DrumBeat: October 3, 2007

Hefty GM hybrids could boost automaker

General Motors took a major step forward last week in its bid to boost its fading fortunes, but it’s probably not the one you’re thinking of.

True, GM clinched a new four-year labor contract with striking United Auto Workers that, if ratified by union members, could put the automaker on more even footing with its Asian rivals. But in a less noticed-move that ultimately could prove nearly as important, GM provided new details about the industry's first full-size hybrid gas-and-electric-powered sport utility vehicles, which will appear on dealers’ lots in late December.

Global warming expert James Hansen addresses Nobel Conference

He used charts with measurements and calculations to show how the ice sheet disintegration at the poles will speed up and likely raise sea levels to depths not seen for millions of years.

Hansen says that would threaten the east and southeast coasts of the U.S., nearly obliterating Florida. European cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen will also be threatened, along with the coast of China and almost all of Bangladesh.

Kentucky: Gas Gouging Lawsuit Goes To State Court

Attorney General Stumbo's suit charges that Marathon and Speedway SuperAmerica violated Kentucky's price gouging law and Consumer Protection Act during the state of emergency following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Kentucky is the first state in the nation to file suit protecting its citizens against price gouging by a major oil company.

ConocoPhillips sees production drop

Integrated oil giant ConocoPhillips said Wednesday it expects to report sharply lower refining margins during the third quarter, even as it enjoys near-record high crude prices.

The company said it produced the equivalent of 180,000 barrels of oil less last quarter than it did in the second quarter. It attributed the declines to the seizure of its Venezuela operations, damage to a pipeline in the United Kingdom, and planned work stoppages at other facilities.

India: Oilcos told to share cost of terror security

Private oil companies on undersea oil hunt will have to share the government's cost of providing security to men and infrastructure such as floating platforms and specialised vessels they deploy off India's shores.

The government's decision comes in the wake of mounting terror threats, which have made guarding the country's offshore assets an expensive proposition as more and more firms set sail in search of hydrocarbons treasure.

Great awakening ahead for gas guzzlers

As Americans surveyed the damage wrought by hurricane Katrina in 2005, Bill Ford Jr, then Ford Motor’s chief executive, made a dramatic speech declaring a national energy crisis. With much of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil infrastructure knocked out, he called for a White House summit of oil and automotive bosses for a national dialogue on energy security.

Politicians and industry, in spite of graphic evidence of the costs of the US’s carbon-intensive economy to human life and their own profits, did not respond, least of all to calls for a petrol tax. Two years later, gasoline remains the cheapest liquid on sale at most American filling stations, costing less per gallon than milk, coffee or mouthwash.

It's the Oil and Gas, Stupid

World leaders may be condemning the junta's crackdown, but foreign businesses don't want to lose their pieces of Burma's energy pie. Why the latest sanctions are unlikely to work.

Inflation and the Federal Reserve

The most predominant type of inflation is natural and occurs as raw materials are used up and must be replenished. It’s akin to the law of diminishing returns, or entropy, and is overcome by technological innovation. Another type of inflation is expressed through constantly changing conditions of supply and demand, including the fluctuating cost of labor. Yet another type results from the predatory pricing practices of monopolies such as the worldwide oil cartel which has jacked up the cost of petroleum to over $80 a barrel.

Zambia: State Assures Nation of Quick Action On Petrol

ENERGY and Water Development Minister, Kenneth Konga, yesterday assured the nation that the Government was working hard to ensure that authorities start pumping the 60,000-tonnes crude oil from Tanzania to Zambia to end the fuel shortage that has hit parts of the country.

ICA Fluor To Build 2 Pemex Platforms As Oil Drilling Rises

Mexico's total number of oil and gas rigs was 85 in August, up sharply from 76 in the same period of 2006, according to Baker Hughes, an oil services firm that monitors the global rig market. Mexico's active oil rigs reached 69 in July, the highest number since Baker Hughes began collecting rig data in 1995.

Tax reforms in 2006 freed up extra capital for the company to invest in exploration and production.

Jamaica: Energy plans key to economic growth

Were the US economy to return to stronger growth, we could well see oil prices reaching to over US$90 per barrel which some analysts had forecasted. We should therefore accelerate efforts to address Jamaica's energy situation.

