Peak Oil Media 8-10-07

First up, if you have not listened to it yet, you really must listen to this interview by George Kenney of Electric Politics interviewing David Strahan, author of The Last Oil Shock (70 mins). (Mr Strahan kindly mentions The Oil Drum.) (link to interview), (link to David Strahan's book site)

Next up, Jim Jubak is senior markets editor for MSN Money. He's talking about peak oil in a surprisingly lucid way...(good catch Khebab!) [Editor's note from Super G] YouTube link moved below the fold to speed page load times.

Under the fold, a CNBC ethanol discussion and a link to Richard Heinberg's latest.

Here's Jim Jubak:

Debating whether ethanol is a good alternative or whether it's just a scam, with Lou Ann Hammond, editor-in-chief of; Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone writer; and CNBC's Larry Kudlow.

Richard Heinberg's latest The View from Oil's Peak.

Feel free to link to other media in the comments.

George Kenney has produced several excellent interviews on peak oil. Among them Down To The Last (Cheap) Drop, an interview with Tom Whipple and and Peak Oil Politics, an interview with John Hemming MP, a principal behind the formation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas.

PG - The Strahan interview is excellent, thanks for the link. He is a unique speaker in this area and this interview should have bi-partisan acceptance.

I'm going to burn CD copies and pass on to associates, perhaps some who will listen during their solo commute in their car:). I will also send copies to the media, and the choice of last resort for optimists: my representatives. (Don't laugh, see Oilmanbob's Aug 9 drumbeat comment for techniques for success. Will report in future)

Look forward to hearing the others, particularly Tom Whipple.

Perhaps the Strahan interview could be linked from a right-hand panel of TOD webpage, but definitely added as a resource.

John Macklin

Thanks for you plug, John!

I live in Congressman Ron Paul's District, the 14th Congressional District of Texas. Its on the south and west parts of the Houston Metropolitan Area, and stretches from Galveston to Victoria, and is a very energy centered district.I suspect that about 30% of the decent jobs here are in oil, there are many refineries and petrochemical plants around here, Texas City, Freeport and Lake Jackson are some of the towns.

I posted on Professor Goose's Energy Bill Threads with my ideas about some of the sections, then Emailed Congressman Paul requesting that either he or one of his staffers read the threads. I have barely enough humility to realise that many people on this site have great ideas, I just have the occasional good one. I also called his office and left a message to do the same. It was like sending messages to go past the event horizon of a black hole, no responce. I checked the votes in the house on the bills. Ron Paul didn't even bother to show up, he was too busy in Iowa running for President.

So I wrote a letter to the editor of the Galveston Daily News, relating this story, and adding that I hoped he got a well-funded opponent for the 2008 Congressional election. Its in the letters section, August 9th. A of hours later I got a churned response on my email, and I've forwarded it to the editors at The Oil Drum, and wrote a comment for Drumbeat, referred to above. I also wrote a response to Congressman Paul, explaining that energy is a non-partisan issue, and forwarding the ASPO Conference announcement yesterday, August 10th. I'm just trying to get my congressman to pay attention.

My point in this is I want peak oil mitigation to be a campaign issue in 2008. Its a geological issue, and not a partisan issue, and we are fast running out of time. Bush has promised to veto the Energy Bill and the Energy Tax Bill, so Congress will do absolutely nothing for the next 20 months, until the first session past the election. I'm not going to drop this, its too important.

I'd like every member of this forum to push the issue on their Congressmen and Senators. The reason I'm being so detailed about what Ive done is that we all need to do similar things. Its time to hold them accountable.

Congressman Paul is great for talking about how Conservative he is, but his lack of a vote shows me that he's more interested in appearing to support Ethanol in Iowa, while saying he's against taxes and subsidies. So he calculatedly didn't show up to vote. He's spent more time in Iowa than in Galveston in the three years since Galveston was added to his district by Tom DeLay.


its the only plan I've seen so far for mitigation that will save 10% of the oil used in the US without goring somebody's ox. We can't afford to wait.

