DrumBeat: July 22, 2007

Gas Prices Rise on Refineries’ Record Failures

Oil refineries across the country have been plagued by a record number of fires, power failures, leaks, spills and breakdowns this year, causing dozens of them to shut down temporarily or trim production. The disruptions are helping to drive gasoline prices to highs not seen since last summer’s records.

These mechanical breakdowns, which one analyst likened to an “invisible hurricane,” have created a bottleneck in domestic energy supplies, helping to push up gasoline prices 50 cents this year to well above $3 a gallon. A third of the country’s 150 refineries have reported disruptions to their operations since the beginning of the year, a record according to analysts.

There have been blazes at refineries in Louisiana, Texas, Indiana and California, some of them caused by lightning strikes. Plants have suffered power losses that disrupted operations; a midsize refinery in Kansas was flooded by torrential rains last month.

American refiners are running roughly 5 percent below their normal levels at this time of the year.

A Natural Gas Crisis Coming?

This resource triangle illustrates that conventional resources (the apex of the triangle) represent a relatively small volume of the total hydrocarbons in an area or basin. Unconventional hydrocarbons depicted by the lower part of the triangle tend to occur in substantially higher volumes. Early exploration and production is focussed on the apex of the triangle. Industry only pursues opportunities lower in the triangle when the opportunities at the top of the triangle are inadequate to meet demand and consumers are prepared to pay to make the opportunities economic. The oval illustrates that the Alberta oil and gas industry has moved significantly down the triangle in pursuing both oil (heavy oil, tar sands) and gas (coalbed methane, tight gas).

New warning on oil

Brace for another energy crisis. A new authoritative assessment forecasts sharply higher demand that will raise prices and increase reliance on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and unstable regions for oil supplies. While some experts dismiss the analysis as alarmist, we need to prepare for a world characterized by increasing energy scarcity — and think creatively about how to do so.

After peak oil: Will America survive?

As public awareness about peak oil continues to grow, and even the big oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. are now starting to admit that the future supply of oil looks troublesome (see this Boston Globe article), there's an increasing focus on renewable energy solutions. But most members of the public still don't understand energy very well, and they generally have no idea whether alternative energy sources like solar, wind or CSP (see below) can replace oil. Many people are concerned about a potential collapse of modern society due to the end of cheap oil. So to help answer some of these questions, I've put together a set of uncensored, science-based answers about oil, renewable energy and the future of modern civilization.

Tata's Rs.100,000 car: boon or bane for India?

It looks as though Tata's Rs.100,000 car will be a reality next year. It is now being praised all over the world as India's shining moment ushering in a new automobile era. When seen in the background of India's energy crisis, it shows India's total lack of preparedness and long-term planning failure.

Saudi's Aramco says four foreign employees killed in fire incident this week

State-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, said Saturday that four of its foreign employees died in a fire this week at the Ras Tanura terminal on the country's east coast.

SK Energy wins right to develop 'promising' Peru offshore oil field

SK Energy, South Korea's largest oil refiner, said Sunday it had won a bid to develop a "very promising" oil field in Peru's offshore Trujillo basin.

Day Of Reckoning

The time is growing short for the nation to take a serious approach to the dual problems of global warming and a looming energy crisis.

Standing up to global warming

It's time for people to enlist in the battle against global warming and its accompanying pollution that are messing with the qualities of their life. In fact, it's late already. The large question is whether Americans are up to it even as it would benefit both their health and pocket books.

Maryland Adopts Plan For Energy Efficiency

In a bid to cut energy use, Maryland yesterday became just the fourth state in the nation to approve a plan that removes the incentive for electric utilities to sell more power in order to make more money.

In a rate case ruling issued yesterday, the Maryland Public Service Commission endorsed an approach known as decoupling, which ensures that utilities do not lose revenue if customers use less electricity.

Study Slams Ethanol, Industry Cries Foul

Ethanol is not the "silver bullet" that will solve America's energy crisis, according to a new report released Wednesday by three liberal environmental groups.

In the 77-page report, the groups allege that ethanol production will, in many cases, contribute to significant problems in the United States and the developing world.

But Doug Durante, executive director of Ethanol Across America -- an industry advocacy group -- said the criticisms levied in the report were unfair. He said the industry has never tried to be the answer to every problem associated with fossil fuels and transportation.

Sweden's Saab leads drive to ethanol

By 2020, the Swedish government wants every new car on the road to run on fuels that can be replenished, and one of its car companies is already speeding toward that ambitious goal.

Watts of Wind: Turbines above the Gorge will soon help power Cowlitz County

About 370 construction workers can complete one 415-foot windmill per day. As of last week, the crews were near to completing 20 of them since tower construction started last month.

...Sections of the wind towers arrive from all over the world. Steel towers come from South Korea; turbine generators and blades come from Denmark. The parts are unloaded at the Port of Longview, creating work for local longshoremen. Truckers then haul them through the Columbia River Gorge to the 9,500-acre wind farm.

Workers mount each wind tower on a pad made with 300 cubic yards of concrete, using a giant crane that crawls from tower to tower and hoists tower sections, turbines and 148-foot-long blades into position.

"It's like clockwork -- it has to be," Young said. "The logistics here are tough. It's thousands of dollars a day for that crane. You don't want to miss a day because a piece is not here. Logistically, that is a nightmare."

The nuclear option: Nuclear power no panacea for reducing global warming

Is the expansion of the nuclear power industry, which produces no greenhouse gases, a big part of the solution to the global warming problem, as the Bush administration and some state officials claim? Or does it amount to trading one evil for an even greater evil?

Ralph Nader: The New Face of Nuclear Power (Same as the Old)

The old argument in the Seventies was that nuclear powered electricity would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. With only three percent of our electricity coming from burning petroleum, the pro-nuke lobby is now jumping on the global warming bandwagon. Uranium, they argue, does not release greenhouse gases like coal or oil.

What nuclear lobbies ignore is all the coal and oil that needs to be burned to enrich uranium, to transport radioactive wastes with protective highway and rail convoys and provide security since they would be a priority target for sabotage.

World energy needs a boon for Wyoming

Due to the increasing global demand for its energy resources, Wyoming's economy performed second best in the nation last year, officials say.

The increase in employment opportunities, vigorous natural-gas production, a consistent low housing foreclosure rate and a mining industry powerhouse led the way. But all industries are expanding due to the booming energy sector.

Oil and gas may run short by 2015, say industry experts

Humanity is approaching an unprecedented crisis when not enough oil and gas will be produced to keep industrial civilisation running, the world's top oilmen warned last week.

The warning – which is being hailed as a "tipping point" on both sides of the Atlantic – marks the first time that the industry has accepted that it may soon no longer be able to meet demand for its products. In Facing the Hard Truths about Energy, it gives authoritative support to concern about impending shortages, following a similar alert by the International Energy Agency less than two weeks ago.

Arizona shouldn't waste public money on impractical photovoltaic cells

About 30 years ago, a great wave of interest in solar energy swept through the state Legislature. Being a former engineer, I realized that the numbers didn't quite add up. But I went along with the near unanimous vote to set up several solar-energy programs, hoping that economies of scale would kick in and make the programs feasible.

Grants, rebates and credits flowed profusely, and the only result was that the state and many of its citizens lost many millions of dollars. The cycle has been repeated several times, the most famous being the alternative-fuels disaster that could have bankrupted the state.

Now it looks as if we're poised for another round.

Global Warming Theories Fizzle, New Studies Show

Claims of alarming changes in nature because of global warming are being discredited.

Results of two new studies of historical hurricane patterns add to a growing body of research that discredits global warming alarmism, said James M. Taylor, an environmental policy senior fellow at The Heartland Institute.

Reports on the studies were carried in the June 7 issue of Nature but largely have been ignored or overlooked by most news reporting services. In that report scientists documented their reconstruction of Atlantic Ocean hurricane activity back 270 years.

Governors address climate change

States should develop creative approaches to climate change, just as they have with challenges such as health care, despite their different economic interests, governors said Saturday.

"No individual state is going to solve the climate change problem, but we can do our part," Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. "In the absence of national or international consensus or progress, we have the opportunity to show the way."

Zimbabwe hunts spirit medium over false fuel claim

Zimbabwe police are hunting a traditional spirit medium who led President Robert Mugabe's government on a fruitless search for much-needed fuel she said was mysteriously oozing out of a rock.

Christo's latest project: an oil barrel pyramid for the Emirates

In a break with their usual temporary installations, the artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude on Saturday unveiled a plan to build a giant pyramid of oil barrels in the desert of the United Arab Emirates.

"The Emirates is very keen to see this project realized," Christo said at a presentation of models and drawings for the 150-metre (500-foot) monument, roughly two thirds of the height of the Eiffel Tower.

The idea for the pyramid, with a flat summit, made up of 390,500 oil barrels piled up horizontally, dates back to the 1960s, the artists said. Two earlier attempts to erect it in Texas and the Netherlands came to nothing before the couple decided to turn to the UAE.

You know, I really respect Mr. Kromko, the author of the photovoltaic article. He clearly shows that solar energy will in no way keep Americans happily motoring, and he doesn't want to waste anyone's money in the process.

The little inconsistencies - for example, I don't think the solar cell will be powering the headlights, and the fact that 150 watts of power is enough to power 2 55 watt bulbs - don't detract from his powerful reasoning.

Which is to not waste money on projects which are not his pet project.

Run by a major international company, which pretty much follows the standard model for centralized energy production based on a grid monopoly.

In fairness to Mr. Kromko, his record seems fairly decent - see http://www.iandrinstitute.org/Arizona.htm

Mr. Kromko doesn't actually show that "solar energy will in no way keep Americans happily motoring", what he shows is that solar-powered cars, where the solar power comes from solar cells physically located on the car will not, which is certainly true, but not very interesting.

He actually doesn't even show that, since presumably these cars would have batteries which could store solar energy over time, but I will grant that the duty cycle of such cars wouldn't really make them feasible.

On the other hand, his point that there are other solar technologies that have advantages over photovoltaics in some applications is well-taken. Presumably we will see how the engineering shakes out.

'One horsepower equals 750 watts, and anything that could be called a "car" would have to have at least 40 horsepower, although, of course, a golf cart would use less. To produce 40 horsepower, a solar panel would have to be approximately 240 times as large as the one shown in the Star's picture. Eight feet by 375 feet would work.

To operate a 40-horsepower car for one hour, the panel shown would have to charge batteries for 250 hours. Even to operate a golf cart, charging time would be unacceptable. The panel shown could operate the taillights, but certainly not the headlights, of a standard car.'

I thought this was actually pretty understandable - and even if other solar technologies are more efficient in energy 'production', the numbers don't crunch very well. How many cars are there in Arizona? And are the cars more important than AC/heating?

Maybe you should go back to another historical definition of a car, the Citroen 2CV, which had a 425cc 12 Hp engine in its original inCARnation, and moved up to 600cc and 18Hp later. Four passengers, great reliability and durability, frontwheel drive or traction avant as they say, lawnmower simplicity and even a heater of sorts. Cheap, too.

Similar vehicles abound in Japan, although their cramped locales and short statures led to vehicles that are seen as too small but needn't be. We need to get over the two tons of metal syndrome and I don't feel the obligation to be polite about it anymore. Other countries have taxed the overpowered and overweight vehicles to the margins, but the political will isn't apparent here. There is a transportational reality between SUVs and bicycles.

That Citroen could do this in 1949 backs my argument that we are just stupid and greedy. When the beloved 2CV finally ceased production sometime in the 90's as I recall, there were huge riots and protests. Granted, there are some new designs in Europe that get great mileage too and are a lot safer and more comfortable, but my point is that we have to give up on the American definition of a car. It's over.

I ran a 2CV for many years back in the 60's and 70's, a 'camionette' or van version dubbed Tooloose Le Truck, and filled it's five gallon tank for about $2. Less than a penny a mile. Two race motorcycles, tools, and gas fit in the back and two maniacs in the front. You just had to be sure to leave early.

Sure, these things only went 50 mph, but so what. Compared to air travel, all cars are slow, and compared to a horse, 12hp is multiples faster. I'd like to see a national 50 mph limit and a 20 hp limit. We'd kill a lot fewer innocents and cut the carbon way down and still get where we're going with a lot less stress and aggro. Why drive a multi liter multi ton can at 70 mph to end up idling in a traffic jam?

Our current 'arrangement' of the automobile is just plain stupid.

Thanks for pushing the envelope on this. It will never happen but you speak the truth about what should be done. We do live in bizaaro world but do not realize it.

The original Volkswagen Beetle had 28hp. It seated four and pretty much did everything a car is supposed to do. The Loremo car has a 20hp engine -- and a lighter body than the Beetle, working out to about the same hp/weight ratio.


yeah...but have you ever tried to fool around in the back seat of one? My back still hurts!

Population control :-)

I love your idea of a horsepower limit... this would be a shock... but anything that needs doing will be a shock... either we have a big shock or a big crash... sadly I'm betting on the latter, but wishing for the former...
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

expat quotes:

To operate a 40-horsepower car for one hour, the panel shown would have to charge batteries for 250 hours. Even to operate a golf cart, charging time would be unacceptable. The panel shown could operate the taillights, but certainly not the headlights, of a standard car.

You may find this understandable, but you don't understand why it's grossly misleading to the point of fraud:

  • The vehicle isn't a 40-horsepower car, it's probably more like 5 HP.
  • Even a 40 HP car doesn't run at full power all the time.  A small car at cruise probably uses 12-20 horsepower on the highway, much less at 45-50 MPH.
  • The proper measure is energy/distance, not peak power.
  • If the NEV ("golf cart") uses 100 watt-hours per mile, 120 watts to its batteries will yield about 1.2 miles of driving for each hour in the sun.

Either the author doesn't understand what he's talking about, or he's lying.  He has just blown any right to be taken as an authority on the subject.

How many cars are there in Arizona? And are the cars more important than AC/heating?

There are lots, and (to give proper credit) the author is correct about the rightly-maligned Arizona alternate fuel vehicle tax credit (which is not unlike the US flex-fuel CAFE credit).  However, if Arizona citizens covered their roofs with solar-thermal concentrators, they could produce all the heat and cooling (via absorption A/C) they could use while charging their electric vehicles.  There is no reason for Arizona to be obtaining most of its energy needs from oil and coal.

Actually, other people picked up on the 40hp being the minimum lower limit for a car (which is absurd), but the seeming conflation of the golf cart with an automobile was another of his 'mistakes.' The understandable was in relation to the situation the author was trying to sketch - that a PV panel wouldn't be sufficient for 'normal' American transportation needs. Amazingly, a lot of people don't need a PV panel to move their feet to walk 20 minutes to a store, and the number that can physically ride a bike to do the same thing in 5 minutes is easily 90% of those that can walk. But no mention of that fact - though again, in most of Arizona, summer is brutal - and Arizona's citizens are unlikely to change how they live enough to actually make it possible - none of that Spanish life style will be imported into the good old U.S.A., regardless of how well it worked in areas with similar weather and a lot less air conditioning.