Kazakhstan fines Chevron oil venture over ecology

Kazakh Ecology Minister Nurlan Iskakov said on Wednesday the government has imposed a $609 million fine on the Chevron-led Tengizchevroil (TCO) oil venture over ecological and other violations.

Nigeria charges two Germans over oil delta images

Nigeria charged two German men on Wednesday with breaching its Official Secrets Act and endangering national security by taking photographs and video footage of oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

RFA: Cellulosic Ethanol Close to Becoming Reality

Seeking to educate Capitol Hill staff, administration officials and members of the media about the realities of cellulosic ethanol production in the United States, the Renewable Fuels Association today will host an education seminar entitled “Cellulosic Ethanol: The Future is Now.”

Diesel prices spike in North Dakota

North Dakota farmers and truck drivers are feeling the pinch of low diesel supplies and high prices.

The shortages have sent prices soaring. Diesel hit a record-high in Grand Forks over the weekend at about $3.42 per gallon.

“It’s killing me right now,” said Mike Kyle, who runs a small trucking business out of Langdon. “It’s impossible (to make ends meet). I’m going broke.”

Video: Diesel Fuel Shortage Hurting Farmers

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson says the eastern part of the state is being hit the hardest because it`s at the end of the pipelines.

Saudi Aramco raises October 2007 LPG prices to a record

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest state oil company, boosted prices of liquefied petroleum gas to a record in October in line with higher crude oil costs as demand increased from China and Japan.

Gazprom-Ukraine rift threatens EU gas supply

Fears of a new energy crisis in Europe were mounting after Russia threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine just two days after an election that could see a pro-Western government formed in Kiev.

Kenya: Oil Prices - Country And Africa Are in for a Crude Awakening

Kenya's dilemma is what it will do when the strongest nations start grabbing all the oil. It should assume a world of just two products - oil and blood - where more blood will be spilt for the sake of oil.

Russian oil industry: Foreign, domestic interests

At present the Russian leadership is aiming to increase state control over oil production and to focus on the development of the domestic market. This strategy may hamper efficiency.

Iraq's KRG signs four more oil deals

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government has announced four more controversial oil deals, despite Baghdad’s condemnation, and says more are on the way.

Oil versus monks

America is hungry for Iraq’s oil. Burma is all about oil too. China and India are hungry for Burma’s oil. America loved the Iraqi dictator for as long as the dictator was in America’s economic interest. China and India love the Burmese military junta because the junta has promised them oil (and gas).

Oil War Feared Between Uganda and DR Congo

FARDC soldiers patrolling the lake attacked an oil exploration barge belonging to Canada's Heritage Oil Corporation and killed a British seismic engineering survey team leader, 31 year old Carl Nefdt. The Ugandan army retaliated and a Congolese soldier died in the 15 minute shoot out while a Ugandan soldier was wounded.

Since then, tension has been mounting along that part of the Uganda-Congo frontier that runs north-south down the 160 kilometer long lake - although the alignment of the border has never been precisely defined.

Film review - A Crude Awakening: the oil crash

A Crude Awakening bats at a higher level than most environmental films, partly due to its heavy hitting talking heads. From a former Exxon consultant to the director of Shell, the men in the know finally talk candidly about the future of our love affair with the black stuff.

An informative and hard edged film, but not a unique or charismatic one. Unfortunately this film has failed to aim directly at it’s target audience, too samey for the environmentalist, too information heavy for the idle consumer.

ADM Says No Cut in Corn Processing

The chief financial officer of Archer Daniels Midland Co., one of the nation's biggest ethanol producers, said Tuesday the agribusiness giant has not cut its seed processing capacity because of falling demand for the biofuel.

However, Doug Schmalz suggested the Decatur, Ill.-based company may shift production of corn, the main ingredient in U.S.-produced ethanol, toward other applications, such as corn syrup for the food industry. The company's goal, he said, is to maximize as much profit as possible from each kernel of corn.

Technology, finance combine to fuel Asian green energy hopes

The marriage of innovative technology and financing have led to a spread of energy efficient projects that are improving the quality of life for some of the poorest people across Asia.

Oil-rich Norway must play bigger climate role-minister

Norway must play a leading role in the fight against climate change because its wealth is based on oil and gas production, the country's new energy minister said on Tuesday, urging the industry to do more on the environment.

