Peak Oil Caucus chairs Bartlett, Udall comment on National Petroleum Council report

Last week, the National Petroleum Council released its new report, "Facing the Hard Truths about Energy," stressing the increased development of alternative energy sources in order to meet global energy demand -- a demand that will likely not be met solely through global oil and gas production. During today's E&ETV Event Coverage, Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), co-chairmen of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus, discuss the NPC report and explain why they believe it hides the truths about global energy.

And here's the blurbage for Charlie's book...

Making World Development Work is about economic development and its relation to population, environment and resource issues in less affluent countries. These essays presented here criticize the way most large development projects are designed and conducted and are written by professionals from a broad range of disciplines involved in current development research.

Making World Development Work explains why overly simplistic economic models of development have led to many failures and unnecessary environmental destruction. The editors contend the preferred method of development is through a systematiic process that integrates the natural sciences with economics and one that is based on scientific method instead of ideology.

Leclerc and Hall review the logical and methodological basis of neoclassical economics and its application to development. They provide a series of historical perspectives, including less developed countries that have improved successfully and others that have not been as successful. They complete the demonstration with a portfolio of current development research innovations in the social and economic sciences as well as in the natural sciences, including a new logical basis for economics called biophysical economics.

Making World Development Work offers new ways to consider development including the limitations of cheap energy, environmental degradation, and human population growth as the fundamental issues for any economic model that can have any hope of working in the future.

About the Authors

Grégoire Leclerc is senior scientist with the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD). Charles A. S. Hall is professor of environmental and forest biology at SUNY, Syracuse. He is the author of more than 200 publications and author or editor of seven books including Quantifying Sustainable Development: The Future of Tropical Economies.

Thanks for putting a set of guidelines into FAQ!

These rules strike me as emminently reasonable, and not intrusive on real comments.
Bob Ebersole

A well thought out set of guidelines. Looks like someone put a lot of time and effort into them.

Your efforts are appreciated.

Thanks. This was a project that quite a number of the staff participated in. Super G played a fairly major role, but there were many others in the discussion.

The Udall, Bartlett video is very interesting to watch. It may not have gotten much attention in the MSM but it seems pretty significant to have something called a Peak Oil Caucus in the congress. Anyone know how many people were actually in the room audience? And who they were?


From what I can tell, as of 11/05, the members were James McGovern, Vern Ehlers, Tom Udall, Mark Udall, Raul Grijalva, Wayne Gilchrest, Jim Moran, Dennis Moore. Robert Bartlett was mentioned as the founder of the caucus.

Bartlett filed a peak oil bill in the House with co-sponsors, at that time, Tom Udall, Virgil Goode, Raul Grijalva, Walter Jones, Tom Tancredo, Phil Gingrey, Randy Kuhl, Steve Israel, G.K. Butterfield, Mark Udall, Chris Van Hollen, Wayne Gilchrest, Al Wynn, John McHugh, Jim Moran, and Dennis Moore.

Not sure who current members are. I checked Wikipedia, but the caucus is not listed among the others.

Keep all comments on non-Drumbeat stories on-topic. If you have comment that is not related to a particular story, please post it the current Drumbeat story.

I think it'd be really good if this went on to say something about not wandering too far off oil/energy topics in Drumbeat.

Who decides besides the staff? I'd say it is not your place (or mine) to make that call. Let me give you some examples. Let's say the Drumbeat carries an article about increasing costs of plastics and someone with a medical manufacturing background makes comments that lead to a thread that is discussing medical supplies, their creation, distribution, and usage. Is that off topic? I don't think so because it was clearly related to oil. Or let's say that some politician in some nation (doesn't matter where) makes some proclamation based on religious faith about crude oil. Should we not discuss that (including the impact of religion on that very topic)?

In other words, I think it really needs to be the staff of TOD who determines what they want to have on their blog and what they do not. The rest of us can try to be reasonable but clearly, in the past, many of us have disagreed about what is reasonable and what is not. In those situations, the TOD staff became the ultimate authority and likewise, I would have to say that they would be the ones to tell us not to discuss a topic.

So, while I might not start a topic about what chances the Texans have in the upcoming NFL season (none, I think!! :) ), I might very well raise the issue of the costs of sporting events in terms of energy usage. Is that "on topic" or not? I think that question would have to be answered by TOD staff, not you or me.

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

comment deleted by author

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

I found myself replying in a thread that had disolved into religion based bickering with absolutly nothing to do with energy in any regard at all the other day.

And then I was miffed at myself for contributing to dilution of theoildrum - which is the only non-general-news site I look at every single day - with huge appreciation for those who run the show.

but it was just a suggestion that a pointer to keep things within the (very broad) bounds of purpose might not be a bad idea.

I really like and value the drumbeat content, but of late, replies-to-replies-of-replies have more frequently (but still rarely) moved right off energy related issues. I hope that doesn't get even more prevalent.

And I'm slightly peeved that somehow my suggestion that a tepid comment -- about staying focussed on energy -- might be appropriate for the FAQ, somehow gets interpreted as me sugggesting that I've or we've got some right to determine what is/isn't on-topic on a case-by-case basis.

I utterly agree that it's an issue purely for the staff, but I stand by my suggestion.