Or maybe the American lifestyle is coming to Spain instead -
'For much of Spain's recent history, the siesta made the long days bearable. A routine workday that begins at 9 a.m. and finishes at 8 p.m. can seem somewhat rational if it is broken up by a good nap in the afternoon.

Today, long commutes make a trip home for a nap impractical, at least in the major cities. But if the siesta is becoming a thing of the past, it has left a legacy of idle afternoons that is still very much a part of Spanish life. In a way, the siesta has not so much disappeared as it has morphed into an epic lunch, often a two- or three-hour extravaganza that can last until 5.

Now some Spaniards are beginning to ask if a divided workday, with morning and evening sessions straddling an afternoon of scarce productivity, is compatible with the modern world and Spain's growing integration into Europe. '

Facts are going to become increasingly difficult to agree on in the future, I think - especially since facts don't lend themselves to marketing.

But changing lifestyles seems no problem - as long as it go with the globalized flow, and not against it.

I will grant that the duty cycle of such cars wouldn't really make them feasible

It depends. I could see myself using a GEM http://www.gemcar.com twice a week for a total of 12 or 15 miles/week. Such a light duty cycle might be supported by on-vehicle PV panels, at least in the sunnier weeks. None the less, occasional grid charging would be required when high use was coupled with low insolation.

As a general rule, a nameplate 1 hp electric motor can do the work of a 2 hp ICE, for a variety of reasons. Since I drive a 3,150 lb car with a 76 hp ICE diesel (it "gathers momentum") (#s from memory), I think a usable "car" can operate with less than 40 hp.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency,


The Gem car has a 10 grand base sticker price, 13 grand as equipped when Chrysler demoed it at old town market, and may be elgible for a six grand federal tax rebate. It will also allow Chrysler to meet federal fleet mileage requirements and keep selling dodge pickups and suvs.

If this product meets Alan's needs, that is great. I'm not against all subsidies. I'm against stupid subsidies.

The point Arizona Legislaturer was making is that somebody can sell $900 worth of solar crap for $2700 because the buyer is elgible for tax breaks. Without this product benefitting anybody.

I've got solar panels on my house of which the government paid 40% of the cost. $2000 tax credit from the feds and $3.50 a watt from the municpal owned utility. But this benefits myself and my community. And I'm not going to get rich doing this. I'll probably get a reasonable rate of return depending on future electric prices.

How are we going to produce additional electricity going forward. The three possibilities that I see are, "clean" coal for which a demo plant doesn't exist let alone a commercial operating plant, liquified natural gas which is also ridiculously expensive and then the overseas gas runs out, and wind power which is also subsidized. It is illegal to build a nuke in california. You can try to build one in arizona and run a power line here, but the bananas will try to prevent you from building the power line. Presently, clean coal is a scam, where a utility will make cosmetic changes to the coal without benefitting anybody and be elgible for federal money.

Ethanol is another method the government hands out money without improving the energy situation. Of course farmers have been subsidized since the great depression and this only differs by scale and lack of transparency.

I've read some disturbing things about the reliability of sterling engines for thermosolar plants. But it isn't my field. I wonder if they too are simply farming the government.

One point, the power you are offsetting by equipping yourself with PV is the most expensive for the power utility. The peaking load has the highest cost to run (dirty and expensive fuels), it may be that you are saving the power company more money by going PV and alleviating peak daily power than they are paying you.

PV also allows you to lock in for a guaranteed amount of electricity (less .5% physical depreciation per annum) at the amount you paid originally. If power is going to get more expensive, you will save utilities much much more then by reducing the overall infrastructure needs as well as pollution.

PV panels pretty much only have 1 major pollutant, which is heavy metals, and this is a point source, easily containable in tailing ponds or using RO.

Reliability of Stirling engines. I do know something about that. Not everything, but something.

The engines used by SES on sun are derived from automotive kinematic engines. These are an old design and are VERY UNRELIABLE. The scuttlebutt I got from the technicians working there is that they are "trying to bring the mean time to failure up to 8 HOURS"!

That said, I also know that several companies are working on free piston stirling engines, which have the same high thermal efficiency, and are believed by NASA to have potential to last for HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF HOURS. The difference is that the free piston machines have no cranks, linkages or rolling contact bearings, nor any need for liquid lubricants; they use non-contact seals that do not wear.

Look on the web for Infinia and Sunpower.

The average person makes no such fine distinctions, and can easily fall into a funk regarding a perceived generic stirling that is "not reliable".

Interesting tidbits on the SES. Does the Solo have the same problem/issue as they are one of the only shipping firms of a dish.

And for others here:
A claimed design of a sub $100 1 HP stirling existed. Nitrogen charged, made from pressed sheet metal, with an 8000 hour life to rebuild, then another 8000 hours till 'death'.
A link to the firm: http://www.omachron.com/projects.html

I spent time looking for data on mean time to failure of stirling engiines. Found very little, and that not trustworthy. All the numbers I did find seemed to say that crank (kinematic) stirlings have mean time to failure at best a few thousand hours, and that with service intervals much shorter. But the numbers tested seemed too small to give any confidence in any of the statistics.

What I did find was a few citations for free piston coolers (not engines) that had lasted about 60,000hrs without failure, and fuzzy extrapolations from that indicated hundreds of thousands of hours mean time to failure.

Now there you are, stat guys. go figure and tell me I am all wet; I already know it.

But I have a more serious question. A simple one. What is the life of a device that is sufficient to allow it to function to a time that it becomes so obsolete that a sane user would replace it?

For a wood chisel, maybe a couple of hundred years? For a car, maybe 20 years? For a computer, maybe 5 years?

I believe we can right now make cost-effective stirlings that would do that- perform well to the day that they should be recycled.

I doubt that PV panels on NEVs are the way to go. A much better approach would be to mount them as a canopy over NEV parking spaces at parking lots, and provide metered recharging. This is the best way to match up daily max insolation with the actual location of the vehicle. As a bonus, you keep the NEV shaded during the day (thus making it a little more bearable for a non-air-conditioned trip home), and protect it from rain or snow.

Solar golf carts and neighborhood electric vehicles from Cruise Cars:

Think of the batteries in a Golf Car or Electric Vehicle as the gas tank in your automobile. When full, you have 150 gallons of fuel or amps. Let’s say you use 50 gallons or amps in a day of driving. On a clear and sunny day, the Sunray Solar Top will replenish 12 gallons or amps in the winter when the days are shorter and 18 gallons or amps in the summer when the days are longer. If you don’t drive the vehicle for three days and you park it in the sun, the Sunray Solar Top will generate 36 gallons or amps In winter and 54 gallons or amps in the summer. So, in effect, you would fill your tank in three days.

The vehicles can be made street legal and prices start at $5,000. More info on the What's New page including this Fox News video.

These folks are confusing "amps" (which is energy flow) with "amp-hours" (which is energy at 48 volts, as in a gallon of gasoline). A common mistake, if it is in fact a mistake instead of an intentional salesman's lie.

Their brochure states that the solar top they are selling produces 180 watts, or 3 amps @ 60 volts. During a 6 hour day, these panels might produce an average of 100 watts, given that they are positioned horizontally. That might add 600 watt-hours to the batteries. For comparison, I have 8 golf cart batteries, which I used as a backup system. The batteries are 6 volts, 220 amp-hrs, for a 48 volt system. I calculated that this battery bank might hold some 10.5 kw-hr of electricity.

In short, these are not solar powered cars, since the batteries might only be re-charged over a 3 or 4 day period. This is another sales scam, as we say in the early 1980's. The idea is to sell expensive systems which are designed to take advantage of the various credits available without really doing anything except enriching the sellers. They claim that the IRS credits are about $990 for their system costing $3,300. State credits would also apply. Solar panels are available for about $4/peak watt, thus 180 watts of PV panels would otherwise cost $720. These guys are selling their solar tops for $2,700.

Ripoff alert!

E. Swanson

Thanks for the alert and the info. I'm sure knowledgeable do-it-yourselfers could put together a less expensive, more efficient system. However, I don't see where there is a scam at work because they state quite clearly that full recharging takes 3 days of sunny skies.

During a 6 hour day, these panels might produce an average of 100 watts, given that they are positioned horizontally. That might add 600 watt-hours to the batteries.

For a vehicle using 100-120 WH/mile, that's enough for plenty of running around without ever plugging in.  If I cut back my eating out, I could go for weeks averaging less than 6 miles/day.

For a vehicle using 100-120 WH/mile

1 horsepower = 745.699872 watts. I really do not think that you would enjoy a "car" with 16% of 1 horsepower.

I'm building my own solar powered bicycle. I bought a yak trailer from BoB, mounted two 215 watt sunpower panels on it, attached it to my bicycle and wired it to a 400 watt front hub motor. The panels weigh 35 pounds each, the bike is 25 pounds, the motor is 20 pounds, the trailer is 15 pounds. 130 pounds of vehicle. The fatass sitting on the saddle pedalling is 200 pounds and contributes 100 watts. It won't go up hills worth a damn. Going straight and level is easy.

You would be farther ahead to mount the solar panels someplace and use it to charge a removable battery pack.

Sure, but where's the fun in that?

Hmmm: Thats not the way it works. If you can pump 100 watts into a battery for 6 hours you have stored 600 watt hours. Now if you could drive a vehical at 30 MPH for 6 miles it would take 12 minutes, that is a sixth of an hour, so if you use up 600 watt hours in 12 minutes that is equal to 3600 watts for 12 minutes, or nearly 5 HP for 12 Minutes. Will that get you going at 30 MPH, may be in a light vehical.

Ooops thats wrong just got back from fishing and had one too many. 12 minutes is a fifth of an hour or 3000 watts for 12 minutes or 4 HP.

I really do not think that you would enjoy a "car" with 16% of 1 horsepower.

Thank you for showing that there are still people on ToD who don't grasp the fact that power can be stored and released at a different rate than it is generated.

1/5 HP stored for 8 hours is 1.6 HP for an hour, or 4.8 HP for 20 minutes.  If I can cruise 25 MPH on that 4.8 HP, that's about 8 miles.  That may not be enough for all someone's typical driving, but it's nothing to sneeze at either.  If you want more solar-powered miles, put extra panels on your roof and run the power through the grid!

For a vehicle using 100-120 WH/mile, that's enough for plenty of running around without ever plugging in.

Seems plausible as I currently run an electrified tandem bike and transport children (who don't pedal at all) on numerous trips under 10 total miles. Highest power consumption I have on this two passenger bike is 20WH/mile. Cruising speed about 22 mph. Just me on the bike, going more slowly, with moderate pedaling is about 15WH/mile. So running a four wheel vehicle at 4-5 x bike power is credible as a neighborhood transport.

The roads are flat and smooth in Santa Clara and that also helps a lot. :*)

Don't tell california you are cruising at 22 mph. How big is your motor?

I have a 360 watt hour battery and a 20 mile range so thats 18 watt hours per mile.

Our current two ton cars require what, 20hp to go 65 mph with cruise control on, on level pavement. I don't doubt you can get a car-light to run on 5 horsepower. It won't climb hills or accelerate worth a damn.

"Don't tell California you are cruising at 22 mph." - Right. So far no police or other law enforcement attention at all in about 11 months and 1100 miles. I do make a big show of pedaling really hard and most people don't even grog the hub motor.

"How big is your motor?" Crystalyte #408, peak of about 1000 watts. A 20amp controller at 48volts.

GEMCars and other small electric vehicles are quite useful.

We need to combine changes in vehicles with changes in our ways of thinking about our trips under 50 miles, along with altering neighborhood travel patterns and especially speeds.

Slower, smaller, human scale transportation will be more predominant.

Active transportation -- walking and biking --will be most important for us.

So he was a former engineer 30 years ago? Maybe he is a little out of date. For example, the car in the following example will go up to 40 mph, 25 miles on a charge (or more with a panel of the roof), and requires less than 5 kwh to full charge (the easiest way to consider range, power needs and matching to a PV or other generation system). A roof system for that is rather small, not that expensive and could long outlast the car. The car could take kids to school, do all the local shopping for most people, and suffice for many people's commute. We don't need the horsepower he talks about, and it is an inappropriate translation to go from electric power to ICE horsepower. We won't have the luxury to have much more anyway, and the technology is still developing.


This is the thing we have to get through thick skulls. Automobiles (not to mention SUVs, minivans, pickup trucks, etc.) are Dead Men Walking. There is NO realistic energy scenario that can be devised to enable continuation of BAU when it comes to conventional gasoline-powered ICE private passenger vehicles - NONE. The future of all of them is the junkyard. There is no point using the private passenger vehicle as any type of yardstick in evaluating future energy & transport options.

The only realistic future scenarios are either: a) human powered transport (walking, bicycles) + a little animal-powered transport (must be just a little, not that many horses left, and not enough land for pasturage & feed); or b) some combination of i) electrified rail transport (per Alan Drake) + ii) biodiesel powered shuttle buses & essential heavy equipment & public service vehicles + iii) very small & lightweight electric vehicles for local personal transport (NEVs) where necessary + iv) walking or bicycle where possible.

If we don't make option b happen, we will not get BAU private passenger automobiles, we will get option a - period.

A lot of people aren't going to like the prospect of life with out the gasoline powered ICS private passenger automobile, but I bet they would like even less the prospect of only being able to get around on foot (or bicycle, if fortunate, or horse-drawn carriage or coach if really fortunate).

Mr. Kromko's calculations seem close to those I made many years ago. I thought of building a solar powered vehicle using concentrators, which ended when I figured that a vehicle the size of a school bus would produce about 10 hp. However, 10 hp is about 7,500 watts, which will provide plenty of electricity for a house. The concentrators were to be used with a condensing steam cycle, which would result in a large amount of low grade heat being available from the condensers. This thermal energy could be stored as hot water for use as needed both for water needs and for space heating. I even proposed building such a house to ERDA way back in 1975, as I recall.

There would have been many problems with this type of system. Not least is the fact that the mechanical portion of the steam cycle would be required to operate continuously, much like a typical coal fired steam cycle used by electric utilities. It would need to run 8,760 hours each year, or 87,600 hours over a 10 year period. Compare that with an automobile with a life time of 150,000 miles, which, at 50 mph, would represent only 3,000 hours of operation. As a result, the building of such a system on the scale of an individual house would likely be difficult and expensive to maintain. On a larger scale, such as the concentrator system built for utility production, the maintenance problems might be manageable.

