DrumBeat: August 29, 2007

Gas prices expected to keep more drivers home

Fewer Americans plan to travel by car this Labor Day weekend, AAA says, despite gas prices that are about a dime lower than a year ago.

...“This year families appear to be concerned about the travel costs associated with an end of summer vacation, which may mean Americans aren’t canceling previously planned trips but are not planning to travel more than they did last year,” said Robert Darbelnet, president and chief executive of AAA.

The other side of carbon trading

Planting trees in Uganda to offset greenhouse-gas emissions in Europe seemed like a good idea - until farmers were evicted from their land to make room for a forest.

Heat wave will stress California electric grid

Electricity demand in California surged past forecasts Tuesday, setting a new peak for the summer and prompting calls for conservation as a heat wave was expected to push demand near all-time record highs on Wednesday and Thursday.

Gas prices and ghost towns

Throughout the West, from Alaska to west Texas, mining camps and once-vibrant towns have decayed into relics, their fates sealed by the whimsy of economics, changes in transportation, or the boom and bust of resource extraction. We drive past, wondering what they once were like, or wondering who lives there now, or, perhaps not noticing them at all.

Which of today's thriving towns will become the next century's ghost towns? What places will have become forlorn, decrepit and abandoned? This might be wild speculation, but could the answer be the West's sprawling subdivisions that depend on the automobile and cheap fuel, those far-flung developments miles from Main Street, work, schools and soccer fields, that Americans love for their views, relative quiet and sense of privacy?

The last straw? Alongside debt, rising food prices threaten industrial growth

Just when the world economy seemed to have found immunity to rising world fuel prices, the rising world grain price may be the shock that finally ends its long upturn, as costlier food baskets eat into household budgets.

Western oil firms face growing troubles in African countries

Big foreign oil companies are finding it harder to make money in Africa because of the region’s often unstable politics, output restrictions and moves by some governments to rewrite contracts.

Africa remains one of the last big regions open to foreign oil exploration, and companies of all stripes are benefiting from record energy prices. But fresh obstacles threaten to crimp future production in a region that is crucial to global energy supplies.

Nigeria: Oil Theft Costs Nigeria $14 Billion Yearly

Nigeria loses $14 billion a year to the highly lucrative and illegal business of oil bunkering, the President of the Corporate Council on Africa, Stephen Hayes has said.

California's gain but Oregon's pain

The push by energy speculators from Texas, New York and California to build the first West Coast liquid natural gas terminal in Oregon is yet another unfortunate sign that our state is being viewed as a suitable place for high-risk industrial projects that California and Washington won't tolerate. While the residents and political leaders of Tijuana, Mexico, successfully fought plans for an LNG terminal there, most of Oregon's politicians have been unwilling so far to speak out against such projects.

Study links CO2 to demise of grazing lands

Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may be contributing to the conversion of the world's grasslands -- crucial for livestock grazing -- into a landscape of useless woody shrubs, according to a study released today.

The Plan

Because humans have the mobility and intelligence, they can restore the ecosystems and increase the diversity of many areas over what would be climax. Humans can potentiate ecosystems and live in stability from the increase. Realizing that now, anything except existing wild lands would be scar tissue renewing the flesh of the earth. The preferred method of restoration would be the practice of Permaculture. This method of growing food and restoring ecosystems has spread world-wide among cognizant people .

Credit crunch cools demand for automobiles

Just when the U.S. automotive sector looked to be getting its legs underneath it after a years-long slump, another stumbling block has come along to knock it off kilter — the credit crunch.

The ongoing pain in the housing sector — including higher monthly payments for some owners and declining home values for others — is persuading many Americans that buying a car is not a good idea right now, according to market research company CNW Marketing Research.

Edwards: Americans should give up their SUVs

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards told a labor group Tuesday that he would ask Americans to make a big sacrifice: their sport utility vehicles.

“I think Americans are actually willing to sacrifice,” Edwards said during a forum held by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. “One of the things they should be asked to do is drive more fuel efficient vehicles.”

Hot Metal, Cheap Price!

But wait … the shortfall gets even bigger once you take into account the projected decline in the amount of uranium available from decommissioned nuclear weapons over the next 20 years.

About one-third of the uranium used in the U.S. comes from old Russian nuclear warheads under the Megatons-to-Megawatts program. The Russians have said they won't renew the agreement when the program expires in 2012. Why? They need the fuel for their own plants and they're sick of selling it cheap.

In Caspian, Big Oil Fights Ice, Fumes, Kazakhs

On an island in the Caspian Sea, the hub of the world's largest oil-development project, a thousand men in orange jumpsuits train for catastrophe.

Oil in the Kashagan field here is potentially lethal, with high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas. So workers carry oxygen canisters and gas detectors and do daily evacuation drills. High-tech getaway boats stand ready to whisk them to safety. The place feels more like a hazardous-chemical plant than an oil rig.

"One breath would kill you," says offshore installation manager Ian King.

Since an unlikely alliance of Western oil companies received rights to drill for oil here a decade ago, they've struggled to cope with a combination of rig-wrecking ice packs, bone-chilling winters and noxious, high-pressure gases. Yesterday, the consortium's bid to exploit one of the world's top oil deposits encountered its biggest challenge yet: Kazakhstan's government, stung by delays and rising costs, suspended the group's permit for the field, halting work there for the next three months.

Peaking Oil Production: Blindsided by Peak Oil

The longer we wait, the worse the consequences will be. I can't but wonder how many people will be saying over the next decade, "We should have done something about this years ago."

I'm growing more restless with each passing day. And after the conversations I've been having with readers for the past few weeks, it appears that a lot of you are too.

Precious metals are about to play catch-up

Now, to illustrate my point that supply and demand are important factors, I would add that this rising demand (regardless of monetary inflation) would not have translated into a higher oil price IF there was an endless supply of oil. In the current scenario however, the oil price is rising because supplies are extremely tight when compared to demand. In fact, I would argue that humanity is staring “Peak Oil” in its face.

Today the average Chinese person consumes less that two barrels of oil per year and the average Indian consumes less than a barrel of oil per year whereas the average American consumes 25 barrels per year. After reviewing this data, you don’t have to be a rocket-scientist to figure out that demand for energy in Asia can only rise in the future. And unless we can find a way to increase supply, the price of oil will continue to appreciate.

Conservation Lessens Energy Profits

The world is devoting more resources to renewable energy, yet little is done about the best solution – energy conservation. This is because selling energy is a business, and no businessman wants to encourage his customers to use less of his product. Another problem is that governments generate tax revenue from the sale of energy, so simple ideas to conserve energy are often ignored.

Nicaragua, US Company in Oil Spat

Nicaraguan vice president, Jaime Morales, criticized the lack of cooperation by the US company ESSO for refusing to store Venezuelan oil.

According to the vice president, ESSO "put both feet in" by refusing the use of its storage tanks at a time that the country is going through a serious energy crisis.

Gaz de France to convert salt caves into gas store

Gaz de France has unveiled a £350m deal to develop salt caverns in the north-west of England to store gas, as the Government grapples with Britain's mounting energy crisis.

Running out of Roughnecks

The prospect of a work stoppage by more than twenty-thousand construction workers in Canada’s oil-rich province of Alberta has sent tremors far beyond North America. “Unions know they have oil companies by the neck,” writes the Financial Post’s Claudia Cattaneo, pointing out Alberta’s labor shortage, which gives workers the clout to reject a 24 percent pay increase over four years that would make most Canadians “cringe with envy.” Some of the workers consider a four-year contract too long (Global Investor) and say they are “simply fighting for the best deal as employers book record profits."

OPEC Chief Visits Angolan State Oil Firm

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah el-Badri wrapped up a meeting to the oil cartel's newest member Angola today by holding talks with bosses at state-run oil firm Sonangol, official media said.

Although there were no details about the outcome, the talks were expected to focus on the the production level that OPEC, which regulates oil supply from its members to control prices, will fix for Angola.

India: Industrial blunders

There is yet another issue with regard to economic growth and its relationship to the quality of life. Economists typically suffer from a growth fetish and imagine that it can solve most of the problems of the contemporary world. But there are a thousand reasons to suspect that the reported numerical increases in GDP and its growth do not add to the welfare of ordinary people in the country to the degree normally believed. In many cases, “better” numbers are portents of decline and failure in often immeasurable ways. Apart from well-known conundrums such as the GDP going up if a wife divorces her husband and sells him sex thereafter, or the GDP rising with greater medical expenses on account of the growth in respiratory diseases from pollution, there are numerous problems (too many to go into here) with taking the GDP measure of human welfare seriously. One problem with GDP measures is that if growth is accompanied by rising inequalities and expenses on guard labour to control growing crime rates, many of the purported benefits are cancelled out. An even more intrinsic problem with using the GDP measure as an index of human welfare in a country like ours – with such a huge unmonetised subsistence economy – is particularly serious: losses occurring in the economic realm outside the measured markets (tribal populations living on gathered minor forest produce or fisherfolk catching fish to eat for themselves along the coastline or small farmers growing their own grain) remain unreckoned. Thus, unsurprisingly, the government will offer figures for the creation of jobs (in say, SEZs) but never for the number of livelihoods (which are more than jobs after all) lost.

DC Metro Blames Mechanical Failures

Metro officials said the unsettling series of smoke and fire incidents that halted train travel throughout much of the system for two nights probably was caused by power and equipment failure and not sabotage, underscoring the agency's difficulty in maintaining and operating the aging rail line as ridership grows.

...Metro's most recent difficulties highlight one of its biggest issues -- maintaining its worn equipment, such as its power substations, signaling and communications systems, and track beds. Some of the fires, for example, were caused by smoldering insulators that heated up because they were damaged by water or were coated with grime. The 31-year-old system has about 250,000 such insulators, which are attached to the electrified third rail that powers the trains.

North Dakota Oil (video and transcript)

You may be wondering why are we experiencing a gasoline shortage when oil production is peaking in North Dakota...

The shortage isn't with oil the bottleneck is in the refining process.

This graph shows you what's going on...

We have three pipelines that bring gasoline into the state.

All three of them dead end in North Dakota. President of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, Ron Ness, says being at the end of the pipeline means we get the left overs and now there's not much left over to get.

Subprime crisis gives Opec dilemma

Before the subprime crisis, Opec had been expected to raise production at that meeting. Now it is worried that it could be increasing supply just as demand is about to collapse in a global economic downturn.

Opec is haunted by the meeting in Jakarta in November 1997, when its members agreed a 10 per cent increase in its output quota as the Asian financial crisis was beginning.

Before that decision, the price of oil was above $20. Afterwards, fears of a global recession and two warm winters sent it down to $12 in 1998 and then $10 in 1999.

Oil Shale to the Rescue?

Let me start by saying that this post is as non-partisan as it gets. I care about America, not political parties. So buckle your seatbelt...

We're facing an oil crisis. Biofuels and hybrids will not save us in time. But oil shale might.

Linux, Windows duke it out over energy efficiency

The battles for energy efficiency aren't just being fought by chipmakers, server and PC vendors, and other hardware companies out there. There's a similar battle heating up on the OS layer between Microsoft and Linux.

The looming food crisis

Land that was once used to grow food is increasingly being turned over to biofuels. This may help us to fight global warming - but it is driving up food prices throughout the world and making life increasingly hard in developing countries. Add in water shortages, natural disasters and an ever-rising population, and what you have is a recipe for disaster.

Kenya: Biofuels Likely to Boost Energy But Increase Hunger, Now Critics Warn

Though biofuels are being touted as the solution to Africa's growing energy crisis, not everybody is happy with the rising demand for biofuel products.

Already, some environmentalists have raised concern about the potential threat to the continent's weak food security.

Ethanol byproduct aids farmers, ranchers

The rising demand for corn to make renewable fuel might be hurting some dairy farmers and beef ranchers, but others are finding advantages to staying close to ethanol plants.

Converting corn into ethanol produces a byproduct called distillers grains, which can be used as high-protein livestock feed. Most are dried so they can be shipped across the country and overseas, but cattle ranchers within 50 miles or so from an ethanol plant can save money by buying wet distillers grains.

Moscow Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Former Russneft CEO

Moscow's Tverskoy court today issued an arrest warrant for NK Russneft OAO former chief executive Mikhail Gutseriyev, Interfax reported.

The billionaire executive left the company in July after what he described as an "unprecedented hounding" by the Russian government.

Russneft is the focus of several enquiries, notably in court for the "illegal activities" of its subsidiaries and by the Ministry of the Interior for large-scale tax evasion.

NOAA blames hot year on greenhouse gases

Warming caused by human activity was the biggest factor in the high temperatures recorded in 2006, according to a report by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

North American HV DC Lines in Process


3 GW per line, 500 kV

Solid lines are HV DC, dashed are yet to be determined HV AC or HV DC.

Plans are to first use tar sands heat (NG or nuke) to make electricity and then to melt goo out of sand, so Ft. McMurray to San Francisco. Montana and Wyoming will supply both coal and wind power for the line.

Best Hopes,


California is a net electricity importer by a large percentage. I guess we'll have to import more electricity from Oregon so that we can export it to Canada.

Look at today's graph and tell me what you think California has available for exports. Note how the demand curve intersects the supply curve around 330 today. Yikes!


I'm not seeing it, but it's good to have a dream.


Its hard to know whether to weep or rejoice at some of the plans and solutions being put up as proposals. I really don't want to see modern civilisation collapse, yet the solutions being put out by some of the folks can only increase global warming because we need to get off our fossil fuel dependence. As my father remarked to me about 10 years ago, its really disheartening to think your life has been spent so that people could spend their time stuck on the freeway. This is any thinking oilman's dilema.

Don, 1observer who wrote the keypost on A New Method of Heavy Oil Extraction, Toe to Heel Air Injection, THAI on the Oil Drum the day before yesterday was kind enough to respond to my post about the economics of the wells. I'm going to post my results on that post, but the relevant part is that the wells are now 500 meters long in the horizontal leg, will last 5.2 years at 1200 bbls per unit, and as a consequence by my figures will have a 10 or 12 to 1 payout on dollars in the project.

THAI seems very economic, and figured at $60 per barrel should make the 80% of the tar sands too deep for strip mining more economic than the surface extraction without needing significant natural gas or water. I'll finish with the figures and have them up at about 1 PM central standard time. I'm going to post them back on the THAI keypost. It should unlock the US deposits of heavy, bipassed oil in sandstone reservoirs as well, making an onshore oil boom probable and energy independence more than a pipe dream.