Hot, parched and sinking - apocalypse Sydney

Britain's chief scientist, Sir David King, said there was no choice but to adopt globally binding greenhouse gas emissions targets. "I do not understand how we can manage a global problem with an aspirational set of targets. It is all very well to say 'Well, we did our best and we didn't manage it', but we are all going to suffer," Sir David told the Herald.

The Oil Price & the Fed Rate Cut Spell a Bull Market for Energy Stocks & Precious Metals

The Peak Oil paradigm is beginning to gain traction. I have taken quite a bit of heat for this view – from many quarters – but I have stood with the concept through thick and thin.

And now, if you still don’t want to hear it from me, no less an authority than America’s first Secretary of Energy and former Director of Central Intelligence James Schlesinger recently noted at an international conference on the subject of energy, “The battle is over, Peak Oil is now accepted as inevitable, and the debate only becomes as to when.”

This is a remarkable statement, coming from one of the most “inside” of U.S. political insiders. Here are the long-term trends that you should expect to see...

Saudi Arabia to host third OPEC summit at presidential level

audi's King Abdullah invited heads of member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to a summit to take place November 17 and 18, local press said Wednesday. In its overnight bulletin, the state-owned Saudi news agency, citing Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, said that the third OPEC summit will be held in Riyadh.

Iraq's oil exports rise to 1.67m bpd in August

A statement issued by the Iraqi government showed that Iraqi oil exports increased in September to 1.67 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.52 million bpd in August of the current year, Iraq Directory reported.

First CORE director stepping down

After 13 years of dedicated service as the director of the Community Office of Resource Efficiency, energy expert Randy Udall is stepping down to pursue his own projects.

...Udall said he will officially step down before fall ends. After that, he looks forward to taking on "odd energy jobs" and focusing on his work with the Association for the Study of Peak Oil-USA, an organization that he co-founded. He said he also plans to focus on writing projects on energy and energy policy, speaking engagements and possibly his brother, Rep. Mark Udall's (D-Colo.), 2008 Senate campaign.

Air Force Energy Initiatives Focus On Fuel

"Energy conservation and developing energy technology is a major Department of Defense effort," Mr. Anderson said. "As the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, the Air Force is in a great position to look for, promote and utilize alternative energy sources."

Car makers – who’s the greenest?

Small European diesel cars lead the carbon stakes overall, but hybrid models could soon come into their own – and there are a host of new technologies and manufacturers waiting in the wings.

In Japan, Going Solar Costly Despite Market Surge

In 1994, the Japanese government paid half the cost of new solar installations. And people took advantage. Sales went up and costs came down by about a third. The government phased the subsidies out gradually and ended them in 2005.

ASPO 6. In Praise of…#6. Nate Hagens.

Human beings, he said, have evolved in such a way that we place short term gains of food and sex over long term thinking. Cheap oil and other fossil fuels have allowed us to grow, but still with the same underlying evolutionary urges. We have evolved as a part of natural selection. The scale of the peak oil crisis though, means that we need to start applying some lateral thinking, and trying to get beyond our evolutionary ‘programming’. He talked about discount rates, about the desire for pleasure now rather than in the future. Lottery winners apparently have ten times the rates of depression of non-Lottery winners.

The Aspiration Gap, the difference between what we have and what we think will make us happy and what actually does, continues however much we have. The amount we think will bring satisfaction is not absolute but is relative to where we are. As with any addiction, we continually need more in order to be able to get the same ‘high’. Key to a successful transition through peak oil will be our ability to replace the need for financial capital with social capital, and learn to base social prowess on how few things we have rather than how many things we have. The concept of ’small is beautiful’ will need to become the driver for our sense of who we are.

OPEC raises oil output slightly in Sept - survey

Ten OPEC members bound by output targets, all except Iraq and Angola, pumped 26.8 million barrels per day, up 60,000 bpd from August, according to the survey of oil firms, traders, OPEC officials and analysts.

The majority of the increase came from the world's biggest exporter Saudi Arabia, which last month convinced fellow OPEC members to open the taps amid surging oil prices.

Oil companies: Change in oil dollar denomination unlikely

Oil prices are likely to remain denominated in dollars despite the currency's weakness, chief economists for Chevron and Total said on Monday.

