The ASPO Conference - Final Afternoon

The summaries of the first day of the ASPO conference can be found here and here. The second day's morning summary can be found here.

The overlying theme of this year’s conference was Time to React? The final session was set-up to respond to that question, or perhaps it would be more cautious to say to explore it. The session was guided by Eddie Hobbs of RTE , and began with Debbie Cook , a former Mayor of Huntington Beach, CA. She talked about how some the issues should be addressed in local government. She felt that the challenge that we face is more of an adaptive one than that of technology. Because they see some of the highest power costs in the United States, they worked to incentivize power savings for the utilities. As a consequence she learned the benefits of selling problems at the local level. And the scale of the local use was large, with 495,000 gal/yr of fuel used for City Services, 525,000 gal of fuel/year for Waste pickup and recycle (they pick up 4,500 tons of trash a week and recycle 60% though some is sent to China where it is burned to make energy). The City did an Energy Audit and learned that keeping a single Coke machine costs $500 a year in power.

It takes 10% of their $4 million electric bill to move water around the City, and they were spending 365,000 kWh/day on sewage, but have put in a processing unit, and now generate 280,000 kWh/day from using the methane recovered from waste treatment. She noted that over a period the phrase “Peak Oil” appeared not at all in the Los Angeles Times, though in that same period it appeared 34 times in the Irish Times. She further noted that public opinion precedes political will, but media attitude leads public opinion.
The system has lots of inertia, but it depends how and where you frame the question as to how successful you will be. She has learned that if you want to interact with Government it helps to take some experts along. And in that regard if you are not the best messenger for this, you had better find someone who is.

She was followed by Rob Hopkins of Transition Towns , which has been developed in Totnes. They even have their own currency, to encourage local shopping. They had looked at future energy scenarios , much influenced by four books, of which Powerdown seemed to fit their perception better than others.

In 1930 all businesses in Totnes were locally owned, and large market gardens, within the city limits, supplied townsfolk with produce. These gardens have now been reduced to parking lots, with plans for building construction.

He got started with a student project at Kinsale, a neighbor to Cork, and this has now become a seminal work for transitioning cultures. It helped to form a steering group (but one that designs into the process their own demise). He repeatedly made the point of having to collaborate and communicate, they use YouTube to communicate and have trained folks to use it. They try to act as a catalyst for action.

The third speaker was Eddie O’Connor who spoke as an Irishman at the end of a very long supply line for fuel, and who was becoming concerned about long-term viability. He listed the major Chinese purchases of oil and gas and the growing energy density of their culture. With no Energy Treaty in Europe they do not have the clout to compete, and thus must look for an alternate reliable source. This they believe they have found in wind, and by bringing these together in a grid that covers the country they hope to show that collectively the farms can produce at 35% because of the areas around the country that they lie in.

Getting there requires not only adding turbines, but once they reach 3,100 MW they must substantially upgrade the grid to come to a wind produced power target of 6,100 MW by 2020. Unfortunately on land there are a lot of regulations and restrictions, it is even difficult to get permission to install overhead Power Lines, and a ten-year permitting time is common – so that if this the route to be taken, then processes should begin immediately. He feels that they can generate enough power to justify electric cars, but to be sure of uninterruptible supply they would be better forming a grid with a few nations in Europe, But it will take 7 years just to get this started. The first step is a European Off-shore Supergrid. This will have high up-front costs – turbine prices have gone up 50% in the last 3 years, but when introduced they should allow remove of the most expensive power stations from the net.

The platform party was now joined by four additional members to make up a panel. These included Eamon Ryan the Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Edward Schreyer the former Governor General of Canada; Michael Meacher a Labor MP from the UK and former Minister of the Environment , and Michael Martin the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

One of the first comments related to the cost of wind power, it being noted that the towers are becoming thinner as costs escalate and materials become more difficult to get. Production is apparently booked through 2010, though the Chinese do not have a presence in this market yet. And it is hard to have to hand over $125 million, two years befoce construction begins.

The concern was debates as to whether the public took the topic seriously, or what could be done to get folk to react. The concern was that the general public did not care to hear about the issue, let alone debate it. This, however, extends beyond the general public. There are tremendous costs for fuel associated with running a farm, or a military, and this extends into the facilities that support farming but that have energy costs beynd just the transportation of that energy.