The thing that worries me most about this is exponential growth. With the growth in world population and the greenhouse gas problem, a huge technological breakthrough like THAI appears to be only extends the time to peak oil, and doesn't change the greenhouse gas/global warming problem one bit. Its a matter of population, of self restraint and when the oil is gone now it will really be gone-this process gets 80% of the original oil in place out, but the remaining 20% will be totally uneconomic. And, in the meantime its going to take at least 10 years to deploy the method to get the US self-sufficent, we need true belt tightening and a heavy emphasis on change to renewables. Surely peak oil has taught us that.

And , what sounds more fun and entertaining to all of us, sitting in heavy traffic back and forth to a 10 or 12 hour a day job and coming home to upsetting TV like the current situation, or living in a vibrant city like Alan, and eating great organic food, and having time for your family, friends and a meaningful job like WesTexas's ELP program leads to? No matter what, the next 10 years are going to be really rough, but lets use the breathing space wisely. Bob Ebersole

Looking at some of the down thread posts, I wish folks would make up their minds. Regardless of the current deathtoll from all causes, we still increase the global population by 76,000,000 or so every year, and I keep hearing people complaining about the population increase as being the major cause of GW, PO, and related stuff. So which is it people? You want to reduce the death toll or reduce the global population, or what? You can't have it both ways. Make up your damn minds.

How about reducing human suffering and death, while motivating people to voluntarily reduce world's population in the long run by reducing the birth rate?

Peak Oil isn't an issue because of an abstract need to maintain large reseves of oil undergroud. It's scary because most of the world is dependant on a constant supply of cheap easy energy to maintain its standard of living. Concerns about Global Warming are more linked to logistical challenges facing huge portions of the world's population as the climate changes than to an aesthetic desire to conserve a "pristine atmosphere"

You're dreaming. People are designed to reproduce. How many people do you know who are "sad" when the wife gets pregnant, or their kids have grandchildren? Like I said; Make up your damn mind. The Catholic religion encourages reproduction and prohibits birth control, as does Islam and most other religions. Think you can change the Pope's mind? We will literally screw ourselves to death, given the choice.

And yet...there are cultures where zero population is the ideal.

The problem is they tend to be overrun by the cultures who breed like bunnies. :-/

Yep. ;) The problem is that breeding like bunnies is so damn much fun :) Let's hear it for 72 (temporary) virgins: Go Team Go! :)

The problem is that breeding like bunnies is so damn much fun

No, it isn't. Sex is fun, raising kids is not.

Cultures that embrace zero population are not necessarily anti-sex. They use birth control, including infanticide and abortion. They encourage suicide. They do things other than intercourse, if you know what I mean.

The problem isn't really that people want kids. Sure they do, but most people are fine with one or two.

The problem is when two societies are in conflict, the one with the higher population density tends to win.

I sorta have to agree with the sex is fun, raising kids is not comment. I've fathered 4 with 2 wives ( sequential, not concurrant :) ), but the raising part is not all bad. Mostly good actually. I do think your view of most people being fine with one or 2 is a very "Western" viewpoint however. And even then, there are significant departures from what is "culturally normal". Mormons come to mind, as well as
Catholic doctrine.

In any case, reproduction is a biological imperative, regardless of the cultural aspects. We tend to think that our current status as top of the food chain heap is the be-all and end-all of evolution. Sorry. Not happening. Religious/cultural beliefs notwithstanding, biological and cultural evolution continues without regard for our petty concerns. Whether anyone likes it or not, it is winner takes all in the end.

See my other comments along this line, below.

I've fathered 4 with 2 wives ( sequential, not concurrant :) ), but the raising part is not all bad. Mostly good actually.

You sound like a man. ;-)

I daresay the raising would not be as fun if you didn't have enough food for them.

I do think your view of most people being fine with one or 2 is a very "Western" viewpoint however.

Disagree. Birthrates tend to drop naturally when safe, affordable birth control is available, as long as the children you do have are likely to survive to adulthood.

And too many children were a problem in western societies, too, before birth control was widely available. (Google baby farming.) Even middle class families could not afford more than one child in a household. Children were turned out in the streets as early as age 3 (forming bands of boys a la Oliver Twist). Orphanages were church-sanctioned child-killing machines. Only a tiny percentage of children lived to age 16 in such places.

We tend to think that our current status as top of the food chain heap is the be-all and end-all of evolution.

I don't think anyone here thinks that.

Religious/cultural beliefs notwithstanding, biological and cultural evolution continues without regard for our petty concerns. Whether anyone likes it or not, it is winner takes all in the end.

Yes, but other cultures have kept their populations at sustainable levels for thousands of years. Clearly, it's possible. It's not easy, but it's possible.

And these days, population density is not the advantage it once was. Hence Israel's dominating the Palestinians despite being outnumbered by them. (Of course, whether they'll be able to keep doing that in the post-carbon age is whole 'nother story.)

The Hadith about 72 virgins is sketchy, sort of like the fascination certain Christian sects have with same sex relationships based on a handful of conflicting statements in the bible. Yeah, its written, but is it spiritual in nature, or just a "Uncle Sam Wants You" billboard of the times?

The Hadith about 72 virgins is sketchy

It's also, a recent scholarly argument suggests, a misinterpretation of a promise of food and drink for the faithful.

In particular, white raisins. Of "crystal clarity", though.

PtE, I read recently that 'white raisins' was a slang word for a jewel stone in the area of Mecca.

James Gervais

You're dreaming. People are designed to reproduce. ... The Catholic religion encourages reproduction ...

With a handle like "Gene" (e.g. DNA), I assume you are a geneticist with a twisted funny bone, probably due to a deficiency in a critical seriousness allele.

The reproduction horse always precedes the religious cart.

All species on this planet are evolved/wired to reproduce as much as they can. If their ancestors didn't have a strong, built in genetic drive for reproduction, they wouldn't be here. Simple as that.

Religion fools people into "feeling" as if they aren't animals but instead they are "divine" creatures.

Fact of the matter is that we ARE animals and we fornicate for the same reason that stray dogs on the street do it. We are driven by our genes to do it. This isn't a matter of free choice. It is a matter of genetic imperative.

The reproduction horse always precedes the religious cart.


Religion fools people into "feeling" as if they aren't animals but instead they are "divine" creatures.

right on.

as a longtime TOD lurker, i don't mean to offend everyone with my very first post, but what has always amazed me is the blind sense of 'entitlement' to procreation that many people seem to have, regardless of the cultural/religious justification they state.

what upsets me even more is state-sponsored drives to increase population: spain, poland, quebec, etc.
every day i see people with kids they could not afford to have if it wasn't for the 'baby bonuses' and other incentives these kids got them.

i can't help but wonder how these people will survive when peak oil really hits home, the state's taps run dry, and they have to fend for themselves.

I say we do both. Reduce the death toll by reducing the population by reducing the reproduction. Eventually everyone dies, all we have to do is reduce the amount of people being born. The problem is, most people like to have control over their right to reproduction. I can't blame them.

Out of all my friends, only one of them PLANNED to have a child, all the rest had theirs via "oops" and "Oh-no." I have no children yet, and as time goes by, I think not having any is the best course of action.

How about this, government sponsored vasectomy operations for anyone who wants one?

~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

I think we can have both, but just not quickly.

The real sources of population growth are desperately poor countries. There, more kids means more field hands. Most of them have womwn who have no power in their relationships, and can't say no to sex and kids-like all the Moslem countries, or the countries in Central and South America who are Catholic.

Global warming comes from the US, and the rapidly industrialising countries, who just want a prosperous life style, and who can blame them? Working in a "dark, satanic mill" beats the shit out of wading all day barefoot in a rice patty, especially if you can drive home in a car. So why aren't we selling them electric cars and helping every child in the world get hold of a computer? Its cheaper to educate them than kill them fighting us in a war. As a marine, I know you know I'm right. Educated people just don't have growing populations.

In the US its our government, the best that money can buy, letting the power companies burn coal and the automobiles get 12 miles a gallon, and we have to breathe their poison. I don't think people should be allowed to dump their pollution in my air any more than they can take a dump on the sidewalk. And you cut the pollution from cars to 1/3rd when you make it go three times as far on a gallon of gas.That's what CAFE standards means. Wind, nukes and solar don't make CO2 pollution,new power plants should be built only with non polluting power sources.

Alan's electrification of rail makes great sense economicially, it adds real security to the US and it clears all the highways of long range trucks and the freeways of cars.

I'm sorry for the jobs of the teamsters, the coal miners and the power plants that refuse to change, just like I'm sorry for the jobs of tobacco growers and asbestos miners or the guys that made patent medicines with heroin. Sometimes society makes decisions that step on toes but have to be done.

Bob Ebersole

I don't know Bob. I've worked in a "dark satanic mill" and I've also trudged thru many a rice patty. Pretty much the same except for the leaches are of different species. And yes, you're right about "civilized" populations having lower birthrates, however that does not mean that civilized populations will be the winners in the race for superior DNA. The point is that individual cultures, and individuals, are continually sacrificed to ensure survival of the species. We, being currently at the top of the heap, think we have a right to remain there. Guess what? Evolution continues apace, regardless of the petty concerns of ant hills or people. If we are smart enough, and strong enough, and adaptable enough we might, might, continue to exist as a species. StarTrek not withstanding. So be it.

I guarantee that some of today's cultures, countries, religions, etc. will not survive. So the only question is; which will continue and which won't? Choose sides. And be prepared to defend your choice with deadly violence. Because if you're not, you lose.

"On then! Value means survival-

Value. If our progeny

Spreads and spawns and licks each rival,

That will prove its deity

(Far from pleasant, by our present

Standards, though it well may be)."

...from "Evolutionary Hymn", a satirical poem by C.S. Lewis

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." G. Orwell.

Peace has ever been a set of principles coupled with the willingness to do violence to those who do not grasp them fully.

A similar sentiment, though from a much less famous source.


“WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”
- Gen. Smedley Butler

Educated people just don't have growing populations.

Except that I am constatly amazed by how many very educated people in my area (Silicon Valley) have three children by choice. They obviously either don't appreciate or don't care that if everyone did that we would grow the population 50% per generation.

if everyone did that we would grow the population 50% per generation.

That's assuming that all of your 3 or more offspring survive into reproductive adulthood.

Regrettably and sadly, that is not a given.

All too many couples (yes even here in our golden Silicon Valley) lose their children to car accidents, disease, crimes of violence, drugs, etc.

There are even these never-occurring events called war and drafts. You can spend a whole life time raising a child, sending them to the best schools and so on; only to have Uncle Sam pluck them out of line and send them to the front so they (and you) can make the "ultimate sacrifice" for God and country.

Lemmings are we, born to be free, even of that nasty gravity.

Hi Bob,

Thank you for mentioning "...women who have no power in their relationships...."

The organization "Human Rights Watch" sums it up as follows:


"Millions of women throughout the world live in conditions of abject deprivation of, and attacks against, their fundamental human rights for no other reason than that they are women.

Violence and discrimination against women are global social epidemics, notwithstanding the very real progress of the international women's human rights movement in identifying, raising awareness about, and challenging impunity for women's human rights violations.

We live in a world in which women do not have basic control over what happens to their bodies. Millions of women and girls are forced to marry and have sex with men they do not desire. Women are unable to depend on the government to protect them from physical violence in the home, with sometimes fatal consequences, including increased risk of HIV/AIDS infection. Women in state custody face sexual assault by their jailers. Women are punished for having sex outside of marriage or with a person of their choosing (rather than of their family's choosing). Husbands and other male family members obstruct or dictate women's access to reproductive health care."

(I skipped the section on rape as a weapon of war.)

While HVDC promoters insist that it helps renewables the evidence suggests it helps fossil energy even more. Places that could have made do on local generation now get dirty power from far away.

AC is inherently better at long distance transmission then dc no matter the material. it would pump more juice if you sent AC down it.

wrong - HV DC is the thing long haul.

A 1000 km (if mem serves) HV DC line looses only 3% of initial energy - as compared to HV AC .... TK, whats your number?

Do you just make this stuff up?

Advantages of HVDC over AC transmission

The huge advantage of HVDC is the ability to transmit large amounts of power over very long distances at much lower capital costs and with much lower losses than AC. Losses are quoted as about 3% per 1000 km. This has given rise to proposals to for example generate between 10-25% of Europe’s electricity in Concentrating Solar Power Stations located in North African deserts, and feeding it to Europe via HVDC lines (see Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation). Airtricity is promoting a combined wind farm and HVDC network to link up UK and Western Europe.



The advantage of AC (going back to the rivalry btw. Edison and Westinghouse) is that it can easily be stepped up to high voltages with dumb old transformers. The high voltage, in turn, requires less in the way of wire diameter to carry the same power. ( power = voltage * current ) ( more current requires larger wire )

Edison's low voltage DC of 120 years ago tended to suffer losses from the resistance of the lines. And horrible electrochemical corrosion.

The disadvantage of AC is that long lines act as antennas, radiating the power away into space. There are various mitigating/aggravating factors going into this, but it remains that AC radiates power away from the lines. Long enough lines and you have nothing at the far end. Coaxial lines suffer dielectric losses. (power radiating as heat) .etc.

We now have solid state electronics that can control large amounts of HVDC power. The lines don't radiate ... somewhere I have seen a proposal to make the wires out of sodium (because it's cheap, you can make large diameter wire for underground long hauls -- just watch out with that backhoe!)

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

Yes, Yes, Yes. HVDC is more efficient than AC. Actually, it is more efficient over all distances. The benefit of AC is that you can use a simple transformer to change voltages. This lets you use a high voltage, low current line to distribute power and then reduce this voltage to a safer voltage near the end user's home. Until recently there was no way to do this cheaply with DC.

The problem with AC is that because the voltage is changing the long wires act as an antenna causing the wires to send out low frequency radio waves which sucks energy from the wires. DC does not do this.

I have to say, it boggles my mind that we are putting up long wires charged to 500kV.

Hi Alan,

Thanks a lot for the added horror for the day! (smile)

I think the Empire State building was started on the edge of the 1929 collapse and made as much money on tourists visiting the observation deck (I guess to get a better look at a collapse) as on rents. Didn't make a profit till the 50's I think.

Time line on this project indicates 2012 as completion. (Big Grin Here)

Population, Population ... It just multiplies and multiplies and we will see all forms of energy good, bad and indifferent thrown into the mix, as well as all the energy-saving ways means and devices, 'unless of course a honking great collapse says no, then it's time to climb back into the trees those of you who are left and view the wreckage.

Bush Wants $50 Billion More for Iraq War


I subscribe to the Washington Post on-line digest and the only words shown were Bush Wants $50 Billion More. Today is the second anniversary of Katrina and Bush is in town. My pulse picked up 15 beats/minute as "hope sprang eternal".


President Disaster seems to be on course for more of the same.

1. 9/11 about 3000 killed.