BP Turns on Greater Plutonio Taps

On October 1, 2007, Greater Plutonio in Block 18 offshore Angola began production. The first BP-operated project in Angola, the development includes five fields in water depths up to 1,450 meters.

Russia Beginning To Feel the Heat

Sustaining economic growth in Russia cannot be achieved through oil and gas export revenues alone; Russia is currently three to five times less efficient in its energy usage than Western European neighbors, with increasing economic implications.

Canadian Royalty Review Causes Major Backlash

Alberta, Canada, Premier Ed Stelmach ordered a public review of royalties, taxes and fees received from the oil and gas industry in February 2007. In less than a year, the backlash from this review has resulted in the first official monetary cutback from the industry, as well as criticism from within the government.

EU Calls for Speedy Resolution to Gazprom-Ukraine Dispute

The European Union called on Tuesday for a swift resolution to the dispute over payments between Ukraine and Russian gas monopolist Gazprom after Gazprom threatened to reduce gas supplies to Ukraine.

New math for utilities: sell less, make more

Five states have adopted 'decoupling' plans, offering electric-power companies incentives to conserve energy.

We paved paradise

In Tippecanoe County, Ind., there are 250,000 more parking spaces than registered cars and trucks. That means that if every driver left home at the same time and parked at the local mini-marts, grocery stores, churches and schools, there would still be a quarter of a million empty spaces. The county's parking lots take up more than 1,000 football fields, covering more than two square miles, and that's not counting the driveways of homes or parking spots on the street. In a community of 155,000, there are 11 parking spaces for every family.

The Good News and Bad News On U.S. Fuel-Economy Trends

Bear with the dry prose and you will get a fascinating study of America's character. We really are the Bigger is Better nation. We are in love with speed, size and power. It's not just a Hollywood or Madison Avenue image. Our cars give us away.

Compared with 1987, the average weight of the vehicle we drive has risen by 923 pounds, or 29%. The average time it takes for a vehicle to go from zero to 60 miles per hour time has dropped to 9.6 seconds -- the fastest since the EPA started compiling this data in 1975. Our average car or truck has 223 horsepower, and the most horsepower per pound on record.

Tough new rule may stop wells flaring, but not tempers

For months, Premier Gordon Campbell has been talking about how his government will slash greenhouse gas emissions by a third by 2020 - an aggressive goal to be sure, but one that seemed comfortably distant for business.

Any sense of comfort has just disappeared. British Columbia will not wait until 2020 to take action, or 2012, or 2010, or any of the other over-the-rainbow dates that governments typically pick when wanting to safely inter the climate change file. The green era begins in B.C. in just over three months, when the province starts its crackdown on the widespread practice of flaring natural gas, according to draft regulations being quietly circulated.

Area of Low Pressure Could Develop Tropical Characteristics

According to the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, a low pressure area near the southern tip of Florida will drift west over the next several days. By Wednesday and Thursday, the low will have entered an area of the Gulf that will allow for development of a subtropical or tropical storm. By Thursday night, the low will be steered northwest and then north toward the Gulf Coast.

Blind people: Hybrid cars pose hazard

Gas-electric hybrid vehicles, the status symbol for the environmentally conscientious, are coming under attack from a constituency that doesn't drive: the blind.

Because hybrids make virtually no noise at slower speeds when they run solely on electric power, blind people say they pose a hazard to those who rely on their ears to determine whether it's safe to cross the street or walk through a parking lot.

Tourist industry to pledge climate-friendly future

A UN conference on tourism and climate change was due to end Wednesday with a pledge to "green" the travel trade while highlighting the 880 billion dollar industry's vulnerability to global warming.

China offers surprise hope in climate change fight

Zhu, the 19-year-old daughter of cabbage farmers, has also for the past few months cooked the family meal in their sparse kitchen on a new eco-friendly stove that burns crop waste ultra-efficiently instead of noxious coal.

...The Zhu family stove, in fact, is being held up as a symbol of what many may be surprised to hear -- that China could be one of the world's saviours in combatting global warming.

EPA: Competing bills achieve same goal

Three competing Senate proposals calling for limits on greenhouse gases would have roughly identical success in curbing global warming, but only if other nations also significantly cut heat-trapping emissions, a government analysis says.

