The NPC (National Petroleum Council) the USGS (United States Geological Survey) the EIA and IEA, CERA, all were in complete agreement. Let the gas price go up, the drilling picks up, natural gas production picks up and the price drops back off. That's the way it has always been, that's the way it is. (aside: If anything should make one cautious concerning these groups current claims about crude oil abundence, just looking at how wrong they were on natural gas should scare us to death!)

The major player who expressed serious doubts was Matthew Simmons (brief aside: It was in researching natural gas issues completely unrelated to any issues of "peak" that I first came in contact with Matt Simmon's writings and website...my first tiptoe into the world of "peak" and energy depletion in the modern sense (my earlier thoughts on the issue had come from Alvin Toffler, and earlier still, the Arab oil embargo...explaining why I see the energy issue first and most importantly an issue of national survival and security...we are all victims of our upbringing...)

By 2003, CERA, the NPC, and the major gas producers were all admitting that production was NOT rising as drilling increased. Finally, CERA said that for all practical purposes, it looked as though North America had peaked for the "foreseeable future", and began extolling the virtues of the "globalization of gas", i.e., LNG.

The NPC went further, and issued one of the great energy documents of the new century in 2003. This was the "Balancing Natural Gas Policy –
Fueling the Demands of a Growing Economy " report
(If the picture of the book with the blue ring of flame does not come up, click natural gas on the links at the left side of the page. Scroll down and download the "Volume I, Summary of Findings and Recommendations"
It is a LARGE download, but well worth the wait. It is a "correction" of the rosy 1997 report, but actually is more a "repudiation" of that report. In this newer 2003 report one is astounded to find a petroleum supported council come to the conclusion that even with (a)an opening of all moratoria areas (Outer Continental Shelf and Rockies Mountains, and (b)LNG (Liquified Natural gas, and (c) conservation efforts, North America will still face a serious demand/supply crisis by 2020-2030, with price volatility much earlier damaging natural gas based businesses (as we have seen).

The implications of this are huge: Almost every "clean freedom fuel" alternative, from the tar sand industry, the ethanol industry, the "hydrogen economy" to electrification of the economy took as a first assumption a plentiful supply of cheap natural gas. That underpinning has been kicked out from under these alternatives. Now, we are talking massive importation of natural gas by way of LNG. This will mean that what was an oil importing industry will broaden to become a gas and oil importing industry, and result in a twin stream of already weak dollars flooding out of the U.S. What was a bleeding will become a hemorrhage. Only a multi front consumption reduction effort and "real" alternative/renewable energy program (solar/wind/wave) can prevent this now. But, we have waited too late in the game to prevent at least some years of attempting the LNG program, purely as a tourniquet.

But from where will the natural gas come? We have already seen the outcome of the European "dash to gas" of a decade or so ago. They are now painfully aware of the absoluteness of their dependency on Russia and a few North African and Persian Gulf nations, leaving them essentially impotent in confronting major issues that might offend these suppliers.

The three nations with the largest natural gas reserves are (a) Russia, (b)Iran and (c) Qatar. The Russian gas is almost all spoken for, sometimes twice over, as the Europeans and the Russians themselves jockey for the lions share of all Russia can produce. Iran, well, we leave that aside for now, needless to say, the U.S. is not on the Iranian "preferred customer list.

As a major supplier, this leaves Qatar, the Persian Gulf ally considered our staunchest friend in the region, the home base of American Persian Gulf forces (CENTCOM), and home to a population smaller than that of metropolitan Atlanta. If you have spare time, please google and Wikipedia Qatar. It is well worth the reading, as this may soon become the most crucial nation to American energy policy and America's Middle Eastern policy. I will go further: Qatar may soon become the most important nation on the face of the Earth to America's future.