2. The Iraq war black hole with over 3000 more killed plus over 100,000 Iraqi's.

3. Katrina wipes out a major U.S. city with scores dead.
And oil prices jump to new highs.

4. A major infrastructure bridge collapses in Minneapolis killing 13.

And another one's gone. And another one's gone. And another one bites the dust.

Katrina wipes out a major U.S. city with scores dead

Scores ?!??!

Oh My God !

Do you not even know the body count > How many killed by the US Army ?

We have 110 unidentified dead from Louisiana today, a memorial was dedicated a few minutes ago to the unknown dead.

Over 1,100 dead in Orleans Parish from the federal flood and over 1,800 dead overall directly with at least as many more indirectly.


The death toll from Katrina has to be the most under-reported/suppressed story of the past few years. God forbid if anything should rival 9-11 as a catastrophe.

While not in any way wishing to downplay Katrina and 9/11, I think it is worth keeping in mind the fact that there are around one million dying from road accidents each year - year in year out.

Of that the USA accounts for some 40,000.

The number of injured is many times greater.

While this puts the numbers in a perspective of sorts, it doesn't do well on the "so what" test.

All but a few of the Katrina deaths were likely preventable by proper evacuation and dike-construction procedures (or else by deciding in advance that the area had become too burdensome to protect and retreating from it in an orderly way.) Proper procedure could have included such things as a plan to bring in drivers for the hundreds of city buses that could have evacuated people and were instead left by the fecklessly moronic city government to be destroyed by floodwater.

In addition, a community was virtually destroyed in a manner that simply does not occur with random accidents - or even with the vastly more numerous ordinary deaths that simply come with age. In this sense, the perspective, like a lot of other statistical/accounting info, is true but nonetheless useless.

OTOH, before there ever were cars, there were plenty of fatalities from accidents involving horses and other draft animals, as well as wagons and carriages. Random transportation deaths have been with us, in quantity, since time immemorial. Like it or not, we still don't yet have a socially, economically, politically, humanly feasible way to zero them out - we'd have to strap everyone down in bed.

I see. A death from a car-related accident is somehow unavoidable. It was preordained.

Floods and strikes by an enemy are different.

Yes, they are different.
"there were an estimated 243,023,485 registered passenger vehicles in the United States according to a 2004 DOT study."


There are surely a lot of things we can and should do to reduce the number of Highway/Auto fatalities, but there is obviously another issue involved with the Administration's indifference around forseeing or fortifying against these two, benchmark incidents, or for their flimsy and misdirected actions following them. The numbers of people on the roads pretty much guarantee that 'stuff will happen'.. but we have an NTSB, Speed Limits, Safety Belts, Traffic Signs and Weather Advisories.. What happened in NOLA is akin to Bush deciding to take 4/5 of the State Troopers off the highways, turn off the traffic lights, and cut costs on all those redundant "One Way signs" and divider stripes.

Now for something different from Monty Python's Flying Abattoir:

The Lancet study's figure of 654,965 excess deaths is based on surveys and sampling methods, and includes those due to increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poorer healthcare, etc.. 601,027 deaths (range of 426,369 to 793,663 using a 95% confidence interval) were due to violence. 31% of those were attributed to the Coalition, 24% to others, 46% unknown. The causes of violent deaths were gunshot (56%), car bomb (13%), other explosion/ordnance (14%), air strike (13%), accident (2%), unknown (2%).[3]

The United Nations reported that 34,452 violent deaths occurred in 2006, based on data from morgues, hospitals, and municipal authorities across Iraq.[4] For comparison, the IBC reports approximately 24,500 civilian deaths in 2006.[5] The Lancet study's excess mortality rate figure of 14.2 deaths/1000/year as of June 2006 corresponds to approximately 370,000 deaths in 2006.[6]

(italics are mine.)

"Katrina, 9/11? Traffic accidents, very curious" Alice said to the Caterpillar "What have they been smoking?"

50 billion more for war eh? Alan, can we do a bit of extrapolating here? How many dead will that produce, will it be cost effective, bring home the oil bacon and kill more Americans in traffic accidents?

Im not so sure actually. I think if you asked the man on the street in the NE a lot of people would say 5000 or even 50000. I thing there is a general awareness that a lot of people died. I was actually surprised to see the final toll was as low as it was when i saw it a few mos. after, because the initial reports were mostly several times higher.For what it's worth.

Another thing is that there are some pretty media-savvy people publicizing K. issues up here. It's hard to miss this stuff when it's right in front of you on the street in NYC, so I think this has generated quite a bit of awareness as well.


Oh My God! Do you not even know the body count [?]

This statistical summary shows Orleans Parish at "720+", so, literally, no. Amazing after a full two years and given driver licensing, credit cards, and various other IDs. At least 86 scores in total, though, making "scores" an unusual way of putting it.

But come to think of it, I can't recall ever seeing/hearing the summary news story wrapping it all up and giving such numbers, the way one gets sooner or later following an airliner crash. But it unfolded so slowly that I'd be hard pressed to say when such a wrapup story ought to have run. Certainly the "press" and everyone else had Moved On To Other Things by the time there were even semi-real numbers.

...plus over 100,000 Iraqi's. (killed). More like 650,000. A Johns Hopkins study came up with that figure some time ago, and it has to be much larger now. Half a million kids died during the sanctions period prior to the that. How many lives will be taken by the depleted uranium being dumped all over the country know one knows. All this in a country of with a population somewhere in the mid 20 millions.

I'm not overstating -- I'm leaving many things out.

Continuing that trend, it would be around a million now. Both the methodology and the people who conducted the study were first rate. We have to consider this the best available estimate of the impact.

I was shocked a few years ago to learn that American forces were responsible for over 100,000 civilian deaths in the Korean War. While Korea is never viewed as a WW2-level "good" war, we like to think it was utterly different than Vietnam.

We must face the fact that the average major military intervention by the United States of America will cause from 100,000 to 1,000,000 civilian dead. That's foreknowledge. Which means the president who starts a war knows he will be responsible, on average, for that many deaths, no matter how much crap the Air Force spouts yet again about minimizing collateral damage. Which is why an American judge stated at Nuremburg that the waging of a war of aggression is the ultimate war crime, for it contains within it the seeds of all other war crimes. You're responsible because you have statistical foreknowledge.

So where's the Democratic candidate who has the guts to tell the American people that?

Where is the Democrat willing to say that? He's completely marginalized by the party itself, just like his Republican counterparts saying similar things. There is almost no possible way that someone like Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul (two men who come closest to saying what you are asking be said) will ever be allowed to even get near the White House (as president).

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

I've heard a figure as high as 2 1/2 mil for Vietnam. There were close to 1,000,000 true combat deaths on the N. & VC "side."


Why were you shocked? What do you think war is? It's certainly not about "hearts and minds". That's a political slogan. War is about killing. Anything less than that is called "diplomacy". In case you have any doubts about that, perhaps you should go fight one. Smell it. Feel it. Stand in it. Roll around in it. Taste it. Try not to make any noise when you puke, cause if you do the other guy will hear you, and then you die. Don't fart, for the same reason.

War is what diplomats and politicians resort to when talking doesn't work. Too bad they don't have to go fight it. They might talk a little longer if they did.

As bloody as the Korean war was, it could easily have been far bloodier. And just FYI, that one was started by N. Korea. But, in any case it's irrelevant who starts a war or why. The only thing that counts is who wins it.

At least 618,000 Americans died in the U.S. Civil War - for some other stats: http://www.civilwarhome.com/casualties.htm . Suppose the South had won?

Why were you shocked? What do you think war is?

Yes, war is BAAAAAADDDDD. That is why, at the founding of the United States they created a set of rules for being in a war via a Declaration of War.

When people call me a "doomer" for suggestng that PO will cause literally millions of Americans to become refugees, I remind them that over 500,00 Americans (of a much smaller population) were refugees at some point during the Civil War.

Errol in Miami

So where's the Democratic candidate who has the guts to tell the American people that?

Where are the American citizens who have the guts to state their beliefs to their elected representatives?

It is after all "we the people," "government of the people, by the people." It was not ever "let's wait around for the bozos in Washington to tell us how to live our lives."

Like it or not, respect it as you will, there are people in the middle east who are quite ready and willing to die for what they believe in. Americans appear to want only to be able to idle in traffic without it costing them too much.

Live Free or Die! the slogan of a free Iraq.

Don't Tread on Me! the slogan of an independent Iran.

Cheap Gas! you get 50 guesses.

IraqBodyCount.org has been a consistent critic of the US Military's lack of accounting and responsibility for civilian deaths in Iraq. Since the start of the war, they have maintained a database which contains all of the reported civilian casualties.

They currently list the number of Iraqi civilian casualties at a minimum of around 71,000 and a maximum of 78,000. Writers from the site have bebunked the Lancet medical journal study with this press release:

Reality checks: some responses to the latest Lancet estimates

A new study has been released by the Lancet medical journal estimating over 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq. The Iraqi mortality estimates published in the Lancet in October 2006 imply, among other things, that:

-On average, a thousand Iraqis have been violently killed every single day in the first half of 2006, with less than a tenth of them being noticed by any public surveillance mechanisms;
-Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;
-Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;
-Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued;
-The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year than in earlier years containing the initial massive "Shock and Awe" invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.
If these assertions are true, they further imply:

-incompetence and/or fraud on a truly massive scale by Iraqi officials in hospitals and ministries, on a local, regional and national level, perfectly coordinated from the moment the occupation began;
-bizarre and self-destructive behaviour on the part of all but a small minority of 800,000 injured, mostly non-combatant, Iraqis;
-the utter failure of local or external agencies to notice and respond to a decimation of the adult male population in key urban areas;
-an abject failure of the media, Iraqi as well as international, to observe that Coalition-caused events of the scale they reported during the three-week invasion in 2003 have been occurring every month for over a year.

In the light of such extreme and improbable implications, a rational alternative conclusion to be considered is that the authors have drawn conclusions from unrepresentative data. In addition, totals of the magnitude generated by this study are unnecessary to brand the invasion and occupation of Iraq a human and strategic tragedy.

This post is not meant to downplay the tragic loss of life that has occurred, during both Gulf wars and from the intrevening sanctions, but to point out that it's difficult to give much credence to the John Hopkins study.

I only know one Iraqi personally - a guy on their national university library science team. I sat next to him on a flight from New Orleans to Houston last year and he wouldn't tell me if he was Sunni or Shi'ia, but he did relate that things pretty much sucked, were getting worse, and he was going to try to ditch the group in Jordan and stay there.

He ended up going back to Baghdad. I got email once every month or so, then it just stopped about six months ago. I don't know about the other 999,999 but this one I am sure was cleansed, or he'd have found at least a little computer time so he could relate the latest troubles.

I think that it's worth pointing that IBC count civilian deaths reported in two or more Western media. As you can imagine, in the hell that is Iraq, the majority of deaths do not get reported. Thus their numbers are far below the actual number of deaths,


Post-Katrina New Orleans and Post-Peak Oil America

On the second anniversary of Katrina, I wanted to repost an earlier post in response to "can we avoid a disaster" with a focus on Suburban property values and BAU (business as usual).

Paint me a picture whereby things end up other than quite disastrously. Please

I hope for nothing worse than post-Katrina New Orleans for the USA post-Peak Oil.

If we work quite hard we can limit suicides to x6, overall mortality up only 47%, population density tripled in viable housing with most housing uninhabited, very limited health care, transportation, food supplies, erratic water & electricity, skyrocketing crime and a "Don't Give a Damn, You know they deserved it" attitude by the rest of the world.

Best Hopes for Nothing Worse,


Katrina significantly increased my peak oil pessimism. Some people say I'm a doomer. If so, Katrina made me one.

There CAN be a good and very worthwhile life after so-called "doom". One reason I have little fear regarding post-Peak Oil is that I have "been there, done that".

Unfortunately, much of the USA lacks the resources and cultural values of New Orleans that have helped us deal with the sh!t. So be it.

I want to present, via my proposals, what will be a very scarce commodity post-Peak Oil, HOPE

Best Hopes,


There CAN be a good and very worthwhile life after so-called "doom".

That has nothing to do with it, really. People seem to assume that "doomers" are unhappy or hopeless about the future. IME, that is not true. They are merely people who don't think business as usual will continue in the future. Many of them are actually quite happy at the idea.

And New Orleans wasn't doom. It was merely the tiniest first hint of it.

And New Orleans wasn't doom. It was merely the tiniest first hint of it

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves

The USA will not prepare in advance. I once had hopes that we would would, but no more.

The question is the reaction early post-Peak Oil. A proper and effective reaction (hopefully combined with a modest decline in oil exports, but even without) could keep the life of the average American on rough par with that of an average New Orleanian in the first year post-Katrina.

Thus my efforts to pre-position my meme for that not distant day.

Continued stupidity is of course, not a survival value.

Best Hopes,



The early reaction to peak oil will be (is as of right now) much the same as the early reaction to Katrina. There will not be any early mitigation. There will not be any effort to let Americans live as Katrina victims have lived in the first year post-Katrina. You also forget that a huge number of New Orleans natives never returned and are being housed in other US cities (mainly Houston!!) that have not yet suffered catastrophic decline.

New Orleans was the barest hint of what is to come unless America wakes up. And America is bound and determined to sleepwalk into the post-peak oil age with all that this implies.

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

The early reaction to peak oil will be (is as of right now) much the same as the early reaction to Katrina

The future is *N*O*T* immutable and unchangeable !

Human efforts, including mine and many others in the Peak Oil movement, CAN CHANGE THE RESPONSE !

NO ONE can say with certainty what the early and mid-post-Peak Oil reaction will be. My experiences in New Orleans give me hope for a positive and productive reaction.

Many other times in history, a small group of people have changed the apparent "pre-ordained" reality,

Best Hopes for Working for a Positive Reaction to post-Peak Oil,


Can Thoughts and Action Change Our Brains?

Talk of the Nation, February 2, 2007 ·

For years, scientists believed the brain's structure couldn't be changed. The new science of neuroplasticity says that's not the case, and argue the brain is much more flexible than previously thought. Science writer Sharon Begley talks about her new book, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain.


"There is more between Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy"

Thanks for that, John. Good reminder that we have both a lot of hidden potential and flexibility that remains 'undreamt of', and also that there is so much we feel sure of, that the universe occasionally corrects us on.

There was a discovery recently that Human Females, in contrast to 50 year-old thinking, may actually Grow New Eggs. The discovery was in Mice, which were also understood to have a finite number of eggs..

Who knows? But there are possibilities to be discovered..

With you on that, Bob:

...and suggests a "reserve of stem cells that form the building blocks for reproductive cells must exist in female mice as they do in male mammals".

