DrumBeat: July 16, 2007

Energy's Manpower Peak? - Why the biggest problem might not be oil

For headhunters like Tom Zay, business couldn’t be better. “I have never seen demand like this,” says Zay, a managing director in the Houston office of Boyden, an executive worldwide search firm. “We’ve had cycles in the past. But this is different.”

Indeed it is. While Zay looks for executives and top-level managers, the entire energy industry – from welders, tank builders, and roughnecks to petroleum engineers, nuclear engineers, and technicians – is strapped for talent. And the problems are likely to get substantially worse before they get better. Nor is the labor shortage limited to the U.S. and the hydrocarbon sector. Rather, it is worldwide, and being felt in industries ranging from coal mining to nuclear power. The reasons for the labor crunch are many: an aging workforce, lagging student interest in engineering, a lack of interest in blue-collar jobs like welding, and perhaps most important, the strong commodity prices that have led to a boom in energy projects of all types.

PetroChina Output Climbs 3.7%, Outpacing Exxon, Shell

PetroChina Co., the nation's biggest oil company, increased first-half production 3.7 percent, surpassing growth at Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc as China intensifies efforts to meet energy demand.

Niger hopes for oil riches under northern desert

Niger plans to award oil exploration permits by the end of next month for a vast block under the Sahara desert it hopes will turn it into Africa's newest crude producer.

The landlocked former French colony is one of the poorest states on earth but is sandwiched between oil producers Nigeria to the south and Libya and Algeria to the north. This has raised expectations among its population for a future oil bonanza.

Uganda: Disputed Buliisa Land Sitting On Vast Oil Deposits

ETHNIC clashes in Buliisa District in Western Uganda could have more to do with oil discoveries than grazing rights.

Contrary to the impression created that the Bagungu natives and the Balaalo pastoralists just woke up a few weeks ago and started feuding over rights to use land for either cultivation or grazing, the groups unknowingly represent bigger interests in Uganda's newly discovered oil.

Brazil to Build Dams Despite Bolivian Concerns

Despite Bolivian concerns about the environmental impact of two dams slated for construction in the Amazon region, Brazil's foreign minister said Friday they would be built as planned.

Turkey returns to energy chess game

Turkey made an important move in the energy chess game when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran over the weekend that will make both Russia and the US rethink their positions on gas policies in particular and on energy policy in general, said Cenk Pala, director general of strategic relations at state-owned Turkish Pipeline Company (BOTAŞ), affiliated with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.

Rising demand for nuclear energy among Asian nations

Asian countries are lining up to expand or introduce nuclear power. All say they need it to meet surging demand for electricity to run their growing economies. Yet the enlargement of nuclear generating capacity being planned by so many states is raising fears about catastrophic accidents and the spread of nuclear weapons in the region, just as hopes are being buoyed that North Korea will dismantle its nuclear arms program.

Emissions don't make Europe happy

Europe's carbon emissions have risen markedly over the last 40 years, but the extra fuel use has brought little increase in happiness, a report says.

A dress rehearsal for the final collapse of liberal capitalist ideology

The right-wing apologists of capitalism, for their part, have assured us that socialism cannot ever work; when the evidence of Venezuela suggests otherwise, they say that it depends on the unsustainable mining of Venezuela’s oil resources, and that socialism in Venezuela will collapse when oil prices fall.

Paris mobilises pedal power to cut traffic and pollution

Thousands of Parisians pedalled into Sunday traffic astride stately grey bicycles yesterday after the opening of an ambitious scheme to turn the car-snarled French capital into the eco-friendly City of Bike.

In the hot midday sun, a network of 750 high-tech stations went live, releasing 10,600 bicyclettes at very low cost to anyone with a credit card.

Report: Radioactivity leaked from Japan nuke plant

Water containing radioactive material leaked at a Japanese nuclear power plant following Monday's earthquake, Kyodo News agency reported.

Chris Skrewbowski on the dramatic shortage of new LNG mega projects (audio)

The LNG market currently presents users with a paradox. Demand is booming and rising numbers of countries are looking to LNG imports for increased security of supply and to cover emerging production shortfalls. Yet on the supply side virtually nothing has changed from a year ago in terms of plans for new liquefaction capacity.

Four reasons to cultivate greener IT

Consider what Gartner proclaimed at the end of 2006: Half of datacenters will run out of power by 2008. As explained by Timothy Morgan at ITJungle:

"Gartner did not, by the way, literally mean that datacenters would go dark in two years after blowing some fuses or melting under their own heat. What Gartner did say was that by the end of 2008, 50 percent of the datacenters in the world would not have enough power to meet the power and cooling requirements of the high-density computing gear that vendors are increasingly peddling."

Zambia's Indeni refinery stocks depleted, now using reserves

Zambia's sole oil refinery is working from reserves after running out of fuel stocks amid growing energy demand, an industry official told Dow Jones Newswires Monday.

Mexico Needs Calderón’s Proposed Fiscal Reforms

Pemex, thanks to the government leeching off of it, is woeful, saddled with debt and in desperate need of outside technology as it searches for more oil in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico’s government, addicted to crude, stares into an abyss of insolvency as Pemex faces a sharp drop-off in production.

Calderon’s fiscal reform aims to correct all of that (well, at least some it): it will increase corporate tax collection, lower tax evasion, and reduce the government’s reliance on oil revenues, all in one fell swoop.

Policy Implications of Mexican Pipeline Blasts

The natural gas pipeline explosions in Mexico, of July 3-10, 2007, have been attributed to acts of sabotage by a long-dormant peasant movement that is based in the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca. In Guanajuato, these acts of sabotage have had a cascade effect: the cut-off of natural gas has forced manufacturing plants to suspend operations, at the daily cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, not only to the plants but to laid-off employees, the export account of the country, and even the exchange rate of the Mexican peso.

Pemex — for lack of gas storage — had to scramble to export its gas to Texas markets, doubtless at a discount.

Greens to banks: Just say no to coal

Fueled by climate change concern and a Texas utility's recent scrapping of several "dirty" power plants, one environmental group is looking to cut funding for new coal fired power plants at the source: the big banks.

Company wins $4.5m in venture funds to test energy source

Every day in America, Boston energy entrepreneur Bill Davis calculates, trash gets thrown out that has enough latent energy content to generate 110,000 megawatts of electricity -- five times the typical demand for all of New England.

Now Davis's company, Ze-Gen Inc., is about to take a first small step towards proving whether that trash could be a new clean-burning electric generation source of the future. It's disclosing today it has closed on $4.5 million in venture capital funding for a New Bedford test facility.

David Strahan: If you're in a hole, merge. But is it too late for BP and Shell?

With reserves running dry in non-Opec countries, rumours of a marriage could finally come true. Even a combined group, though, might struggle in its quest for more black gold.

Plan Iraq - Permanent Occupation

Even with dated information on its potential, it's known Iraq has at least 10% of dwindling world reserves. But it's potential was "frozen in time" with no new development in over two decades because of intervening wars in the 1980s, economic sanctions following the Gulf war in 1991, and the current war ongoing since March, 2003. If the country's potential doubles or triples, as Saudi Arabia's did in the last 20 years, it would, in fact, have the world's largest (mostly untapped) proved reserves making Iraq too rich a prize for America and its Big Oil allies to pass up. It's worth trillions of dollars and immense geopolitical power at a time of peak oil in the face of future dwindling supplies, except in this resource-rich country the US won't ever leave as long as there's enough of them in the ground and region to justify staying.

No cheer in the oil story

Unless you're an executive at a major oil company, statistics coming out of the industry make for dismal reading. Not only is the oil price trading at 11-month highs of over US$76/barrel - approaching last year's record highs of just under $79 - but prospects for any relief are extremely dismal. This week the reputable International Energy Agency (IEA) sounded the alarm on an oil supply crisis in five years' time. Assuming global economic growth of 4,5%/year - conservative by most estimates - oil demand will grow at an annual rate of 2,2%, the IEA forecasts.

Oil Pipeline Plan Raises EU Fears

A new Russian crude oil export pipeline may cut supplies to refineries in Hungary, Slovakia, Germany and other central European countries, PVM Oil Associates said Friday.

China's CNOOC wins Somalia oil exploration rights

China's state-owned CNOOC has been granted exploration rights by Somalia's interim government, the Financial Times reported.

Bahah: Oil production will increase by 2009

According to Minister of Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources Khalid Bahah, Yemen’s Oil and Gas prospects in 2009 is quite optimistic. Crude oil production is to reach 500,000 barrels per day; Extraction capacity from current reserves will increase from 30% to 70%; and income from sale of natural gas will reach US$ 1-2 billion per year.

China says climate change drying up major rivers

Chinese scientists have warned that rising temperatures are draining wetlands at the head of the country's two longest rivers, choking their flow and imperiling water supplies to hundreds of millions of people.

Warming may bring hurricanes to Mediterranean

Global warming could trigger hurricanes, or tropical cyclones, over the Mediterranean sea, threatening one of the world's most densely populated coastal regions, according to European scientists.

Are these the last days of the Oil Age?

Oil ruled the 20th century; the shortage of oil will rule the 21st. There is now no doubt about the rising trend in oil prices. In 2003 a barrel of Brent crude sold for $29; in 2004 it rose to $38; in 2005 it rose to $54.50; in 2006 it rose to $65. Last Friday the price closed at $77.50. Some dealers expect it to test the $80 level quite shortly.

Last Tuesday the lead story in The Financial Times was the latest report from the International Energy Agency. The FT quoted the IEA as saying: “Oil looks extremely tight in five years’ time,” and that there are “prospects of even tighter natural gas markets at the turn of the decade”. For an international agency, that is inflammatory language. This steep rise in the oil price over a four-year period has been caused by demand rising at more than 2 per cent a year, while supplies had risen more slowly, by a healthy 4.1 per cent in 2004, but by only 1.25 per cent in 2005 and 0.5 per cent in 2006.

This has revived the “oil peak” debate among oil analysts. Some analysts believe that the world will never again be able to pump as much oil as we are pumping at present.

Japan shuts units at top nuclear plant after quake

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has shut down three major generators at the world's biggest nuclear power plant after Monday's powerful earthquake in Japan caused a brief fire in one of the units, company officials said.

UN warns it cannot afford to feed the world

Rising prices for food have led the United Nations programme fighting famine in Africa and other regions to warn that it can no longer afford to feed the 90m people it has helped for each of the past five years on its budget.

...Josette Sheeran, WFP executive director, said in an interview with the Financial Times: “In a world where our contributions are holding fairly steady, this [cost increase] means we are able to reach far less people.”

She said policymakers were becoming more concerned about the impact of biofuel demand on food prices and how the world would continue to feed its expanding population.

Uganda gears up to become oil producer

Flanked by the rolling green hills and steep, jagged escarpments of the western Rift Valley, an oil rig prepares to drill deep into Ugandan earth.

Better known for its myriad conflicts in recent years, Africa Great Lakes region has become one of most exciting frontiers in a hunt for oil on the continent that is increasingly focused away from traditional West African sources.

Hundreds of Iraqis protest draft oil law

About 300 oil industry workers gathered in Iraq's main oil port of Basra today to protest a draft law that they said would allow foreigners to pillage the country's wealth.

'To compensate for the military and political failure of the US administration in Iraq, this administration is trying to control the country's wealth,' the organisers said in a statement distributed to reporters.

New Oil Reports Add Confusion To 'Peak Oil' Theory

Conflicting reports makes the entire landscape of oil predictions very murky. Sometime one feels that predictions are dime a dozen and very much Malthusian in nature. If one prediction comes out to be wrong few others can be made with ease, there is no accountability for wrong predictions, Club of Rome prophecies of doom and gloom are not talked about we have lived through those years of intended doom with greatest of comforts. Malthusian food/ population disconnect never ever materialized, although proponents of Malthus cite Somalian famine as one example but on larger scale of 'scarcity' of resources the inbuilt mechanism of natural exponential growth defy scientific limitations since the inception of known civilization short journey of less than 10,000 years.

Chechen president accuses Moscow of hoarding oil revenues

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov accused Moscow in an interview published Friday of hoarding oil and tax revenue needed to rebuild the war-shattered republic.

'Everything is ruined here, and the funds aren't being spread around. The federal centre takes our income. Oil, taxes -- they take them both, and tell us: 'Okay, build',' Kadyrov told daily newspaper Izvestia.

Power lines coming to national parks? - Federal regulators propose new corridors for transmission lines

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Apple trees have been planted, wood fences restored and power lines buried in recent years to transform the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg to the way it looked when Union and Confederate forces clashed on farmers' fields in 1863.

But preservationists now worry that the national military park in Pennsylvania's picturesque fruit belt soon may be in the shadow of high-powered transmission lines.


SAVE $50.00 with the EARLY REGISTRATION FEE DISCOUNT for General Public for the ASPO-USA WORLD OIL CONFERENCE ON PEAK OIL in Houston Texas this fall.

The registration fee is scheduled to increase $50.00 for the general public on Aug. 1. The Registration Fee includes breakfast and lunch on Thursday and Friday and the two receptions.

The Association has obtained a $154.00 + tax per night room rate from the hotel.

Conference information http://www.aspousa.org/aspousa3/index.cfm

Direct to registration http://www.regonline.com/Checkin.asp?EventId=136392

I have never been to one of these conferences. What is the usual attendance for these events? What types of people / companies attend?


Last year we had a sellout in Boston of about 500. The capacity in Houston is a little over 800.

I would guess the audience last year was about split between the general public and business. Because of the Houston location we expect to attract more Petroleum engineers and Geologist etc. but will still get lot of the general public.


Hello Ricko,

Thxs for posting the ASPO Conf. reminder--I hope lots of people go to this event. I also hope TODers took the time to email/snailmail their favorite celebrity in the hopes that they too will attend so that ASPO can get additional MSM coverage. Recall my earlier free to cut/paste/modify text to encourage George Clooney to make the ASPO scene.

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

Damnnit I'm in school for that. maybe my future employer will send me down.

Syria Prepared to Go to War with Israel

The Baath official, who spoke on condition his name be withheld, said Damascus is preparing for anticipated Israeli retaliation following Syrian guerrilla attacks and for a larger war with the Jewish state in August or September. He said in the opening salvo of any conflict, Syria has the capabilities of firing "hundreds" of missiles at Tel Aviv.


Also, Israel diverts water from Golan away from Syria; could it be 'all about the water'?

Arkansawyer here.

The WND is not reliable. Kinda like Debka.

Second. I've never heard this-

In 1964, Syria diverted the Hasbani and Banyas rivers, depriving Israel of major fresh water resources. Israel retaliated by launching airstrikes at Syrian constructions.

But I have heard this-

Jordan 'nearly running dry'
The Dead Sea

Last Updated: Friday, 11 March 2005, 16:17 GMT

The Dead Sea is also under threat of drying up.
The river Jordan is in danger of disappearing altogether under pressure from huge water diversion programs, an environmental group has warned.

More than 90% of the water is being diverted by Israel, Jordan and Syria, Friends of the Earth Middle East say.

Water is more important than oil.

Above post has multiple links to several sources.

If Syria attacks Israel, how many days do you think it will take Israel to push within artillery range of Damascus? I think the over/under should be about 3.



"1967: Israel launches attack on Egypt

Israeli forces have launched a pre-emptive attack on Egypt and destroyed nearly 400 Egypt-based military aircraft."

The Arab world waits for the US to withdraw from Iraq.

The status quo favors the Arab World.

The status quo does not favor Israel.

Is Jordan flowing toward oblivion?
Deseret News (Salt Lake City), Dec 3, 2006

DEGANYA, Israel -- At a baptismal site on the Jordan River just south of the Sea of Galilee, pilgrims kneel in the water as a priest intones a blessing, a high point of their visit to the Holy Land.

A few hundred yards downstream beyond an earthen dam, a pipe spews raw sewage into the riverbed, next to a canal dumping saline water collected from springs. With the fresh river water blocked by the dam, all that flows on is a polluted, salty stream meandering 60 miles south to the Dead Sea.