Billions of dollars will have to pour into Qatar soon if we are to achieve our LNG goals. Qatar however, has Persian Gulf neighbors who desperately need that same natural gas, gas that can be pipelined to other Persian Gulf states at a fraction of the cost and effort of the "half around the world" LNG "train" of liquefaction plants, ultra expensive tankers, and then LNG receiving terminals (remember that for all the controversy they cause here, the receiving terminals are actually the cheapest and simplest part of the system)

At the moment, Trinidad and Tobago are our prime suppliers of LNG (replacing our former prime supplier Algeria, as Algeria can find many customers closer to home, in Europe and Africa). Trinidad and Tobago are undergoing millions of dollars in natural gas development, but how much more they can provide is a huge question mark. North America once spoke of access to Indian Ocean offshore gas and Australian shelf gas. This may come to pass, but the distances are long, and the Asian market including China is increasingly hungry for this gas. The very long duration contracts (some as long as 20 plus years) are already being secured by our Asian competitors. For a nation the size of the U.S. to hope to get needed gas on the "spot market" is a case of hope over experience indeed. The terror of LNG investors is to build a giant LNG handling industry and then not be able to find natural gas for it. They also face the possibility of mild weather and a few "bursts" of production from domestic natural gas producers causing a temporary but huge drop in natural gas prices. The LNG industry has had problems finding willing investors.

You make mention of the "LNG" tankers plying the Pacific. These are mostly Japanese and South Korean tankers. The Japanese and Korean LNG industry do not have to face a mature home nation pipeline natural gas industry that can cut their throat with little notice. This is a huge factor that allows them to invest in long term contracts, expensive ships, and the most modern liquefaction and receiving terminals.

Conclusion: Much of the front of your article was an involved and interesting discussion of EROEI. I hope that some of the factors I have mentioned above will cause the educated observer to see the extreme limits of EROEI as a measuring tool. While it is an important factor, it should not, and in fact cannot, be the deciding factor, as it leaves far too many real world costs, variables and externalities out of the equation. A promising alternative can be easily dismissed using EROEI, and one that is dubious at best be made to look good, if one "externalizes" certain factors, and includes chosen advantages in one case, but leaves them laying aside in others.

Take the fantastically high EROEI of "Imported LNG" in the first chart of your post: One must assume that the energy cost of building the LNG liquefaction terminal is in there, and that the energy cost of building the very expensive LNG tankers would be (that should be easy, they can be used for nothing else, and are the most expensive ships foot for foot of any surface ship other than a nuclear aircraft carrier!), and of course, the receiving terminals are counted...is there any calculation made for the military presence to protect the natural gas source? How about the geo/political latitude lost in relying on yet more imported fuel? Is there a way to calculate that?

And what of "comparative advantage? If Qatar's regime was not beholden politically and militarily to the United States, how would it be an advantage for them to sell LNG to us halfway around the world, when they could sell it to their Muslim and Arab friends and neighbors just across the border? How does one figure the geo-political and cultural dislocations and perversions into the EROEI?

I have left much out of this discussion to maintain brevity, including the very challenging logistical issues involved in timing the shipping of huge volumes of LNG, the issue of compatibility of density and vapor points of the fuel to the users pipeline and consumptive technology (ranges, stoves, etc.), the complexity of the financial contracts of extreme long duration which creates dislocations and perversities (there is a reason that Japan does not jump right in the middle of every fight in the world!), but suffice it to say, that if we begin to switch infrastructure and technology in transportation over to natural gas, we had better be relatively sure we know how all the pieces will fit, because due to the expense, the complexity and the contracts involved, there will be little margin for error.
But as I said, LNG, in some form, will happen. Our back is against the wall. it has to happen at least in some format. Only time will tell whether it can be made to work. There are options, and we must mix natural gas, carefully, in with the other tools we have in the toolset. And we must do it fast.

Thank you
Roger Conner Jr.
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Very interesting points on natural gas supply and in particular the importance of Qatar!


I second the motion--Well Done Roger! This could also be a very interesting TOD keypost for us to DIGG and REDDIT-- suggest emailing the TOD editors for submission requirements, further additions, graphics, references, etc.

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

I hate to have to mention this, but one might think that an LNG tanker coming into port fully loaded would make a particularly attractive target for terrorists. I wonder what the post-incident insurance rates would do for the price of LNG?

Hi netfind,

Thanks and I'd also like to see this as a lead article. For one thing, there's a lot I'd like to respond to, and given that people expect the thread to expire - let's start again!

I very much like your idea of looking at important concepts and developing a strategy. I'd like to see more of this. (And, yes, in case it helps, when it comes to US politics, I'm a life-long registered "Independent".)

I'd like to propose your article as a starting point.