Yep, from cancer stem cells to tissue regeneration, the universe is within. Shhhhh.

Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.

The future is *N*O*T* immutable and unchangeable!

Whereas this is probably true, the problem lies with the probability of altering the future's course. This is where the curse of success comes in, the system (put your own name to it; Civilisation, Economy, Empire, New World Order, whatever... the name is immaterial) has been made thoroughly unresponsive, especially to anything which curtails its advancement. The system responds only to those things that it sees as necessary and ignores all else. The myriad methods of controlling and corrupting the masses, moulding consensus and manufacturing consent, means the system only hears what it wants to hear and only does what it wants to do. As far as the system is concerned politics or religion does not exist, all must bend to its will and it cares not how they decide to do it.

Going forward there will be a forced move towards a more sustainable system and this will likely be done efficiently. The most unsustainable aspects of the system will simply be removed until some suitable level of sustainability is gained. A global downsizing with all costs externalised wherever possible will occur.

The system doesn't need to change the future, it just needs to be able to function in it. Turning food into fuel is a typical system response as is war. Advancement for the system is in no way aligned with the concept of advancement as understood by the masses. Creative destruction is always available to kick-start the process if it stalls.

Changing the response? Only with the systems acquiescence, only if it fits with its own internal dynamics of advancement. Good luck it will be a lottery. And lets hope the system believes it's worth the trouble to maintain the world's population.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Whereas this is probably true, the problem lies with the probability of altering the future's course.

Bingo! I don't fault Alan for trying but I do think his chances are beyond tiny.

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

The future isn't going to change. It'll be what it will. It's just a lot ofour predictions of the 'expected' futures that are going to have to change..

The greatest shortcoming to the exponential function is the surprise plot-twists that nature is waiting to deal.

Of course, there is also an exponential function at work with the millions of Alan's that do what little they can, with faith and love..

"I honestly believe that the future is going to be millions of little things saving us. I imagine a big seesaw, and at one end of this seesaw is on the ground with a basket half-full of big rocks in it. The other end of the seesaw is up in the air. It's got a basket one-quarter full of sand. And some of us got teaspoons, and we're trying to fill up sand.

"A lot of people are laughing at us, and they say, "Ah, people like you have been trying to do that for thousands of years, and it's leaking out as fast as you're putting it in." But we're saying, "We're getting more people with teaspoons all the time." And we think, "One of these years, you'll see that whole seesaw go zooop in the other direction." And people will say, "Gee, how did it happen so suddenly?" Us and all our little teaspoons. Now granted, we've gotta keep putting it in, because if we don't keep putting teaspoons in, it will leak out, and the rocks will go back down again. Who knows?" ~Pete Seeger

"My optimism rests on my belief in the infinite possibility of the individual to develop non-violence.. ..In a gentle way, you can shake the world." M Gandhi


A return to the bucolic permaculture would be nice but like you I think PO and its aftermath are well within our resiliency band of behavior.

If PO is here then the example of post PO life is WWII energy rationed life. Closely followed by many of the alternatives advocated here, but more realitically a transition to Fischer tropp synfuel. If PO is imminent (+/- 20 years) then the example is the S curve of coal from wood, long lead, dramatic adoption after technology was figured out (Watt and coke, etc.), followed by long use even after new fuel (oil) was being considered (1859 to 1900) British adopted oil vice coal for its naval fleet.

The federal government will not prepare because they're too busy servicing the dying wishes of corporations. People are preparing, more with each passing day, and while the world may change a good number of us will persist after the decay of civilization.

When Leanan talks about doom it isn't what you experienced in Katrina, its another Katrina and the fleeing survivors being shot by the next administrative unit up the road because they don't have the carrying capacity for the additional people. Darfur residents trying to exit to Chad and facing the Chadian army ... that is a model for doom.

This site and our society in general suffer from what I'd call an atomic viewpoint - either we have "the solution" or there is no solution. I think this stems from too much in the way of the village elder role being filled by a handful of talking heads in the Meat Stick Media. Someone here (you, Alan?) uses the phrase "silver BBs" and this is absolutely right - individuals on the ground can use information to their advantage and some policy changes need to be made, but like any area of innovation the federal government just gets under foot and skews things to political rather than operational ends. As you've seen that is going to get people killed, likely in increasingly large numbers as we go forward.

the fleeing survivors being shot by the next administrative unit up the road

You are not aware of the Jefferson Parish and Gretna police shooting at New Orleanians trying to walk to the bus pick-up point for white Republicans in Metairie that got a foot of rainwater in their homes ?

FEMA established a bus pick-up there on Wednesday morning, with ice and Port-a-lets, for the white Republicans that got some rain water in their homes (post-WW II sprawl, so they build on slabs while New Orleans is largely elevated).

Only after the white Rs were safely evacuated, and GWB was scheduled to lie from Jackson Square Friday night, was relief sent into New Orleans over dry roads. (How do you think the TV crews got their satellite trucks in ?)

It was a dry road from the Metairie pick-up point to the Convention Center. The overhead shot of Army convoys wading though water was just for PR purposes.



At a little before 1am Aug 30, to the former and future residents of Orleans Parish and the Mississippi Gulf;

Best hopes that your loss, your suffering, means more to us in the future, in tangible ways.

Nostrovia. To life. Here's to Nick.


The USA will not prepare in advance. I once had hopes that we would would, but no more.

Alan after trying to "wake up" a good number of people in the last 6-7 years about PO, I get the usual 5% returns. Of the 5% that do understand it and believe it, only 5% of them actually change their life and plans.

This is a few snippets that are parallel to your experiences. Mike Ruppert speaking in Cancun when Hurricane Wilma hit almost like Dean.

He finds out Wilma was coming, tries to warn other tourists who were at the hotel. In a condensed timeframe,it foreshadows Peak Oil.


Lessons About Human Reactions to Peak Oil and the Desperation to Conceal It

Psychosis in the Media and the Masses

... at around 10 PM Tuesday. Wilma was still way out at sea, hundreds of miles away. But it had blown through Cat 3 like a dragster and was well on its way to Category 5.

He tells a man and wife that the Cat 5 is coming and they immediately changed plans and booked a flight...

...I was a bit optimistic for a moment when a group of people gathered right by the main entrance. It looked like people were taking notice. But then half of them left to get on a tour bus for Mayan ruins, fishing, and dolphin swimming. By now it was a virtual certainty that Cancun would take a direct hit from the eye wall which had just turned westward again.

...next approached a group of three men and three women, all in their twenties. They had obviously been drinking for a while. “Aw, it’s not that big a deal” they said. “We asked some other folks here and they said they weren’t going to do anything. It’s just a little wind and rain. The storm’s going to hit Cuba anyway.” They all laughed when one of them wryly commented, “It’s just that much more tequila for us.” No point in arguing.

Next I approached a middle-aged couple reclining by the pool. “Oh stop being a hysterical pussy,” the man said loud enough for about twenty people to hear. “Go bother somebody else.”

Postscript: In scouring the web I was able to find some pictures of the damage done by Wilma to Cancun and Cozumel. I found pictures of stranded tourists and one picture that looked a little like the guy who called me a hysterical pussy. I recalled the old line,
“Been there, done that. Got the t-shirt.”
I hope it was worth it, buddy.

The warning signs of Peak Oil are, in fact, much more well-defined and numerous than they were even for Wilma. A few people are getting it and taking action. Most are not. But the part that makes me bitterly angry is the degree to which the government, corporate media, and the financial markets are maliciously and deliberately deceiving most of the public.


If you get the message about Peak Oil or the financial realities, You either Get It, or "Surf's Up"

I think you hit the nail on the head, Leanan.

Perhaps the only thing worse than a PO induced collapse of the global capitalist economy would be for that economy to go on growing in the manner it's most ardent supporters seem to think appropriate.

It's not all going to be doom. I'm looking forward to the four lane Interstate Bicycle System.

I sure hope the future is that sweet.

In Southwest Mexico there already is a thriving local industry of setting up "checkpoints" were South Americans trying to make their way north to the US are relieved of the burden of carrying whatever possessions or money they might have.

Expect lottsa "checkpoints" in the US, too. Just to keep out terrorists, mind you.

Errol in Miami

I'm a doomer in the short term -- i.e. I think
that the humanity is going to have to radically revise its relationship to the planet in the coming decades. I don't think we learn the easy way -- i.e. we learn via disaster.

But I do think we'll learn. There's no fundamental reason we can't. You see the future in embryo in all kinds of different things. My daughter lives on a commune in W Va. There is some ideological baggage, but they have the potential, and the partial actuality, of living sustainably.

There's also hope to be seen in many of the international agreements that at least attempt to address global issues, even though the US actively subverts or opposes them. Humanity will cooperate on a global scale when forced
into it by reality. How much forcing know one knows.

The most important branches of science will become those dealing with e.g. soil sustainability, plant diversity, etc. and the earth sciences in general. Not the stuff we regarded as sexy in the 20th century, like particle physics. That we were able to explore the planets and plumb the depths of the atom may be, to some extent, a one-time gift of the oil age. What continuing progress is made will certainly have to be a joint venture of all humanity.

I am personally happy, but not because of gloom and doom. Since I am a pessimist, things almost always turn out better than I had hoped. Until 9-11. It was then that I realized my pessimism needed to be recalibrated, deepened. Done, and all is well for now. It will take a very large catastrophe to catch me on the downside again. :)

There's a discussion going on today at PO.com, in the Peak Oil Psychology section. Someone started a thread claiming doomers are failures who were jealous of successful people and want to see them all lose what they have. Yeah, that old argument. But it touched off some interesting responses. Do doomers have anything in common? Shannymara said that in her experience, doomers are people who have had personal experience with tragedy, and therefore know the worst can and does happen. Coyote had a perhaps related response. He said doomers are people who are willing to let go of all previously cherished assumptions.

Put that way, I guess I am doomer. IMO, this is something many non-doomer types don't understand. Alan, for example, has often tried to defend New Orleans by asking me if I feel NY or Boston or SF should be similarly abandoned. My answer, of course, is yes. I think they're as doomed as New Orleans, if not as immediately so. It doesn't mean I want to go into Manhattan today and start demolishing things. It doesn't mean I want to see them washed off the face of the earth. They are beautiful cities, and I love them. But...I've let go of them. I've accepted that we can't sustain them forever.

And I, too, am personally happy. Not because I'm optimistic or pessimistic, but because I've let go. I can't predict or control the future, so why worry about it?

Yes, realists are those who have already reached the acceptance stage. We recognize that change is coming, have reevaluated what is and isn't key to our lives, and are willing to let go of the parts of the past that simply do not make sense anymore. Embrace the changes before they "embrace" you.

There are many who will clearly never get passed the denial phase.

I'm trying to figure out how to set up my buggy whip factory, while others are running around trying to keep the car culture alive. Who is the pessimist?

Buggy whips?

I'm thinking about this now, having just waded through my own acceptance over the last six weeks. It is coming and we aren't going to dodge "the sledgehammer from the shadows".

Every time I pick something up now I'm thinking "crude oil". What is it really going to take to live again like people did around here in the 1930s?

Fertile seed? I'm puzzling over this heirloom seed stuff - a nice break from MPLS configuration.

Where do you store the produce? Glass jars - made ... where? Is there a glass factory left in the states? Globalization is cool ... when energy supplies are stable and functionally free. That is so over. And what the heck is this Sure-Gel(tm) stuff, anyway?

The house has to be heated and that is easier when its insulated well. $800 for the propane setup and $700 to add 400 gallons. Modify the furnace and the stove. Its a nice hedge against NG availability issues. Now how to add a dual mode propane/natgas generator to the mix??? I regret that my father pulled out and sold the wood stove once my brother and I went off to college.

I've been riding my bike short distances and taking the car for longer trips as I do errands and shoot pictures of all of the abandoned farmsteads around here. These are no value spaces for farmers now but they're the right size for smallholdings ... and Energy Panel Systems may be producing the raw material for those 400 square foot cottages right here in town. But ... what if this bike needs repairs? Oil based tires, oil based seat, and lots of oil to make the various bits. I own a Cannondale and it was purpose bought - they are the last American bike vendor.

Pessimist and Optimist? They're of little value to the Realist.

Oh, here are the future small holdings - zero in on the geotagged stuff in Iowa - most of these are ghost farms. I think about a quarter of all the stuff visible by satellite is actually derelict, but ask me again in a few months when I've covered more of the state.


I am growing heirloom seed. I do not like the idea of having worthless seeds. I am going to be collecting more and more seed as time goes on.

If you have not checked out www.seedsofchange.com from Santa Fe you should give them a look :) The seed so far has had 100% germination rate and is growing superb in hydroponics.

I have ordered heirloom seeds from the seedstrust and planted them the past 2 springs.
I also compost and use the composted material when building raised garden beds and for building up the soil around my fruit trees. The compost has the remains of the heirloom fruit in it.
It was a fun surprise when I found tomatoes, squash and watermelons growing at the base of my fruit trees were I paced last years compost. I don't get new growth in my compost pile itself becuase it is located in a heavily shaded area in the woods.
I stongly encourage gardeners to use heirloom seeds, my limited experience with them has been great.

What an interesting discussion. Last night I sat down with my wife (she's PO aware) and told her I was anticipating the cultural paradigm change that's coming as a result of our excessive use of resources (oil, money (credit), climate change).

I get anxious sometimes about the anticipation. Call it "anticipatory anxiety". I want this new reality to be here so I can learn and understand the new rules and navigate them to my advantage. This state of limbo is difficult for me.

This comment on the Archdruid Report speaks to me...

... we have the banality of our everyday existence, where it's so hard to escape the "everything's great" messages blared from every TV and plastered to every billboard.

Then we come to the office where people obsess over made-up problems and ruin livelihoods over things that we all know deep down don't really matter and will end up in a storage box for a few years, forgotten and finally incinerated.

To preserve our sanity we must either believe the same things matter to us too, or drop out of the game. But at a primal level, I think a lot of people long for the Big Disaster that will jerk everyone back to an appreciation of what's real.

The feeling I have is that I've painted myself into a corner. Work consists of effort exerted at producing things that will have no value in the "new" future, and so it doesn't feel as real as, say, making a living combing scrap yards for steel to forge into useful tools.

The "new" future appeals to me more than the present, not because it will be easier, but because it seems more real. More real in the way my genetic/ancestral memory understands the life of a human being is supposed to be, if that makes sense.

So Leanan, How do you recommend I reconcile with this anticipation? I've let go of the present, even before the present has been willing to let go. I suppose there's no easy answer. Maybe I'll gain patience with age.