The big advantage for PV systems is that there are no moving parts and the operational lifetime would be expected to be several decades. The fact that the cost of PV has remained high does not imply that improvements in future will not result in lower costs, thus, Mr. Kromko is a bit premature to reject PV outright. The PV industry is still young and there are economies of scale which will result as the rate of production increases. But, first, there must be a market for the PV systems, which is the reason that the subsidies were put in place. As Peak Oil arrives and the price of oil climbs further, PV could turn out to be the best alternative.

E. Swanson

It seems sensible to me that the individual auto should be the end-user of a stream of power that is produced in a variety of ways. Nothing else makes sense in a world that is no longer to be dominated by a single energy source.

The car would plug in to an electric grid powered by central solar, supplemented by individual solar -- on your house, on your car, wherever. The technology exists now --

And in Western Oregon -- where the clouds seem to be permanent, but trees are a pretty effective solar collectors-- biomass generation of electricity will work. In the Columbia Gorge wind seems effective and hydropower in the rivers or tidal/wave power at the ocean have been shown to make useful contributions to energy production

The key seems to be a "grid" of some kind that can be maintained by some organization that isn't wedded to a single power source.

Of course, ordinary electric cars can't be as powerful or as numerous as we are currently used to (but people will be much better off walking a little more), and a lot of transportation is going to have to be by electrified rail. But the world doesn't need to end, and we don't need to fight resource wars because we are running short of cheap gasoline.

It seems just as silly to promote the notion that photo-voltaic is useless as it is to promote the notion that it can do things that are clearly impossible.

"It seems just as silly to promote the notion that photo-voltaic is useless as it is to promote the notion that it can do things that are clearly impossible."

Thanks, NLNG;
That's the point I would have made as well.

Considering the simplicity, durability and space requirements of PV, I don't think these subsidies are misspent at all. Durability alone, even if energy payback IS 30 years, means that there is likely service-life continuing past the point of full payback, while the use of government funds to buy gas-burning equipment (like the cars our City Employees commute into town with) aren't getting this kind of scrutiny.

The real comeback to this article should be what some of our other subsidies are doing with great volumes of our public money, offering little value or return at all. Sorry.. don't have any examples..

If you want to see a Solar Truck, here's what Pete Seeger did with a pickup and PV on his barn roof.. (pdf) http://www.renewablenys.org/retrieve_file.php?type=article&id=13
.. so while newbies might regularly go 'Aha, put panels on the car roof!' before they know the numbers, the conclusion isn't completely ludicrous, either, since a stranded electric car (which SHOULD probably be Golf-cart sized, and include pedals, too..) will at least be able to start recharging itself, while you set up your tent and get out that copy of Anna Karenina you've been meaning to start. Is any other kind of car going to do that? (Of course, your pedals could slowly grumble you down the road, or be spun in place for an additional 100-200 watts of charging current..

I've been wondering what an Ultralight Electric Car would be like if you and your passengers could be pedaling as an assist to the motor, partly perhaps as a way to have substitute heating during the winter drives.

Happy Peddling!
Bob Fiske

Could an electric assist bicycle be considered an ultralight electric car? Half horsepower motor and I actually do pedal.
On a flat surface, pedalling will add about 3 mph. 100 watts of me and 400 watts of motor. Up a steep hill, pedalling will double my speed from 4mph to 8mph. In low gear, I think I contribute as much torque as the motor does. The motor has one fixed gear.


in most states an electric bicycle that goes 20mph or less is still considered a bike. No tag, no insurance required. It is not car by any means or a moped or a motorcycle. All different in the eyes of the law with regulations that vary by each.

check your state for info and your city/county for specifics though.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Correctomundo. I'm limited to 20mph by california law. No registration, no insurance and I can use the bicycle lanes. A co-worker of mine hates mopeds because they go 30mph max and block traffic. But I can stay out of people's way on the bike lanes.

The magical numbers by fed law that Bush the Lesser (vs Bush the Greater) signed was:
1 HP or 20 mph.

The more it looks like a bike, the less likely 'The Man' will pull you over.

Federal law signed in 2002 puts electric assist bicycles under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Protection Product Safety division rather than the Department of Transportation. The law defines a bicycle as having a top speed of 20 mph and power less than 1HP. The law says it supercedes states with more STRINGENT requirements.

The states of California and Minnesota define electric assist bicycle as having top speed of 20 mph and power less than a kilowatt. This is a less stringent requirement than federal definition. I didn't look up all fifty states.

I think I need a lawyer to figure out what's what. If you aren't being a jerk "the man" will probably not pull you over.

"Could an electric assist bicycle be considered an ultralight electric car?"

I suppose it could. I expect we'll see quite a range of experiments out there, as necessity breeds new inventions. When I look towards new transport options that I could use, my mind jumps from little pickups, like Pete Seeger's, to Golf Carts, Scooters, Bike/Trikes with extra seats and a little, lockable 'grocery' space, so you can park the thing and not have to carry everything into the 'second store' with you, etc, etc.. I often come back to the bike alone being able to cover many of my needs, but I still think about some little buggy you could sit through a storm in, or use for errands that are a little beyond a bike, or to travel with a couple other people.

As much as the auto gets vilified, it has been worked into a very useful form of vehicle, and I doubt that they will get shunned outright.. just put back into balance, I suppose.


For sitting out a storm,velomobiles are unbeatable,according to those who ride and love them.



for a very good overview,fine galleries, and a variety of helpful links.

As someone who is already living with PV solar, let me assure you I do not use the power produced for transportation. Rather it is for lighting and powering our electronic toys and other odds and ends around home. And it works very well, especially in time of brownouts and paying the electric bill.

I disagree with Mr. Kromko about the advisability of home PV systems. At today's prices the cost of installation may not be "paid back" for a number of years, but the freedom from the future vagaries of the grid may become important long before payback. This is a personal option. I admit I do like the subsidies.

When you get to the bottom of his article, you find Mr. Kromko is pushing the use of a large solar turbine-generator system for community pwoer generation, and points out that this is a cost efficient means for producing sustainable energy. His point is well taken -- how do we get the utilities to go for this kind of system rather than burning fossil fuels, like gas or coal?

Forget the car thing. It is simply a red herring.

Sam Penny
the Prudent RVer

Local gas price is $7.70 per US gallon. Increase from last week's price ($7.62) due to further decline in the dollar. Local = Mid-Wales, UK.

You're lucky ... here in Essex,UK I've seen unleaded at £1.02 ... I think that's around $8.04 per US gallon.

However, $ are getting cheaper and cheaper for us ... at the current rate of collapse of the exchange rate, with any luck, fuel may be almost free for us by Christmas :-)

I wonder how long oil exporters will keep on accepting $ for their oil?


'I wonder how long oil exporters will keep on accepting $ for their oil?'

Xeroid, I dont know the answer to your question but have wondered the same thing myself...Three days ago I took a pile of $ and converted them into more 'hurricane' provisions. 20 two pound cans of coffee was just one of the items on a long list. I like the concept of commidities that I can eat/drink or trade for other items that might prove useful.

Japanese energy companies are accepting Iran's demand to be paid in yen.

While currencies can be converted quickly, I would assume that Iran will not be converting those yen to dollars anytime soon. Thus this move creates more demand for yen, and less for dollars.

I wonder how long oil exporters will keep on accepting $ for their oil?

It doesn't matter. Oil is worth what buyers are willing to pay for it and what sellers are willing to sell it for, in any currency.

Dollars can be converted into any currency, or vice versa, on the FOREX in a fraction of a second for about three basis points, (three cents per hundred dollars.) Any nation that wishes pounds, yen, euros or whatever for their oil instead of dollars can just convert the dollars for their currency of choice, in a tiny fraction of a second for almost no cost.

If an exporting country says "I want euros only" then the buyer can just instantly convert his dollars or yen, or whatever, into euros and pay.

It just doesn't frigging matter people!

Ron Patterson

Actually, those FOREX people have to be willing to convert the $ to something else.

Also, somebody probably has to loan the $ to convert to something else if you are going to use the money for imports.

Those providing the loan may not take rapidly depreciating IOUs to be paid back in 30 years forever.

Why would anybody think it is ok for their grandchildren to pay for today's consumption of oil? ... "It just doesn't frigging matter people!"? ... I wonder what the grandchildren will make of that?

FIAT money has a proven history of failure ... especially when M3 is exponentially growing ... as now.

The FOREX people seem to be going off the dollar recently ... to say nothing of Iran!


Xeroid, you haven't a clue as to what the hell you are talking about. There are no such thing as "Forex People." The Forex is nothing more than all the major banks in the world. They are known as Forex Member Banks, and they are all tied into the same system.

No one needs to loan anyone anything for anything. If you have any currency that is just as good as holding dollars or euros for any currency can be instantly converted to any currency. All major currencies are traded for three to four basis points. That is just the difference between the bid and asked exchange rate. There is no commision charged on the Forex. The banks make their money simply by the spread betwen the bid and asked.

The FOREX people seem to be going off the dollar recently ... to say nothing of Iran!

That is an absurd statement. More dollars change hands on the FOREX than any other currency. And again there are no "Forex People", there are only banks and these banks are in the business of exchanging one currency for another. That's what they do.

Ron Patterson

Ron: The US dollar was once very dominant. As the following article mentions, the value of euros in circulation is likely to exceed the value of circulating dollars sometime this month. This is just a five year old currency. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/18338034-95ec-11db-9976-0000779e2340.html

What do you expect. Anyone with liquid assets and half a brain will not hold U$S or hold the assets in the US if he can help it.

Actually the dollar stands almost exactly where it did in December of 2004. Well, it is really a little higher right now.

On the other hand the Japanese Yen has lost about 15% of its value since December of 2004.

Had you invested your money in a US Dollar corporate bond paying in excess of 5%, (they were), or some other US dollar interest bearing vehicle, you would be way ahead of the game. On the other hand had you invested your money in a Japanese Yen money in Yen interest bearing vehicle, you would have earned from .5 to 1% and lost 15% of your investment in the meantime.

The point is no one knows what the money market is going to do until after it happens. And anyone with half a brain knows that, else they are flat broke by now.

Ron Patterson

Ron: I don't know what game you would win investing in 5% US bonds. My point was that the greenback is no longer the dominant currency-it is currently sharing that position with the Euro. Meanwhile all leading US politicians are calling on China to dramatically strengthen the Yuan, in an absurb/dishonest attempt to right the monstrous trade deficit. China will let the Yuan strengthen when they feel like it, which will hit oil prices like a shot of adrenalin and kick the soccer moms and suburban commuters right in the butt.

Meanwhile all leading US politicians are calling on China to dramatically strengthen the Yuan, in an absurb/dishonest attempt to right the monstrous trade deficit.

Good God, do you people just make this crap up? A dishonest attempt? NO, by god no, it is dishonest to peg a currency to the dollar when the currency is grossly undervalued to the dollar. This makes their imported products unfairly under priced and makes US products unfairly overpriced on the Chinese market.

The only fair thing to do would be to do what everyone else in the world does and let their currency float. If a currency floats then it seeks its own level and everything is fair. It is monstrously unfair to undervalue a currency and PEG it at that dramatically under priced point.

What the US wants China to do is to allow the Yuan to float. That would be the only fair thing to do. As it is, China is using near slave labor to produce goods and because the Yuan is so undervalued it cost them, not only almost nothing in labor but also almost nothing in raw materials. That way they can flood the US with products that would cost US producers three or four times as much to manufacture here. And meanwhile because the Yuan is so dramatically pegged so low, the Chinese can afford absolutely nothing manufactured in the US.

And you dare say the US is the dishonest one here. Just where the hell do you get off Brian?

Ron Patterson

Ron: It is dishonest because China is supporting the USA by keeping the Yuan low. The wage differential between China and the USA is far too huge for a strengthening of the Yuan to make any difference at all. The jobs that are no longer being done in the USA are not coming back, period, and the dishonest politicians know it. What the strengthening of the Yuan WILL do is drive up the price of all commodities, drive up the price of all Chinese made goods (which means pretty well everything) and drive up the value of the top end USA real estate (which should help a few of the puppet masters pulling the strings of the shills in Washington). Re where do I get off, you should definitely stick to facts and predictions re global oil supply because IMHO you are out of your depth on these other subjects.

Brian, it is not an either/or situation. Of course letting the Chinese currency float would not bring back all jobs to America. But it would make an awful lot of American products, especially American farm products, more affordable. It would definitely help. And no, it would not eliminate the trade deficit but it would at least help.

No, it would not drive up the price of all comoddities, that is just silly. It would only increase the price of near slave labor produced products from China.

Brian every major nation in the world let's its currency float except China. Mexico, for decades, pegged its currency to the dollar. And when the peg broke loose the results were disasterous, not for the US, but for Mexico. The same thing must eventually happen in China. The peg can only hold for so long before things are so out of balance that the peg breaks. That would be a disaster for China. The best thing they could possibly do is let it slip, gradually, until they finally can let it float completely.

Ron Patterson

Ron: Rather than term everything you don't understand "silly", try to understand it. Currently, China sets the market price for a whole list of commodities (hopefully that doesn't have to be debated ad nauseum). What price impact on lets say the dollar price of lead would a strengthening of the Yuan likely have? Re Mexico, the USA has a lot more in common with Mexico than China does (hate to break the bad news).

Brian every major nation in the world let's its currency float except China.

Almost right. There's a few exceptions. Wikipedia:

Currencies in this category are currently subject to monetary policy that uses an explicit exchange rate target. Such currencies are described as fixed or pegged currencies. This may be contrasted with currencies subject to monetary policy that uses some other monetary target (eg interest rates). In practice such currencies actually float within a very narrow band, typically only a a percent or two either side of a nominal exchange rate target.

Pages in category "Fixed exchange rate"

There are 47 pages in this section of this category.
• Antarctican dollar
• Aruban florin
• Bahamian dollar
• Bahraini dinar
• Barbadian dollar
• Belize dollar
• Bermuda dollar
• Bhutanese ngultrum
• Bosnia and Herzegovina konvertibilna marka
• Bulgarian lev
• CFA franc
• CFP franc
• Cape Verdean escudo
• Cayman Islands dollar
• Central African CFA franc
• Chinese renminbi
• Comorian franc
• Cuban convertible peso
• Danish krone
• Djiboutian franc
• East Caribbean dollar
• Eritrean nakfa
• Estonian kroon
• Falkland Islands pound
• Faroese króna
• French Polynesian franc
• Gibraltar pound
• Guernsey pound
• Jersey pound
• Jordanian dinar
• Kiribati dollar
• Latvian lats
• Lebanese lira
• Lithuanian litas
• Macanese pataca
• Maldivian rufiyaa
• Manx pound
• Netherlands Antillean gulden
• New Caledonian franc
• Omani rial
• Panamanian balboa
• Qatari riyal
• Saint Helena pound
• Saudi riyal
• Tuvaluan dollar
• United Arab Emirates dirham
• Venezuelan bolívar

The value of the US dollar in international markets is held up just about solely by the yuan peg. Once China lets that go, it won't be worth half of what it's worth now. Be careful what you wish for.