I'd also like the opportunity to add on concepts for discussion, including the idea of tying and/or linking conservation (for example) to anything else that's done. Another way to say this is - my view is, without some tangible, built-in means to link one strategy to another, we run into the oft-discussed problems of receding horizons, population or whatever one wants to call the increased use on the user end. (As an example of talking about concepts.)

It seems like we need a "buy some time" conservation plan that really works to funnel the remaining oil bonus to renewable electrical generation capacity, because end of the day - if we don't have electricity, we're left w. not much else, it seems.

To respond to just one point from your post (and thanks again, for laying all this out):

re: "And this is a transportation fuel crisis we face in the near term in North America, not an energy crisis. Our electricity comes mainly from our own coal (51%) our own nuclear plants (20%) our own dams, etc. But over 70% of the oil use in the U.S. goes into mobile fuel tanks."

This line,

"And this is a transportation fuel crisis we face in the near term in North America, not an energy crisis."

always upsets me.

*In what sense* is a transportation fuel crises "not" an energy crises?

I would say the opposite is true in several important respects.

There is a subset of the electrical generation infrastructure and capacity that relies on transportation fuels for maintenance, for building of the physical plants, for extraction of the materials involved in building the physical plants, for getting workers involved in these industries/energy extraction and/or production technologies - to and from work, and so forth.

Absent some solid quantification of the qualitative relationship between "liquid transportation fuels" and electrical generation, this oft-quoted statement is disingenuous to the point of...well, let me say, simply it may do more harm than good. And I see a lot of harm possible in the paths that are possible, and a need for some clear thinking.


Darn, I had hoped to avoid staying up too late writing after getting in from work, but then you go and ask a fascinating question:

*In what sense* is a transportation fuel crises "not" an energy crises?

The reason I find this question fascinating is because I was raised in an mechanic's house, the son and nephew of mechanics. I was reading about cars as my first attempts at reading, was taken down to the tracks to examine an L&N (Louisville and Nashville) rail locomotive when I was not over age, and shown my first photos of gas turbine engines in as a pre teen by an uncle who serviced B-52 bombers in the Vietnam War. So transportation is in my blood, along with the carbon monoxide and motor oil I absorbed through my skin or accidently swallowed.

Given that history, I viewed any energy solution as a "car" solution. In other words, electric cars? What size battery would power a car, and for how long? Was it small enough per power delivered to fit under the hood?

Fuel cells? Would they fit in a car and provide enough power? how big would the hydrogen supply have to be to power a car the range of a gasoline car. What would the performance be like?

Stirling engine? Could that be used in a car or truck? Too bulky? Maybe a train? Woud you burn kerosene or Diesel as the heat supply?

I could go on, but are you beginning to see the problem here? Simply this: Transportation motive power and energy solutions have a particular set of "limiting factors", of "parameters" that do not apply in a stationary situation.

Weight is a HUGE factor in any transport solution. So is bulk, or packaging efficiency, or what some people call "volumetric efficiency". Transport solutions must also be very cost efficient. It is a competitive industry, and costs per mile add up fast.

The same can be said for transportation fuel. To compete with gasoline, any alternative is going to have some very high standards to meet, in volumetric efficiency, in power delivered per pound, in dollars per BTU delivered, and in the combination of all the above, which we often call "portability".

There are many, many energy technologies that may have huge potential in a stationary setting (Sterling engines, large batteries, fuel cells, solar panels etc.) but which may not package well enough to make it in the transportation industry. It is shocking to hear how many people, for example, dismiss the Stirling engine simply because, they "tried some cars with that years ago. It doesn't work." But cars were a misaplication for the Stirling engine anyway.

Since they are close at hand, let us use a couple of real world examples, linked recently right here at TOD:

On the Drumbeat just one day newer than this one is linked a USA TODAY story on NaS, or Sodium Sulfur batteries. The batteries were praised wildy in the USA Today story linked, but some crucial information was left out, namely, that Sodium Sulfur batteries are high tempeture batteries, needing over 300 degrees C to operate. However, if built in blocks to conserve heat and built on large scale, the batteries still show great promise as peak shaving batteries on the electric grid, as storage for wind and solar power. The battery was originally developed by Ford Motor Corp as an electric car battery, but the heat requirments and corrosion made the battery not suitable for automotive use.

Here is a perfect examply of having a great stationary energy storage solution that has little hope of ever being a solution to the transporation problem.