Tom A-B

Tom, you've described where I'm at exactly. Willing to let go, but having to hold on as long as the community around me holds on. And so I go on doing useless things at work while waiting to go home to do useful things (play with my son, with my wife, learn gardening, go out with friends - something I kind of have to force myself to do).

For me though, change is coming soon, as my wife is as desperate to go back to work as I am to not work anymore, and so we will be switching roles. Yes, I'll be a house-husband!

I deal with the dilemma you describe by being very family oriented.

Just a note to folks contemplating learning how to garden...

Get started ASAP!

Learning to garden is not like learning a new computer program or gadget. Gardens are living things - actual, not virtual. Your garden is not an engineering problem, it's an ecosystem. It takes a long time to get settled in with it all.

There's weather, soil, pests, weeds, etc., the combination of which will be unique to your area. As well as learning what varieties of what vegetables work well in you area. When's the first frost? When's the last? How many hours of sun do I have on this patch? What is the drainage like? Etc., etc.

I have been gardening for a very long time, indeed, pretty much all my life (14 years just in my current location), and I'm surely still learning major lessons every year.

The trick is to get started building your soil, network with local growers, and try growing stuff! You will be the most knowledgeable expert regarding your garden by and by. It can be no other way - it's a local knowledge.

OK, it's time to dip into this delicious bowl of fresh salsa that I just made from all home-grown ingredients (except for the lime juice - limes grow rather poorly in NH)... yum!

I just got this link from a gardening minded friend:


They have an 890 acre farm 150 miles east of here on the same latitude line and everything they grow there should grow just as well here. I'm a member, Seed to Seed, and another book on gardening practices is coming my way :-)

Now if my beekeeping entomologist friend would get back to me I can get started on that bit, too.

Ahh yes I just replied above about the heirloom seeds.


*grin* sometimes I wonder how many people are doing what I am?

Only difference is I am doing hydroponics right now as its quite interesting. Sure it can be difficult Post Peak to do but I think it is doable. There is plenty of ways to create liquid fertilizers :)

One of the big reasons I am looking into hydro.. I live in a desert its less water to haul if needed :)

Not only gardening, but what's available for gathering in your ecosystem--
I have been drying tomatoes (grown from my garden), and Apples and Plums harvested from abandoned trees from old farms. Also, know how to ID and collect mushrooms (this embeds you sensually in the world you inhabit, and makes for delicious dining).
But the profession of the future is farming (at least for the survivors, if there are any)

What an excellent description. If it helps, you're not alone in the feeling. Trying to time things is difficult. I am not in a hurry to see TSHTF, because I am not prepared the way I want to be, and it will take me quite some time to get there. I'm learning a new appreciation for how much effort it is going to take - the summer is ending, and I have not completed several things that I really had hoped to. But there are kids to raise, a life to live, I'm still employed by the industrial society of the past, my wife's gone back to work, and we're spending more and more money on those "non-core inflation" items (like food). It's just a taste of what lies ahead, and makes it very tough. Anyway, relax and enjoy the life of unimaginable luxury in which we now live - the future is coming soon enough.

My God, you've explained me.

I think this is a matter of temperament. I'm an INTP; I thrive on limbo. I have trouble making decisions because I hate to close any doors. As long as I'm still in limbo, I still have the possibilities of both heaven and hell. I don't want to give up either. ;-)

There's a lot I like about our current society. I'm enjoying it while I can. My feeling is that a long, slow catabolic collapse would be better for me personally, while a fast, hard crash would be better for the planet and for future generations. That's a dilemma if ever there was one, so for now, I don't mind being in limbo.

Not much of a dilemma, really - you don't get to pick.

interesting... ENTP over here - which is similar except with a big mouth and lots of hand waving... and also a doomer, go figure

ENTP/ENFP myself ;-)

INTJ. Everything I say is well reasoned and intuitively right, so stop arguing with me and leave me alone!


Us Rational-Architect seem to "get" message boards and blogs more than other personality types. INTPs are 2% of the population, but I'll bet we make up more than 20% of the readers and posters on here.

I think INTPs also thrive on "what-ifs", and when a decision is made and a path committed to, a whole bunch of "what-ifs" disappear.

That was a great article.

Work is about filling an economic need in the current economy. Either you produce something people want to buy now or you are employed in a position that has a current demand.

Your wanting the "new" now isn't so much ancestry, it's more seeking a meaning in life. You use the word "real", and I would say that a real life has deeper meaning than other versions of life.

We are at a great inflection point in the history of humanity, possibly the greatest history will ever know.

It's very possible that a "real" life farther down the road involves constant toiling to survive. I doubt this is what you are seeking, but it's hard to say how things will play out. Assumptions about the future are just that, assumptions.

The only way to reconcile your anticipation regarding the future it to reconsider the meaning of life. You should seek a meaning that fits the current environment but is still relevant in the future.

To me that means keeping things simple. Live for pleasure. Seek out and enjoy simple pleasures, they can provide constant meaning and enjoyment through their accessibility.

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

Looking into an uncertain future, don't forget to enjoy the present.

Hmmm...Tom A-B, you seem to have hit a vein, judging by the upthread.

The feeling I have is that I've painted myself into a corner. Work consists of effort exerted at producing things that will have no value in the "new" future, and so it doesn't feel as real as, say, making a living combing scrap yards for steel to forge into useful tools.

The "new" future appeals to me more than the present, not because it will be easier, but because it seems more real. More real in the way my genetic/ancestral memory understands the life of a human being is supposed to be, if that makes sense.

Two suggestions:

(1) Take as much of your vacation time as possible hiking backcountry. There is nothing like walking, in shorts and poncho, in 53-deg temps with driving rain for hours that will give some new appreciation for the opportunity represented by your day job,
(2) Save money like there's no tomorrow; then tomorrow, quietly start a company (LLC - $100-200) around what you love to do. Put your heart into it, tweak it, and see where you are in 6 months to a year. Quit your day job when it makes sense, or hang in there and continue to tweak. In the end, follow your instincts (which clearly seem to be good). You may have less crap in your possession as a result, but I'm guessing here you and your wife will be a whole lot happier.

From one who did both (1) and (2).

Katrina significantly increased my peak oil pessimism.

Why is that? Because New Orleans is not being rebuilt? Or because it is?

You have argued in the past for a managed retreat from the coasts. This seems to be what is happening in New Orleans. When I heard this story on Marketplace last night, I thought that the system is working, at least in a rough way.

All of this ads up to what the state Bond Commission says is the main reason New Orleans isn't getting its share of the money: no one's asking for it. Economist Ivan Miestchovich says all the tax free bonds in the world aren't going to change that.

Miestchovich: Money is money and its going to flow to its lowest common denominator and the lowest common denominator is what's the least risk with the highest return.

For most developers that means building on higher ground. Several parishes outside New Orleans have recently become some of the fastest growing counties in the nation. In Baton Rouge where the Toyota dealership is going up, the economy just had its two best years on record. The GO Zone money has helped. But Stephen Moret with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce says the shift was already underway.

Stephen Moret: If you look back 20, 40, 50 years ago, New Orleans from a population and jobs perspective has been in a continual decline and the Baton Rouge area has been growing during that time. And that process essentially just got accelerated dramatically by Katrina.

And having spent over a year "existing" in Baton Rouge, I can say that The Red Stick is post-WW II sprawl, totally devoid of a spirit of community (except LSU sports) and no cultural values whatsoever (except racial tension).

Post-Peak Oil, as KSA makes the petrochemicals with the remaining oil and US refiners are shut down for lack of product, Baton Rouge will not be a good place to be IMHO.


Why is that? Because New Orleans is not being rebuilt? Or because it is?


It's not that New Orleans is not being rebuilt. Places are abandoned all the time (see article on ghost towns). Nor is it the chaos that broke out in the aftermath in New Orleans, nor the government and Red Cross incompetence (which were even worse outside of New Orleans).

No, what increased my doom quotient was the way the rest of America reacted. At first, there was gas panic. As far away as North Carolina, fights were breaking out in gas lines. CNN showed people waiting in line for hours, and filling up every container they had once they got to the pumps, including their travel coffee mugs.

But after the shortages eased...it was back to business as usual. People who had been screaming at their wives for paying $50 to fill up the tank bought even larger SUVs. People who had been talking about moving closer to the office bought bigger McMansions further out. There was a general consensus that human-caused global warming was likely to make Katrinas more frequent and more powerful in the future, but it's not really seen as anything to inconvenience yourself over.

Katrina made it clear to me that the "market signals" of peak oil will be disguised by volatility and ignored by people who don't want to know. Forget mitigation, powerdown, or anything like that. We're going into the wall with the pedal to the metal.

We're going into the wall with the pedal to the metal.

Matt Simmons disagrees. You can break through a wall. He said that we are headed toward a granite mountain.

However, I continue to hope that when a majority of Americans realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in the consumption of finite energy resources, Alan Drake's plans, if implemented, will at least make things not as bad as they would otherwise be.

...when a majority of Americans realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in the consumption of finite energy resources...

Unfortunately, I don't think this will ever happen.

Americans will never think of energy resources as being finite. Instead, they will demand NEW cheaper energy resources that will replace the more expensive OLD energy resources.

Same goes for Climate Change. Americans will do many things to help with Climate Change, but they will not change their lifestyles very much. American culture has eroded much of Americans' ability to sacrifice for the greater good, because many believe that some will not sacrifice and will, thereby, get further ahead (i.e. get more of the American Dream - being one of the rich, powerful, beautiful people). It will take some number of generations before Americans gain that ability back again; if possible at all.

The quote about the American lifestyle being non-negotiable, while ugly and self-deceiving, is remarkably true. Most Americans believe that their lifestyle IS non-negotiable, and will ignore or attack anyone who tries to make them change it. This is how much of the world views Americans - the often generalized fat, loud and lazy Americans.

Empires do not go softly into that good night. America will be no different. It will fight against change every step of the way. It will demand - DEMAND! - that the government DO SOMETHING! so that Americans are not compelled to harden their easy lives.

Americans will never think of energy resources as being finite. Instead, they will demand NEW cheaper energy resources that will replace the more expensive OLD energy resources.

You're right, but it's better if you look at it as a Computer Programer Hear it. The End User really doesn't care energy is finite, They just want their requirements filled. The Energy Thing is just a how to.

They have abstracted reality. Corn is distributed by the can, replenished at the store. Fish sometimes come in squares and are also replenished at the store.

While I support Alan's plans, I do not expect them to ever be implemented, Jeffrey. I know you have "signed on" to his "side" of the debate but even Alan has a contingency plan in case the world decides to go straight to hell. I suggest that you might consider doing the same.

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

Antidoomer queues the scene from "Buckaroo Banzai through the 8th Dimension" where the jet car roars through a mountain by using an Oscillation Overthruster :-)

Leanan: I think you pretty well summed it up. Also, there seems to be an assumption that the next President will be Obama, Clinton or Edwards. Probably, but in Presidential elections the country wants to vote Republican- the rethug candidate might lose, but they won't get crushed, it will be close. Imagine peak oil mitigation under Rudy's leadership (he wants to bomb all the countries GW can't pronounce).


I hope that we get a strong democrat for president - one in the mold of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the greatest democrat president of all time. Bush had no idea how to respond to a terrorist attack and has taken only insignificant steps. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt put every Japanese American into concentration camps and had Congress declar War on Italy, among others.

So you are proposing that we get a Democrat who puts all the "Ay-rabs" in concentration camps and that we declare war on Iran and the rest of the Middle East? Because at least half of that is what Hillary is likely to do. Those of you voting Democrat need to be held accountable when Hillary opens up the next can of War Profits(tm). Until people realize that neither the existing Democrats or Republicans will really change anything, we're going to get more of the same just in various minor flavor differences.

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

Yeah, the threat is that Democrats are going to put Arabs in concentration camps. Get real.

Learn to read. The threat is that the Democrats will find an excuse to attack Iran, something that Hillary has hinted at very strongly with her Israeli ties and other speech comments Plus I was responding to someone who seems to believe that the Democrats incarcerating Japanese-Americans and going full-bore into war mode as something that was "good" and needs to be repeated.

Now, if you have something intelligent to add, please do. I'll wait but not hold my breath.

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

The internment of the Japanese was a purely political act. Why not intern the proportionately larger Japanese-Hawaiian population? Because in Hawaii the Japanese were needed to make the farms run. In California the Republican governor Earl Warren and the Republican establishment already hated the Japanese before Pearl Harbor for being too hard-working and successful. So California's leaders asked FDR to commit this crime, and Hawaii's did not, and FDR refused to expend his vast political capital against public hysteria. Wanna guess who bought up the interned persons' land on the cheap and made out like bandits? Then again, FDR could have made an argument for interning many Republican leaders for past pro-Fascist activities. I guess this is how bipartisanship works in a capitalist country.

Yup. The Japanese-Americans settled on land no one wanted, and made it into fertile farms via hard work and a lot of irrigation. White farmers wanted their land and had been trying to get it for some time. Pearl Harbor was a convenient excuse.


So, it might have been a Roosevelt conspiracy? Some people have said that. Probably was. Only the democrats have used nuclear weapons. Do you think that the Republicans ever will?

I don't think was a Roosevelt conspiracy, though I haven't done deep research into it. My sister has. If anyone's really interested, I'll ask her. (A lot of fascinating stuff has come out of the papers recently released via FOIA requests.) From what I recall, the feds actually resisted the internment thing. They knew it was wrong and unnecessary from the get-go.

It was a local thing. California had been pressing for someone to Do Something about the Japanese for quite awhile.

That's why only the west coast Japanese were interned. East Coast Japanese were not, nor were those in Hawaii.

FDR - While the Civilian Conservation Corps built great buildings and provide jobs as well as sustenance; the program is largely responsible for the sprawl and encroachment into the US Forests and Parks. I would hope that we try for an approach that does not continue a destructive path.

"largely responsible for the sprawl and encroachment into the US Forests and Parks"

More than half of today's parks and forests were probably planted by the old woodpecker army. Reforestation of eroded and gullying land was one of major thrusts of the program, land already degraded by past actions. I doubt there were more than a handful of US National Parks in the thirties.

Sprawl? I recall hiking and hunting National forests in the 60's with no access yet pretty much roaded or paved today. The woodpecker roads were in areas already settled, serving villages with a long history. They were 2 lane affairs with hand placed stone for retaining walls.

Beautiful people and their newly found and marketed fad of communing with nature from the deck of their McMansion bears the responsibility.

Thanks for the clarification. I do seem to find CC buildings at every NF that I have visited. I love our Parks and Forests, but I do not like the Roadway encroachment practiced by the State and the Administration. We cannot afford to fight those fires.