Good God, it is astonishing the silly things some people will believe. Like the Red Queen, I'll bet you believe six impossible things every morning before breakfast.

Ron Patterson

Why's that silly? Sounds plausible...

I think just calling it silly without explanation is a bit much... just asking why it is silly - not getting at you :-)

I think the US economy is pretty shot, and I think a lot of the arguments about the negative effects of a floated Yuan are pretty compelling.
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

... because the Yuan is so undervalued it cost them, not only almost nothing in labor but also almost nothing in raw materials.

How does an under-valued Yuan result in the cost of imported raw materials being cheaper for them?

Cargill: It doesn't. When the serious bidding war starts for oil exports (among other commodities) China has the potential to blow the USA right out of the water.

If the exporters want $ for their oil, you (and the exporter) are oblied to keep some amount of $ for some time. That creates a demand for $. A day or two latter, that dollars will go to someone else, but there will be somebody trying to buy it, since people need oil, and oil is traded on $.

Now, make oil traded on any other currency, and you get inflation. Even more, you make the world independent of the dolar.

If the exporters want $ for their oil, you (and the exporter) are oblied to keep some amount of $ for some time.

And whatever gave you the idea that exporters were oblied (sic) to keep some amount of $ for some time? Why would they be obliged to do that? Who would be enforcing that rule, whatever that rule is?

Nations, companies or anyone are obliged to keep any currency no longer than it takes to exchange it on the FOREX, and that less than one second.

It simply doesn't matter what currency oil is traded in, it just does not make one whit of a difference. Iran may demand one currency or another for their oil but that is only a symbolic justure. Everyone in the oil trading world and the financial world knows that full well. That is why no one is making a big deal over it. It is only a few people on internet talk blogs like this one that think it is a big deal.

Ron Patterson

So, to be clear, you are saying that all the arguments about the Petrodollar and its beneficial effect on the US economy is bogus?

Or am I misunderstanding? Just asking because I have read the contrary view a lot more than yours - now just as 10,000 circles don't make a square, neither do more internet postings make a falsehood true - but as someone who doesn't feel qualified to say for sure either way, i have to say the Petrodollar arguments all seemed pretty compelling to me.


When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Ron is right when he says the unit of currency for purchasing oil doesn't matter. If it was hard to change currency then it would matter, but it is trivially easy. The foreign exchange markets dwarf the oil markets, trading about $2 trillion in currency a day. That is about 400 times more than the cost of all the world's oil even if it were all sold in cross-currency exchanges, which of course it is not.

I think it might matter to some extend which currency is used for trading a commodity. First of all there are long term agreements. For instance I think Russia signs agreements for natural gas supplies in dollars (and some of them are something like 10+ years). When dollar values falls (as it has been for a while now) a producer will receive less and less of the value for sold goods.
Also even with spot prices when dollar falls vs euro it does not seem like that affects oil price at all.
Current situation was created when it was buyers world. I think that dollar denominated pricing is good for oil buyers, but rather bad for sellers. If oil producers have any brains I would expect them to abandon dollar based trading as soon as possible and instead move contracts to their local currencies.
Switching from dollar to euro would not change much at all actually.


This is getting out of hand, the whole discussion is starting to get embarrassing.

From what you say it looks as if there would be no advantage whatsoever in having your currency established as the world reserve, or trade, currency. As per you, it's all just traded on FOREX for "next to nothing'', right?

If you really think that, you need to go back to school. Moreover, you're confusing a lot of people here with ideas that are simply wrong. You're a smart man with lots of knowledge, but on economics you're out of your league, and you should be careful with that.

It does indeed make a difference whether oil is traded in dollars or "Zwops". That is why the US made a deal with OPEC after Nixon defaulted on its international gold-based obligations in 1971, to have all oil traded in US dollars. That was a brilliant move. But you deny that, you claim it made no difference, that all currencies have the same value, you just trade them on an exchange.

The difference is very simple. When all oil and other prime commodities are traded in US dollars, all countries need to keep US dollars in reserve. You make it look as if there's an unlimited amount of dollars available to everyone all the time, but there's not. It has to be bought, and there's a price attached. If the amount of dollars were unlimited, they would have no value. It's limits that give both currencies and commodities their value.

Moreover, central banks that fear their Zwops currency will devaluate against the dollar, can't take the risk of having none, and trying to get some on FOREX, when they need it. They will try to hold on to their dollars, and buy things in Zwops, because dollars, being needed by all countries, are much more stable in value than Zwops, which nobody really wants, are.

Central banks all over the planet hold dollars, because it gives them a stable point to work from. Holding the same value in Zwops is not an acceptable replacement, because a/ the Zwops value is not certain, and b/ you can't buy anything with a pocket full of Zwops. You need US dollars.

The advantage for the US, having its currency established as the world reserve and trading currency, is even more obvious. All other countries have to pay to get dollars.

The US can just print them.

It's been a 35-year free ride. The US pays for its oil with newly minted keystrokes, everyone else has to pay with labor. The Zwopanistan central bank could print more Zwops, but inflation would go through the roof. The US has no such problem, because the newly printed dollars don't stay in the country, they spread all over the planet to 220 other countries.

And that is exactly what's coming home to roost these days. Saying that it makes no difference what currency oil is traded in, is showing a deep lack of understanding of Econ 101.

The fact that even with that incredible advantage over the entire rest of the world, the US dollar is still collapsing, gives an idea of how out of whack the whole thing is, how big our economic problems will soon be.

And how bad it will get when the rest of the world stops accepting US dollars as payment. That will be the end of the free ride. No more oil, gold, grains, nothing, bought with keystrokes.

The difference is very simple. When all oil and other prime commodities are traded in US dollars, all countries need to keep US dollars in reserve.

SoFly, that one sentence proves that you haven't a clue as to what the hell you are talking about. You are so wrong it is embarrassing. Embarrassing because it shows there are actually frequent contributors to this list that has so little knowledge about the liquidity of money.

You need to get a Forex Trading Education.

Forex trading has become increasingly popular over the past thirty years. With an average daily volume of $ 1.5 trillion, Forex is 46 times larger than all the futures markets combined, which makes it the world's most liquid market.

46 times all world futures markets combined! And that is about 300 times the total value of all the oil sold in the entire world in one day! No country need to keep one thin dime in reserves SoFly. Not one thin dime! You could convert, in an instant, enough yen to dollars, or euros to dollars, to buy a Large Crude Carrier tanker load of oil and it would not move the market more than a basis point.

As I said, this is embarrassing.

Ron Patterson


I'n not particularly interested in global exchange trade, since it has next to little to do with oil markets. I know there's a lot of activity in currency markets, but that's not at all what we are talking about.

But, alright, tell me what percentage of this you think has any direct link to the oil trade.

Other than that, you have ignored everything I just said. Do I need to be suspicious about that, or are you planning to do so shortly?

No, I had not planned to reply to any of that crap because it is all just so silly. I don't reply to people that says the US just prints money. Yes money is created by banks, but it is created by loans, not printing presses. And banks don't hoard dollars. They keep only enough of any currency on their books to take care of daily activities. Everything else is invested in order to get the maximum possible return.

Your posts are just rants against the US, bankers, money and any other devil you can dream up. You see devils everywhere and your rant against them is getting a little tiresum.

And as to what this all has to do with the oil trade? Virtually nothing! And that was my point all along, or did you overlook that little fact? As I said in my very first post, it just doesn't matter! It was you, Brian and others who made the connection between the dollar and the oil trade.

And the US made no deal with OPEC to trade oil in dollars. That is the very dumbest of statements. Oil is traded in dollars because it just started out that way when the US was the world's largest oil exporter. And it just never changed.

Ron Patterson

And banks don't hoard dollars. They keep only enough of any currency on their books to take care of daily activities

How much $US denominated bonds/securities/whatnot are there in the vaults of BOJ, Beijing, KSA?

Everything else is invested in order to get the maximum possible return.

Ha ha, what do they buy with their dollars, Zwops?
Not oil, I'm sure, they'd need dollars for that. But they just invested those, on your advice.
Wait, I know, they buy $US denominated bonds/securities/whatnot.

It was you, Brian and others who made the connection between the dollar and the oil trade.

It wouldn't be fair for me to take the credit, much as I'd like to.
It was Nixon and King Fahd, I think. Kissinger?!

And the US made no deal with OPEC to trade oil in dollars. That is the very dumbest of statements. Oil is traded in dollars because it just started out that way when the US was the world's largest oil exporter. And it just never changed.

Yeah, it just happened one morning, when everyone was too hungover and no-one paid attention. It just never changed.

Alas, there were a few teetotallers in the crowd.

The end of dollar hegemony

The U.S. did exactly what many predicted she would do. She printed more dollars for which there was no gold backing. But the world was content to accept those dollars for more than 25 years with little question-- until the French and others in the late 1960s demanded we fulfill our promise to pay one ounce of gold for each $35 they delivered to the U.S. Treasury. This resulted in a huge gold drain that brought an end to a very poorly devised pseudo-gold standard.

It all ended on August 15, 1971, when Nixon closed the gold window and refused to pay out any of our remaining 280 million ounces of gold. In essence, we declared our insolvency and everyone recognized some other monetary system had to be devised in order to bring stability to the markets.

Amazingly, a new system was devised which allowed the U.S. to operate the printing presses for the world reserve currency with no restraints placed on it-- not even a pretense of gold convertibility, none whatsoever! Though the new policy was even more deeply flawed, it nevertheless opened the door for dollar hegemony to spread.

Realizing the world was embarking on something new and mind boggling, elite money managers, with especially strong support from U.S. authorities, struck an agreement with OPEC to price oil in U.S. dollars exclusively for all worldwide transactions. This gave the dollar a special place among world currencies and in essence “backed” the dollar with oil. In return, the U.S. promised to protect the various oil-rich kingdoms in the Persian Gulf against threat of invasion or domestic coup. This arrangement helped ignite the radical Islamic movement among those who resented our influence in the region. The arrangement gave the dollar artificial strength, with tremendous financial benefits for the United States. It allowed us to export our monetary inflation by buying oil and other goods at a great discount as dollar influence flourished.

Ron, it was cute and all, but it's getting stale. "The US made no deal with OPEC to trade oil in dollars.", that was the pits. Let's keep a certain level to this, shall we?

PS: You still haven't given any reaction to what I wrote before, you're just doing some kind of monologue here. What's the fun?

You don't know how, do you?

BTB: You should call the BOJ first thing in the morning, and tell them there's no added value in being the world's reserve currency. They don't get that down there. Once you explain, they can dump their $1 trillion in toxic degrading paperwork, and we'll all be much happier.

Ron, the volume in forex is meaningless. I have traded $100,000 in volume out of 1 account with $800 in it in the last 6 hours. That sure as hell doesn't mean that I could buy $100,000 worth of oil out of that account.

The volume in forex tells you nothing about the amount of currency that is available for purchasing commodities.

Thanks for that post - you express far more knowledgeably and articulately what my concern was with Ron's line of argument - which is that it goes against everything I've learned about the whole Petrodollar situation.


Now, I don't know who's right or wrong - I am no economist, but I do fancy myself as someone that puts the effort in to understand these things and what Ron is arguing just seems to go against most arguments I've read (which doesn't make them right but one has to make one's mind up somehow).
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

"In the April 18 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a team of scientists documented that global warming will enhance wind shear, and thus limit future hurricane activity".

The subtropical tropospheric jets are projected to intensify in the upper troposphere according to GCM simulations (due to the increased temperature contrast between the tropics and the extratropics near the tropopause associated with enhanced convection driven by the warming sea surface.). So the zonal mean vertical westerly zonal wind shear will increase. But it is not so obvious that easterly zonal wind shear will increase closer to the equator. Unless these GRL authors expect the formation of a new easterly jet around the equator in the upper tropopshere there is not going to be some magic spigot that limits hurricane formation. Perhaps the hurricanes that spawn will not make it far from the equator where the vertical shear is larger but that will depend on the region and the circulation pattern in the given period. The subtropical jets are not axially symmetric and static.

Also, a 270 year data set is quite useless. We are headed for temperature conditions on this planet not seen for over a million years. What we need is GCMs that can resolve hurricanes (i.e. those that run with a 2x2 km horizontal resolution and are non-hydrostatic).

The Heartland Institute, as you might guess from the name, is a rightwing mouthpiece.

And sourcewatch.org is a ....... ?

And sourcewatch.org is a ....... ?

It doesn't matter what sourcewatch.org is or isn't as long as you can check their infos.
Just as silly as pretending that any link provided by Google is tainted by "Google's agenda" (whatever that could be...)
Of course the availability of the information is biased (in both cases) not the content.

The point is ad hominem attacks are one of the most common fallacies. I don't really care who the Heartland or sourcwatch.org people are, and if I really did you know it is not that difficult of research to find out the details.

What matters is the quality of the research reported in Geophysical Letters, not whether group A or B decides to use that information because they like it. Whoever the Heartland foundation (or sourcewatch.org) is/was/will be in the long term does not affect hurricanes.

There is a great deal of dishonesty from certain AGW advocacy groups on the matter of hurricanes and the at times the MSM is among the most guilty (especially in the use of Katrina.) The IPCC reports are pretty clear that hurricane research is equivocal. It will likely be several years before a clear understanding of the relationship between AGW and hurricanes arrives. It is very well possible that the frequency of hurricanes in the Atlantic could go down.

Surely it's the Heartland Institute, Exxon et al that are the AGW "advocates" - they are advocating that we keep anthropogenically contributing towards global warming, because a) it's just a "theory" that's unlikely to affect too many of their (aging) members directly, and b) it's much easier to keep earning profits the same way they always have, rather than having to actually think about innovative ways of providing value to customers that isn't at the expense of future generations.

I assume you're actually referring to the likes of Al Gore, or Greenpeace et all, who "advocate" that we actually take notice of what the scientists are saying.
Gore has copped a fair bit of flak for linking Katrina to global warming, and I agree he should have made it clearer that a) the GW we've had so far had a negligible effect on the probability of a Katrina-like event happening when it did and b) the science on the effect of global warming on the strength of cyclones and hurricanes is still in its infancy and somewhat controversial. But using it as a device to alert people to the possible effects of uncautiously changing the planet's climate, or in general, as an example of how powerless we still are against nature's extremes was decidedly effective. Like it or not, people respond far more to local, observable phenonema like droughts, heat-waves and storms even though they represent some of weakest scientific evidence of GW (and indeed, they're not evidence of AGW at all).