I'd say 2 hours. Damascus is only 50miles from the Golan Heights.


Yes, I agree. But no names used/anonymous means rumor.

And Syria has nothing to gain from attacking, while
Israel has a history of attacking.

This time last year Israel was trying to capture the Litani.

Didn't work out, but Israel still must have it.

Especially after Syria and Jordan have diverted the Yarmuk.

"We are calling for fresh water from the Kinneret to be restored to the Jordan River," says Bromberg." Litvinoff adds that even a partial restoration of water flow would help rehabilitate the river, slow the decline in the Dead Sea water level and allow for tourism development to replace agriculture.

FOEME has received a discouraging message on this score from the Water Commission. "Rehabilitating the Jordan is particularly problematic because it is a river shared with neighboring countries," Water Commissioner Shimon Tal wrote to Bromberg several weeks ago. "Channeling clear water to the river can only be done through full cooperation among the countries. In view of the water shortage in the region, especially in the neighboring countries, it is hard to believe there would be consent to this."


From your article-

Israel has annexed the Golan Heights, the high ground overlooking northern Israel, after liberating it from Syria in 1967 during the Six Day War. More than 40,000 Israeli Jews now live in the Golan.

After liberating it?

Israel's Lifeline the Northern Water Sources
Three principal water sources barely suffice to supply the water requirements of the State of Israel:

The Banias and the Dan- presently flow through sovereign Israeli territory. Syria formerly controlled the sources of the Banias, while the sources of the Dan were right on the border. These waters were the cause of continuous Syrian aggression.

This danger became a real threat in the early Sixties, when the Syrians made an effort to divert the three river beds to a new water carrier, to divert the Banias to the Golan Heights and from there to the Yarmuk basin.

Syria, with plenty of water, would have gained no civilian advantage from this plan, except for the political objective of destroying Israel without having to go to war or employing military means.

Israel frustrated this plan from the outset by a combination of diplomatic efforts and military pressure, at the cost of many casualties and severe damage to front line settlements.

The struggle for the water continued for years and constituted one of the principal causes of the Six Day War....

C. The importance of the Kinneret basin, fed mainly by the Jordan sources, increases with each passing year, and under no circumstances must this source be endangered.

"Beirut's Daily Star newspaper reports that Damascus has ordered its citizens in Lebanon to return home by July 15, citing concerns over the "security situation in Lebanon." And a report in the government controlled Syrian daily al-Thawra said Syrian students studying in the public Lebanese University and the Beirut Arab University were authorized to enroll in public Syrian universities for the upcoming academic year 2007-2008.

MEMRI -- the Middle East Media Research Institute -- reports that on July 5, the Lebanese daily al-Liwa cited rumors that Syrian workers were leaving Lebanon at the request of the Syrian authorities. Arab and Iranian media reports have backed up the probability that Lebanon's current political impasse may turn violent after July 15. Indeed, a number of sensitive events affecting Lebanon and/or Syria coincide with the fatidic July 15 date."


Report: Removal of Golan checkpoints possible sign Syria's preparing for war

"Israel is "concerned" that Syria's removal of military checkpoints on their side of the Golan Heights could be a sign that Damascus is preparing for war, the London based Al-Hayat reported Saturday.

The article reported that the checkpoints, which are on the road to Kuneitra, have been there since the Six Day War."


The US was very disappointed with the outcome of the last Israeli attack on Southern Lebanon, as were the Israelis. Hezbollah did not fold and run away but stood their ground and fought to a draw against the large and sophisticated military of Israel. As a result Israels military lost some street cred in the ME and now feel that they have to regain it by dealing a severe blow to Hezbollah and/or Syria. Robert Fisk has the right idea...he has taken up permanent residence in Beriut...what better place for a war correspondent that doesnt want to commute? We will be treated to yet another summer war...and none to soon to save us from the travails of Paris and the lunatic ramblings of shrub.

And the MSM obsession as to whether Britney has neutered her new dog.



Here is the War Nerd's take on the recent Lebanon fiasco.


His observations as to Israeli youth could easily be applied to us as well. Instead of some hardened Audie Murphy types who had to scrape together a dinner by hunting rabbits in Oklahoma during the depression, we have a bunch of softies who’s idea of neglect is not getting the latest Xbox or cell phone.


And I don't trust MEMRI either-

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Lies of MEMRI, yet again. I normally would not link to MEMRI, but this time I will. An alert reader sent me a message when I was in Houston, alerting me to the blatant lies of MEMRI in this clip. I did not have a chance to view it and verify his translation until I returned tonight. He wishes to remain anonymous, but this is his text (thanks anonymous): "

MEMRI Clip No. 1442

A Mickey Mouse Character on Hamas TV Teaches Children about Islamic Rule of the World


...سنابل: بدنا انقاوم.

Sanabel: Bedna enqawem.

Sanabel: We are going to resist.

MEMRI: We want to fight.

فرفور: و بعدين؟ هادي حفظناها و بعدين؟

Farfour: Wo ba’dain? Hadi hfeznaha, wo ba’dain?

Farfour: Then what? We already know this one, then what?

MEMRI: We got that. What else?

سراء: إحنا بدنا..

Sarraa’: Ehna bedna …

Sarraa’: We are going to …

MEMRI: We want to...

سنابل: بطخّونا اليهود.

Sanabel: Betokhoona el yahood.

Sanabel: The Jews will shoot us.

MEMRI: We will annihilate the Jews.


That's one source quoted in one article. Seems you are working awful hard to put across, "Nothing going on here, move along, nothing to see."

I try not to work very hard.

Entropy and all. 8D

Syria has nothing to gain from Attacking Israel.

Hezbollah has shown the way.

Just sit and wait.

Israel needs water, electricity, gas, and oil.

And the US is withdrawing from Iraq.

Beijing backs Syrian Golan claim

Looks like Syria is being activated in the "The Great Game" as the powers struggle for empire.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Everyone is getting into the game. Iran announces it has 600 missiles targeted on Israel.

This story was going around last week

Syrian Troops Penetrate 3 Kilometers into Lebanese Territories

Syrian troops on Thursday reportedly have penetrated three kilometers into Lebanese territories, taking up positions in the mountains near Yanta in east Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.


I would point out that from a military standpoint, those missiles are actually aimed at all targets. What i mean to say is that the coordinates of all targets within range of an installation are known. At firing time, it is simply a matter of entering the command key and issuing the fire command.

i'ts the same with ICBM's with mirv warheads. I guarantee that that every city on earth with more than 100,000 inhabitants or any industry presence is targeted somewhere in some strategy book. Most of course are targeted hundreds of times over.

If I have a missile in range of NY, Boston, and Toronto, who do I hit? It really depends who you wanna kill, you can't kill them all with one missile, but you can scare the crap out of all three until the bird is in the air.

That's not how targeting is done.

Ghawar Is Dying as we slide Into the Grey Zone
"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

The WSJ has a page two article called "Potential Energy Crunch May Bring Other Fuels to the Fore". It starts

World oil and gas supplies from conventional sources are unlikely to keep up with rising global demand over the next 25 years, the U.S. petroleum industry says in a draft report of a study commissioned by the government.

The article is primarily about the NPC report, but also mentions last week's IEA medium term outlook report and Matt Simmons comment

"We should be preparing for a time when, in 10, 15 or 20 years, oil production is likely to be 40 million barrels a day to 60 million barrels a day, not 120 million," he said.

So the issue is getting page two coverage, if not page one coverage.

I think this is the article discussed in yesterday's DrumBeat. It's viewable online, but only if you go through Google.

Try clicking here, then clicking on the article that comes up.

Nice article at the top of the drumbeat, but you left this out of the sample.

The situations for blue-collar workers is matched by that for white-collar professionals. For instance, engineers are in short supply in the North Sea, where Robert Rapier works for one of the supermajors. Rapier, who writes the R-Squared Energy Blog and requested anonymity for his company, says the demand for engineers is “insatiable,” and that he has “posted jobs that literally go unfilled.

But Daniel Yeargin said oil would drift down to $30 a barrel. Surely the spokesman for Cambridge Energy Research Associates wouldn't get a call so tremendously wrong would he? I mean at the current WTIC spot price $74.10 per barrel we are at 2.4 Yeargins. The price is almost 2.5 times higher than he predicted. And that is giving him the benefit of the doubt because the WTIC spot is lower than the other world spot prices.
Surely I am in error, I find it hard to believe that such an esteemed expert speaking for such a renowned research company could be so wrong.
Did he call for $30 oil? Isn't the cheapest contract now about $74?
Please? who do we turn to for guidance in times such as these?


Rather than putting your faith in Daniel Yurgin, who is paid by the big oil companies, I suggest the I Ching. Some old fashioned people suggest reading the entrails of a sacrificed animal, or even the Tarot, but I think the process of determining patterns from chance and chaos works best.

I'd let you know the results of my own divinations, but its spiritually developing for you to seek your own.

Yeargin = politician = liar

Because of crackpots like Yeargin some oil officials have hedged oil production below $50 a barrel for fears that the price of oil might collapse. It has cost companies billions. It does nothing to help the consumer as the oil execs were misled and money that would otherwise be used for finding and development was divereted to the hedge contract people.

If the price of oil were going to $45, what would OPEC do?

Then after 4 years...you think they would stop paying $1000 bucks to buy his report and call him a crackpot too. Since, they would be the ones losing the money.


The market is zero sum. Somebody made money on those hedges, and THEY anticipated peak oil. ERGO the money is in the right hands (the smart investor, understanding peak oil!!)

!!i deserve a standing applause for that.!!


"We should be preparing for a time when, in 10, 15 or 20 to 60 million barrels a day, not 120 million," he said.

"We should be preparing for a time when, in 10 years, ...oil production is likely to be 40 million barrels a day."

5% depletion per year x 10 = positive feedback loops.

BTW-the Arctic will be ice free in about ten years.

Another positive feedback loop.

Jordan and Syria completed construction of the Unity Dam.

"The Unity Dam is the final nail in the coffin of the Jordan River, because it will prevent the remaining flow of the Yarmuk into the Jordan," Bromberg said.

"This is a fatal blow because these were the only flood waters flowing in that part of the Jordan," says Hilel Glazman, of the stream monitoring department at the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority. "These floodwaters helped a little to cleanse the immense pollution that has collected in the Jordan."


July 16, 2007

Psychotic Break

This story or scenario developed by Jeffrey Brown and statisticians at WWW.The Oil Drum.com, is pretty easy to understand: production declines in these nations will combine with greater internal oil consumption to severely curtail exports in a shockingly brief time frame. The populations of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iran are growing; car sales in Russia are up 50 percent this year; even Norway is using more of its own oil every year. These nations are consuming about 25 percent of their total liquids (regular crude plus natural gas liquids and condensates). Basically, the picture shows that net exports from these nations will run to zero in nine years. And they will be low enough within five years to throw the importing nations into complete economic paralysis.

The situation is even darker for the US because our number three source of imports, Mexico, is showing production declines far worse than the other exporting nations, suggesting not only that the US will receive no oil from Mexico in only two or three years, but also that the Mexican economy is likely to collapse and plunge that nation into political turmoil -- just what we need along our 2000-mile border.



Samsara: Kunstler is always enjoyable reading. Having said that, there appears to be a consensus on TOD that oil consumption leads to wealth creation/increased GDP. As Kunstler puts it "the importing nations will be thrown into complete paralysis". This site is fantastic for the high level of intellectual analysis devoted to global oil depletion. The assumption that decreased oil consumption causes a decrease in wealth is felt to be self-evident and not worthy of analysis. Any examples (such as Germany) that refute the theory are dismissed, rather than a closer look taken at the theory itself. This is the opposite of intellectual analysis, something more akin to religious belief, IMHO.

There is a big difference between a country showing, because of fuel switching and more efficient use of energy, flat to declining crude oil imports, versus having to cope with a worldwide collapse in net oil export capacity--think of the impact on the cost of moving goods around the globe.

Having said that, the EU and Japan are way ahead of the US, in terms of energy consumption per capita.

The problem in the US, as I have endlessly pointed out, is that the "Iron Triangle" is in effect is encouraging greater oil consumption, even as net oil export capacity is declining.

At this point, I think that all we can do is to be ready with a plan to try to make things "Not as bad as they would otherwise be."

Having said that, the EU and Japan are way ahead of the US, in terms of energy consumption per capita.

You have to wonder if they are simply better at exporting their energy expenditure to other places.

Even assuming that Japanese society requires less energy to function, is it safe to assume that a society can transform itself dramatically in the face of declining resources?

With less potential energy available to an autocatakinetic system like human civilizations, less complexity will remain. That's how entropy works as I understand it.

If the loss of complexity takes the form of societal changes benevolently moving towards efficiency and conservation, that would be nice. I imagine another outcome could be an expanded military and entertainment industry and a starving population. I imagine another possible outcome is collapse. Simple wind shear can stop an autocatakinetic system like a hurricane... it's harder to predict what outcome events might produce when we're looking at morphing societies.

"Having said that, the EU and Japan are way ahead of the US, in terms of energy consumption per capita." Certainly Uk has exported (i.e. lost) almost all its heavy industry and manufacturing. Also, I'd say that Uk is in poor shape to survive peak oil compared to many other European countries. We have a suburbanised lifestyle (although obviously less diffuse than USA), grossly over-inflated house prices and already have a big trade deficit even though we so far only import a few % of our oil requirements. With Uk oil production falling at about 10% per year a major recession within 2-3 years is likely.

The idea that wealth can be created without the use of energy, has a much stronger religious undertone than its opposite.

I don't think you state it correctly, either, when you say:"there appears to be a consensus on TOD that oil consumption leads to wealth creation/increased GDP".

Not all energy use leads to increased wealth, of course, much is wasted. But energy is and remains a prerequisite for wealth increase. As has been stated a million times, yes, efficiency can certainly have an effect, but efficiency has limits, not least of all those embedded in thermodynamics.

And you have to be careful where to draw the line between a general rule and its exceptions. If I sell my car, buy lottery tickets with the proceeds, and win that lottery, I am now richer than before, and use less energy. So what have I proven?

Or perhaps a better example is me buying stocks instead of lottery tickets. I use less energy now that I've sold my car, but for the stocks to be profitable, the company that issued them will have to use energy to increase production. Again, what have I proven?

HeIs: Yes, much is wasted. Yes, efficiency has limits embedded in thermodynamics. If you have evidence that North America is so close to reaching this efficiency limit that lowered oil consumption will cause "economic paralysis", present it.


Again, with all due respect, asking for such "evidence" is a bit of a strawman.

Still, going with what Kunstler argues in the article quoted, and what Jeffrey has argued for quite a while now, I'd say the main argument is that increased and improved efficiency measures, even if they would work sufficiently, take time to implement, and it's that time which will be lacking.

The Export Land Model, as I understand it, plays out over the next few years, not decades. The US cannot upgrade its transport and production systems to a level of efficiency that would allow it to continue umhampered when its oil imports plummet by dozens of percentage points. Hence things will come to a grinding halt.

And what goes for the US, goes for many other nations dependent on energy imports.

Just thinking about the added amount of oil/energy/money needed to construct the more efficient systems should be a major deterrent.

That, by the way, is where I fear the electrified rail plans that Alan Drake proposes, and Jeffrey endorses, will fail. The economic situation in the US is fast deteriorating, and money for large scale developments, both in the public and the private sector, looks less and less likely to be available.

The notion that oil = economic wealth is overblown at TOD. For example, people would be "wealthier" if they only worked four days a week for the same goods instead of five. That extra day of loafing around in the park doesn't consume any oil. There are still plenty of resources available for building new infrastructure etc. How about if the defense budget was cut in half? New infrastructure is being built all the time anyway, so it is really a question of building different infrastructure. If all the US homebuilders simply started building dense, train-supported urban structures rather than new suburbs, the amount of work would be the same as today. From a resource standpoint, if each urban apartment consumed half the resources per resident as the suburban McMansion, then homebuilders could build twice as many new residences as today with the same resources. This is no "extra" effort, just a redirection of existing effort.