Hot Button!!! Limo Liberals!! Heard Edwards latest? "They" (meaning everyone but him and his buds ) should sacrifice their SUV's. I've got a better idea. Sacrifice him and the rest of that bunch to appease the Earth Gods. I know where there is an active volcano that will do nicely.

What a truly ridiculous comment. I see politicians berated on here for failing to take the steps necessary, yet get attacked for doing so.

Anyone that runs for Presidential office in the US with any sort of chance of success is going to be wealthy and connected. By definition that means they are going to use more resources on average than you and I. Disqualifying their appeals for us to do the right things on such grounds is spurious.

It is often a favourite rallying point of certain on the right to attack anyone who has money and does anything with it that favour those who don't have it. The straw man of if you want to help the poor give all your money away and join them. Yet that achieves nothing.

I don't think you can put a political spin on it. Beautiful liberals, beautiful conservatives both are keeping up with the Jones in the woods. And there is the flip side also, folks with barely 2 nickels to rub together find a used dozer and have at it. Making the estate that will make them rich or strike envy in the rest. Need to turn it around, have the magazine ads and tube commercials show sunset from a urban balcony as the have it all.

I remember going to the lake, and it was detested, frowned upon by most. A small cabin with enamel basins for dishes and mosquitoes to no end, oared wooden boats overwintered in the reeds, to fish from. Everyone thought you were nuts. Why would you ever go there? My how times change.

Go spend some time at DailyKos and you'll find out the country doesn't want to vote Republican, but rigged voting machines and disloyal Christian Right local authorities are "adjusting" things all over to make that the outcome. The whole Gonzalez thing was about him getting rid of U.S. Attorneys that wouldn't selectively prosecute Democrats. That is to politics as the credit crunch is the economy - the first failures aren't the end, they're a sign of things to come.

Slimy slimy slimy ... the pernicious effect of the dominionists has killed the Republican party's support except for dominionists themselves.

So you and DailyKos speak for the country now do you? I guess we'll see about that in about 17 months. I know one thing. You don't speak for me.

no i don't think that was what he was saying... but you sound like a typical angry belligerent republican of the sort that has led to this corrupt mess in the first place, so i doubt he claimed to speak for you... some people are beyond reaching when it comes to trying to fix the mess we're in

Gene, who speaks for the country when both parties are controlled by different branches of big business? If 90% of the people were against the war, you would say that democracy must not be allowed to interfere with foreign policy. Thirty-percent Bush claims to speak for the country and God, the shameless bastard.

In the US, you have The Capitalist Party, and The OTHER Capitalist Party - Dmitri Orlov

Makes sense. It is a capitalist country.

Prior to the 2006 election the split on likely voters was 44% Republican to 43% Democrat. After the election this was measured again and 50% were Democrats and only 35% Republican. The self identifying Republicans remaining seem to correlate pretty strongly with the percentage of the population who are in some sense "Christian".

These facts being stated I would say DailyKos, the largest progressive blog in the country, is a pretty good proxy for the national mood. Guys like Senator David "Shitter" Vitter, and Senator Larry "Handjob" Craig are not helping the Republican party with their antics. That trend will only continue from now until November 2008. The differential treatment of Democrats smeared many innocent people, but the benefits are becoming known, too - other than one Congressman in Louisiana with a little bribery problem name one Democrat who is in trouble. Oh, and the Republicans ran wild under the close air support provided by a corrupt Department of Justice, except that the package is out of gas and the control tower just went silent. Ut oh ...

Like The Oil Drum, DailyKos is well ahead of the MSM curve. People there either know what is going to happen or they're involved in making it happen. Shocking resignation of Alberto Gonzales? Not to me, I wrote a dozen letters to my Senators about the removal of that clown. Cheney is next on the hot seat and they're giving him three weeks after Gonzales exits. If that comes to pass, and I think its a lot more iffy than Goonzales leaving, then we'll see Bush cave in pretty shortly.

Seventeen months is a long time. Time enough for multiple resignations one step ahead of indictment. Time enough for several impeachments. Time enough for the first President in U.S. history to hang himself in the Oval Office. Time enough for Larry Flynt to carefully pick through every single phone number in the D.C. Madame's list and find out who had trouble deciding between two young girls or one young boy.

I'm white, middle aged, from a rural area, I own a small business, more than one gun, and I was a Bush voter in 2000. The Republican party lost me three years ago and I bet I've drug ten dozen others along behind me. I am by no means unique.

Not just for you, but the replies preceding your's also. I don't recall mentioning party affiliation in my "Hot Button" post, or in the succeding "speak for me" post. In fact, the term "Limo Liberal", imho can be applied more or less universally to anyone who behaves as such. IE: Do as I say, not as I do. And btw, I have nothing against wealth. It's rather nice in fact. Much better than poor. But I do object to the "Holier than thou" attitudes adopted by certain easily identifiable individuals of any stripe, be they republican, democrat, independant, or any other.

On a personal note, it's nice to know that my post engendered some visceral response. :)

no, the term limo liberal cannot be applied more or less universally

it is used as a pejorative towards people with wealth who espouse views that society should make a collective effort to help out those without

and this is indeed how you used it...

Oh baloney. Limo liberal is used against those who speak with forked tongues, saying "Do as I say, not as I do." Jimmy Carter is a liberal, is wealthy (perhaps not as much as some but definitely wealthy) yet you find him directly building homes via Habitat for Humanity. You can't call him a limo liberal. I have immense respect for Carter, even when I've disagreed with various positions of his. I cannot say that about any other living president, past or present.

"Limo liberal" is very similar in tone to "country club Republican" or "Rockefeller Republican", both terms that again referenced someone wealthy who expected those poorer than he to make sacrifices but not himself.

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

Corporatist and Progressive. Or, if the Progressive label is too tarnished from sitting in the box next to Liberal call it "Citizen-centric" but those are the two axes with which we must contend. Anything else is just stage dressing for wedge issues.

I do not care what two men do in the privacy of their own home. I don't care what a woman and a doctor do in her office. I don't care who might burn a flag. I don't care who prays and who doesn't, nor am I much interested in whom/what to which they pray. If someone's beliefs require that they dress a certain way, eat or avoid certain foods, or not work on certain days of the year what business of this is mine?

I am, however, tired unto the point of wishing for a shotgun and bow season on those who would stir the pot with such trifles, just as we have now for excess white tails. The white tails chew our gardens and wander in front of cars, while the chattering class fascinated with these things of little import chew daily upon our social fabric.


you wrote:

Forget mitigation, powerdown, or anything like that. We're going into the wall with the pedal to the metal.

This is why some of us insist on giving you the doomer label!!

You've outed yourself. :-)

Not only are you pessimistic, you are fatalistic. ie. Unamerican twice over! hee hee

Katrina made it clear to me that the "market signals" of peak oil will be disguised by volatility and ignored by people who don't want to know.

First point: volatility in itself is a price signal -- often a prelude to a big move in one direction or another.

Main point: The assumption by the people who run this site is that your average American must understand peak oil in order to adapt.

I doubt that. The US is suffering a housing recession. A house is easily the most energy-intensive purchase people buy and they are bought on credit. Except during the froth of recent years made possible by fancy finance, lenders normally take a pretty long view. Most mortgages mature in 30 years after all.

You are witnessing the invisible hand at work. People aren't going to be forced to adapt to a low-energy world by being priced out of the gasoline market. Nope. It will be through a lack of credit for homes and a lifestyle that no longer make sense (and through job loss).

Did peak oil cause the subprime crash? No. But I know for a fact that energy costs for heating etc are used when developing formulas for mortgage eligibility. Going forward, future economic growth prospects, projections of housing and energy prices will very much influence credit availability.

Essentially what many of you guys want is a very heavily planned economy. There are some arguments for that (for large infrastructure projects). But an 'unplanned' economy adapts too. For example: the crash of the US housing market is good for peak oil mitigation as the expansion of useless infrastructure slows dramatically.

This is what powerdown looks like American style.

The foot is already off the gas. Americans are beginning to adapt to diminished consumption power.

Not only are you pessimistic, you are fatalistic.

Only in the long term. And in the long term, we will all be dead. The sun will go supernova, and it will quite literally be TEOTWAWKI.

When most people say "doomer," they mean someone who thinks civilization is going to crash soon. In their lifetime, if not next year.

I think we're heading for the wall at full speed, but the wall may still be quite far away. That is, I think it's entirely possible that the party will still be going when I take my leave of it.

The sun will become a Red Giant, rather than a supernova, which is somewhat fitting in a discussion about Peak Oil "doomer".

While a supernova explodes in a fireball brighter than all other stars in the galaxy, a red giant becomes bloated under the intense heat generated, and slowly sheds the outer layers.

The earth will be "eaten" by the sun as it expands into a red giant, and much of the sun will be shed away into space over time, leaving a small, stable, white dwarf star.

In some ways, this is similar to how peak oil might impact the earth:

- some small areas of the earth will be "eaten" by peak oil, leaving nothing behind.
- as peak oil progresses, the "outer layers" of humanity will be shed from the earth over time, until a smaller and more stable population is left.

Please forgive my correcting the use of "supernova". I was more interested in the similarity of the red giant to aspects of peak oil, since PO will not be a "supernova" event but more of a "red giant" event (in my opinion). Leanan's note of "may still be quite far away" seemed to agree more with "red giant" than "supernova" (though there seem to be some "doomers" who are more of the "supernova" variety).

There were super-hyper nova star explosions. There was a star that might hypernova about 7500 light years away. If it does a gamma ray blast, that might blow away the earth's atmosphere. Since the star's light reaching earth left 7500 years ago, if the star exploded in the recent past we would not know about it yet. It might put an end to oil as we know it.


leanan said,

'the wall may still be quite far away. That is, I think it's entirely possible that the party will still be going when I take my leave of it.'

i'm confused. u believe we are probably a little past peak , keep up with the financial world woes , & u even said the other day basically that the titantic had hit the iceberg [the context was more about global warming as i remember]. please comment.

you're social understanding/knowledge is remarkable for a scientist/engineer- a rare combo!

i'll have to do the baby farming research as i am shocked at the upthread statement re orphanages; but 'feels right' unfortunately.

Basically, I think it's possible that inertia will carry us for quite awhile off the cliff before we notice we're falling. It took Rome four centuries to collapse. It may take us even longer.

We may be past peak. We may not be. Even if we are, we may continue outbidding the rest of the world for some time before we really start feeling the pain. And because we are so wasteful, we have plenty of room to cut back.

Ditto the financial stuff. Yes, the U.S. economy is a house of cards. But the rest of the world may keep adding onto it for some time, simply because the alternative is rather painful.

Peak oil in the U.S. may not be a big deal, at least not for awhile. High gas prices, supply issues, real estate devaluation, cities drowned beneath the waves, economic problems, oil wars...well, that's pretty much what's going on now, isn't it? They'll gradually get worse, but it won't be Mad Max overnight.

Or maybe it will be. We'll see.

Leanan - you summed up my feelings perfectly. It's always business as usual for the ones not personally affected. I too am from New Orleans but have been a doomer since the 70's (my college years) when I found out about PO, Hubbert's curve, etc. Got only ridicule for my beliefs, so I just did my own thing - had ONE child, paid off my house, had no debt etc. Then the government destroyed my life right at retirement age - too old to rebuild, we moved away. So much for planning to survive post peak! Now, I feel like an observer only as I watch the whole juggernaut unfold.

Fujitsu installs Silicon Valley's first hydrogen fuel cell generator



Go to 'Find on this page', type "new" and hit 'next' and it will tab you through to each successive new post without having to scroll.

(In response to your post yesterday about the trouble of scrolling.)

Make sure you include the brackets around new.

I think you misunderstood his point... he was asking that we not edit long posts repeatedly in order to add content, since one would have to re-read the whole post to see what had changed. Apparently when we edit a post, it shows up as "New" again.

So use Edit to edit comments; create a new post to add content.

Actually I was responding to the fact that she was scrolling and that this would make it easier for her.

El Zorro is correct. I am using the search for "new." But if you keep editing your post and adding stuff underneath, searching for "new" doesn't help. You have to scroll.

P.S. I edited your post to remove the square brackets around "new," because that screws up searching for "new" to find new posts. ;-)

The Twelfth Hour – latest post by John Michael Greer at:


“Dozens of countries in the nonindustrial world are already struggling with desperate shortages of petroleum products, while the industrial world’s attempts to stave off trouble by pouring its food supply into its gas tanks via ethanol and biodiesel have succeeded mostly in launching food prices on a stratospheric trajectory from which they show no signs of returning any time soon. Does this mean that we’re finally, for real, at the eleventh hour? That’s the richest and most bitter irony of all. As Robert Hirsch and his colleagues pointed out not long ago in a crucial study, the only way to respond effectively to Peak Oil on a national scale, and stave off massive economic and social disruptions, is to start preparations twenty years before the arrival of peak petroleum production. The eleventh hour, in other words, came and went in 1986, and no amount of pressure, protest, or wishful thinking can make up for the opportunity that was missed then. Listen carefully today and you can hear the sound of the clock tolling twelve, reminding us that the eleventh hour is gone for good.”

“[T]he final stage of the process [Peak Oil has more than a little in common with the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance] has a gift to offer, and the name of the gift is wisdom – something the world arguably needs a good deal more than it needs another round of comforting melodrama, or another set of political agendas disguising themselves as solutions to yet another catastrophe du jour.”

You can see this one coming a mile up 5th Avenue:

'Deus, dona mihi serenitatem accipere res quae non possum mutare, fortitudinem mutare res quae possum, atque sapientiam differentiam cognoscere.'

From the back cover of Neil Young's Re-ac-tor album, supposely following the birth of a second son with cerebal palsy.

Oh yeah, it's not just AA. All together now:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


Greer also writes:

This is the environment into which the Peak Oil movement emerged when it left its larval stage on a handful of internet mailing lists and started to try to warn the world that the age of cheap abundant energy is about to come to an end. In the language of theater, they found themselves playing to a very unsympathetic house.

He apparently doesn't know that the fact that oil is a finite resource has been well known for decades and precedes the Internet. Books such as "Limits to Growth" presented the stark problem of resource limits and energy was addressed in Scientific American in 1971. The original "Beyond Oil" (not the one by Kenneth Deffeyes) was in it's third edition in 1991. This is not a new problem. Who remembers Barry Commoner and his campaign for President with the Citizens Party in 1980? As long as the oil companies kept pumping the crude out of the ground as fast as people wanted to use it, nobody cared.

Greer is right about the Boy who Cried Wolf though. Those few of us that tried to stand up and spread the word were drowned out by the shouts and laughter of the idiots and the greedy. What's different now is that it is 11:59 PM and midnight is just about to arrive. We may know after 9/11 whether of not KSA can indeed pump more oil, but, even if they can, it will only put off the day of reckoning a bit longer. I hope they don't bump up the supply, then the price signal will continue to send a strong message that we gotta change. The longer we wait to admit the oil game is at an end, the harder it will be to shift into reverse. As a technical person, I would like to be optimistic, but, as a political person, I think we're in for a rough ride.