From Wikipedia (not fact-checked but most likely accurate):

The Board of Directors for the Heartland Institute includes Thomas Walton, an executive of General Motors Corporation


According to Exxon Secrets.org , The Heartland Institute has received annual donations from Exxon-Mobil in amounts ranging from $100,000 to $200,000.


Yeah - this might limit the formation of hurricanes...

The only problem is that on the other hand - those that do get spawned are likely to be absolute monsters. If they develop enough (fueled by warmer SSTs) to survive a high shear environment they will probably bomb out once any more favorable conditions are encountered.

As I recall, a couple of the storms back in 2005 intensified very rapidly after looking as if they might not even survive just a few days before.

I'm not a professional statistician, but from what I remember from my stats courses way back when, it gets pretty difficult to establish correlations with any degree of significance or reliability when looking at small sample populations. There are only a few hurricanes each year. There seems to be a lot of random "noise" in the annual tropical storm patterns. It doesn't surprise me that the IPCC couldn't come to any firm conclusions yet. It may be quite a while before a large enough data set has accumulated to really make any valid conclusions.

Re Heartland institute
Try to google Exxon and Heartland institute


Young Saudis

In an article on a new comedy series in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia written by and aimed at young male Saudis, the following quote.

Saudi Arabia has one of the world's youngest populations, with more than 50 percent of its 22 million citizens younger than 21, and Sikhan credits the channel's popularity in part to the fact that there's not much for young Saudis to do. The kingdom has no public cinemas or theaters and few sports facilities or public parks.

Young men are not allowed into most malls because of laws that ban public mingling of unrelated men and women, and many spend their free time driving their cars, eating at American fast-food restaurants, watching satellite television or going online

And I find their next comedy series "interesting" and perhaps worthy of syndication here.

Sikhan's next project is a political comedy set in the near future. In it, President Bush, having just finished his second term in office, answers a president-wanted ad. He takes the job -- and becomes leader of a fictitious Arab country, Arabistan


Best Hopes for Comedy that keeps young Saudis glued to their TVs and not aimlessly cruising,


Alan, the powers that be in SA should read the history of empires that failed to provide bread and circus to its bored citizenry. 'Heads that missed the basket sometimes rolled down the wooden stairs.'

I like Sikhan's Bush/political comedy idea. It would be interesting to see Bush attempt to keep the lid on Pakistan, where the citizens get into the streets and raise hell when they do not like what is going on.


Here's how they cruise, too.


How the hell does that work?

What are the bottom of their shoes made of? Teflon.


"What are the bottom of their shoes made of? Teflon."

Don't the kids where you are have trainers with wheels in the heels?

Did you notice the guy overtaking had his windows down ... the young, out of work, Saudis and the slaves get to drive old cars in 40+C heat with no aircon ... no joke, if you've ever tried it!


The surface of the road gets damp with oil from the asphalt. The sandals take a bit of the oil and hyrdoplane on the rest of it. This is easy to do if you have done this on wet roads with flat sandals. They aren't going over 40 mph I'd guess. They are wearing thick soled sandals, and They are taking their feet off the surface and venting the heat off.

If you live in Sandals all your life you will grow thicker soles on your feet and be able to walk on gravel barefoot given time. I know I can after a few weeks of hot summers get to the point of going barefoot on hot asphalt and not think anything about it. But I wear sandals without socks year around here in Arkansas and when I lived in Alabama, I only wore socks at work.

Wearing shoes softens your feet and makes it where you can't handle rough walking as much. I can rock climb barefoot more often now than I once could. I still rock climb with sandals.

The video is only a minute or so long and they don't keep their feet down that long in reality. Pick your feet up when they get to hot to bare.

Saigon Embassy

The American ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan C. Crocker, has asked the Bush administration to take the unusual step of granting immigrant visas to all Iraqis employed by the U.S. government in Iraq because of growing concern that they will quit and flee the country if they cannot be assured eventual safe passage to the United States.



I wonder if he got the same memo Hilary Clinton did, that asking about plans for troop withdrawal was treasonous....

asking about plans for troop withdrawal was treasonous....

Just doubting about the Iraq war IS treasonous, you'll have your property seized:
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary July 17, 2007
Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq

Be sure to also issue boarding passes for the embassy rooftop helicopters while we are at it. That will really facilitate a speedy evac when the time comes.

'Global Warming Theories Fizzle, New Studies Show.'

The Heartland Institute is funded by ExxonMobile and others of like mind. They are ignored by serious climate researchers for good reason. By visiting the link below you can browse thourgh some of Heartlands other pronouncements. Heartland also 'promotes heavily biased reports from the American Petroleum Institute.'


The Heartland Institute created a website in the Spring of 2007, www.globalwarmingheartland.org, which asserts there is no scientific consensus on global warming and features a list of experts and a list of like-minded think tanks, many of whom have received funding from ExxonMobil and other polluters. The Heartland Institute networks heavily with other conservative policy organizations, and is part of the State Policy Network, a member of the Cooler Heads Coalition (as of 4/04), and co-sponsored the 2001 Fly In for Freedom with the Wise Use umbrella group, Alliance for America. Heartland also co-sponsored a New York state Conference on Property Rights, hosted by the Property Rights Foundation of America. The Institute puts out several publications, including "Environment & Climate News" which frequently features anti-environmentalist and climate skeptic writing. They also published "Earth Day '96," a compilation of articles on environmental topics. The publication, distributed on college campuses, featured "Adventures in the Ozone Layer" by S. Fred Singer, and "the Cold Facts on Global Warming" by Sallie Baliunas. The articles denied the serious nature of ozone depletion and global warming. Walter F. Buchholtz, an ExxonMobil executive, serves as Heartland's Government Relations Advisor, according to Heartland's 2005 IRS Form 990, pg. 15. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2005/363/309/2005-363309812-0295fb... The Heartland Institute formerly sponsored and hosted www.climatesearch.org, a web page ostensibly dedicated to objective research on global warming, but at the same time presenting heavily biased research by organizations such as the American Petroleum Institute as an FAQ section.

Hi river.

I can see you are very interested in climate change. I am also. I've been reading on it for years. I'll start at the end and work my way back to the beginning.

Man has likely TRIGGERED the current warming event: There have been countless warming events throughout prehistory, some of a much greater magnitude than we are experiencing.
Scientists are still trying to work out what the prehistoric triggers were. Paleclimatology is an absolutely fascinating subject. Threre is a wealth of peer reviewed study on the subject of past abrubt climate change. Climate change is the norm. Stable climate over long peroids of time is not. Anthropogenic, natural trend and cataclismic events ie impules input into the system al convolute the modelling. SO how is our CO2 input going to effect the climate. Run the models, or look at past abrupt climate changes are the options.

I think the analyst who looks at the emperical data on past climate change and say 'it's always happened' is just as abused as we are as 'peak oil freaks'. I'd say there is now too much force feeding of anthropogenic forcing and not quite enough attention paid to 'what happened before' - almost as if the man made global warming crowd are ignoring anything that might prove this all happened before for fear it jeopordise their MMGW agenda. Thats not it. It's not about discrediting MMGW theory. It's about understanding the whole picture. On a weekly basis I read of new paleoclimatic studies pointing to previous past climate shifts whose trigger is not understood.

So where are we? I'd say about where the Wright brothers were just after their first flight. Is man about to suffer from GW?. More than likey. Before peak oil? unlikely. Do the scientists down tools on paleo-research? No, becasue we are not even close to understanding the whole system.

I appreciate that you see agenda/propaganda but please be aware it is still a budding young science.

Marco (Not a GW denier but a BW truthseeker!!)

Marco: That is my outlook also. Have you studied any of these Reports. Interesting stuff.



This is base page for Pacific Island Reports.


This is Southern Hemis Sea Ice record. Not much change here.


It's well understood among climatologists that the Southern Hemisphere has warmed less than the Northern Hemisphere, and that its ice is less vulnerable to melting. This should be obvious given that a) most GHG are/have been released in the Northern Hemisphere, and it takes quite some time for atmospheric mixing to occur across the equator (there's also more tropical and semi-tropical deforestation in the NH) and b) the Antartic is much much larger body of ice than the Arctic, and is sitting on a continent, rather than just floating freely.

BTW a large part of what is considered West Antartica is ice pack resting on the sea floor below sea level. Also a large part of north Greenland ice pack is resting on the sea floor below current sea level. Also all of your responce is common knowledge to any one doing the least amount of study on CC.

The mixing of the atmosphere across the Equator is rather rapid. The CO2 concentration at the South Pole lags that measured on Hawaii by a few years at most.

The more likely reason for the slower warming in the SH is the fact that there is much more water in the SH compared to the NH and the warming has been found to extend to greater depths in the ocean than first thought. Land warms much faster than ocean, since the temperature change at the surface propagates slowly thru the solid material, whereas sunlight penetrates the water and there is also a well mixed surface layer that is about 100 meters thick.

E. Swanson

Fair enough - it does make sense that that would be more relevant than the CO2 mixing, although even at ~5 years to mix, given the rapid rate CO2 levels are rising, it presumably has some significance. However this is probaby more than offset by the higher aerosol concentration in the NH, which would mean more cooling (probably what I was thinking of in the first place - I knew I'd read something about different pollutant concentrations in each hemisphere).

Marco, thanks for the reply and yes I am interested in and have done some reading on the subject of cc. Paleoclimitology is indeed interesting. Yes, we know little about the prior triggers for warming and cooling or at what point these triggers are reached. I dont know what BW stands for. I dont feel that the scientists that advise us of prehistoric cc are being abused, in fact, I follow what they say very closely and respect their research efforts.

I do not believe that ExxonMobile and other vested interests should be bankrolling 'climate science.' No one in their right mind is going to believe what a scientist on the payroll of ExxonMoblie has to say about cc.

Since you place the scientists doing the research on cc at 'where the Wright brothers were just after their first flight' I cannot see how you can be assured that climate change is not going to effect us prior to the serious effects of PO. With little knowledge we could easily be over taken by events that we dont see coming. If you have done research in Paleoclimatology then you must know that prior climate shifts have taken place in less than ten years. It is possible that the severe effects of PO and the onset of GW will happen at about the same time, imo. At any rate we cannot know for certain because no one has figured out the triggering mechanisims and feedback loops of GW at this time. It might be another 'rear window' learning experience. BTW, many scientists believe that the earth is now going through another change and that is a magnetic core reversal. No one knows quite what effect a core reversal will have on the climate, if any. There are lots of variables to be considered.

There's an interesting article in today's Houston Chronicle's business section www.chron.com , an interview with James Mulva, the CEO of Connoco-Phillips. Whats interesting is what Mulva and Christen Hays didn't cover, peak oil. Mulva did mention condescendingly that "It makes all the sense in the world to us to encourage conservation and more efficient use of energy, because if we use less, its the same as adding more supply".

I'm beginning to believe that party line at big oil is to ignore the problem in the hopes that the American public will stay asleep. And that's why the NPC report is so long and boring-they're counting on the mainstream media to blow off reading the report or analising its implications, yet at the same time give them the excuses for shortages "you were warned" and "its above ground considerations".

This week's Economist doesn't even cover the NPC report.

So the real question is what to do to alert the public to the real shortages that are developing. I've noted that anger and doomerism marginalise our effectiveness. The truth is horrifying enough yet we must draw attention to the peak to make the immediate changes that are required to mitigate the effects.

Bob Ebersole

'So the real question is what to do to alert the public to the ral shortages that are developing.' snip...'we must draw attention to the peak to make the immediate changes that are required to mitigate the effects.'

Bob, if the powers that be do not want the Joe and Jane sixpack to wake up and smell the disaster on the horizon, how are 'we' supposed to do it? I have broached the subject with my friends and their usual response is 'lets go for a ride and stop at Boot Hill for a cold one.'...Or, their eyes glaze over. Some listen, but they are in the minority. Of course, after the first attempt I do not return to the subject if it is not well received...No sense losing friends by pursuing a subject that they want to remain in denial about.

River, I don't know how to wake up people.

ASPO has been making excellent progress. Their convention in October in Houston looks to draw significant attention. Mayor Bill White of Houston, one of the speakers, is a former US Secretary of Energy,and Boone Pickens has had CNBC follow him around in China. Hopefully, they come to Houston, since he and Matt Simmons will be there.

I think we may have to draw more attention on a local level, perhaps by setting up discussion groups, letters to our local papers, speaking at our city councils advocating mass transit, involvement in environmental groups. The same model that worked in the anti-war movement.

Bob Ebersole

There are ways of waking people up. How much money do we have to work with?

And are we very sure we'll like it once they're awake?

they will still outspend you. simply because to them your poisoning the well and they don't want to die.

It wasn't a rhetorical question, and it doesn't matter if one is outspent.

It can be done in a straightforward way. Anyone actually serious about it can email me.

are we very sure we'll like it once they're awake?

"Awake" is a bad metaphor / bad way of framing of the issue.
No one is asleep.

They are simply walking around with a different model of how the world works.

great way of framing it

you are absolutely right

they just don't understand the system of the world as it actually is, sadly (either that or we don't - two men say they're Jesus, one of them must be wrong)
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

you're right of course, that we need to do SOMETHING to wake people up

and that doomerism is a turn-off for many, but therein lies the quandry... and one I just cannot figure out myself...

see, with GW the scientists were pretty clear about the trend 20 years ago, but they took a cautious note, of "Well, it may do this, it could do that" and the public just didn't give a damn... now one can point to actual signs that a catastrophic flip may be around the corner people finally start taking it seriously - if too late...

but back then the negative nancies of global warming turned people off with their doom and gloom...

...and i see a similar thing with PO... being negative will turn people off but not being negative will lead to complacency - i just don't know how to square that circle...

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

you're right of course, that we need to do SOMETHING to wake people up

Are you sure?
- Is it possible?
- In case of "success" what outcome do you expect?

and that doomerism is a turn-off for many, but therein lies the quandry... and one I just cannot figure out myself...

May be you are wondering about the wrong questions...

The truth is horrifying enough yet we must draw attention to the peak to make the immediate changes that are required to mitigate the effects.

Ok, Bob, let's talk mitigation; serious - and sustainable - mitigation. Based on the information we have, it seems likely the US will have to fall back upon its own petroleum and natrual gas resources and forego imports within 10-15 years. That being the case, we are talking about reducing our usage by 60-65% (what we import today).

Further, since our mitigation efforts will be sustainable, this precludes such things as coal/biomass to liquids as a replacement for imported energy.

Clearly, conservation, more fuel efficient vehicles and even public transportation aren't going to do it. It is going to require a scrapping of the current economic and social paradigms. The service/consumer society that exists today becomes dead meat. And, this is not something the general public wants to hear. Heck, there are only a handfull of us posting on TOD who see this.