I see no particular reason why world petroleum usage couldn't be down 20% from today with no particular ill effects. Look at the drop in oil usage between 1980 and 1985, for example. It may well happen that things get out of hand, but that is mostly a political problem rather than a geologic one necessarily. Zimbabwe is collapsing just fine without Peak Oil.

It is easy to fall into metaphor misuse when thinking about economies. The misused metaphor here is the idea that an economy is a "machine" like your car. If you put 20% less fuel in your car, you travel 20% less distance. Economies don't work like that.

Do you really think urban apartments require as much as half the resources of a McMansion? I would think a third tops...consider that not only is there far less actually construction required for any one dwelling (due to shared infrastructure), but there's far less transportation of materials too.
At any rate, doubling the population density of most urban centres in the US (and similar nations) could easily reduce oil requirements by 50%.
And no, most people won't like such a change, and resist it...initially. But they'll get used to it. We're all Homo Sapiens, and there's plenty of evidence that we're perfectly capable of living just as contentedly at higher densities as lower ones.

Frankly, for the same floor area, I'd expect urban apartments to be much more costly. The foundations alone add 25% to the cost of a high-rise vs a low-rise structure. Apartment buildings are framed in steel and concrete sections that must be placed with cranes. Unless they're panelized, McMansions are framed in wood members that are largely placed by hand. High rises are faced with stone veneer or metal panels; McMansions are faced with brick veneer and wood or vinyl siding. Waste may fall, but water in a high-rise has to be pumped up. Standpipes and fire-proofing add costs, too.

Then explain why, even here in Australia where land is plentiful, all government housing is high-rise apartments?
I don't believe for a moment it costs more to build an apartment block that can house 1000 people vs 300 McMansions. I'll accept my initial thought of it being possible using 10% of the resources was probably unrealistic.

Does anyone have any numbers? Ideally need the breakdown into resources+labour, as its resources we're talking about.

In the early part of the 20th century, architects and urban planners addressed the "problem" of workers housing and certain schemes proved influential. Mies van der Rohe put forth elegant low-rise blocks. There is an anecdote that when Mies was told his schemes were too expensive for workers, he suggested that workers be paid more money.

Wright proposed Broadacre City, which is much like the suburbs as we know them, except that people were supposed to have their own airplanes as well as motorcars.

Futuristic high-rise housing was the more common solution, as in Rush City by Neutra, or the Unite d'Habitation/ Cite Radieuse or the City of 3 Million by Le Corbusier.

In any case, while suburban development became the economic norm, the idea of high rise apartments in a park really caught fire with publicly-funded planners, who put up a lot of notoriously bad projects trying to execute the idea.

Edit: Here is a national average of hard costs for building apartments:

3 story $86/SF

6 story $107/SF

15 story $124/SF


And what goes for the US, goes for many other nations dependent on energy imports.

I have to wonder seriously if the day will come when we say the same thing about regions within the US. 30 years ago, the governor of Texas publicly threatened to send the National Guard to the border to blow up the natural gas pipelines and "let the damned yankees freeze in the dark". That sort of attitude could return, especially if the energy-poor but heavily populated regions of the country demand more and more from remote but energy-rich regions. Pipelines and long-haul electric transmission lines would both seem to be subject to being shut down by radical supporters of regional independence.

As JHK has commented, our problem is that we have this vast low density suburban infrastructure that is almost totally dependent on the automobile. Combine that with a net oil export capacity crash, mix and stir well, and see what you get. Also, US oil reserves, based on HL, are about 85% depleted.

I think that Alan Drake is offering the only plausible plan for "Making things not as bad as they would otherwise be."

WT: I do agree that the USA will be forced in re-urbanizing. You guys might be right- at this point I just don't think that it will be as catastrophic as forecast.It might work out okay-hard to say.

And I think Stuart has done a pretty good job of showing Alan's plans won't make a whit of difference.

It's quite the conundrum. More fuel efficient cars will be vastly more helpful in the short term. But it's basically drawing out an unsustainable lifestyle. Happy motoring, in smaller cars.

That's the problem, as I see it. That's the problem that all those societies that collapsed in the past have faced. Once you start down the road to complexity, it's difficult to choose a different path, let alone turn around. The short term outweighs the long term, and short term, the most effective solution is "more of the same."

But as Alan has pointed out, we built out a very good electric transportation system with minimal oil input. Here in North Texas, the electric light rail Interurban system, connecting rural areas to various towns and cities, was built in 1908--and then shut down in 1948:


In the long term, a net oil export crash might be a good thing--by forcing us to confront the hard cold reality that we really can't have an infinite rate of increase of a finite energy resource base, assuming of course that we are not sitting in radioactive rubble, downwind from Matt Savinar's hideout.

But as Alan has pointed out, we built out a very good electric transportation system with minimal oil input.

That has nothing to do with Stuart's argument. He's not arguing we can't do it. He's arguing that even if we do do it, it won't make a dent in our oil consumption, and it will help only a tiny fraction of Americans. That being the case, the argument could be made that it's not an equitable use of resources - basically, taking everyone's money in order to help the few who live where light rail is possible.

Again, this is the peak oil problem in a nutshell. We've already invested so much in the current way of life that it becomes extremely difficult to change. We end up locked in by our own infrastructure.

Leanan: I don't agree. The vast majority of Americans will eventually be living where light rail is possible, IMO. The vast majority.

Maybe we will. But the pain and unpleasantness that embodies is probably beyond our comprehension. It will be a tremendous loss of wealth. Those McMansions in the burbs are a lot of people's only real investment.

If economic factors lead to the destruction of the "greatest misallocation of resources in human history," well, it will probably make the Great Depression look like a party.

I expect the voters will demand mortgage bailouts of some kind before they demand rail. Not that it will help...

Double digit followed by triple digit inflation will do very effectively to get rid of mortgages and that pesky credit card debt.

Indeed, I see no way out of our financial mess without extreme inflation sooner or later. How about 12% in 2012, followed by 20% per year in 2020? I think those kinds of magnitudes are plausible and even likely. Hyperinflation may or may not happen, but double digit inflation to relieve debt seems to be the one political and economic way out.

Note that unexpectedly increasing the rate of inflation benefits debtors and hurts creditors. The political influence of the debtor class (as John Maynard Keynes pointed out) is superior to that of the creditor class. Also, governments, as J.M.K., pointed out, are chronically impecunious. Raising taxes is political death, but inflation can always be blamed on the Fed or blamed on financial institutions for lending too much, thus enabling politicians to dodge the tax bullet by endorsing the monetization of the debt (which is when the Federal Reserve System buys up new government securities without limit).

Let savers beware.

Except with our new global economy their is no pressure on wages to increase. I'm not saying we won't see price inflation esp in commodities but I doubt we see wage inflation global wage arbitrage is highly deflationary in general.

Only reckless monetary inflation has kept price inflation going to date. What we probably will see is a collapse in the markets for discretionary goods and spending and since most of the US workforce is now involved in the discretionary economy a result loss of jobs. Any attempt to drive the economy with inflationary policies will simply send prices for non-discretionary goods and services sky-rocketing while profit margins decrease. I see no chance at all for any inflationary wage pressures instead purchasing power of the average consumer is rapidly eroding.

Money games cannot beat the basics IMHO.

Money games cannot beat the basics IMHO.

Yeah, I agree. Stoneleigh, who has more than a little expertise in the field, has made some convincing arguments for deflation.

Deflation is theoretically possible, but I don't think it is likely to happen over the next forty years.

Why? Because Helicopter Ben AND ALL OTHER CENTRAL BANKERS hate hate hate the very thought of deflation. Also, so long as politicians tend to spend more than they tax, inflationary pressures will persist.

Monetary policy is not created in a vacuum. Monetary authorities (central banks) have to accommodate fiscal policy (i.e. deficit spending) because if they do not accommodate their powers will be taken away by legislatures.
Congress created the Fed. Congress can destroy or abolish or castrate the Fed. Members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System know these facts.

Why? Because Helicopter Ben AND ALL OTHER CENTRAL BANKERS hate hate hate the very thought of deflation.

As would anyone whose job was to maintain the health of a banking system based on fractional reserves. Broad deflation is hard on debtors; bad debts that have to be written off, or at least on which a loss must be taken, are hard on banks; so the central bankers would prefer to run a modest inflation. Economists make various other arguments for why running a modest positive inflation rate is attractive: labor prices that are sticky downwards, avoidance of negative real interest rates, etc.

I don't think anyone is arguing that. The argument is about whether they have the power to do anything about it.

I'm sure oil producers really hate Hubbert's Peak, too, but not liking it isn't going to make it go away.

memmel, I believe you are spot on. 'Only reckless monetary inflation has kept price inflation going to date.' snip...
We have not seen the Bens' helicopters...yet.

I follow your thinking, but with inflation you also have a situation where everyone that is in a position to pass costs on will do so and the majority of people will be squeezed just the same.

It is just another gambit in the wealth harvesting a certain element is engaged in. It has to come to an end no matter what it takes.

Unexpected increases in inflation steal from creditors and give to debtors. Debtors far outnumber creditors. In a democracy, numbers count. Theft from "fat cats" is always popular. Savers (compared to debtors) are the fat cats.

I'll give odds of inflation vs. deflation at nine to one. To write a convincing deflation scenario is very hard to do, because it would destroy all politicians in office and also all central bankers who permitted it. Look what happened to the Republicans after 1929; this lesson has not been forgotten.

Helicopter Ben was not kidding when he said the Fed would do whatever it takes to prevent or stop deflation.

I follow your thinking all right. I agree that they will try and inflate it away.

It just remains to be seen how it plays out on Main Street.
If the elections go even further left then "Jorge Arbusto" I think you will see even more class warfare then if a true conservative (who? LOL) were to be elected.

A Congress that kicks the Federal Reserve under the bus would be a good beginning.

I think there was another lesson from the 70's: reported high inflation is not popular with the political class. I think maybe you overestimate the influence of debtors, except for one: the US gov't. Apparent low inflation (reinforced by doctored statistics) with moderate to high real inflation has the following effects:

1) apparent wages slowly rising, while real wages decline.

2) Most debtors are never really off the hook, because of slowly rising wages, and the need to borrow more to maintain current lifestyle.

3) CPI based entitlements drop in real value along with wages.

4) Interest rates are ahead of apparent inflation, but behind real inflation, so creditors get shafted, too.

5) Gov't keeps spending because they can always print more,
and entitlements based on CPI melt away.

Totally agree.

Government isn't stupid. (Ok - well maybe they are)

But... Take the following two examples.

The guy with $1 million in the bank, earning 5% interest.


The guy with a $1 million business earning 10%/year, with a $1 million dollar note on the business at 5%.

The first guy, who is hanging out doing nothing is getting creamed by inflation. The second guy is still making 5%, but is protected from inflation (assuming he can pass his cost increases on to his customer and still make 10%)

Like it or not, The US has always encouraged the second, and discouraged the first. Inflation encourages investment.


Everything entropy said is spot on.

If any part of it is unclear, suggest reading it three times over.

the domestic creditors are very small compared to those foreign creditors of the u.s. are they to blithely accept accelerating inflation as they have done the last 4-5 years?it would seem the ability of the u.s. to inflate out of the current debt problem is in the hands of the chinese, japanese, etc. savers of the world. have there been ANY examples of a debt ridden country successfully inflating out of intractable debt problems without suffering wrenching economic/financial consequences?

I'm not sure what you mean by "wrenching economic consequences." The history of money is, to a very large extent, the history of inflations. The record of inflation goes back about 4,000 years, to the edicts of Hammurabi. (He was against inflation and instituted the death penalty for those who raised wages or prices. They went up anyway.)

The Roman Empire inflated the currency for four hundred years, but inflation was probably not among the major reasons for the decline and fall of the Western Empire.

What a U.S. dollar will buy in 2007, five cents would buy in 1907: That's a lot of inflation. The U.S. has not yet collapsed.

The American Revolution was financed by, in effect, printing money. It worked.

The Russian ruble is worth a tiny fraction of the ruble of 1907; Russia is still a major power. Mexico has inflated the peso by more than a factor of one thousand since 1954, but the Mexican economy is in better shape now than it was then.

Inflation is the normal situation. Stable values for currency are exceptional, e.g. England 1815-1914. Note that having precious metals as backing for currency is no help, as is shown in the repeated debasements of the currency, e.g. in the Roman Empire.

Even the Swiss franc is worth far less than it was a century ago (though compared to most other currencies, the Swiss franc has done well as a store of value).

The question is not really whether we will have more inflation. The question is whether inflation will putter along at two to four percent per year, or whether it will tend to rise, 2%, 4%, 6%, 10%, 20%. My guess is that peak oil will cause double digit inflation within relatively few years--say by 2012, if you want a specific year. The leap from stable prices to double digit inflation is about as big as the next leap, from double to triple digit inflation.

Savers beware.

as far as financial and economic outcomes, the issue is whether the bond market can continue to ignore inflation. if bonds sell off as inflation accelerates, then i don't see how the u.s. successfully depreciates its debt. if interest rates continue to stay low in the face of increasing inflation, then anything is possible, as we have seen the past few years. but even if the fed begins monetizing debt, a collapsing dollar could well lead to spiking interest rates with negative ramifications for levered markets and the economy. or is this yet another of those fantastic doomer concepts that could never happen here?

Look what happened to U.S. interest rates during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It took years of severe recession to get inflation back down below four percent in the late eighties; I do not think that any U.S. administration today would have the fortitude to let the Fed clamp down on inflation the way Volker did.

The past is prelude to the future. The oil shocks got us into double-digit inflation and 18% mortgage interest rates just about a quarter century ago. What has happened before can happen again.

I foresee bigger U.S. government deficits, a higher rate of growth in the money supply, increasing nominal interest rates and an irresistible political pressure to inflate our way out of excessive debt. Even if nominal interest rates go over twenty percent, the economy can perk along all right so long as real interest rates are low. And real interest rates tend to be low when inflation rates unexpectedly increase.

Note also that inflation is probably the only politically possible way to reduce real spending on Medicare and Social Security: Medicare benefits and Social Security benefits will continue to increase--but at less than the rate of inflation. Result: Screw the elderly, but do it with the lubrication of increasing inflation rates. There is no way the U.S. economy can keep in real (inflation adjusted) terms the promises made to the Baby Boomers. Inflation is a way for governments to break promises.

Those actually were the good days. You could make 22+% on your money with zero risk. It was worth it to work and everyone did.
Everyone that bought property got rich without even trying.
Those were the days. Now no one gives a shit because everyone wants to pay with peanuts.

Forget about it. I know why you go sailing. LOL.

WTF are you talking about?????????

Inflation helps no one ever. I am disgusted with your belief that inflation could have anything other than negative effect on all participants in an economy.

You act as if those with debts would magically be able to pay off their debt if a dollar was suddenly worth a dime. Yes their debt would be only 10% of what it was but their money, earning ability, equity, assets; all would also be worth only 10% of what they were.

Not to mention that those most in debt are the ones most affected by increases in the cost of all things which is the ONLY guaranteed outcome of inflation.


About DEFLATION. Yes the banks hate the idea of slowing down, stopping or even reversing the CREATION OF MONEY/DEBT, but…….

They have done it before and they will do it again, and for the same reason.

The first time, (great depression, even Bernanke acknowledges this fact) was in order to convince the country that they (BANKERS) needed to have complete control in order to “prevent such financial problems”.

They were totally successful. No conspiracy. FACT!

This time they will do it in order to illustrate that they need to “create a single, more stable global currency” (already officially announced by the CFR and supported by both cons and libs everywhere there is a political pay check).

Will we have raging inflation? Hell Yes! We already are if you would open your bloody eyes. Will it get worse? Most likely.

Will our creditors sit on their asses and watch the sand running out through their fingers?
I have to believe that they have their limits and in fact they have consistently proved this with their increasing unwillingness to buy our debt.

Look if we are going to get a bit doomie here at TOD let us not act blind when it comes to the equally eminent total collapse of the global economy.

I second the opinion of the comment up thread that we need more ECONOMICS expertise here as it is inseparable from PO.