E. Swanson

''The eleventh hour, in other words, came and went in 1986, and no amount of pressure, protest,''

That would be the greatest of ironies: 1986 was the year that oil reach a significant low point of $8 / bbl and the Oil Industry shed workers like they were going out of business...

The industry more or less stayed in recession for 17 out of the next 20 years with consolidation, right-sizing and down-manning across the entire sector.

No wonder it was masked.

I think the eleventh hour came and went on Jan 20, 1981: the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in. That sealed our fate.

You maybe right...

From Cowpokes entry for Time Magazine 1986 below:

Many economists support some form of energy tax as a conservation and revenue-raising measure. Heller called the drop in petroleum prices "a heaven-sent opportunity" to cut the federal budget deficit by taxing gasoline or oil. Martin Feldstein, who two years ago left his post as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to return to a teaching job at Harvard, has advocated a 20 cents-per-gal. levy on gasoline.

The Administration, however, is squarely against anything of the kind. Reagan has rejected such ideas in the past, and is unlikely to abandon his well-known opposition to tax increases. Said Herrington: "I do not believe an import fee is called for. It's a tax." Instead of taxing oil, the Energy Secretary wants to spur exploration by giving oil and gas firms new tax breaks.

I well remember that exuberant time just after Reagan was elected in 1981.

The First Space Shuttle mission was launched on April 12, 1981 - with Columbia.

I was in Saudi with Aramco at that time and all the Americans were yelling and leaping about at the HQ of Aramco in Dhahran. Words like "Imperial Presidency" were falling out of their lips. I was quite embarrassed.

Funny what a difference 26 years makes. I wonder what it will be like in 2033 - I hope my 3 kids will be ok.

I vividly recall it also. My wife and I were driving home from work, hoping to get to the polls. They were already announcing the results on the radio. Took the wind out of our sails.

At least, you DO have 3 kids. Social Security is likely to be bankrupt by then and the inflation would have wiped out it's value in any event. Since of your kids might still be living with you, they will be able to bike to the Food Distribution Facility to pick up your rations. Not to mention being there to look after you as the health care system can no longer find the fuel to carry you to the hospital, when you get some respiratory problem due to the cold inside your house. They can scrounge a little wood from the abandoned houses to burn, but that won't last many years. And, they can keep the wolves away from the home fort, as long as they can carry a gun...

E. Swanson

Actually, I am not worried about myself in the least. I have lived through 2 revolutions and masses of people who I knew were killed by car-accidents or disease or firing squad. The first two almost got me too.

My wife is a family doctor (GP) and in the UK health-care is pretty cheap. :=)

As for guns, well that is for unfortunates who don't know how to use their heads. I really don't think the UK will go down the same route as parts of the USA seem inclined to.

I am sure that the Chaco Canyon native Americans, the Easter Islanders, the Mayans, the Pitcairn Islanders, etc., etc., etc., all thought they would not go down the route they did... which included eating their neighbors in every single case.

So we have your faith based response versus historical data. I'll take the historical data for $200 please.

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

Social Security's only problem is the low wages of American workers. It is solely financed by a tax on wages and the GOP has fought every minimum wage increase in history. OTOH 45% of the national debt is owed to the Social Security System and debt is paid from taxes on everybody.

When you’re standing in the train station watching the train you meant to catch rattling out of sight around a distant curve miles down the track, it’s hard to capture the excitement of the desperate pelting run through the station that gets you onto the train just as it starts rolling toward the destination you hoped to reach. Equally, the story of the twelfth hour isn’t all that useful as a tool of political manipulation, since the silence of an empty train station makes it rather too easy to stop and think about whether the destination you hoped to reach was actually someplace you wanted to go.

While it may not make good melodrama or effective politics, though, I’ve come to think that one of the things we most need just now, in the Peak Oil scene and in modern industrial civilization as a whole, is that time of reflection in the silence that follows when the eleventh hour has come and gone, and the last hope of avoiding the consequences of our actions has vanished down the track into the land of might-have-beens.

This is kind of getting around to where I am at. I've done the denial, anger, bargaining & depression thing. I'm now at the acceptance stage: I am at peace with the realization that the US economy is unsustainable,and that we must inevitably decline until we reach a sustainable level -- maybe 25% of present per capita GDP, if we are so lucky.

No sense worrying about it. No sense trying to look for ways to prevent it or defer it. The only thing that makes sense is to accept it, and to get on with the task of figuring out how to best manage the decline, or at least to manage our individual rides downhill, and to figure out what life could be like at that permanently lower sustainable level, and how we could level off there and not even lower.

One thing that might help is to start to imagine what life might be like if we were able to manage our Great Decline in a manner that would enable us to level off at the maximum level of sustainability. I'm using the assumption of 25% of present per capita GDP because it is a convenient figure to work with, and it is arguably pretty close. According to an article by Dr. Francois Cellier posted on TOD a few months ago, the best we can hope for in terms of a relatively high Human Development Index score and being within a sustainable ecological footprint is indeed right around 25% of present per capita GDP. This figure might be off by a few percent, but it is close enough for now.

How to envision life at 25%? A couple of suggestions:

1) Imagine what life was like in the US in 1941. That was when we crossed that 25% threshold in real (index = 2000) dollars. Except for Pearl Harbor, that was actually a pretty good year. We were pretty much out of the Depression by then, but people were still living pretty frugally, raising gardens etc. One could get almost anywhere by passenger rail, there were still lots of cities with their light rail systems, and most cities and towns were pretty walkable.

2) Imagine what life is like in Costa Rica. Their per capita on a purchasing power basis is almost exactly 25% of ours. They have a few problems, of course, and have just a little ways yet to go to get within a sustainable ecological footprint, but they are pretty close. From what I hear, life in Costa Rica really isn't all that bad. There are quite a few Americans that have relocated down there, and of course one could certainly do much worse.

The sustainable USA of the future will not exactly fit either the 1941 or the Costa Rican template, of course. Yet it will help to have these models in mind as we try to sketch out that possible future, and maybe they would help to make that future look a little less scary.

Once we know where our journey is taking us, maybe the journey will become a little less frightening. It will certainly help us to map out the best pathway.

Interesting envisioning effort WNC. One thing I'd encourage you to do as you work this - remember that there is more to the world then just the U.S.


that's what i was thinking - the average per capita energy use is global... what is being assumed here - and i don't know if it is right or wrong, though i suspect it's unlikely - is that global per capita energy use will continue to be so disproportionate in our favour...

China, Russia, India at least probably have a view on that
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

"How to envision life at 25%?" It doesn't sound so bad when you compare it to 1941 - though for Britain 5 years earlier or later would be a better comparison. However, the big problem is the amount of baggage, both material and psychological, we in "the west" will carry forward from the present time. Just some items:

60-odd years of peace and almost continuous economic growth, with young people expecting this to continue;
Disintegration of local communities with their ethos of mutual help and "in it together";
Compact housing arrangements replaced by diffuse suburbs and commuter-villages; also same with needs for shopping, etc.;
Ultra-specialisation and de-skilling (as far as useful skills are concerned), of most people;
De-localisation of almost all forms of production and generally the reverse of Westexas's ELP.

A gentle back-stepping in time to 1941 or whenever, is not going to occur. Even with the best preparations possible - and they will have to come mainly bottom-up from community level, there will be some very rough times ahead.

Re: Inventory Reports

As we have discussed before, IMO a more sensible way to discuss inventory levels is as Days of Supply in excess of Minimum Operating Level (MOL). I think that the commonly used number for the US MOL for crude oil is about 270 mb, for gasoline about 170 mb.

Last week's data would show about 4.3 Days of Crude Oil Supply in excess of MOL and about 2.4 Days of Gasoline Supply in excess of MOL.

You mean one hurricane and we are in the shit??
2 days of gas??? Even a terrorist act would screw us royally.

I think that the five year inventory comparison is highly misleading.

In the early Nineties, we had about 8 days of Crude Oil Supply in excess of MOL and about 5.5 Days of Gasoline Supply in excess of MOL (versus about 4.3 and 2.4 respectively now).

IMO, what we have seen in the past five years in regard to inventory levels are fluctuations around a small cushion of supply in excess of MOL's, as the industry has gone to a Just In Time inventory system.

In regard to crude oil, we have the SPR. However, we don't have strategic reserves of gasoline.

Note the story up the thread about areas at the end of the distribution system running short of gasoline.

this may be a stupid question, but even after a long time here reading people's comments i still don't have the kind of grasp so many others do on some of these things:

so, if we draw down below this, and start running short, which in turn probably causes people to fill up everything any time they can, removing more gasoline from circulation (i think in my layman's understanding that this would result), is there sufficient surplus capacity around the world to build those back up again, dig out of the problem and re-establish reasonable reserves?

i just hear so much about tightness in supply, i'd think to dig out of a dip you'd need excesses - or is that not the right way to think about it?

is there sufficient surplus capacity around the world to build those back up again, dig out of the problem and re-establish reasonable reserves?

The price will have to go up to cause additional demand destruction.

If the supply remains constant or is shrinking but the price is rising, then someone, somewhere is not going to continue buying. This frees up that bit of product for purchase elsewhere at the higher price... or so the theory goes.

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

Yes we squeaked through this year with only minor outages so far. And yes the way things are now a event like a hurricane will cause widespread shortages. Note that I think next year we will see more persistent shortages develop and we will be even more vulnerable to events like Hurricanes. This sort of straining of the system followed by systematic breakdown is what I've be proposing will happen post peak.

Peak Oil works almost like a relentless force straining the system.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 24, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) fell by 3.5 million barrels compared to the previous week. However, at 333.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain well above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories dropped by 3.6 million barrels last week, and are well below the lower end of the average range. Declines were seen in inventories for both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.9 million barrels, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased 0.9 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories declined by 2.2 million barrels last week, but remain in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

For first 235 days of 2007 v 2006, domestic production is UP 82 kbpd (+1.6%), total net imports are DOWN 39 kbpd (-0.3%).

The crude oil inventories were a little lower than expectations, and imports were down 993,000 barrels per day from the previous week. I think some of this may have been due to Hurricane Dean, and would expect reduced imports from Dean to continue to show up in next week's report.

Errr... the report end date is 24th of August - Friday. It was not until Monday that Dean reached Cantarel and its evacuation was just a couple of days before that. It is impossible that this goes into the US inventory numbers so fast; the effect could be felt in 1-2 weeks at least.

Pemex began shutting down production on August 19, and it's only two days cruise from the Mexican ports in that area to the U.S. gulf coast. But you might be right, I'm not sure how quickly this effect would show up in the U.S. numbers.

Leanan: Gasoline inventories are at the lowest level since Sept 05 yet there is no discernable concern (unlike in Sept 05). Go figure. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/wgtstus1w.htm

NASA syndrome, maybe? Hey, a little foam fall off before and it was okay, why worry this time?

Inventories have dropped 35 mill since Feb 07- another drop of 6 mill and inventories will be at the lowest level EVER (at least as far back as this chart goes-1990)-should raise some eyebrows.

That means that the US has been drawing about 1.5 million barrels per week from the inventories. Demand has been outstripping supplies all year long!! What happens when oil demand rises in the third and fourth quarters?? If supplies aren't covering demand in the summer then we are really screwed in the winter. Why no news on this at all.

Demand has been outstripping supplies all year long!!

Dante at PO.com has been harping on this all year.

I guess they figure we'll just import what we need when the time comes. Or OPEC will open up the spigots.

We have the SPR so we are a long way from "then end". The issue is gasoline/blending component imports. I think this is here we will run into problems. Not crude imports. The US has more heavy crude refining ability then most other nations so we should be pretty much okay on crude imports. But when overall global exports finally drop below the minimum needed for the wealthy countries we simply won't get the gasoline imports. Although for a price we should get plenty of oil for quite some time. So next year I expect gasoline imports to be lower than this year and this will initiate shortages.

NASA syndrome, maybe? Hey, a little foam fall off before and it was okay, why worry this time?

Not a bad analogy. This is called the "normalization of deviance." We notice something that should not be happening (foam falling off the Shuttle's tank, gas inventories dropping in the spring) and worry about it. Time goes by and nothing really bad happens (The Shuttle missions continue, gas prices decline through the summer), so we gradually stop worrying about it and accept it as normal. It's only after a disaster that we look back and say: "we obviously should have paid closer attention to that."

From the EIA's This Week In Petroleum:

As the chart below indicates, not only is the absolute level of inventories low (see Figure 4 in the Weekly Petroleum Status Report), but in terms of days of supply, it is the lowest ever recorded (the days of supply data goes back to March 1991), reaching just 20 days. This is even fewer days than seen following the hurricanes in 2005.

While the absolute level of total gasoline inventories has been slightly lower a few times in recent years, when the level of demand is taken into account, it has not been this low before. Of course, with gasoline demand set to fall significantly after Labor Day, the low level of inventories is not likely to cause a sharp spike in retail prices, but more likely will limit the usual seasonal decline seen after Labor Day, with the possibility remaining of an atypical slight increase over the next few weeks.

As noted above, assuming that 170 mb is the MOL for gasoline, we have about 2.4 Days of Supply in excess of MOL.

Early last spring as inventories fell, there was a little talk that warm temps were partly responsible in pushing usage. I thought then and now that was the case-early spring fostered more driving than usual.

With the latest ice free conditions over the arctic ocean, a very late fall is predicted for the northern hemisphere. This could really step demand again, vs previous years.

Oil jumps over $1 as supplies fall

Oil prices extended early gains Wednesday after a government report showing drops in crude and gasoline supplies overshadowed fears of a slowing economy.

I went back to double check the Minimum Operating Level (MOL) for gasoline, and I realized that I had forgotten about the 185 mb number that we discussed earlier in the year. Enclosed is an excerpt from Tom Whipple's article on the subject.

In any case, a MOL of 185 mb suggests that we have less than one day of supply of gasoline in excess of MOL.

Published on 23 May 2007 by Falls Church News-Press. Archived on 23 May 2007.
The peak oil crisis: The minimum operating level
by Tom Whipple

The next important point about gasoline stockpiles is that not all of it is useable. As gasoline is largely delivered by pipeline, barge and coastal tankers these days, a lot of gasoline is tied up in transit. Thus the amount of gasoline “trapped” in transport is substantial. This “trapped” gasoline is known as the “minimum operating level.”