Bob Ebersole

I was a little more sucessful (just barely) in that I got a reply back from my congressman, Zack Wamp, explaining why he was voting for the Republican version of the Energy Bill and not the more restrictive Democratic Bill. He is Chairman of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus but is a very pro-busniness, pro-development person who thinks that environmentalists are crazy. Since Rep. Wamp views environmentalists as being basically Luddites, I always try to have a positive alternative to present for any highway/development project that I oppose. Usually this is a rail alternative.
That being said, at the state level we have a very progressive Democrat(Bredeson) as governor, so I have a little more hope there. Recently a nice lady from Nashville who is now in charge of the Multimodal Transportation Resources branch of TDOT showed up at a public meeting for a specific highway proposal in which I was interested. TDOT is just beginning to look at integrating rail planning into the state transportation plan. She admitted that in the past they have only been concerned with roads, but that is changing. They had a series of public meetings in 2002 which I did not know about at the time (possibly because there was not one in Chattanooga) and had overwhelming support(PDF) for the state involvement in rail transportation. I hope it is not too little too late.

The Chattanooga Choo Choo.


Please email me at Bob Ebersole two thousand four(numeric, all run together in lower case letters and I'll send you the ASPO brochure to send to them. Maybe they will come to the ASPO Conference, October 17-20th, Hilton Americas, Houston. I'll also pass your email to Alan Drake, he's a nice guy and will help I'm sure with your RR project, provide you with literature or downloads. Matt Simons is a republican fundraiser, thats probably why he was on the National Petroleum Council. Roscoe Bartlett is a Republican from Maryland, and might help attract Wamp. He's a lot more likely to respond to a constituent.

Great work, by the way! I swear we can do this if we all work together

Oilmanbob, I support your disgust with politics, as I am a resident of Friendswood, and though I support his side of being a constitutionist, I see his actions and actions speak louder than words.I can't help but wonder how much he will cower to the politically correct! which in my opinion is the clutch of death to the USA!

I feel the current politicians of all states are out of touch with the common man! But then it's been that way for many years anyway. I had wanted to throw my vote to Ron Paul, but something tells me Ron is not the one! Nor are the others! what a shame!

Geewiz, "Geewiz", Friendswood is a lot bigger than folks realize. My house backs up near the extreme eastern end of the east Hastings Oil field (which also extends west to Alvin).

I took my kiddo to the doctor for physical the other day and right there was the article in the Rolling Stones about the Enthanol "Scam". The magazine as you know is a bit edgy, but the author of the article did a first rate job and from reading some of the threads here at TOD got some guidance from this site. Politics is a fickle animal. I suspect somewhere along the way, when it is very evident that hydrocarban man's "ways" are threatened, it will become fashionable to sing the praises and execute more meaningful policies. Unfortunately, most are completely ignorant.

Kudos to oilmanbob and others who are directly pushing for attention to this topic by following up with their respective represntatives. And a big Kudos to all of the selfless people (editors, contributors, and posters) at TOD as it is a first rate site that perpetuates a meaningful discussion of future energy trends in a disciplined, highly sourced manner...with peer review as a rule.

Some good one liners in the Strahan interview:
"Economists are the high priests to which politicians worship" --the failure of the Chicago School of modern economics

Step Back, old friend — The University of Chicago! My alma mater! Class of '75.


Hello Prof. Goose,

Thxs for the links! Since Peakoil Outreach is increasingly going mainstream: we now need to figure out how to get Alan Drake and other RR & Mass-Trans experts vastly increased media exposure to really jumpstart the social impetus for Transit-Oriented Development [TOD] and relocalized permaculture.

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

The best case scenario [worst case scenario?] would be for a series of hurricanes to really hammer GoM infrastructure, and also along the East Coast BEFORE the Houston ASPO, plus KSA not jacking up production. Then Alan Drake would have so many MSM flash cameras and video camera lights blindingly going off in his face that even Paris Hilton would be jealous of his media coverage.

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

Good links, thanks, PG. Jeff Goodell did an excellent job of presenting his case. And I thought Kudlow was more of a cornucopian. He seemed to understand the point of Jeff's article, that ethanol is just a boondoggle.

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

Even establishment rags like Foreign Affairs are trashing the ethanol madmen--just a couple months ago there was a scathing critique of biofuels that Kudlow probably read while out in the Hamptons.

People don't appreciate the range and spectrum of varying "sides" one can take on anything. For the most part, yeah, I usually think "woah, there's that Kudlow again--what a jackass." (Usually while standing in line at Bank of America.) However, this time I found myself nodding my head in agreement... Well, that is last time--since, alas, I didn't watch it again. And to be perfectly honest, I never really have watched Kudlow more than an hour cumulatively in my lifetime (thus far)... Perhaps I just got a bad hours worth, and in fact he's a really great guy.

mr f,

your first impressions are often the best, especially when I agree with them! (sarcanol alert!) I do think that you're denigrating a useful farm animal, though.