Sorry no links, I work 8/10 hrs a day doing the ELP thing.

"WTF are you talking about????
Inflation helps no one ever"

YES, but if you anticipate inflation, the smart money can earn riches on that too, and ordinary people can take some advantages of that also if they know what is about to happen, though it´s not easy.

A lot of people in those McMansions in the burbs are going to be thrown out of them by their bankers anyway, for completely different reasons, probably over the next three years.

Hello Brian T,

Recall my earlier post on automotive Liebig minimums. By rationing tires to only critical needs: it will instantly create a huge demand for Alan Drake's ideas and hopefully my ideas of minitrains and SpiderWebRiding. RFID and color/tech will make it easy to dissuade blackmarketeers. No need to ration fuels. My guess is one auto-tire = 50 bicycle tires or 10 wheelbarrow tires:


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

Just a short note to say I think approaching the problem this way - through Liebig limits - is brilliant. Aside from the part where they lynch us.

Still, very nice!

But I don't think Stuart was considering the possibility--probability IMO--of a net oil export crash. It's the "Sixth Sense" thing--for most of us the suburban way of life is dead, but most suburbanites don't know it yet and they only see what they want to see.

I view Alan Drake's plans as basically our one shot at preserving some semblance of a civilized society.

As Alan has also pointed out, the Swiss did it in the Second World War, when they were cut off from oil supplies. So again, arguably the best thing that could happen to us, from a long term point of view, is an oil export shock (again with the "Savinar Scenario" qualification that we are not sitting in radioactive rubble).

WT: Exactly. Even on TOD, you see the end of suburbia stated as the end of civilization. IMO, it is just the end of a temporary (50 year) development phase.

If Americans hadn't moved to the suburbs, where would they have moved? If, for some reason the US had disallowed private autos, where would people have lived? IIRC, the industrial revolution led to many people leaving the countryside to find jobs, and some measure of freedom, in cities and towns. People of means moved farther and farther out of the larger cities to escape the noise, congestion, pollution and ethnicity of all the people moving in. Automobiles have increased the distance of that expansion, but industry and greatly increased population demanded that the cities and towns grow larger.

Unless everyone goes back to the farms, I see suburbia being adapted: building up into high rise ghettos near cities, as people are more willing to live in close quarters to be near jobs, and breaking down into towns farther away, along rail lines or waterways. Interstitial areas may be abandoned or razed to become farmland.

The problem is that most Americans are going to have to learn how to live at close quarters.

The rich and the poor will trade locations.

The poor will be evicted to transportation-less outer suburbs.

With double-digit occupancy in those houses that have not been looted of their copper and rendered uninhabitable.

What makes you (and Alan) think the inner cities will be habitable?
Sorry but many inner city homes have even the brick peeled off them.

"noise, congestion, pollution and ethnicity"

Noise: What's causing the noise? Cars? Can't someone build a damn apartment with soundproofing in the walls? This is what every other civilized country on the planet does. You'd never find a Singaporean who would put up with listening to their neighbors.

Congestion: What's "congestion"? For most Americans, it means automobile traffic. Pedestrian environments hardly ever get crowded enough that they have "congestion."

Pollution: What's causing the pollution? Cars? Trucks? Smokestacks? That's so 19th century. Open sewers? Horse poop? This stuff is so easy to solve -- most of it is already solved.

Ethnicity: Anything but that! In actuality, urban neighborhoods would probably become just as ethnically segregated as today's suburban neighborhoods, so no real change there.

Why is a high-rise apartment complex a "ghetto"? I bet the residents of Trump Tower would be miffed if you called their $2m apartment a "ghetto."

I think it was clear I was talking about the past, but I do live in a city and there still is noise, congestion, pollution and ethnicity. Our walls are fine until I open the windows for air and hear some idiot with more woofers than brains idling right outside.

I think it was also clear that I didn't claim that any high-rise was a ghetto, but I think people will crowd into high-rise neighborhoods that will be a far cry from luxury apartments.


Most of our jobs are tied up in suburban development and waste.

So you eliminate the suburban development and waste and you get unemployment which leads to social chaos which leads to maniacs in power. Think Germany or Italy circa 1929 but with 20,000 nuclear weapons floating around.

In theory or on paper, the unemployed could be re-employed building wind turbines or something but given the size and complexity of the transition and the fact it will be taking place as (much) cheaper labor flows over the border, it's unlikely to happen anywhere except the imaginations of green bloggers and TOD members.

Those unemployed suburbanites will turn to the Alex Jones's and BNPs of the world for leadership.

Hello Matt,

That is just another reason I am a fast-crash realist.

Think of all the Powerdown proposals that the topdogs have ignored to the detriment of themselves and their future offspring. Are Bush/Cheney and the other topdogs really that afraid of crapping in a Humanure bucket? Or planting a tree? Or tending a vegetable garden in the morning, then gutting and plucking a chicken for the evening dinner?

Richard Rainwater had no problem coming to this realization, and detritus powerdown and biosolar powerup is easy for the rich compared to us po' folk. Richard did his bit for Peakoil Outreach: I would have thought all his business buddies would have done the same by now. Boggles my mind.

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

Richard Rainwater didn't move downtown, did he?
He's building a community around himself.
I know, I know he's got the bucks to do it but how expensive is it really?
He has big diesel storage tanks sure, but a few acres, some food preservation, a community presence. Seems like he's just re-directing his energy, not his money.

The point I'm trying to make is maybe "the 'burbs" aren't neccesarily toast post-peak.
What reason will there be for folks to commute anyhow?
Could be those suburban housewives(mine will make me do it) WILL rip up their lawns.
[edit] A "special" type of compost can be made from lawn: http://www.growbiointensive.org/publications_main.html

Thats much easier than watching your kids go hungry.

Why did all those peeps move there anyway?
To get closer to the country!
I think the burbs may well be the seeding ground for the New Agriculturalism of this century.
"NewAg" for short.
You heard it here first!

First?  'Fraid not.

Productive land is wealth.  Having a lawn, landscaping, topiary, etc. is conspicuous consumption of a sort, but it can be converted to essentials if need be.

'Fraid so!
"NewAg" is a term I made up in a drunken stupor 30 years ago, a knock-off of all the the "New Age" crap I'd read.
I'm still pissed that you waited till "comments can be no longer be posted" you "responded", since you back up everything you say with NOTHING
And you are a contributor to this site?
I can fart better responses, with more to back it up with than you've demonstrated.
Answer directly!
"So substituting one fossil fuel for another is some kind of improvement of the condition?"
Not with your bogus crap: "Europe increased taxes on gasoline to drive demand for diesels, which are more efficient. This had the desired effect."
Oh, lest I forget, you said:"We have established that taxes discourage the activities which incur taxes"
WE have established no such thing, especially based on YOUR ramblings.
I, and others, have presented a coherent argument with sources to the opposite.

You are still fond of the drunken stupors, I see.

You are flaming me because you didn't get what you wanted:  a complete stipulation to all of your claims, no matter how contradictory they were.  For instance, you demanded "Can you name examples where an increase in taxes actually had the desired effect?", and then had a hissy fit when you got a real example from Europe (you tried to change the subject to pollution, which was obviously not on the minds of the various governments when they decided to favor diesel fuel in their tax regime).  That's pretty damn dishonest of you.

Oh, lest I forget, you said:"We have established that taxes discourage the activities which incur taxes"

Which I note you could not rebut, and which directly contradicts the implied claim (that increases in taxes never have the desired effect) in your challenge.  So you're having a hissy fit because my claim is irrefutable and you're forced to stipulate to my point rather than the reverse.

You could have demolished my case with counterexamples, had they existed; this is what we get instead.  How very mature of you.

I can fart better responses, with more to back it up with than you've demonstrated.

Do feel free to try to convince Prof. Goose of that.  He doesn't know me from Adam, and if you're not good enough to replace me—or even join me—on the right sidebar, it is only due to your shortcomings.

(PS:  I'm not claiming to have coined the same phrase, I am claiming that your post above was not the first to put forth the concept of suburban spaces as having more potential for self-sufficiency than cities.)

You are flaming me because you didn't get what you wanted: a complete stipulation to all of your claims, no matter how contradictory they were. For instance, you demanded "Can you name examples where an increase in taxes actually had the desired effect?",

I note you conveniently left off this qualifier:

Other than increasing revenue which is what taxation is all about

As though small, select quotes are all you can easily digest.
I work with scores of engineers on a daily basis and the worst of them display the same characteristic you do, namely flawed logic by focusing so intently on their own small part of an issue, that they lose sight of the whole picture. Examples?

A lower speed limits hurts the wastrels and thrifty equally.

But it lowers their fuel consumption source: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/05/ford_charts_imp.html

After all, what's better: an F350 driving 55, or a Honda Insight cruising at 75?

That depends if you are hauling your ass to the beach to work on your tan in the Insight or using the F350 to move veggies to the co-op. In your case I suspect the former.

Increased taxes were a bad idea 15 years ago and they will always be a bad idea.(My argument)

Yeah, they would have done us a pile of harm:
They could have made hybids and plug-in hybrids attractive fifteen years sooner.

Not possible during that time frame as we do not yet have, even now, a solution

They could have prevented the SUV craze.

You are using special pleading

They could have continued, rather than stalled, the push towards better economy which started in the 70's.

More special pleading

Your whole "European" argument, since it does not apply to AMERICANS:

The two periods of the study experienced comparable changes in the price of gasoline. A study by researchers from the University of California Energy Institute completed last year concludes that there has been a structural change in consumer demand for gasoline, with consumers appearing significantly less responsive to gasoline price increases now than 25 years ago.

Because of that change, they suggest, technologies and policies—such as CAFE—for improving vehicle fuel economy may be increasingly important in reducing US gasoline consumption, rather than reliance on market-driven price increases or the application of a fuel tax.
Source http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/06/study_identifie.html.

Any pro tax argument overlooks recent developments:

But in Western Europe, governments use gasoline stations as tax collecting offices for the national treasury.

source http://www2.cera.com/gasoline/summary/

Americans don't favor it http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/86_oppose_hiking...

A rise in price won't mean beans http://oregonstate.edu/Dept/pol_sci/fac/sahr/gasol.htm

For instance, you demanded "Can you name examples where an increase in taxes actually had the desired effect?", and then had a hissy fit when you got a real example from Europe (you tried to change the subject to pollution, which was obviously not on the minds of the various governments when they decided to favor diesel fuel in their tax regime). That's pretty damn dishonest of you.

Changing the subject? You can't get one without the other:

At last, the Germans (and others) have woken up to the environmental and health problems caused by two generations of 'dirty diesels'.

source http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=907

Any further correspondence with you is useless. As much as I'd like to alleviate you of your misunderstanding, continuing to debate you is causing me to not read other posters comments, so, while this debate has been enjoyable, it has been fruitless. Call me selfish if you will but I'd much rather add to my knowledge than disperse my own.
Your argument is weak.

I don't see the end of suburbia as the end of civilization. But the pain may be so wrenching and the dislocation so extreme that the process of liquidating this tremendous malinvestment (in the face of a myriad of environmental and energy depletion issues) may trigger the end of the U.S. as we know it. As a result, the repercussions of the end of U.S. suburbia may be felt world-wide. How many billions in mortgage backed securities does China own? What percentage of manufacturing and production worldwide go directly and indirectly into supporting the U.S. lifestyle as we know it? How will this tremendous misallocation of resources be unwound, and all the bad bets cleared off the table? If this is not orderly, it may very well trigger the EOTWAWKI. Not being able to see beyond this brick wall, think of the end of the current state of affairs as being ruinous to everyone involved.

In a relatively orderly adjustment from a suburban to an urban format, probably people wouldn't even notice what was being left behind, as they focused on what was coming. In the last fifty years, there has been a tremendous shift from places like Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland and the like towards Atlanta, Phoenix or Miami. The outer burbs might be like Detroit -- a place that people avoid and don't think much about anymore, while they are focusing on the successful new patterns, whether thriving rural areas or densified city centers.

...the end of suburbia stated as the end of civilization. IMO, it is just the end of a temporary (50 year) development phase.

Just as the current pop of 6.5e9 is a temporary phenom. There will still be an earth, and probably people, 500 years from now.

It's just hard to see how the transition to a more sustainable phase will be remotely pleasant for anyone.

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

Or, more to my way of thinking, lack of infrastructure - what happened to the farms and dairies? Watersheds? Intelligent and well built housing designed to last longer than a decade or two? Industries capable of actually producing useful goods?

My perspective is that most of us have been members of a society which is leading itself into destruction, for no discernible reason, simply ignoring any evidence that contradicts that society's own beliefs.

Very little discussed here would sound strange to someone from 1979 - except they would likely not be able to understand why 28 years have passed with little to nothing effective having been done to change American society.


You make some good points, how can we as a society be so stupid? I live and work in Minneapolis and our family farm is 200 miles northwest on I-94 in the southeastern corner of the Red River Valley. I take comfort when traveling there in the summer by seeing dairy cattle grazing on pasture, farmers making hay, a diverse mix of crops growing on these farms. These farms are the foundation of our state and the country for that matter, a real wealth generator.

basically, taking everyone's money in order to help the few who live where light rail is possible.

Thank you. I never could figure out what everyone's (well, almost, LOL) favorite candidate for president motivations could be other then owning or being in the employ of some rail car company.

What we did 100 years ago before cars:

Streetcars 100 Years Ago (San Angelo, Texas--population in 1908 about 18,000):

It really is kind of funny when you think about. It's "inconceivable" that we do now what we did over 100 years ago, largely without oil.

Quaint. Different playing field.

One always has to go with the current observed conditions on the field, book knowledge is fine until the fur starts to fly.

PS, you should see the light rail thing they are trying to build in Phoenix, they have torn the streets up 8 or 9 times and other then maybe 200 ft one can see no rails. Talk about pork and the blind leading the lame.
Maybe if we farm it out to the chinese?

Hmmmm. Streetcar=bus.
GM's got the answer without having to lay down all that fixed track.
Be sure to write your Congressperson.

Speaking net oil export crash, nowhere in this articles credits did I see WT or his Export Land model mentioned!


That's an excellent find, rude crude.

And Jeffrey, you should sue the guy, he's quoting you word for word almost, and he uses it as a vehicle to make money in investment advice.

There is a certain "slight" similarity. Of course, I started paying attention to the net export issue because of some of Matt Simmons' work, but if memory serves, I usually say so.

However, if we can at least get more people to understand that the our old way of life is dead, we might at least have a chance of successfully implementing the Alan Drake "Swiss" plan.

westexas, I think the time has passed for any major mitigation effort. Without finance any such mitigation effort is doomed and the financial house of cards has already commenced its collapse.

Markets on alert as junk bonds are mauled

James Carrick, a strategist at Legal & General, said we are entering "historically dangerous territory" for the markets; the sudden tightness in bonds was similar to conditions in autumn 1987, a month before the crash, and again just before the 1991 recession and the dotcom bust.

In essence, a credit crunch at the lower end of the debt markets can all too easily set off a vicious circle of slower growth and ever higher credit spreads, ultimately hitting the real economy.

Civilisations didn't fail because nothing could be done, they fell because they couldn't do it due to their internal dynamics. The Great Depression didn't occur because farms lost their fertility or factories their productivity, as physically nothing changed. If it wasn't for the failure within the internal system of organisation (ie. the economy), the farmers and factories could have continued as previously. The failure was systemic.

If I'm correct about collapse, it will be the internal dynamics of our own system that will impede our mitigation efforts.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

'In the long term, a net oil export crash might be a good thing--by forcing us to confront the hard cold reality that we really can't have an infinite rate of increase of a finite energy resource base...' snip

'It is in the progressive state, while the society is advancing to the further acquisition, rather than when it has acquired its full complement of riches, that the condition of the labouring poor, of the great body of people, seems to be the happiest and the most comfortable. It is hard in the stationary, and miserable in the declining state. The progressive state is in reality the cheerful and the hearty state to all the different orders of the society. The stationary is dull, the declining melancholy.'
Adam Smith Wealth of Nations 1776

Sorry WT, I am going with Adam on this one. A 'dull and melancholy' party is no party at all, imo. The fat lady will be along directly.