An even more stunning example is this:

Concentrating solar could have huge potential to produce electric power. But, it offers almost nothing to the transporation sector per se. Or does it? We'll see...
There is no chance that a person is going to drive around with these collectors on the roof. Too bulky, too heavy and complicated to compete with fossil fuel, and trying to aim those concentrators while on the move...?, well, it won't work....Here we see the "portability" problem at it's clearest. Thus, no "energy problem" if the panels and the batteries above work, but still a "transportation fuel crises", because it is PORTABLE, storable fuel that is needed for transportation.

Aniya, you say,
"Absent some solid quantification of the qualitative relationship between "liquid transportation fuels" and electrical generation, this oft-quoted statement is disingenuous to the point of...more harm than good"

Of course, the opposite is also true: It is the belief that we face an "energy crisis" and not a portable fuel crisis that causes people to expect the collapse of the power grid, the end of communications, and freezing in the dark. It is the belief in the "Undoable Gorge" or whatever, and the "energy crisis" writ large that allows Kunstler and his ilk to spreak panic based on the death of whole communities and the speculated starvation of millions.

But of course, we are swimming in a sea of energy. There is no shotage of wind, sun, and wave power in the world, if it is harnessed. But still we face the portable transportation fuel problem!

It becomes now obvious that we can solve the portable fuels crisis, and actually make our overall energy situation worse! How? Well, if we take the power from the remaining amount of clean fuels we have (natural gas) and use them to make a liquid fuel that works in our current type of engines, we have a more portable fuel, but less overall high quality clean energy! This by the way is called the tar sands or the ethanol plan. More liquid transportation fuel but less overall energy (or an even break at best).

Likewise You can solve the "energy crisis" with something like concentrating solar, or fusion nuclear reactors, but still be faced with the problem of how to create viable amounts of liquid portable transportion fuel.

"here is a subset of the electrical generation infrastructure and capacity that relies on transportation fuels for maintenance, for building of the physical plants, for extraction of the materials involved in building the physical plants, for getting workers involved in these industries/energy extraction and/or production technologies - to and from work, and so forth."

Of course, this is a logistical and not an "energy problem. If the workers are carried to and from, and materials and fuel are carried to a power plant by elecrrified rail, one can picture an absolutely efficient network of electrified rail trains using the electric power of the plant it is building/supplying, to build and supply it! Workers could live in barrecks near the power plant, and go away for visits now and then...by electric train!

What small amount of fuel per year that would be used in service trucks keeping the power lines and substations running could be provided by hydrogen split at the power station and put in the trucks. The power grid could be maintained, no "energy crisis", but people out in the country would perhaps be unable to traval at all. They could sit and potentially starve in heated and cooled suburban homes with the TV still running, unable to go more than a very short distance, unable to get food or medication to their home.

A transporation fuels crisis, not an "energy crisis" is what I have just depicted. It is possible.

Closing: If we can make clean electricity, we should be able to handle the "transportation fuels crisis, if we have only one more crucial element: Storage.

The quest for a "super battery" is not a joke. It could be one of the most revolutionary devices in human history. And we may be close to finding it.

The idea of efficient solar power is not a joke. It could provide an abundence unknown in human history, clean, distributed, and potentially almost endless. And we may within less than a decade of getting there.

This is the combination, the "confluence" that merges the energy struggle and the transportation fuel struggle together. Until these two things are accomplished, however, we must vew the idea of "energy crisis and a "fuel crisis" as two decidedly different things., Related yes, but very, very different.

Thank you, Roger Conner Jr.
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Hi Roger,

Thanks for responding. I hope we'll have this as a guest article, then we can (hopefully) continue this, and with the input of others, as well.

My point is that we need to be careful in language and analysis.

re: "Of course, the opposite is also true: It is the belief that we face an "energy crisis" and not a portable fuel crisis that causes people to expect the collapse of the power grid, the end of communications, and freezing in the dark. It is the belief in the "Undoable Gorge" or whatever, and the "energy crisis" writ large that allows Kunstler and his ilk to spreak panic based on the death of whole communities and the speculated starvation of millions."

My response, in brief:

One useful distinction we need to make, is that between what is currently in place, and what *can* be put into place, either hypothetically or some other way.