Man on emission

Canada hasn't even formalized its climate change plan yet. But already, Europeans don't like what they see in Harper's approach to environmental policy. That might have a lot to do with Ottawa's decision to put its name behind the Asia Pacific Partnership, the proverbial tie that binds the globe's climate-change renegades and doesn't include any European countries. Scratch that; it has everything to do with the APP.


Although betavoltaic batteries sound Nuclear they’re not, they’re neither use fission/fusion or chemical processes to produce energy and so (do not produce any radioactive or hazardous waste). Betavoltaics generate power when an electron strikes a particular interface between two layers of material. The Process uses beta electron emissions that occur when a neutron decays into a proton which causes a forward bias in the semiconductor. This makes the betavoltaic cell a forward bias diode of sorts, similar in some respects to a photovoltaic (solar) cell. Electrons scatter out of their normal orbits in the semiconductor and into the circuit creating a usable electric current.

Batteries like this could marginalize peak oil. Does anyone with any sense of knowledge of these think it's scalable? Better yet, does this really work? It reminds me of burning salt water....

It has been discussed in the comments about Robert Rapier's excellent contribution yesterday here .

Great! Sounds like a fantastic idea. If it works on the large scale, one could imagine a car that never needs to be re-fueled or re-charged. Just buy it and drive it. However, they don't say what material is to be used as the source of beta emissions. It's likely that the source is the result of radioactive decay. And, the batteries are said to exhibit a lifetime of 30 years, which makes one wonder whether the "death" is a slow, exponential decay or a sharp "that's all folks"...

E. Swanson

Without reading ... nuclear materials have a half life and beta decay is a nuclear process. The battery will decline in a known curve.

Beta emitted electrons are high energy and there may be some erosion of the zone between the two materials which would reduce efficiency. Your mileage may vary.

And one either has to mine beat emitters or make them using a nuclear reactor ... oh, just followed a link - use tritium for this? Sure ... we're talking long term spaceship batteries that will be less controversial than boosting bits of plutonium into orbit, but that is the only use such a technology will see as far as I can tell ...

Electrons from beta decay of tritium have an energy of 5.7 keV with a decay constant of 1.8E-9/sec. If one had a kilogram of water with both hydrogens as tritium, this leads to (starting out) a power output of just over 100 watts, which decreases to 50 watts after 12 years. Useful perhaps for the Eveready Energizer Bunny. Since it runs non-stop whether you use it or not, one could trickle-charge a conventional battery and make it power your toaster occasionally. All this assumes, however, 100% conversion of the electron kinetic energy into useful power, which is of course ridiculous. And as others have pointed out, only around 250 kg of tritium (equal to about 1500 kg tritiated water in my example) have been produced in the US since 1955.

You can, of course, burn salt water if you put enough energy in to dissociate the water and burn the hydrogen. Of course, what you get back is less energy than you put in.

Same with any battery -- lead acid, carbon-zinc or "betavoltaic." Something separates charges, which are then allowed to slowly recombine in some way that produces a usable current of electrons. It takes far more power to separate the charges than you get back in recombining them -- but doing so can make sense under some conditions: specifically, those things for which we need a portable energy source.

Nevertheless, I have friends who believe that batteries "make" energy, and they can't understand all the fuss about peak oil, because they can just go to the store and buy batteries if the power goes off.

Neutron decay causing "forward bias in the semi-conductor"?? This sounds like bait for ignorant venture capitalists.

Isotope power sources have been around since the cold war. There was some pretty nasty cobalt ones found dismantled/smashed in E Europe by civilians in the 1990s. [sorry no reference]. Those sort used thermocouples and heat, but I am sure there have always been other ways of exploiting radiation. Saying they are not radioactive is wrong.

Betavoltaic devives have high energy density but very poor power density. Generating the 10s of kilowatts a car would need would requires acres of surface area squeezed into a few cubic feet. Nanotech may be able to pull it off. It could be a significant source of energy but time to ramp up to quantities to make that impact would take 10 to 20 years which we may not have. A prime candidate for fuel would be potassium 40 which is the most abundant radioactive isotope in the world. It has a half life of about 29 years.

A prime candidate for fuel would be potassium 40 which is the most abundant radioactive isotope in the world.