"Melancholy Decline" - there's a name for what we're talking about!

Leanan said,
"And I think Stuart has done a pretty good job of showing Alan's plans won't make a whit of difference."

Bot of course! That's the religion isn't it?
Nothing will make a whit of difference will it?
It's oil and gas or nothing.
Of course, by coincidence (I assume it's coincidence) that's what the API, ExxonMobil, and the new Shell answer man say too....:-)

Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom
(if freedom is what we actually want...I am beginning to have my doubts about that one! :-)

I have wished for a while that TOD had a staff economist or two that could post articles on the economic prospects with as great a quality as the geological and analytical articles. James Hamilton at Econbrowser has been posting a series of articles on the economics of PO for a few years now so that's where I go for the economic angle. It would be great if some arrangment could be made to co-host his articles on TOD.

I doubt anyone here genuinely believes that oil consumption is necessarily linked with wealth, as clearly for most of human history, civilisations have managed to become enormously wealthy without consuming oil, or indeed any fossil fuels.
The issue is that our current economic structure is so tightly bound to oil consumption, and I personally don't see how most western nations can possibly transition to oil-independent economies quickly enough to allow for the likely depletion rates for oil imports. A few may well be able to succeed in isolation - especially Scandinavian ones - but the global economy is too tightly integrated that any significant collapse of the U.S. and Chinese economies is almost certainly going to bring the whole house of cards down. The challenge then is which nations will be best placed to stage a recovery, and how soon can they do it. The global economic landspace in 20 or 30 years time is inevitably going to be radically different to what we see now.

'I doubt anyone here genuinely believes that oil consumption is necessarily linked with wealth,' snip...

Wiz, I believe we are more concerned with going forward than looking back at historical precedent. If the government of the US did not believe that 'oil consumption is linked with wealth' we would not be in Iraq and we would not have dispatched half the US Navy to the vacinity of the Persian Gulf. Size matters, and the current size of the world population of 6.5 billion people precludes going forward without FF. Best guesstimates are that the earth under favorable climate conditions might be able to support 2 billion people without FF. The US government is well aware of what would happen if a die off of over 2/3 of the people of the earth starve to death. No event that any of us can imagine could describe such a horror, and much of it would be in our faces. No one, no matter where they are on earth, could avoid being caught up in such a maelstrom. The FF economy has to be played out till the end to put off the disaster as long as possible. All politicians and the smart economists know the game has to continue as long as possible.

Certainly you are right about the historical precedent of many nations becoming very wealthy prior to FF use but the population of the earth then was tiny compared to the throngs that inhabit the planet now. How did the pre FF civilizations become wealthy? Most were empires with lots of slaves and near zero population growth. Others had extrodinarily rich lands that produced bountiful crops for export but they had to be vigilent of invading empires or hordes. It was no walk in the park. Without FF Chinas' population will crash and they will revert to a grinding agrarian economy. They still have the knowledge to accomplish the reversion. America doesnt have thousands of years of history and experience like the Chinese and we have very few people that would know what to do with a water buffalo if they owned one.

I've already attempted to explain my position on the link between loss of FF and loss of food production ability on another thread.

But just for the hell of it, let me list a bunch of reasons why I am not particularly concerned about the ability to feed the world as oil and gas supplies deplete:

1) We already produce & eat more food than we need
2) We use far more oil/gas to fertilize/transport food than we need to
3) We produce calories very inefficiently, e.g. producing excessive quantities of meat.
4) There are many techniques for increasing crop productivity without the use of any FF (e.g. agrichar, permaculture etc.)
5) Fertilizers and pesticides can be manufactured without using oil/gas
6) Food can be transported by electrified rail, powered by nuclear or renewable energy
7) Harvesting equipment can be run off alternative forms of energy
8) There will be more than adequate supplies of manual labour that may have little choice but to return to the agricultural sector.
9) Ideas such as sky-farming are already being seriously developed, that could drastically cut energy requirements
10) GM crops already have the ability to dramatically increase yields, again requiring less FF etc.

Now of course none of the above points are without problems, and the degree to which the solutions will be successfully implemented remains to be seen. But they're just the options we do know about. In 1967, Ehrlich very convincingly argued that we were reaching the point that humanity would no longer be able to feed itself: "the battle to feed all of humanity is over ... In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now".

Needless to say, he was wrong. He couldn't have reasonably predicted the success of the Green Revolution, and given the stakes at hand (and the huge profits to be made), we can be sure that all stops will be pulled out to ensure the success of the next agricultural revolution.

Sometimes the adolescent blubber gets to be too much, a whole series of empty points, why not think before you write?

1) We already produce & eat more food than we need
No we do not and/or Empty statement.
No proof, and far too many hungry people in the world to have some gratuitous statement made about them

2) We use far more oil/gas to fertilize/transport food than we need to
Empty statement, no proof
3) We produce calories very inefficiently, e.g. producing excessive quantities of meat.
Maybe, but so what will you do about that?
4) There are many techniques for increasing crop productivity without the use of any FF (e.g. agrichar, permaculture etc.)
Maybe, but let's see you apply them.
5) Fertilizers and pesticides can be manufactured without using oil/gas
Let's see them.
6) Food can be transported by electrified rail, powered by nuclear or renewable energy
Bull crap, we have no electrified rail today. We have hungry people though.
7) Harvesting equipment can be run off alternative forms of energy
Like what?
8) There will be more than adequate supplies of manual labour that may have little choice but to return to the agricultural sector.
You will be the first. Promise.
9) Ideas such as sky-farming are already being seriously developed, that could drastically cut energy requirements
Tell me where you get your drugs. The idiocy of suggesting sky farming while stating that there's more than enough food already, how do people do it?
10) GM crops already have the ability to dramatically increase yields, again requiring less FF etc.
You have no idea what GMO crops are. One hint: they require more FF, that's the whole idea. Monsanto is a chemical company, not a food company.


If you honestly don't believe we can reduce the amount of energy required to keep up current levels of food production and distribution, then I'm completely baffled. Do you not see the same TOD/Energy Bulletin articles I do?

I'm not going to waste my time responding to your "Not sos" or "won't happens". Mine are all easily verifiable claims, and NONE pretend to be guarantees of anything.

However, regarding your final claim, some adolescent blubber from http://www.csiro.au/pubgenesite/debate.htm:

"...Australian cotton farmers have been able to reduce their use of synthetic pesticides by 50 per cent where the GM cotton Ingard® is used. A new variety, Bollgard II®, commercially available in 2003 has shown a 75 per cent pesticide reduction in trials."

75% percent reduction in pesticides, pesticides being manufactured from crude oil. Exactly how is that requiring more FF?

Sometimes the adolescent blubber gets to be too much, a whole series of empty points, why not think before you write?

Immunity to irony is hardly a virtue...

Bull crap, we have no electrified rail today. We have hungry people though.

We do have lots of rail though. It doesnt have to be electrified to distribute around the world; Rail consumes very little fuel.

"He couldn't have reasonably predicted the success of the Green Revolution, and given the stakes at hand (and the huge profits to be made), we can be sure that all stops will be pulled out to ensure the success of the next agricultural revolution."

Don't mean to haggle with you, specifically, today but the "success" has come at a high price...


Heh. I notice on an Ag site that one of the "experts" listed treated sewerage as one of the main methods for replenishing organic matter in soil. Nice one.


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

"I doubt anyone here genuinely believes that oil consumption is necessarily linked with wealth, as clearly for most of human history, civilisations have managed to become enormously wealthy without consuming oil, or indeed any fossil fuels."

Hmmm, maybe not fossil fuels, but... wealth generation in large quantities has usually involved exploitation/externalities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality), whether economic, environmental or social - from burning wood to using slave labour to conquering neighbouring lands and stealing from them. We have essentially just refined those same externalities today, with pollution, cheap labour in poorer countries and the used of fossil fuels (some stolen), etc. for energy.

The question is, when do the consequences of these externalities overtake the benefits (and are no longer really externalities at all). Personally, I think many already have.

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

The petroleum-GDP relationship appears fairly robust. According to Marek Kolodziej's presentation "FSU Oil Production and GDP Decline – Granger Causality and the Multicycle Hubbert Curve", petroleum Granger-causes GDP with 95% confidence. You can see a copy of his presentation at http://www.cge.uevora.pt/aspo2005/abscom/ASPO2005_Kolodziej.ppt.

Young Saudi males are going car-crazy. Take a look at some of the pics here:


Hello Gwb,

Thxs for the info! Glad to see them getting lightweight, highly-machined wheel bling and low-rolling resistance, hi-perf tires. That way the camels will have to expend less energy when they start towing these vehicles.

If all these young men truly understood their future from successful Peakoil Outreach: the last thing they would want to do is sink money into a fancy vehicle. Oh well.

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

Uhhh, Bob, I dont think the boys are using their heads...They are going to wear the camels out dragging those cars through the sand on their frames...But boys will be boys.

Man, what a parade of over the top tacky wheels!

This brings back fond memories of the 1970's, when Americans were buying Gremlins and Dodge Colts, while American hot rod and custom shops were making a fortune tuning and modifying hot wheels to ship to the Saudi youth of the day (those Saudi males would be about 50 now...and what memories of the fast car youth they must still have!

I remember one in a magaizine, did by the racer John Lingenfelter's shop in Indiana, planned to ship to Saudi for a favored customer...it was a Corvette, with a 454 cubic inch aluminum block engine with twin turbochargers and intercoolers, and special ZF gearbox of 6 speeds (a new thing in those days), anyway it was over 1100 horsepower (that's nearly a megawatt in a car!). The only problem was, at full speed (around 217 miles per hour in testing) it kept trying to such the side glass out from the aerodynamic pull (get this, the kid wanted to run the air conditioning at top speed in the hot Saudi desert!) I don't know if they ever solved it, I remember they could duct tape the side windows, but the Saudi customer was displeased with the look of that!

As far as Saudi Arabia running out of fuell soon enough lto end these kids good time, I don't bet it on it. We may not be able to get the oil, and it may cost a fortune per barrel, but these kids will still have plenty to play for decades to come unless Bin Laden or one of his type manage to crash the whole systems. Remember, Peak OIl is not about running out, especially in the good ole KSA(despite what many folks here seem to believe)
(If they can just keep the terroist idiots from trying to blow them up, think of the speedboats they must want to play with on the Persian Gulf! The last carbon luxury bath, it will someday be the remaining internal combustion driven paradise! :-)

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Water containing radioactive material leaked at a Japanese nuclear power plant following Monday's earthquake

Paging Gojira! Paging Radon! No auditions required.

I can picture it now...Raymond Burr doing play by play as Godzilla awakens and stomps through Tokyo ripping down power lines, buildings, and mashing Alans beloved streetcars flat as a pancake...

How about Gojira vs Dezakin?

Failure modes.....failure modes....

Yeah, hydropower can be dangerous.

Latest news - barrels of 'low level waste' have tipped over.at the Japan nuke plant.

Sure it sucks; But its exceptionalism to nuclear industries. Chances are this produces nothing more than a lot of media attention. What were the barrels of low level waste and what effect was it that they tipped over, if you have a link.

Compare this to the utter lack of media attention whenever a coal miner gets killed or a chemical plant dumps crap like mercury into groundwater.

Or say dam failures. Everyone talks about Chernobyl or three mile island (even though no one was even injured at three mile island, demonstrating the reliability of containment in wester reactors) but hardly anyone even knows about Banqiao or Vajont. Everything has risk, and I still support hydroelectric power. Do you?


But its exceptionalism to nuclear industries.


Compare this to the utter lack of media attention whenever a coal miner gets killed or a chemical plant dumps crap like mercury into groundwater.

Duh. Failure modes. Just shows that the failure modes of fission are worse than the failure modes of other things. Things like Wind, PV panels, solar thermal.

Seems you have a blindness of some type to the failure modes of Fission.

Everything has risk, and I still support hydroelectric power.

Hydro power, when one instance fails, doesn't cause evacuation zones of 30 km, or create a place like Pripyat - "It is now uninhabitable and will never be lived in again."

Looks like you are complaining about the sawdust in your bothers eye, while ignoring the plank in your own eye.


Don't be too harsh on Dezakin may be he has many children to feed and even an old mother and grand mother.

At first it was none. Now a little.

Out of the reactor?

Just a little?

This is The World's Largest Nuclear Plant, reports Reuters.

To be continued...


Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the plant, said the shaking of the quake caused at least 1.2 cubic meters of radioactive water from a spent fuel pool at the No. 6 reactor to flow into drainage ditches leading to the Sea of Japan.

Not exactly something to lose sleep over. Water from a cooling pond drained into the ocean.

This is just nuclear exceptionism. How often do we hear about mercury spills (far more toxic than the cooling pond water) at chemical plants?

This is just nuclear exceptionism.

Bad news about a failure mode? Just hand wave it away!

How often do we hear about mercury spills (far more toxic than the cooling pond water) at chemical plants?

Got bad news? Just point at a different problem and say 'oh yea, well they are worse'.

Course, none of that makes the failure modes of fission just 'go away'.

Got bad news? Just point at a different problem and say 'oh yea, well they are worse'.

Course, none of that makes the failure modes of fission just 'go away'.

Who said it did? Its about relative risk. Nuclear power has risks, and so does hydropower... and when it comes down to it so does most of the industrial processes that make civilization run the way it does.

You have to prioritize your list and to cost benifit analysis. You feel than nuclear doesn't provide enough benifit for its risk and I disagree; Do you support hydropower or should we dismantle the dams? Should we dismantle our entire chemical industry because of the risks that are underreported by the media?

Who said it did?

I am pointing out your posting history - One of pointing at other failure modes when you get questioned about the demonstrated history of failure in the Fission industry.

Rather than actually take on the issue and show how the demonstrated failure modes of fission power are not an issue.

and when it comes down to it so does most of the industrial processes that make civilization run the way it does.

Does their 'wrongs' make the 'wrongs' of the failure mode of fission "right"?

You feel than nuclear doesn't provide enough benifit for its risk and I disagree;

Amazingly, when a failure mode is demonstrated (yet again) in fission power - you actually start posting responses here on TOD. Rather than your normal 'make a post and not respond' method.

Tis almost like you are being paid to spin the situation.

If your presence here was about your 'passion' for Fission power, you'd try using actual numbers and data showing what a bargain Fission power is, and well now, any day with fission we'd have "power too cheap to meter!"

I'm sure the TOD staff would accept a well written multi page analysis of the failure modes on the front page.

I especially look forward to a discussion about how a working fission plant in the desert fails when bombed. Perhaps that can be part II?

Should we dismantle our entire chemical industry because of the risks that are underreported by the media?

An informed consumer base would allow for the 'invisible hand of the market' to work....I'm sure you'd agree with that right?

And we know that the market has rejected Fission power in the US of A, as the US of A government has to be the 'insurer of last resort', just so fission power can be used for civilian purposes. And when fission fails in the US of A, the nation will get to watch how well the 'insurer of last resort' works.

New Orleans can be seen as an example of what happens to the effected people when the Government is the 'insurer of last resort'. (Such is the position of Harry Shearer)

Hydro power, when one instance fails, doesn't cause evacuation zones of 30 km, or create a place like Pripyat - "It is now uninhabitable and will never be lived in again."

Compare the several hundred dead in the worlds worst nuclear accident to the 25000 dead overnight in a dam failure... hydropower failures are much much worse.

Rather than actually take on the issue and show how the demonstrated failure modes of fission power are not an issue.

I just dont feel like attacking your strawman.

Does their 'wrongs' make the 'wrongs' of the failure mode of fission "right"?

Sure; Thats what relative risk assessment is about.

Amazingly, when a failure mode is demonstrated (yet again) in fission power - you actually start posting responses here on TOD. Rather than your normal 'make a post and not respond' method.

Tis almost like you are being paid to spin the situation.

It must suck to be so paranoid that you see conspiracies and paid shills supported by evil corporations behind every poster who disagrees with you. I feel sorry for you.