So, while I am all for at least starting some kind of mitigation efforts, I don't see the general public, and the politicians, biting the bullet to make the changes necessary.


North America will need a gargantuan move towards reclaiming its manufacturing base. And it won't be jet planes that we need to make, it will be food and shelter.

The transport and finance sectors have become the biggest single chunks of the economy, and they're about to fall apart. The present transport infractructure can exist only on the back of cheap fuel. Neither are there cheap alternatives to oil and diesel: prices for all fuel types will skyrocket along with oil and gas prices. Building a different, sufficient, transport system is impossible for the same reasons.

Hence, importing no matter what will increasingly (and fast) become a luxury activity, not something you would want to rely on for basic needs. Seeing the US family that tried to live without imports from China, and basically failed, should serve as an ominous sign.

Because transport is such a huge part of the economy, and the GDP, both will plummet along with it. This is true both domestically and internationally. On top of that, the US and world economy is about to lose trillions of dollars in what was thought to be liquidity, through the financial crisis initiated by mortgage, securities and derivatives markets. Since all these trades now are executed with leveraged fiat debt/credit, far more money can be lost than all underlying assets are worth.

Everything we would wish to buy will become disproportionally more expensive, but we will not even have the money to buy it with. Setting aside for a moment how violent the reactions will be to this enormous loss of wealth and entitlement (the human mind is not made for taking steps back), what should be clear is that we need to be able to produce our own necessities.

As transport becomes unaffordable, and collapses, prices for food will go through the roof, and shortages will sweep markets. The martketplace, or what's left of it, indeed the entire economy, will revolve around food and other basic needs. If you don't have any of these to offer to the market, you will be on the sidelines. It doesn't matter if you have a whole slew of university degrees, they won't be worth the paper they're written on (the paper will be more valuable than the degrees).

There is only one kind of mitigation: make sure you have the skills to produce enough of one or more of your basic needs to first feed and clothe and warm and shelter yourself and yours, and maybe barter for some with what's left.

I'm absolutely on board with this - I've just moved home to help my mom prep her farm for sale ... at least that is what she thinks. Water furnace + solar should warm and cool it, a little bit in the way of real silver coins, and then I'm getting very interested in heirloom (fertile) seed lines. The availability of next to nothing but hybrid corporate lines for common vegetables is going to be a cruel joke in a few years ...

So, while I am all for at least starting some kind of mitigation efforts, I don't see the general public, and the politicians, biting the bullet to make the changes necessary.

Isn't this an oxymoron?
If mitigation efforts aren't widespread what's the point?
And your own mitigation won't be enough to save your ass if society is crumbling all around.

i think you might be being unfair and picky a bit there... i think when one talks of personal mitigation it is clear one means lifeboat strategy... doing what is necessary to prepare for the worst...

is that what you meant?
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

i think when one talks of personal mitigation it is clear one means lifeboat strategy...

Sorry, it wasn't so clear, for many people mitigation means buying efficient light bulbs and recycling beer cans.
Anyway it is not obvious what an efficient "lifeboat strategy" is, plain survivalism is not enough what matters is what could come next as social structures.

Todd and Heading Out,

I have been thinking about mitigation. Perhaps even more than the physical changes, people are going to feel loss, and betrayal as the endless growth paradigm winds down. And in modern American society, the loss is going to be huge. People have gradually been turned from any source of community by the isolating nature of television.

Churches have declined, fraternal associations (like the Masons) have declined, even sitting on the front porch visiting with the neighbors has declined. Meanwhile, the mainstream media keeps us stirred up with terrible news or pacified with pablum. Our families are mainly scattered. I'm thinking what we need to do is community networking and organising. Make our neighbor's the friends and families, because we're all going to need them.

One of the things I liked best about the Viet Nam anti-war movement was the sense of unity and working with others. It was pretty lonely before I started making friends and hooking up with others, afterwards, even though our progress seemed minescule, at least we had a community. during this war's protests I met up with a lot of old friends, and they're still friends! Now, even when we get ghettoised into a "free speech zone" and the media refuses to report, we at least have each other's support.
Bob Ebersole

Bob, you are right about building friendships and a 'sense' of community. It starts with the street that we live on and hopefully spreads to a wider area. I believe our federal government understands exactly the enormity of the disaster that we face. There is a good possibility that the government may collapse. Many people are simply going to 'give up' mentally and will pass away in a state of shock. Many will not be able to cope with a future of no autos, no gas, no supermarkets, and little running water, electricity and sewer service. While some will remain in a state of shock and denial others will be busy trying to survive day to day will have little time to spend helping those that are not helping themselves. Although I believe that the current administration is incompetent, I dont think even the most competent administration could tell the truth to the people at this point. If the current administration spoke the truth to the people about the future, the people would fist disbelieve them, then would clamor for impeachment proceedings. When Jimmy Carter tried to interest the people in our energy problems he got hammered. Now the combination of problems we face are far greater than in Carters presidency. Perhaps the reason Bush/Cheney bought into the PNAC agreement and the Iraq war was because they saw no other option for an America that was to maintain some semblance of what we think of as America. For Bush/Cheney to attempt mitigation would be to admit that America is heading for banana republic status. The dollar would tank in short order. If Bush/Cheney had been honest with Americans from the beginning about why we are in the ME, perhaps enough Americans would have been willing to 'stay the course' in what has become the fiasco in Iraq. Instead, the administration has tried to be secretive about their motives and this has caused about 70% of Americans to turn on their war and their policies. Bush/Cheney failed to get everyone on the same page and pulling together, they failed to see or use the successful example of FDR on how to motivate and mobilize America. Of course, I dont believe that all of America would have approved of the unilateral invasion and subjugation of another country but there would have been many more supporters if they knew that their very existance and way of life depended on success in Iraq. I think that Bush/Cheney have painted themselves into a corner and whatever they say now will will encounter extreme criticisim. Please excuse the long rant, just one persons take on the situation.

I'm yet to figure the dynamics of the Bush-Cheney relationship. Cheney was a hack beaurocrat who was rewarded by Bush Sr. by being made president of Halliburton. GWB's grandfather had been on the booard of Dresser, and that was the biggest block of stock in Halliburton.
When the 2000 election neared, I think that Cheney was put in place by Bush, Sr. and Baker to control GWB. Rove, who had known the Bush's since the 1972 CREEP campaign, was also put in for the same reason. They thought they could manage young George the way they managed Reagan.
But then the wheels fell off. After the Supreme Court appointed young George, the idiot thought he was actually president, and i think Cheney and Rove went with young George because, after all, he officially had the power. The terrorist attack sealed the deal-young George got to act presidential, while the toadies held the power. Then the fools lept in where angels fear to tread-with the egging on of Rumsfeldt, Wolfowitz and the crazy hawks rehabilitated by Iran Contra pardons-the US invaded Iraq. It was a mixture of testosterone, greed and arrogance in equal proportions. I don't think oil played much part except for their incredible greed. Its not that they wouldn't have if they had thought of it, I just don't think they have either the brains or perceptiveness to think about peak oil.

And that's what's really scary. If they had just total greed and malice, like the first Bush, the country could probably survive, but they combine it with the low cunning of Rove and the total stupidity of young George in a truly frightening combination. Those guy's might just nuke Iran, or Venezuela-they're itching to do it.

I've been watching them for a long time, my third ex-wife was Rove's first ex-wife, she married him after working for the RNC. Her mother was the Republican Precinct Chairman in River Oaks and introduced George H. W. Bush to the big Houston money that funded all their campaigns. My second wife's uncle was the priest of the church where Baker met Bush the elder, and I went to high school with the Humble Oil heirs that funded them through all these campaigns. My family's been in the oil patch for over 50 years, and Houston used to be a small town.

WS Farish? I think his daughter does time as assistant for Rove?

The Farish's go to Palmer Memorial Episcopal, where I was an acolyte as a kid. I don't know them personally, but just on sight. Farish's father was on the vestry. Yes, they are old Humble oil money-his grandfather was a lawyer who got rich at Spindletop, and was the first general council for Humble. You'd have to check the donor lists, but they were probably big contributors.

Bob, thanks for your reply and the insight. Cheney was given the job of finding a VP for Bush Jr by the RNC and he decided that he would be the best person for the job...At least, that is the story that has stuck. Rumsfeld was a lunatic from way back. For years Rummy tried to position himself in a position of power and when he was named sec def it went to his head. Someone, probably some air force nut, gave Rummy the crazy idea that Iraq could be taken and held with high tech military hardware. Like you mentioned Rummy had lots of help from the neo cons that he installed in the pentagon and Cheney was also pushing.

One thing that I dont understand is your take on Cheney, Baker, Ken Lay, and the heads of all the major oil companies conducting the series of energy meetings prior to 9-11. How do you figure that? The only information that has been released about the meetings are a few maps with the outlines of the major oil structures in Iraq. That info is what led me to believe that the war was planned well before 9-11 and was primarily about oil from the standpoint of the oil people. However, I do think that the neo cons had their own very seperate reasons for invading Iraq.

You really do have some long connections in the oil biz. Once I spent about three months in Houston but it was long ago, about 1968. I had several friends in the area that were attempting to start some little insurance outfit. I recall Texas had some very loose insurance laws at that time. We were selling whole life that was structured to look like an investment and the sales pitch was on the border line. After three months I had seen enough. Houston had some great BBQ, hope they still do.

As a furriner - I can vouch for the Houston BBQ - great cultural experience... all my friends who come over get hooked
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Ther's still some pretty good BBQ. I'm a lttle bitter and sad, but two of ny favorites, John's on Shepherd and I-10, and Matt Garners on W. Grey, both got sold out and the neighborhoods gentrified.

There's four major styles of BBQ in Houston Cajun, wih a high vinegar and chilli pepper BBQ sauce and BBQed crab, South Texas with Mesquite as the smoke, German/Chezch Central Texas style with spectacular sausage, and Black oak BBQ with oak and pecan smoke and pork ribs that are works of art. I love it all, and have philosophical theories about all of it. My favorite is whatever I can eat.

Bush raised a lot of money from the oil patch. Cheney's meetings were payback for contributions, but I doubt there was too much dicussion of Iraq. There was probably dicussion about global warming, Ken Lay was talking about deregulation, big dicussion of how a 39% tax rate was unfare and they shouldn't pay taxes on dividends and drilling the Alaska Wildlife refuge. Iraq sanctions were likely discused and Iran and the First Gulf War. Peak oil and the "war on terror" and Saddam just weren't on anybody's radar screen at the time.

You sure about the Dresser thing... cos I was in Halliburton in 1997-1999 - and the Dresser merger happened later in this period... was not aware that there was an ownership interest by Dresser prior to this (not saying I'm right, just surprised given what I understood to be the case at the time)

interesting perspective on the rest of the Iraq war, though personally i think Peak Oil awareness was indeed part of it... certainly I first heard about Peak Oil in Halliburton so I know there were people there clearly aware of it

As to Houston... still feels very much like a small town to me... (not in a good way sadly)
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

If Bush/Cheney had been honest with Americans from the beginning about why we are in the ME, perhaps enough Americans would have been willing to 'stay the course' in what has become the fiasco in Iraq. Instead, the administration has tried to be secretive about their motives and this has caused about 70% of Americans to turn on their war and their policies. Bush/Cheney failed to get everyone on the same page and pulling together, they failed to see or use the successful example of FDR on how to motivate and mobilize America. Of course, I dont believe that all of America would have approved of the unilateral invasion and subjugation of another country but there would have been many more supporters if they knew that their very existance and way of life depended on success in Iraq.

Do you really mean this - that the invasion of Iraq would have been more legitimate, and more supported by average Americans, if the US Administration had stated that it was all about the Oil? Do you really believe you have the right to invade oil producers, causing the deaths of thousands of civilians in the process, apart from young US soldiers, to secure a profligate, unsustainable way of life? Do you hope to see it continue for another 20 years or so - in country after country? I'm speechless if so.

Cargill: Outside of the USA, the majority of the public has always felt that the invasion of Iraq was about seizing oil fields. There were protests around the world and many of the protestors were carrying "No blood for oil" signs. Why do you think the global reputation of the USA has fallen so far? Because everyone thought the USA was fighting for freedom and democracy?

Not denying that, but it is beside the point really. Here we have a fine up-standing American publicly regretting that his country didn't go all out to secure that oil, supported by "the people", as if it's his God-given right to SUV forever. And he has an aw-shucks conversation about favourite BBQ in Houston, like he's one of the good guys in a white hat ... Three Days of the Condor are indeed just around the corner.

It's no wonder half the world cheered when the little guy kicked some butt of the bog guy on 11 September, and the other half shrugged and thought "Serves 'me right, had it coming to them". Interesting and scary times we live in.

I am an American citizen, and only speak for myself, but I can state categorically that I would NEVER approve of naked aggression to steal another country's resources. There is absolutely NO justification for such actions in my opinion.

Insisting that Saddam be held to the terms of his obligations is one thing. I was in favor of putting some increasing pressure on him to bring the inspectors back in and to come clean with any WMDs he might have hidden. But the inspections regime was working. The rest of the world saw it was working, and told the US so. The Bush administration should have listened to some friendly counsel instead of just going off bullheaded and half-cocked into this ill-conceived, inadequately prepared, incompetently managed, and utterly unjustified and illegal invasion.

I've already cut back our energy consumption to a level that is considerably below that of the average US household, and probably to the point that little if any of the energy I use would have to come from imports. I can and will cut back further in the future. There is absolutely no need to go steal Iraq's oil on my behalf.

Nobody ever asked ME if we should invade & occupy Iraq.

Morality aside, I note the war in Iraq has a EROEI near one. The military uses a lot of gas for their planes, and tanks, and fleet, and supply convoys.

Removing Saddam from power seemed like a good idea to me at the time. I didn't know that the Iraq reconstruction would be run by incompetants. I have a good opinion of the military effort up and down the ranks from private to general, but they were given an impossible task given the political decisions.

removed a double post.

"...in the hopes that the American public will stay asleep..."

As in the line, "I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandpa; not screaming in terror like his passengers."

File under unpredictable effects of wild weather:
Too much rain causing a water shortage!
Of course China has been hit with much worse flooding this past couple weeks, but there are fewer BBC reporters there.
It even rained here in San Jose, CA last week! In July? Now that's strange!

Re: A natural gas crisis coming?

How quickly the energy picture can change. The "resource triangle" shown for Alberta is a vivid reminder of the rapidly changing energy picture, specifically natural gas. Canada has a fine new home program called R-2000 that ensures new homes built to this standard will be very energy efficient. I am going from memory but as I recall the maximum air infiltration allowed is 1.5 ACH50 or 1.5 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of depressurization. This is equivalent to a natural air exchange rate of about once every 12 hours depending on location and building configuration. Many existing homes in the U.S. and Canada may have air leakage rates as high as 1 air change per hour or 12 times the infiltration of new homes built to the R-2000 standards.