There is the actual, functioning system of energy extraction and delivery we have now. As we speak, today.

And then there are all the hypothetical additions and subtractions (changes) to the system, whether doable or not, whether costly or not, etc.

Therefore, I actually disagree with what you say here.

A crisis in LTF *is* a crises in overall energy. The only issue is - 1) "To what degree?" 2) "In what respect is/are the effects seen?" 3) "How do we analyze it?", etc.

Or, I could put it this way (to try to make my point): A crisis in LTF *is* a subset of an overall energy *change* or impact.

In other words, call it a "crisis" or call it something else.

My point is that a decline in *any* aspect of the LTF system does, indeed, impact the overall energy delivery system. In addition, there are feedback loops.

re: "we must view the idea of "energy crisis and a "fuel crisis" as two decidedly different things., Related yes, but very, very different."

Well, there are distinctions that are useful, perhaps.

However, to ignore the overlap, as in the original sentence I quoted, I believe is not only inaccurate in any kind of analytic sense, but also does a disservice to the discussion and to the people who are effected by this problem currently and in the future, which looks to be just about everyone on the planet.

Aniya, Thanks for the interesting analysis, and I won't go as long this time...your words I think here were on the point...

"However, to ignore the overlap, as in the original sentence I quoted, I believe is not only inaccurate in any kind of analytic sense, but also does a disservice to the discussion and to the people who are effected by this problem currently and in the future, which looks to be just about everyone on the planet.

First, if I truly "ignored" the "overlap" then I apologize, as I do agree with you that are overlaps, and they are some of the most interesting points of development in energy science and applied technology. A few:

-natural gas. As we have discussed several times, natural gas can be used in both stationary and mobile applications. Thus, conservation or alternatives applied to stationary applications can free up natural gas potentially for transportation usage. The same is true of methane recapture from landfills and and waste product from agriculture. If the vehicles can be made efficient, one can picture a combination of solar recharging for batteries on a hybrid car, a car that would have a very small engine running on a tiny volume of reclaimed methane as the range and performance enhancing engine. We would be getting near absolutel limits of efficiency in transportation by being very frugal with both stationary and transportation use of energy, not just "fuel" in the old sense.

-electrified rail. Again, we see the stationary energy system provided transport power. Alan Drake and others have worked this subject well, but I want to go one development further

-elecrtrified highway. The anti techies have always hated this one, but technically, there is no reason it would not work: A cable is embedded in the center of a lane on the interstate. the cable is charged by electric current, and a car passes over it with an "induction pick up" and picks up current by induction, to power cars over lonk trips. Trucks could also be designed to use the system to haul freight. With only a small amount of excess battery capacity, or a small hybrid engine that would only be used when the car was off electrified highway would provide motive power for short distances, say 20 or 30 miles. It is hard to find many places that are not within 30 miles of an interstate highway, and what few areas there are could be outfitted with selected two lane highways to get the vehicles to the interstate.

But where would the electric power come from? Now we see the revolutionary promise of cheap PV or concentrating solar! With solar pushing current into the highway, regenerative braking on the vehicle, the "automobile" would retain independent use at fantastic rates of efficiency. Once again, energy, fuel and transportation would become one.

Is there a chance it could happen? Who knows, but it makes the point that energy, fuel, stationary power and mobile transportion power are a very "liquid mix" and are becoming more so all the time!

Thanks again for the thought provoking line of discussion.
Roger Conner Jr.
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Hello TODers,

As mentioned before: I heartily recommend Alan Drake's RR & TOD ideas and the expert permaculturalists' pleading for relocalization as some of the best postPeak mitigation strategies.

But since I perceive the Southwest failing to move rapidly into these logical directions as evidenced by the continued insane infinite growth and Overshoot in my Asphalt Wonderland: I was musing again on low energy biosolar solutions.

Recall my speculation on postPeak wind-powered ships with a big thxs to TODer Sailorman for his suggested tech-improvements. Thus, oceanic trade is viable postPeak, although at a much smaller quantity scale. In short, we should expect very high value goods to arrive at our coastlines by this method.

The trick will be getting these goods far inland if climate change and droughts really start to decimate the habitats:


Basically, imagine the 1930s Dust Bowl continuing for fifty, or 100 years or more-- the Southwest and the Heartland will be reduced to scattered oases, and the long distance infrastructure spiderwebs may not be worth the maintenance effort to supply them, even with a high efficiency railroad.