I just dont feel like attacking your strawman.

You can afford time to search for grammar rules ;-)
And you would not care to defend your main topic of interest?
Tsk! Tsk!
Smells a bit fishy...

In addition to a fire, there were leaks of radioactive water and gas and drums containing nuclear waste burst open.

Because hes asking me to defend something I dont agree with in the first place. There are serious failure modes for nuclear power. My contention is that the benifits are worth the risk, especially in light of the more serious risks for more dubious benifits we ignore in other industries such as industrial chemicals, fossil fuels, and hydropower.

The transformer fire was hardly a nuclear power incident. The drums falling over I cant imagine being any worse than managing carcinogenic waste products at a chemical plant in an earthquake. I'm sure they exist in Japan and have had issues during the quake.

Compare the several hundred dead in the worlds worst nuclear accident to the 25000 dead overnight in a dam failure... hydropower failures are much much worse.

Last time I checked, human life isn't worth a whole hell of a lot. Based on the way man treats his fellow man.

Kill 42,000+ in auto accidents and the US citizens don't seem inspired to spend 450 billion to address those deaths. Get a bunch of buildings to collapse in NYC (that happens to kill 3000) and nearly 1/2 a trillion in spending later - here we are!

Those were VERY expensive buildings. One MP3 from Finational sense network pointed out that the real estate of NYC in 'value' was 4x the 'value' of the machines used to manufacture items in the US of A.

Ergo - denying access to real estate is a far bigger issue than a bunch of corpses.

I just dont feel like attacking your strawman.

Oh Really?

Because hes asking me to defend something I dont agree with in the first place.

Looks like you have other issues than 'attacking a stawman'.

It must suck to be so paranoid that you see conspiracies and paid shills supported by evil corporations behind every poster who disagrees with you.

I did not accuse you of that sir/ma'am. What I pointed out is how, where there is a fission failure mode in progress the most posting by you in a thread happens.

I would expect a paid shill to be FAR more effective, make it worth their master's money. Your posts here aren't worth what what one pays to read 'em.

Noticed this first on the NY Times site; source is Reuters.

US oil may hit $95 if OPEC does not hike output: Goldman

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude price could top $90 a barrel this autumn and hit $95 by the end of the year if OPEC keeps oil production capped at current levels, Goldman Sachs said in a report issued on Monday.
"Our estimates show that keeping OPEC production at current levels and assuming normal weather this coming winter, total petroleum inventories would fall by over 150 million barrels or 6.5 percent by the end of the year, which would push prices to $95 a barrel without a demand response," the report forecast.

That link looks dead, Try this one.

Fellow TODers: I've written another article, just published in a local (south Minneapolis) newspaper.

This article focuses more on oil, the true costs of oil, and especially the costs to the next generation. I start by recounting a presentation I gave to some grade school students, and move on from there....

Article is at:


Scroll down to "Forum" and click on "Pedaling for the Future by Gary Hoover (that's me).

Bonus: another photo of me and a trike!

Any relation to the family that owns Hoover Alignment and drag racing legends? Those guys really know their business.

thanks to Leanan for posting the photo, and...

no, Bruce, I do not think I am related to any rich or famous Hoovers. :)

I have heard lots of jokes about the vacuum cleaner, but I won't go into that.... :)

I should point out that the "bonus" is meant to be a humorous thing. :)

The article does not relate to the Japanese earthquake and reactor directly, but I do attempt to get folks to think about the real ecological economy that we are devastating ( like in nuclear reactor accidents, oil extraction and transport, and many other activities.

We destroy the source in order to use up more as fast as we can.

Our cocoon of technology acts as a screen which we mistake for reality, while the real reality gets set to break through that cocoon with some pretty extreme consequences for us.

I do refer to General Charles Wald, Michael T. Klare, Terry Taminen, and other resources for people to find more information.

Has anybody noticed that the UK and the US are picking fights solely with the 3 biggest energy exporters in the world:

UK on RUSSIA: latest diplomatic row about litvenenko, we just expelled 4 diplomats.

USA on RUSSIA: Row about ICBM shield

UK and USA on IRAN: All this BS about them refining uraniam and imposing sanctions on them.

UK on SAUDI arms deals; Exposure of multi billion £ bribes ove arms trade. (Interesting enough on this from it is actuall the US demanding the UK release the files!!)

Why are we hitting on the 3 biggest energy exporters? It absolute F****ng madness. Unless of course it is all deliberate. Hmmm! All of these isses seem like storms in a tea cup - manufactured problems if you like.

How about some of the other exporters: Well IRAQ is FUBAR. US and UK again!!!!?WTF???

Does anybody feel that these are not just coincidentally the largest energy exporters that we are harassing?


Of course. It's blatently obvious to anybody who hasn't stuck their head in the sand. (Or Fox News, for that matter.) We're quite likely to head into a sh!tstorm, whether we like it or not. The world powers know where power stems from, and it's energy, and the game is beginning to become hairy. (Not Harry, although the movie has made a lot of $$.)
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Durandal, your link is down again. What's going on?

Yes, my hosting provider is making me go into fits. All 14 of my domains are down... AGAIN, for the 3rd time this month. I'm quite upset.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

BTW, recall the discussions of Saudi Arabia looking into importing coal?

Let's see, what would they do after they start importing coal?

(Insert musical theme from "Jeopardy" quiz show)

Saudi Arabia invests in renewables
Published: July 12, 2007 at 5:21 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, July 12 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia has set up a multimillion dollar renewable energy research center in an effort to diversify from its reliance on oil funds.

The center, on the campus of the Dhahran-based King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, is currently working on resource mobilization before its premier research activities kick off in a year's time, Arab News reported. . .

. . . The center has set up different branches for research on hydrogen, methanol and fuel cell; solar and wind energy; advanced energy storage systems; electrical infrastructure and control systems; and economics of renewable energy.

Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran

The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.

The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo."

The vice-president, Dick Cheney, has long favoured upping the threat of military action against Iran. He is being resisted by the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence secretary, Robert Gates.

Last year Mr Bush came down in favour of Ms Rice, who along with Britain, France and Germany has been putting a diplomatic squeeze on Iran. But at a meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with him. "The balance has tilted. There is cause for concern," the source said this week.

The Washington source said Mr Bush and Mr Cheney did not trust any potential successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with Iran decisively. They are also reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway.

"The red line is not in Iran. The red line is in Israel. If Israel is adamant it will attack, the US will have to take decisive action," Mr Cronin said. "The choices are: tell Israel no, let Israel do the job, or do the job yourself."

Almost half of the US's 277 warships are stationed close to Iran, including two aircraft carrier groups. The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise left Virginia last week for the Gulf. A Pentagon spokesman said it was to replace the USS Nimitz and there would be no overlap that would mean three carriers in Gulf at the same time.

NOTE: reports on the number of carrier groups in the Gulf are at best conflicting

See my post above!"!!!

Israel 'Approved' to Strike Iran

The period before WW2, "The Phoney War", comes to mind.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Those half million Holocaust victims get some retribution. Sorry did I say half a million? I meant 6 million.

It was not a phoney war. Germany and Russia were busy fighting in and partitioning Poland. While they were so occupied Germany had a scant number of divisions on their 'western wall' in case France and the BEF attacked. The French generals and their political leaders, who had a huge army, were timid and indecisive. When Poland was subdued Hitler shifted the bulk of his forces to the west and began the thrust through Belgium. If the French and Brits had attacked (which they were obligated to do by treaty with Poland) while Poland was under seige they would have been in Berlin before Germanys forces could have been withdrawn from Poland and arrayed against the allied forces. Hitler bragged about this in a staff meeting with his generals on several occasions and it was recorded in the minutes and in several of the generals memoirs and diaries. This information is also in the testimony given at the war trials at Nuremburg.

Yeah, and if my grandmother had wheels I would be a bicycle.
If Germany had not wasted their divisions in Russia they all would be eating sauerkraut in London now.
What do you expect with a house painter running the show.

For all I know you are a bicycle. You obviously do not understand why Germany invaded Russia. Not surprisingly it had much to do with oil fields and lots of mines containing metals that the Germans needed...and a bread basket. Try 'The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich.' After you read the book tell me what you think of Hitler. Crying 'house painter' is akin to crying 'socialist', 'capitalist', 'honkey', or a multitude of other crude names. Name calling is an admission of ignorance and no substitute for education and reason.

I'm familiar with the book.
House painter isn't a label, that's what he did after they kicked his ass out of art school for lack of talent, sure as hell wasn't a field marshal.

If the German generals had called the shots they wouldn't have fought a major war on two fronts simultaneously.
Who knows what the outcome would have been?

House painter isn't a label, that's what he did after they kicked his ass out of art school for lack of talent, sure as hell wasn't a field marshal.

Eh, he was better at painting than most people I know. It wasn't his lack of talent so much as his choice of style wasn't the modern expressionism that was popular with the Acadamy of Fine Arts Vienna, where his style was more realism. They told him to do architecture.

It would have been nice if he became successful in art instead.

'I cant zeem to get zee tree- DAMN I VILL KILL EVERYONE!'

OK, we have a disagreement on his choice of art style. :-)

You sir, are definitely trying to clear up misconceptions about the past with FACTS.
Whats your agenda?

Wars are a large part of history. I like history therefore I read about some wars. I detest war but it seems that humans will never stop fighting wars. Some of the men that lead armies into battle are fascinating characters, just as Bonnie and Clyde were fascinating characters, but because I find them fascinating characters and interesting to read about does not mean that I approve of them. I have respect for the men that led their armies into battle, unlike the modern general that sits in a field office, secure from the danger of battle.

Yeah, fascinating stuff but best experienced second-hand.
My Dad used to talk for hours about his time in WWII. Not the killing and fighting but the places he'd been, the kind of people that lived there, he sure was proud of that Bronze Star. Not so proud of the Purple Heart.
He used to smack my Bro and I at the drop of a hat..... I just have never been able to picture him killing other people.

Watch Admiral Fallon. If Bush "accepts" Fallon's resignation, then I'd say the odds just shifted very much in favor of a US nuclear strike against Iran. Fallon has publicly opposed first use of nuclear weapons and even said it would not happen on his watch. Bush has to either force Fallon to compromise (something I do not think he will do) or move him out of the way.

Watch Admiral Fallon, people. He is head of CENTCOM (US Central Command) which is responsible for basically the Middle East.

Ghawar Is Dying as we slide Into the Grey Zone
"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.


Just a question of finding a military man willing to have a carrier or two on their conscience. Politicians are easy in this respect.

Some think that the first strike would be conventional and the consequent loss of at least one carrier would then justify the nuclear option.

'justify the nuclear option'...Where did you hear that? Why dont you call it what it is? If Iran sinks one of our carriers at the cost of X$ and the loss of 6,000 sailors we will drop X number of nuclear bombs on Iran killing X million people and destroying X$ of property. Lets get a bit of perspective on the subject and be forthright about it. I really cannot see how anyone can favor a first strike nuclear attack anywhere, anytime, unless they are a sociopath. Did it ever occur to you that a nuclear attack on Iran might cause some nuclear weapons to explode in America? Do you care?

I lived in Japan almost four years and had occasion to visit the city of Hiroshima. I believe it should be mandatory for all people to visit Hiroshima...maybe then luntics like Cheney would take the 'nuclear option' 'off the table.'

Hiroshima was bad, but Dresden or Nanking was worse.

Don't blame the weapon.

I personally think that it is crazy to attack Iran, but I also think that there is a element in Israel and the current administration that is crazy enough to try.

BTW, I read several possible scenarios in an article written by a former chief of staff of the Russian Army, but it was in russian, never saw it in a western language.
There is a separate article by Ivashov that gives you an idea re what they are thinking (I know they got the timing wrong, but no surprise considering the struggle between the military and the neocon's)

Also justify maybe wasn't the correct word, the way the scenario was laid out was that if Iran sank a carrier after a conventional attack, most of the american people would be calling for nuclear retribution.

The current administration thus could write off the loss in Iraq.

Just telling you what I read.

You are one SPOOKy dude.
Thats why I always read your posts.

Almost half of the US's 277 warships are stationed close to Iran, including two aircraft carrier groups. The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise left Virginia last week for the Gulf. A Pentagon spokesman said it was to replace the USS Nimitz and there would be no overlap that would mean three carriers in Gulf at the same time.

Let's see what's going to happen.

That made my mind hurt.
Summary please?

Interesting report on CNN of the depth of the recent aftershock (or was it...?) in Japan - the preliminary reading gave a depth of 239 miles. CNN guy said Huh?, it was probably a mistake, and it probably is.

But, for you disaster freaks, ever contemplate the Magma Plume phenomenon? Fascinating subject. Bostongeologist, any opinions on such things? I once heard that there's a weak spot in the crust somewhere near Japan...

I'm seeing two quakes.


Size - 6.7
2007/07/16 01:13:29
Long/Lat - 37.574 138.440
Depth in - Km 55.4

Second one

2007/07/16 14:17:34
36.785 134.850

Hello Marco,

Thxs for the info.

I am not an engineer, therefore: Does anyone know the engineering protocol for safely assuring that no damage has occured to a nuke plant? Will it be shutdown for a year or more as they magnaflux all piping and other critical equipment? How many millions of welds and bolts will need checking and/or repair? How much cracking in the concrete/rebar structures is acceptable?

It is hard to imagine giant structures such as a nuke plant not being damaged somehow from the torsional earthquake flexing, shaking and jumping. When it comes to a nuke plant the rule should be: better safe than later sorry. IMO, it might be sometime before this facility is operating again.

Just found this:

The Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant, the world's largest in terms of power output capacity, leaked about 1.5 liters of water in the building housing one of its seven reactors, said Katsuya Uchino, an official with plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Uchino said the water contained a tiny amount of radioactive material - a billionth of the guideline under Japanese law - and is believed to have flushed into the sea.

A company statement said the leak had stopped and that there had been no ''significant change'' in the sea water under surveillance and no effect on the environment.

The reactor had been shut down at the time of the leak. The quake triggered a fire at an electrical transformer at the plant, but Tokyo Electric Power Co. said earlier in the day that the reactor had not been damaged.
Does anyone know how they can be so confident that no damage has occured? Please forgive my lack of technical knowledge.

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

Hello TODers,

As usual, it is hard to get confirmed info from a disaster area:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said a nuclear reactor at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant in Niigata was ruptured in the first quake. Two cracks opened in reactor No. 6, leaking radioactive water into the sea, the company said on its Web site.

The environmental effect is negligible, as the water -- about 350 gallons (1,300 liters) -- had a radiation level one- billionth of the legal limit, said the company, according to the Associated Press. Reactors at the plant were shut down automatically when the tremors began, Tokyo Electric said.
IMO, it sounds as though these cracks are unplanned, non-engineered foundation openings because if they were: the water would be contained in some preconstructed holding area versus just running overland to the sea. Perhaps, this facility has serious problems that will take a long time to repair. But I will gladly defer to someone with greater expertise on this matter.

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

Why bother?
Lets turn it back on and then see what happens.

Hello Spaceman,

LOL! That is what I would expect to happen in my Asphalt Wonderland if our Palo Verde Nuke Plant got hit by a summer earthquake--the people would be screaming for the juice for their A/C--they could care less if it meant that they would glow in the dark. Thankfully, the Japanese are smarter:

Tokyo Electric Ordered to Keep Kashiwazaki Nuclear Plant Shut

The ground vibration at the station was more than double the level it was designed to withstand, the Nikkei newspaper said.
Please read the entire link.

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

The ground vibration at the station was more than double the level it was designed to withstand, the Nikkei newspaper said.

I hear you. In the States thats considered "planned obsolescence".


the utility may have to increase output from oil and coal plants

Thank goodness for the ol' standby!
I'm intrigued by that wideblacksky comment.

Again, I am no expert, but I assumed any Japanese nuke plant would be designed to handle a 9.0 on the Richter scale; you would want a large 'fudge factor' in case an engineer forgot to carry the one in some critical calculation. That way when a smaller earthquake hit: you would have less equipment to safety validate and/or replace to bring the power-station back up more quickly.