R-2000 has been around for quite a number of years and is voluntary. What has held back the number of homes built to meet R-2000?, cheap natural gas, especially in western Canada. Until recently, natural gas sold for about $2.50 per million btu's or equal to 34 cent per gallon #2 heating oil. At these prices, higher energy efficiency measures for new homes did not pencil out. Fortunately for Canada the R-2000 program is still in place and with rapidly rising energy costs the choice for more efficient new homes will obvious.

We in the U.S. must push for vastly higher efficiency standards for new construction, the efficiency is easy to build in during the construction process but costly and not nearly as effective to retrofit later on. A new building built today without consideration to the energy it will consume over it's lifetime is an opportunity lost. Existing homes can also be made much more energy efficient with carefull planning and a bit of effort.

I'll step onto the slippery slope
from the view point of heating and cooling fewer air exchanges makes sense. looking at it from a structures longevity however, is a whole different picture. wood framed homes need to breath, I have a lot of experience with this. I have remodeled 150 year old structures with no house wrap, no insulation, just lath and plaster to keep the elements out. as sound as the day (year) they were built. I've torn into dozens of homes built sense the seventies, all wrapped up tighter than a drum and have found serious problems with rot. some of these places I don't think will last another 25 years. I don't have a solution but there's the problem.
good luck with your macmansion

It's typical to install an air to air heat exchanger on super-tight houses.

I suspect that what you are seeing is the result of a poorly installed vapor barrier. If there is an air leakage from the warm side of the wall into the insulation, the result is condensation, which, thanks to the newer tight outer wall sheathing, tends to collect and feed rot. The typical paper faced insulation batts need to be sealed to the studs and at the top and bottom of the cavity as well. There are often spacings of studs which are not exactly 16" or 24", so the batts must be cut to fit, which requires some precision. Some installers staple the vapor barrier to the sides of the studs, instead of the face, which leaves a small space between the vapor barrier and the sheet rock or lath. The result is a chimney effect, which can pump warm air and moisture into the wall.

In warmer, humid climates, the use of air conditioning causes the inner wall temperature to be below the dew point for outside air, thus, any outside air which seeps into the wall can produce condensation too. Under those conditions, the vapor barrier should be placed on the outside of the wall.

Of course, the builders and installers don't have much incentive to to the job right, since the idea is to get the house build and sold as quickly and cheaply as possible.

That's America!

E. Swanson


I have been building airtight homes for almost 25 years with no structural problems. The key is to build correctly with attention to detail, much of the information I used when getting started came out of Canada in the early 1980's. Todd is correct, mechanical ventilation is required in airtight homes, cheaper to run a HRV (heat recovery ventilator) than a gas guzzling furnace. Moisture problems are a result of shoddy construction, mainly bulk water intrusion (flashing details).

Looks like we're at a standoff between house and home. The real estate parasites have decided that 'house' is obsolete and all dwellings are now the cuddlier sounding 'home'. I'll stick with house for a house. When they're for sale they're just houses.

In theory, the vapor barrier works if it's airtight, which doesn't actually happen 100%. Having national building codes for Arizona, Wisconsin and Seattle is pretty silly because of the average temperature and humidity variations. Vancouver B.C. ended up with what is called the 'leaky condo' crisis - massive repairs on countless buildings - because of exactly that; they were not properly ventilated and rotted from the inside out. The government subsidized some sort of bailout. I see houses going up with no overhangs of eavestroughs sheeted with chipboard - good luck.

But no matter. None of this stuff will be relevant in a few decades anyway. Let it rot; we'll have fewer tears pushing it over. How many houses do you see that are really post fossil fuel reality? Kunstler is right; they're the wrong house in the wrong place at the wrong time dependent on the wrong technologies. Not to mention the wrong price and an escalating usury rate.

The next human organization will be better, after the anarchy.

Thank you petrosaurus for helping me make my point, cheap energy allowed for the building of poorly constructed, inefficient housing. The type of homes earldaily describes were built long ago by craftsmen and are still in top condition. We can build new and restore existing housing to be durable and energy efficient, but it takes jobsite coordination, attention to detail and a long term view.

Those old houses were made of old-growth timber. Good luck to any modern craftsmen, no matter how excellent they be, in finding quality construction materials.

I guess houses could be made out of plastic bottles and shipping containers -- now there's an idea

This NY Times article covers all the bases but never mentions "peak oil".

This NY Times article covers all the bases but never mentions "peak oil".

That might be desireable, but I don't think it needs to considering the message. This was the LEAD article on their web site today. I haven't seen a copy of the print edition to know if it was the lead there too. Still that article, together with it's placement, is a very big deal.

DRUDGE SPINS! The Iron Triangle

that article has nothing to do with peak oil, it has to do with the refining bottleneck in the US. Geez.

The problem at Ras Tanura (see above article) may have been more significant that earlier believed - check out this picture:


Could climate change herald [US] mass migration?

He suggests that in the Great Lakes basin, where less than half a per cent of the world's population sits within easy reach of a quarter of the planet's fresh water, the opportunity for harmony exists. In a perfect world governed by reason, Shibley says, the only robust economic centre in the region would serve as its heart. And that would be Toronto.

That's an issue for international bureaucrats to solve. But the reality is this: according to the U.S. government, the population of the United States is expected to reach 450 million by 2050 – an increase of almost 50 per cent. The predicted pattern of settlement for these new citizens will take them to the seven most built-out regions of the country – Arizona, Texas, Florida and California among them.

"You're going to have 150 million people living in at least seven of the major regions that don't have water, don't have carrying capacity, can't feed themselves," Shibley says. "It's an ecological disaster waiting to happen. So there's a good reason to think that people should come back to the Northeast, where we have the carrying capacity, and have the water."

Really, the Northeast has the carrying capacity for an additional 100 million people?

sure -- in 150sq.ft. houses, and if they eat Chinese peasant style. The carrying capacity depends on the energy dissipation of the individual members of a population

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has an interesting article about the Hybridfest over in Madison, http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=635933.

What I find most striking in the article is the focus on fuel efficiency, by means that anyone can achieve, rather than the spiffy hybrid technology.

In an extreme sport where enthusiasts get excited about gas mileage, Wayne Gerdes earned the title "King of the Hypermilers" by driving a Honda Insight 2,254 miles on a single tank of fuel. It translated to 165 miles per gallon in a car with an EPA rating of 60 mpg city/66 mpg highway.

Gerdes and a team of other drivers used unconventional driving measures such as coasting with the engine shut off and saving fuel by going through turns without tapping the brakes.

Their achievement was done on a highway loop closed to other traffic in Oklahoma.

But there are many ways to increase gas mileage without going to extremes, said Gerdes, a nuclear power plant operator from Chicago and a hybrid-car enthusiast.

Most of the tips could be picked up by attending "Hybridfest," a hybrid-car show this weekend at the Dane County Fair.

The article then goes on to explain what people can do to increase their gas mileage right now.

explain what people can do to increase their gas mileage right now.

Feedback helps.


ELM on the back of an envelop

Take today's production and export rates, the share of imports by USA, Chindia, and the Rest of the World (ROW), publicly espoused growth rates for demand, and MarkB's ELM+producer consumption curves – mix them together and project out to 2020. What do you get?

My back of the envelop worksheet says in 2007 exports and demand are “balanced with a ratio of 1.0” at 45 mbpd with the price of oil at $76/bbl. Looking ahead to 2020 with ELM+producer consumption, I expect about 17 mbpd in exports, though the projected import demand is around 75 mbpd, a ratio of 4.4.

In 2007 the exports are shared by USA with 21.75 mbpd at 48%, Chindia with 6.75 mbpd at 15%, and ROW with 16.5 mbpd at 37%. I tried to be equitable in projecting to 2020 and came up with USA with 6.56 mbpd at 39%, Chindia with 5.3 mbpd at 31%, and ROW at 5.2 mbpd at 30%. These are based upon their current and planned growth, most of which will obviously not take place.

One thought on the projected price is guess $75 times the demand/export ratio of 4.4, or $330/bbl in 2020. There will obviously be major demand destruction, so the ratio of 4.4 may not be realistic to determine the price.

I draw two conclusions from this “back of the envelop” approximation.

In the USA in 2020, the projected import demand will be 29 mbpd, but we will only be getting 6.56 mbpd. The missing 22 mbpd or so must be made up by alternate sources, and many of those were already assumed committed with the 29 mbpd figure. So there must either be some new sources or some very large demand destruction. The obvious place to reduce that demand is in personal transportation and long supply lines.

In Chindia, even though the share of imports of oil has doubled by 2020, the total amount imported has dropped by 20%. There is no way for those countries to continue their growth rate of 11% to 2020 unless they discover some marvelous way of generating energy internally. The great Asian manufacturing engine may very well be nearly starved by 2020, and globalization could be a thing of the past.

As I said, this all comes from the back of an envelop. It is a thought experiment, not a theory. I would enjoy it if someone would do a rigorous critique, analysis, and computation along this line of thought.

Sam Penny
the Prudent RVer

To simplify matters, let's talk about just crude oil imports. Let's assume that we want to keep our crude oil imports constant at about 10 mbpd.

We would have to reduce our domestic crude oil consumption at the same volumetric rate, in barrels of oil per day, that our domestic production is declining. Based on the HL model, US conventional crude oil reserves are about 85% depleted.

But of course the problem is that world net oil exports are presently declining.

you forgot the effect of US production and substitution because of price,as well as the effects of inflation. I just don't think its going to be calculable...but wait, whats that I see in the coffee grounds in my cup...its a soccer mom hitchin' on the corner while her kids lurk in the bushes to carjack an unsuspecting good samaritan... Bob Ebersole

Our Marshes Are Dying

Banca marsh has been losing 10 or more feet of its seaward edge each year to what some scientists call sudden wetland dieback - a so-far unexplained phenomenon in which marsh grasses die off, leaving mud, pocked with holes, to wash away with the tide. Even away from the edge, pockets of marsh grass are fading into barren mud sinks.

The fate of Banca marsh, and of tidal wetlands around the world, may be tied to rising sea levels and global warming in intriguing ways. The life of these simple grasses ebbs and flows to the moon's orbital cycles, to the pressing influence of humans and perhaps even to a fungus that sails across the Atlantic Ocean on dust storms kicked up by drought in Africa.

"Sudden dieback" may be a misnomer: For more than a decade scientists have been uncovering troubling changes in marshes around the world and trying to decipher the causes. So far, there is no one simple answer.

Along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, hundreds of thousands of acres have died off, done in, perhaps, by a combination of drought, heat, fungus and rising water. Around Hudson Bay, an exploding population of lesser snow geese has denuded a large area of sub-Arctic wetlands. On Cape Cod, hordes of purple marsh crabs creep out at night to munch on the cordgrass.

Losing a marsh takes away not only nice views, but also a marine nursery for oysters, shrimp, crabs and fish, and a feeding and nesting area for birds and other wildlife.

These coastal wetlands trap sediment and filter contaminants from groundwater and surface water runoff. And marshes serve as a physical barrier between the sea and the billions of dollars worth of homes, businesses and infrastructure jammed along the Connecticut shoreline - a shock absorber for flood tides and storm surges.

This is a front line in the battle over global warming: a place where the theories about how things change and what might happen come up against the practical realities of daily life.

The rise in sea level is expected to accelerate over the coming century due to thermal expansion and melting land-based ice, according to projections from the U.N.-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It could be a matter of inches or several feet, depending on what climate models you look at.

Even a few inches could spell the end of much of the world's coastal wetlands.

You're on a real tear today, HSF. You keep up this pessimistic staring at the state of the forest, and you'll risk tipping right over to the hope and optimism of
Derrick Jensen:


Along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, hundreds of thousands of acres have died off, done in, perhaps, by a combination of drought, heat, fungus and rising water

A major source of loss is the oil industry. They dig a canal to access an oil well, or install a natural gas pipeline.

This serves as a funnel for saltwater, which kills much of the vegetation and trees (mainly cypress). The loss of trees and grasses and other living matter, makes the wetlands very susceptible to erosion. And as the once narrow channel broadens, it brings in more saltwater, speeding up the process.

And damaging our fisheries as well.

The best solution is to build a couple of breaks along the canal and divert Mississippi River water during the spring flood into these areas. Plants a few cypress trees to serve as seeds sources and some clumps of grass.


And, another major source of land loss is the natural subsidence of all the lands around the Gulf. But, diverting the spring floods into the marshes and swamps would help a lot because of all the silt in the water. And don't forget the Intracoastal Canal as a source of the salt water intrusion, and the spoil banks interfering with the water flows.
The fact is its a big mess, and a huge shame, just like the dead zone from algal bloom at the mouth of the Mississippi. Its a giant, fucked up mess.
Bob Ebersole

Just when you thought it was safe to go shopping or to stand under the local light pole with it's camera on top.


Though these are not new, I have heard talk about them in some of the safe rooms at other businesses, or even for use to track infant in hospitals.

I still see that commerical where a guy stuffs things in his coat and then walks out the door, only to be stopped, he forgot his receipt.

Thumb prints buy groceries in some stores already.

Fingerprints and a code sign you in and out at Krogers, for all workers.

Yay bio-metrics.

I am not american but my understanding of the constitution says that these searches are illegal.

simply put, once you have paid for an item, it is yours. As a private person you can waive your civil rights to privacy and be searched by a private individual, but you NEVER HAVE to relinquish that right.

The sale is made upon money exchanging hands for goods, and the sale contract cannot force you to give up your rights.

Only the government can search you, going through processes outlined in the constitution, warrant and probable cause.

This applies to purchases made anywhere, you should not give up your rights to "recipt checkers", if they ask to see just say "no thanks" and keep walking, if they stop you, call the police report an assault and unlawful detention, if they call you a thief, file a civil suit using the tort of slander.

many states will outlaw this action by private employers, some will allow it. It's pretty much just a fancy way of removing a couple guards and keeping timesheets.

And in the meantime, they call the cops while their goon roughs you up in the back room. You're given the choice of pleading guilty to a class C misdemeanor and paying a hundred dollar fine, or staying in jail, spending a couple of hundred on bond money then being found guilty anyway because the Judge neither know the constitution nor cares. Your lawyer wants a $10,000 dollar fee in advance to appeal the stupid conviction and file a suit against Walmart.

Rights or not, isn't a whole lot less trouble to open the bag? Better yet, STAY OUT OF WALLY WORLD! If a company is going to assume that you're a theif, they are probably stealing from you.
Bob Ebersole

opening the bag is a violation of civil rights, and erodes personal freedoms. Even the theft systems set up (some local state laws vary on this) don't mean anything. You can always stroll out.

And if indeed you can get roughed up in the back room on no basis, America is a fascist state with citizens operating outside the bounds of law.

and actually, i have told pushy loss prevention officers to "go fuck themselves" after politely saying "no thanks". If they touch you it's assault, if they prevent you from leaving its unlawful detention. You will win EVERY time in a court of law. There will be no misdemeanors (assault is a criminal tort, same with unlawful detention i think) for you.

take your rights into your own hands. You dont have to show the recipt because of the 5th (self incrimination) unless probable cause is given by the arresting officer. Only the arresting officer can perform the search of your person.

As a private person you can waive your civil rights to privacy and be searched by a private individual, but you NEVER HAVE to relinquish that right.

Law, shmaw.

The attitude of the large corporation is they don't care. If an individual gets stepped on and bites back, they will say 'sorry' and fire the employee who 'did the deed'. And the corporations avoid the actual powerful who might change things.

Example RIAA:

Micheal Moore showed people in uniform bragging about the MP3 server with terrabytes of songs. Plenty of articles on the Internet also mention servers in Iraq with large MP3 servers/pirated movies. Congressmen and staffers mention their 'large collections of songs'. In the last week the RIAA pubically is avoiding Harvard - because Harvard has the children of the power structure.

Yet, where is the RIAA actions VS the above mentioned groups?

if they call you a thief, file a civil suit using the tort of slander.

The reaction will be to have the case bounced and the corp will issue a restraining order to have you arrested if you ever enter one of their stores. (Been there - done this.)

When you go up against the large corp, the judge will assume YOU are wrong. (Been there done this - the large corp later withdrew the case on appeal admitting in a letter that, upon looking at the record further that they were wrong)

Tis better just to raise you voice and make a scene - and be verbally told that you are no longer welcome at the store. Or demand that they summon a squad - because you want your rights protected.

Interesting article.


Tyler contacted Nichols and Lamb and instead of competing, the trio have joined forces to introduce their invention to the world. Lamb also stated that Tyler has been in contact with former vice-president Al Gore about the device.

Yes, it is an interesting article.

...Randy Nichols and Andrew Lamb contacted the Times-Gazette last month and demonstrated their device: a Nissan 4x4 truck that apparently runs with no internal combustion engine or fossil fuels.
After the pair from Unionville spoke to Tyler, Lamb said "we didn't realize all the possibilities with this thing." Lamb also said the device could be used as a generator large enough to power a house.

One free energy based website, the Pure Energy Systems Wiki, [peswiki.com] calls the device a "hydraulic battery-powered electromagnetic generator."

And from peswiki article:
Lamb says that their technology has powered a Nissan, running in low 4-wheel drive, to run at 40 miles per hour; and they have gotten a Nissan Pathfinder to run at 62 miles per hour. Lamb said he drove the Nissan 4x4 300 miles once, without stopping for charge.

I'd be interested to read others' comments.

"Until their patent is put into "pending" status, they will give no new demonstrations of the vehicle."

"Lamb said they now have four working prototype vehicles, which they have hidden for security reasons."

"the pair were reluctant to give away any more secrets, mainly due to the fact they had not patented their invention yet."

"It is powered on a 24-volt system and when this reporter interviewed them in June, the pair were reluctant to give away any more secrets, mainly due to the fact they had not patented their invention yet."

Oh, plus the fact that it is a total crock of s**t.

Come on people. The Laws of Thermodynamics have not been, and will not be, repealed. There is no "free energy". I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. Gosh, I feel like such a wet blanket sometimes.

The Shelbyville Times article read like something right out of the Onion.

Once again, people fail to even read the article! You immediately jump at any glimmer of hope and denounce it as a violation of the laws of physics!

All this system is is a hydraulic pump system that replaces the drive shaft of a combustion engine. You have a mid-sized battery pack that powers the low powered electric engine that does the pumping of the fluid/air for the hydraulic system. These things are very, very efficient, but somewhat slow: my dad once told me the local industrial facility he interned at had a hydraulic tractor that would get 50 mpg while doing 20 mph...in the 1960s! The only difference is that the one he worked with had a small ICE instead of a battery pack.

If this device was capable of moving energy at no loss, a perpetual motion machine of the second kind could be created. Namely, use a heat pump which operates at no loss, to move heat with a COP >1 and you can build up a heat gradient with no loss, thus driving the perpetual motion machine.

Also losses from drag increase somewhere between the square and cube of velocity, so a typical car going at 65mi/hr compared with 20mi/hr gives between 3.5^2=12.15 and 3.5^3=42.875 times less drag, substantial improvements in MPG result. Run that truck as higher speeds and then talk to me.

Thanks for your reply PartyGuy, good to see some sensible comments here.

And we ALL look forward to your further fact filled contributions.

I looked at the Article and at the PESWiki entry.

The thought that a battery running an electric motor, driving a hydraulic pump to spin a hydraulic motor to turn a flywheel and drive-train as well as another generator to recharge the batteries again was already kicking pretty hard at my BS detector.. they didn't even have any Orgone-Amplifiers in there, or Pyramids or Gold-Oxide Laminates..

well, here's what the PESWiki's first 'comment'-entry looked like: (O/U stands for 'OverUnity', or More Energy out than you Put In.. EG, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck..)

" New Energy Congress member comments

The Math Shows 21% Efficiency

On July 19, 2007, NEC Advisor, Jim Dunn wrote:

Which of the components do they claim are over-unity?

If you work the math, the device will have to be well over 500% OU to break even:

12-volt battery running an AC motor via an inverter. Inverter = 70% x AC Motor @ 80% = 56%

The AC motor turns an alternator, (70%) which recharges both the 12-volt battery and another it is connected to in series (batteries @ 80% recovered).

Thus we have 56% after AC Motor x 70% (Alternator) x 80% Turnaround eff. of Batts = net of 30%

That 24-volt battery array then powers a hydraulic motor to turn the flywheel.

Then this propels the car via a hydraulic motor @ 70% = 21% overall maximum thruput less usual losses in the tranny and drivetrain. So the net overall is worse than any current IC engine.

With the batteries fully charged prior to a demo run, they could probably go 8-10 miles at 40-50 mph.

Where is their novel technology inserted?

This offers no net benefit unless there is a significant O/U device somewhere in this mix. "

.. I'm just sayin'..

Bob Fiske

Well, I guess I got the order of this convoluted mess wrong, but do please convince me that the conclusion is any different.

I do believe in new discoveries.. there are certainly things we have yet to figure out, but the 'motor running a generator' loop has been very well examined.

"I'm a pretty straight man if you treat me all square, but I'm a pirut myself at a Pirut-town fair!"
-Holman Day, 'Abbot B Appleton went to the fair'

Why did I know PartyGuy would chime in here?

Look, I DID read the article this time - all the articles, in fact.

Jeez, it's not that I wouldn't like a glimmer of hope. It's just that we don't need "free energy" distractions.

In any case, there was pretty much nothing to be learned from the articles - all very hush hush... patent pending, you know. It's nonsensical.

Yes, PartyGuy notwithstanding, the laws of physics still apply. They do, and they will. Grow some sense.

However, it's all moot, because...

Fortunately, the Mother Ship will be landing soon, and Our Pink Unicorn Overlords will reveal their free energy technology, and we'll be free to carry on however we wish.

What, you don't believe in Pink Unicorns? You immediately jump at a glimmer of hope, you bummer of a naysayer, you.

Seriously, PG, it's not that I'm down on "hope", it's just that I'm very wary indeed of distractions like this sort of thing.

And the "laws of physics" (also known as reality) still hold.

Internal combustion engines do not have drive shafts. IC engines have a crankshaft that normally connects to a transmission. The output shaft of the transmisson connects to the drive shaft. Drive shaft connects to the rear end.

So, my question is, how can a hydraulic pump system replace the crank shaft of an IC engine? Without a crank shaft there is nothing for the pistons/connecting rods to connect to. Without pistons/rods there is no internal combustion. Perhaps you could draw us a diagram of this wonder engine?

Air in a hydraulic system is usually very bad news.

What kind of drugs are you taking? I would like to get some.

Hydraulic battery?

More likely hydraulic + battery ...... etc.

One could probably use a battery to drive hydraulics for propulsion and gain some efficiency, but at some point energy needs to be input.
They might be able to sell it to a guy like Gore if they cut him in. LOL.

What's wrong with your critical facility? They state that it's powered by electricity from a battery!

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

Quite clearly no.

The patent you linked to was filled in 1992 to completely different people listed in the article. Also the article clearly said the patent wasn't even pending as of June 2007.

Besides you can't patent a perpetual motion machine. Its one of the few things patent examiners actually check for now adays.

Its cute and all that you are the "antidoomer". But please try not to be anti-conmmon sense at the same time.

For those of you that might have suckered in and bought a car that runs on E-85, I would suggest that you not consider trying to get your alcohol from the corn in Minnesota. The drought is getting worse and the corn is drying up.
I feel sorry for those who invested heavily in ethanol plants here in Minnesota. A couple more years like this and they will all be out of business for lack of corn. Or you'll have starving people driving cars on E-85?


Apparently Minnesota isn't the only State that is short of mositure. The following NOAA map shows a good portion of the crop producing areas of the country are short of mositure. Not good for food prices or fuel prices!


An example of the drivel being spewed by the mainstream media:


The author of this Telegraph piece is either a liar or mental deficient. According to


there is quite a clear trend from 1965 onward. The year 1998 is an outlier so using it as reference point is nonsensical. He could have used 1988 to 1995 to "prove" that there is a cooling trend!

We're all going to die.

The sky was a windy deep blue today. Tomatoes are ripening nicely on the vine.

Hello TODers,

I absolutely love this news story!!!

ST. LOUIS - One of the two trams that take visitors to the top of the Gateway Arch was out of service Sunday after a power failure trapped about 200 people for hours inside the landmark the night before.

Eli Lawson of Claremore, Okla., was at the top of the Arch with relatives and friends when the power went out.

"Some people went into panic mode. For the most part, people remained calm," he said Sunday afternoon. Emergency lighting was minimal, but the observation area remained cool and a park ranger did an excellent job keeping the public informed, he said.
If I was the Park Ranger, my informative speech would begin quite simply:

"Of course you realize how the GateWay Arch resembles the Hubbert Curve, and combined with this massive power outage: the emergency lighting feebly illuminating the path to Olduvai Gorge is inescapeable. Since we will be here at the Peak for some undetermined length of time before our inevitable and rapid descent, I would like to go into further detail, and also answer any questions that might arise...."

following linked photo: "Twilight at the Gateway Arch"


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

Hours stuck in the observation area I could handle. Hours stuck in those barrels that they call a "tram" - that would be something else!

Interesting article about rationing:

"The Energy Solution That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Gas Rationing"



For those wondering if Goldman Sachs is still playing it’s “drive the panic” game to support the world oil price, the answer is of course yes....


But we may be nearing the breakpoint where OPEC (aka Saudi Arabia) is getting ready to take the test....


The test is actually two fold: (a) Can the Saudi’s raise production even if they decide to and (b) Why would they decide to?

Ace, right here on TOD, in his keypost “Updated World Oil Forecasts, including Saudi Arabia” says with authority that “ 5 Key producer Saudi Arabia recently released an updated project schedule which does not show originally scheduled expansions of Shaybah phase 2, 0.25 mbd and Al Khafji Neutral Zone, 0.30 mbd. Consequently, it is now almost a certainty that Saudi Arabia passed peak C&C production of 9.6 mbd in 2005.

So for now, all roads lead to Khurais in KSA, and Saudi offshore oil,
IF these can deliver light sweet oil in the amounts that have been promised at various times by the Saudi’s, or at least, the potential has been promised.

So, we still don’t know if the Saudi’s can deliver. But they seem to be increasingly nervous. But why? The high prices have not had a real dent on consumption, and the world economy is still swallowing resources as well as money. Right now, the U.S., the world’s single biggest oil customer seems to have more crude on hand than places to refine it. Why are the Saudi’s now talking the possibility of “taking the test”, i.e., showing the world that they can deliver the goods?

The question for the Saudi’s has to be “has the competition been brought out into the light? Recently, as has been reported on Drumbeat here at TOD, there has been a bit of burst of oil discoveries reported, mostly offshore finds off Africa, Norway, and China, with other smaller finds being reported around the world.

Add to this that the current high prices have pushed energy alternatives and conservation technology development to a fevered pitch. Billions of dollars in venture capital are pouring into so called “green” energy technologies, and the Saudi’s now find themselves in a bit of tricky spot. In their game of “liar’s poker” can they afford to keep waiting to push oil onto the market and bring the price down enough to take the steam of these alternatives, essentially kill them in the crib with a lower oil price (even if it is only a temporary lull in price), and can they actually deliver enough spare oil to have that effect?

Or, should they, even if they have the spare production capacity, hold off, stall, and make sure they know where the competition really stands, and what alternatives really can show signs of working?

There is another issue: OPEC countries have been spending their newfound oil wealth like drunken sailors on shore leave.

Dubai is putting the finishing touches on the worlds tallest building (while there is enough steel at big prices for that project, people are actually claiming that the steel for oil drilling equipment is “too expensive), the UAE is building suburbs on artificial islands (Kunstler should have something to say) and the “hot rods” of Saudi Arabian youth are becoming legendary, just like the 1970’s.

In one way, the best possible event now (and this would be unpopular to say anywhere other than TOD) would be if the Goldman Sachs/Boone Pickens/Matt Simmons/Westexas “fire in the theatre” crowd actually succeeded in setting off a full blown price panic. Combined with the current refinery shortage, we could see gasoline prices take off to perhaps $5.00 to $6.00 plus per gallon, even though at the moment there seems to be no real shortage of crude. This might trigger a nice little period of demand destruction, and speed venture funding of alt energy and conservation, and stem the flow of currency to Saudi Arabia and other OPEC big spenders, something they can ill afford right now.

There is one more very intriguing possibility....what if the Saudi left hand does not know what the Saudi right hand is doing....and just when the Saudi princes call on ARAMCO to boost production, they find out, much to their shock, that they can’t do it, and the peakers were right all along! Ouch, wouldn’t their face be red....:-)

Roger Conner Jr.
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom
(we just aren’t sure where that cubic mile is....:-)

Thought for today:

Are the oil and products used by the U.S. military outside of the boundaries of the U.S.A. counted as consumption by the U.S.? My first guess is that the EIA and IEA don't look at it that way. The oil consumption by the U.S. military is larger than that of many smaller nations. Maybe one should consider the military as a separate nation when calculating the export & import land model. Since the military would likely continue to use all the oil they want/need, that would make the import land situation for the rest of the U.S. even more dire as available exports or oil and product decline.

E. Swanson