The Conference was closed, (after a gracious speech by Chris Skrebowski thanking Colin Campbell for all he has done for the Association) by Eamon Ryan the Minister for Energy.

He noted that Irelands Energy demand is growing 3% pa. and at present 60% of it is oul, with folk using an average of 10 pints of oil a day. Much of it goes into transportation, but in face of a doubling of price over the past years, demand has grown 8% and so it is unlikely to be successful to control demand by introducing a stiff gas tax.

I found the whole meeting very informative, as much for the conversations in the breaks and meals, and was delighted to meet so many folk who contribute to, and read this site. You who were also there might want to chip in with your own impressions. I will try and add a comment of my own, this being more reporting of what they said with an effort not to editorialize. That post may follow in a couple of days or so.

Prof G; RE Mexico Canada import US #1 & 2

Canada,.. in the eyes of the EIA is the rising star, but we all know the Tar Sands is starting to stumble with water issues. Talking with friends out there, its a hot button.

The global oil fields are watering out, an international average water production is 3 barrels of water for every barrel of oil, more mature assets produce much higher water cuts. These ratios can approach 7:1 barrels of water per barrel of oil and higher.

Well HO, thank you for the informative sessions on behalf of those who could not make it this year. I was taken aback that ol Eddy from Canada was there, that was interesting. I have been busy purchasing a micro-brewery and hoping to introduce some sustainability measures in it for the long haul, yet at midnight each night I find time to read your posts.

Informative stats from Debbie Cook I applaud her for her analysis on her cities energy needs and improvements. One thing for sure though is the general public has to be informed of all the issues at stake here. This day in age people are unfazed at the immense problem we face.

Thanks for your time HO

Hi Oilcanboyd,

I'd be interested in an update on how you put in your "sustainability measures".

re: "This day in age people are unfazed at the immense problem we face."

Yes, I see that. And I also see the opposite - people that are so "fazed" they have no idea what to do.

Aniya, the sustainability measures are for the brewery, and it has alot to do with westexas' ELP plan. As a stationary Eng, and oil jockey, I am not yet ready to reveal the full plan. Ya never know who reads these boards(competition?), but I do have to give full credit to WT for the turning point in my life.

One thing for sure though is the general public has to be informed of all the issues at stake here

Jees, I guess I jumped the gun here, Canada's National newpaper columnist comments on the ASPO meeting and Peak oil, It can be read in the Globe and Mail

Thanks Eric!! for the plug

Thxs HO,

Your comment on former Mayor Debbie Cook's observation:

"She further noted that public opinion precedes political will, but media attitude leads public opinion."

Is there any way that ASPO & TOD can help further leverage this 'media attitude' before ASPO-Houston?

Recall my earlier TOD letter writing campaign to get actor George Clooney to attend so that he could help prod media coverage and therefore get more Peakoil Outreach to the huddled masses. Should ASPO get Simmons and Boone Pickens to really press for more airtime not only on CNBC, but the major MSM networks to help promote the upcoming conference?

Should ASPO invite the PETA girls to parade naked outside in protest of Arctic oil exploration, climate change, and to help protect the polar bears and fur seals? Would the MSM coverage help achieve more Peakoil Outreach?

How about free drinks for the reporters only if they promise to do my 'Peakoil Shoutout' when their glass reaches half-empty, but pay double if they forget?

How about if all possible participants slowly rode bicycles, human-pulled rickshaws, and/or horses en mass to the conference--temporarily tying up area traffic to get local TVnews helicopters onscene?

Have a huge and noisy cannon blowtorch flare outside the conference hall that only goes off when another million barrels of crude is forever gone [75 times a day].

Run a Peakoil essay contest at schools: bicycle and wheelbarrow giveaways to elementary students, maybe a Toyota Prius for best high school student paper.

Replicate the Earth with a huge melting pile of ice for youngsters to play in, but black licorice jelly beans hidden in the ice represents oil. The kids can then turn them in for cash, or keep to eat.

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

We are working on contests relative to opening solar powered transportation network. When the first such network opens at the Mall of America, it should help rally interest.

If anyone is interested in including themes in this, we are open to them.
It costs less to move less

Bob..(Totoneila)...remember me? I read all your posts and have read all of them for over 18 months now..I think you are full of great ideas and you have a wonderful gift for elucidation of the future vis-a-vis your grasp of current concepts....I am wondering if you would entertain an invitation to participate in the Future Concepts Working Group at the USSOCOM...United States Special Operations Command.??? Is is possible to set up a more personal communications regimin????
Very respectfully TG80

Okay TG80,

How are you at heptagrams?