A response in a thread is as much to the rest of the reading community as it is to the person to whom you respond. My point was simply that it is inappropriate for anyone who is not TOD staff to pretend to be a moderator. There's been plenty of that lately with people trying to tell others to shut up or go away. That's not our decision to make and my comment was a reminder to us all that it is not our decision to make. If you find a post or poster disruptive, it's far better to email Professor Goose than to try to play policeman yourself.

In fact, it's even amusing that you took personal offense at my statement, which in itself is a perfect demonstration of the problems of communicating in this medium.

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

I like what Fallout said in the comments at your Greyzone post.

But then again, wasn't it the goal of The Oil Drum to make more people (be they psycho's or otherwise) aware of Peak Oil?

(With great success, comes great powerlessness --Spiderman)

((No, he didn't say that. It's a play on "with great power comes great responsibility", to which of course GWB agrees --but now we're really off topic. Just shows you how word association takes the human mind down into the gutter. Speaking of which .... nah.))

I agree wholeheartedly with your comments Jaymax. The past week I have struggled to find even 10% of Drumbeat material of relevance. I was delighted to find that the day before yesterday's Drumbeat actually started with some decent comment pertinent to PO (by Darwinian I think) but that was rapidly followed by the usual white noise. I am reduced to 'speed scanning' the comments section, stopping only when I see contributions by a rather select group of posters who actually a)stay on topic, and b) bring some worthwhile research to the party.

I don't usually read comments below Drumbeat at all, but I do sometimes read the comments on the main articles.

And although I don't post often, I have been reading TOD with much appreciation for some time now. Thank-you to all concerned.

I agree with Jaymax. The low point for me this week was a lengthy thread of religious argument that, by definition goes nowhere. IMO discussions of religion and the politics of personalities are time wasters and don't belong on this site. Thank you for the guidelines.

some proclamation based on religious faith about crude oil

Like junk and treasure, one man's off-topic is another's deeper insight into a topic.

("I'm coming Elizabeth.")

Nice job with the Reader Guidelines.

Anything that increases the quality of discussion is a big plus.

Any thought about "Writer Guidelines"? Following a few basic rules would boost the readability of many posts. For example:

  • Keep paragraphs short, especially the first few paragraphs. Long paragraphs intimidate readers, especially on the Web.
  • The first part of the post should tell what is to come - don't plunge right into graphs and statistics.
  • The last part of the post should summarize your points and give a take-away message
  • The best posts develop their ideas logically according to a plan. Following an outline can help keep you on track.
  • Whenever you make a highly technical point or cite an equation, provide a translation in everyday language for the non-engineers.
  • The first time you use an acronym, spell it out.
  • Use sub-heads and lists (numbered and unnumbered) to break up the text.
  • Prefer short sentences and active voice (avoid the passive).
  • Write headlines (article titles) that are meaningful.

These points are standard practice for technical writers and journalists. I've noticed that engineers and other technical professionals vastly improve their writing when they follow these guidelines.

Energy Bulletin


Those aren't bad, but what about some of us guys who have a tendency to write more in the mode of the humanities types, sociologists or philosophers
(ever try to read Pitirim Sorokin, Arnold Toynbee, or Marshall McCluhan?), that is to say long, circular, but thoughtful (often to a fault?) :-)

Anyway, I live by the rule of James Joyce...
"I demand nothing of my readers but they devote their life to the study of my work." :-)

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

Well, you're right, Roger. You can't legislate poets.

However, if you are writing to communicate, there is a standard set of guidelines. One won't get very far in journalism, PR or technical writing without them.

Even in the fields of humanities and the social sciences, they should be the norm unless one has an overwhelming reason to write otherwise. The Joyces are rare in literature; the Hemingways are the majority.

Some of the best models are the scientists and philosophers of the past, who prided themselves on a clear, elegant style.

If we want to get the message out, we should follow their lead.

Energy Bulletin

I have found myself alienated from this website because of the many posts to discussions that become non-related to peak oil. Let's keep on the subject and I'm sure we won't have 300+ discussions that usually go nowhere!!

These are the observations of an average joe interested in peak oil..

This is an interesting perspective because on the front page for each article including Drumbeats there are multiple ways to read the article. One of those includes comments and one of those does not. If the comments at this site annoy you that much but your really like the main posts, why not just read the main posts without the comments? And that is a genuine question. Why let yourself be driven off TOD by comments when you have already admitted that you like the main posts and there is a very easy way to avoid the comments? Could you please explain? I don't understand this mentality at all.

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

I see that reno has been here for 1yr 49wks, I've been here 1yr 44wks - apologies reno if the punt I take below is not how you see it.

My guess is that the alienation reno talks about is somewhat recent, and that he's specifically talking about the site comments rather than the site articles. It's hard watching something you care about quite deeply start to drift [ever so slightly] away from [part of] what you loved about it.

You're right tho GreyZone - what you propose is exactly what I ended up doing on once I couldn't bear the forums any longer - followed the news side of the site, and left the others to their group-think (I was SO happy when Leenan started over here on the drumbeats!!)

And I'll do that here also [esp wrt Drumbeat] if the comment threads keep sliding - but it'd be such a shame. I'd far rather the comments got back to the quality they were, than stop reading them and wonder what I'm missing.

NB: Just incase anyone thinks otherwise, I'm -not- saying TOD has a groupthink probelm, and given the diversity and intellect of the contributors, I can't imaging that ever coming about.