Sure Tom, sure, no problem.
Just need to mine it, separate from the non radioactive, prevent it to burn off the factory while it's not yet packed in the batteries, etc...

Ahhh.. no.

Potassium 40 has a half-life of 1,250,000,000 years, not 29 years. It is, indeed the most abundant radioisotope (or pretty close to it), and is responsible for a sizable amount of the internal heat generated in the Earth.

But its concentration in natural potassium is .0001

Extraction costs would be high (centrifugal separation of isotopes differing by a few percent), and the energy payback time would be a significant fraction of the lifetime of the Universe.

Tritium is no good either. Too expensive, too dangerous in useful amounts.

Carbon14 is better, easier to make, but still astronomically expensive, and far, far more dangerous. Imagine a car powered by Carbon14 decay... any crash that breaches the containment vessel makes the entire neighborhood uninhabitable for 50,000 years or more.

Forget all betavoltaic applications except for space probes and such.

Oh that's a great plan. Lets use elements that are used/expected in biological reactions as radioactive sources.

A rare repost of mine, reposted because of the underlying issue it illustrates.

...funneling energy toward infrastructure replacement and redevelopment will take energy and resources away from everything else. Less energy and resources will be available for maintaining quality of life and lifestyle, less available for other energy initiatives...

We cannot "crash everything" (as in build ALL options simultaneously ASAP). Unfortunately we CAN "crash everything" as in our environment and society.

My greatest fear is a massive effort to build CTL (coal-to-liquids) as a Peak Oil response.

I compare mountain-top removal, strip mining in general, spoil piles and Global Warming to the French trams that I posted on the Oct. 2 Drumbeat and sigh.

Will we run towards beauty and life or destruction and death in our panic ?

Best Hopes,


Edited to remove unnecessary oversized graphics.

Please remember that some are still on dial-up. And no, resizing with HTML tags doesn't help.

I am still on dial-up and load time is a few seconds (about 3) (High speed has been back a few months but I have not yet switched back).

I try and only include graphics that are important to the post and illustrate in ways that words simply cannot.

The pictures provide a vivid visual contrast of our choices that is worth 10,000 words.

They are at



Best Hopes,


Thumbnail the images, don't resize them with HTML tags. It makes no sense to resize with HTML tags. The bandwidth hit is the same. And images made larger than actual size with HTML tags are really, really ugly.

You have a website. You could host the thumbnails there. Or use ImageShack or some other free hosting service that will resize graphics for you with a click.

how does one 'thumbnail' an image?

Use a freeware such as Irfan View (which is good for lottsa other useful purposes, too. Great program.)

Thumbnailing is simply downsizing an image and using it as a html reference. In Irfan View you load the original image, press CTRL+R and enter the new size values. So you can downsize a 2028x1024 pixels imgage to, say, 80x40 pixels (try what you like best), and then use the smaller one such as:

<a href="my-large-pic.jpg"><img src="my-thumbnail.jpg"></a>

Irfan-View allows 'thumbnailing' complete folders or volumes in one strike AFAIK, and many more batch operations.


IrfanView is fantastic, and is one of the very few programs which doesn't have a decent substitute in the Linux/free software world. GQview is several major steps behind IrfanView, for example.

Installation is simple, the number of formats handled is unbelievable, and its features are ideal for a graphics viewer. I've actually sent him money, years ago - he most certainly appreciates donations, but the program is pure craftmanship, not mere commercial activity.

Indeed Irfan View can do lots of routine operations which many of my colleagues use that monster Photoshop for (such as refining work on scans).
And you can even create slideshows and export them as *.exe files for Windows. And play all kinds of music and video files .. and, and ..

I never use both Photoshop and Power Point 'cause I-View can do it all.

Yep...you can't beat the squashed cat for quick graphic and photo alterations. I'm another devoted user.

[edited spelling]

I use Flickr to store my photos - my original images are typically in the three meg range, but after uploading the site makes many sizes available, including thumbnails like this, complete with the HTML necessary to add not only the photo but a link to a larger image in case the viewer is not bandwidth constrained and wishes to see detail.

The other side of the fence

Thanks for this Alan...what your are highlighting is the "morality" of maintaining the current course of economic growth in today's world. Have we reached the point where people will view sustained growth as immoral? Time will tell...