The Understanding That Only Requires a 7-sided heptagon at Congruent Overall X = 128.5714286°. Neusis construction Explained Thoroughly, of course

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

I can of course understand a box the the congruent angles X=90....but that is about it.....I hope that I have not disclosed to much at this juncture.....I really do admire your future you are probably aware I have participated in the FCWGs at various would be a great participant....I can arrange an introduction this something you would consider???
very respectfully TG80

Hello TG80,

Yes, but you are missing the Obvious.

Just wanted to test the water before diving in....that said... I will set up a yahoo non-associated email account and contact you post haste..
regards TG80 sends.

Debbie Cook will be speaking in Houston and running the Saturday Local and Regional Policy Planning committee.

National, State and Local Energy Policy Responses
Friday, October 19 10:20 AM to 12:00 PM

John Kaufmann, Dept. of Energy (OR)
Summary from the Portland Peak Oil Task Force

Roger Duncan, Deputy Director, Austin Energy
The View From a Municipal Utility

Debbie Cook, Huntington Beach (CA) City Council and Mayor Pro Tem
Summary From Southern California Association of Governments

Mary Margret Whipple, Senator, Virginia State Senate
Options at the State Level

Roscoe Bartlett, US Congressional Representative, State of Maryland, United States House of Representatives (Invited)

Elizabeth Ames Jones, Chairman, Texas Railroad Commission
Texas Production History and Revenues From Oil and Gas

Riding the Bumpy Plateau: Preparing for Short-term Oil Shocks
Saturday, October 20 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM

Four concurrent sessions that provide opportunity for exchange between panelists and attendees:

1. Smart Money and Peak Oil -- a discussion with a panel of experts, including Charles T. Maxwell, about investing in both conventional and unconventional energy sources in a peak oil world. (This is a repeat of the Wednesday afternoon subject matter, but with different panelists.)

2. Local and regional policy planning (transportation, coordination with state and feds; learning from the Portland Peak Oil Task Force case study)
Jennifer Sarnecki, Senior Planner, Southern California Association of Governments

3. Emergency preparedness for the service industries: health care, food, and more.

4. Communications: scenario planning, tool development, and more.

China Faltering On Support For Solar Power: Report

Solar panels could generate over 10 percent of China's power by the middle of the century, but only if Beijing steps up support for pioneering generating plants and sets more ambitious targets, a report said on Wednesday.

I think someone needs to pay a very large bribe to a Chinese company so a concentrating solar thermal power plant can be built in China. I don't think the nuclear power companies want the concept recognized.

" CLAYPOOL, Ind – For a state that allegedly got into the biofuels
games late, Indiana has roared into a leadership position with the
dedication of the world's largest biodiesel production plant . Tapping
into 17 percent of the Hoosier state's total soybean production, the
$150 million Louis-Dreyfus plant is expected to produce up to 88
million gallons of biodiesel annually. The oil to be refined at the BP
Whiting plant would come from oil sands in Canada 3 x co2 Chicago needs
to turn it's fryer grease into biodesiel. The process of turning coal
into liquid fuel is realy dirty such plants are being built in U.S. $2
billion apiece, arch coal medicine bow , carbon county, Wyoming. I don't think we ever intended to end world hunger. I
think we should plant biofuel crops. and if it is solid rock desert we
should build concentrating solar thermal power plants. and it won't be
enougth, but we still shouldn't nuke Iran. "

You are talking BS. Solar power is not a competition to nuclear power, it can only complement it. Something has to power the grid at night, don't you think?

