DrumBeat: August 5, 2007

Deffeyes on the NPC report

For the North Sea, the statement in the NPC report did not cite specific data. A different style, also misleading, is to present the data but camouflage the bad news. Specifically, Figure T-VII.1 on page 262 contains historical data on oil discoveries. The NPC graph locates the peak of oil discoveries in the five years from 1960 to 1965. (Oddly, their world data excludes the US and Canada. A similar result for world discoveries including the US and Canada is on pages 48-49 of Beyond Oil.) As far as I know, this striking result was originally presented by ExxonMobil around the year 2000. In the NPC report, the oil data (shown in blue) are buried beneath natural gas discoveries on the same graph in a lighter shade of blue. Further, a second curve (shown in red) reports the number of new-field discoveries, peaking around 1985. In my opinion, the number of discovered oilfields is massively irrelevant. Is counting yet another one-well oilfield in Kansas relevant to the present debate? I tip my hard hat to the NPC authors; figure T-VII-1 is a competent job of camouflaging.

Oil sector’s big issue now delivery, not discovery

So, what happened to $100-per-barrel oil? On Wednesday, the price of US light crude reached $78.77, briefly topping last summer’s record and then subsided. A few dreary bulletins about the US economy and signs that American petrol stocks were rising were enough to kill the excitement and stall the rally.

Those investors who are obsessed with the notion of the end of oil tend to forget that the price fluctuates on short-term supply considerations and signals from the underlying economy about energy demand. The oil market is not driven by guesses about how large are the Saudi Arabian reserves.

Canada's oil sands mergers get painfully pricey

Fat wallets and limited opportunities elsewhere may continue to push acquisitions in Canada's oil sands region, analysts say, though soaring costs may leave the sector open to only the very biggest companies.

Cold war breaks out as Russia freezes out rivals in Arctic

Mir-1 is part and parcel of this new swagger - a voyage in search not only of national pride, but also economic leverage. Russia is already an energy superpower - it has by far the biggest gas reserves and, in oil export terms, is second only to the Saudis. Now it wants the Arctic too - home to around a quarter of the world's untapped oil and gas.

Peak Oil, and what I think it means to the petroleum industry

Innovations are especially needed in the earth science and engineering disciplines where they will lead to new science. Sciences that may require multiples of effort per barrel of oil. Asking the current bureaucracies to keep up with the current and future changes in the sciences is asking too much in my opinion. Would anyone argue the organizational bureaucracies of today will be the solution to Peak Oil?

What would a system based on these changes look like, how would it be different, and could it make the difference?

Getting Iraq Wrong

As a former denizen of Harvard, I’ve had to learn that a sense of reality doesn’t always flourish in elite institutions. It is the street virtue par excellence. Bus drivers can display a shrewder grasp of what’s what than Nobel Prize winners. The only way any of us can improve our grasp of reality is to confront the world every day and learn, mostly from our mistakes, what works and what doesn’t. Yet even lengthy experience can fail us in life and in politics. Experience can imprison decision-makers in worn-out solutions while blinding them to the untried remedy that does the trick.

Market Meltdown: Understanding Climate Economics

The market's real failure is that it allows for no signal from the future to the present, either from the conditions that will exist 30 years hence or from the people who will be alive and working then. The question becomes: Can we really create a market in which those far-off voices are effectively heard?

Making data centers greener

While the high-tech industry pursues solutions to global warming, it's also contributing to the problem.

Ever-multiplying computer server facilities will double their consumption of energy in the next five years, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study sent to Congress on Friday.

Record oil prices deepen rich-poor divide, say analysts

Record high oil prices, while having little effect on the world's industrialised nations and benefiting oil-producing emerging economies, are taking a toll on poor countries that rely on imports, analysts say.

'Hot fuel' putting oil companies in hot seat

The oil companies are again in the hot seat, trying to fend off claims they've been taking advantage of motorists for decades by not taking temperature into account when dispensing fuel during the summer months.

The industry has been adjusting for temperature when selling fuel in bulk at the wholesale level since the 1920s.

Alaska's addiction to oil

Investigations into whether the oil industry has undue influence in the state should come as no surprise.

Fuel problem wreaks havoc with Inuvik flights

Some flights in Inuvik, N.W.T., are being cancelled or delayed Friday because of a mysterious problem making the local airport's supply of jet fuel unusable.

Strained to breaking, Iraq’s power grid falters

Iraq’s power grid is on the brink of collapse because of insurgent sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages and provinces that are unplugging local power stations from the national grid, officials said Saturday

Zimbabwe 'has come to a standstill'

Zimbabweans trying to survive food shortages, lengthy power outages, lack of fuel and other economic and social pressures have found a way to let the world know of their suffering - regular emails to friends and family abroad.

The Philippines: We have a serious crisis coming

Even if the prolonged dry spell does not end in drought, the country still faces a possible energy crisis down the road - perhaps even earlier than the next three years. There has been so much talk about an energy crisis but we have not really tapped alternative sources, which is quite ironic considering that the Philippines has such a great potential for clean and reliable sources of energy like geothermal, wind, solar, hydro, and biomass - which could lessen our dependence on imported oil.

Brazil: Amazon Fruit Gatherers Face Biofuel Dilemma

he babaçú, an abundant native palm tree in the eastern Amazon and in the north and northeast of Brazil, has great potential for the production of "biodiesel" and biomass fuel, but the women who make their living from gathering its fruit fear the loss of their traditional source of income.

House slaps $16 billion in taxes on oil industry

Declaring a new direction in energy policy, the House on Saturday approved $16 billion in taxes on oil companies, while providing billions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives for renewable energy and conservation efforts.

Republican opponents said the legislation ignored the need to produce more domestic oil, natural gas and coal. One GOP lawmaker bemoaned "the pure venom ... against the oil and gas industry."

Do your part to destroy the Earth

By now, most of us have heard of peak oil, the concept that we've tapped the majority of the world's oil reserves and are now on a downward trajectory.

As far as peak water goes, we ran out of clean water years ago, with five countries completely out of fresh, clean water. Saudi Arabia is one of them, and one of its leaders has recently said he wishes they had water instead of oil.

Trouble is, we Americans haven't changed our ways much, knowing what we know. We haven't signed the environmental accords like every other country on the planet. We aren't about to act like good world citizens, conserving resources, using alterative energy sources and leading the way out of the mess we made.

Going Green Without Starting From Scratch

Consumer interest in green construction has continued to grow, but few people can afford to build an environmentally friendly house from the ground up. They don't have to, says architect Kelly Lerner, co-author of "Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House."

The End Of Cheap Food

A straight switch is happening from food to fuel. As oil prices rise - and Peak Oil guarantees they will - it pulls up the price of biofuels as well, so it becomes more attractive for farmers to switch from food to fuel.

Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute says: "The stage is now set for frontal competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world's two billion poorest who will need it to survive."

Farmland, too, has a 'community need:' I call it vision and planning

Technological advances will continue and the nature and character of industry will change. Yet people will still work and work places will occupy land -- some more intensively than others.

We will always need to eat; therefore, we will continue to need to secure a food supply, albeit with our efforts impacted by climate change and peak oil on international distribution.

CNN Heroes: Mathias Craig (video)

Many of Nicaragua's poorest and most isolated communities do not have electricity. Mathias Craig helped start "blueEnergy," a non-profit company that has brought sustainable energy -- generated by wind turbines -- to six communities on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast.
Craig builds the windmills on site, and trains locals to maintain them. But I'm not sure you can really call that sustainable, if the parts must be shipped in.

India on African safari, hunting oil

Mahatma Gandhi once said that "commerce between India and Africa will be of ideas and services, not of manufactured goods against raw materials after the fashion of western exploiters." However, according to Zambian opposition MP Guy Scott, "People are saying, 'The Whites were bad, the Indians were worse, but the Chinese are worst of all.'"

Hopefuls use jets at cut rates

Matthew Simmons, a Texas investment banker who deals with oil and gas companies, said people are foolish to think he wants something in return for providing a plane to former Gov. Mitt Romney, a Massachusetts Republican, on several occasions.

"Anyone that thinks me offering time in a plane to Mitt Romney means that I'm buying his mind, that's wrong," he said.

Energy Search Goes Underground

When tremors started cracking walls and bathroom tiles in this Swiss city on the Rhine, the engineers knew they had a problem.

"The glass vases on the shelf rattled, and there was a loud bang," Catherine Wueest, a teashop owner, recalls. "I thought a truck had crashed into the building."

But the 3.4 magnitude tremor on the evening of December 8 was no ordinary act of nature: It had been accidentally triggered by engineers drilling deep into the Earth's crust to tap its inner heat and thus break new ground - literally - in the world's search for new sources of energy.

Any offerings as to what to make of the Whitehouse declaration of a state of emergency with respect to Syrian interference in Lebanon:

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, determine that the actions of certain persons to undermine Lebanon's legitimate and democratically elected government or democratic institutions, to contribute to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Lebanon, including through politically motivated violence and intimidation, to reassert Syrian control or contribute to Syrian interference in Lebanon, or to infringe upon or undermine Lebanese sovereignty contribute to political and economic instability in that country and the region and constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

No mention on any MSM sites

There are currently elections going on in Lebanon. I found this. I will look for more.




A decleration of emergency seems a dramatic pre-emptive step, presumably they have 'good intelligence' and are trying to suppress Syrian planned hostile actions, by freezing assets.


Lots of this kind of stuff appears in blogs and never appears in the MSM. There was another such declaration on July 17 that threatens to freeze assets of those interfering with the Iraq war effort. Maybe someone can find and post.

There is no reason to presume hostile Syrian intent any more than there is to presume hostile Iranian intent or hostile X-ian intent where X is anything other than the US gov't. It has been and is on a rampage. Not that China and Russia are lambs -- but they haven't, so far, been doing the "pre-emptive" military thing.

davebygolly, read the Executive Order dated July 17th on the Whitehouse website. You can find it by googling Bush, executive order. Don't believe it unless you've read it yourself. I read it myself, and I believe it, but if you have another interpretation, tell us.
Bob Ebersole

Here's the link to the press release: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070717-3.html

An interesting analysis by Prof Michel Chossudovsky here, sees it in terms of the criminalization of dissent - and no response from the House? WTF?

There's an argument for legitimizing the EO in terms of its application to acts of "violence" (or threat thereof), rather than opposition per se. But what is really interesting is how the EO seems to apply to those who work for or with agents who may *later* be deemed to have used violence to upset the Iraq plan. Read it closely, folks, this is the future (present).

Incidentally, Chossudovsky sees the EO (and others like it. surely) tied in with NSPD 51, which we should all be aware of by now:

"In May 2007, Bush issued a major presidential National Security Directive (National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive NSPD 51/HSPD 20), which would suspend constitutional government and instate broad dictatorial powers under martial law in the case of a "Catastrophic Emergency" (e.g. Second 9/11 terrorist attack)."

Like they say, by the time you hear the gunshot, you're already hit.


About Lebanon, previous order, June 29, 2007,

Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Responsible for Policies and Actions That Threaten Lebanon's Sovereignty and Democracy

white house

The US supports the Siniora Govmt, with all the clout is has. The Lebanese reacted very badly to this order: travel restrictions, etc. and who can certify who supports or not the present Govmt? How do ‘they’ decide? What about a person who is somewhat for and a bit against?

Fascist Gvmts. as we all know tend to keep such criteria secret so that ppl are left vulnerable, subservient, afraid, and guessing, as in WW2, then within nation States (not only but mainly).

Other views: unapplicable orders are empty sops, posturing, to satisfy this or that party, thus making a mockery out of any law, rule, order, etc.

so now dissent about 2 countries is effectivley stopped

Why doesn't Bush just pass an Executive Order that says "Anyone that does not think what I think, is going to be hunted down and jailed/tortured"? It would save him time instead of passing all these "little" Executive Orders.

I like the way it also covers spouses and dependent children. Nice touch - leave no bit of the Constitution behind. [I don't recall this in previous Edict - was it there?]

The United States Constitution, Article I, section IX, 3, provides that no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed; bills of attainder were abolished in the United Kingdom in 1870.

cfm in Gray, ME

you would think that wouldn't you? but no thats not what they will use it for. Crushing all dissent by using this would be too obvious of a power grab and would be extremely counter-productive. The military industrial complex as well as the current handlers of bush learned this lesson during Vietnam. No what they are doing is slightly more complex but very simple to understand. they will let small scale dissent flourish under their watchful eye of course. though when a group of these dissenters start to make traction thats when they act, with this order and the one about iraq they can effectively shut these operations down. When doing so they will of course not state the real reason, they will say they were terrorist or some such thing but the effect is the same.

They don't even have to hide this any further then a simple lie as to the reason of any of the required raids. Anyone else in the dissenting crowd would be even further marginalized by both factions in their own group and the public at large if they tried to tell the truth. Mainly because it is hard to believe a so called free and democratic country could practice tactics, the same kind of tactics used by nations many of us were taught as we grew up were evil. Remember only small lies need protection, the big ones protect themselves.

so breed dissent with the system but prevent the people from expressing it to their elected officials!

hooray fascism.

Dissent has to find a legitimate support, has to have some validation in the media, otherwise ppl might riot.

If mild dissenters or questioners or grumps are ‘represented’ by the Dems, by some TV shows, commentators, pundits, they can nod and say, right on, and feel they are still part of the total fabric of the US, their pov is out there in the public space, legitimate. This defangs them completely and keeps them quiet, buying charcoal for the BBQ, debating about supporting Hillary C or Obama - a *lot* to discuss over the beers and steaks.

Not to mention that any active dissenters are easily tagged if they join groups, so that disinformation campaigns and false-flag infiltrators can get them into trouble and separated from the larger group quite quickly. If someone starts a "Democrats for Death" group, then an undercover agent will join and offer the tools to get them into 'proper' trouble, when otherwise, they might have slowly educated people to stand up for themselves.

Speculation Alert: The Republicans are sure to lose the White House in 2008, unless they employ extraordinary means to win the election. One of those tactics may be the use of this EO, in combinations with others, to pick off one or more of the prominent democratic grassroots organizations such as moveon.org or kos. Their assets would be taken or frozen and the MSM would brand them supporters of terrorism. By branding them terrorist supporters, any presidential candidate would also be tainted and excoriated by most of the MSM as well. Such a tactic could have the effect of swaying some independent voters to the Republicans who would otherwise have voted Democratic.

This seems more logical to me than the theory that a catastrophe will be engineered to justify imposition of martial law under these EOs. Martial law would be too disruptive to business interests. They've got enough on their hands with the credit and mortgage debacle.

I agree with the slow erosion as I suspect The Patriot Act powers will be used to track down criminals that the public will not care that their rights were violated. I am wondering if the original Pedophile and high level drug prosecutions will be used to get law enforcement and the public to accept this type of invasion of privacy.

I was stationed at Rhein Main airbase in Frankfurt, Germany back about a million years ago in the summer of 1990, we had a Chief Master Sargent running around the flightline asking which mechanics were M-16 qualified, I wasn't! So I couldn't go on this mystery TDY! (temporary duty). Destination unknown! But anyone available that was qualified had to quickly grab their goods and report to a certain C-141 on the flightline!

About a day or later, the news broke out on CNN, Iraq invaded Kuwait. The US government had already had plans to deal with this incident, but the news corps were in the dark. (thus Operation Desert Shield). So I quickly realized the main stream media are just mere puppets, they tell us what they think we should see/hear!

Asian Markets Close Down, Singapore STI loses 3.53% on exposure to US debt.


Bear Stearns President Resigns


Cid: I wouldn't worry about the Bear Stearns guy- the retard that got fired for running Home Depot into the ground just got hired to run Chrysler.

Confirmation Bias and Self-Deception

"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged. Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones.... Everyone from executives and judges to scientists and politicians may reason to emotionally biased judgments when they have a vested interest in how to interpret 'the facts'."






In reference to Leanans post 'Energy Source Goes Underground'...Following are some events in Colorado which seems especially succeptable to earthquakes caused by liquid injection. It is well documented that drilling followed by liquid injection can sometimes cause movement of geologic formations.


'The most famous episode of a human-induced earthquake began in 1961, when a 12,000-foot disposal well was drilled in the U.S. Army's Rocky Mountain Arsenal northeast of Denver. The well was used for disposing of waste fluids from arsenal operations, and injection commenced in March 1962.

Shortly thereafter an unusual series of earthquakes erupted in the area, and by the end of December 1962 about 190 earthquakes had occurred. None caused damage until December, when several structures were damaged in Dupont and Irondale.

Over 1,300 earthquakes were recorded between January 1963 and August 1967. In April 1967 the largest earthquake since the series began in 1962 occurred, and damage was recorded in the arsenal, Derby and Boulder. This tremor measured 5.0 on the Richter scale.

Even after the Rocky Mountain Arsenal waste dumping practice stopped, earthquakes continued to be felt in the Denver area, so in 1968 the Army began removing fluid from the arsenal well very slowly in an effort to reduce the earthquake activity.

The most famous episode of a human-induced earthquake began in 1961, when a 12,000-foot disposal well was drilled in the U.S. Army's Rocky Mountain Arsenal northeast of Denver. The well was used for disposing of waste fluids from arsenal operations, and injection commenced in March 1962.

Shortly thereafter an unusual series of earthquakes erupted in the area, and by the end of December 1962 about 190 earthquakes had occurred. None caused damage until December, when several structures were damaged in Dupont and Irondale.

Over 1,300 earthquakes were recorded between January 1963 and August 1967. In April 1967 the largest earthquake since the series began in 1962 occurred, and damage was recorded in the arsenal, Derby and Boulder. This tremor measured 5.0 on the Richter scale.

Even after the Rocky Mountain Arsenal waste dumping practice stopped, earthquakes continued to be felt in the Denver area, so in 1968 the Army began removing fluid from the arsenal well very slowly in an effort to reduce the earthquake activity.

The most famous episode of a human-induced earthquake began in 1961, when a 12,000-foot disposal well was drilled in the U.S. Army's Rocky Mountain Arsenal northeast of Denver. The well was used for disposing of waste fluids from arsenal operations, and injection commenced in March 1962.

Shortly thereafter an unusual series of earthquakes erupted in the area, and by the end of December 1962 about 190 earthquakes had occurred. None caused damage until December, when several structures were damaged in Dupont and Irondale.

Over 1,300 earthquakes were recorded between January 1963 and August 1967. In April 1967 the largest earthquake since the series began in 1962 occurred, and damage was recorded in the arsenal, Derby and Boulder. This tremor measured 5.0 on the Richter scale.

Even after the Rocky Mountain Arsenal waste dumping practice stopped, earthquakes continued to be felt in the Denver area, so in 1968 the Army began removing fluid from the arsenal well very slowly in an effort to reduce the earthquake activity.'

disapointing that the author did not acknowledge the work of Dr. H. K. Van Poolen on the causes of the rma earthquakes.

From that same post:

"It said an investment of $800 million to $1 billion could produce more than 100 gigawatts of electricity by 2050, equaling the combined output of all 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S"

$1 billion over 40 years for 100 gigawatts? That can't possibly be right - a typical nuke costs $3 or $4 billion! I could believe $1 trillion...

Re: The End of Cheap Food

More misinformation in one article than I've seen is a long time.

1. American forests are not being cleared to produce ethanol. Total lie. In Brazil probably true.

2. Farmers do not decide whether their corn will be used for food or ethanol. The market decides. It is because corn is so cheaply priced by the market that it is used for ethanol. The energy content of corn is grossly undervalued by the market. Markets are not efficient is terms of pricing stuff according to its energy content. This is even true among fossil fuels. Diesel vs gasoline is the most common case of this. It leaves an opening to convert one form of energy to another at a profit or to switch from one form to another at a profit.

3. All corn can be used for food. All that is necessary is that the value of the food be greater than the value of the corn when used for ethanol. Food has been subsidized through the corn subsidy for so long that most can't remember a different situation. Feeding corn to animals is grossly energy inefficient. All you get from 15 bushels of corn fed to a hog is a carcass a lot of which is fat and bone. And the hog used a lot of energy just to live for 6 months.

4. The poor of the world who have no money can not expect farmers in the U.S. to feed them for free as they continue to reproduce without regard of the consequences. There is no more moral obligation for U.S. farmers to provide free food for the world than there is for Saudi Arabia to provide free oil to American drivers. Peak Oil demands that food be produced locally. Those who can not produce food must reduce population or slow down growth. Selling food below cost or giving it a away destroys incentives for production.
The poor in the world will benefit is the long term with rising food prices because a large share of them are engaged in food production. Those who are not had better switch.


Thanks for the clear thinking about corn for ethanol and food supply. Ethanol producers don't want to hurt the tortilla consumers of Mexico, its a clear case of unintended consequences. Yet, because of the global nature of are markets, our choices do affect others.

Corn is the perfect example of that. In the late 18th century in America, corn producers started producing alcohol, because it was cheaper to transport a finished product and otherwise their crop would be worthless. The feds wanted alcohol taxes, and out of that came the "Whiskey Rebellion". Corn prices in Kentuckey had no bearing on the prices in Great Britain, because the transport cost was too high.

But now, the ethanol craze is causing the prices in Mexico to skyrocket, because Mexican corn producers sell to the highest buyer, who happen to be the ethanol plants.

I don't agree that other's population growth relieves us of an ethical obligation to help feed starving people. But , it seems that the best way to solve both the food problem and the population problem is to help others to be prosperous and educated, as developed populations seem to have no problem with either.

Just a little food for thought.
Bob Ebersole

yes, but really what is so different about this. it's been going on since.........well at least since oct 12, 1492.

only now it is not only the aristocrats but suv driving vinyle sided house living soccor moms of heavenlyglenn subdivision doing the exploiting. party on you yuppie scum in a rat race up and down the highway to nowhere.

While you may be entirely right, I think that perhaps very little if any corn grown in Mexico is exported for ethanol production. Like the urban myth started last week about Venezuela ceasing to be an exporter and starting to import - it only applies to finished or refined products - the linkage between tortillas and ethanol has been an accepted factoid.

Maybe there is a link, but I'm guessing that there isn't, for several reasons, but I'd love to be shot down with some good hard stats before I take this one for granted.

I've written before on the tortilla subsidy factor, which dwarfed the price of corn, yet the easy to believe urban myths just won't go away.

Anybody out there have some good statistics to link this up or are we just going to assign blame to the ethanol guys? Did I miss some article[s] on the subject? To merely observe tortillas going up at the same time as ethanol production isn't good enough.

Hello Petrosaurus,

Ask and ye shall receive =):


57 more ethanol plants possible for Mexico to go with three existing.

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

>1. American forests are not being cleared to produce ethanol. Total lie. In Brazil probably true.

Land in the US is most definately beig cleared for planting corn. Its just not happening in the corn belt because there aren't a heck of lot of trees there.

>3. All corn can be used for food. All that is necessary is that the value of the food be greater than the value of the corn when used for ethanol.

Land that was previous used to grow other crops (ie wheat, rice, soy, etc) have been planted with corn this year because the margins are higher (caused by subsidies).

> Peak Oil demands that food be produced locally. Those who can not produce food must reduce population or slow down growth. Selling food below cost or giving it a away destroys incentives for production.

The US will have a hard time meeting its internal demand for food without the green-revolution, large quantities of diesel to operate farming machinery and for transported crops to consumers, and natural gas to dry grain for winter storage. As I recall, the US is already a net food importer.

Where I live, fields that have never in my lifetime seen a corn crop are now planted fence row to fence row.

The problem with starving people in other countries is not that we are not feeding them, it is the fact that we ship our subsidized overproduction to low-tech countries where their labor intensive farming practices cannot compete with our energy intensive practices. Thus we dump extremely cheap grain on their market, call it humanitarian, pat ourselves on the back for being so damned generous, then wonder why they cannot feed themselves. The reason is people buy our cheap grain and so the farmers there have no incentive to plant their own. Where does the grain go? Often it is resold or exported at a profit.

THe complete ignorance and arrogance of the people here is often astounding.

Also, do not forget that natural gas is essential for anhydrous ammonia. (Fertilizer.)

currently yes, but we could in theory find other feedstocks for the ammonia NH3. This is not something I know alot about however, but think it will be important.

anhydrous fuel cell, anyone ?

Holy jeez. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess:

Minnesota Gov. Ready To Consider Gas Tax

In wake of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is now willing to back off his opposition to a state gas tax increase, a spokesman said Friday.

The approval of a transportation funding bill would come at a possible special session, said Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung.

Minnesota hasn't raised its gas tax since 1988. It has sat at 20 cents per gallon since then. Pawlenty vetoed attempts to raise the tax in 2005 and earlier this year.

"We're willing to consider all options, including a gas tax," McClung said.

I guess it may be possible to increase gas taxes while prices are high after all.

This gas tax idea is a good thing. They ought to make those who use the roads, brdiges, tunnels, traffic lights, and street lights along highways pay for them. It might also stimulate interest in energy conservation and reduce gasoline consumption per capita, allowing for spending on other items.

In times gone by there was a 55 mph speed limit to reduce fuel lost to wind resistance and maximum heat of 68 degrees in government buildings.

>It might also stimulate interest in energy conservation and reduce gasoline consumption per capita, allowing for spending on other items.

No it doesn't. I just allows someone else to consume oil at a lower cost. Europe has very high gas taxes and look what that does to american consumption. If we slapped a $3 gallon tax in the US, China, and India are more than willing to consume all the oil we conserve.

In addition gas taxes hike inflation. First by putting more money into the hands of gov't which will spend it on wasteful usless programs. Second every worker will demand higher wages to adjust to the higher taxes. There already is plenty of taxes for road maintance. The problem is that local gov't siphon off gas taxes to fund other (non-road) projects.

There already is plenty of taxes for road maintance. The problem is that local gov't siphon off gas taxes to fund other (non-road) projects.

Not true -- non-road projects are not the cause of the shortfall. The main culprit is inflation.

Considering all federal, state and local expenditures on highways, gas taxes cover 35 percent. Sixty-one percent are covered by vehicle taxes (regardless of whether the vehicle uses the roads or not), property taxes, income taxes and bonds. Municipal streets are generally funded by bonds and property, sales and in some cases, state income taxes.

That means people who drive less are subsidizing those who drive a lot; those who drive mainly on city streets are subsidizing those who mostly use highways.

See: Fueling Transportation Finance: A Primer on the Gas Tax

This report is related:
Improving Efficiency and Equity in Transportation Finance

Transportation finance is increasingly dominated by a politics of expediency, and as gas tax yields sag, reliance on local transportation taxes surges. America's system of transportation finance is quietly but steadily being restructured from fuel taxes to property, income and general taxes.

more correctly the parent is correct on 1 and 2, but wrong on 3.

there are no free lunches. Paying more in gas taxes will shift consumers to more efficient vehicles, but they will still be paying more. More efficient vehicles will reduce gasoline demand, but still the tax will exist and cost MORE!!

"If we slapped a $3 gallon tax in the US, China and India are more than willing to consume all the oil we conserve"

Then oil depletion becomes their problem, and ultimately they may realise that the same solution - increasing fuels taxes is the best solution there too.

As the rest of your post, it's purely conjecture. Sure the government will always spend a certain percentage of taxpayer's money on wasteful useless programs, but is there any real evidence that the private sector is less prone to this? And workers are always going to "demand" (=desire) higher wages anyway: I doubt gasoline costing 20c/G more is going to change this much, considering that they could save it easily by driving more efficiently (combining trips, avoiding peak-hour travel etc.).

>Then oil depletion becomes their problem, and ultimately they may realise that the same solution - increasing fuels taxes is the best solution there too.

The point of higher taxes is to "conserve" oil so that it lasts longer. Whether we raises taxes or not does not shift the problem to india and China.

>As the rest of your post, it's purely conjecture. Sure the government will always spend a certain percentage of taxpayer's money on wasteful useless programs, but is there any real evidence that the private sector is less prone to this?

It is not conjecture. Its been proven many times to be a fact. There far better ways to conserve energy and reduce consumption than to raise taxes. I've stated them over and over here, yet I might as well be talking to a brick wall because you people thing your so smart and know whats best, but you haven't got the foggiest clue. Washington says raise taxes, you say raise taxes. You people are no better than the politicans running this country into the ground.

Good day!

I don't see the main point of raising taxes being to "conserve oil": to me it's primarily about sending the right market signals to prepare people for an oil-depleted future (i.e, don't make decisions now that make your life dependent on cheap gasoline). It's also about helping reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and ensuring there are sufficient funds for roadworks etc. Anything over and above what is needed for traffic-related funding can be returned back as an income tax cut, if you're so concerned about raising overall levels of taxes.

And, please, show me this proof that private enterprise is always more efficient and effective than goverment at providing infrastructure services. I can certainly think of plenty of counter-examples.

A better market signal would be to put a hard cap on throughput. Everyone gets X gallons of gasoline - trade and sell is fine - and next year they get some smaller percentage of X.

cfm in Gray, ME

>Then oil depletion becomes their problem, and ultimately they may realise that the same solution - increasing fuels taxes is the best solution there too.

The point of higher taxes is to "conserve" oil so that it lasts longer. Whether we raises taxes or not does not shift the problem to india and China.

>As the rest of your post, it's purely conjecture. Sure the government will always spend a certain percentage of taxpayer's money on wasteful useless programs, but is there any real evidence that the private sector is less prone to this?

It is not conjecture. Its been proven many times to be a fact. There far better ways to conserve energy and reduce consumption than to raise taxes. I've stated them over and over here, yet I might as well be talking to a brick wall because you people thing your so smart and know whats best, but you haven't got the foggiest clue. Washington says raise taxes, you say raise taxes. You people are no better than the politicans running this country into the ground.

Good day!

Hi Tech,


re: "There far better ways to conserve energy and reduce consumption than to raise taxes. I've stated them over and over here, yet I might as well be talking to a brick wall..."

Tech, is there any possibility you might be willing to write out your list again and/or to post the links to your ideas?

I'm interested (honest and truly).


Raise the Interest rates. Higher rates reduces growth and make people use energy more efficiently and spend less (can only spend what they earn, not borrow). Unlike proposed rationing, gas tax hikes, higher interest rates curb overseas consumption as other nations are forced to raise rates to prevent capital from moving overseas, thus causing global impact on energy consumption.

Imagine if you would if the Fed did not drop rates down to 1%. We probably would have been in a recession for at least 5 years, which would have save billions in oil and we would not have wasted energy on a massive housing construction boom. Fewer people would have purchased large SUV (and probably would have downsized to smaller vechicles since the bigger vehicles are more expensive). Smaller homes instead if McMansions. This list goes on and on.

Finally its would be far easier to convience the 12 voting members of Fed board about Peak oil and the need to conserve energy, then it is to convince 300 congressman + 100 senators and a president that urgency of conservation.

Of course not a soul here will like that idea because they all like cheap and easy credit to fuel their own wasteful consumption, and probably better than 90% have jobs dependant on cheap and easy credit. Americans are not only addicted to oil, their addicted to credit. I doubt more than a handfull of TOD readers have zero debt.

But high interest rates makes it harder to finance investments in better efficiency and new infrastructure. It hurts if there is a will to do something substantial about the problem like reinvesting industrial processes, build nuclear powerplants, chage to energy efficvient windows, build railways, and so on.

"high interest rates makes it harder to finance investments"

Which is one paradoxical reason that higher interest rates can cause inflation.

Image company A with their investments and fixed rate financing in place, and company B without. When interest rates are raised competition is stifled, allowing "A" to raise prices. This may cause "measured inflation" to rise which feeds into the Fed further raising rates -- a snowball effect.

As I recall, during the 73-74 bear market, inflation took off -- but S&P500 earning rose throughout. The P/E of the market had to come down to compete with interest rates.

Yeah, they'll spend that money on armaments and corporate welfare.

When will these leeches, these corporate welfare queens, learn to live by the free markets?

If we could simply cut off the corporations from the government teat, we could have enough money to rebuild the infrastructure, create jobs, provide health care for everyone, and protect the environment.

God bless good liberals like Techguy for pointing out the all the wasted money we spend on corporate welfare.

>God bless good liberals like Techguy for pointing out the all the wasted money we spend on corporate welfare.

I can't tell if your being sarcastic, but I am far from a liberal. Liberals want bigger gov't, I want less, much less!

While corporations and the free markets can't fix most problems, I believe that gov't can't fix any of them! I would be surprised if you didn't agree with me on this. What major problem about our future has the gov't addressed in the last 50 years? Both sides are to blame.

Take care

we do pay for roads and bridges already, through gas taxes and through income tax. What we need to do is stop camoflaging the subsidies. It would then become very clear that light rail subsidies are the cheap, conservative way to collectively handle the transportation problem in society. Or, alternatively, we could sell every road, street and bridge outside of a piece of individually owned land to a toll road company, and then listen to the bitching because of no new roads or road repair.
Bob Ebersole

He just got re-elected in 2006. Not up for re-election till 2010.

This is probably more about not having the party punished in 2008. Although, I think they have already crossed that bridge.

Impending oil shortages not good enough.
Drowth and global warming no good enough.
Wasting our future by burning it all now not good enough.
Crumbling infrastructure and national headlines about how they let people die good enough.

We are only capable, if at all, when the consequences of our actions are staring us in the face and when we are reported on 24/7 by CNN.

Yes, it was criminal to cause these people to die becauses of negligence. But we are doing to the planet is even more so. Unfortunately, those responsible will not be around to pay the piper when the bill comes do.

I've posted this several times but I don't feel that the issue has been addressed.

The question is simple how will the oil industry fare post peak ?

The answer seems chilling, not well.

The problem is that the oil industries primary product is oil and if a shortage of oil causes problems you can expect that the oil industries oil production to be compromised leading to a shortage of oil.

Here are the problems they face.

1.) Money games to try and force the economy to continue to grow even as a critical asset becomes unavailable. This leads to strong inflation and devaluation of savings.
The effect is to increase the costs of goods and services and erode the ability to make long term expensive investments. For the National oil companies with large dollar reserves you probably will see them reduce production in and attempt to increase prices to offset losses from financial games. Stock prices will be volatile. I'm sure a lot of other issues exist since we are dealing with the worlds largest companies in general the only positive seems to be increased price for the oil. Someone that understands the interaction of the oil industry and financial world can probably put together a better set of issues and consequences for various financial moves. Overall a unstable financial world is not a good place to make trillion dollar long term investments.

2.) Supply and Demand. Demand destruction will eventually become a factor and its hard to spur large investment in a product that is dropping in demand. Next demand for oil is fairly inelastic so demand destruction is probably not a smooth affair with people buying until the literally cannot afford oil. For oil at least demand destruction seems to be more economic destruction then any sort of replacement or alternative approach. The biggest problem however is shortages since these directly effect everyone regardless of their financial position.

Looking at the oil industry shortages may be crippling. Its one of our largest industries with a vast global web of supplies and workers. Shortages will disrupt this industry and cause delays. If we get the sort of global waves of shortages with one region facing shortages then paying a high price to get oil forcing another region into shortages I think the oil industry will face repeated and continuous problems since its a large global industry.

3.) Political issues. At the heart of this problem you have a simple issue. Governments need taxes if the only industry that making large profits is the oil industry it will become the target of taxes especially as the populations of various countries begin to live "paycheck to paycheck". This points to another problem that not really being explored as economies slow tax revenue will dry up and governments will become desperate for cash. Of course the people will blame the oil companies for their situation. This puts the future of oil companies in doubt and makes it difficult for them to invest capitol making them even bigger targets as their cash hoards grow. In general we can expect the entire oil industry to become heavily taxed in one form or another and we should see a Pemex like situation developing world wide.
And of course we can expect problems at the global political level as governments chase a declining resource.

I'm sure more serious issues are possible but the above seems to indicate that we can expect the performance of the oil industry and its ability to extract and refine oil to deteriorate fairly rapidly post peak. This causes a feedback loop to develop with lower oil supplies leading to lower performance.

Overall I think that the above issues will be the key drivers in actual oil output coupled with the export land model it seems a steep drop off in oil production and especially exports is certain as the world economy,politics and financial spheres are forced to reorganize to deal with peak oil. What seems to be almost certain is effectively a meltdown of the oil industry right when its products are most needed. Underlying all these problems is the fact that we are really addicted to cheap plentiful oil not just oil, expensive scarce oil is worthless to our global economy.

My guess: IOCs will not be immune to the meltdown when the "infinite growth" paradigm shifts. They are also in danger of being taken over by the government. And not just by the Putins and Chavezes of the world. Even "democratic" (read: free market capitalist) countries may decide that energy is too precious to belong to private individuals.

But I think big oil's employees will probably do fine (assuming they don't get shot at by angry locals). They'll just welcome their new nationalist overlords, whoever they are.

The employees are not immune. One of the key issues is that oil industry employees will begin to have problems performing their jobs. Shortages are the primary culprit. Also the oil industry depends on a huge number of outside suppliers these suppliers and their suppliers and their employees will face problems. Next of course another issue I did not bring up is labor unions and individual renegotiation of contracts I don't see the employees of most oil companies willing to let their real wages erode while their employer makes big profits. At some point crippling strikes should occur as the standard of living drops.
Next of course direct attacks on oil employees are yet another issue thats not been addressed. Right now they are limited to a few places but we have no reason to not expect them to increase along with attacks on oil company property.
Look at the recent attack in Mexico.
This adds a whole new security dimension to the problem.

The oil industry is first and foremost a energy intensive manufacturing like industry it will suffer all the problems of any other industry post peak. This brings up another issue we have not explored the effect of peak oil on core industrial manufacturing. We can expect that the oil industry including its support industries will be in the same boat. Since the oil industry refuses to acknowledge peak oil I don't see how they can make the required changes to ensure maximum production post peak. Look at all the command and control structure that the US put in place during WWII to optimize war production. The oil industry needs to do something similar post peak to ensure production is sustained much less maximized.

And again every one of these problems will only cause real production to decrease further fanning the flames.


87% of the oil is already owned by national oil companies, and all the good wildcatting areas that are left. That's socialist ownership of the means and assets of production, like in the middle east (Aramco) or Venezuela (PDVSA) or Mexico (Pemex). Even in Canada, the government owns all the minerals. In the US, all the offshore minerals and minerals under federal lands in Alaska and national forests are all federal minerals.

So I guess you are predicting that the US government is going to nationalise the assets of rich people. Don't hold your breath.

As far as prospects in the future, we are all on one planet with one economy. If it goes down, we're all going down. And everybody of whatever political or religious belief needs to realise that, and act accordingly. No man is an island, to quote the English cleric John Donne, and modern interconnected ness is making it even more clear.

I've been pooh-poohed about this before, but I believe that the big oil companies are going to break up and get out of production in the future. Too many liabilities, plus the overhead of independents is so much less that only they can make a living on declining production. I'd give them about 10 years. That's not true of refining and distribution, and maybe hugely capital intensive operations like the Alberta bitumen deposits.

And a correction, oil production is a mining industry, oil refining a manufacturing industry, oil marketing a service industryBob Ebersole

So I guess you are predicting that the US government is going to nationalise the assets of rich people. Don't hold your breath.

Actually I think the exact opposite I suspect at least in the US we will see our government privatized by the wealthy using a security threat as and excuse. Nobody needs a broke middle class and the pretense of a democracy will end. Fascism is really private business run amok.

The point however is that it seems clear that a battle will occur between big oil and the government and the result will be a single entity and the little guy is certain to lose.

I just don't see how our growth economy can survive unless government and big business merge to unify investment. If they do merge tax monies can be used to prop up big business for a bit as the economies slow.

I have no idea how this will be presented on the political front but in order to keep the economy going I think that a perverted socialism with big business and government functions openly merged will happen. This will allow big business to take the resources it needs to continue. And oil as the biggest business will benefit the most.

On the economic side we should see a shift to a dual economy production of basics to feed and house the newly poor cheap workers and luxury goods. This is the basic economy of Rome right before the empire fell as wealth became fully concentrated.

This realignment seems to me to be the only way to keep the oil industry functioning since it means our tax dollars and laws can be used to directly subsidize operating costs with profits flowing directly to the remaining wealthy people.

This scenario is very close to KSA so yes I expect big oil and government to merge but not in a way that helps the people since in reality its big oil taking over the government not the other way around.

Otherwise we must in my opinion have a break up of big oil to increase efficiencies.

From a report produced by the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress, Nov 2005:

“between 2004 and 2010, capacity to produce oil (not actual production) could grow by 16 million barrels per day—from 85 million barrels per day to 101 million barrels a day—a 20 percent increase. Such growth over the next few years would relieve the current pressure on supply and demand.”43 The CERA forecast is based largely on projects already under development that had been approved in the 2001-2003 timeframe with lower price expectations than current prices. The forecast implies a 3 percent average annual compound growth rate of capacity. Since 2001, world oil consumption has been increasing at an average annual compound growth rate of 2 percent."


The report is typical of CERA and others who offered to provide expert consultation without having expert knowledge.

More than half-way from 2004-2010 and we have not seen any indication of a pattern even similar to the CERA projected growth of 20% production capacity to 101 million barrels per day production in 2010. As with the North Sea there were early gross exagerations over the amount of undiscovered oil remaining.

The exceedingly naive viewpoint that projects would be completed on time and within budget, the propensity to count all new oil as extra added production without subtracting for depletion, the failure to recognize that OPEC might have been bluffing about proven oil reserves it held, and the failure to realize that OPEC might not support a 20% increase in production even if they had the capacity to offset the high decline rates in their mature fields with tremendous amounts of new production led to people to become complacement and presume help in the form of much lower oil prices was on the way.

We'll see how the credit markets shake out this week and in the months to come. My fear is that 5 months from now, we might have to rename the site: theCreditBanjoandOildrum.com

To continue to pound on a topic :)

How will the problems in the credit market effect the oil industry my guess is it does not help. And yet another issue is simple psychology we are entering a time when we will have a lot of fear and uncertainty while the oil industry needs trillions of dollars of investment. And of course you have the case of oil related assets performing well post peak in a down economy so you can expect people to sell these to raise cash to make margin calls which will depress the price of these assets. Notice that the P/E for oil assets are in general a lot lower than for other industries. This means to me people are using the profits from the sale of oil assets to pay other debts. I just don't see the oil industry getting the investment it needs to maximize production in this sort of economic climate.

Mike, read my comment above. You're right about finance.
Bob Ebersole

I agree. However:

Notice that the P/E for oil assets are in general a lot lower than for other industries.

Many of the large hedge funds and mutual funds that manage many billions can't play the oil futures markets, either because they dont invest in futures by law, or because the futures markets are too small. To me the low P/Es of energy companies, in the face of record oil prices, is telegraphing that hedge funds see an economic slowdown, hence lower oil prices on the horizon - they dont play this in the September futures, but in underweighting energy stocks. Alternatively, the 'net energy gain' story is playing out - the high quality stuff is largely gone domestically so companies getting the remaining oil have to spend alot of energy and capital to find and get out the next barrel. In this sense, the current sales price of crude is too low to reflect its actual scarcity. This too could explain low P/Es on E/P companies - their profits are being squeezed by higher costs.

Curiously, the futures dynamics on nat gas and oil have completely flipped of late. The long term contango market has flipped into comparatively steep backwardation in oil - where dec 2012 several months ago was $3 higher than front month - now its $7 lower - a switch of $10 in a short period. To me that is telegraphing current uncertainty because we still have strong economy but expected weakness ahead.

Conversely, as Ive mentioned several times, current natural gas is in steep contango market - current prices are just under $6 and futures prices average above $9-$10 for next five years. Seems the glut here is not expected to last (though many people think we will run out of storage and have to mandatorily shut in production).

I wish there were bat guano futures...;)

Bat Guano Futures in backwardation right now,
but in contango soon?

On a related subject, what will the dollar be worth in 3 months?

Helicopter Ben

With what you just said I don't see a industry that is going to pull in the billions and trillions in investment needed to say drill in the Arctic for example or deepwater offshore.

It looks like the cost of oil production is already to high vs returns.

Its really a catch 22 if the price of oil increases enough to spur investment in very expensive sources then its high enough to cause inflation and economic hardship increasing costs and decreasing prospects for demand growth and eventually demand.

It seems to me that basic commodity markets actually operate within a band to low a price and producers go out of business to high and consumers in effect go out of business plus inflation/costs destroy profits.

So you have a real range under which a large commodity industry can operate effectively. This double bounding is especially true for industries like the oil industry thats heavily dependent on its own products.

For example if this is true then other core industries like food production should exhibit the same banding. I think Robert has remarked a few times that the ethanol market will face this sort of crunch as costs squeeze the profits of corn producers. I know this is still tied to oil.

Maybe another example would be construction and land prices initially land prices increase as construction increases but at some point the market starts to stumble and land values drop. The oil industry would then be compared to the combination of land sellers and builders. Eventually it has to pull back no matter what the current price is since it passes the sustainable limit on the upside.

So do you think that the oil industry actually faces this sort of upper bound ?

I think that what I'm trying to say is that they do face a real upper bound that stops the oil industry from growing and sends it into decline even if prices are still increasing once the profit margins stop increasing as costs increase. It really the rate that profits increase thats the cause of a upper bound on investment. As the rate slows and reverses investment quickly drops even though the companies are still making large profits. This upper limit and lack of infinite investment is the problem.

I think that WT Export Land has the same sort of behavior everyone can see that at some point internal growth has to pull back since its exports that drive the economic growth.
So you have this sort of peak in the export land model in the sense that internal growth rate begins to slow then decline. Overall exports still decline but now its against a slowing or contracting internal economy.

It seems that the Oil Industry is already in contraction ?

Sort of a HL economic model :)

Economic models are not Gaussian in shaped - they have baby steps up and gigantic swift steps down. We just recently attained the highs in the SP500 that were reached in 2000.

Human behaviour, at least in the markets exhibits something of leptokeursion to the left (left being bad). Its definitely not normal. I made lots of money on the markets underexpectation of 3,4 and 5 standard deviation events, of which I expect we will see several of in the next few months.

I suspect your more correct then I am. In general I dismiss soft landing/problem contained pronouncements and if your right exponential decline is a soft landing concept.

In general things just seem to stop functioning.

The backwardation in the oil is a big mystery to me.
(and being very long on CLZ8 it is a financial pain too)

I have read several news blaming the IEA-report for the steep increase in the price of oil, but it just doesnt make sense!

If we believe IEA's latest warnings (I do) we will see more trouble with oil supply in the years to come, but as you mention, it is the september contract that has risen the most. And I did not see the IEA claim that we will have any shortages in 2007...
I use the lows in late june as reference date and notice that CLU7 (september) is up almost 15% when CLZ8 (december 2008) was up less than 2%.
Before this date CLU7, CLZ7 and CLZ8 followed each other nicely. But since then CLU has made a massive breakout????

What happens in 2008 that will make oil cheaper according to the market? OPEC meeting in september? A depression? Please help me? Even the December 2007 contract has risen way more than december 2008.

Economic weakness won't help as US will increase oiluse despite a contracting economy. The traders just havent realized this yet. The only reason I don't cover the spread (by selling CLU7) is that I am not sure this situation will change before the contract expires.

To answer another question: Luckily I won't be affected of 100$ oil as the USD will be soo much cheaper!

I would not be surprised if USD looses 20% value in 12 months.
Looking even further to the future, the USD will go even further down. The USDEUR will break 2 in three years!
(You might have guessed that I got lots of USDDKK contracts, and doing just fine with them)

I just cant see how US will be able to defend the value of the dollar, higher interest rates will be a "no go" as you will lower rates to save the economy. I believe very much in ratecuts in the future.
The implications of higher interests on US foreign dept alone would make US deficit even worse too. I believe you would rather see the value of foreign holdings of USD to tumble rather than destroying you own economy. (Win Win)

On the upside the weaker USD will rescue the US as your grossly overconsumption will turn away from imports and help domestic production and services.

US keeps on calling on China to strenghten the Yuan, but a weaker USD will solve the problem just fine. US will suddenly be competetive in international trade.
The people to pay will be the US consumers who will no longer be able to afford the current VERY cheap imports.
That will be the price you will have to pay!

Is TOD the right place to discuss investing?
I see this as just as good a way to prepare for PO.
I might not save oil for the greater good of humanity, but I will be able to afford 300$ oil...


Being from Denmark it is hard to be against global warming :-)

P.S. I did buy some natural gas, but whoa... That is one volatile commodity! I am out now, didn't have the nerves ;-)

Hi Rune,

Interesting discussion here.

re: "Is TOD the right place to discuss investing?
I see this as just as good a way to prepare for PO.
I might not save oil for the greater good of humanity, but I will be able to afford 300$ oil..."

I have question.

What percentage (or is there some other way to qualify/quantify) of the population or of the - (let me think of a name for it)- the "supply of money invested"...

- were it to be maximally invested, with "peak" in view

-So as to enable one/them/us to "afford the $300 oil", (as you say here...

-would render any such knowledge and/or strategy useless?

(Does my question make sense?)

I don't really understand the question, but

Investing in oil will not make any more oil.

Except... If lots of people were to buy oil before any shortages actually occur they simulate shortages.
When I buy oil now (currently I have more oil than I will consume in my lifetime) I have increased demand, thus shifting the demandcurve. Higher prices follow and eventually this will spur higher investments on the supplyside.

On a grand scale I believe this will actually soften the impact of PO as these higher prices will kill demand earlier. And once the real shortages occur a lot of the oil bought as investment will be for sale to consumers, and I will suddenly be on the supply side.

This will prevent the prices going too high.

So while speculative investments in oil won't bring more oil to the market per say, it will give us time.

We will experience the hardship of higher prices without actual shortages. If the price of oil is speculated higher, oil will not hit 300$ as the rise will be slower and people can adopt better then if PO hit the public overnight.

People might not be able to afford 300$ oil, but they would have no choise.

In reality it is impossible for everybody to buy 20 years worth of oiluse, as the price would explode if everybody just bought one years consumption in advance.
I just hope that 1% buys 10 years consumption in advance.
That will give us the very high prices needed to stop the addiction.

In europe we have used taxes to start the detox 30 years ago

Just use Denmark as example. We pay 7 USD/gallon, and we have beaten the addiction.
We have a WAY better average MPG than in the US.
We have very insulated houses, many with district heating
We have lots of public transportation
We have the worlds best combined heat and electricity utilities running on a wide variety of fuels (lots of non fossil fuels).
We have a very energy efficient industri.

My investment in oil is greater than my oil use, since I also use it to cover the increases in all other prices.
But it did hurt today, loosing 3 USD/barrel...

I believe it was a shame that the US stopped buying oil for the strategic reserves. By keeping on buying oil they would be in a win/win situation. They would get bigger reserves, and they would teach the population to save oil.

Being from Denmark it is hard to be against global warming :-)

hi - R_F

I personally don't believe in the 300$/barrel- and "business as usual" -scenario - there will be rationing in place before this theoretically would happen - my guess.

THE 300$-barrel would spell a kind of ecco "that something is not rigth ... these days" -

Houston we have a freak problem ; pls press some buttons ... and as said, one of those is the rationing-button

I totally agree. If the market were allowed to function normally after peak oil, we would have $300 and much higher (eventually) oil. I think there will be nationalization, rationing, restrictions, etc. before that time. Perhaps not, but I think above $200-$250 and business-as-usual would be over.

You might put rationing on the purchase of oil by consumers.

But how will you restrict the investment community?

If the price of a barrel of oil would be 300, then what would the price at the pump be?
I am sure that some of the taxes would not follow the increase and the final price at the pump would not be 12$
Let us imagine that the price at the pump went to 10$ That is only 40% more than I pay today.

Even if petrol rose 100% here in Denmark most people would still buy it. They would squeel, but they would buy.

But let us just say that you start rationing petrol, it would not keep prices lower.
The rest of the world would still offer to buy the oil at 300$ so you would have to pay the same.

You might say that 150$ oil would start demand destruction, that could easily offset the initial 3 mbpd shortage.

But the very fact that this fall in production would worsen with time would make oil very nice to have. Thus demand would increase dramatically even when consumption was falling.
I might drive my car less, but I would certainly buy more oil!

Add to this the behavior of suppliers.
So far all oilproducers (countries and companies alike) have produced their oilfields with a "rather 10 today than 11 tomorrow" mentality.
Beyond PO this will change to "rather 10 tomorrow than 10 today"
This will have dissastrous effect given the way oilfields are abused today.
I believe that many oilfields are produced in a way that discounts future production.

Once PO is realized by producers, they will supply less oil.

Did I ever express a belief that we have business-as-usual beyond PO? I certainly don't think so!

Being from Denmark it is hard to be against global warming :-)

There are things to be concerned about and things not to worry about. Peak Oil is here or about to be here and is huge.

But a credit crunch? I'd say, "Forget about it--not going to happen." The Fed has enormous powers and is not shy about using them. There was no credit crunch after the crash of '87, no credit crunch as the result of the savings and loan fiasco, and indeed, we havn't seen really tight credit since 1982 and the Volker massive attack on inflation.

Never underestimate the power of the Fed to pump liquidity into the system. The Fed has the tools and it has the determined leadership needed to do the job. Ben is not about to go down in history as a guy who fiddled while the credit markets burned.

My simplistic Export Land Model (ELM), for a hypothetical country, shows that from peak production and peak exports, only about 10% of future production would be exported, with consumption equal to 50% of production at peak. Starting from peak production/peak exports in ELM, net exports during the peak year would represent about 18% of all remaining future net exports.

Regarding real data, my guess is that we are now consuming, worldwide on an annual basis, between 5% and 10% of all the oil that will ever be exported.

Note that the decline rate in net exports should accelerate with time.

News report on declining OPEC exports:

The following articles suggests that refiners are “voluntarily” buying less oil (kind of the same way that Saudi Arabia is “voluntarily” producing less oil, in much the same way that I have “voluntarily” chosen not to date Julia Roberts).

Oil price above $77; analyst predicts fall in OPEC supply excluding Angola

In the meantime, an analyst has said that OPEC oil exports, excluding Angola, will fall 90,000 barrels per day in the four weeks to Aug. 18, as shipments to Western refiners continue to wane, an analyst who estimates future shipments said on Thursday.

While I do not claim to have the information that many here seem to concerning the oil reserves, production, and intentions of all the nations of the world, I cannot resist on commenting on what I have seen at street level in the last week or two, because it has been absolutely fascinating....crude oil touched right around $78.00, as gasoline prices essentially collapsed faster than the stock market! In my area, gasoline is back at $2.69 at most outlets and now cheaper than Diesel again (DAMM!!!) Astoundingly a drop in gasoline price greater than a drop in share prices or housing prices on the week did not seem to create a "deflationary" panic! :-)

In the meantive, it is looking as if Venezuela may actually be something of an "export land" test case in that some projections show this extremely oil rich nation ceasing to export oil completely within the next year, and becomeing a net energy importer within a couple of years (!!!!), but I am not sure your Export Land Model (ELM) comports well with the Venezuela model (?), or for that matter with the Iranian model, the Angolan model, or the Nigerian model, just a few more examples of oil rich countries who are suffering home market liquid fuel crisis AND exporting crisis due to chaotic conditions and outright incompetence by their governments and world markets.
Mexico we will lay aside for now, trying to make a real estimate of it's on and offshore production possibilities would be a far longer shot than a bet on a lotto ticket.....completely pointless, though many still write as though they can predict it down to the half barrel.

What we are seeing is a market so convoluted that the statistical static is deafening. We can safely take the bet that over the longer haul, oi and gas production will be more expensive and more difficult given the above ground factors we have seen. As far as below ground factors, who knows.

As far as the Saudi's? We keep howling at them that we need more oil production from them. If they did not have to be diplomatic they could tell us the truth...."How the helll can the OECD nations have ANY IDEA how much production is needed? Go back to your boats, and your RV's and your weekend trips to the car and speedboat races, and buy your $2.79 gasoline, and TELL US WHAT YOU NEED!"

Frankly, if I were the Saudi's I would play this game exactly as they are playing it. If they cannot raise the production, given the confused state of the markets, who would know for years? Maybe a depression would hit first, and no one would know for decades! (hey, it worked in 1980), but if they can raise production, why on Earth would they?

Gasoline is still giveaway at the pump, natural gas is down, oil demand is still high (of course, because the price of gasoline is still low at the pump, THAT'S what the public sees), and we are now coming down to one last big driving holiday before summer comes to an end. Despite the wild hysteria that we would see well over a hundred bucks a barrel by July 4th of LAST year, much less this summer, those who are looking for a catastrophe will now have to hope for a blizzard cold winter in the heating oil belt, because demand otherwise will now drop seasonally, and considerably....wait till next year?

My guess....? The Saudi's are still shaking the competition out, and will dribble oil out a teaspoon at a time....all the while giving us full production of rumors and panic mongering (under the table, of course). So far, the technical competitors to Saudi Arabia, be it tar sand, ethanol, electric cars, or coal to anything have proven almost stillborn.....while the other oil producing nations of the world, even including the British, have proven themselves outmatched, outgunned and certainly outwitted on every front.

The Saudi's have their boot up our azz all the way to the knee, and can kick us further if they choose....
What's worse, what's more dangerous, is they know it. Notice? Our government is learning NOT to backtalk those guys.....

Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Don, an ease is out of the question in these times. The dollar would sell off quickly. If we have deflation tied to credit unwind, the Feds options in this day and age are much much fewer than they were in 1987. Once deflation sets in, even lowering nominal short rates to zero won't be low enough to revive the economy as the real rate would still be very high. Japanese rates near zero did nothing to revive their economy for a decade. As for longer term rates set by the market - if there was an ease they would go to the moon. And the moon has very little oxygen and very little gravity.

Here is my twenty cents worth:
The Fed will ease before the end of the year.
The dollar will not collapse, though it will continue to decline against major foreign currencies.
We will have an economic slowdown but not a recession in 2007.

Again, I just do not see the problems of hedge funds and investment banks as a big deal--but rather a far far smaller deal than the savings and loan debacle of more than twenty years ago.

Businesses are still borrowing money; consumers are still adding to their credit card debt, and the decline in housing values is "orderly." So Ford and GM may go bankrupt . . . Well, so what? That is the way capitalism works. Toyota and Honda are doing just fine with their auto businesses.

U.S. government deficits are still providing a huge Keynesian type of fiscal stimulus to the economy.

Will we ever have a recession? Sure, but not during the next several months. Take a look at the high level of consumer confidence . . . or even take a look at Wal-Mart profits, which are up.

The finance tail does not wag the real economy dog. So long as our oil imports continue at current levels, I do not see any major drag on our economy from Peak Oil. Now when U.S. oil and refined products imports decline due to supply constraint as the price of oil soars over eighty, then ninety and then one hundred dollars per barrel, yeah, then the real economy is going to slow down and decline. The remarkable thing is not that the economy is slowing down some; the remarkable thing is that we have not gone into recession at any time during the past two years of rising oil prices.

And although I predict much much much higher levels of inflation in years to come, with oil holding under eighty dollars I don't see inflation much worse in 2007 than it was in 2006. Food prices are up, yes, I know that, but if we should have a good harvest in a couple of months (which may happen), there could be downward pressure on corn and other grain prices, despite all the increased ethanol demand.

More than ever I'm concerned about Peak Oil and abrupt climate change. Less than ever I'm concerned about a financial crisis in 2007.

Businesses are still borrowing money; consumers are still adding to their credit card debt

True - but backward looking. The debt meltdown has yet to occur except at the fringes. How will companies borrow money if institutions say 'No mas' and won't buy debt unless its double digits? If the debt meltdown is somehow averted (I don't see how), then I roughly agree with you.

And the financial crisis IS worrying about Peak Oil. Because much needed investment in oil projects will be put on hold.

Dons being a bit tricky with dates considering the end of 2007 is 5 months. I think he is probably not far off since this fiasco will take time to unravel. The world is not going to end tomorrow and the debt market are finally pricing in reasonable levels of risk. We have not even got back to a "normal" debt market. So first we have to unwind until we are back to sanity and only then will we cross over into problems.

It will simply take time for events to unfold and I think the Feds can and will do some short term actions to try and keep the markets orderly on the way down. The first big one in foreclosure spikes is not till this winter and I'd think that banks etc are going to do their best to hold off as long as possible settling accounts. Your right on that its probably already effected the oil industry but I tend to agree with Don on one point this is only the tip of the iceberg. However I think its going to get a lot worse then Don is predicting. Right now its just the ultra rich taking a beating it takes time for them to get back to fleecing the poor. But you can bet layoffs are coming as the wealthy extract money out of business to rebuild their war chests.

One point I made in another post is that I expect OPEC to continue to withhold product (assuming this is real) as the dollar drops so we will see 100 oil.

I think Don is right. I posted over at TOD Canada a rather long and boring discussion about noisy markets and the future. Here's the good part where actual numbers and things can be used as historical evidence that shows I'm really dumb (or a good guesser):

Over the next 2 years I suspect a good pullback to about 10,000 for the DOW (at the worst), the US dollar to hover around 80 on the dollar index (as it's doing now) gold to go nowhere ($600-700 per ounce), OECD inflation to be under reported and be really at around 6-8%, and oil to move between 50-80. I think this will cover the current noise.

I made a few bucks when the market opened today by shorting the USD/JPY pair. I don't know about the PPT, but it's interesting watching the USD claw back after being body slammed when the market opened. Anyway, what can happen in 24 months?

We will see. I think he is right in the sense that things probably won't fall apart in 2007 or at least not till lat 2007 but California is not going to make it through 2008 without going into a recession I suspect Florida will also. Dunno about Illinois. But your going to have a lot of states in recession by 2008. Since this is a recession lead by the last of our internal businesses banking and housing its really a state by state and regional phenomena.

All real estate lead recessions are local.

Hi memmel,

Thanks (as always). I'm curious, since you seem versed in the regions, what you think about Texas. (I'm not in Texas but know people there.)

I just do not see the problems of hedge funds and investment banks as a big deal--but rather a far far smaller deal than the savings and loan debacle of more than twenty years ago.

Let's see. Home prices have about doubled in the past few years, while at the same time folks with ever lower credit have bought "real" estate. The brokers who sold them the stuff then pushed the paper to the banks, who did some creative Christmas present wrapping to make it all look real good, and packaged tranches marked as AAA that contained lots of not-at-all AAA.

They were aided by the -deliberate- opaqueness of the whole process, the cluelessness of regulators, and the complicity of the ratings agencies. These CDO'd tranches were then forwarded to hedge funds, who sold them to investors.

The AAA label is required for larger investors, like pension plans and insurance companies, and they eagerly bought. Boy did they ever. The next step was for the hedgers to go back to the bank and use the whole wrapped yuletide to borrow more money, 10 times as much as the "value" of the Santa gifts, so they could buy more of the same. Ever wonder how every kid can get presents under the tree? Simple. The elfs use a fractional reserve magic wand at the North Pole. Every toy becomes 100, in a sec.

There is a little bitty issue with all of this: no-one knows what the tranches are worth, it's all set arbitrarely. It's like Schrödinger's cat: you won't know if it's dead till you look.

When Jan 1 comes around, the mistletoe is thrown out, and books are due, what is the true worth of all of it? Again, simple. Their value is what anyone will be nuts enough to pay for them. Which will be close to zero. Once people start to grasp that any tranch, CDO or else, may contain lots of junk, they won't want nothing to do with them. If they could get their hands on credit to buy them. Which they won't. Pension fund managers will need superb contortionist qualities to hide the losses they have already locked in their vaults. Some day soon someone will want to know. Ugly, ugly. What do China and Japan hold that will evaporate along with the Bear Stearns and other funds? They're afraid to go look, don't look don't tell is the word. Freddie, Fannie: same story. The big investment banks have already plunged over 15% so far this year.

Because of all the leverage inherent in the pyramid, we are talking about trillions upon trillions of dollars that risk being disappeared, or renditioned, overnight. How that could possibly be far far smaller than the S&L hick-up, I have no idea.

This is what the bulls of the bulls are saying about the market.

Jim Rogers on the current market…

``got a long way to go,''

``This was one of the biggest bubbles we've ever had in


CFO Bear Stearns
“is as bad as I've seen it in the past 22 years”


American Home Mortgage —a non sub-prime lender—bankrupt…

Who gets left with the bill when the Fed decides to lower the interest rate one point to bail out the financials, essentially giving them billions of dollars? That’s right not the financials the average American is left with the hidden tax, inflation.

Bernanke‘s only saving grace is that he hasn’t dropped the rates. Maybe it’s about time the people who have caused the problems take responsibility.

When teachers and workers lose their pensions because hedge funds were rated as AAA investments it will be a cruel punishment for trust, but greed and avarice trump trust I guess.

Absolutely right.

For the past 15 years or so, people have been predicting various kinds of armageddon in the financial markets. Actually, earlier than that. Remember Ravi Batra and his book about the coming 1993 crash? It hasn't happened yet and I think Don is right about the Fed. The tools that the US govt has for manipulating money supply have actually worked to do the job they were intended to do, which is to prevent anything more than a mild recession.

Now we can argue ad infinitum that this has only postponed the day of reckoning by making each bubble bigger than the last, and this may very well be true. Nevertheless, the evidence as I see it so far is that the odds are the financial armageddon can be postponed a bit longer. If we take current trends and extrapolate with some intelligence, it makes sense to see a decline of the dollar, and an increase in inflation. Both have their up sides and down sides but it may very well be that the Fed et al can engineer this transition so that the impoverishment of the USA will be a gradual rather than a sudden phenomenon. Probably the best they can do.

Both have their up sides and down sides but it may very well be that the Fed et al can engineer this transition so that the impoverishment of the USA will be a gradual rather than a sudden phenomenon. Probably the best they can do.

You are talking about the Fed that pronounced that subprime is contained correct or is this another Fed ?

How is it possible that no-one dare even ask whether the Fed is truly trying to contain the crisis? Setting insanely low interest rates and unleashing insanely high amounts of money supply into the market at the same time, while publicly drooling over the great opportunities for Americans offered by "creative" financing inventions, it all could not have had but one possible outcome. Youre looking at it. You will be living it for years to come, and you're not going to like it guys.

But don't ask that question: it makes you a conspiracy theorist.

The tools that the US govt has for manipulating money supply have actually worked to do the job they were intended to do,

The tools of the Fed are what to money/markets as the tools of Saudi Arabian water cut are to oil production. The more times you use them today, the worse things will be in the future. Given steep discount rates of humans and markets, how could it be otherwise?

The dollar will not collapse, though it will continue to decline against major foreign currencies.

How about against the yen? Further "decline"?

The rate of inflation in the U.S. is greater than the rate of inflation in Japan. Economic theory (and history) suggests that therefore the dollar will continue its twenty-five year decline against the yen (which used to be 300 to the dollar, not too too many years ago).

Interesting story in this weeks Time on how New Orleans is still very vulnerable to Hurricanes.


The US Army has pushed back from 2010 till 2011 the date to give us the level of protection they promised us in 1968 (and failed to give us although they mis-stated (i.e. lied) and said that they had).

3.6 more hurricane seasons.

Best Hopes for Luck and High Level Shear Winds,


My personal estimate is about 7% or 8% chance of a breach in those 3.6 seasons.

New Orleans is dead. It is at or below sea level and right smack in the path of increased storm activity. We have pissed away half a trillion dollars in Iraq trying (and failing) to make off with their oil. We have, as a society, pissed away home equity that could have been spent on home energy conservation. Are we also going to piss away another few hundred billion trying to "protect" the gulf coast, with protection in this context being clearly understood as global warming denial?

The only "protection" for the people and bits of our economy in that region is a wide eyed, honest assessment of what is going to happen as the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico continue to warm, and then actions must be taken that show we understand and accept what is coming.

Global warming and peak oil are going to cause rapid changes and even this august body can only guess at what may happen and when. We recognize peak oil but we're also just past peak stupidity. A decade ago a bad choice could be made and its effects wouldn't be realized until the responsible parties were long gone. Bad choices now may play out over months or years instead of years or decades. I look forward to reality punching through the walls of denial which still stand in certain circles.

1- New Orleans is the lowest energy transfer point for half of the USA, and among the lowest energy points. If freight is transferred from truck to rail & water, we are an invaluable resource.

2- Saving New Orleans is quite affordable, even with sea level increases, and MUCH cheaper than trying to rebuild the infrastructure elsewhere. We have a unique advantage over Boston (parts of it are also below sea level BTW), Florida, etc.

The Mississippi River floods every spring and carries millions of tons of silt with it. Simply build diversion structures and nature will build massive storm water breaks.

If sea level rises, the mud deposited by the diversions will rise too.

Rotterdam is MUCH lower than New Orleans (28' below sea level) and has 10,000 years, multi-layer dikes for protection,

3- The US Gov't, through the US Army promised us a certain level of protection. They lied. A refusal to build now what was promised in 1968 (which is an extension of a promise in 1928) would show the entire world (and all American citizens) that a US Gov't promise has NO VALUE WHAT-SO-EVER !

And, since we are a democracy, it would also show that American citizens are devoid of moral integrity. THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE ADVOCATING !

When foreigners visiting here ask why the rest of the country is so reluctant to help, I point to our collective moral weakness. Italy is making massive efforts to save Venice (much more technically challenging than saving New Orleans).

4- New Orleans has made and will make (if allowed to survive) unique cultural contributions to the USA. I suspect that you "know the price of everything and the value of nothing" from your remarks so I will not belabor the point other than to give one practical point.

The USA has two working models for lowest energy Urban living, New York City and New Orleans (SF, Boston, etc. are low but higher than the Big Easy & Big Apple). I can promise you that the New Orleans model is much more pleasant and human scale than the NYC model. New Urbanism learned more from New Orleans than any other city on how we can live pleasant low energy lives but they still do not have it quite right.

Best Hopes for a Moral American People,


I am reminded of Lincoln's quote "...until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk [in war], and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword..." and sometimes wonder if how the USA choses to treat their own people in New Orleans and the strangers in Iraq will not be one day repaid in how "fate" treats the American people. For I am not convinced that there is no Divine Justice.

You don't understand Alan. We are all doomed and nothing is worth saving. Best thing to do is to collectively go jump off some cliff.

On a more serious note I feel your pain and I can only share your thoughts. Corporotism, consumerism and the the other ism-s practiced in this country are slowly leading it to a total loss of empathy and maybe desintegration in the end. What to do? What about declaring independance? It won't be for the first time anyway...

Corporatism, consumerism and the the other ism-s practiced in this country are slowly leading it to a total loss of empathy and maybe disintegration in the end

And this seems the likely path that "Divine Justice" will take. "We" can destroy ourselves by our own selfish choices.

Judge not, least ye be judged

With the same logic that "my fellow Americans" damm New Orleans, I could damm the entirety of American society.

However, I have nothing better to so with my life than try and develop and present (with others) an alternative path, if "we" will but take it.

Morality and Ethics are after all, survival values.

Best Hopes for Moral & Ethical Choices,


Alan, I find it hard to believe that you still place any credibility on anything our 'government' has to say about any topic. You object to the 'lies' that the government has told to the citizens of NO about flood protection but if you examine the record you will find that our government has told uncounted lies about everything that they have bothered to comment on. BTW, Lincoln is the last person that I would quote. He is in large measure responsible for the direction that our country has taken since the civil war. While many in Europe, including Detoqueville who traveled widely in the US long before the civil war, commented that the only possible outcome of Lincolns decisions was an eventual totalitarian government, few in the US took notice. Lincoln has been made into a revered hero but his action to destroy states rights was the first and biggest step down the road to what we have today...a police state. You seem to think that the government is going to 'do something' to right the wrongs of the past regarding NO flood protection. I say that is an unrealistic position. You are trapped in a definition of insanity...doint the same thing over and over and expecting different results. No offense intended, but when are you going to stop believing a government that has lived by lies and has recently increased the number and frequency of its lies?

why pick on lincoln? what are you a southerner? what does lincolm have to do with peak oil. That's way back in the very early days of industrialism. how could he possibly forsee the mess we're currently in?

i can see picking on events since wwII or just after 1920's or something..., but lincoln?

A better question is 'why did Lincoln pick on us?' Perhaps if you read some history you will understand how interconnected all actions are. The EU today roughly resembles what America was and was intended to be. Lincoln changed all of that. No other president has had so much impact on shaping America as Lincoln. BTW, I currently live in Fl but I am not a southerner.

Lincoln helped give corporations person hood. we would be in a much better position to do things if they were kept the way they were bound by their charters and easily dismissed and their assets sold off tot he highest bidder. the result of the war also made it possible for federal law to always trump state law even if the federal law was bad the states still had to abide by it. look at how the states are now struggling and scrambling to find money for laws and programs the feds made but not funded drawing resources away from other needed things like for example bridge repair. the only good he did was a last minute change in position for propaganda purposes.

it may surprise you but the civil war was not about slavery, sure it provided the spark that ignited the fire but the kindling was the issue over state vs fed powers and which one trumped the other. the slavery card was only picked up later in the war as a attempt to make a unpopular war less damaging to him. kind of like how bush says we are doing what we are doing in iraq for the iraqi's freedom.

Lincoln helped give corporations person hood.

Now now, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company wasn't till 1886, and the Supreme Court's confirmation in 1889. Lincoln died in 1865.

Lincoln was a corporate lawyer before he was pres. he helped lay the legal framework that the case you mentioned used to claim corporate person hood.

Let's see proof of that.

I doubt he foresaw the twist. Lawyers, judges and even congresscritters laughed at that twist for decades and it has never been ruled on. [Though I'd not want to put it to the Roberts court.]

Repeal the 14th amendment? That would be fun; see Monsanto and Nestle's lining up to protect the Constitution!

cfm corporate serf in Gray, ME

Because there weren't actually thousands of Africans enslaved in the south?

The Civil War was enough about slavery to make it one of the best things our federal government has ever done. It's sad that there are still white people living in the South who are pissed that they lost and had to free all the slaves that supported their antebellum society.

The slaving south was a morally corrupt society and was taken behind the shed and drowned as it needed to be.

The Emancipation Proclamation was a Ploy, an attempt to get the slaves to rise up. A slave rebellion in the south would have made the North's job much easier. No such rebellion took place, the ploy failed, but the Emancipation Proclamation remained, to be touted as Lincoln's great achievement.


With all due respect, believing that Peak Oil is our true and only problem is very shortsighted. Let's say we deal with it somehow, then what comes next? Global warming? Peak NG and coal? Soil depletion? Water scarcity? There are many problems cooking down the line and PO maybe the most immediate, but IMO it won't even be among the worst ones.

If I need to define the problem(s) we are facing I'd state it like that: a systematic unability of the socio-economic system we live in to exist within the bounds of its environment. The environment is not the problem, we are the problem.

Note that I don't deal with the various concepts about "sutainability" here. In my view currently the term "sustainable" has been overloaded with a bunch of crap produced by individuals with hidden agendas. For example it has been constantly suggested that we should not commence anything which can not be sustained practically forever. Well, life on Earth is going to disappear in 5 billion years, when the Sun dies. Is life not sustainable then? Should we stop living?

You have touched upon what I think is the truly interesting moral problem. Once you "swallow the red pill," Peak Oil is just one of the first monsters you see. Later, you find Jared Diamond and This Dude who explain how agriculture itself is the first, worst, greatest, unsustainable, inevitably environment-destroying technology, ever.

This makes one wonder: what are we doing here on Earth? What is moral?

1. Hunting-and-gathering seems like the only way to maximize personal health and sustainability, until the sun burns us up in a few billion years.

2. But is that what we want? To live so modestly for billions of years, and then burn up?

3. And if my ancestors had decided to remain hunter-gatherers, they probably would have been wiped out by agriculturalists in greater numbers.

4. But the alternative is to tech up and leave Earth to colonize other planets, which sounds nice but seems technically impossible. Though I guess if there were 10x as much fossil fuel we could have done it.

5. So there may be no practical alternative to living modestly until the sun burns us out.

6. But If I personally choose to live modestly now, if I become a wildman in the forest and live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, with some tribe who lives sustainably, won't some unsustainable people come along and wipe us out, like the Europeans did to indigenous people worldwide?

It boggles the mind.

Interesting - I've been thinking very much along these lines lately. Part of the problem is that we've been so thoroughly indoctrinated into the idea of growth as a good and necessary thing that it distorts our ability to see things otherwise.

The sun burning out is a bit past my event horizon though - maybe by then we will have evolved into something that has either figured it out, or does not care.

Running for president of Democratic New Atlantis ?

I see a very old city. I see subsidence. I see a lot of it already below sea level. I see protective coastal wetlands ravaged by nutria infestation. I see chronic waste, fraud, and abuse associated with any government projects in the area. I see what was already a dangerous place in terms of crime now made much more so due to the damage done by Katrina.

The economic value of New Orleans as a transfer point should be factored in with the cost of protecting the city. I bet that doesn't look so pretty. If we can't afford the diesel to run the machines to fix the problem that certainly has to be included in the problem statement.

I can't understand what Rotterdam, on the edge of a cold, shallow sea, and New Orleans, on the edge of a deep, warm sea have to do with each other. Advocates for the area hate it when I point this out, but there is never a thinking response that satisfies the implied question ...

Item #3 is an emotional argument - "A promise was made!" To this I say in as dispassionate a way as possible - "Who cares?" There have been many explicit and even more implicit promises made all along in the context of a world built on low cost high EROI energy sources. That is all going to fall to ruin. The sooner we look reality in the eye and begin acting accordingly the better.

New Orleans is cool. So is Hawaii. Las Vegas has its good points. I've been to all three in the last twelve months and none of them will survive. Declining military activity and crashing tourism pushed along by peak oil will swamp the Hawaiian economy. Las Vegas stands a few miles from the ever declining Lake Mead - a trend that will not reverse for at best hundreds of our generations. Water is going from the region and with it power generation from Hoover and Glen Canyon.

Why should New Orleans get special consideration for being the first place a hammer stroke fell? There will be others like it soon enough.

The low energy living model information is interesting, but if you're living a low energy lifestyle on a place about to be scoured clean by storm surge ... maybe its time to move up the beach a piece?

Just a quick note before I head out.

Some societies and nations honor their promises and commitments, others do not.

Those societies and nations that do tend to do *MUCH* better than those that do not.

You want to place the USA in the "not honorable, whose commitments are worthless" category.

I see clearly the long run consequences of that choice.

As I said before, morality and ethics are survival values.


I would prefer that this country be like it was for my parents' generation - those who triumphed over fascism - a nation of principles and honor. More than anything else taken from us by the Bush administration I miss this.

The federal government's commitments to the Gulf Coast region, whatever they might have been, were made before we became well and truly aware of the effects of global warming. They obviously need to be reconsidered.

I found my first car in a junkyard some years back and hauled it back to the farm with the intent of restoring it. My son was still small enough to carry under one arm the day I brought it home and I told him he would inherit the vehicle when he was older. He was quite put out when I stopped collecting bits for it and instead parted it out. My commitment to him changed based on my estimate that by the time he can drive (five more years) he won't be able to afford the gas for a vehicle that gets ten or twelve mpg around town.

Am I bad father, or a wise one?

I recommend the novel 'The Kite Runner' to see the effect of a broken promise on a child. Any way you can get him another car?

Alan, Please use United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

We in the real Army (active & retired) don't really like the Corps of Engineers.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is made up of approximately 34,600 Civilian and 650 military members.


That's 63 Non Army people to every Army Person in the Corps.

The U.S. Army, with 480,000 active-duty soldiers and 200,000 reservists

(retired U.S. Army)
Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

Are you saying you do not trust experts then?

Do you have comparable civil/mech engineering experience?

More engineers means more help. I also note, most engineers don't end up as grunts because of the value between the ears.

Engineers take care of the logistics, so you can fight the fight.

The US Gov't, through the US Army promised us a certain level of protection. They lied. A refusal to build now what was promised in 1968 (which is an extension of a promise in 1928) would show the entire world (and all American citizens) that a US Gov't promise has NO VALUE WHAT-SO-EVER !

And, since we are a democracy, it would also show that American citizens are devoid of moral integrity. THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE ADVOCATING !

Not advocating, admitting. Just watch how easily this country cuts NOLA loose. Class and race.

Any wonder that the Pentagon is worried about a building insurgent threat within the US? They are creating it. Deliberately I think. The only way they know how to deal with post-peak economy is authority and guns. Community is not in Pentagon vocabulary, except as a place where terrorists hide.

cfm in Gray, ME


If you just had a comma in your handle in between Cow and Tipper it could be construed as a slur against Al Gore's wife's weight problem!

My suggestion is that if you don't like the Gulf Coast, you don't need to move here. The decision to rebuild New Orleans, and the rest of the Gulf Coast thats been injured by storms, is being made by the people who live here. And its really not your business.

By your logic we need to abandon the states of Texas, Louisiana,Mississippi, Alabama, Florida,Georgia,North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware,New Jersey, New York, Conneticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine because they've all been hit by hurricanes. And we might as well include California for its mudslides ,earthquakes and forest fires, Washington and Oregon for their volcanic risk, and Alaska and Hawaii for earthquake activity and tsunamis plus for good round measure we might as well throw in the plains states where they have repeated tornados.

Personaly, I love New Orleans. The food is spectacular, the people are warm, gracious and charming, the music is incredible and it is in an essential location for transportation and trade, as it is the place where our water transportation from the entire mid-continent reaches the ocean. And its being rebuilt by the hard work of the great people who live there, in spite of the criminals in Washington.

God knows that its an essential right, guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution to be a stupid, vocal shithead. So while I think you are an officious moron, I'll defend your right to blabber and put any bumper sticker that you'd like on the bumper of your Hummer.
Bob Ebersole

The decision to rebuild ... it involves federal funds, yes? Thusly it is my business.

We are most certainly going to abandon the practice of building right up to the edge of the ocean in the hurricane strike zone, or if we do it'll be Point Bolivar style shacks that can stand the occasional salt water rinse rather than beach McMansions. This has a little human input to it now, but I think mother nature's voice will be the loudest before too long.

I had a very nice time during my visit to the region in December and I very much wish I could have had more than one rainy evening free in New Orleans. My emotional response to the visit has little effect on the sea surface temperature in the Atlantic.

I do not now nor have I ever owned a Hummer, and I wouldn't take one if they were being given away, as they simply cost too much to operate.

The federal funds for rebuilding haven't come. The Neocons are too busy destroying Iraq, and wasting our treasure and young people's lives to be bothered with a great American city.

I live in Galveston, behind a 17' tall, 10' wide concrete reinforced with granite fill Seawall, backed up with sand fill in the construction tradition of 1903. In over 100 years, the Seawall has never been breeched or washed over by a storm surge. Its 10 miles long, and built by the Army Corp of Engineers, and federal funds. The whole island was raised by dredging sand and overlaying the surface. My bottom floor sits 11' above sealevel, and its not flooded
since 1901. My house was built as a carriage house in 1895, but survived the storm. And we've paid 104 years of taxes since, so it was a bargain for the US government.

Now, admittedly Galveston is smaller than NOLA. Our population was about 30,000 before the storm and is twice that today. But, the same thing could be done in NOLA, surround it with a high levee that can't wash out and fill the low places while raising the buildings. The old parts of town-the Garden District and the French Quarter had negligable flood damage because they were on natural levees above sea level and most of the buildings are raised.

Whether Federal tax dollars should be used is a philosophical question-but its certainly in the American tradition. The tax dollars of the people of New Orleans have been used for years to help rebuild American cities that have had natural disasters like the San Francisco eathquake, the Chicago fire all the way through to New York after the 9/11 Bombing. I think its part of the social contract that makes a nation.

And its also my opinion that most of the people who oppose defending New Orleans and building good levees are Neocon apologists-they don't want to admit how badly the current administration has used and abused the United States by cutting taxes on rich people below the tax burden of middle class people, by allowing the corporations to move their factories to countries where the people have the living standard of slaves while moving their headquarters to "tax havens" so they can dodge paying a fair share of the social contract, to flooding the country with illegal immigrants who can be treated as slaves.

By stealing our constitutional rights to habeus corpus, to freedom from arbitrary searches, to abolishing free speech and free assembly by isolating protests into "free speech zones" and by torturing humans this bunch has shown their true colors, they are traitors.

So, in the words of the old labor song "which side are you on?".

Have you been to the Lone Star flight museum lately? They had the fuselage of the Bearcat up on a stand when I was there but that has been quite a few years ago. I'm always thrilled to see another warbird put back to operational status. And while we're on the topic ... what do they do to protect all of those planes when a storm is coming?

I love Galveston - I get lunch at Papadeaux's on the way in, scoot up over the I-45 bridge, and then I catch the ferry to Point Bolivar. I drive east until the people thin out and then find a place to sit on the beach. The little shacks I see over there are the right way to build on a barrier island or beach - they're fine places to come and play, but the construction says "I understand this is a temporary thing".

Your post is, at least to me, logically inconsistent. I am in favor of a sensible appraisal of the benefits and hazards of our construction on the Gulf Coast and the abandonment forthwith of those bits which mother nature is going to claim no matter what we say or do about the situation. We just don't have the time or the money to tend to the hurt feelings of those who used to have a place to live by trying to rebuild something that'll just get whacked before we can finish the job, and probably whacked hard enough to finish what Katrina started.

And its also my opinion that most of the people who oppose defending New Orleans and building good levees are Neocon apologists

This bit truly puzzles me - anyone who doesn't agree with the idea that we should pour time and money into an area which may be beyond redemption due to global warming is a Neocon apologist? As I recall last week the Neocon's natural ally, big oil, was seen denying that any such warming has occurred. I just don't see how you could draw that conclusion.

So it puzzles me, but this bit also delights me - "... and they are traitors". Never were more true words spoken, and I do so wish our Congress would stop doing the headless chicken dance and take the steps that are so obviously needed w.r.t. Goonzales, Cheney, and the Bush. I don't think we can wait this administration out ... they'll likely stoop to false flag operations here next in their effort to sell widening the adventure in Iraq to include Iran.

Hi Sacredcowtipper,

I appreciate the civility of your reply.

re: "This bit truly puzzles me - anyone who doesn't agree with the idea that we should pour time and money into an area which may be beyond redemption due to global warming is a Neocon apologist"

Perhaps part of what is going on with this discussion is that Alan is doing work which many people consider invaluable (I'm one). Besides rail, I'm looking forward to his idea for a national non-GHG grid (unless he already posted it and I missed it.)

So, I don't know...I personally haven't done the work to form an independent judgment about coastal cities, in general, what can and "should" be done. It seems to me that to come to some consensus (or informed opinion) would require a closer look at all the areas potentially affected, and a more detailed look at the ecological factors (and strategies incorporating them) Alan's mentioned. A then do this for each area and/or region. Perhaps more references on both topics would help. Not to mention weighting (if money spent is the criteria) options and establishing criteria. (I'm also interested in Matt Simmons and others' analysis of which US states are importing v. exporting which kinds of energy.)

Meanwhile, I'm not saying Bob is biased. I kind of am, though, in the sense that Alan is liking it there - I'd have to do a whole lot of research to even think about talking him out of his stance.

I had another name here and the SacredCowTipper handle is brand new. I specifically picked this one because I'm in Iowa and I intend to start tipping sacred cows, with ethanol being the first target.

My state is benefiting greatly from the influx of investment in ethanol. Maybe this makes me a bad Iowan, but knowing the EROI on ethanol to be between 0.80 and 1.3 I know its a bad move for us, both because its an environmental and energy loser over the long haul as well as the fact that it sets us up to be part of the great alternate energy bubble that will arise now that the housing valuation scam has run its course.

I've been against barrier island and coastal construction practices here for a long time. Mother nature doesn't care that we survey and establish lot lines - it is the nature of those islands to move with wind and wave. The shores are a little more stable, but only a little, and not in the face of things like the Gulf Coast nutria infestation, canal construction, and a permanently energized hurricane season.

There has been much discussion on what to do with the people and industries in the Gulf Coast region post Katrina. Unfortunately a great deal of it has been by people who've never seen http://realclimate.org or http://theoildrum.com. We're going to have to ditch traditional economics and replace it with something that is human centered and of a much longer term view than our current sociopathic corporate reporting quarter.

I'm not proposing anything other than a simple balance sheet approach to the problem ... but use the new balance sheet, the one that counts the traditional costs, the risks associated with building in an area that is going to be scourged by global warming, the amount of fuel needed to complete the project(s) in light of peak oil, and the effect the carbon emissions associated with the construction will have.

What if we build New Orleans a levee strong enough for today's conditions ... but the CO2 emitted during the process drives the first category six hurricane ever to hit and inundate the city the day after the levee is completed? The net effect is wasted time, wasted money, misdirected CO2 emissions, and a flooded city.

That last paragraph is a tad simplistic so this overlong response doesn't become a novella, but we're going to have to start engaging in that sort of broad thinking. If we don't were no wiser as a society than the family who moved into a house on an interest only ARM.

I am not a NeoCon. I recognize the Bush Administration is Fascist. I also, recognize that spending tons of money on rebuilding a city below sea level is foolish. Parts of New Orleans remained above the flood level, correct? I think New Orleans being a group of small islands in the Gulf of Mexico would make the place even more special. After loading up all your poor and unwanted and dumping them in Texas, what do you need to rebuild those neighborhoods for? Those people are staying wherever you put them, they are not coming back.(Actually Texas should have recognized that and met those buses at the state line and turned them back.) SacredCowTipper is right. Some things are just downright foolish. New Orleans is a Sacred Cow that needs to be tipped.


"New Orleans cannot be saved"

Such utter and complete BS !

You ignored my statement that the cost to relocate New Orleans would be many times the cost to save it. Instead you assume God Like insight and solemnly pronounce "New Orleans cannot be saved".

For the ignorant, I will write out the risks.

The primary risk is an overtopping the levees facing Lake Pontchartrain (see that oval lake north of New Orleans on any map).

It would be an environmental disaster to fill in Lake Pontchartrain, but it could be done in a couple of decades.

Back in the 1920s, when The US Army CE was still competent and the American people were MUCH poorer, but not so morally decadent, the Bonne Carre spillway was built upstream of New Orleans. It is a pressure relief valve for the Mississippi River during spring floods; once a decade it is opened and diverts Mississippi River flood water into Lake Pontchartrain.

Dredge out a deeper channel, concrete line a mile or so, install a couple of gates and divert a few % of the year round Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain and a decent % spring flood water. In a couple of decades, Lake Pontchartrain would be swampy ground. A couple decades after that, one could graze cattle on the former lake (except during the controlled spring flood, when the River reaches +14 to +18 feet above sea level at NO, a bit higher at the Bonne Carre), even with a foot or two of sea level rise.

The alternative is to build flood gates at the entrance to Lake Pontchartrain (US taxpayers have already paid 90% of the cost for twin Interstate Highway bridges across that entrance). Even if over topped, they would slow the short lived storm surge and the then secondary levees on the Lakefront would withstand the splash that got over.

Storm surge almost always lasts only a few hours, a very transient phenomena of limited, although massive volume.

US Taxpayers have already paid for (90% of the cost) Interstate 610 which is elevated for 80% to 90% of the distance in the core of New Orleans. It would be relatively cheap and easy to build a tertiary levee (or two, one under each span) under this elevated structure, far less $ than it took to build it originally.

The only other risk is a hurricane coming directly up the Mississippi River, forcing water levels higher than the design spring flood levels (+21 feet from memory). Such a path is rare (perhaps one in the last 288 years, perhaps zero) and would have to be an extremely strong AND slow moving (the two rarely go together BTW) to overtop the riverside levees. The solution is a pressure relief valve.

As the hurricane approaches, divert increased flow at the Old River structure from the Mississippi River to the Atchafalaya Basin (normally 1/3rd) to lower the river.

The choices appear to be to flood farmland (limited volume), flood post-WW II sprawl where some rich people live and create a deeper section at the Bonne Carre Spillway and divert the storm surge upriver of New Orleans into Lake Ponchartrain.

Any storm surge from the south could not cross the Mississippi River.

These plans would not protect all of the post-WW II sprawl, but their cultural value is minimal, no critical economic activity there and they are NOT New Orleans.

I am not a NeoCon...After loading up all your poor and unwanted and dumping them in Texas... Actually Texas should have recognized that and met those buses at the state line and turned them back.)

You are, however, a bigot.

We WANT our black population back ! Both middle class and working class. Only one white New Orleanian I have talked with does not want our city to be at least half black. Can you name another US city where the whites would prefer not to be in the majority ?

Another reason to preserve New Orleans.

And as the Brooking Institute showed, New Orleans has the highest index of "Cultural Uniqueness" by a good margin in the USA. New Orleanians will trickle back as they can, even after decades away.

Native New Orleanians that evaced are shocked by the lifestyle that the rest of the USA lives; lives of social isolation and "driving everywhere for hours" and surrounded by ugliness with bad food and "the only music is on the radio". We that are not natives already knew this.

As my psychiatrist friend said "The longer you live in New Orleans, the less fit you are to live elsewhere. And that is a good thing".

In recovery planning sessions, the thing that New Orleanians want to preserve above all else, is not the music, not the food, not the architecture and not even Mardi Gras, but "the way that we relate (or talk) to each other".

Best Hopes for New Orleans,


You have a genuine plan there and this is of interest - costs, benefits, worst case scenarios. This has been utterly lacking in the discussion, which always devolves into "save the culture" and the playing of the race card. But then you slip ...

I don't care if people in harm's way are black, white, or pink with purple polka dots. In the midwest if you don't have the good sense to get indoors when the tornado siren blows we call that natural selection. I don't think we, as a people, need to be pouring money into stuff that is unsalvageable driven by the rationalization that a minority group used to live there.

This same principle applies to rich people with burned out homes in Laguna Canyon or slabs left where storm surge took beach McMansions in Florida. Think of it as sort of an adult version of "don't play in the street".

So if you've got a plan ... that respects civil engineering principles ... and accommodates the worst case hurricane effect predictions ... and makes sensible use of energy in a world that will have dramatically less before too long ... then you might have a case for risk remediation for portions of New Orleans that would sway me. The arguments about race and culture aren't going anywhere with the people holding the purse strings, are they? Set them aside and be ... dare I say it? Black and white.

Low Gas Taxes Caused Minnesota Bridge Collapse

The Republican Governor vetoed a ten cent/gallon gas tax in February 2006. Not enough money for maintenance ...



Best Hopes for Drivers Paying their Way and Not Getting Subsidized by the rest,


Yes, Governor "no new taxes" is changing his tune. Minnesotans have a long history of pride in good government. The blame government/starve government movement is ending unless the conservatives pull another PR rabbit out of their hats. However, I think most Minnesotans remember how Governor Pawlenty vetoed any revenue for road maintenance.

it wasn't no new taxes, it was a 40 year old bridge in the process of being rebuilt which during the construction failed.

give it 4-8 weeks for the full failure analysis to come out.

then wait for TSTHTF. Many bridges are built in a standardized fashion, designed by the smart engineers, but in many cases implemented with varying degrees of competence resulting in failure.

good to know, the bridge lasted the 40 year industrial life cycle, even with funding cut for inspections and repair!

all in all a job well done by those involved designing the bridge.

Peak Oil starts the slow journey into the mainstream:


Towns prepare for 'peak oil' point

Logically, sooner or later demand will exceed supply and oil will start to get rarer and a lot more expensive.

This point, where the world's oil production starts to fall forever, is known as peak oil.


Transition towns are communities which have accepted that peak oil will happen and have started to take steps to ensure that when it does start to impact, they're ready for it.

With peak oil looming it's not so much a case of "How do we save the planet?" as "How do we save ourselves?"


Awesome! I noticed an article in the Vancouver Sun a few days back, in which the author reported on some of the earlier writings of Hubbert, as well as mentioning The Great Depression (or worse). (See http://tinyurl.com/3yapla.)

It was rather ominous, to say the least, to see Hubbert's remarks (in 1949!) on the need to shift our culture if we were to avoid the consequences of overshoot.

". . . it will still be physically possible to stabilize the human population at some reasonable figure, and by means of the energy from sunshine alone to utilize low-grade concentrations of materials and still maintain a high-energy industrial civilization indefinitely.

Whether this possiblility shall be realized, or whether we shall continue as at present until a succession of crises develop--overpopulation, exhaustion of resources and eventual decline--depends largely upon whether a serious cultural lag can be overcome. In view of the rapidity with which the transition to our present state has occurred it is not surprising that such a cultural lag should exist, and that we should continue to react to the fundamentally simple physical, chemical, and biological needs of our social complex with the sacred-cow behavior patterns of our agrarian and prescientific past. However, it is upon our ability to eliminate this lag and to evolve a culture more nearly in conformity with the limitations imposed upon us by the basic properties of matter and energy that the future of our civilization largely depends."

Cripes, gotta get off this computer and get preparing... Still wondering how...

'Whether this possibility shall be realized, or whether we shall continue as at present until a succession of crises develop'...snip...I believe that question has been answered without doubt. It is difficult to plan anything long term when we have a succession of four year governments or eight year governments. As soon as one 'government' is replaced with the 'new government', following an election, most long term plans are thrown out the nearest window...by the hubris that the previous government could not possibly have known what they were doing. Add to this the fact that humans are not well adapted to long term planning (although we occasionaly pull off a long term plan, especially if there is little pain or sacrifice involved) and the recipe for disaster with regard to population becomes manifest.

I am reminded of the Swiss vote in 1998 for a twenty year plan (2000-2020) to spend 31 billion Swiss francs to improve their rail system. About half to build massive tunnels under the Swiss Alps. A variety of goals (1 billion CHf just to build quieter rail cars !) but the #1 goal was to shift freight from heavy trucks to rail lines.

Adjust for currency and population, and it would be like the USA voting $1 trillion for a 20 year program to improve our rail system.

The 1998 vote followed a 1994 vote authorizing the study and detailed plan with budget.

I wonder how many of the 1994 & 1998 voters will live to see the completion of the project, and to even use it just once ?

So I take generalizations of "human behavior" drawn from the American experience with a bit of salt & sarcanol.

Best Hopes for Homo Swiss,


With reference to the Vancouver Sun article:

Makes me laugh (cry) when I think about Campus 2020. No energy discussion here ... all cornucopian. Indicative I am sure with most "planning" documents.

Hi Piggly,

Your link takes me to Nates Article which while it makes better reading, I think was not the intended destination?

Here: http://www.campus2020.bc.ca/

I take it you reside in B.C.? I am not all that far from the Legislature that the report was intended for. If the Legislature was as close as the crack house that has suddenly appeared next door to me I would go throw a brick through their window.

Am up early this morning at 4 am at the behest of a young crack addict who I think in some sort of delirium missed the portal of his desire and ended up at mine banging away and without missing a beat, realizing his error, decided to put the arm on me for 10 bucks for gas. This in order to drive his aged parents to Vancouver?? A valiant attempt at bailing, showing entrepreneurial spirit, but that bucket would hold no water. No car in sight, gas station closed hours ago, first ferry four hours away.

When I went for some of that post K-12( UBC way back in the early 60's) there wasn't so much as a roach to be found and if you could find that dealer/jazz saxophonist who was reputed to own a matchbox of marijuana he would tell you he was out but would be expecting another full matchbox any month now.

BTW really love that moniker, PigglyWiggly, makes me think it would be nice to start singing Teddy Bears Picnic, if I had a bit more energy that is.

Also BTW did I see you recently over at Stoneleighs Roundup, good stuff there too, eh!

If there is no Devil, then why did we do this?

Hi CrystalRadio,

Thanks for the link correction! Have you seen UBC lately? It's been plastered with condos and there's talk of paving over the farm. I was there the other day and was wondering where all the student protests were.

Stoneleigh has good stuff for sure.

Like your moniker too. It reminds me of when I accidentally created a radio with an earphone, my braces, and my body when I was a kid. I was stripping the leads off of a high impedance earbud when all of a sudden I heard a local AM station from the speaker! Started a lifelong love affair with radio electronics.

Central Jersey real estate sales fickle
Location, commuter access and structural upgrades all factors when putting home on market, experts say.

Homes along many of Central Jersey's commuter rail lines have a better chance of being sold than residences in more rural or suburban areas, according to real estate experts and housing statistics.

That's one of the conclusions drawn from a study of the sales numbers, which paint an uneven -- and depending upon where you live, unsettling -- picture of the Central Jersey housing market....


I guess there's still hope my house will sell. I'm just two (2) blocks walk to the bus and five (5) blocks to the train station.


Is that Nahuatl? It sounds Aztec to me, are you of Mexican ethnic heritage? What's it signify? It's not my business, I'm just curious as its an unusual and nice sounding combination.
Bob Ebersole

Hi Bob,

You got that right. Mexhika (Aztec). But no, I'm not an ethnic Mexican. Quite by accident some years ago I met an indigenous healer from Mexico and I have been studying with him in the U.S. and in Mexico ever since. Honestly I'm really not a new-age-type but then this isn't new age stuff...and it changed my life.

I was given this name in a ceremony at Xoxikako (Xochicalco) in 2004. Xokiawitl (sho-key-AHH-weet) means movement of rain (kiawitl). Nope, I don't mind you asking.

As long as you leave the human sacrifice part out, its O.K. by me. I love Mexico, and the Mexican people. The spiritual practice of having your ancestors present, of inviting them in, seems like a better way of approaching death and mortality, something we do very badly in Western culture. We see ourselves as stewards of nature in the Christian tradition, while the indigenous religeon of the high cultures of the Valley of Mexico saw themselves as a part of nature. The domination of nature implied by stewardship is one of the root problems of the spiritual sickness thats manifesting itself as global warming and peak oil. Anyrate, it sounds like an interesting approach, I'd love to learn more.

I got the name pronunciation pretty close, but I had the tl at the end like Tlaloc, while you seem to have the L at the end silent.Bob Ebersole

Declaring a new direction in energy policy, the House on Saturday approved $16 billion in taxes on oil companies, while providing billions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives for renewable energy and conservation efforts.

What a friggen disaster that energy bill is! Obviously, if the Republicans are carrying the water on big oil, the Democrats are in the hip-pocket of Big Agriculture. More wasted tax-payer dollars for Archer Daniels to produce more energy-inefficient ETHANOL. At least the oil companies produce a useable, vital product that the country needs. Greedy farmers.

Get ready to see food prices skyrocket in the next few years. Unbelieveable.

skyrocket and collapse, just like a commodity market.

demand will reach up to unacceptable levels and then fall like dominos taking a shitton of people out.

Hi Gil,

Taking out what small percentages of relatively "small" farmers remain?

Or, what?


I live in alaska and trust me, there are those of us that foresee the time when admitting our addiction isn't a choice, but something we're forced into.

We just got done fining BP millions of dollars for not keeping up on routine maintenance that would keep oil from spilling. oddly enough, there were very small leaks that spilled a few barrels of oil.

does neglecting a few million dollars' worth of infrastructure sound like the action of a company that's confident it's going to be using that infrastructure before it corrodes completely?

Sanders Research Associates has an interesting article on the uranium supply that can be found here.

The article looks at how much we are importing from Russia in terms of dismantled bombs, and what the treaty terms are. It concludes that we are not likely to be able to continue importing spent fuel after 2013. It also looks at what is available from other mines around the world, and what is can be ramped up quickly. It concludes that we are likely to have a major uranium crunch in a few years (about 2013), especially if countries try to add new reactors.

Besides the concerns in the article, I worry about the security of Russia as a long-term supplier. If we get into peak oil problems, I could imagine a scenario where Russia reneges on its treaty, and decides to cut off uranium before 2013.