The loss of 7% of Japanese power is very serious--my guess is the consumer electric bill will have to nearly double to reduce demand [but the people are pretty clever & cooperative, so maybe this is highly exaggerated], and the KSA allocation cutoff to Japan will really hurt the ramping of FF-power plants. My guess is most of their coal comes from AUS: bet the ship captains were immediately radio-ordered to make flank speed.

If those nukes were damaged bigtime: I would hate to think how much time and money it would require to repair them, or even worse, having to decommission them, then build new plants elsewhere. Yikes!

Hopefully, some TODers from Japan will help fill in our knowledge gaps in the days ahead.

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

This (sadly) is nothing new. Japan seems to be shutting down a major portion of its nukes pretty much yearly now for safety reasons.

For such an advanced country it has a piss poor safety history. Its hard for me to imagine Japan increasing its nuke load of electricity generation anytime soon. They can't keep the plants they have up and running safely.

Remember everybody harping on about how Japan has decreased its oil usage in the last year? Well, that was (as far as I've been able to figure) because they finally got the last batch of nukes from the latest shutdown back online. We still generate a heck of a lot of elec from oil around here (unlike the US or EU).

So you are right with the cutbacks from SA and the soon to be cutbacks of NG from Indonesia those Aussie coal barges are gonna be busy I'm afraid.

PS, I'm no expert either, but I think its pretty much impossible to design anything to withstand a 9.0 quake. Remember its a logarithmic scale.

Hello Rethin,

If you are in Japan, please give my best wishes to your Japanese friends. My heart goes out to them: they got the ole one-two punch, cyclone or typhoon, then an earthquake. Thxs for your reply.

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

As far as Tokyo goes both were non events.
With the typhoon it was just another storm in an area that gets hit all the time.
With the Earthquake it was just another earthquake in a region that's lately been littered with them.

I know there are victims from both events. Yet I got up today, and came to work same as everyone else around me.

I figure post peak will be pretty much the same. The world falling apart all around you and you just get up and go to work. Perhaps make a note of it when you hear it on the evening news. That is, until one day when it effects you. And there is no job to go to. Suddenly then PO becomes real.

Course by that point it'll be too late to do anything. But you'll cry the victim just the same.

Hello Rethin,

After getting hit with two nukes in WWII, followed by the poisoning at Minimata [1960s?]: I just expected Japan's nuke power industry to be absolutely, tip-top first class with the best engineers, maintenance, and facilities on the planet. You would think the Japanese culture would expect and enforce nothing less. Yet:

Quake and nuclear reactor leak in Japan spur safety concerns

Japan's record in nuclear safety is not a happy one. The industry has been dogged by accidents and cover-up scandals, and public trust runs low.

In August 2004, five workers at the Mihama Nuclear Power Plant in western Japan were killed and six others were injured after a corroded pipe ruptured and sprayed plant workers with boiling water and steam. The accident was the nation's worst at a nuclear facility.

In 1999, an accident at a nuclear reprocessing plant north of Tokyo killed two workers and exposed hundreds to radioactivity.
Wow, I never knew. Japan has some very, very serious postPeak work ahead if they wish to keep the nuclear power option.

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

The depth sounds exotic to those of us used to San Andreas-type quakes with typical depths of surface->10miles or so, but for quakes occuring along a subduction boundary depths of 100s of miles are to be expected.

A look at historical seismicity in the area of the second (deeper) quake in Japan shows that it occurred right at the depth you'd expect for that location:

Deep quakes like this typically result in much less violent ground motion, but because of the mechanism of motion (one area of ground moving up/down relative to another) they can be responsible for the largest tsunamis if they occur underwater and the failure zone reaches the surface.

In this case, the first (6.6 quake) was much shallower (10km), and reached m. Mercalli of VII/VIII on land, which means susceptible soils probably induced shaking of IX, while the slightly larger, deeper quake pruduced a maximum intensity of about V. The Kashiwazaki nuclear facility is located right in the center of the region of strongest shaking as modeled by the USGS.

What we'd need to see is the actual strong motion records from near the reactor to determine what they're talking about when they say the design criteria were exceeded; it's possible that focusing effects or poorly modeled local geotechnical effects produced much strong shaking than typical for a quake of this magnitude.

Final quote in the UN story:

"We are no longer in a surplus world."

That just about sums it up.

THAT would be an awesome bumper sticker/sign to represent the state of affairs of the world's resources.

That simple phrase has amazing implications (sustainability, resource wars, planning for change....)

And now for something complete different:

In waking up this morning I gave my customary 30-second glace to the the CNN Money main web page, and see today it is listing its "Top 100 Best Places to Live" - presumably all in the USA, I didn't read it.


Made me idly wonder whether anyone out there has done a similar analysis based on fast and slow energy crash scenarios. Strikes me as an interesting exercise...

Yes, they are all in the US. And looking at them, I wouldn't want to live there. At least, the places I've actually been to on the list strike me as being more like Kunstler's suburban nightmare than an actual town.

Damn, only 32nd? :-)

Looks like they only considered places in the US by definition and it is all based on old thinking, lots of these places near big cities could become casualties.

Methinks they are still trying to sell real estate.

Jason Bradford.
That's why he moved close to Todd and da Rat.


Life in our big city...
Environmental magazine Mother Earth News has named Ukiah one of "Eight Great Places You've Never Heard Of" for the community's continuous, concerted effort to promote sustainability.


If I only knew...the story is no longer on-line; here's what I have...

Mother Earth News features Ukiah
By KATIE MINTZ The Daily Journal
Article Launched: 06/28/2007 08:28:21 AM PDT

Environmental magazine Mother Earth News has named Ukiah one of "Eight Great Places You've Never Heard Of" for the community's continuous, concerted effort to promote sustainability.

"Ukiah's vision for the future is to secure greater self-reliance, which is what attracted us," Mother Earth News assistant editor Alison Rogers said of the search to find obscure places where residents have banded together to maximize the quality of life in their community.

Citing the city government's use of renewable energy and hybrid vehicles, acres of organic vineyards, the Ukiah Brewing Co.'s organic brewery and the Greater Ukiah Localization Project, Rogers said the city's choices promoting sustainability landed it on the list that will appear in the August/September issue of the magazine.

Ukiah is joined by Bellingham, Wash., Paonia, Colo., Dixon, N.M., Eau Claire, Wis., Bloomington, Ind., Ocean Springs, Miss., and Brattleboro, Vt. in Mother Earth News' second installment of unsung cities.

Last year, 12 locales were featured in the 350,000-circulation magazine based in Topeka, Kan., Rogers said.

Ukiah Mayor Mari Rodin, who often hears people confuse Ukiah with Yreka and Eureka to the north, said she's not surprised the city made the cut of unknown, but great, places this time around. In her opinion, "To know Ukiah is to love Ukiah."

"The size of Ukiah is right for manifesting these ideas," she added. "We're big enough to have people with different types of knowledge

to bring to these efforts, but we're small enough that we can coordinate to make them work."
For GULP members Cliff Paulin and Scott Cratty, a project as simple as the plan to build a cobb bench this weekend in the Wagenseller neighborhood to provide a place for neighbors to gather, is important in GULP's mission to create a sustainable community.

By bringing people together, the ultimate goal of creating local sources of food, water, energy for a self-reliant local economy is strengthened.

"We're all going to be better off in a livable community where there's interesting things to do, where we're growing some things of our own, we're making some things of our own, and we have a real community," Cratty said.

The issue is expected to hit newsstands July 24. Mother Earth News is sold locally at the Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op, 721 S. State St.

Hi Rat,

Been meaning to say I'm glad you're back. I subscribe to MEN and got my copy when I went to the Post Office today. I haven't had time to really read the article - been out mowing fields for fire protection. I let them go to seed this year to bulid up the grasses.

Anyway, GULP is Greater Ukiah Localization Project. I'm glancing at the article as I write this and it really doesn't say much. A sidebar on Ukiah says its July average temp is 73 degrees! You believe that? Ukiah gets hot as hell in the summer. Ukiah is a nice little city but I wouldn't want to live there. From a survival point of view it's too close to the Santa Rosa area and gobs of people.


I think I am too close to Ukiah and gobs of people.

People rushin' everywhere
If they'd only slow down once
They might find something there
Green trees and timber land
People workin' with their hands
For sure a different way to live
Gonna keep my cabin at hand
Retreat and live off the land
All around Ukiah, wo

The mountain streams that rush on by
Show the fish a jumpin'
And reflect the open sky
The fresh clean smell of the pines
Symbol of unchanging times
All around this sacred land
Strangely, though, I've found my way
Right here I'm gonna stay
In this land Ukiah, wo

Tom Johnston, 1973
Performed by the Doobie Brothers

I came up with a list of medium size towns in my state (Oregon) that had good access to water and farmland, were big enough to provide a potential community in which to ride out the storm, but were small enough to be somewhat self-sufficient with a reasonable amount of work. For Oregon, the ones I remember were along the lines of Monmouth, Astoria, Klamath Falls, etc., and I've chosen Monmouth as the place to go (I have the entire list somewhere and I'll try to dig it up if anyone wants it). I have a five year plan that gets me onto a small farm, living much less grid dependent, and growing a lot of my own food. I just hope I have the full five years to work the plan.

I'm interested in that list. Thanks.

CNN has Lake Mary, Fl., listed as #4. CNN lists the negatives as 'Florida summers and hurricanes.' They should also include tornadoes. My wife and I do disaster relief for the Red Cross and worked the aftermath of a string of tornadoes that went through Lake Mary about 10-12 years ago. Its the only time I have seen huge live oaks twisted in half midway up the trees, like a person would twist a toothpick into two pieces...what a mess.
Another thing that CNN should consider is CC when they are doing their 'best places to live.' Lake Mary will soon be under water if Dr. Hansen, Lovelock, et al, are right about the rate of sea level increase that we can expect.

This is worth reading (it's short) just for the comments alone. I read through the first 6 pages worth searching in vain for someone who supported Mr. Kristol's view.

Why Bush Will Be A Winner

I suppose I'll merely expose myself to harmless ridicule if I make the following assertion: George W. Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one.

Let's step back from the unnecessary mistakes and the self-inflicted wounds that have characterized the Bush administration. Let's look at the broad forest rather than the often unlovely trees.

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." -GWB

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson


Its pretty unbelievable, but people have succeeded with the big lie before. Look at the idiots who are trying to make Ronald Reagan into a secular saint.

I don't think Bush has been the worst president in US history, I think that honor belongs to Franklin Pierce. Franklin Pierce let the slave owners and abolitionists set up militias before the Civil War who battled it out in Kansas and caused the spark that set off the Civil War.

But Bush still has 18 months, and the Minute Men are arming and terrorizing people on our southern border. The dollar is collapsing, and it seems as though Bush and Cheney plan to attack Iran, who has nuclear weapons, at least in rumor.


The problem with sites like this is that anyone can say anything. The Minute Men have no arms, have never had arms, have no plans to get or use arms. They just use a cell phone to call the border patrol. If that is "terrorizing people" then I guess that I was taught English and I know not what language you speak.

They are terrorizing ME if they make the call while DRIVING!
Sorry JB, just funnin'. Agree with you on this one.
I'm kinda gloomy tonight and these popular misconceptions strike at my ire.
Still, "Put down that phone and DRIVE YOUR CAR(while we still can)" would be my bumpersticker of choice.


The Minute Men have arms, and police dogs and beer. I've seen those overage punks in action on the Texas border. I suggest you go to someplace like Webb County or Hudspeth County and look around. And for the record, shithead, my family came over before the American Revolution on both sides. None of them had to get any kind of green card as the US Goverment was created partially from their actions fighting for freedom.
And you also might remember that most of the western part of the US was created on lands annexed from Mexico.


I suggest you go to the Mexican border and open your eyes. Don't believe anybody's propoganda until you see it in action, I have, and repeat my statement. The Minutemen are a bunch of middle-aged punks with guns and police dogs. They're not from the border, have no legal authority because they are too crazy to be allowed to join a sherrif's department or the Border Patrol and should be imprisoned themselves.

I'm a US citizen and have ancestors that got here on the Mayflower. Your resorting to casting aspersions on my citizenship just shows what kind of a##hole you are.

Look at the idiots who are trying to make Ronald Reagan into a secular saint.

Judging by the copious invocation of Saint Reagan's good name during GOP debates, I think those idiots have already succeeded.

Its pretty unbelievable, but people have succeeded with the big lie before.

I was younger and more optimistic when the Iran-Contra affair occurred. I always found it amazing that the CIA/Whitehouse could sell weapons to our "enemies" (illegally), to make money to give weapons to our "friends" (illegally) with minimal punishment to anyone. Ollie North is patriotic hero to this day for destroying evidence!

The heartening thing that I saw in Kristol's WaPo piece were the comments. I worked my way through 60 or 70 and only found three which agreed with Kristol in any manner. The big lie is getting old and too hard for all but the most zealous to believe.

I only pray that there is not another attack on the US before Shrub is impeached or leaves office. Otherwise it will be fear kool-aid for everyone, and who knows what the sheeple will be convinced to put up with.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

Ahh, the memories.
27 years ago this week our great nation took it first steps down a dark alley.
In my hometown no less.
Appropos, we have plenty of dark alleys here.
Anybody remember Jimmy Watt?
Anyhow, my girlfriend at the time told me that the guy she was dumping me for "really cared" for her,.......... when he was slugging her.
It must've been the same in a macro-sense as well.

He forgot the disclosure.

This message has been approved and brought to you by the Likud Party.

Sometimes those of us who don't work closely in or with the oil industry forget how big it really is.

I had a meeting this morning at the Marathon Oil Tower building in Houston. It was big - 41 stories; Marathon uses 600,000 square feet there. In the lobby, they had a model of their Brae Alpha oil platform in the North Sea, and I was again impressed by the size and complexity of the platform.

Getting back to my office I checked for their annual revenues - with annual revenue around $63 billion, they are four times larger than NASA. Of course, there are several U.S. oil companies quite a bit larger than Marathon, and none of those U.S. companies are even in the top ten as far as proven reserves any more.

ITs a very capital intensive business that sells a cheap product.

Wonder when someone will compare the capital to build silicon chips VS cost, soda VS cost and a buch of other stuff that is used VS their end user costs simiar to the 'a cup of gas is $0.10, Coffee is $4, Soda is $.75 ....'

I used to live in VA. Speeding 20 MPH over the speed limit was considered reckless driving and would lead to 9 points (12 suspends license) a fine, and most likely an increase in insurance rates. Now they've increased the fine to $1,050.

The Taxman Hits, in the Guise of a Traffic Cop

SHORT of cash and long of arm, the State of Virginia recently unveiled the nation’s first $1,050 speeding ticket.

The $1,050 Speeding Ticket You have to go 20 miles an hour over the speed limit to get that one; but under a new set of rules there are now a whole host of violations considered “reckless driving” that subject errant Virginia drivers to fines of $1,050 to $3,000 — plus court costs, if you fight and lose. The money will be spent on maintaining roads and bridges, safety improvements and closing a $500 million gap that emerged in last year’s transportation budget.

I support heavy fines for speeding. Americans are so afraid of terrorist attacks and other nonsense (like flying or shark attacks) which have very low probabilities of killing them. Meanwhile, driving is incredibly dangerous.

As though it were not dangerous enough, many jackasses drive as though the additional minute or two that they might save driving like an idiot, would be worth maiming or killing themselves or some other driver.

Reducing the number of cars on the roads is a noble goal, but barring that, can't we at least save a little bit of energy by driving more sanely? What's the worst that could happen, a few thousand people per year might be saved?

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

Just wanted to point out that the article above, "Are these the last days of the Oil Age?" was written by William Rees-Mogg, one of the patriarchs of the British newspaper industry and editor of The Times for 15 years until it was bought up by Murdoch. A weighty voice indeed, and not easily dismissed.


That is an excellent piece! The comments are really interesting and informed. I remember, as I'm sure many of you do, the issues he mentions in the late 70s and early 80s very well. Tough times indeed.