France, which gets nearly 80% of its power from nuclear plants and has never had a major accident — have made nuclear energy work, but at a high cost. The state-owned French power monopoly is severely indebted, and although France recycles its waste, it is no closer than the U.S. to approving a permanent repository. Nuclear power may consume more energy than it produces. "Even utilizing the richest ores available, a nuclear power plant must operate at ten full-load operating years before it has paid off its energy debts. And ... there is only a finite supply of supply of uranium ore containing reasonable concentrations of uranium 235. When this concentration falls below 0.01%, the costs of energy production from nuclear power can no longer cover the costs of extraction of uranium from the earth, at which time the nuclear fuel cycle will produce no net energy; below a certain uranium content, nuclear power produces less energy than is needed to build, fuel, and operate the reactor and to repair the environmental damage." (Helen Caldicott , p. 16). in the United States, the Price-Anderson Act limits the nuclear industry's liability in the event of a catastrophic accident to $9.1 billion, which is less than 2% of the $600 billion guaranteed by the Congress. In any case, $600 billion is considered to be a gross underestimate ..." (Helen Caldicott , p. 32) What does nuclear power have to do with road construction ? A doubulling of the cost for every year after the project was supposed to have been compleated.
The cost of decommissioning nuclear plants. An estimate in 2006 by the UK Treasury for the cost of decommissioning the UK's old nuclear power stations was £90 billion;
Boeing was working on salt and solar heat storage and spun it off to Pratt and Whitney who dropped it. some solar heat storage in salt exist. Some utility scale batterys exist you would just have to build a whole lot of them and have a whole lot of space to put them in. carbon nanotube long distance power lines could help too. I would say superconductor but the planet may not have enougth of the elements needed.
I think the answer is comercilized standardized parts from hundreds of companies in dozens of countries, for what I am not sure but I think it should be solar, wind has been doing rather well I think solar needs more promotion.

It is not correct to say that French nuclear power is run safely because they have not yet had a large nuclear accident. You need to look at the whole set of reactors in the world. Since the program in France is a minority of these, it is not too surprising that they have not yet had their first big accident, nor that the big accidents have happened in the countries with the largest nuclear power programs. When France does have its first big accident, they will be in a difficult spot owing to their over reliance on nuclear power. Their first big accident is probable within this century but unlikely within the lifetimes of those who made the decision to have such a large reliance on nuclear power.


What a pile of crap.

I suggest we close down the US chemical industry (or what is left of it) - by your logic it is responsible for the Bhopal disaster in India. That one killed 22,000 people - 300 times more than Chernobyl.

Your post is full of tedious statements and outright lies. It is not worthed to address them all.

Just a single reality check - EdF is NOT "severely indebted". In 2006 current liabilities amounted to 44bln euro. This compared to sales volume of 59bln. and net profit of 6bln. euro. Total assets are whopping 179bln. Full report here (PDF). A pretty decent financial shape.

Am I the only one who finds it a bit strange that a bunch of folks claiming concern about oil depletion (and probably Climate Change too in many cases) would fly a third of the way around the world just to get into the same physical room to talk about it?

Was there any discussion of the future of the ASPO Conference in a world of increasing jet fuel scarcity, or of its environmental impact?

There was not, although Rob Hopkins and I (who caught the bus and ferry there from England) did raise the point with a good few people. When Rob was on the panel he also mentioned that he had refused to fly to speak at the IFG teach-in and had instead sent a video presentation.

I did. I was wondering if any calculated the 'footprint' of this conference. Would hate to see those results! ha...

I did the carbon offset for this biofuels conference. It took 100 CFLs with about 60 of those covering the air travel of 6 attendees from Brazil who flew in from Rio. The bulbs were distributed to the attendees wrapped in a bit of cardstock that gave my website for Maryland sales on the outside and the carbon offset calculation on the inside. One of the interesting things that came up as I was doing the research for the offset was that Marriot, which runs the conference center, has been getting EnergyStar awards and the conference center had reduced its electric consumption by about 8% in the last couple of years through conservation measures encouraged by the EnergyStar program. Another interesting question was would the bulbs work in Rio. They will.

There are other ways to do offsets, but right now I really encourage using CFLs because you can put bulbs that perform well and don't cost much into peoples hands to try so that you get converts quickly. Compared to growing trees, the offset is realized sooner, and so long as you have gained converts, likely multiplies since the bulb you donate will be replaced a number of times during the time it takes for a tree to reach maturity. Since grid conversion to renewables is on an exponetial trajectory, replacement bulbs will still be offsetting for at least a couple of replacement cycles. Also, it does not hurt to point out that when you give someone a CFL you a basically handing them a $50 bill.

It is time to recognize that transportation, and especially transportation by air, is a very tough nut to crack. Those who point fingers at people who attend conferences are doing a great disservice. In many other sectors there are immediate alternatives to fossil fuel use but in air transportation there is not. The finger pointers are asking for the impossible while ingoring the practical steps that can reduce overall fossil fuel use that can be advanced by holding these conferences. They are a part of the problem, not a part of the solution.


I go back and forth on this. On the one hand it does seem extremely - in fact laughably - ridiculously that there are no less than 4 groups who say in their own particular way:

"OMG, we're burning through way too much oil and pumping out too much C02!!! We should start localizing our communties You know what we need to do? Have a big ass conference where people burn through tons of oil and pump out tons of C02 flying across the country to discuss the fact that we're burning through way too much oil and pumping out too much C02!"

At the same time you have to be a bit egotisical to think that you individually deciding not to fly is going to make an ounce of difference. Rob Hopkins, for instance, has 4 kids. Hey, more power to him but he's really full of himself if he thinks that it matters even one iota that he did not get on that plane when he's pumping out spawn like Ghengis Khan. The plane left with or without him, maybe he thinks he's important enough the airline thought "Rob Hopkins is not going to fly to the climate change shin-dig so we'll ground the flight we had earmarked for him."

At the same time, refusing to get on the plane is at least socially congruent.

As far as me personally, I loathe flying for reasons unrelated to oil or the environment. And imho you either have to be a liar, a sociopath, hopped up on mind-altering pharms, or some type of genetic freak to want to discuss these issues face-to-face with large crowds.

When I say "liar" I include (innocent or subconscious) self-deception in that definition. Most of the folks at these conferences are very well meaning but in order to be able to deliever their speech without sending the audience spiraling into stark raving panic or debalitating depression their subconscious must delete or deny out of their conscious awareness what should be obvious:

#1 we're already plunging into ever-growing war and chaos as our "solution".


#2 it's just a matter of time - and probably not very much at this point - before the chaos starts to directly affect the upper-middle class sort of folks that tend to fly out to Peak Oil conferences.(Read John Robb's article dated 01/07 at for more on this)

#3 before this gets to nuclear war we're likely to see catasrophic failures in everything from the financial markets to health care to waste/sewage treatement to security

Oh yes, the 800 pound elephant in the room: nuclear war. Folks, the system of capitalism that controls the world's nuclear arsenal is like Jim Kramer's brain. It's is designed to launch nuclear weapons before it will ever concede defeat due to resource scarcity. It's a read only program and the program says "grow or die." That means "we will eventually launch nuclear weapons when growing becomes impossible."

So you either have to decieve yourself into ignoring what should be obvious or somehow get a thrill from telling people face-to-face "hey you and your kids are either going to be poverty-stricken & living in the gutter if they're even alive and the planet is going to be a flying toxic waste dump in 10 years time. Have a nice day!"

Doing it over the net is a bit different as the net is a very disassociated medium of communication. So the human reciprocity stuff does not kick in the way it does when you talk face-to-face, particularly to large crowds. I haven't spoken to a crowd since April 2006 and don't have any intention of doing so again in the foreseeable future.

That's why I always introduce myself as Matt Savinar at Peak Oil gatherings.

The "big debate" here in Dallas is whether or not to build a super duper new tollway along the Trinity River, to handle all the expected new traffic. The Dallas Morning News and the powers that be (generally corporate interests that own land along the projected route) are 100% behind the idea.

Meanwhile, a local cornucopian, who does an auto radio show every Saturday, echoes the Cato Institute position that we need a vastly expanded road network in the US.

But perhaps as a kind of tranquilizer, to stave off Peak Export Panic, I plan to push Alan Drake's ideas.

Tranquilizers, yes.

I am going to help a neighbor fix a front door that got kicked in. The poor guy has to sell his house, and needs 200K to break even. In our neighborhood at this time he will be lucky to get 160K in my opinion.

Helping him out may be a tranquilizer, but at least we do what we can while we can!

I am also on the board of the Midtown Greenway Coalition here in Minneapolis, which is really short of funds right now.

Ironic, we'll come up with 3oo million or more to build an artsy new freeway bridge to replace the collapsed I35W bridge over the Mississippi, but we struggle to support an organization that has fought in the no-pay and low-pay trenches for years in order to create a wonderful bike and pedestrian infrastructure that stretches right through Minneapolis and links to bike/ped paths all through the metro area.

Working for MGC may be a tranquilizer, too, but it is good, honest, local labor for the common good.

I also have a belief in life, love, and all that romantic stuff. Even in "Beyond the Limits" the scientists include an important chapter about all of that!