AD for Prez!!!

For the past year, I have been commuting about 60% of the time on an electric scooter, an EVT 168. It has the basic design of a Vespa. It goes 30mph, and up to 35 mph when I push it hard. But it gets me to work in the exact same time (or better) than my car. I talk to people walking past when I am at a stop, and can chat with bicycle riders when we lane share. My three and one half mile commute costs me less than a quarter's worth of eletricity. I am amazed that more people don't commute like this. Less energy, less resources, less wear and tear on the roads, and closer community connections.
I am trying to run toward the beauty and life part, but I also see the scrunched up faces of fear in those SUV drivers trying to get through the next light.
By the way, at least in my town, the difference between driving a steady 30 mph (the speed limit) on a main artery and driving 45 mph with jack rabbit starts is less than 20 seconds on a two mile stretch. But you can't tell my neighbor in his 5 series BMW that.

I always have the urge to vandalize BMW 5 series. I've managed to restrain myself, however. However when it comes to a BMW that wants to merge into my lane when I'm driving, I'll let them. *grin*
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Don't pick a fight with one of those 4000 lb compacts. They must be made of tungsten. In Iraq, BMWs are favored by those who still have money, because of their toughness. Yet they still have enough pep to zoom away from an ambush at a roadblock.

The 540i with a six-speed can do 0-60 in less than six seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. And they really only weigh about 3750.

As a rule, have we been running towards beauty and life when times were good?

That is why it is easy for many to see doom.

Hard to believe the good ship 'consumption' will suddenly change course and switch to an organic sustainable steady state economy.

Would be lovely.

Yeah. The way I see it, we're going to be using a hell of a lot of coal no matter what. And whether it's via light rail or CTL or electric cars doesn't really matter, at least from an environmental perspective.

...via light rail or CTL or electric cars doesn't really matter

A reasonable estimate is that CTL to maintain Suburbia will require 20 to 50 times as much coal as it would to maintain light rail service to well insulated Transit Orientated Development.

Electric cars are in between.

I think that it does matter.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency,


A reasonable estimate is that CTL to maintain Suburbia will require 20 to 50 times as much coal as it would to maintain light rail service to well insulated Transit Orientated Development.

But...light rail will not maintain suburbia, either. Why hold CTL or electric cars to that standard?

CTL and electric vehicles do ZERO, NADA, Nothing to create TOD development. (Hint: one needs the "T" to get the "OD").

Urban Rail, including light rail does.

There is an unmeet demand TODAY (per group of surveys referenced by Laurence Aurbach) by roughly 30% of the population to live in TOD. Post-Peak Oil I expect that % to increase. CTL & EVs will not meet that demand.

And for the rest, they can reform Suburbia into walkable villages and towns clustered around commuter rail stops. Some walk or bicycle to local work, others take the train in and bring money back in the PM.


So Urban Rail can maintain a certain type of Suburbia.

And I do not doubt that CTL, if built, will be used to maintain high energy, inefficient Suburbia as long as possible, with MAXIMUM environmental damage.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency,


If that's what people want, it'll happen. Electric cars and CTL will not maintain suburbia. Energy will be too expensive to waste that way.

But mass transit has too many obvious winners and losers. It's hard to get people behind it for that reason. I see electric cars (and probably light rail, too) as being a transition to a lifestyle where we all do a lot less traveling. It's not an end point in and of itself, but a way to make the drop down the backside of Hubbert's peak less catastrophic.

If that's what people want, it'll happen

I strongly disagree ! A strong minority have wanted this for decades and there have been some breakthroughs (Miami approved & funded linked plan below, 25 years to build because of weak federal funding) but not anywhere close to enough to satisfy market demand.

Medium Brown lines are post-2015,


The key word being "minority."

Other key words being "25 years to build." Yawn. That's plenty of opportunity for the whole thing to fizzle out. And to use it you need stations within walking distance of both ends of your trip, which will be true for very few trips. (Or else you wait forever for connecting buses so what good is it.) That's plenty of reason for the whole thing to fizzle out.

Sooner or later it will dawn on the great majority of voters that it does nothing for them, only for somebody else.