“Oil and natural gas output rose to the equivalent of 3.05 million barrels of oil a day, the Beijing-based company said today. Oil production gained 0.1 percent from a year earlier, while gas jumped 16.5 percent.

PetroChina will outspend Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP Plc this year to expand supplies to the world's fastest-growing major economy. A government-backed drive to acquire and open fields has enabled Chinese companies to increase output as production at their global rivals falters.”

“PetroChina's oil production reached 2.32 million barrels a day in the first six months of this year as daily gas output climbed to 4.41 billion cubic feet, PetroChina said in a statement posted on its Web site. The average price PetroChina earned for its crude oil dropped 1.9 percent to $57.66 a barrel.(!!!) Gas sold for 4.53 percent more, at $2.54 per thousand cubic feet.” (!!!)

Gee, is this what happens when you get off your ass and look instead of building more office suites?

And when all else fails, merge.
(By the way, a David Strahan written article)

Question: What is the outlook for Chinese oil and gas reserves, anybody know?

What’s the Hubbert Linearization say about China, anybody know?

China, by the way is already the world leader in manufacture of PV solar cells, and one of the leaders in advanced batteries.
(gee, and the Americans said there was no future in that crap....)

Strahan points out in the BP/Shell merger article that reserve replacement and production is falling for the super majors due to a decline in non OPEC prospects....well, except Brazil, except China, except new finds in Africa, except Libya, except, except, except. Could this be a management thing?
(of course, the U.S. fudged up any chance for an Iraqi oil industry reconstruction, so that one is our baby..., and you wonder what the dollar would be worth if we could put that trillion dollar war expense back in the bank don't you? gee, could this be a management thing?)

Starting to look like Peak Oil won’t put us out of the game. We just quit the game.

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom
(If freedom is what we actually want. I have my doubts)
(edited to soften the tone a bit)

GREED BEGAN TO OUTRUN FEAR (as it always finally does!)

It’s been an interesting weekend for me. I went to my 30th high school reunion.
Those kind of life events can make a person think. Think about past errors, think about what possibilities still remain.

At 48 years old, a person has to admit that if he or she intends to much more on Earth, they had better go ahead and do it soon. It was obvious that many people had already began to live for the next, and the next after that, generation. I was astounded at the fascination so many people had with grandchildren. One man (I remember him as a wild kid, party guy) even put “playing papaw” as his primary interest in life! Only a few years ago, such a thought would have been unimaginable to him.
I have no children, nor grandchildren. My “interests” have to be a bit more abstract, and in many ways, a bit more self centered.

As I think of career, possible future family or spouse (some of us are late starters, but we never give up, do we?) hobbies, health and spiritual direction and a thousand other things that make up life, I of course, as are so many people confronted with that great central issue in America:

Despite the drumbeat (pun somewhat intended) against the dollar, people are still willing to take it, save it and invest it, and no one seems willing to burn dollars or give them away for free.

In fact, even the most vocal of “back to the stone agers”, Ken Deffeyes, is pretty darn interested in money....what, Deffeyes, the investment guru?

The link to Deffeyes article from Drumbeat just the other day was actually a very interesting one, for those who not go check it out. I was somewhat touched by the ole’ gents willingness to discuss finances, in a world in which some folks here will tell you the world will soon have no financial system.

Some excerpts:
“Let's talk about money. What can individuals do even when their government tries to ignore the problem? Knowing that the oil peak is happening is almost like insider information.”

“While I go along happily making a reasonable return on my oil and gas stocks, I have a second worry. If the price of energy goes up, the price of food goes up, and the price of gold goes up, am I simply watching the US dollar shrink? Is the almighty dollar riding off into the sunset? In one sense, my investments are a bank account denominated in barrels of oil instead of in dollars. It makes me nervous. Is the dollar sinking in the western sky?”

Now a person must be encouraged by the fact that it is the status of his investment portfolio that makes Deffeyes nervous.

Not, mind you, learning how to plow with oxen, or where his medication or medical care will come from, or whether he will freeze to death in the cold, but the future status of his stock portfolio is what makes him nervous! Now that sounds more like an American! :-)

Only an example will serve here to explain what is beginning to happen:

When in high school, I saw a rerun of a retrospective of The Normandy Landing, with former President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower giving his account of how the landing succeeded, I recount loosely from memory:
It goes this way...a group of men is landed on the beach, and then another and another. The shelling and machine guns are horrendous, the noise incredible...the men are of course terrified, they try to find shelter...huddle in holes, behind shot up vehicles. They see other men die.

Then, they realize they cannot stay on this beach, they will be shot to bits, and the tide is coming in. One by one, and then two at a time, and then in small groups, they begin to get together, to organize, to move forward, little by little, to go on the offense...to work up the cliff, grappling hooks. They move forward, and a few, then more, off that beach. That’s the way it happens.

This by way to introduce you to a few sites you never see mentioned here on TOD:







Because like the men on the beach at Normandy, people are beginning to realize they must move or die. They know they cannot wait on the government, they cannot take the words of the mass media as valid (most in the media do not even know this revolution is underway), and no offense to the “back to the Earth” crowd, their “advice” is useless.

At my high school reunion the other night, I noticed something that no one likes to talk about. 50 years old is old. Yes, I know about those great “medical miracles” that will keep us alive in many cases past 100.
And of course we hear about those folks in some village somewhere that are said to live to be older than mountains, (although there is seldom documentation, and no records were kept. Most of them simply look older than mountains)

But longevity for humans is not a natural situation. Many of my friends garden. Locally, many women still can food. They were raised that way. Many still heat with a wood stove. But what they cannot do is provide themselves with medical and hospital care, and advanced pharmaceutical drugs, many of which their lives depend on, (I am one of those).

And they suffer from another ailment: Greed. Like Ken Deffeyes, they are still hunting for the almighty buck. They want a good life for their grandchildren, and maybe even a bit of good life for themselves.

“We are in the midst of one of the greatest shifts in human history," write the authors. "Within 50 years, we'll look back at the beginning of the 21st century and see it as the tipping point for clean technology. The choice for investors, companies, governments, and individuals is simple. Be part of one of the greatest business and economic shifts in recorded human history, or become extinct like the dinosaurs whose fossils fueled the last great industrial revolution. The opportunity for wealth creation stands on one side of the equation and the very real threat of the collapse of civilization as we know it on the other."

Now of course, it may not work. But the other choices seem much worse. The slavery to oil and gas producers, the endless treadmill and drain on food supply of biofuels, the almost bomb like destruction of tar sand and coal production.

Right now, any discussion of solar power is met with derision and ridicule. The slander and attack can be merciless, and comes from the entrenched energy industry as well as the self proclaimed “energy aware” and “Peak Oil” aware.

The agenda is clear. For those who wish, for whatever reason, to see no alternative to the “depletion treadmill”, it seems important to stop the advance in methods, materials and efficiencies by the renewable industry. The last opportunity to do that is now, when they hope to kill the option in the cradle. Soon, if it has not already occurred, a point of confluence will be past, in which the renewable option will be unable to be stopped. Like the Industrial Revolution, the first period of birthing was the hardest. After that, developments begin to combine and even newer advances come ever faster. Once out of the cradle, the Industrial Revolution proved to be impossible to stop, bowling over political, social, and technical opposition. We can decry it now, and say it should not have been done, but that is water under the bridge. The birth of the post carbon age has exactly that kind of potential.

And now, the other shoe, the big one is falling: People are beginning to see the possibility of wealth, great wealth, being produced in the renewable energy revolution. Nothing will move us off the beach like greed, as old as human beings, and one of our most powerful instincts.

The options are becoming clear: Back to the hovel, to death. Or forward, to the potential for a new wealth producing system, and a new aesthetic, and a world of continuing humanity, of the possibility of art, advanced design, community, and options, for ourselves for our remaining years, and for our children and grandchildren.

W.H. Auden once gave a fascinating definition of a Great Culture:
“A Great Culture is to be judged by the variety achieved with unity retained”

It is a remarkable turn of phrase! Unity achieved, that one is easy. It can be done with the gun, or even the club. Mankind, all in the hovel of filth it took us thousands of years to get out of, and consigning our children and grandchildren to it for, how long?....because if we choose to return, we know from the past, it can take century upon century to get back out of.

Variety achieved without unity is also possible: The Mad Max barbarism so many now days seem to dream of....the warlord states we see all over the world, unable to accomplish any complex goal, because they cannot work together without a bloodbath. Freedom ad infinitum, but no unity, no ability to move past the one tool they know, slaughter.

Backward to the hovel, or forward to humanity and accomplishment. Which do you think most folks will strive for, despite the ridicule you heap upon them?

I thought about this on my 30th high school reunion the other night. We will all die. Many of us are getting later in life. Will we choose to die accepting the decline back to the hovel, or will we at least attempt to achieve a future that will be humane and bearable for our grandchildren? I have none of my own, but want only the best for everyone else’s children and grandchildren.

But if the past teaches us anything, it is that people will, in the end, fight for the future, their own future of options. Often, ideas are thrown around, about how “how all “we” have to do is take peoples property, their cars and trucks, move them to a “denser” environment, “stop” their consumerism, change the way they live, they way they entertain themselves, they way they breed, “change” them, make them learn how to live. The old social utopia, the social re-engineering goals returns yet again, more terrifying than "Peak OIl" could ever be. Who should scare us more, the prospects of engineers, or the horrendous plans of the "social engineers"?

Always the goal, to cleanse the unwashed masses, the hated sheepie, to make them see the error of their ways. Perhaps it is believed that if we ridicule them enough for any idea they may have, they will soon abandon all hope.


Roger Conner Jr.
Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom
(If freedom is what we really want)

Roger: Basically, I agree with you. One point: I think you misinterpret the prediction of greater urban development in the future (decline of suburban development). As you state, the bottom line is everything. Everything has a price, including driving a car 15000 miles a year. At a certain price point most people won't be doing it. Life goes on.

I agree with you, greed will conquer fear, and humans will get past our roadblocks. But the interim isn't going to be pretty as our economy adjusts.

I noticed also that the Doommeister Deffeyes had some investments. The one he mentioned bears repeating and looking into-Sabine Royalty Trust. It pays 9%, and the assets are hard assets-oil and gas royalties which become more valuable as oil becomes more valuable.
Bob Ebersole

I'm not sure what the point people are trying to make about Ken Deffeyes having investments. Have you seen him. He knows he will not survive once this thing hits. There will be no soft landing. But, he has kids and grandkids whose survival he is concerned about. I'm sure his focus is on giving them the best chance of survival and anything he makes from his investments will go a long way in that direction. I imagine belittling him was a way to try to discredit his message. Pick another target. Ken knows the score and he isn't in it for the money. (Not directed at you oilmanbob, you were just the last post in the thread.)

I think investments are also a way to deal with a very uncertain future.

I am convinced that our current economic system is unsustainable. But the timeline? Who knows. It may collapse tomorrow, or not for decades. So I keep some money in stocks. Not as much as I would if I didn't know about peak oil, for sure. The amount of money I put in stocks each month is less than most people my age spend on eating out, consumer electronics, new car payments, or dance lessons for their kids. If I lose it, I won't stay up nights wishing I'd used it to buy a bigger car or a plasma TV instead.

Also note that Deffeyes has bailed out of Sabine.

Part of our problem is a false dichotomy: ever-increasing economic growth toward techno-utopia, or dieoff collapse to the hovel. Option one we know to be ultimately impossible; the resource base is finite and cannot sustain infinite growth. Option two is unthinkable for anyone with a grip on sanity.

But are these(utopia or oblivion, as Buckminister Fuller said) really the only two options ?

It was said by someone (I don't remember who) that God (or Nature, if you prefer) has provided enough for mankind's NEED, but not enough for mankind's GREED. In other words, it is possible to imagine a global civilization that efficiently utilizes the earth's renewable resources in a sustainable way to support a sustainable population at a standard of living that assures that basic NEEDS are met. It is probably not possible to create such a sustainable civilization that caters to people's GREED.

Note well that a standard of living that meets basic NEEDS is not necessarilly all that rich a lifestyle; most Americans would consider it to be rather poor. Such a society might be able to provide a somewhat higher level of public goods than our present US society does; whether the level of social benefits enjoyed by some Europeans is achievable on a sustainable basis is more questionable. What we are talking about here is what E.F. Schumacher called "SUFFICIENCY" - a little above poverty, but well below affluence. But the bad news is that most of the junk that fills our shops, streets, homes, and television programs is stuff we don't need and can't really afford to have - even if the world is filled with shiny PV panels and wind generators.

The world certainly will need those PV panels and wind generators. With luck, we just might be able to build enough to support a civilization that supplies basic NEEDS for more than just a small fraction of the present population (though maybe not for as many as 7 billion).

What I am trying to get around to, though, is that if we are to graph the future, what we want is neither an exponential rocket trail into space, nor a bell curve plunge into the pit, but rather an "S" curve pathway toward a permanent, stable, sustainable, zero-growth plateau. (That plateau may not be at present levels; what I mean is that we need to pull out of the dive before we crash -- an inverted S is what I mean, I guess.)

So while I agree with much of what you said, two things trouble me. First of all, the vision of zero-growth sustainability is a different one than the vision of continued positive growth. Second, a future that provides for people's NEEDS is different than a future that provides for (some) people's GREED. From both an ethical and a practical point of view, I think that there are problems with attempting to motivate people on the basis of an unrealistic future. For one thing, it is just plain dishonest, for we all know that it cannot and will not happen. "Onward and upward" just isn't possible given a finite resource base.

A zero-growth future of bare sustainable sufficiency is going to be a hard-sell. It is not hard to sell at all when the alternative is a plunge into the hovel. But as long as people are holding on to the hope that their greedy dreams can be realized through "onward and upward", zero-growth sustainable sufficiency is going to look pretty unattractive in comparison. It is therefore not helpful, and actually quite damaging, to say or do ANYTHING that continues to encourage vain hopes that we can somehow come up with anything ("silver bullet"?) that will enable us to continue forward on the "onward and upward" path.

This is a similar problem to what I have observed in some other contexts. Given two technologies, one of which is theoretically optimal but practically almost impossible to implement under the real circumstances, vs. another technology which is suboptimal but actually can be deployed, the problem becomes one of the perfect becoming the enemy of the good. Well meaning arguments in favor of a theoretically perfect technology that will never actually ever be deployed in time are not helpful, but only serve to help obstruct the deployment of those good technologies that actually can be deployed soon enough to actually help.

In our case, the continued hope of finding a way to continue society on the "onward and upward" path -- the perfect -- is the enemy of the good: the realistic hope of transitioning toward a zero-growth sustainable sufficiency that might actually still be achievable.

By all means, let's all try to work together and move forward toward a better future. But we all need to buy into and communicate a clear vision of that future. That vision of the future has to be a realistic best case given the very real resource constraints we are facing.

The problem is overshoot. 30 yrs ago may have been too late for the "If all the worlds resources were shared equally there would be enough for everyone" position. Impossible dream at anytime anyway. Dieoff is a natural process that happens to all species. Like the elk that had been relocated to that island with no predators and ate and reproduced themselves to numbers unsustainable by the annual growth of food. One bad winter triggered the dieoff. Those that survived found themselves in a more abundant world lacking the previous population pressures. In time their numbers will grow again and another dieoff will occur. A natural cycle. Yes, the dieoff will be horrific. But it will not be total. Those that survive will find again abundance and room to grow. A natural cycle.

Interesting replies from everyone, and you guys are gentlemen to be sure, I am certain there were at least a half dozen little items you folks could have ripped me on, this being something of a "reflective" stream of thought written piece....

by the way Cid Yama, my remarks were in no way putting down Deffeyes on the investment thing...I have had my difference with some of Ken's remarks over time to be sure, but the investments are not one of them, if anything, that seems to be a prudent bet on the future, and made him seem all the more in touch with reality! :-) I wish him only the best, trying to out figure the Wall Street crowd is much harder than trying to estimate the volume of oil in the world!

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom