DrumBeat: July 26, 2007

James Hansen: Huge sea level rises are coming – unless we act now

The current rate of sea level change is not without consequences. However, the primary issue is whether global warming will reach a level such that ice sheets begin to disintegrate in a rapid, non-linear fashion on West Antarctica, Greenland or both. Once well under way, such a collapse might be impossible to stop, because there are multiple positive feedbacks. In that event, a sea level rise of several metres at least would be expected.

As an example, let us say that ice sheet melting adds 1 centimetre to sea level for the decade 2005 to 2015, and that this doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted. This would yield a rise in sea level of more than 5 metres by 2095.

Are We Running On Empty? (video and transcript)

The oil age is coming to an end. A growing body of analysts believes we’re driving towards a precipice called "peak oil", the point at which oil production climaxes and then plunges into irrevocable decline. Some say we’re already there; it’s the Mad Max2 scenario of a world running on empty, where gasoline is the most precious resource on earth, and it’s the end of lifestyles that rely on plentiful oil for cheap transport. How do we quit our addiction to oil? Are modified cars the answer to the coming oil shock? Or should we seriously rethink individual car ownership? Can we get on board mass public transport? Do we follow the lead of people such as Rupert Murdoch, who recently announced he's buying a hybrid car that’s driven by a combination of petrol and electric motors? Leonardo DiCaprio also drives a hybrid, and George Clooney has gone a step further, with an all-electric car. Closer to home, Australian of the Year Tim Flannery, Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd are converts to hybrids, and thousands more Australians each month are joining them. Difference of Opinion has invited a panel of leading experts to discuss our transport future.

Regulators fine natgas market manipulaters

Two market regulators on Thursday fined two large natural gas players - defunct hedge fund Amaranth Advisors and pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners LP - alleging widespread market manipulation.

Transport policy needs to go off-road

Cars account for about 85 per cent of trips in Melbourne — among the highest rate in the world — and this dependence holds the key to solving Melbourne's transport problems. The Government's response is akin to a doctor prescribing a larger belt for an obese patient, and leaves Victoria ill-equipped to deal with four urgent issues.

The carbon cost of building and operating light rail

Rail mass transit is supposed to be good for the environment. But a leading critic of Sound Transit's Link light rail project offers metrics that suggest the environmental costs are much higher than those of more vanpools, more carpools, more buses, and, particularly, more bicycling.

BHP hit by cost of own iron

BHP Billiton is breaking production records but is still being squeezed by the rising price of one of its own products, iron ore.

A sharp kick in the price of steel a year ago appears to have almost singlehandedly caused a rise of 27 per cent, or $80 million, in the cost of the Stybarrow oil development off Exmouth on the West Australian coast.

Royal Dutch Shell's profit leaps 20%

Royal Dutch Shell Plc bucked an industry-wide trend of falling earnings on Thursday, posting a 20 percent rise in second-quarter profits as fat refining margins helped outweigh lower output.

The time is now

So we come to the question of when and how to act. And I'm going to suggest that everyone who reads this take 10 basic actions to provide for their security right now - this year, whenever possible. I could be absolutely off base, but it seems like the combination of peak oil, financial instability and climate change is going to strike us hard, and soon. Now maybe you disagree - you expect technological solutions, or things to be gentler. But even if you do, there's good reason to hedge your bets, invest a few resources and a little energy into preparation, so that just in case the crazy lady on the blog was right, your family, your community will be a little bit better off.

Time Will Tell For Global Oil Demand

EIA, like many others, is calling for much faster demand growth in the second half of the year than seen recently. Table 3 of EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook, shows third quarter 2007 global demand 1.7 million barrels over the third quarter 2006 demand level, while fourth quarter 2007 demand is expected to be 1.9 million barrels per day higher than in the last quarter of 2006. This compares to global demand growth of just 0.4 million barrels per day over year-ago levels in the first quarter this year and 1.4 million barrels per day for the second quarter. Part of this pattern is explained by warm weather in much of the Northern Hemisphere at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. But there remains an assumption that high oil prices will not impact demand significantly, in part, because for much of the world, the price increase has been somewhat muted as oil is priced in dollars and the dollar has been falling compared to most major currencies. In EIA’s projections, this expected growth in demand leads to larger inventory draws relative to normal patterns.

Domestic Demand: The Main Engine of Saudi Arabia's Growth

Saudi Arabia's economic boom is all set to continue after four years of strong growth driven by rising oil revenues, which have stimulated massive project spending. However, domestic demand will take over as the main engine of growth for the period 2007-2010.

The Dollar Collapse's Oil Ramifications

Oil is a commodity traded almost universally in U.S. dollars, but for how long?

If Iran Provokes an Energy Crisis: Modeling the Problem in a War Game

From December 2006 to March 2007, Heritage Foundation scholars conducted a computer simula­tion and gaming exercise that examined the likely economic and policy consequences of a major oil disruption in the Persian Gulf. The exercise utilized a realistic scenario, state-of-the-art macroeconomic modeling, and a knowledgeable team of subject-matter experts from government, business, aca­demia, and research institutes from around Wash­ington, D.C.

Downtown electricity supply stretched thin

The electricity supply in downtown Vancouver is stretched so thin that an equipment breakdown like one that occurred this month could touch off an economic and social disaster, documents filed with the B.C. Utilities Commission suggest.

Ghana: Unilever plans for the worse in energy crisis

The Managing Director of Unilever Ghana Limited, a multinational manufacturing company, Charles Coffie has exclusively told The Statesman about their intention to continue operation even without energy supply from the Akosombo hydro electric dam. "We are not frightened by the threats of expected shut down of the Akosombo Dam whenever it takes place."

Albania’s Electricity Monopoly Seeks Rate Hike

Amidst a severe energy crisis, the Albanian Power Corporation, KESH, announced Wednesday it will request an electricity price hike to recover from the higher cost of imports and low hydropower production due to the country’s drought.

Analysis: Iraq oil refineries go private

Iraq's Parliament has approved a law privatizing the country's oil-refining sector in order to lure investment and stem a fuel shortage.

The law, approved Tuesday, is a step toward relinquishing government involvement in the refining sector and, when poverty is alleviated, moving Iraqi consumers from state-subsidized to market prices for fuel.

The European Champions of Energy: Russia and France Play the Game

Last week I told you the French are beating the Brits in the pan-European battle for Russia's gas-fueled energy affection. But what exactly are they winning?

Across Europe, a new nationalism is in the air. France can take some of the blame for eroding the sense of inevitability that was once attached to European political unity. After all, it was the French voting public who, along with the Dutch, rejected the proposed EU constitution in mid 2005.

Big Oil drills for vote of approval

When Conoco­Phillips was battling to prevent a state takeover of its multibillion-dollar investments in Venezuela last month, why was one of its top executives talking to elementary school teachers about lightbulbs?

Jim Gallogly, head of refining and marketing, was conducting a day of questions and answers on recycling and other issues in Columbia, South Carolina. The third-biggest oil company in the US had sent him to a small city – where it has no operations – at this a critical time.

"People are mad at us," Mr Gallogly explains. "We have to get out and answer their questions."

Spanner in the works over BP and Shell merger

Tony Hayward, BP's new chief executive, will have saddened investment bankers everywhere this week with his rejection of speculation about a possible merger with Royal Dutch Shell.

As well as denying rumours that the companies were in talks, he suggested a merger would be the wrong answer to BP's problems. BP needed to fix its operations, not its strategy, he said.

Global Industries Awarded Berri & Qatif Projects by Saudi Aramco

Global Industries, Ltd. announced today that its subsidiary Global Al Rushaid Offshore Company, Ltd. has signed a contract with Saudi Aramco for the Berri Water Injection and Qatif Crude Offshore Pipelines Projects.

The work will be performed in the Qatif and Berri Fields off the Eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. The project consists of installation of water injection pipelines and crude oil flowlines ranging in diameter from 12" to 30", two shore approaches and numerous lateral pipelines including subsea valve skids.

New York oil price hits new 11-month high: 77.24 dollars

The price of New York crude leapt to 77.24 dollar a barrel on Thursday, marking the highest level since August 9, 2006, as keen global demand and tight supplies fuelled speculative buying, traders said.

On Wednesday, the US government had revealed that inventories of American crude fell by 1.1 million barrels last week. New York's all-time high stands at 78.40 dollars, which was reached a year ago.

Exxon Mobil profit falls to $10.26B

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said Thursday its second-quarter profit fell 1 percent from a year ago as lower natural gas prices hurt results.

How the Weak Dollar Affects OPEC

Peak Oil proponents note that many of OPEC’s oil fields, especially some of Saudi Arabia’s largest, are old and already require intensive measures to maintain current production rates. Whether or not this is true, there is another reason why OPEC may not be so eager to increase production.

This time, in spite of high oil prices in terms of U.S. dollars, OPEC is making less of a killing because the real value of the dollar is falling, and so are OOPEC’s real profits.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Hard Truths

The most interesting thing that can be said about the NPC report is that it has very little to do with providing government officials and the rest of us insight into the likely availability of oil over the next 25 years. There are federal employees, international organizations and contractors loaded with expertise that the Secretary of Energy can whistle up in minutes and can produce papers comparable in scope to the NPC’s efforts in days rather than years.

In reality, the “Hard Truths” report is a piece of political theater carefully constructed to deflect responsibility from the administration for failing to publicly acknowledge and start preparing the nation for the consequences of oil depletion.

The Single Biggest International Investment Trend

Though the movement is all around us, some haven't even noticed. You feel it at the dinner table and on the road. It leeches money from your pocket and it's the topic of every conversation you've had over the past few years. I've written about it countless times in this very publication.

But maybe you haven't even noticed the elephant in the room.

It's called Peak Oil, and it's the turning tide that is already positioning the 21st century's most savvy investors atop of a wave of wealth. My colleagues and I have cornered every angle of this sea change in the way the world works, and we want you to join us so you don't miss out on another second of the immense profits we're already delivering.

The day the drilling stopped

"There is a deafening silence from the world of dentistry on the subject of Peak Oil."

Some sentences are so great, they need no context or elaboration. They can just be appreciated, like a great blue heron rising from a forest pond.

Shell finds new Nigerian oilfield

The Nigerian arm of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) has made an oil discovery and a test well flowed at up to 5,000 barrels per day, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said on Thursday.

Udall Wants to Give U.S. Companies Power to Drill Offshore Cuba

Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has introduced legislation that would let U.S. oil and gas companies drill off the coast of Cuba.

The bill, according to Udall's office, would "make an exception to all laws, executive orders and regulations that now prohibit exports to or imports from Cuba or transactions in property in which a Cuban national has an interest."

ConocoPhillips Still in Talks on Venezuela Compensation

U.S. energy major ConocoPhillips (COP) said Wednesday it still was in discussions with Venezuela over compensation for stakes in crude-oil projects it ceded to the state-owned oil company there.

Blast, fire hit big gas pipeline in northwest Russia

A powerful explosion hit a gas pipeline in northwest Russia early on Thursday but officials said it was not caused by terrorism and exports were unaffected.

The huge blast hit a trunk pipeline outside Russia's second city of St Petersburg just minutes after midnight, shaking buildings as far as 5 km (3 miles) away from the epicenter and setting off a fierce fire.

About the NPC report

When I started working on oil depletion in 2003, there were a handful of lone voices in the wilderness sounding the alarm. Since then, the IEA, EIA, multiple government agencies in several nations, and several oil industry executives have determined oil shortages are possible. Multiple reports and books have been written. Congress has taken testimony. Key figures in Washington have made speeches. Although there are some differences in the details, they are trivial in comparison with the broader perspective.

Analyst: Pemex, Union Negotiation Shows Govt Biding Time

This month's renegotiation of the collective contract agreement (CCT) between Mexico's state oil company Pemex and the oil workers union (STPRM) demonstrates the government and Pemex's leadership are not yet ready to confront the union, which itself realizes "time is limited," Eurasia Group analyst Pamela Starr told BNamericas.

Is IBM Going Solar?

I had a chance recently to visit with one of the individuals responsible for IBM’s Big Green Innovations strategy – which has made a splash in the cleantech world over the last half year. We were talking on a range of topics, but one that piqued my interest was the description of IBM’s work in photovoltaics – and a few thoughts on where they were going.

GE issues credit card aimed to cut emissions

General Electric Co. issued a credit card on Wednesday it says will be the first to cut help U.S. cardholders voluntarily cut emissions linked to global warming.

The card, called GE Money Earth Rewards Platinum Mastercard, allows users the option of automatically contributing up to one percent of their card purchases to buy greenhouse emissions offsets.

Study: Nevada has big temperature gains

Nevada is among the states with the most dramatic increase in average temperatures the last 30 years, according to a new study that examines the impact of global warming across the country.

Ozone cuts plant growth, spurs global warming: study

The affects of greenhouse gas ozone, which has been increasing near Earth's surface since 1850, could seriously cut into crop yields and spur global warming this century, scientists reported on Wednesday.

Agency, group to 'offset' CO2 emissions

The U.S. Forest Service is teaming with a nonprofit foundation to allow consumers to participate in a voluntary program to "offset" their carbon dioxide emissions.

Under the agreement to be announced Wednesday, the Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation will allow individuals or groups to make charitable contributions that will be used to plant trees and do other work to improve national forests.

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

As oil threatens to go through the roof over concerns that OPEC may not open the spigots, exploiting Canadian reserves is becoming far more expensive. The threat of labour disruption in the oil sands will only add to the problem.

An OPEC equivalent controlling future LNG trade is seen as a threat to US security, even as natural gas prices decline and the drilling sector consolidates in Canada.

Burnaby BC comes to terms with a long clean up after an oil spill, as the aftermath of a Japanese earthquake rattles the nuclear industry, and Ontario's nuclear troubles continue.

Risk aversion goes international as credit markets tighten around the world. Faced with threatened deals, banks are holding on to loans rather than hawking them to investors. The US sends another more senior figure to China to convince them to buy mortgage-backed securities. As bridge loans become pier loans in the developing credit crunch, Wall Street 'heads for the diaper aisle'.


World-wide market meltdown, it's a Friday, and CNBC has hauled out the cheerleaders. The only surprise is they didn't roust Kudlow out of bed to come in and lead the Pep Rally. With Asian markets down 2.5%, the US Dollar in freefall, why would anyone want to stay in the market over the weekend is beyond me.

“Home Prices Are Falling Like Almost Never Before”
By Dean Baker

... we are looking at a downward cascading price path. Increasing defaults lead to more desperation sales, which puts further downward pressure on prices. Further declines in prices, lead to more defaults. The soaring default rate also constricts mortgage loans as investors become less anxious to give away money for people to buy overpriced homes. When buyers have more difficulty getting mortgages, many get shut out of the market, which puts more downward pressure on prices.
... house prices have tracked inflation going to 1895. ... In the period from 1995 to 2006, house prices rose by more than 70 percent, after adjusting for inflation.


In short, there was no explanation for this sudden run-up in house sale prices based on fundamentals. ...

... 1995 was the beginning of the stock bubble, when prices really started to diverge from fundamentals in a big way. It is easy to tell a story of a housing bubble growing side by side with a stock bubble; we had just seen it in Japan in the 1980s.

... Alan Greenspan dismissed the idea ...

... we should be especially attentive towards efforts to rewrite history. It is common for people to now say that everyone recognized the stock bubble in the 90s. This is not true, which can be easily shown by reading what economists said at the time http://www.phil.frb.org/files/liv/livjun01.pdf
... The vast majority of the economics profession either missed the housing bubble altogether or dismissed its importance at the time. This should not be forgotten.


CNN covered the housing market this morning. (It ended on a hopeful note, of course. They might lower interest rates this fall - great news for buyers and sellers!)

One thing they mentioned...a lot of local governments are setting up funds to help people in danger of foreclosure.

Which is what Wall St. Journal Reports predicted three years ago. They had an episode that was basically devoted to peak oil (though they didn't say it that way). Their talking heads predicted that high gas prices would cause the value of suburban real estate to plummet...and predicted the politicians would not be able to resist the pressure to provide mortgage bailouts.

Leanan, great pic you posted of Florida. Thanks for all that you do.

I knew for certain the housing bubble was ready to pop when my dim neighbor told me he was thinking of buying investment property. When Joe Blow notices the latest investment scheme it's time to get out. Never fails.

Haha, this is so true, I overheard a checkout girl and bag boy (they were much younger than me so I am allowed to refer to them as a boy and girl) in a Safeway in early 2000 talking about their margin accounts. Freaked me out.

Anyway, who cares about all this peak oil stuff. I'm more concerned about peak gambling:

Electricity shortage threatens Macau gambling industry

New home sales tumble 6.6% in June to 834,000 annual rate, well below forecasts, Reuters reports.

Ireland was also a hot property market once. Seems like globalisation is a double edged sword. No doubt people will be calling for protection from it before long.

House prices plummet by up to €10,000 [$13800] every month

THE value of average priced homes in some areas of the country is plummeting by €10,000 each month.

Estate agents last night confirmed that - despite recent concessions for first time buyers - there has been an alarming drop in house and apartment prices across the country over the past three months.

Experts say the drop is being fuelled by the growing number of homeowners who are selling their properties because they can no longer afford to meet mortgage repayments.

They are being forced to drop the price of their homes in a desperate bid to sell as nervous buyers continue to sit on the fence.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

The UK housing market is also now failing. A global housing bubble problem?

UK house prices 'stall' in July

The sharp slowdown in July's house price numbers could show that potential homebuyers are thinking twice about overstretching themselves in a higher interest rate environment

Considering that the UK is more in debt per capita than the US, I'd imagine they're considering how massively overstreatched they already are.

The UK fails horribly on economic, ecosystem and energy... they're toast.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

"The UK fails horribly on economic, ecosystem and energy... they're toast."

I have to disagree a little here. The UK is getting more and more integrated with Europe at the economic level every year. And Europe while not exactly booming over the last 3-5 years has also been making much more effetive use of it's advances. More public transport, more alternative energy, Less debt (excluding Britain and Spain) at the personal level.

Also the UK has only just started importing Oil and Gas. The US can't say that they are still 90% domestic for their Oil but the UK can (mind you it will be dropping quicker). Cut off British oil imports and prices of petrol would spike causing a shift of travel to the public tansport infrastructure. Cut off US imports and people start to starve, no public transport to fall back on and people have to travel just to get to food (you could limit use to food distribution, and the military/emergency services, but people may still need to travel 10 mile round trips for food in desert climates).

I suspect no country will handle the situation well but I disagree with the UK failing horribly in the short to mid term (2-5 years).

From the RigZone article linked above.
"Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has introduced legislation that would let U.S. oil and gas companies drill off the coast of Cuba."
No mention of whether the Cuban government or it's people will have a say so in whether US oil and gas companies drill off the Cuban coast.

I hope we consider saving some for our children and granchildren.

No mention of whether the Cuban government or it's people will have a say so in whether US oil and gas companies drill off the Cuban coast.

My understanding is that the inverse problem Udall is concerned about.


Cuban energy policy isn't the problem. The US trade embargo is, and it's lobbied by the Cuban-Americans in southern Florida who hate the fact Castro freed the serfs in the sugar fields and redistributed their lands.

US companies can't bid on the lease blocks, US companies can't buy the production, US service companies can't get the service work, even though we're closer than any other nation except Jamaica.

It also shows the potential of the eastern Gulf of Mexico for production.

Its really strange that our country lets many immigrant groups lobby against the interests of the rest of us, because its not just the Cubans. Its the Israeli's against the other peoples of Palestine, the Sein Fein against the Brits , the Fallon Gong against China and I'm sure others. People need to give up nationalism for other countries or move to their real home.
Bob Ebersole

My point is that someone should ask the Cubans who they think should drill in their territorial waters.
The last time I checked they were a sovereign nation. Even if the US laws are changed , US companies may be shut out because THE CUBANS HAVE A SAY IN THE MATTER ALSO.



Of course they are a sovereign nation. But, they haven't banned US corporations from doing business in Cuba. Its the 35 year old embargo by the US government that's the problem.

Foreign subsidiaries of US corporations do business there all the time. Canadians do business there, Mexicans do business there-its only the United States who allows the great-grandchildren of the slave owners of Cuba to direct our foreign policy.

I think the point that everyone makes is that whether Cuba will want to participate in such a play. There is no talk of removing all of sanctions. Removing sanctions in oil sector only will benefit US only. I would image that Cuba can get the money that it needs for oil field development from many other countries (Europe, Russia, Venezuela, China,...), none of which has trade sanction against Cuba. So I share the skepticism in this plan. It can only work if US will remove all of sanction, then Cuba might reciprocate by allowing US companies to explore it's oil. Otherwise Cuba will simply loose.
Say Cuba holds no grudge and simply asks that any company that invests a dollar into it's oil industry has to invest another into oil processing industry. US would be automatically excluded from such offer.
Such partial sanction removal is useless.

Turkey Elects Islamic Government. Alliances May Shift Towards Iran, Syria.

"... at the top of the AKP's agenda is choosing a president in tune with its worldview. The president names the head of the armed forces, a power that could potentially turn the military into a servant of the government. Given that the government can change laws, name judges and staff the state administration, Turkey's slide to another political model could reach a point of no return. But what precisely would that model be?

If such a model means a Turkey that is more willing to embrace its traditional and religious heritage, the outcome would be relatively benign for most of its citizens as well as for its strategic alliances. But if it means a more anti-Western Turkey increasingly oriented toward Iran, Syria and radical Islamist movements, a major shift in international politics would be accompanied by mounting domestic instability."


I have heard that in Iran, there is no more serious insult than calling someone 'Turkish.' Just an anecdote (and I might be remembering it wrong anyways), but no one in the Arabic world is likely to feel much more affectionate towards their former imperial masters.

Obviously, the rulers of nation states can have their own goals, apart from those they rule, but it is a major stretch to start building an alliance out of three very distinct cultures - with their own languages, histories, and yes, religious traditions. They do share interests - all have Kurdish populations, for example, and opposing a Kurdish state is something all three can easily agree on, to the extent of coordinating troop movements, etc.

And I suppose they feel the same way in the Persian world. Iran is not part of the Arabic world you know.

Sorry to be a nitpicker but it is a common mistake to think the Iranians are Arabs. They are not, they are just Iranians, formerly called Persians and they speak Farsi instead of Arabic.

Ron Patterson

They're still Muslims, anyway, which is probably the origin of the confusion for most Americans?

They're still Muslims, anyway, which is probably the origin of the confusion for most Americans?

Muslim is not muslim. Most people in Iran are shiites. There is a shiite minority in Saudi-Arabia that reportedly is so hostile towards the Sunni/Wahhabite majority that officials from the capital Ryadh avoid staying in the Saudi east overnight and rather take a flight back the same day.
There have been bloody wars against the shiites in the first decades of the Saudi kingdom.

Iraq on the other hand holds a Sunni minority, and that's one of the reasons why the US cannot easily withdraw from Iraq. The result would be military intervention from KSA in order to protect their Sunni brothers, and probably the start of a middle east war among muslims with unpredictable consequences.

I realize this, but it was very good of you to elaborate. Thank you.

In essence, though, just factions of the same derivative Abrahamic religion vying for power for centuries. Except now, with the aftermath of decades of torturously grim political rule, in addition to a US invasion and occupation, this conflict has erupted in an open source atmosphere in an Iraq that is very "insecure". The whole thing is fueled by regional actors plus internal strife, and obviously our presence there. One doesn't win wars, they just happen. That's the problem with the US political discourse, no one is "honest" about the war... Not even poor 'ole droopy faced Biden who couldn't say he was "honest about the war" enough in the YouLube debate.

Isn't the capital of Iran named Teheran?

Also, Saudi Arabia is already funding the Sunni militias in Iraq, just as they fund Al Quaida. And the fundementalist Christians in America want Armagedon to begin, so they fund the Neocons who started this war. They are all a bunch of insane religeous idiots jepordising the whole world. George W. Bush, Osama ben Ladin, the Ayatolah Konemi, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham all had the peaceful light of true believers. Too bad God wasn't a little more consistent with His message.

"And the fundementalist Christians in America want Armagedon to begin, so they fund the Neocons who started this war."

For the latest, try Christians United for Rapture by Bluementhal at Huffington. A video and text piece on this week's DC convention. Complete with those of yesteryear, DeLay and Santorium. And I should add, Lieberman, I of CT. Not happy till we bomb Iran.


Persian Mr Zoubin emailed

Sunday, January 07, 2001 5:52 PM

Dear Friend, we saw some of these documents http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Congress/8327/buehlerpayne.html but we would like your commentary about what happened and all circumstances so we can post it on our website but as well as a report to the mailing lists.

With thanks

On behalf of SMCCDI A. Zoubin ( Information Committee) http://www.iran-daneshjoo.org/

The Information Committee was advised that "we would like your commentary about what happened and all circumstances so we can post it on our website but as well as a report to the mailing lists" may be a bad idea for the reason the information might reach the wrong or right, depending on your point of view, people.

In the alternative, we suggested gaining as much information as possible about what happened, then taking legal action to settle these unfortunate matters peacefully.

Isn't the capital of Iran named Teheran?

Yes, but the capital of Saudi-Arabia, what I was writing about, is Rhyad.

I don't think expat meant to suggest Iranians were Arabs, he said Arabs probably didn't like Turks any more than Iranians did.

As for Iran, only about half the population are ethnic Persians and speak Farsi as their first language; sizable minorities include Azeris, Kurds, Mazandarani, Arabs etc. And in case somebody thinks Persians dominate, it's good to remember that the Supreme Leader is Azeri, and so is the commander of the Revolutionary Guard.

The sentence may not have been clear - the Turks ruled the Iranians, and they also ruled the Arabs - which means that the Syrians may not be as deeply anti-Turk as the Iranians, but the same dynamic applies in terms of fairly recent history, before the end of World War I.

I do realize that an awful lot of people in the U.S. think there is no difference between Persians and Arabs, so reminding people this is not true is always worthwhile. Especially if it wasn't as plain as it could be.

the Ottoman empire included Syria and Egypt too at one point. They were a brutal bunch, not well liked by anybody from the Balkans and Greece all the way around to Egypt. Bob Ebersole


Send me an eMail about meeting in Houston before ASPO.



When was Iran ruled by the Turks?

I think you are confusing Iran with Iraq.

Well I am going to nitpick you, Ron. :)

Iran today actually embraces multiple ethnic groups, including Persians, Kurds, and Arabs. Of particular note to the war college was that the western part of Iran, which controls the oil fields is Arab and is worked by Arab Iranians for the most part while Tehran and much of the rest of Iran (excepting the northwest areas which are Kurdish) are of Persian descent.

So you can actually say that some Iranians are Arabs although it would be a mistake to make that claim of all of them, just as it would be a mistake to claim that all Iranians are Persian.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

Apologies for lowering the tone, but did anyone know if this candidate got in?



Gas prices have dropped 15 cents and oil is surging??? What gives?

Refinery Utilization UP, Oil 'in transit' DOWN significantly. Anticipated inventories squeeze.

In the late Spring there was a more marked supply/demand imbalance for refined gasoline. That drove up the gas price even with crude significantly lower than it is now. Additionally if you are following the WTI price there were some exceptional local conditions that caused that to be significantly lower than its usual price in relation to other crude markets (Brent for instance). It appears that WTI has reverted to its mean in relation to other crude prices currently.

May I ask a series of stupid questions? Why thank you. I think the NYMEX CL spot price is essentially WTI, right? Another thing I'm not clear on is since multiple types of crude are pumped into Cushing, how does that reflect in the NYMEX spot price? Or, more confusingly futures prices? Well, I'll admit it, I guess I don't understand how the mysterious invisible hand works...

The Nymex crude screen (futures) is a deliverable contract...you can deliver a number of different grades comparable to WTI against the futures contracts...the delivery point is Cushing OK.

The Nymex spot price is the front month on the screen, then there is the cash price which the price transacting that day for crude rather than the prompt futures price which has a specific expiry date.

I am sure a crude trader can give you the soup to nuts version

Thank you Fletch. Got it. Now, I'll try not to make us all look dumb by asking foolish questions... Alas, the less I know about white-collar gambling probably the better--so as not to lose my already tattered shirt (and my discount Kenneth Cole blazer that's made in Mexico.)

Patience young Jedi!
just wait! fill up when you can, its hurricane season ya know! Enjoy it while ya can!

RE: "Hard Truths"

I liked Tom Whipple's take on this. The report is political spin, designed to make it look like the Establishment -- well, at least the Bush administration -- is doing the right things related to energy while they hope that we do not have severe shortages before the next administration comes in 2009.

Or maybe they hope for a gasoline and/or NG crisis that will make Americans so desperate for a fuel fix that we will trade anything at all for the energy we crave? We are already on track for trading away "our freedoms" and our Constitution and democratic ideals for the benefits of global hegemony supported by the military.

The setup seems to be made for this or the next administration to declare an emergency and do away with the Constitution.

Oddly,it may not be a "terrorist attack" or natural disaster that triggers the "state of emergency." We may just find ourselves without enough liquid fuel for quite awhile as global demand increases and the global oil market ceases to pander to the USA.

Any other musings on the "Hard Truths" being spun as corporatist political propaganda?

Any other musings on the "Hard Truths" being spun as corporatist political propaganda?

http://www.corpwatch.com/ (Got a couple of energy topics on the page)

And the topper:

We know the government is bad. The question always is, "What can we do about it?"

Clouds of spin interacting with other clouds....What political/corpgov propaganda does one wanna track down? Everyone has some toxic sludge they want you to take.

You might want to watch out about the infowars link. They are still stuck at abiotic oil over there. I wouldn't touch them with a fifty foot pole. Infowars is in close running for LaRouche status...

I understand WHY they have that POV.

They have looked at the history of man VS man, man VS large bureaucracies and man VS monied interests and figure out that they MUST be lying (which oil firms are it would seem). So one has 3 choices - Accept decline, figure that oil is 'unlimited' (then declare a way to make that so), or claim that some 'new tech' will save us - the response on that usually swings to 'secret alien tech'. Accepting decline doesn't let you have additional 'secrets' you can rant about - but aliens or suppression of abaotic oil does let you work them in to the 'unified grand conspiracy' (VS the less exciting reality of one man taking advantage of another when done 100's of ways backed by 100's of laws to form a social stucture)

LaRouche status.

Just because he's "nuts on many issues" doesn't mean he's wrong on 'em all.


And these places have the picture I was looking for:

From what I can tell, LaRouche was 'the 1st' on the issue - asking "why is Richard Grasso hanging out in a jungle with a FARC commander?" So I'll give LaRouche props for seeming to be the 1st.

Okay, that makes sense. So, in order for them to continue their racket of nonsense over at Infowars they must deny PO in order to sell bullshit? That is more than worthless. That is harmful. In other words: ignore what's really important, and focus on made up nonsense. That seems to be the editorial mandate there.

Dick Grasso is a slime bag. Big deal. They aren't hard to find. I am sorry to feed you on the LaRouche front, bad call on my part. He is certifiable.

That Cult of the Dead Cow link is hysterical though...

The sad thing is, thats what the main stream media does all the time.

So, in order for them to continue their racket of nonsense over at Infowars they must deny PO in order to sell bullshit?

While I was prepp'n the bee hives I was pondering this also.

If one has a 'market of plenty' - there is no need for addl. societal controls like ration coupons. Alex Jones doesn't like government (or large business) controls over citizens - if Peak Oil exists, another 'pressure point for control' (think Judo) then exists. As Alex isn't big into the 'secret government aliens' he's left to grasp onto the straws of Abaotic oil.

Give Alex Jones time....he'll come around.
(and if you want a maze of twisty weirdness about Alex I present:
These 'its all one grand conspiracy' people get stranger as they try to place order in a system of a bunch of humans using power to screw over other humans or just making a buck in less than 'savory' ways.)

That is harmful. In other words: ignore what's really important, and focus on made up nonsense.

The end conclusion might be wrong, but the quotes, laws and actions used DO seem to exist. Conclusions like: the detainment camps will be used on citizens or Bush will declare himself dictator by canceling the election may be wrong. But there do seem to be the executive orders and large barbed wired constructions sites exist.

And the history of governments do have abuse of citizens.

Dick Grasso is a slime bag. Big deal. They aren't hard to find. I am sorry to feed you on the LaRouche front, bad call on my part. He is certifiable.

And how I found out about it was via Mrs. Fitts. I'd be happy to not give a kudos if someone else was reporting on it before LaRouche. Because frankly I've not bothered to spend any time with LaRouche.

That Cult of the Dead Cow link is hysterical though.

CotDC has quite the history.
Back Orffice (remote system backdoor - Windows 95+ )
And worth the read (Really, it is.)
From that link....
If you've never heard the legend before (in which case I can't imagine why you'd be reading this), here's the bare bones of it: Once upon a time, in some out-of-the way part of the country (take your pick of locations) a maniac took a rocket of some sort, and mounted it on the back of a car (make and model depend on automotive trends when the story is told). The maniac then sped down a deserted stretch of highway, and when he reached an appropriate spot, he lit the rocket. Unfortunately, the rocket (which was either a JATO bottle, a surplus ICBM engine, or an experimental Shuttle booster) proved to be far more powerful than the maniac anticipated. The car reached an incredible speed in a matter of seconds (somewhere between 150 miles per hour and Warp 9) at which point the car's brakes and steering became... ineffective. This development would've been bad enough on a straightaway, but through some error in planning or navigation, the maniac found himself hurtling down a road that curved sharply, not far from where he ignited the rocket. When the car arrived at the curve, it went straight ahead instead of negotiating the turn. Pilot and car then flew like an arrow (for a distance only limited by the imagination of the person telling the story), before crashing into an inconveniently-placed mountainside.

Guys and Gals,

check out the Whitehouse executive order dated July 17, 2007 on their website-Google Bush, executive order. It says that the government can arrest, imprison and conficate the assets of anyone who gives aid and confort to the enemy-i.e. anti-war protesters.

Don't just believe me. Look it up and read it. I think its as unconstitutional as anything ever done by the executive branch. And they've suspended habeus corpus for US citizens and put in a policy of torture for people unjustly imprisoned, suspended free speech by setting up "free speec zones" instead of free speech anywhere in the United States, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
Bob Ebersole

check out the Whitehouse executive order dated July 17, 2007 on their website-Google Bush, executive order.

Getting 'the word out' on exactly this kind of thing is the value of people like Alex Jones. (or a LaRouche - if he alerts on about it...does he?)

And - knowing your love for Dr. Paul there Bob I present:
one example of the signing statements and executive orders that Dr. Ron Paul is vehemently against because it upsets the balance of powers set forth within the Constitution.

Dow Down over 150 points right off the bat.

Everyone was expecting this, because of the futures this morning. The only hope was Exxon. If they had better than expected earnings, the drop might have been averted. But their earnings, at "only" 10 billion, were a disappointment.

Mark Haines on CNBC said there was "heavy selling but not 'unusual' heavy selling. What the hell does that mean?

ha. The last time I had time to watch CNBC while NA markets were open was at the height fo the tech boom...

All the same people... but either they've all gotten a lot more loose... or they're all freakin' out this morning! Quite a spectacle... no wonder markets plummet like they do.

They have loosened up alot. Mark Haines lets the new girl spout the propaganda while he sits back and rolls his eyes. He also uses a lot of sarcasm.
Joe Kernen, former loose cannon, who they've had under their thumb since his child was born, is now moving back towards his old self. He actually gets short with guests who try to put across the BS. He actually gets angry. It's far more entertaining to watch now. I laugh all morning long.

Laughing in a "we're all freaking doomed" way?

*sorry stole a Mogambo line...but couldn't resist in context.

Dow down 212 now...

They had an interesting story about a company that makes Ball Berrings... and Cummings.. both considered "green" plays because they're making mechanical stuff... used in turbines, etc etc.

At 350 at falling...

I find myself(staying in character) wanting to run to Mogambo Bunker Of Mortal Dread (MBOMD), and turn on the newly-installed Mogambo Intruder Pacification System (MIPS) lock the doors and inventory the Mogambo Arsenal Of Sheer Firepower (MAOSF).

Just a little humour on a gloomy day.

Down 411 and falling fast.

Someone remembered to call the plunge protection team, right?

[edit] Wow, someone must have remembered after all. One minute Yahoo was reporting -411, I do a refresh and look at the chart and it's only down 358. They do amazing work, that PPT.

Don't think it will help today...nothing to do but watch.
(edit - wow..something is holding it for the moment)

Fear spilling over to Crude now...pretty everything is red now.

From a curiousity perspective...something has held it at 365 +/- .25 for the last 7 minutes and counting...

The ban on programmed trading kicked in an hour or so ago, and is having its effect.

Seems to me that the tone on CNBC has moved from denial to fear.

I have a credibility problem with CNBC. They seem to be too personally involved in the markets. They do far too much celebrating with the markets are up and far to much teeth nashing when it's down. I'm sure they will make a lot of people lose a lot of money if/when things turn around.
The shows in the afternoon and evening are the worst. Cramer on Mad Money - is a lunatic and people actually do what he tells them.


Igdonp, the vast majority of people in the equities market are long. Only a very few speculators sell short. Mutual funds, retirment funds and all other such funds are long.

When the market drops vast sums of money are lost. If it drops too far too fast, we are likely to have a recession. When the market crashed in 1929 we had a severe depression.

Bottom line, the market going up means good times and most everyone is making money. When the market goes down, gloom and doom, most everyone loses money.

The folks at CNBC are only doing what comes naturally, cheering for good times and putting on a sad face when things turn bad. I blame them for a lot of things but not this. In cheering a rising market they are only behaving naturally.

Ron Patterson

yes, but aren't they supposed to be journalists too? That means dissassoiation from the story. They're supposed to provide perspective. Instead they provide entertainment and they affect people's emotions of excitement, fear and greed which then leads to buying at the top and selling at the bottom. That's how they cause people to lose money.
Sure the smart investors see through it for the most part, but not all of them.


I have a credibility problem with the United Sates.

It's 'unusual' to put it that way. Here's a real live data point - an office colleague just said he sold off his Monsanto position that be bought in late 2003. Bought $8,000 worth then, and just sold for close to $50,000. Now he's looking for something to do with that money... He didn't like my idea of a %5.25 CD. But, is considering my other suggestion of railroad stock now that they have taken a beating today. What would you guys suggest ?

BTW, this is a 26 yo junior engineer who instead of buying a car after college, saved up and then bought the Monsanto stock.


RRs will be good buys in the next recession, CNI my #1 choice ATM (CP has a hostile takeover).

Oil (APA my favorite) and NA Gas (ECA & CNQ again my #1) Maybe small holding of Tullow.

Canadian Hydro Developers (have to look up symbol, both ADR & Toronto listings) has a bunch of wind and some hydro "in the works". Long term "safe" position. All Can $

If you get a CD, try and get one in foreign currency. Hold some cash for next recession.

Best Hopes,


It would seem rather dumb buying a share of a sinking ship. He should stay away from all financial assets and stay in cash and wait for the price of real assets to fall (massively). All financial assets should be viewed as toxic.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Take a look at US royalty trusts-Sabine Royalty Trust and Permian Basin royalty Trust. They pay 8%-9%, and since they are a percentage ownership in a fixed asset, protected from inflation. $50,000 should bring him about $4,000 a year, paid with a monthly check, plus the value and income go up with oil prices, or down too.
Bob Ebersole

It's not as if Exxon isn't trying to boost profits.....

ExxonMobil sends man 2,000 credit cards

He wanted a couple of credit cards. He got a couple of thousand. Manhattan accountant Frank Van Buren found himself flooded with plastic in recent weeks, as the ExxonMobil cards kept on coming. Van Buren, who said he has had an ExxonMobil account for his business for 17 years, had ordered two copies of his card because it was expiring.

He got the cards he requested - and then got two boxes with 1,000 cards each. Van Buren said it took hours to shred the cards, which all had his name and account number.

"How could you send me 2,000 cards by mistake?" Van Buren said he asked customer-service representatives.
ExxonMobil Corp. spokeswoman Paula Chen said the Irving, Texas-based oil company was looking into the mix-up.

Van Buren said it took hours to shred the cards, which all had his name and account number.

Seems to me it would've been easier and more satisfying to burn the lot of them. But that would be burning petro, wouldn't it? Hmmm... can't win, can we.

We can choose to do the easy thing, or we can choose to do the right thing.

There was a discussion yesterday down the thread about a link Leanan had put up talking about land usage by renewables which generated a little discussion. Laurence Aurbach mentioned land used by coal and I managed to find our discussion on that topic from Nov 18, 2006:


Substrate on November 18, 2006 - 10:58am | Permalink | Subthread ^
Which figures do you believe to be false?

Just some rough noodling with numbers to see what happens:

From here: Anthracite coal is 1506 kg/m^3

From a brief look around I'll assume an average coal seam to be approximately 4.57 meters

Which means that for every 1 m^2 of surface area, there are 4.57 m^3 of coal beneath, or 6882 kg of coal beneath for every square meter above.

From google: 1 acre = 4,046.85642 m^2

(4046 m^2/1 acre) X (6882kg/m^2) = (27844572 kg/acre)

or (61,386,773.3 lbs/acre) or (30,693 short tons/acre)
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Now this is probably where you think the numbers are bogus, but I'll use them for now anyway... "A 1,400 MW generating plant near here burns 550 tons an hour and would burn up a mile-long train load of coal in a bit over 15 hours."

So let's say 1,400 MW consumes 13,200 tons of coal per day (550 X 24) or 4,818,000 tons per year. That 1,400 MW plant would "destroy" roughly 157 acres per year. (Using the aforementioned assumptions. My feeling is that I was optimistic on my assumptions. If someone else would like to take the torch and punch out some more accurate numbers/correct any mistakes, please do so)

Laurence Aurbach on November 18, 2006 - 12:16pm | Permalink | Subthread ^
So, let's assume your calculations are in the ballpark. Over a 30-year period, coal mining "uses" the same amount of land as a 1980s-era solar thermal plant. The SEGS plant has a 30-year delivery contract; it has been in operation for 20 years and 15 years additional working life is expected.

In addition, the company that manufactured the SEGS plant claims that its latest-generation technology is 50 percent more efficient than the SEGS technology. That would imply a proportional reduction in the acreage requirement for an equal amount of electricity generation.

Substrate on November 18, 2006 - 1:56pm | Permalink | Subthread ^
The tricky thing about that, is that after 30 years...the coal fired plant will continue to destroy land, whereas a solar plant will be fixed. I also just did a "worst case" number crunch below and assuming an 18 inch coal seam would put the yearly land use at 1,568 acres per year as compared to 157 acres per year... or ten times as much. So the coal plant may catch up to the land usage and begin surpassing that of the solar plant in as little as three years.
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Laurence Aurbach on November 18, 2006 - 2:48pm | Permalink | Subthread ^
Sheesh, that was some correction. I'll try again.

... BLM sales that puts the coal/land ratio in Wyoming around 110,000 tons/acre. If your 30,000 tons/acre is true for 58% of the U.S., and 110,000 tons/acre is true for 42% of the U.S., then the national average might be around 64,000 tons/acre.

Note, however, that the Kentucky Geological Survey says that bituminous coal will yield 1,800 tons/acre foot. At a five foot coalbed thickness, that's 9000 tons/acre. Quite a range of estimates! I'm hoping someone with expertise in this field can weigh in.
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Substrate on November 19, 2006 - 9:25am | Permalink | Subthread ^
Electricity - production: 3,892,000,000,000,000 Wh (2003) https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html

Coal is ~50% of the mix. So 1,946,000,000,000,000 Wh attributed to Coal.

68% of mines appear to be "surface" mines, so 1,323,280,000,000,000 Wh attributable to surface mined coal.

If a 1,400 MW (continuous duty plant) consumes roughly 13,200 tons of coal per day, which is (33,600 mWh/13,200 tons) or (2.54 mWh/ton).

(1,323,280,000,000,000 Wh) X (tons/2,540,000 Wh) = 520,976,378 tons of coal per year for "surface mined" coal.

Which best case 110,000 tons/acre: (520,976,378tons)X(acre/110,000tons)= 4,736 acres/year

Worst case 3,000 tons/acre (18" seam): (520,976,378tons)X(acre/3,000tons)= 173,659 acres/year
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Substrate on November 19, 2006 - 9:46am | Permalink | Subthread ^
Vermont is 9,250 miles^2 or 5,920,000 acres.

Best case it would take 1,250 years to destroy a Vermont

Worst case it would take 34 years to destroy a Vermont
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Thanks for trying to figure this out. I'm no expert on coal, but I have a few comments:

1. You are figuring your acreage based on anthracite, while most of the coal produced is bituminous and sub-bituminous or lignite with much lower BTU values per ton.

2. did you limit the coal by economicly recoverable coal?
At current prices, how deep can a company strip mine?

3. your acreage calculatins seem to make no allowance for the areas around the pit-the ones I've seen have at least a 50" setback from the surrounding forest or ranches.

4. what about the acreage required to dump overburden ? I'm sure overburden " grows" because mined rock has a lot of space in between the rocks.

Thanks. Its an interesting idea, and really needed if to consider the amount of land made unproductive in energy production, and a necessary part of determining real cost.

I kind of just pulled out the "greatest hits" so I wouldn't completely overwhelm the new thread, but if you follow the link you'll see that a lot of these problems are mentioned. I used Anthracite at the time to highball the estimate because "If even the optimistic case turns out pessimistic, you really know it's bad." It also helps attempt to balance all of the number fudging. Economically recoverable coal varies with overburden, but I saw little activity below 18" seams, which is what I used as "worst case"...I was just using figures that I found of currently produced coal and mainly concerned about surface area rather than depth (underground mines aren't even included). The calculations only take into account the surface area over the coal to be extracted...if you wanted to go even further you could include the effect on water quality downstream of operations, overburden, tailing ponds, etc, but I have no way of quantifying it. These were just extremely rough numbers to get an idea of the scope of what's going on. One thing is for certain, though...it's a lot of land, and it's continuous - not just a one time deal, and the "reclaimed" land is generally a joke and will take millions of years to recover.


Thanks. It would make an interesting keypost, and a valuable one. i hope you or one of our coal experts takes it up.

One of the persistent arguements against wind turbines is they supposedly kill birds. I think the affect is much lower than the habitat destruction caused by coal, and the bird kill from increased pollution. Its also an arguement against drilling in many areas , oil covered birds are very photogenic.

Everything is a trade off, and the consequences need to be figured and compared. Oil and gas wells seldom use as much as 1/4th of an acre, wind turbines only the size of the turbine foundation pad, and solar on existing roofs uses virtually no land.

Thanks once again for making a stab at the problem.
Bob Ebersole

The land may not take millions of years, though still at least hundreds of years untouched. However, if we can make a desert into a food forest, we "could" do a better job with "reclaimed" land.


The key to accelerating the recovery comes from understanding soil ecology better. We, humanity, are just beginning to learn some of this in the last 10 to 15 years (in a "scientific" sense). Search for "soil food web" for details. In my opinion, The implications far exceed the dangers posed by Peak Oil and Climate change. This puts the exclamation point on Overshoot. I stopped being a techno-salvationist after beginning to study this.

You should expect to learn about this in a Permaculture Design Course.


Search for "soil food web" for details.

Ms. Inghram is a leader in this.
Clive Edwards books are also a good source of info.
Composting - Jerry Guinn is a great resource.

Ms. Inghram hasn't bought into placing biochar into the soil - but as the Terra Preta people can show reproducible data, I'm sure she will come around.

I stopped being a techno-salvationist after beginning to study this.

I stopped when I looked at the amount of Joules used and looked at the economies all built on cheap Joules.

The interesting race to watch today is the price of WTI Crude vs. Brent Crude...they keep swapping leads...currently around $77.

This is the freakiest horse race I've ever watched on the commodities market.

Talking about "sudden" trend reversals!!!

Significant drop in inventories. Cushing, OK.


Ya Cid....I saw that...what amazes me is if this is the real reason...why did it take so long to free up the Cushing oil? Because our refineries were having a difficult time getting their capacity up? And now that we seemed to have "fixed" the problem...Cushing is getting drained.

All this has been highly unusual in my book.

Also oil stocks are down, as oil spikes up.

APA & OXY among others (so far today).



I was thinking about your rail stuff and thought of a problem that may not be apparent. I have lived in the SF Bay area (Contra Costa County) and used BART alot when I worked in Oakland. But, other than then I have always lived about an hour's drive outside of metropolitan areas, primarily small town. Whereas, the folks who live out there would love to be able to ride a train into the city and home again, they are totally against allowing city people to have rail access to them. There is a perspective that city people are primarily poor minorities who are undesirable or dangerous. This prejudice exists and will be a real source of resistance to any light rail system.

Its the same in the Houston Metro area. Suburbs resist any attempt to bus or light rail extensions because it would "increase crime", a veiled racist arguement.

But, prices of suburban/exurban homes seem to be declining in the area. They may change their tune with $6 gasoline and a fillup costing $100 or more. Bob Ebersole

How in the hell are the "Burbs" going to move back to the city as some here think?? Sure, it would be more efficient and save energy if we all lived in cities like people in hong kong but it will NEVER happen here. You can't rebuild the US into that model in 5-10 yrs. it would take a generation IF it could be done with the energy remaining.

So where do you "move to the city" guys think the 100's of millions of burb people are going to go??


Downtown Gary Indiana seems to be empty...perhaps we should all move there? I will need a snow shovel...I really dont care for snow shovels.

Korg: I don't think anyone predicted that the USA would resemble Hong Kong in 5 years. JHK has predicted that suburban sprawl has peaked- I would agree with that assessment.Here in Toronto, the demand for city homes and condos is a lot stronger than suburban demand (quite a change from 20 years ago). Re long term, either the jobs move to the "burb people" or the other way around. Obviously something will give at $20 gasoline. What do you predict?

China has built "Hong Kong style" housing for hundreds of millions in the space of five years. It can be done. Remember, it's not a matter of doing that ON TOP OF everything else, but doing that INSTEAD OF everything else. The effort/expense is the same, maybe less. There's been a building boom in this country, if you haven't noticed.

The Hong Kong pattern of high-rises is one version. The traditional urban pattern is closely-set buildings of about 3-6 stories. This is actually preferable, in my opinion. This pattern has been around for over two thousand years -- the Romans were doing the same thing. Even, it appears, the Babylonians!



It is not "all or nothing". Established cities can absorb tens of millions of new residents (into reduced sq ft condos & apartments). Since many shrank before, the water & sewer systems are in place.

New Orleans was tied with NYC for fewest miles driven by residents, so there is a much more human scale (and beautiful) model as an alternative to Manhattan/Hong Kong. I see density increasing now here (new condos being built on parking lots that were once homes in the 1940s, attics being refurbed for apartments, etc.) Downtown office buildings & warehouses are going into condos. But still very human scale.

Suburbs with a single transit station can build apartments close by, with related retailing.

About 30% of Americans WANT to move into TOD ! Let us meet that unmeet demand (AND stop subsidizing Suburbia & Exurbia), and then worry about Step 2.

Best Hopes for TOD,


First of all: Yes, many cities are revitalizing their downtowns. San Diego started 25yrs ago and now downtown is a vibrant place where many people live. But on a pecentage level maybe 3% of the San Diego population lives downtown even now! You guys are talking very small numbers compared to the popuation of the burbs. And you're talking about using existing buildings, fine until they run out. And you are always talking about construction. LOTS of construction. A GIGANTIC construction boom all across American cities. Constuction uses LOTS of energy. With exports due to ramp down to nothing in 10 yrs where is all this energy coming from?

Riddle me that Batman. Where is all the energy and resources going to come from?

Where is all the energy and resources going to come from?

The resources to build one 2,496 sq ft McMansion (average new single family residence) can build three to four 850 sq ft condos (common walls help stretch resources).

Much less infrastructure required/house as well (think of how much asphalt & concrete streets and sewer and water pipe goes for one residential lot in the 'burbs).

Best Hope for the *WILL* to do something !


No argument there. But soon we will have NO extra energy to build ANYTHING. That's what i'm trying to point out. If Exportland model is right in 5yrs time we will be lucky just to have enough energy to grow crops and take care of lifke essentials. Not enough to build all these Giant Construction Projects.

Korg: Suburban sprawl is one giant, expensive, inefficient construction project. You seem to think urban residential construction is some sort of government subsidized "project" while suburban development is basically "free" and uses no "energy". Don't know where you got that idea.

Look, what I'm trying to say is that there will be NO, NONE, NADA in the way of construction in a short time if and only if:

1. Export Land model is right

2. You guys really believe what you say about PO. (which I don't think a lot of folks here REALLY do)

Korg: As far as I know, you are the only person that feels that the ELM makes a total freeze on construction in the USA a certainty.

From Korg's comments today, it seems he is trying to think, rather than just "feel."

Very funny. Where are all the horses going to come from? :)

You can't go backwards to the past without first having a collapse. Yes, we may rebuild some sort of society 50 yrs from now but until then......

Exportland tells us that in 5yrs we could be on our own in regards to oil. So what, maybe we have 5 MMPD we can use. We will be in ANARCHY before that. That's why there will be NO construction, it will be a matter of survival for most folks. They will be going the other way...to the farms. Cities will be crime infested wastelands IMHO. Look at Zimbabwe or South Africa.

Well....there is one way to rally the people and rebuild like you propose.....along the lines of the new Nazi party......

If I was in charge of the rail project pictured, I would use hydraulic jacks instead of pry bars (NA in 1907) and I would bring supplies in via trolley freight and short range electric trucks (probably lead-acid) instead of horse and mule drawn wagons.

Hope will be in scarce supply post-Peak Oil. A massive rail building program could be a source and focus of hope (and social and economic organization).

I can draw up reasonable scenarios for rail under almost any set of conditions you want. Better to start sooner ath later.

Liberia and Cambodia still used their railroads with home made platforms during social and economic collapse.

Best Hopes,


Alan: Are you an American citizen born in the USA?
Ever been convicted of a felony? Accused of child abuse, pedophilia, or having an undocumented nanny? Anything else that would prevent you from assuming the office of President of the US? (or Secretary of Transportation in a Gore/Obama administration) Your reality-based optimism and can-do spirit will be exactly what this country needs to give it courage in the dark days to come.

I live outside of Hamilton, Ontario - a city with a rich, multi-generation history of electrified transport including trolley buses, street cars and incline railways:



How does our local government prepare for our short to mid-term future?

All plans focus on the development and expansion of the local airport!

I give up.


But soon we will have NO extra energy to build ANYTHING

It is a matter of priorities.

Provide Baghdad quality electrical service.

Give the US Army bicycles (The Swiss Army recently disbanded their bicycle troops), use LOTS of hand labor on the farms (plant by hand and use oil for harvesting perhaps), delete ambulance runs to the Suburbs if you have too. Etc Etc *BUT* build for the future !

See photo above.


Alan, firstly we are likely to get a financial collapse. Economics is our primary organising principal and if it falls apart (ie in economic collapse) we lose the ability to organise anything on a large scale. Organisation falls to the individual, family and community level (which includes gangs, sects, etc.). Government becomes immaterial and is marginalised as it isn't the organising principal in modern society (shock horror!). Government will probably be too busy fighting nonsensical wars anyway.

Economic collapse acts like a stun grenade on society; secondly ecosystem collapse impacts survival and food production; finally energy depletion removes the wherewithal to change the situation. The old' one-two-three floors civilisation.

Large scale projects are doomed, end of story. People will stop moving around, lack of individual or mass transit systems simply won't be a problem. All interest in transport will be in movement of goods, both locally and for trade as an absolute necessity for maintaining a reasonable living standard. Whatever system is used will be existing whether sea, canal, river, rail or truck.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

People also worry that peak oil will tank the economy, then there go all those jobs in the discretionary sector. What will all those people do for work? Well, there is your construction labor. Most will be unskilled to start with, but it is not like a construction site has never had a couple of newbies working there before.

Once the vacancy rate in a suburban neighborhood exceeds a tipping point (50%? 75%? 90%?), then the property values in that neighborhood will fall below the salvage value of the materials in the houses. It will also become just plain unsafe to continue to live there. Beyond a certain point, insurers will refuse to insure any of the properties in the neighborhood; lenders and local governments will have to remove the remaining residents and commence with salvage operations before everything is burned down. Thus, there will be entire neighborhoods available for building materials salvage and recycling. I anticipate that local governments and lenders will work together to package portfolios of entire abandonded neighborhoods to sell to salvage entrepeneurs. These people will hire and bring in crews of salvage workers to dismantle every house and sort the materials by type into loads to send for resale. Other crews will be at work with pick axes to salvage the asphalt streets & driveways (America's tar sands). Once everything has been stripped down to the ground, then the properties can be sold as a consolidated parcel to a farmland reclamation company, and work can begin on restoring the suburb to farmland. In this manner, lenders and local governments can recover a few pennies on each dollar they will be owed in foreclosed mortgages and unpaid property taxes.

So we are just going to happily dismantle the suburbs by hand and countinue on our merry way.....

What utter nonsense. You will have total collapse before then. You are missing the point. THERE WILL BE NO ENERGY TO DO ANY OF THIS!!! How do you keep all these happy workes alive when you can't grow enough food or distribute it? Remember food = oil = food. Less oil = less food. The future will be more like armed roving bands scouring the land eventually forming into regional armies and then into new regional nation states.

Who will stop them? The understafffed police?? The military???(remember they are in Iraq). politicians??

When the people get hungry they will do ANYTHING to eat and will not listen to the govt or you about how to live in a happy PO future.

As for me I'm going to get well armed and prepare for the worst.

Well, we may have total collapse. We'll see. I guess you and I are just operating on different assumptions, and I don't see any way to really reconcile those.

WNC Observer, (what the hell does WNC stand for anyway), there is no doubt that we will have total collapse. The only question is when it will occour. Will it be half way down the backside of the peak of crude oil? Or will it be later as we try to convert coal to oil and make global warming much worse? Or will it be when we destroy the world trying to create enough biofuels to keep "business as usual" going?

My guess is that it will be in about twenty years, but that is just my wild ass guess. It could be off by ten years either way, perhaps more. If it's more, I hope it's the other way and not this way.

Ron Patterson

Hello Darwinian,

I assume you have already read Jay Hanson's prediction:

If you were born after 1960, you will probably die of violence, starvation or contagious disease.

1 Fifteen years, plus or minus ten years, is when I estimate anarchy will reign in the United States.
Ron, you sound like an full-blown cornucopian-optimist compared to Jay. =) =).... +( +(

I highly encourage any newbies to read this link and also google Dr. Richard Duncan + Olduvai Gorge.

EDIT: I sure wish some spammer would email this info to every computer-- it appears Google is not going to put up the 'I'm Feeling Unlucky' button to promote Peakoil Outreach.

If every person read the Thermo/Gene Collision and screamed, "Not if I can do something to help prevent it"--Alan Drake would instantly be the world's highest paid RR + TOD consultant, along with many other mitigation effects getting a huge jumpstart. Alas, just another reason I am a fast-crash realist.

Meanwhile, My Asphalt Wonderland's tanning salons and carwashes are doing a booming business. Such is life.

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

What the hell does "there is no doubt that we will have total collapse" mean? No doubt according to whom? Plenty of us here have significant doubt. And what does "total collapse" even mean? Does it imply no possible recovery? Does it apply to the entire Western Civilisation as we know it? If so, I would put the probability of that occurring within my lifetime as 1% at most. OTOH, I put the probability of a rapid-oil-depletion-triggered significant global recession at over 90%. But it will be very uneven - some countries will deal with it far better (and recover much faster) than others, which will significantly change the global economic landscape.

WNC Observer, (what the hell does WNC stand for anyway)

Western North Carolina, most likely.

"The future will be more like armed roving bands scouring the land eventually forming into regional armies and then into new regional nation states."

LOL, there are so many nutty statements on this site. Can we stick to the subjects, like renewable and alternative energys?

Can we stick to the subjects, like renewable and alternative energys?

No. This is site is not just about renewable and alternative energy. The peak oil problem goes far beyond those narrow topics.

It's that tricky "and our future" part of "Discussions about Anergy and our Future" ;)

Ok, but roaming bands of armies? Alright if we're going down that road.

In 10 years I see space aliens invading the world. It's likely that we will be just slave workers to their slave masters as we harvest the earths resources for their planet. (eyes roll)

Space aliens is off-topic. Unless you think they are going to give us energy technology. ;-)

Roving bands of armies may be extreme, but it's in the realm of possibility. It's happened as other nations collapsed. The "Mad Max" movies were a direct result of the '70s oil crisis, and "Mad Max" has become peak oil shorthand for the extreme pessimist scenario.

Honestly, if you just want to talk about alternative energy, there are plenty of other forums and blogs that do that. Why waste your time trying to force this one into that mold? We've got links to Kunstler and DieOff.org on the sidebar. This ain't WorldChanging.

Once the vacancy rate in a suburban neighborhood exceeds a tipping point (50%? 75%? 90%?), then the property values in that neighborhood will fall below the salvage value of the materials in the houses.

I don't really see how that can happen, short of a major dieoff. If families are going to abandon a house in the suburbs, they have to have some other place of residence to go to. It's not as if there is sufficient unutilized housing in the cities to take in 50% of the people in the suburbs, or even 25%.

I can see that living in the suburbs could be highly undesirable, but if the other option is to travel to the city and sleep under a bridge I think people would rather huddle up in the suburban house and try to get through it any way they can. I don't know why homeless in the city would be any more survivable than staying in the suburbs. At least you'd have a roof over your head, if not much else.

My above comments are entirely in the context of a massive wave of mortgage foreclosures. As long as people are able to keep up on their payments, there will be a somewhat orderly reshuffling of residences as people adjust to the changed commuting environment. Of course, beyond a certain point things may no longer stay that orderly.

Please see my other post below, where I explain what I think people MIGHT do if they find suburban life to no longer be a viable option.

New Orleans housed 50% of the population in 20% of the housing after Katrina. Air mattresses in hallways, futons in living rooms, etc. And we have smaller than average homes.

Best Hopes,



New Orleans is a shell of a city now and will NEVER recover.

Not a good example!

Sounds like collapse to me.

I have lived through the end of the world as I know it (courtesy of the US Army). Life still goes on and can still be enjoyed amidst the misery, 6x increase in suicides, 50% increase in overall death rate, frustration, etc.

Best Hopes,


All that at the height of modern industrial civilization. Can't wait till things actually start to get rough.

TOD = transit-oriented development?

Any chance we could stick to one meaning per acronym per forum?

The future according to idiots.

"This is a way to solve traffic backups," Enderle said. "Traffic management is one of the overall goals of a product like this."

Flying cars: the last best hope for mankind and suburbia... dear gods, what morons.

It makes sense...y'know, in a world of finite land and infinite energy availability.

Some of these are actually surprisingly efficient for what they are...this single seater is claimed at 45mpg: http://www.moller.com/m150.htm

My favorite is the Rutan Quickie, originally designed as a single seater with a 20HP engine. Claimed fuel economy from mid 50's mpg to 80's. Not bad for a 100mph cruise. http://www.airventuremuseum.org/collection/aircraft/Rutan-Herron%20Quick...

Sleeping in a flying car seems so much classier than sleeping in a station wagon...and there would be a whole new group of statistics...people and houses hit by drunk flyers and colliding flying cars falling from the sky...sort of like living in the green zone.

Well, there's always this option:

All cities in the third world have shanty towns. When the Western world loses enough fossil fuel, then it, too will be third world.

Capslock, this shantytown is not in the third world. This is one of those "Hoovervilles" that existed in virtually every American city during the Great Depression. This shantytown is in the good old US of A. But you are correct. It has happened before and it will happen again. But this time the Hoovervilles will not disappear, they will only get larger, and larger, and.... eventually they will also go away....along with the people.

Ron Patterson

So where do you "move to the city" guys think the 100's of millions of burb people are going to go??

First of all, the average number of occupants in those housing units that are not abandoned will increase substantially. Once social security goes in the tank the grandparents will be moving in with the kids (or vice versa if gramps owns a home free & clear and the kids have been foreclosed). While many teenagers & young adults would love to leave home & live on their own, it will become increasingly difficult to do so, thus nests will not empty so quickly. Various relatives and friends will share housing to cut down on costs. People with spare rooms will start renting them out to earn a little extra income -- this might be the only thing that saves some folks from foreclosure.

While construction will downsize considerably, it will not shut down altogether. There are infill development opportunities still available in some urban areas. There are also opportunities for large single-family homes to be remodeled into multi-family units.

I also think that what you are going to see in two paycheck families is that they will locate one wage earner as close to the optimal location as they can get in terms of distance to one wage-earner's workplace (preferably within walking distance) plus schools, shopping, etc. The other wage-earner may need to go to a weekly commute if their workplace is too far away for an affordable daily commute. There will be homeowners & hotels living close to major employers renting out rooms on weekly rates. I've also predicted that otherwise useless RVs could be set up near major employers to provide lodging for weekly commuters. Employers could also provide lodging to their employees while away from home: oilcos routinely do this on offshore platforms, this is just an extension of what is already being done in some places. People won't like being away from home for a week at a time, but they'll do what they have to do. I've had to do it in the past, so has my wife, and so have a lot of the old oil guys on TOD, I bet.

Of course, the 'burbs will not completely de-populate. Those retirees that have managed to secure some income could just stay put, and may do so for as long as it is safe to do so. As demand for urban housing increases, I'm afraid that we're also going to see poorer folks pushed out into the suburbs. Slums usually ring many cities in the developing world, so this is precedented.

Employers? Excuse me? What jobs are we talking about?

And what will all those desperate housewives be eating? Don't tell me they'll grow theur own food. They don't know how, and morover, their lawns are so full of chemicals nothing will grow there for years.

Peak Oil is a whole lot more than a mere inconvenience to moving around. Most businesses can't function without oil. Both growing and transporting food will become much harder, and prices will go skywards for what does reach you. Not good if you have no income, and no food garden.

There's still far too many wishful visions of a post-peak future with "all the rigor and hardship" of a boy-scout summer camp. As if everything will stay the same, and all that will change is that we'll just take a train instead of a car. Are you sure you want to take that chance?

Do we have any idea how large and complex our transport systems are? What they run on? Systems of that size and level of complexity don't usually slowly simmer down. The chances that this one will be an excepion are far too close to zero for comfort.

SoFly, this time you hit the nail on the head. It really amuses me to see the depth of understanding of some of these people as to the post peak world.

A couple of days ago I was lamenting that the production of food would only be part of the problem. The real problem would be the massive unemployment caused by the disappearance of all that energy. It takes energy to manufacture things and when that energy is no longer there, these people will be unemployed. And unemployment will lead to more unemployment because when people no have money to buy things, people who make those things will no longer have jobs.

Wizofaus, after explaining that the remaining energy would be diverted to "provide essentual services." Like food I presumed he meant, but then he explained how we would handle the unemployment problem:

And yes, all those things create jobs, jobs that will be lost, creating considerable unemployment. But we've been there before, and we've recovered.

I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. We have never been there before. We ended the great depression by putting people back to work, to support the war, with massive inputs of borrowed money and plenty of fossil energy. A decade or two after the peak, we will have neither. There will be no money and no energy to throw at the problem. We will have millions upon millions of very angry and very hungry people with less energy every day.

Ron Patterson

We ended the great depression by putting people back to work, to support the war,


We ended the great depression BY going to war, in times of plenty energy resources, plenty basic skills, 25% of the present world population, and comparatively low consumerism.

Today we're steam-rolling into a far bigger depression with fast decreasing and hotly contested energy, far fewer basic skills, far more people, a Godzilla-size per capita appetite needed to feed that dumbed-down voracious lifestyle, and no recovery in sight in terms of energy. There is no other option than a huge scaling down of both population size and resource use. Neither will come voluntarily.

On top of that, we face a complete breakdown of our biosphere in the form of unparalleled species extinction, toxic air, land and oceans, extreme droughts and floods, biblical plagues of drug-resistant insects and microbes, sea levels that will rise by a foot a decade, and human mass migrations that will dwarf the impact of the 100 worst locust plagues on recprd combined.

We will again go to war soon, on a unprecedentedly massive scale, simply because there’s nothing left, and if I don’t kill you my children and me will die.

Our reaction? Even on the fringe of civilization that TOD is, half the talk is about electric cars and trains, inventions that will save whatever the particular poster deems worthy of saving, and “really smart” folks trying to pinpoint whether hell is here now or tomorrow morning. They invariably pick the latter.

And you know, and I’m dead serious here, maybe they’re right, maybe the deaf cumb and blind are indeed happier people.

Such certainty !

I think the future is *FAR* less knowable than you do, and social organization more robust.

I know that doing something to mitigate is better than doing nothing and continuing Business As Usual.

Best Hopes,


Alan, it's hard to stay optimistic.

When you read stuff like this (from the article above):

The current rate of sea level change is not without consequences. However, the primary issue is whether global warming will reach a level such that ice sheets begin to disintegrate in a rapid, non-linear fashion on West Antarctica, Greenland or both. Once well under way, such a collapse might be impossible to stop, because there are multiple positive feedbacks. In that event, a sea level rise of several metres at least would be expected.

As an example, let us say that ice sheet melting adds 1 centimetre to sea level for the decade 2005 to 2015, and that this doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted. This would yield a rise in sea level of more than 5 metres by 2095.

And watch stuff like this (yes it's a little overly-dramatic):

It's really, _really_ hard to be hopeful.

I'm thinking more and more that the environment + peak oil + peak water is going to force us into behaving how HeIsSoFly outlined above, and it ain't gonna be pretty.

Best wishes

I'm thinking we need to retreat from the coasts. If we do pour our resources into railroads, nuclear power plants, and that kind of thing, they should be sited away from the coasts.

I know that doing something to mitigate is better than doing nothing and continuing Business As Usual.

Which, as I'm sure you've noted, I didn't even hint at, and therefore I have no idea why you bring it up. It's either electric rail or nothing now, or do I get this wrong?

Isn't it better to figure out as best you can what you're up against, and mitigate according to that?

I think the future is *FAR* less knowable than you do

The uncertainty seems plausible enough, but what happens if accepting it makes you take the wrong fork in the road? Isn't that uncertainty the big card played by all climate change and peak oil deniers? Do you feel happy in that camp?

Which of the trends I pictured do you expect to stop all of a sudden?

.. species extinction, toxic air, land and oceans, extreme droughts and floods, ... drug-resistant insects and microbes, sea levels..[rising by a foot a decade]..,

Tell me which one and why.

I think you randomly pick a level of uncertainty that seems livable and manageable to you. But it's still entirely random. The fact that I may be wrong automatically means you may be wrong just as much. Same uncertainty, or not even.

Which as a logical consequence means you are no more convincing than I am.

We had this discussion about the smart Dutch engineers a while back, and I happen to think Holland is a country on a suicide course. If they go "the *FAR* less knowable than you think" route, what are the chances all their grand projects are futile wastes of time? All that money and effort could be washed away in 10 minutes. And what would be the back-up?

Take the recent IPPC and James Hansen reports to Vegas, let the bookies compare the two, and then try to place a million dollar bet, even for a 10-year period. You won't like the odds they give you.

You know what, those Dutch engineers have been asked to come up with a solution, not to come up with the answer that there is none. And that is exactly the problem. Holland should be moving its population inland, but there's nowhere to go, unless they cramp their lifestyle, and we can't have that. So they conclude that they don't have to. Political and corporate force majeure. Ditto for NO. That's not a judgment of either, I'm sure NO is a great place, and in Holland people I feel greatly for are in harm's way, but those sentiments are not the proper guides.

In the meantime, a sea level rise of just one foot would be the end of both Holland and New Orleans (and lots of other places and people). No dike or levee on the planet has ever been designed for the extremes that will come with that kind of rise.

Which make sense, there's never been a reason. But presuming that this reason still doesn't exist, is a strange gamble. And that is precisely because there is far too little certainty.

Not to beat a dead horse, but ...

You know what, those Dutch engineers have been asked to come up with a solution, not to come up with the answer that there is none.


I think this is the fundamental problem. The idea that just because we want to find a solution to the problem, a solution exists.

And not just any solution, but one that preserves the lives of all 6 billion of us.

Which, as I'm sure you've noted, I didn't even hint at, and therefore I have no idea why you bring it up

Despair and "we are all doomed" defaults into BAU and no collective action to mitigate, since nothing we can do will help.

Your reasoning and mine are quite different.

One cannot solve an equation if their are more unknowns and knowns. Post-Peak Oil alone has many more unknowns than known facts. To come up with an approximate solution, one must make a LARGE # of assumptions; so many assumptions that several will be quite wrong. It is an unsolvable problem.

2A + 4B + C + D^E -4F/G +H^2 = 45 and we know B= 1.5 and H is between 1 and 2. Solve for A, C, D, E, F and G.

Now add the complex problem of Global Warming.

OTOH, we can deduce several actions that will help under almost any scenario.

Reduce oil and natural gas consumption
Reduce fossil fuel consumption & GHG emmissions
Increase renewable energy production
Insulate homes and oterh structures better
Use more efficient means of transportation (rail can trade 20 BTUs of oil for 1 BTU of electricity)
Build efficiently and to last
Add elasticity where ever possible (rail has elasticity of supply, the worse things get, the more it can do up to the limits).
More bicycling

.. species extinction, toxic air, land and oceans, extreme droughts and floods, ... drug-resistant insects and microbes, sea levels..[rising by a foot a decade]..,

I have no desire to get into a prolonged debate on this, but I will point out why flat declarative sentences of doom are a fallacy.

The "foot a decade" is not backed by any observations so far and is just speculation by apparently one or two scientists. None of the others is likely to have a significant impact of human civilization.

By the time a species is threatened, it is too small to have an impact on ecology. 500 or zero makes no difference.

I have studied the Eastern US forests and they have had a series of PROFOUND changes (mono culture of Eastern Hemlock to a very minor species, Natice American settlement, European Settlement, loss of 3 billion American Chestnuts (a co-dominant species), and more recent tree diseases & parasites (gypsy moth) that have strongly affected the species mix).

Toxic air - Outside China, air pollution levels are stable or falling.

Extreme droughts & floods - from an overall perspective, a worse trend cannot be confirmed. And humanity can AND HAS adjust to changes in cultivation w/o destroying civilization. The 1930s Dust Bowl hardly threatened the USA as one example.

drug-resistant insects and microbes - No big deal, A decade after the Spanish flu, hardly any trace left. Even HIV has had only regional impacts on civil society, and those societies seem to be degraded but coping with infection rates as high as 25%.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, life expectancy fell by a decade for men. Society went on and evolved.

In the meantime, a sea level rise of just one foot would be the end of both Holland and New Orleans

HARDLY !! Very simple engineering to solve. You show your ignorance of the issues with that flat declarative sentence of doom.

Overall, your pronouncements of doom are vastly overstated in their certainty. What I am living in today would match your apparent definition of doom and near collapse.

Best Hopes,


Alan, don't be so logical and rational...doomers here
appear so convinced of our inevitable collapse that there is literally no line of reasoning or set of facts that would convince them otherwise.

I'm not sure why I argue with them myself, except that perhaps the lurkers deserve an anti-dote of some form of another. Prophecies of despair and hopelessness are inevitably self-fulfilling.

The Hansen article also has this map:


All those "coffee shops" gone. What are the people of Amsterdam to do?! At least Bill O'Rielly will be happy! Although, may he perhaps shed a tear over the red light district?

Why on earth should we need "borrowed money" and "fossil energy" to create employment? If anything fossil fuel energy is a substitute for employment, so as it disappears, they will arguably be greater need for human labour.

And it's rubbish that there will be no energy. Once you have the level of economic downturn and unemployment that I see as likely, we will have far more energy than we need, as most people won't be able to afford to keep profligately wasting it the way we do today.

Why on earth should we need "borrowed money" and "fossil energy" to create employment?

You just don't understand anything do you Wiz. We, the US, sold War Bonds to finance the war, and to finance our way out of the great depression. If there were no War Bonds, no borrowed money by the government, then there would have been no tanks built, no ships, no planes and the great depression would have continued.

Without energy we could not have powered the industry that was responsible for our recovery. Energy powered industry, energy powered the trucks and trains that delivered the parts to build the war machine. Energy powered the war. And it was fossil energy, not human energy.

Yes, there will be plenty of human labor, but humans cannot power industry. You cannot manufacture a car or anything else without energy. You cannot smelt iron or make steel without fossil energy. You cannot.....hell, I feel like I am trying to explain this to a sixth grader.

Forget it, just go on believing everything will be just fine and the world can go on supporting almost seven billion people without fossil energy. I know it makes you feel bette and I guess that is all that is important.

Ron Patterson

And now you're just resorting to personal attacks.

What on earth makes you think that any time soon we are going to have "no fossil energy", let alone no energy at all?

And I've made it perfectly clear that I do not believe everything will be fine. Keeping 7, 8, maybe even 9 billion people fed in the face of a changing climate and oil and gas shortages will be a tremendous challenge.
Accepting that most certainly doesn't make me feel "better" about anything. I have grave concerns about how well the humanity will fare in the coming decades: the possibility of unprecedented levels of starvation is not a remote one. But I am confident that all stops will be pulled out to get us through it one way or another: and there are no shortage of possible stops to pull. Almost everything that is holding us back now from doing the right things will largely disintegrate once we are in the grip of serious economic hard times.

Almost everything that is holding us back now from doing the right things will largely disintegrate once we are in the grip of serious economic hard times.

Sure it will. Everything gets easier in a depression.

Not what I said at all, and you know it.

If anything, it will be physically/economically more challenging to make many of the necessary transformations, but the difference will be in the will to make them.

Human beings are capable of tackling enormously difficult problems and solving them. But only if there is sufficient incentive to do so.

Human beings are capable of tackling enormously difficult problems and solving them. But only if there is sufficient incentive to do so.

Matter of fact, they are so hugely capable of tackling enormously difficult problems that they are 100% confident there's no problem in waiting till the very last second, solve the problems while enjoying a hooker, a smoke and a brewski, and have time to spare to check their investment account and call their broker to place some highly leveraged orders on the IPO for their new Solutions"R"Us enterprise. And that's before it's even noon.

Human beings know how to live the high life.

Human beings are capable of tackling enormously difficult problems and solving them. But only if there is sufficient incentive to do so.

Exactly. That's why human beings have always avoided collapse in the past.

Remove the "always" and I fully agree.

Actually, hell, leave in the always. We're still here, and we're doing a lot better than we were 200,000 years ago. And in 100 years time we might even be doing better than we were 100 years ago. But it's gonna to be tough going in the mean time.

You didn't catch the irony, then, did you?

But you're right, we're doing much better, we're doing great, come to think of it.

The view from the cliff is truly something else.

I caught Rethin's intended irony just fine...the genuine irony was that his statement, intended to mock my view, did a reasonably good job of backing it up.

And the fact that we might not be doing so well as we are now in 10, 20 or 30 years time has no bearing on how we're doing right now compared to 200,000 years ago.

So as long as humankind doesn't go extinct everything is gonna be swell (if tough in the meantime)?

The other day someone coined the term "Desperate optimism." I think it describes you very well.

"Desperate optimism." I think it describes you very well.

I think otherwise.
"Optimistic cretinism" is a better description.

Just kidding, wizofaus is yet another paid troll, we have seen many already and we will see more as long as the PR budgets are there.
We should rejoyce, it's a sign we're not doomed yet today.

Old Soviet maxim--"the worse the better" because then we can do the things now unthinkable.

wizofaus wrote:

If anything, it will be physically/economically more challenging to make many of the necessary transformations, but the difference will be in the will to make them.

[emphasis mine]

Who's "will" are you referring to? Everyone's? Please, that's quite a large presumption that deserves a healthy dose of realistic skepticism. Even a concession about this point still presumes that enough of us *will* do it.

All of which begs the questions: under whose direction and to what end? The largely undefined *transformative* part relating to "solving" our "enormously difficult problems" I suppose.

What I'm asking for is a lot more consideration of all these underlying unquestioned assumptions inherent in your beliefs. It is entirely reasonable to question these 'glass is half-full' optimistic presumptions of yours just as you think it reasonable to question the 'glass is half-empty' pessimists presumptions. Isn't this just as "logical and rational"?

In this, mine is not an argument about what we can or could do, but more so one of whether we will do so as I think you presume. I do think it is completely worthwhile to question whether we can honestly hope do these things as you imagine we *will*!

After all, it is not as if the "sufficient incentive" isn't already upon us to tackle the "enormously difficult problems," but it goes without saying that we are not doing so in any reasonable way that is actually "solving them." If so we wouldn't be here, right?

I think we all agree some sort of calamity (or calamities) are nigh upon civilization as we know it. The dispute here more often than not is between those who think "civilization" will pull through (more or less intact) and those who don't (or at least much less so intact).

I see no point in predicting which way we'll go, or who is right or even in taking sides per say. I honestly don't know. But I do think it is wholly worthwhile to question the presumption that *civilization* (or a vast portion of it) can be so readily saved as you seem to presume.

Of course, it depends upon the definition of *civilization* you are thinking of, and what parts of it will still be intact enough to work with while solving these *enormous problems* -- not the least of which is our *civilization* that got us into this mess!

My point here is really a set of questions about all this that I think worth raising.

The "will" to tackle our great problems is not without its merits. And I do suppose that some, maybe even a lot of, renewed willful effort will be exerted toward overcoming our great problems -- especially once they aren't avoidable anymore, as suggested.

This presumes that everyone, or just enough of us all, will pull together to get it done. That remains to be seen and is worth questioning.

It also raises the question of who, or which collection of powerful whos, will lead the world on this grand global exertion of willpower. That too remains to be seen.

There is also the question of whether everyone, or enough of us all, will all do as we're told by whomever is telling us this is what we all must do. Not everyone, and perhaps just enough, will not either think, feel, or believe to go along and get along as told is needed. We'll see.

To some extent, perhaps too much so, there will be resistance toward implementing this global rescue of... what? Civilization? Not everyone cares for or wants to save *civilization*, or this one at least. Therefore a lot depends upon which and what definition of *civilization* we are talking about, and for whose benefit.

Obviously I assume you mean and would say for "everyone's benefit." This is rather utopian, is it not? More likely some will benefit more than others, and that's precisely where some will not join in this effort. I especially think that any such globalized collective top-down directed effort will not go over smoothly; perhaps not smoothly enough that the *enormous problems* don't actually get *solved* as you seem to imagine. We'll see.

It seems to me that civilization, no matter how one defines it, is at much more serious risk than you believe. Leaving this aside for the moment, what else then are you talking about? *Humanity* perhaps? Well, not everyone cares or wants to save *humanity.* Maybe they want to save their kind of humanity, but not some other kinds.

It is highly probable that the only kind of humanity that we can save or offer solutions for is one's own local community of humanity, and not all the rest of it.

I don't see this problem going away just because of some undeniable form of global SHTF slaps upside our heads. We don't even know which pile of flying poo among them all will hit us first nevermind when or what next will!

Tackling our enormously difficult problems and solving them implicitly implies doing so globally because so many of our problems are global. And yet as suggested this also brings with it enormously difficult problems of organization and cooperation to solve them. On this basis alone it remains to be seen that we can even solve this problem, nevermind all the others, both old and new after TSHTF, locally and globally.

Besides, isn't this all rather New World Orderish? Oh boy, that's reassuring.

Ultimately, all our problems do not all have acceptable solutions. Many of them have no solution at all. Our 'will' to solve these has nothing to do with it.

In the meantime the worse it all gets, some things irretrivably so. It remains to be seen exactly what and how much is damaged when TSHTF, and what is lost forever and beyond repair by dint of will to tackle.

In some ways what is needed is not another dose of or even more exertion of our collective will upon trying to rearrange and steer life on this good earth, but rather our complete and utter relinquishment of such willfulness.

Of course there are many who will not accept this idea. I understand that. Nevertheless I am suggesting we may soon discover we no longer have much choice in the matter, and greater acceptance and humilty will prove just as likely to be the quality that truly makes the difference, and not our will.

We've had enough of that as is and more of the same isn't the best answer. Whatever happens, our will is more than likely to be quite humbled in the daze ahead.

I think Alan's post about life in New Orleans now is a pretty good glimpse of what I'm suggesting. It does not necessary mean the end of life, but much of what we might want or expect will never return. Of course we *will do things* to try and *transform* the collapse(s), but I do not think it is realistic to believe any such post SHTF incentive combined with our will power will result in much more than hastily improvised and purely localized solutions in the midst of a larger tendency of further chaotic breakdowns.

Is this then TEOTWAWKI. That depends entirely on what one expects we *will* be capable of doing. In all honesty I don't know, but I do question what strikes me as a crucial unquestioned assumption regarding it all -- I.e., that we "will" all (or even *enough of us*) do as you seem to imagine; and which you have sometimes given descriptions of.

The problem is not with them per say, but the unquestioned assumptions they hinge upon as revealed here. All of which are no better than behind some of the so-called doomers descriptive beliefs.

I don't dismiss either point of view out of hand, but I do like to see them balanced with reasonable questions put to the test of the underlying unquestioned assumptions. And that's what I *will* continue to do while *accepting* whatever comes. And it is coming.

Life is good even tho we are fucked. Cheers!

Just wow!
This shows the usefulness of trolls to bring up such responses.

I wrote a great long reply to this, only to lose it when the wireless network dropped out temporarily. But essentially, almost none of what you describe above reflects my personal opinion of what I expect to see in the next few decades.

I'll also point out that as far as

it is not as if the "sufficient incentive" isn't already upon us to tackle the "enormously difficult problems"

goes, I strongly disagree. Most of the population, and especially those with the power and influence to effect the most change see the world as in pretty good shape. Peak oil/climate change/environmental degradation are abstract future threats that a) a considerable fraction of us doubt are even real problems and b) even if we do accept them, don't affect our day to day existence at this point in time. So no, the incentive is not there. Yet.

A couple of days ago I was lamenting that the production of food would only be part of the problem.

Ever ask for a few days off so you can spend time 'processing' your harvest in todays modern work environment?

As per my reply to Korg, apparently you and I are just operating with a different set of assumptions. Your's could very well be correct, in which case I'm dead pretty soon no matter what I do, and possibly you are too. Then again, maybe things will play out differently than that. We'll see.

Do we have any idea how large and complex our transport systems are? What they run on? Systems of that size and level of complexity don't usually slowly simmer down

The post-Interstate Highway shrinkage of our railroad system, freight + pax, did wind down in an orderly manner. Lines were abandoned, 2 and 3 track lines were reduced to single tracks.


"Employers? Excuse me? What jobs are we talking about?"

I don't need much oil to file a lawsuit. And I expect litigation to increase as the economy contracts.

As Alan might say: Best hopes for litigating (rather than shooting) over the remaining pieces of a shrinking pie.

I think respect for law will be in more short supply too. Katrina is a recent example. Right now we don't have enough police to keep cities in order and meth in check out in the farmlands. Police are stretched think issuing eviction notices.

Once a majority of people really believe the the government and banks are in cahoots and at fault... look out! Lord knows we have little to no respect left for the president or congress according to numerous MSM polls. As Mr. Kunstler has pointed out before, I expect freedom loving (and likely armed) Americans to say enough is enough. To hell with the lawyers and contempt of court will be the new form of social protest. Then things can follow their natural course down hill.

This was true of downtown Chattanooga for years. Downtown merchants were very eager to have TVA maintain its offices in the worst of downtown to prevent futher deterioration. Now however old factory and office sites are being turned into trendy new condos with large pricetags and the homeless and poor are being squeezed out. TVA is being forced to move out to the burbs because a huge rent increase makes it inpossible for them to stay downtown. The owner of the building says he already has 'other tenents' for the space. I haven't heard who these 'other tenants' are, but I suspect the space will become very expensive condos also. I suspect that this trend is not unique to Chattanooga. There are many McMansions for sale around me and a few of them are sporting the 'price reduced' tag above the realtor's sign.

I believe I did read somewhere that crime does in fact correlate with train lines. Alan, can you confirm this?

I have not seen any credible study of that, other than increased density increases the absolute crime rate but not the per capita crime rate.

One exception, Park & Ride Lots have a problem with car theft (but so do shopping malls, etc.)


Atlanta cannot expand their system into "Gingrich" country for exactly that reason.

An irrational fear (as noted earlier, criminals would far prefer to use cars to taking the bus or rail).

My solution, build rail where it is wanted, there are more than enough possibilities to keep us busy. And let the racists bicycle to food and work.


Attitudes will change as abandoned houses proliferate and commuting becomes less inviting.

Best Hopes,


An interesting spin on the Atlanta situation... Because of the rapid gentrification of some of the intown neighborhoods and rapid decline in many of the inner ring suburbs, there are actually now whispers intown that people don't want MARTA expanded to the suburbs because they don't want the poor that have recently been pushed out of the city coming back in. And of course there is the "let them (meaning suburbanites) rot in the mess they created" attitude on not spending money to expand out to the suburbs.

I agree attitudes will change. People worried about criminals using transit to get to their neighborhood will change if they're unable to afford the commute to work and also when crime in their neighborhood increases anyway. As proximity to transit becomes more valuable, the decline in property values in non-transit areas are likely cause formerly middle class areas to become the new slums. Attitudes might also change merely because those who have historically been transit friendly, the poor, minorities, and inner city dwellers, will make up a larger percentage of the suburban population and will push for expansion into their new areas.

What will be interesting to see is how employers react. Smaller companies and local branches of large companies tend to prefer the suburbs. If automobile transportation becomes too costly, will they rush to find office space near transit lines that will give them access to a larger employee base than the few living close enough in their low density area to cheaply commute by car? If so, that would further compound the problem in areas without transit.

As the Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times". We certainly are.

...will they rush to find office space near transit lines that will give them access to a larger employee base

DC Metro added a new station (New York Street) to an old line (Red). IMMEDIATELY a half dozen office buildings started construction within 4 blocks of the new station.

TOD is not just housing.


Sadly, I think if crime really does dramatically increase in currently middle class white neighborhoods, we will rush to accept a police state pronto. We've become a nation of weaklings and cowards, and the face of the poor showing up on our doorsteps will prompt a call to 911 and the republican party.

What will be interesting to see is how employers react. Smaller companies and local branches of large companies tend to prefer the suburbs. If automobile transportation becomes too costly, will they rush to find office space near transit lines that will give them access to a larger employee base than the few living close enough in their low density area to cheaply commute by car? If so, that would further compound the problem in areas without transit.

If they are typical of most American companies, many will be run by clueless idiots. They will continually whine about how difficult it is getting to be to find and retain workers, all the way to the point where they just close up shop.

I'm not so sure. The problem is that the CEO's determine where to locate, and more often they locate in areas they (or more likely their spouse) finds pleasant, without much regard to employees. Since the CEO is unlikely to have financial problems either affording houses or commuting, they can do what they want for reasons unrelated to their employees' housing costs or commuting time.

In an economic downturn the employees will have even less say, if they complain they're fired. "Stop whining about your gas bills! You should be lucky you have a job, punk!" Notions of losing talent because of being employee-unfriendly will disappear so it's unlikely that private markets will make things better, I suspect.

I suspect this is why Silicon Valley is so ridiculously expensive for mortals, and why there is such enormous sprawl.

I see little reason to believe that sprawl will get much better even with Peak Oil. Simply more people will be unemployable because they can't make enough money to pay off their fuel bills.

In Atlanta, poor people are black. Its another code for racism. That's why they move to a "good" school district or homeschool.

Screw 'em. Let them starve and lose their jobs as regional manager of Greasy Fast Food, Inc. because they can't get to work.
Bob Ebersole

In Atlanta, poor people are black. Its another code for racism.

Not necessarily. Maybe they are biased against the poor instead of biased against blacks. If we could replace the poor black in Atlanta with equally poor whites, would the suburbanites still be biased against them? If so, then they are biased against the poor, not against blacks. If not, they were biased against blacks.

Of course we'll never know the answer (at least not that way). But you can't just say the poor are black so it's clearly racism. It very plausibly may be. But maybe the poor are predominately Southern Baptist and that's their bias. Maybe the poor are predominately skinny and that's their bias. Maybe the poor a predominantly young, or short, or country music fans, or Democrats and that's their bias. We can't say for sure. Unless maybe you've lived there, which I haven't.

From my dealings with Atlanta I would say Bob is closer to the truth than your theoretical reply. Have you heard the common Atlanta slang definition of what MARTA means. It's racist and pretty representative of Bob's point.

Explain to me exactly how this light rail fantasy is going to work in say.....Los Angeles metro region? How many yrs would it take to build? How much of the area could be covered in 5 yrs?? Who determines routes??? Who pays for it??? who builds it?? Do you still have to drive to get to it??? Where do you park???
Now multiply all that by 100 to cover all the US big cities.

It took years for LA to just build a subway line and one SuperBus line.

If we had started in 1973 we could have done this. Now, no way. You won't be able to build this in the middle of economic chaos.

In six to twelve years, build the Subway to the Sea as well as the Expo Line. MANY more plans, some listed at


Darryl Clarke, "Father" of the Expo Line, told me that there are hundreds of miles of viable routes, especially if light rail could take lanes away from rubber tires.

Also, shelved plans for hundreds of miles of electric trolley buses.

Madrid built a 40 km (24 mile) subway (all in tunnel) in 4 years for 1.1 billion euro. Lyon France built two tram lines in 3 years 5 months. Hire some Spaniards and French to run the project and change the rules.

Pay for it ? STOP building new roads and reduce their maintenance budget. New taxes (see gas tax, special property taxes on parking spaces and driveways, higher speeding tickets, license tag taxes ($2,500/year for a Hummer, $100/year for Prius) etc.)

Add large amounts of bicycle parking at every station, some parking for small EVs like GEM, walk or take the bus to the station.

Not perfect but MUCH better than business as usual !

Best Hopes for the *WILL* to do SOMETHING !


Oh yeah, raise taxes as the economy is crashing, that's going to work out well.

Sure, we could build a line or two, but not hundreds. I think you would be better off using bus transport for everyone and ration car transport. No real construction costs and could be done in a few yrs. If detroit is not building cars they could build buses. A huge rail construction project will use too much energy and resources for it to be accomplished in the time left.

Remember, in 5yrs we might have little to no exports available.

raise taxes as the economy is crashing

Yes in most contexts it wont work, but if West LA region (Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Brentwood, Malibu) needs it and wants it and Hollywood does as well as it did during the 1930's we may have the money.

Now the means....

The "criminals" being referred to in this context generally don't have cars. Here in Rochester, NY, it is a generally accepted "fact" that a mall built in Irondequoit (not very far from the city) was "killed" when the city bus system began a program of free busing between the poorer sections of the city and the mall. Security and crime at the mall became a problem, people stopped coming, and it is now a ghost mall.

Other malls in the area, which are very far from the city (20-40 drives, which is big for this small city with no traffic problems whatsoever), absolutely thrive.

I think as people are forced into denser and denser living quarters due to prices and economic collapse, the culture shock between the burbs and the inner city is going to be dramatic.

You know, when I hear these types of stories about these types of attitudes of well-to-do suburbanites, I have more than a little problem wondering why I should care (to use polite language) about how much those people are going to have to pay for gas for their trips to their exclusive malls in the future.

I do still care quite a lot about the super-hassled hard-working poor single moms that are just trying to find some way to get to a store to buy some clothes for their kids.

On a more humorous note, this same mall kicked out a bunch of senior citizens who gathered at the food court to play chess. They were labeled as "loiterers" and booted.

the culture shock between the burbs and the inner city is going to be dramatic

*ANY* kid that volunteers to come down to New Orleans and help for a week or two is a "good kid". WAY above average.

Still, it is interesting to see the culture shock here, most noticeable among white Upper Class & Upper Middle high school kids (college kids are a bit more urbane) from isolated suburbia. I have seen groups of them huddle together in apparent fright (or at least extreme unease) when locals and other volunteers are having a party or just having a good time relaxing, cooking, etc. Nothing but good will towards them but they cannot easily interact or expand their horizons.

The concept of talking to strangers seems alien to them. Strangers with tattoos and piercings are even more intimidating.

Even when politely invited to "join in" some harmless activity (say walking three blocks for sorbet & gelato at Sophie's) they hold back.



I find a similar attitude concerning suburban parents and their children. At the playground, virtually any interaction between two kids of different parents prompts a quick reaction on the part of the parents to separate the kids. My child is 20 months old, and is tickled pink to be knocked over by a rambunctious 3 or 4 year old. But, it is never allowed to happen twice, which makes me sad.

I think the silver lining of PO will be a return to more community and personal social interaction. PO will force us to integrate along social, class, and racial lines in order to survive. When we are all hungry and in need, we are all equal.

I hope we can learn from N.O.'s example. I continue to be impressed by your upbeat reports and optimism Alan. Keep up the good fight for more rails. You have converted me! Lastly, good luck in Housonton with your presentation!

I think the silver lining of PO will be a return to more community and personal social interaction. PO will force us to integrate along social, class, and racial lines in order to survive. When we are all hungry and in need, we are all equal.

If that line of thinking was an accurate reflection of reality, the Mexican Mafia would not be engaged in ethnic cleansing in parts of Los Angeles.


Of course, there is always the possiblity they will realize the error of there ways once the economy completely tanks and civil authority has completely disintegrated. . .

A link for the non-American readers -
'I cycle over a 100 miles a week all over San Fransisco Bay area. I will not leave the house without ID, because, I know, there are nervous house wives looking out their windows as I ride my bike through their neighborhoods at 18 miles a hour. The only reason he's riding through here is, he's looking to steal something and hide it in his tight biker shorts.

If [I] sound a bit sensitive, ask yourself, how many gun barrels have you looked down with a police or some officer of the state at the other end. Me, about a dozen.'

from isthatlegal.org (third article at this point). Read the whole thing to get a picture into something every American is aware of, even if there are many different perspectives and explanations available to pick and choose from. An especially popular explanation among white Americans is that such anecdotes aren't really true, or at best represent a tiny number of regrettable incidents - the non-racist Americans, that is. The racist ones tend to think that such stories show how well the American system works keeping 'real' Americans safe.

Also oil stocks are down, as oil spikes up.

APA & OXY among others (so far today).

-- Which tells me that today's downdraft is coming from index-arb related trading and not fundamentals related to either stock. This is especially true given the rally in Treasuries -- the long bond is up just over a point as I type.

A very interesting listen @ BBC Radio 4.

Includes heroic involvement by one of my most favorite Americans, Gen. Smedley Butler.


Document uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by a group of right-wing American businessmen

The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.

Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.

This is a fascinating story that is not taught in high schools and not even in colleges and universities as far as I know. I was a political science/IR major and it never came up. I first heard of it only a few years ago. Some would argue that the coup attempt that failed in 1933 finally succeeded with the election of Bush in 2001. Randi Rhodes calls it corporate fascism. (Randi Rhodes is a bit over the edge, but what the Hell.) Whatever you call it, corporate influence in government is unprecedented. This influence/take over of government certainly plays into WT's triangular theory of the media/auto/oil attempts to quash any discussion of peak oil.

Gore Vidal covered the plot in his historical novel 'The Golden Age.' At the time that it happened FDR and Harry Hopkins suppressed the story and kept it out of the papers for the good of the country. Can anyone imagine a politician today taking action 'for the good of the country?'

This is extremely old news.

Heck, even I had a whole chapter about in my book back in 2004. Of course, it's been on the net for 5-10 years prior to that. Just making a point how old and easily accessible this info is.

What the real news is is "why is the establishment covering it now?" My guess is the Bush family's stock has dropped like a hot potatoe.

The Chimp Who Can Drive...you are the first that I have seen to spell potato, 'potatoe', since Dan Quail and the infamous spelling bee incident. After the Quail incident, I assumed that everyone in the US had learned to spell the word. Those darn assumptions, at it again. What I am trying to point out is that we all make mistakes, I make hundreds every day.

See Union Banking Corp.


US Corporations trading with Nazi Germany through third parties during WWII (i.e. Standard Oil)


Did anyone watch the YouTube Democratic debate? I didn't see it all; I was at a minor league baseball game that went to extra innings, and didn't get back until about 11pm. But what I did see of it was more interesting than the average debate. The candidates didn't seem quite as scripted.

I didn't see any peak oil videos, but there was one on climate change. The response, not surprisingly, was typical pol-speak. "Technology will save us."

I saw it. Clinton and Obama came out pretty close as winners but I would give Clinton the edge. None of the other cantidates made much headway. At this stage it looks like a two man...er ....one man one woman race with a strong lead for Clinton.

Ron Patterson

Cut and paste from my personal blog on this subject:

1) It was better television. Anything that helps gets more voters watching is a good thing.

2) There is a huge difference between getting a hypothetical question from a journalist about gay marriage, and getting a question from two very real human beings who ask why they can't have the same marriage rights as everyone else. This was a question that could not be asked by proxy, it required the standing of the real people who were being wronged. Full marks for the question, unfortunately all of the candidates except Kucinich answered poorly.

3) The questions were frequently brilliant. Some were quite silly, some were dumb, but some were brilliant. I challenge you to look back to any previous debate and compare the questions. I suspect part of this is because with over 3000 questions to choose from, there were bound to be many that were very artfully posed.

4) It's time to vote Gravel off the island. Not that he wouldn't be much better president than Bush, it's just that he's never going to win. Sorry.

5) The feel of this debate was looser, there was more kidding around which gives us a better view of the whole persons who wish to become President. Joe Biden showed off his wicked sense of humor, which made me like him all the more. I already knew he was smart and thoughtful, but that wit would make for a very formidable President.

6) I'm not taken by Clinton, but it's just that she's so smart, and so polished that she never needed to struggle. She's almost too qualified. I'll get over it, we're going to need a very smart president to get us out of this mess.

7) Anderson Cooper was perfect for this roll. His joking with Kucinich was great fun, but Kucinich missed his cue to say to Anderson; "I thought you were great on 'The Mole'".

Gravel is there to make real liberals look bad.

Hence, Hillary Clinton is a "progressive" (small p ;] ).

The cards are stacked. [edit] Like Hannity and Whatever.

It's too bad Obama is so committed to "hope" as his main political theme. I mean, that's what makes him appealing - but I don't see it getting anywhere with peak oil or other non-human adversaries, and I'm afraid it will just turn Obama-centric voters into shallow techno-cornucopians.

Obama's theme in "Change" as in we can do better. Obama isn't the one to claim he has all the energy answers. On nuclear, he clearly stated there was no silver bullet in energy. He's a smart guy with an open mind. If he ran a oil conference, I think he would say that big oil would have a seat at the table, but not all the seats. Now that is what I call change.

"Change" sounds awfully similar to "Reformer with Results". Sounds like we want it, but what is it? The details are hazy with all the Democrats. It almost seems as if the Donks are being setup to win to take the fall... The reason I believe this is because they don't seem to be aware of it--they all seem really eager to get in there and "lead"... Which slightly worries me, because they're so optimistic, that they may be setting themselves up for failure--alas you have to win elections somehow and being a naysaying pessimist definitely isn't the way.

I'd love to hear some hard-hitting specifics. Of course, we won't, because the Donks are indeed Bush lite, and we all know it...

For one thing, it certainly isn't very audacious! On top of your second point, if I can be so glib, it is rather related to the conservative jingle of "Morning in America".

I do hope, against my better honest judgment, that a Republican somehow gets elected to office just for one more term. Perhaps I am jumping into the cold waters of conspiracy theory... but if Democrats take the reins of this country in it's present state--"functioning" to the extent intended by its social policy planners, economics and most importantly, energy--then I think it could unfortunately pave the way for a bad situation in 2012 (like all those new agey, yoga obsessed, incense burning, vegan weirdos yammer on about the Mayans, or was it the Aztecs, no matter...) when it is not "functioning" as well. I actually don't see how Democrats could screw up this election (with Bush's approval ratings at around 30%). If, however the administration can keep the economy from really wailing until '08 and staves off any more military conflagration, there is a chance that somehow a Republican could get re-elected, but I doubt it... Either way, I think if Democrats win then history may easily repeat itself if TSHTF during their term and they fall harder than Jimmy Carter... Which could only mean that the right would rebound, and if you think the neocons are wacky, I honestly don't think they are that bad (although they are off-putting)... Just you wait.

Sorry for the Doomer tone... For evidence of my paranoid fears I suggest you go a little up thread--the piranhas are just waiting to be unleashed, given half a chance. Either way, I tend to think Hillary will pick Obama as her VP, and marshall the first black VP and first woman President. It is so obvious that's how it will play it. It seems unlikely a republican will beat them. So, here's hoping they can pull it off (their term being a "success", that is). I'm not altogether entirely optimistic, obviously.

Yes - I don't see how "we can do better" will translate when events take a major turn for the worse, like $7 gas. I like Obama fine on civil issues but I worry whether a humanistic constitutional law professor (however smart) will have the best manner for explaining thermodynamic reality to the general public. But I guess it's the election after the oil shocks that will be the one that counts.

Yeah, don't forget, that's how we got Reagan...

And, Reagan started the rapid downhill roll of the National Debit, which increased from $1 Trillion to $4 Trillion after Bush 41 left office. We've been living on borrowed time, so to speak, ever since.

E. Swanson

mr f, you could get your hope. Improbable as you may think that it is, if Clinton gets the Dem nomination as she seems destined to and especially if she picks Obama as her running mate and Thompson enters the race and gets the Republican nomination.... he has all the right wing, born-again voters behind him that Bush did. Many of them are disillusioned with Bush and not attracted to any of the other Republican candidates, but at this point they adore Fred Dalton Thompson. This is one of my recurring nightmares.

I've thought of this scenario myself, whereby the Dems win '08 only to have the the full force of P.O. hit shortly into the term handing some rabid lunatic with an "R" beside their name, spouting hate and directing blame any which way to gain power, the throne of the U.S. in 2012. But then again, what's to say that if an "R" gets '08 they won't use the events of P.O. to take overreaching power and do bad deeds anyway.


We all know that Hillary failed the Bar Exam when she first took it [Carl (Watergate) Bernsteins book], but she is really (I mean really, really) one of the world's smartest people. Made $100,000 in cattle futures the day she opened an account (in 10 minutes) and did not even have to put up any margin. But, she does have "Senior" moments (when in her 40's) when she could not find her law firm billing records for over a year - turned out to be "lost" on the table outside her Whitehouse bedroom.

As long as even the supposedly smarter Americans keep watching the puppets instead of the masters, what hope is there? It's a trap, and you're all walking into it with your eyes "open".

The system is designed to make you see differences where there are none. These two are the same, and in turn they're both the same as whichever "opponent" will be b(r)ought forward next year.

Look at who pays for the campaigns, that tells you a lot more than they will.

There is a nice article in the Wall Street Journal about undersea pumps. The example given is for natural gas, but apparently the same principle works for oil:

Wells Take Voyage to Bottom of the Sea

Smaller Oil and Gas Fields, Lower Costs Lead to a Boom In Pumps on the Ocean Floor

Ten different gas fields are feeding into the Independence Hub, which is basically a floating pipeline hub, with an assortment of gas compressors. . . . The fields are all stitched together together by 125 miles of "umbilicals" - thick flexible tubes that send electricity, orders and chemicals to the wells.

Lower costs and the ability to tap smaller reservoirs are major advantages, but not the only ones. The industry can squeeze more oil out of aging fields by adding pumps on the seabed, closer to the oil. Another plus: Going underwater puts the hardware out of the way of hurricanes, cyclones, icebergs, and other destructive natural events, not to mention terrorist gangs in places such as Nigeria.

Here's a link piggybacked by rss. I hope they don't mind. *blush* I feel sorry for them--that Murdoch is going to be their overlord... Poor posse, the Bancrofts sure beat that, even if they're all alcoholics. Jesting, please, no lawsuits.

[edit: oops, hope that works now...]

The Heritage foundation linked above is very interesting. It examines the economic consequences of Iran's oil being taken off the market for a week due to a war.

Of course, I worry that this is a preparation for an invasion to secure oil.

But, it models taking 2 1/2 mbopd off the market, which is the same as taking Mexico's oil off due to a revolution, or a decline of 1/2 of Russia's oil due to the ELP effect, or about a 40% decline in Saudi production, or the decline in world production a couple of years out with about a 1% depletion factor.

one of my biggest objections to the NPC report is that it doesn't include any allowance for above ground factors in spite of the amount of production in politicly unstable areas and no modeling of the economy with lowered production.

We are winning TGWOT, didn't you get that memo? Things are fine, relax.

I think there are some odd assumptions in the Heritage Foundation report, starting with the scenario that the shipping lanes are only shut down for a week. Then they show a gradual ramp-up that doesn't reach 100% until late in the year. Whatever... But what happens if the Straits are "closed" for just two weeks, or a month, or longer? Seems likely a whole new "game" develops quickly.

Also part of their scenario is that Iran tests a nuclear weapon. er? Isn't it pretty generally accepted that Iran is at least a few years away from actually having one?

I'll admit I didn't read the whole thing, why bother...

I don't think anybody with any credibility would suggest that Iran could have a nuclear weapon in less than five years, no matter how hard they tried. And the thing is, they don't appear to be trying very hard at all: there is no evidence of any weapons programme.

there is no evidence of any weapons programme.

Was there not an admission that at one time they 'had a program' but have claimed that this program was canceled and copies of data was turned over to various international bodies?

I read the Heritage Foundation 'war model' above. The trouble with wars is that no think tank can model one. Once a war begins it gains a life and momentum of its own. A quick look back at Nam, Korea and now Iraq/Afganistan all are good examples of wars that did not unfold as our 'planners' thought they would. I noticed there was a disclaimer in the HF article that stated 'the 70s oil troubles in the US were made worse by bad decisions that our government made.' Why are they bothering to look back to the 70s for examples of bad decisions that our government has made...there are tons of examples in the past six years. Another joker in their model that irks me is the assumption that Iran is going to blockade the straits to start the dance. That is a hoot! Look for another Gulf Of Tonkin on our part to get 'er goin'.

Lets see...we are now fighting in Iraq and Afganistan. We 'have all options on the table' regarding Iran. We are making plans to bomb parts of Pakistan near the Afgan border. At this rate the short list will soon be countries where we are not actively fighting wars. Soon all the mid east oil will be needed to run our military that is in the mid east to insure that we have enough oil to run our military. Maybe if I reread Joseph Hellers 'Catch 22' this entire pile of horse feathers will become crystal clear to me.

Love the title of the article:

If Iran Provokes an Energy Crisis

Disruption of oil from the Persian Gulf has been top on the list for the trigger for World War IV for many decades. It used to be a Soviet invasion would start the ball rolling, but now it looks like the Iranians are "the bad guys". Now, the Russians might be seen as the savior.

This study isn't a preparation for invasion, as we are already in the middle of the mess in Iraq and can't seem to get at the oil there. Is there a PhD economist that seriously thinks we can win a war against 65 million Iranians, when we can't seem to quell the wrath of the Iraqi population? As things stand now, the U.S. military is already stretched to the limit. Is the U.S. going to commit a major genocide by dropping a bunch of nukes on Iran for a quick kill? Would the "crusade" stop at the Iranian border? I think not.

E. Swanson


Black Dog

Can you give me a good reference on one of the best books on WW III so I can get caught up before delving into WW IV?

The book hasn't been written yet. As I recall, WW III was supposed to be that all-out thermonuclear exchange instant war thing. Then, whomever was left alive would do WW IV using rocks and sticks, with an occasional sword and bow, etc. What else would they use without the oil to run the tanks, planes and ships?

But, thanks for pointing out my typo...:-)

E. Swanson

Hello Black_Dog,

Einstein Quote: "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."


Lots of other golden nuggets at this website.

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

jbunt, for some interesting reading about WW3/4 you might try scrolling through the archives of the link below. Lind is a very bright individual.


Looks like the Yen carry trade is unwinding faster:

The U.S. dollar tumbled against the yen on Thursday, as investors seeking refuge from global concerns about credit markets poured money into the Japanese currency, unwinding the so-called yen carry trade.

The carry trade refers to investors borrowing currencies at cheap interest rates in one place, in this case in Japan, to invest in higher-yielding currencies -- ie., where interest rates are higher -- in this case the U.S. dollar.

In recent action, the dollar was down 1% against the yen.


Interesting times.

If you play the forex market, it is more than interesting. There was an almost instantaneous 150 pip drop in GBP/JPY this morning. Being highly leveraged and against that move would hurt big time (I was on the right side).

Fromt he EB post up above the link to the Amazon Rain forest research is just plan a must read.


If the drying keeps up, we will be seeing a literal sea change inside of a decade that will not just be wished away, by 24 hour global sing fests.

Regions getting to much rain and other regions getting not enough rain are going to be here to stay for a while and as someone that has thought a lot about how a global system works. This is plain scary stuff.

I don't think we have 10 years to solve our problems, I think we are out of time as of 10 years ago.

I hate to make you folks think I am just a doomer, but start reading the affects of what is going on and thinking about the interactions of the way the world works as a climate whole.

I have a background in Global mapping. I have to understand how the planet is put together as it is for just some of my mapping abilities, not only for the research I have done in order to create a world for a story series I did back in the 80's. I have never been a doomer per se` but the world seems to be going through a bunch more changes than I have seen in my study of it in the past.

CEOjr63...This is the heart of your link. Few people understand how the heat/cool/rain cycle works at the ocean/rain forest boundry. The real problem is that now the S. Atlantic has warmed so much that it remains near enough to the nearby land temperature to prevent moisture laden air being drawn over the land as warm air rises over the land...Since the two air masses are near the same temperature. Clouds are forming over the S. Atlantic and when they rise and condense the rain is falling over the ocean...So, the forest dries out and the Amazon and its feeders dry up. I believe you are right about the timing...I dont see any mechinisim to cool down the S. Atlantic and restart the 'normal' cycle. This region has already reached a 'trigger.'

'Dr Antonio Nobre, of Brazil's National Institute of Amazonian Research, told the floating symposium of unpublished research which suggests that the felling was drying up the entire forest and helping to cause the hurricanes that have been battering the United States and the Caribbean.

The hot, wet Amazon, he explained, normally evaporates vast amounts of water, which rise high into the air as if in an invisible chimney, drawing in wet northeast trade winds, which have picked up moisture from the Atlantic.

This, in turn, controls the temperature of the ocean - as the trade winds pick up the moisture, the warm water left gets saltier and sinks.

Deforestation disrupts the cycle by weakening the Amazonian evaporation which drives the whole process.

One result is that the hot water in the Atlantic stays on the surface and fuels the hurricanes.

Another is that less moisture arrives on the trade winds, intensifying the forest drought.'

I read about this problem a year ago, and it was of concern then. It is even worse now.

It is hard to see how we can avoid a much worse climate change disaster than what the IPCC report has forecast. Our problems look to be only a few years away, not decades.

This is the sort of "human reasoning" that makes me want to apply for Martian citizenship:


"Blumenthal opens the video by interviewing Tom Delay, who when asked how much the "Second Coming" plays into his support for Israel, says, "obviously, it's what I live for, I hope it comes tomorrow."

Delay closed by saying, "we have to be connected to Israel to enjoy the second coming."

Could we maybe just, ummm, try something else...? Please??

I really, really, hope Tom is right...Although I find Toms connection between jebus and Israel a bit quirky. If all the folks awaiting the great upward whisking have their wishs granted, perhaps the rest of us (the unwhisked?) can begin solving some of the irksome problems that abound. Unburdening ourselves from 'creation science' would be a great start in the right direction. Good luck, Tom.

The whole problem with this "Second Coming" thing is that there is a certain mindset out there who think it would be a good idea to "force Jesus to return" by "blowing everything up" first. So those of us who have been assuming that as long as the Second Coming doesn't happen then we'll be OK and nobody will do anything dramatic. But there is too much evidence of people thinking that launching the nukes is exactly what we should do to hasten the issue. Any evangelical website will have some sort of Armageddon link where you can read all about it. I don't spend any time there myself anymore, makes me too queasy.

Anyone else remember that far-away look in GWB's eyes after he was "elected"? And the reports that he said that he felt that "God had appointed him President", clearly for a "reason" of some sort. Well, if God has a mission for him, time's running out...

Bill Moyers wrote a great article about all this a while ago, worth digging for.

there is a certain mindset out there who think it would be a good idea to "force Jesus to return" by "blowing everything up" first.

I've been in evangelical churches my entire life and have never heard anyone express such a sentiment.

Most evangelical Christians sincerely believe that, by supporting Israel, they are forestalling Armageddon, not accelerating it. I don't know of any eschatology that suggests that "blowing things up" would be the obligation of Christian society. The whole point of the Rapture (for the minority of Christians who believe in it) is to allow the faithful to escape the planet before any of the violence even starts.

If Pat Robertson ever wanted to cause the Rapture to happen sooner, he would come out in support of forming a one-world government.

He said, with fingers still firmly stuffed into his ears.

And when Condi was finally prevailed upon to curtail her NY shopping spree for $7000 shoes in order to offer words of comfort and solace to the Katrina refugees, she too invoked the Second Coming as their collective hope. The logic being, take heart, all these bad events are a sign that the Day is nearly upon us, and our suffering is almost over.

Now, who among us believes that Dr. Rice was sincere in these pronouncements, and who thinks she was simply manipulating the ignorant, desperate people who are craving order and sense in the face of a random natural catastrophe?

Her "husband," GWB, apparently believes that he hears the voice of the Creator, and is acting on His commands. That's what makes him useful: his sincerity. But it beggars belief to suggest that the likes of Cheney, Rice, Gates, and Chertoff are charismatic Christians, or anything more than the Machiavellian operators that they appear to be.

Which is worse? The End-Times Christians are more predictable, but are the ultimate doomers. The slash-and-burn capitalists want to keep the game going as long as possible, but who can guess what that will involve as the society devolves? The self-fulfilling prophecies of either group are too grim to face, but face them we will.

From Their beliefs are bonkers, but they are at the heart of power

In the United States, several million people have succumbed to an extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century, two immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met. The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.

How about ending this thread here and not going down the religon path again?

Amen brother!

I mean, yes, I agree!


Sorry, but was this post necessary?

There are RUMOURS of some big losses hitting the Street.

I'm hearing Goldman dropped a billion in credit trading yesterday and is trimming risk.

I also heard Deutsche Bank's prop desk dropped $600 million.

Again, just RUMOURS, but this is the "word on the street" as I type. Keep your eyes & ears open for confirmation in the "real" media.

The whole shabang is built on credit and debt, nobody owes anything that's actually worth more than a shade of the numbers they deal in. All is borrowed, but banks will only lend if they can sell the risks. And that is no longer possible at the conditions that were in play before. The behemoth private equity funds are stuck in deal making, and if they are, everybody is.

• Cerberus take over of Chrysler doubtful
• Carlyle/Onex buy-out of Allison postponed
• KKR take-over bond-sale not going anywhere.

It Henry Paulson can't sweeten China enough next week (see The Round-Up: July 26) to make them buy a trillion in mortgage securities, it's getting hard to see what might prevent the sounds of downfall.

The yen is on the rise vs the dollar, meaning the Bank of Jaoan will have to raise its interest rates sooner rather than later. That would be curtains for the equity and hedge funds.

There's last ditch attempts going on to prop up the corpses of the dead presidents,, but that can't possibly do more than lift us over the summer:

Central banks seen rescuing dollar with more gold sales

Gold fell in London on speculation European central banks will increase sales of the precious metal. Silver also dropped.

The European Central Bank said yesterday three members of the Eurosystem of national banks sold 288 million euros ($397 million) of gold last week, equal to about 18 metric tons and up from 88 million euros the week before. European central banks may sell 157.6 tons in the next nine weeks, or an average of about 18 tons a week, according to World Gold Council figures.

"We may need to get very used to the fact that 18 metric tons of gold are going to become commonplace for the next two- and-a-half months," Dennis Gartman, trader and editor of the Virginia, U.S.-based Gartman Letter, said in his daily report today. That amount will "make it difficult for gold."

Just 4 weeks left and I can pull all of my money out... I hope the market makes it until then without totally going to pot...
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

It's very telling that the threat (loss of confidence) to fiat system (a great ponzi scheme underpinned by the US$) results in CB unloading of gold (that barbarious relic)!

They must keep gold price down to dissuade the little people from discovering that gold is real money -- the only kind which lasts.

What is gold really though but a rock that people have arbitrarily determined to be valuable. It has no real practical value.


you can spout off about great tech fixes all you want, but if you insult gold, I will have to reach through my screen and slap you.

I prefer the through the phone strangling method myself.

Baaaad gold! Bad! Naughty!

(get below $600 so I can buy some more)

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

Gold is not a rock, it is an element and a stable, workable metal. I have often wondered why it became so valued so soon since it was more suited to jewelry and ornament than tools or weapons.

Today's LA Times Letters section lead with the call-out headline:

Can we just realize that there are limits to growth?


The letter is an homage to Bob Shaw:

After observing the mindless expansion of the Los Angeles region, predicated on a future of cheap energy that will not be realized, I have to ask, are we smarter than a colony of bacteria that reproduces and proliferates until it suddenly dies off from an exhaustion of resources?

First time I've seen something like this in the LA Times.

Finally word is getting out as to what the REAL problem is.

The real problem is not peak-oil or PV efficiency or fusion research.

Thanks for posting this.

There is an extremely interesting (and telling) FRONTLINE that delves into the very sad recent history of the LA Times--and the newspaper industry in general:


For the LA Times story, it's the 3rd episode of News War.

Ric Williams, great post...thank you very much.

In the midst of a potential DOW 400 point down day, what is up...

FORD - 3% up...

I know they surprised, but really.

Hello TODers,

Drought Monitor: Excessive Heat Spreads Into Northern High Plains
Please scroll down to bottom to see the latest drought map.

Does the US store sufficient emergency food reserves to get us through the next Dust Bowl? Just imagine when the aquifers are depleted, and/or fuel/electricity makes it very expensive to suck water from extreme depths. Or irrigation systems that are extremely expensive to keep maintained.

Here in the Southwest: building more golf courses is still sadly seen as the optimal technocornucopian solution to the coming FF/water shortages.

Hopefully in the near future, Tiger Woods will be doing endorsement commercials for John Deere tractors, garden supply companies, and wheelbarrow manufacturers:

Tiger: "Excuse me gentlemen. May I plow through?

Golfers:[totally stunned looks, dropping of clubs]

Tiger: My kids' eating is much more important than your hitting of little white balls."

EDIT: cut to video shot of Tiger, in NIKE-brand farmer overalls and NIKE-YIKE brand shotgun across his lap, astride a huge John Deere tractor, with hundreds of people behind him with more NIKE-brand shovels, hoes, pitchforks, axes, wheelbarrows, overalls and hats, etc.

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


Why is the crime rate 2 or 3 times average in neighborhoods that vote overwhelmingly democratic compared to neighborhoods that vote overwhelmingly Repubilican? Profiling?

If that's true...my guess is that it's related to income, and the type of crime committed. Republicans tend to be wealthier than Democrats.

The white-collar crime that the middle class and wealthy tend to commit is not a high priority. Often, the victim doesn't even want to press charges, because it's embarrassing.

Hmmm...Scooter lives in a low crime area...guess he votes republican? If shrub issued pardons to all then the stats quoted would be meaningless...which they are anyway.

Democrats favor sins of commission. Republicans favor sins of omission.

profiling and the drug war. The black and latino kids are targeted by the police, and about 1/3rd of the black men under 35 are on probation, in prison or on parole, mostly for crimes like selling $10 worth of crack or weed. Its the prison industrial complex at its finest!

The Republicans' kids use as much dope, but they have pocket money from dad and a nice car so they seldom get stopped. They're selling and buying their dope by cell phone, so they aren't as visible And, when they do get arrested its because they've driven to a black or latino neighborhood (Democratic) to score and stick out.
Bob Ebersole

I don't know whether this has already been posted, but in line with the lead news item on climate change here it is:

A disaster to take everyone's breath away

It is a sign that severe drought is returning to the Amazon for a second successive year. And that would be ominous. New research suggests that one further dry year beyond that could tip the whole vast forest into a cycle of destruction...

...The consequences would be awesome. The wet Amazon Basin would turn to dry savannah at best, desert at worst. This would cause much of the world to become hotter and drier.

In the long term, it could send global warming out of control, eventually making the world uninhabitable.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Wow. Disappearance of Amazon rain forest would be huge.

Big drop in Russia's Slavneft's (not sure how big this company is) oil output:

Slavneft's oil output fell 11.1 percent to 10.52m tonnes in the first half of 2007 compared to the same period a year earlier

That comes to about a 47,000 barrel per day drop from a company that produced over 460,000 barrels per day. 47,000 barrels per day is a huge drop and if they are dropping by that rate, it means that the drop will continue. That, along with other problems Russia is having, means that Russia is very likely post peak.

With the seven of the eight largest oil producers, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA, Iran, Mexico, Norway and Venezuela post peak, the world is definitely post peak. Of the world's top eight producers only China, who ranks fifth, has not yet peaked. And they are damn close.

Ron Patterson

If not already mentioned, after sarcanol, vivoleum!


Congratulations to Elliot Fishman of ASPO Australia for the article Transport Policy Needs to Go Off Road" (above)

This appeared in The Age, Melbourne's broadsheet newspaper. It is possible to get the word out there!


Well known economist, Paul Krugman


in his July 27 New York Times article "The Sum of Some Fears" admits he might have been wrong



I didn’t think many people believed this stuff, but the market’s sudden freakout over housing and oil suggests that I was wrong.

and more from the article

I’ve written less about oil prices, so let me emphasize two points about the oil situation. First, we’re now in our third year of very high oil prices by historical standards — prices as high, even when adjusted for inflation, as those that prevailed in the early 1980s, after the Islamic revolution in Iran. Second, unlike the energy crises of the past, this price surge has happened even though there hasn’t been any major disruption in world oil supply.

It’s pretty clear what’s happening: economic development is colliding with geology.

The “peak oil” theorists may or may not be right in asserting that world oil production is already as high as it will ever go — anyone who really knows what’s going in Saudi Arabia’s fields, please drop me a line — but finding new oil is getting a lot harder. Meanwhile, emerging economies, especially in Asia, are burning ever more oil as they get richer. With demand soaring and supply growth sluggish at best, high prices are what you get.

So why did people seem so shocked by a few more bad housing and oil numbers? What I guess I didn’t realize was how deep the denial still runs.

Over the last couple of years a peculiar conviction emerged among some analysts — mainly, for some reason, among those with right-wing political leanings — that the housing bubble was a myth and that the real bubble was in oil prices.

Each new peak in oil prices was met with declarations that it was all speculation — like the 2005 prediction by Steve Forbes that oil was in a “huge bubble” and that its price would be down to $35 or $40 a barrel within a year. And on the other side, as recently as this January, National Review’s Buzzcharts column declared that we were having a “pop-free” housing slowdown.

The “peak oil” theorists may or may not be right in asserting that world oil production is already as high as it will ever go — anyone who really knows what’s going in Saudi Arabia’s fields, please drop me a line

Stuart and Euan - please drop Paul Krugman a line. You don't often get asked by a NYT columnist to drop you a line. Others, please follow up with Paul Krugman on this - he will respond in print.

Dr Paul Krugman's email addresses are



I've sent him my recent story


If I get a response I will post it here.

ace - 2:13 am. If you are looking for a better job let me know. I'll drop you my email.

Hello Ace,

Thxs for the info.

Krugman's last paragraph from the article:
Anyway, now reality is settling in. And there’s one more thing worth mentioning: the economic expansion that began in 2001, while it has been great for corporate profits, has yet to produce any significant gains for ordinary working Americans. And now it looks as if it never will.
As Homer Simpson would say, "DOH!"

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

Hello Ace,

I emailed Krugman asking him to contact SS & WT. C'Mon TODers--Git 'er Done! If we can get him to go to the upcoming ASPOs [Cork or Houston], it could be a huge MSM boost for Peakoil Outreach.

Hey Bob,

Good work. I don't always agree with you but here we are two, probably many more, passing on the TOD message: Stuart and Euan's work. Don't lose sight.

Quick response from Dr Krugman from princeton email address:

"Thanks. I actually do read The Oil Drum on occasion, and I'm reasonably well aware of the arguments about Saudi fields. Anyway, I'll check out the link."

The link is

Nice work, ace.

Hello TODers,

Interesting AsiaTimes article on Pakistan:

Bring 'em on: Militants in Pakistan await US

KARACHI - Efforts by the Pakistani establishment to defuse the volatile situation in its tribal areas have failed, despite the carrot of large amounts of money being dangled before the Pakistani Taliban there.

Islamabad is now caught between militants spoiling for a fight and US and coalition troops in Afghanistan ready to give them one - and there is little Pakistan can now do to prevent this from happening.
This could get ugly fast--will Pres. Musharraf be overthrown? Or could Bhutto come back? Or is a Sharia State the most likely result?

Don't forget Pakistan has nukes, and just today sucessfully tested a cruise missle:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said it had successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable radar-dodging cruise missile capable of reaching New Delhi, on Thursday. The successful testing of Babur or Hataf VII missile would strengthen national security, a military statement said. The military says it has increased the range of the missile to 700 kilometres (435 miles). “The Babur, which has near stealth capabilities, is a low flying, terrain hugging missile with high maneuverability, pinpoint accuracy and radar avoidance features,” the statement said. It can be fired from Agosta submarine and fighter jets F-16 and F-17, it said. President Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz congratulated the scientists and engineers involved in the project. agencies
Overall, not a pretty picture.

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