Kudlow is a jingoist and a partisan first. The Democratic Energy Bill that Bush has threatened to veto relies on subsidies for ethanol as a major part of the bill, so he's trying to soften up the "conservatives", who consider themselves on the side of "family farmers", or drugstore cowboys as we call them in Texas.

I think we've pretty much come to a concensus here that ethanol subsidies are shockingly bad policy because of a very small energy gain.Its just turning natural gas and diesel into a lower quality fuel at a huge cost.

Just because the "conservatives" at MSNBC have come to the same conclusion doesn't mean its not bad policy. This is a pretty good illustration of how we can let partisanship get in the way of good energy policy. Every partisan in both parties is focused on the Iowa caucus right now, and the Midwest is pro ethanol. The car companies want it so they can keep selling SUV's, and big agribusiness and the farmers want it because they smell money ,they smell money ! The Neocons oppose it because they haven't been paid and its a Democratic plot. If the Democrats are able to pass a good policy while the Bushites couldn't in seven years, it makes them look negligent.

So this is my thought. We have to keep good energy policy independent of partisanship. Energy independence is a necessity for the military and economic security. Our parties have to rise above jingoism. Congressmen Roscoe Bartlett and Randy Udall have a bipartisan peak oil caucus, and thats the only position that will work to sell a permanent major change. Its a real chance to unify our country and work towards a new paridigm. Let's take it! Bob Ebersole

That's a good synopsis of the media-ethanol-political-worm-hole (or MEPWH--sort of sounds as if someone just slap you upside the head, does it not?)

I couldn't have said it better myself. I particularly agree with the fact that more bipartisan effort is direly needed--unfortunately it will probably not come to pass because cultist ideologues, BAU and realpolitik trump it (not to mention, the root of all evil, money.) Anyway, we'll "respond" after the "attack", that's how it usually works...

How and in what form the attack comes in, and how we irrationally respond--who knows. Detecting the possibilities doesn't take a lot of creativity. It is easy enough to just get started with mere conservative spectacles of one obsessed with the threatening antics and gory violence of Jihadists and the crazy bastards that make our nutzo Christians look like the Easter Bunny. The GWOT is not just PR, although it is often convenient to use it as such in this banal world of meaningless news cycles. Then there are nation-states, financial markets, corporations, groups of individuals, individuals and lots of weapons and methodologies and power structures spread amongst them. Overseeing them you've supposedly got the seemingly incompetent governments of the world (my working axiom here is that governments are incompetent, I hope I'm allowed this...) Or it can just as easily simply be an issue of PO, and decline rates--geological or ELM politically induced declines. Even weather could wreak havoc in the Gulf of Mexico again (lets hope not!) I'm just saying, this foot dragging has been going on a long, long, long time. And it has a basic explanation which is that telling people the truth is not what they want to hear. People who believe otherwise are naive. People? They want fantasies, dreams, they want immortality, they want money, love, sex, joy, happiness, comfort, and they want wishful thinking, bigoted scapegoating, ideological cornering, endless debate with no result, accusatory smearing, he said she said talking head frivolity--discord, violence even. Yes, clearly, violence. When everything else stops working, the last resort is always... Have you read the news lately? These things, of course, are not universal in human nature--but they are strong, and if spurred they can take ugly forms. Our culture seems to spur them on in a barrage of unrelenting focus, between the shopping, video gaming, watching the war news and other TV extravaganza, driving to and fro, listening to Talk, working, praying to baby jesus, towing the Slashdot line, and checking the portfolio--hell, there is barely enough time to sleep.

I hope you're right about this "new paradigm", I hope we go through peak oil and our future as civilly as possible, that both parties can stop chanting their mantras and try addressing the issues. There is only one problem--and that is I don't see that happening. I hate to say it, but these potential executive branch Democrats really seem ass-backwards lousy, every last one of them (plus Pillsbury Doughboy Bill Richardson--no one bring him up to deny me my pigeon-holing these god awful Democrats, he may be the worst opportunist of them all). I'd much rather take the most moderate Republican and have the GOP really take the fall here than allow these excuses for candidates take the hit for "the Left", when they don't even represent "us". I don't think people should pussyfoot around when it comes to politics... I see a lot of it these days, but I guess it's always been like this... Alas, I just got here, so I'm still a little bit pissed because this all seems new to me, politically speaking that is... But I'm a quick learn and have come to peace with the fact American politics is desperately dysfunctional, and that one will only gather a nebulous understanding of how such idiocy functions.

Best hopes for a surge of bipartisanship and real progress, and a decline in zealotry and ignorance...

Tall hopes, but cheers.

Always a pleasure to read your longer posts, Mr F. They're William Faulkner meets Frank Rich by way of Oliver Stone. This is a compliment. They border on revelation and straddle the fine line of thought, emotion and expression, but I think I'll just highlight the last hope

Best hopes for a surge of bipartisanship and real progress, and a decline in zealotry and ignorance...

Cheers to you.

Well, I've never read Faulkner (I should), and I don't pay for Times Select, so I've not been able to read Frank Rich (although I've flipped through his book at the store). I'm guilty of watching some bromidic Stone movies in my day, but who isn't? For that matter, I'm guilty of my own bromides--that's probably where you detect the tenuous connection... Alas, who isn't?

I appreciate the complement nonetheless, and I do try to walk a fine line, for what it's worth...

Bottles up! (Water bottles, that is, for now.)

So had I done a little homework sooner (but why) I would have realized why you don't pay for Times Select , already TMI, and the Faulkner reference was a Thomas Mann 'continuous motion of thought' thing they used to try to teach me before I dropped out as an 'English Major' and reemerged a rocket scientist. Couldn't get the Mann thing coherent at the time and forever remembering reading As I lay Dying as a boy your flow struck that chord, but of course that's already again TMI.

Let's say your flow is a.. tad higher than I run across here (not that I'm saying you're not a bullshitter) but again TMI LOL EIEIO.

With intimate connection to New York County and familiarity of some but certainly not all the gin joints in the safer parts (watch out for the irish), perhaps in that NY moment kind of way I’ll pass on a return from the bathroom to my seat at the bar near my wife and her friends and in a glimpse register a screen of orange and elephant but with triple time coincidence snap towards the sound of glass on glass from behind the counter and… that's it. Otherwise, see ya on the radio.

And yes, I'm well aware of the wisdom of dropping the English major thing. Best to do what you're good at.

Interesting hearing Jim Jubak. The story of peak oil is gradually infiltrating MSM, and even being told in a way that it sounds like the establishment believes it.

exactly what I thought Gail. JJ is pretty darned MSM-ey for a finance reporter...

Gail and PG, I think the Jim Jubak thing is a pivotal moment type indicator to me. 3-4 years ago what would we say if we heard Jim Jubak's video???

That's how much Peak Oil is getting out. Not that Jim Jubak is talking about it.

But the fact that to us now it's "Just another Peak Oil... Thingy" IS the point.

It IS becoming mainstream. Slowly but surely they are "Letting" the message out.

She is a liar. Brazil is not doing cellulosic ethanol, they are doing sugar cane ethanol. Jeff missed that little trick she pulled.

She is a snake in the grass or misinformed.

I noticed that too. Plus she said China which is really doing corn ethanol just like we are.
China is also looking at buying some of Brazil's sugar cane ethanol or their process.

I think Jeff handled the lie very well by letting it go. If he'd gotten all upset about it, she would have "won" the argument. In a forum like TOD, you can demand a credible cite, but not on a 2-minute TV segment.

It's ridiculous on the face of it, though -- cellulosic will be the next big thing, therefore we need to subsidize corn. It's like saying cold fusion will be big, therefore we need to stock up on uranium. Or we were attacked by terrorists from Afghanistan, therefore need to occupy Iraq.

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

As of tonight, I noticed on way home from work that gasoline is $2.52 at Walmart in central Kentucky, and low $2.60's most other places, back below the price of Diesel fuel by a dime or more almost everywhere.

Kentucky has just been through it's worst heatwave since 2002 or so, with some record high temps. I have managed to date not to turn on the air conditioning once, so far exceeding even my record of the last two years, that being to hold out to post July 4th. If I can hold through the next two weeks, no air conditioning for the summer! :-) In a way it's been fun, reminding me of my childhood summers before we had air conditioning.

The astounding part is that despite record heat throughout the south, the electric power so far has held flawless, with major cities such as Atlanta, Miami, Houston and Dallas able to carry peak loads that have not been seen in several years, an astonishing accomplishment given the lack of investment in infrastructure for the last half decade. One TOD poster mentioned an electric power crunch outside of Huntsville Alabama, and seemed surprised, but given the drought throughout the Tennessee River Valley, I am sure some TVA hydroelectric production must be suffering. I have a sister just outside of Anniston AL, and the heat and drought has been legendary. But the South has managed so far, a testament to the sturdiness of the energy and TVA system.

So, what's the story? Simply this: Most Americans seem to now think that the high oil prices are simply the normal "summer" run up, and sense no emergency, because even in difficult circumstances, they have not yet seen any signs of emergency. As prices have cooled coming down on the last big summer driving holiday, the view is things are pretty much normal.

When the talking heads refer to peak of any kind, everybody I talk to assumes (a) yeah, we need to do something before 2020 or 2030 and (b) what do you expect with the Chinese and Indians hogging everything up, it's like the Japanese and Europe did after WWII, folks in raw materials are getting rich though....

Some point here on TOD to so called "peak" emergencies in nations around the world, there was even a map depicting it on The Oil Drum. But the nations shown are riddled with so much corruption and bad investment, that there seems to be absolutely no indication that a shortage of oil or gas in the larger sense are to blame. Interestingly, several of the nations shown as in an energy emergency are net energy producers or exporters, or border them.

The credit crunch and mortgage problems? For the folks who seem aware of it at all, they think it's pretty much a scam, builders just trying to get higher prices for houses and the banks starting to balk at the outrageous prices. Not all that many people are in the market for a "first home" anyway, but some of the "flippers" have gotten nervous, and backed off. The great untold story in America is that many folks in their mid to late forties have already paid for their primary home, and now have no mortgage unless they want to play around with a vacation home, or a "flipper", a second or third piece of property to try to speculate on. The truth is, the middle aged boomers are in better shape than my parents were at the same, or even decade older, age.

Jobs? In our area, the businesses cannot stay staffed. In fact, at several professsional service firms and call center service operations the fear is losing the local branch (in some cases hundreds of good jobs) to areas that can provide staffing. The "birth dearth" seems to be catching up to us as the influx of young workers has virtually dried up.

As summer gives way to autumn, gasoline and oil demand will cool off considerably, and the issue will be natural gas, which right now looks good going into the winter. The financial issues will be interesting. The late summer/early autumn is always the thorny time of year for the markets, and has proven to be again this year. We could still see the market drop back below it's yearly low, and if credit tightens, much more. The Iraq war now looks to go on another half decade at minimum, and even if OPEC can do no more than hold flat on oil production, the money gushing out of the U.S., for war and oil in the Persian Gulf will begin to become crippling.

I once predicted that if current patterns held, the U.S. would run out of money long before the world ran out of oil. The only thing worse than if the oil is not "out there" somewhere, I said, is if it is.

Oh, one more thing. It seems somewhat apparent that the Cincinnatti Reds may indeed not win the World Series this year. Sometimes a person has to admit that unpleasantness is a part of life.

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

“Quant” hedge funds are in complete disarray. Their mathematical models are no longer reliably predicting stock price movements and hedge fund investors are quite literally loosing their shirts as a result. There is a good reason for this development. “Quant” hedge funds use complex mathematical models which use decades of past stock movements to predict future stock movements. They have been extraordinarily successful --- up to now. What has changed? The answer is simple and very telling. All past stock movements have been driven by rising availability of oil and gas energy resources. That has now changed. According to a number of industry (Peak Oil) studies, conventional oil production peaked in 2006 and is now in permanent decline worldwide. There is now no economic or financial precedent or data for mathematical whiz kids to draw upon to adjust their computational hedge models. There is no “past” stock trading data to establish cause and affect relationships. We are all in brand new economic territory, never before experienced by man. In other words, “Wall Street, we have a problem”.

Now this is an interesting concept. JJ - please consider posting essentially this in Aug 13 Drumbeat - it'll probably elicit a few comments :)

George Kenney's interview of David Strahan is excellent, I agree. It is full of insights that one might not hear elsewhere due to Kenney's perspective and insightful questions.

One part of the conversation that I found especially interesting was the part where Strahan is talking about how certain economists have found that the traditional equations used to model economic growth fail to adequately explain the growth of the economy when labor and capital alone are considered. However, when one considers the increasing use of hydrocarbon energy, and includes that factor in with the value of labor and the value of capital, the curves start lining up nicely. I believe that Robert Ayres was one of the economists mentioned; another name was also mentioned, but I couldn't quite hear it clearly (it sounded like Reinhard Kimmel or Kumal?). If anyone can tell me the name of that second economist I would be grateful.

rototillerman - The name you are looking for is Reiner Kümmel.