BTW, if folks can send a few bucks to the Midtown Greenway Coalition, please do -- I do not like to ask for donations, but it is a bona fide nonprofit with a small staff that has labored through thick and thin for years in order to create the impossible on a shoestring.

The website is here:

I hope I'm not breaking rules by asking folks to consider a donation. Think of it as a tranquilizer of the best sort!

-- Gary Hoover (aka -- beggar)

There's also the itsy bitsy problem of unsustainable populations that are growing. We humans are incredible breeding machines. A new human being is created every three seconds, or something like that. So every year that the inevitable collapse and dieoff are delayed by conservation efforts will lead to the untimely deaths of about 70 million innocent people. I personally don't see any good or moral reason to stop flying unless we agree to stop breeding.

Yes, population is a huge problem.

But overconsumption is just as big. Consider that we not only breathe, eat, use water,and pollute, but our cars and energy plants turn each of us into an army of 10,000 sucking in air, water, and many other resources, then spewing out a toxic mix of waste.

Each of us in so-called developed nations has a monstrous ecological footprint.

These itsy bitsy problems are not spoken of in polite company, though.

Truth is inconvenient and uncomfortable, and it does not win elections or sell cars, real estate, and trips to far off resorts.


Thank you for these recaps, they are valuable and much appreciated.

I am surprised that a former mayor of Huntington Beach would not only be aware of this type of event, but would also give a speech. I lived in HB for 6 or 7 yrs. and it is a very conservative town, sitting in the heart of a very conservative county. Where every other car is, and I don't think I'm exaggerating that much here, a fast moving living room. Most of those living rooms also break fast. And you MUST own a car in that town, and in that county.

It was great to hear that she and her team conducted those energy analysis for different systems. The Coke machine data is amazing.

I have to say again that I am stunned that a former bureaucrat from that city attended, considering the type of shallow, Fox-newsyish, not-really-know-who-lives three-houses-down-in-either-direction, consumption-driven, type of culture that seems to pervade all of the town and county.

As I think of how the citizens of that city will most likely react to a slow squeeze on imported energy flows, in my opinion, decreasing transportation fuels into that city will be met with increasing acts of violence. But, that probably applies to many of our cities.

If a reader is from HB, please remember that this is just MY take.

Non sequitur’s great and small

So, someone finally pointed up the non sequitur involved in flying around to Peak oil conferences on jet airliners to decry the burning of oil and the creation of greenhouse gas, or to quote The Chimp Who Can Drive....
"OMG, we're burning through way too much oil and pumping out too much C02!!! We should start localizing our communties You know what we need to do? Have a big ass conference where people burn through tons of oil and pump out tons of C02 flying across the country to discuss the fact that we're burning through way too much oil and pumping out too much C02!" That’s funny.

But then The Chimp commits what I have always considered the ultimate non sequitur, that being the connection of Peak Oil to the threat/fear of nuclear war....
“Oh yes, the 800 pound elephant in the room: nuclear war.”

Of course we know the terror of nuclear war is almost primal in the baby boomer generation, they being the first to have known as children a terror that even adults have difficulty dealing with.... a fear we have now lived with for a half century:
(released 1963)

Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony
Lewis Thomas (Pub. 1983)

Now of course, there may be a nuclear war at some time. In a certain way it is astounding there has not already been one since the end of WWII.

But the terror of such a horrific outcome far preceeds any real concern about Peak Oil, and will almost certainly continue on even if the Peak Oil issue were solved tomorrow. There could be any one of a few dozen reasons for a nuclear war to begin, with Peak Oil only one of many possible triggers.

The fascination of Peak Oilers with nuclear war is that it seems to add the disired menace to the subject. Even the darkest oil supply scenarios as put forth by the ASPO types will not deliver the “stone age by 2030” at least not in any model that a sane person can construct. But, since that is the scenario often posited by many catastrophists, there must be a way to get there....oh!, Peak Oil will cause a nuclear war! That’s the ticket!

The problem of course, if one thinks this through logically, is that if the real danger is a nuclear war, who cares about Peak OIl? It would be a minimal threat compared to the horror of nuclear war, and if I really believed that nuclear wipe out was a high probability event, I would buy a V-12 fossil fuel rocketship and go out with style....I mean, the fuel issue would no longer matter, the carbon release would be the least of our environmental problems, and “social responsibility” would not be a major priority in a world soon to become dust.

There seems to be some type of intellectual exhilaration in these “horror rides”, a sort of a mental roller coaster or the equivalent of the buzz that a horror movie brings. People enjoy being terrified, and feeling somewhat in danger, it is a known human need, at least now and then. However, for some folks, like the rush of gambling, sex or other thrills, it seems addictive.

"Listen to The Chimp:
So you either have to decieve yourself into ignoring what should be obvious or somehow get a thrill from telling people face-to-face "hey you and your kids are either going to be poverty-stricken & living in the gutter if they're even alive and the planet is going to be a flying toxic waste dump in 10 years time. Have a nice day!"

There are those who get a thrill out of just that, thus explaining the peak=nuke leap. I don't see how connecting nuclear war and peak oil contribute to any solution, but it sure does put the fear of God in a few folks, don't it?

Listen to an intellectual, Lewis Thomas, in the above referenced “Late Night Thoughts on Mahler’s 9th....
“All through the last notes my mind swarms with images of a world in which the thermonuclear bombs have begun to explode, in New York and San Francisco, in Moscow and Leningrad, in Paris, in Paris, in Paris. In Oxford and Cambridge, in Edinburgh. I cannot push away the thought of a cloud of radioactivity drifting along the Engadin, from the Moloja Pass to Ftan, killing off the part of the earth I love more than any other part.”
“What I cannot imagine, what I cannot put up with, the thought that keeps grinding its way into my mind, making the Mahler into a hideous noise close to killing me, is what it would be like to be young. How do the young stand it? How can they keep their sanity? If I were very young, sixteen or seventeen years old, I think I would begin, perhaps very slowly and imperceptibly, to go crazy.”

Now the description in the Wikipedia article of Dr. Strangelove...."Strangelove explains the principles behind the Doomsday Device. He seems to find nuclear annihilation sexually stimulating and in moments of excitement refers to the President as either "Mein Präsident" or "Mein Führer"."

There seems to be a great deal of psychological similiarity between those terrified of peak oil and those terrified of nuclear war, and also those who are willing to use either or both as a way of terrorizing others. But really, if you think about nuclear war for even a few minutes, are you really still afraid of Peak Oil?


That's why I no longer talk about it publicly. Once you carry things out to their logical conclusion it becomes clear that nuclear war is now inevitable. Once you understand that you tend to lose your desire to speak publicly about the topic.

Communicating on these forums is a bit different, as I explained in my post.


I see two psychological motives driving people to be doomsters:

1) People are bored. They want an action adventure movie in real life. Collapsing cities, people fleeing, it is like a disaster movie. I'm expecting someone to write a post explaining how Peak Oil will cause a massive worldwide disease epidemic.

2) People with lower relative status want to see the high and mighty fall. A collapse will hurt everyone. But the richer people will fall further in absolute terms (or at least doomsters think so). Therefore the relative position of doomsters will rise versus the upper classes.

People with lower relative status want to see the high and mighty fall.

Yeah, I'm sure that's what multi-billionaire Richard Rainwater and multi-millionaire Matt Simmons are thinking. I'm also sure it's what Representative Bartlett, a successful scientist with 20 patents to his name including one for the air filter on the Apollo missions, has been thinking as well.

Rainwater pulled $500 million off the market after reading Kunstler's book. He reads LATOC on a daily basis. Simmmons has said on the record that Kunstler will turn out to be an optimist the way we are going. Bartlett has quoted LATOC at length in Congress.

The Pundit field is quite crowded these days. You're going to need to bring your game up by a few magnitudes if you hope not to look as lost as you did in the above post. People here are pretty open to noobs but you have to at least look like you've got a clue.

"People with lower relative status want to see the high and mighty fall. A collapse will hurt everyone. But the richer people will fall further in absolute terms (or at least doomsters think so). Therefore the relative position of doomsters will rise versus the upper classes."

Supply-led collapse will hit the poor the hardest by far, and I think most people know that. Today's oil prices have put nary a dent (<5% income loss, no starvation) in those earning over $10,000/year, but are devastating to those earning under $1,000/year. Food prices have risen mostly in response to oil scarcity (via demand for biofuels), and the poor eat a great deal of very lightly processed food and food aid that is very vulnerable to commodity food prices.

I am a doomer, but it's out of a strong sense of pessimism about human culture. I don't think the physical situation is hopeless, but when you mix in the human element, particularly human institutions, I fear it will go very badly.