The Department of Energy used to publish this number, but stopped doing so a few years ago on the grounds they were not confident that it was accurate. This week, however, the old number for the minimum operating level surfaced in a 3-year-old government report and it turned out to be 185 million barrels – very close to the 197 million in the inventory. It really does not matter what the actual minimum level is, for any figure remotely close to 197 million is cause for concern. If stockpiles – on either coast – drop much more, we are going to find out, the hard way, exactly where the minimal operating level is, for that will be the day the shortages develop.

Got to limit my posts today...doing this on dial up.

Pretty gloomy doomy today.

Weekly petroleum report has NO good news. Guess we will see what next weeks report brings as the markets only seem to be mildly interested as other major DAILY credit events keep them busy.

1 day, 2 days, 3 days...WT, no matter how you look at it...it is VERY TIGHT (again).

And, to sign off...here is a bunch of nightmares:


2 INVESTS (94L hurricane material with models following a "Dean" like path.)

And, one HUGE wave belching off of Africa...with very good potential to immediately become a Tropical Storm.

1, 2, 3...days. Doesn't seem like much of a buffer does it.

Peak Hurricane season still 3 weeks +/- away.

I often agree with your assessments WT , but here ... no-no

Personally I don’t buy the idea that the”pipeline-content” is part of any statistics – no way. The transit oil is “the last oil” so to speak – and an added bonus to the post-oil tribes..

Of course the US has more than 1-2-3 days of backup supply – that is a no-brainer IMO.

On the contrary if the wrong guy farted in the Gulf – The US would have been empty in a week – because it takes at least a week for the smell to go by the jet stream, and as the strategic reserves are bound up in a small geo-spot, as I understand.. they will not yield much far and fast...

Jeffrey. it is about time to holler bull crap on the aggregate minimum operating level that has been quoted. The U.S. is not a single system. Some districts have already dropped below well the presumed minimum based while other districts are relatively better supplied.

This does not mean [and I do not believe] that the concept is bogus. Only that the level is really squishy [contrary to the theory] and / or the numbers that have been quoted are wrong.

Any guess what the real minimum levels are??? Was the U.S. really within a few million bbls of finished product [read "gasoline" in this instance] of being totally screwed [read gas station lines or worse] on at least a short term basis???

BTW, spot shortages which have occurred in the Upper Midwest and Northern Great Plains aren't the sort of excrement and ventilating unit interaction that equates from my perspective to "screwed" or for 99.9 parcent of Americans even minimally aware.

Where's Robert been lately? I'd like to get his "end of the summer" perspective on inventories and such. As I recall in May/June timeframe, he was saying "let's see how things look in August".

Robert posted on his blog a few days ago that he has a full time job and a full time family now that they are all together in Aberdeen. I should congradulate him for chosing time for his family over you and I.

The World is Awash in Oil

From: February 1986 TIME Magazine


Some experts looked further ahead to consider the implications of last week's frenzy. They feared that cheap oil might lead to a return of wasteful ways that would make a new oil shortage inevitable at some point in the future. But the trend toward conservation will not easily be reversed. Says Economist Heller: "It would take a long, long time to go back to our old oil-guzzling habits. This could be a trap, but only if we are dumb enough to fall into it."

Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

Says Economist Heller: "It would take a long, long time to go back to our old oil-guzzling habits. This could be a trap, but only if we are dumb enough to fall into it."

I'm laughing so hard it hurts.

This was an interesting article warning on continued deterioration in the subprime mortgage situation:

The author indicates that more Adjustable Rate Mortgages will reset to higher rates in just February-March of next year than have reset for all of 2007 so far.

How big is the mortgage mess? No one knows

It’s hard to know how scared to be if you don’t know the size of the threat. No, not terrorism, housing.

The U.S. mortgage-lending business is a sprawling, varied enterprise that no one regulator oversees, making it impossible to know how many mortgages or lenders not insured by the government are in trouble.

Even worse, no public records are available to show who holds the trillions of dollars worth of mortgages that investment banks pooled and sold as securities to investors around the globe. The value of many of those securities plunge as mortgage defaults soar.

In the most recent issue of Fortune Magazine, Warren Buffet had a "modest proposal." He suggested that financial institutions sell a small representative sampling of their mortgage backed securities--and then use those sales to value the remainder of their mortgage backed securities. Of course, it would probably show that some companies are insolvent.

The 'natives' over there are getting a bit restless. If the U.S. wanted to get their attention, they have certainly succeeded by screwing around with the 'natives' money via hedge funds of dubious value.

Calls grow louder for international overview of U.S. markets


Loan crisis blamed on lax regulators (International Hearald Tribune)

'Politicians, regulators and financial specialists outside the United States are seeking a role in oversight of American markets, banks and rating agencies in the wake of recent problems related to subprime mortgages.

Their argument is simple: The United States is exporting financial products, but losses to investors in other countries suggest that American regulators are not properly monitoring the products or alerting investors to the risks.

"We need an international approach, and the United States needs to be part of it," said Peter Bofinger, a member of the German government's economics advisory board and a professor at the University of Würzburg.'...snip...

One of many theories that I have had about Bush/Cheney is the following:

(1) Because of Peak Oil, most debts will never be repaid and foreign trade will severely contract;

(2) So, they in effect maximized US debt, and used foreign money to pay for the US takeover of Iraq, with a plan to either inflate away the debt and/or to basically renege on it;

(3) Leaving the US with the largest military force in the Middle East, with foreign creditors holding a bunch of US IOU's.

WT, I believe that your theory that the shrub/vader plan to monetize the US debt and use the rest of the worlds savings to finance the war in Iraq/Afganistan is correct...but shrub/vader have a problem with whats happening now and it is caused by their poor management of the occupation, war strategy and tactical blunders (not to mention domestic blunders). I will climb out on a hypothetical limb...We have a large military presence in the ME...But the dollar implodes (drastic devaluation) and no country will continue to lend us money (buy US financial instruments)...And some countries might stop taking dollars for oil. How will we maintain (finance) the huge military that we have built at home and abroad? One of the neo cons commented that '$20 oil will be better than any tax cut for the US economy' so I believe that the plan was to quickly import Iraqi oil to America. All oil producing countries of the SCO (seekers of multipolarity) realize that a waiting game is in their favor. The longer that we can be tied down in Iraq/Afganistan spending $12 billion per month +/- (printing dollars), the better the chances of a significant dollar devaluation, the better the chances that our access to oil will be constrained (who would take questionable dollars for oil), the better the SCOs chances that we will be forced to withdraw from the ME. It appears that the shrub/vader plan depended on a quick success and that getting bogged down did not enter into their thinking (?)...consequently, they didnt have a plan 'B'... shrub/vader are now cornered and getting desperate...so desperate that they talk of a first strike invasion/bombing of Iran that includes a list of 10,000 targets. This leads me to think that they will destroy Iran before they will leave a ME that might well fall under the influence of Iran (an Iran that might influence SA, Iraq, the emirates and OPEC). Of course shrub/vader didnt forsee the huge hedge fund fiasco, adding to the problems of the dollar, and adding to time constraints, but that is the problem with wars (once started, they are unpredictable) and the longer a war drags on the more unforseen events will occur. Please forgive the rambling hypothetical muse.

Hi River,

re: "Please forgive the rambling hypothetical muse."

Actually, it's interesting. So, what do you think they* should do now? I mean, what would someone w. our/(humanity's) best interest at heart do now? *(i.e., Another, hypothetical "they".)

Hi Aniya, glad you found my post worth reading. General Odom, US Army Retired, addressed your question specifically from a military point of view. Odom said that there is no way that the administration could reach their strategic goals, but must redefine what they want to accomplish because what they can accomplish is severely limited(see link). I believe that Odom, Shinsinki, and others of their caliber were let go or asked to leave by Rummy because the generals were realists compared to Rummy and the neo cons. Cheney, when he said that 'the American way of life is not negotiable' is probably as close as we can get to someone 'having our best interests at heart.' Of course, Cheney did not have the best interests of 'humanity' at heart when he made the comment. This administration know full well about PO and they chose the interests of the US over those of the rest of the world. Imo, the problem with this administration is that they are very poor managers and therefore chose poor managers to take on the task of subduing Iraq and managing the occupation.

I will insert a disclaimer here: I have been disappointed in the direction that US has taken since the end of WW2. I protested the Iraq war prior to its beginning. I am not in favor of genocide. I hold the neo con leadership of the US in low regard...They are a bunch of chickenhawks, few have seen a shot fired in anger, yet they all believe that they are experts in areas that they have no practical experience in;ie, strategy, tactics, use of propaganda, importance of morale (of troops and citizens), mobilizing the citizens to make them feel needed in the war effort, quelling an insurgency, keeping an insurgency from forming, and a host of other areas. That said, I will take a stab at your question...

Perhaps if we look ahead at what the US faces after a possible future withdrawal from the Iraq compared to what the US faces after a possible victory (?) in Iraq and the subsequent theft of Iraqi oil we can judge which road to follow.

What will be the consequences of a US withdrawal from Iraq? 1) Cheap oil by extorsion/theft of Iraqi oil will be out of the question. 2) Possible loss of dollar hegemony. 3) The US would be seen by the rest of the world to be a paper tiger, primarily because of successive losses in Nam and Iraq and a draw in Korea. 3) Severe economic woes in the US economy. 4) Standard of living in the US would plummet. 5) A final refutation of the idea that a debtor state with only a strong military can be a world leader for any length of time. 6) The US would find itself in a similar position as the CCCP after that countries collapse except with few if any natural resources to export and almost no public transportation, health care or manufacturing base. 7) Other...other means unforseen outcomes of a withdrawal from Iraq that we are not yet aware of, but there will probably be many and most will be bad for the SUV drivers.

What is on the other side of the coin? What if we subdue the insurgents of Iraq (assuming that this is possible, no gimme.) 1) The US would have access to and control of cheap Iraqi oil and it would be a boon to the US economy. 2) Control of Iraqi oil/gas would give the US a proxy in OPEC and effictively render that cartel more receptive to US input concerning oil prices and distribution. 3) Dollar hegemony would remain as is. 4) The US desire to remain the sole world super power would be nearer to reality. 5) Disaster in the US economy would be averted. 6) The US could carry on pretty much as usual untill the oil in Iraq was depleted. 7) Other...How would the remainder of the Muslim world react to a genocide in Iraq? How would the SCO react to a US sitting on the worlds second largest oil reserve? Would a destruction of Iran be necessary to bring Iraq to submission? 8) More other...

Looking at the two lists it is easy to see why this administration wishes to subdue Iraq and why both political parties are loathe to withdraw from the conflict. Personally, I do not believe that many Americans realize what a desperate gamble the Iraqi invasion was and how bad off the US will be if we dont prevail in Iraq. I also am convinced that the PTB in America will do anything and everything to prevail in the ME.


I also am convinced that the PTB in America will do anything and everything to prevail in the ME.

And "anything and everything" will likely include an unprovoked attack on Iran.

The follow on from that attack . . .

River: The guy is absolutely right-doesn't look good for confidence in the dollar.

Bonddad over at DailyKos did a short article with a really good graph of the whoopin' we're about to get:


ARM resets will peak in october of this year...but note the next run up in a few years. This current mortage mess will take years to unwind.

edit, looks like we have some dualing ARM reset graphs...either way it is bad

I checked these links and indeed we do have dueling ARM Reset Graphs. My original link, along with the graph in DailyKos mentioned by SacredCowTipper, show a peak in February-March of next year. The link by Slatz and several others I found show the peak to occur in October of this year. I looked at the original Credit Suisse report, and it looks to me like their graph supports the October peak. The Credit Suisse report says "This, in our opinion, is the next shoe to fall and will likely contribute to additional delinquencies, foreclosures, inventory and additional pricing pressure."


The effect of ARM Resets on the general economy is likely to lag the peak in ARM resets. If a person has his mortgage payment increase in October and cannot pay, he will hurt immediately, but it will still probably be some months before there is a foreclosure.

The Rude Awakening at Agora ran this graph last week. This is quite a shift from a peak this fall, so if they're wrong, they're spectacularly so.

Found this commentary in regard to the Credit Swiss ARM graph.

There's a gotcha. Options ARMS come with a rider in their contract that often resets at 110% or 115% of original value. Early ones had 115%, later ones 110%. A 5 Year Option ARM where the borrower excersizes their minimum payment can cause the reset to occur in as little 2 years. So basically, take that turquoise humps and shove it forward 36 months on the chart.

So if you were a option arm borrower and sought the minimum possible payment you also forced an early reset of the loan. On the Credit Swiss graph this would eliminate the trough between the two peaks and result in a "perfect storm."

For TODers on the US west coast and beyond, you may want to get up early (or stay up late...) on Sat morning and go outside to watch for meteors. There's a decent chance of a good show for an hour or so.

"Then in 1986, meteor watcher Istvan Tepliczky of Tata, Hungary, went out on September 1st around 1:00 a.m. local time (0:00 Universal Time) for a night of observing. "Just after 1:00 UT", he wrote, "I was an eyewitness of a very spectacular phenomenon. Very bright yellow meteors began to fall; all of them left long trains... Around 1:20 UT I detected meteors every one or two minutes." The shower tapered off slightly after 1:30, and he saw his last meteor at 2:12 UT."


I'm on the wrong coast this time, but if you see anything drop a note here at TOD. If you get lucky it'll be something you'll remember!

Will it be Arctic or Bhurma that leads the way?

Exchange rate

* Official: US$ 1.00 =~ 6 Ks
* Black market: US$1.00 =~ 1330/Ks 07:37, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

From wikipedia

Volvo testing bio fuels.
Would anyone like to compare those graphs with wind and electric?

This program, Life After Peak Oil [61MB mp3, 51min], aired on our local PBS radio affiliate yesterday.

"It's important to know, we have the solutions...."

cfm in Gray, ME

It would be more accessible to more people if they posted it (e.g.) as a mono, 32 kbps MP3, reducing the file size to about 12 megabytes. If it's just speech, you'd hardly hear the difference.

If size is an issue, if you would like me to, I can download it, re-encode it, and upload it for a day for your benefit. Considering it's NPR, they can't complain much, can they?
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Grassroots effort for a new trolley car system in Dallas:


I'm shocked that the 'tech will save us' crowd hasn't picked up on:
What with "Based on the interviews
and presentations over the past month, it is clear that advanced energy technologies commonly identified as zero point energy technologies are not only real but are being brought to full scale production in real time." (per email on alt-power)

Ford and GM say factories in US face axe

That should help people make those mortgage payments.....

Fantastic top-down view of the present situation by Jim Willie, for whoever is interested. He covers Wall Street and US guv corruption, along with the spectre of a crumbling Mexico making the SPP rather interesting http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/willie/2007/0829.html