The best solution to this was used before in Arizona:

QUARTZSITE, Ariz. -- One of the most interesting military experiments of the American West involved 77 camels and a Syrian named Hi Jolly. His real name was Hadji Ali, and he's remembered today at a pyramid-shaped monument in the Quartzsite cemetery.

The story of Hi Jolly began in 1855 when Secretary of War Jefferson Davis was told of an innovative plan to import camels to help build and supply a Western wagon route from Texas to California. It was a dry, hot and otherwise hostile region, not unlike the camel's natural terrain in the Middle East.
Recall the earlier posting by another TODer that detailed that currently in Iraq: an old donkey sells for $8,000 USD. Therefore I would like to suggest that we need Earthmarines, not only to protect trees so that we can later harvest tall timber for shipmasts [as mentioned before], but also to protect camels and greatly expand the herd in protective response to climate change. IMO, it will be societal survival-critical to not let the insanely starving mobs eat the last of these unique animals.

Having the national transport ability of extensive cameltrains to facilitate inland trade may be a crucial factor in holding North America together in a very modest social network. Richard Rainwater, and other wealthy people, could provide a tremendous social benefit by importing, protecting, and expanding camel numbers in North America before TSHTF. If we wait too long: the Mideast exporters will easily outbid us for these outstanding desert and sand dune travelers.

Cross-border livestock Trade and Small Arms and Conflict in
Pastoral Areas of the Horn of Africa: Case Study from Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya

Studies made by the author shows that shoats and camel prices are significantly integrated to crossborder
markets in Kenya (Mandhera)(see table 1).

[Interesting photos in this link--BS]

A camel can cost anything from a one to many thousand Saudi Rials (divide by 6 to get UK pounds), but the average price is about three thousand. I asked how many camels a wife is worth, and at first they would not say, but later the number eighty came up. I think that sounds like quite a lot.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?


Thats a great idea about the camels. Try googling the Handbook of Texas, camels for another history. LLamas and alpacas do fine on Texas exotic game ranches, and they're in the same genus.
At any rate, I like camels a lot better than pushing a damn wheelbarrow on a pipeline !
Eighty camels does seem like a lot for an arab woman, unless she comes with quite a few wells in her dowry and can make homemade baklava and halwah.

Bob Ebersole

Hello Oilmambob,

Thxs for responding. Yep, I too would also prefer to be a cameltrain driver and/or traveling trader than bust my back with a pick, shovel, or wheelbarrow. Camels hauling salt, perfumes, and spices has been the timeless model.

Evidently, the Southwest has undergone extremely long periods of extended geographically huge droughts before:

Ancient camel bones found in Arizona

PHOENIX — The bones of a prehistoric camel were discovered Friday at the site of a future Mesa Wal-Mart.

The bones are estimated to be about 10,000 years old.

"There's no question that this is a camel. These creatures walked the land here until about 8,000 years ago, when the same event that wiped out a great deal of mammal life took place," Archer said
Not sure, but my guess is 8,000 years ago might be about the time the first humans came to this hemisphere. We then proceeded to wipe out much of the life in the Americas.

Wonder if a far future headline might someday read:

"The bones of a prehistoric human shopper were found among the ruins of an ancient bigbox store still clutching a plastic salad-shooter", proudly exclaimed chief archeaologist Joe Camel.

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

my guess is 8,000 years ago might be about the time the first humans came to this hemisphere

Bob, do read 1491 by Charles Mann, I recommend it highly. That date will start getting shaky, and moreover I guarantee you2 will love that book.

“All rubbish,” he said, “So what if the world heats up a few degrees? If it’s 80°C today and next year 82°C, or 83°C, who’ll notice? Next?”

83°C?!?!?! That would be global warming!!!

Serious "frog in hot water", that!

Hello TODers,

The latest from Scientic American:

Glaciologist Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University, who was not involved in the study, agrees: "Something else," possibly Antarctica, must have provided the water for global sea level rise "because this observation does not at all affect [that] estimate … only the estimate of where the water came from."
Volcanic activity in the Bentley Subglacial Trench in the WAIS? Recall my long ago posting on this ancient caldera phenomena under the ice.

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