The Blue line on the map is open today, the Red Line is under construction, the Dark Yellow Line (it stops a golf shot away from Ft. Lauderdale) is awaiting FTA funding OK to start construction, the Green Line is under advanced planning (The FTA has a rule that no city can have more than 1 project under construction at any one time).

"As is" Miami would have 90% of the population (and a higher % of jobs) within 3 miles of a station when completed and over half within 2 miles. With a bicycle one could live w/o a car.

But "as is" Miami is changing. On a 2004 trip to Miami I counted 15 of 23 construction cranes within 3 blocks of a Metro station. I could see half of Miami living within 4 or 5 blocks of a Metro station when completed, and 85% working within a few blocks of a station.

Best Hopes,


I've no doubt Miami will be changing even more.

I DO DOUBT that we will ever see a 1 meter sea level rise (as modeled in your link). That is still VERY much in question. And my doubt grows significantly if the time is limited to the next century.

Chicago will, one day, be ground to dust under advancing glaciers, but not in any meaningful time frame.


I DO DOUBT that we will ever see a 1 meter sea level rise (as modeled in your link).

Climate experts disagree with you.

Few of the more than two dozen climate experts interviewed disagree with the one-meter projection. Some believe it could happen in 50 years, others say 100, and still others say 150.

And I think they may be overly optimistic. It's happening so much faster than anyone expected. Even the scientists are behind the curve.

I think Leanan is correct. If anything, the climate models have been too conservative, or have failed to integrate some dynamic. The result has been that most of the climate models are wrong - but, wrong in the direction of showing too little change, not too much.

I suspect there will be a 1 meter rise within 25 years, since the climate experts are trained to be conservative in their estimates.

If anything, the climate models have been too conservative

Apparently most of the models also fail to use realistic projections of hydrocarbon consumption base on what we, at this site, believe is their actual supply. All of the commonly cited models apparently use USGS or CERA type consumption projections.

That could go either way. We may not have as much oil as they think. OTOH, we may burn dirtier fuels to make up for it, without bothering with scrubbers, etc.

And it won't matter in the short term. Even if we stop all CO2 emissions today, the warming will continue for quite awhile.

Jim Hansen, who is peak oil aware, thinks we will see a sea level rise of several meters within the century.

Even worse, based on several recent observations, they are revisting those models NOW, and will most likely include more chaotic and non-linear elements into those models.

In which case, I believe that we will see low lying areas in trouble in less than 15 years.

Not a good time to be in Singapore or the Netherlands.

(which I have family in both!)

Holland already has proved they can battle the oceans. So they are “most” safe – solution for them: elevate and reinforce the already existing dikes and embankments...

Much worse off are all “the other” sorts of low-lying cities and hamlets facing the sea – Central Mumbai for instance is for the most part reclaimed land – and situated a few meters above the average sea level - "and here lives a number of people - equivalent to *about* the Dutch population …”

And I think they may be overly optimistic. It's happening so much faster than anyone expected. Even the scientists are behind the curve.

That's one interpretation. There is another:

Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts

The pace of change has far exceeded what had been estimated by almost all the simulations used to envision how the Arctic will respond to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. But that disconnect can cut two ways. Are the models overly conservative? Or are they missing natural influences that can cause wide swings in ice and temperature, thereby dwarfing the slow background warming?

I think your doubt is a function of hope instead of prevailing evidence.

The concentration has been on the positive feedback loops, ignoring the negative feedback loops (IMHO an emotional bias as well).

One of those negative feedback loops is that higher temps increase evaporation, which then results in increased precipitation. If snowfall in high, central Antarctic (& Greenland might as well) areas increases, the world glacier total will increase, despite massive losses on the edges and in smaller glaciers.

One single data point, *ALL* the smaller glaciers are shrinking in Iceland, but depths of ice in the center of the largest glacier appear to be increasing. That may balance all the other losses.


One of those negative feedback loops is that higher temps increase evaporation, which then results in increased precipitation.

Of course, it's well know, specially from climate records from ice deposits, that whenever the global temperatures increase the glaciers cover the earth...

Alan this is maybe a valid point today !

One single data point, *ALL* the smaller glaciers are shrinking in Iceland, but depths of ice in the center of the largest glacier appear to be increasing. That may balance all the other losses.

- But give it another few decades and ADD 1 -,1.5 or 2 more degrees to the global average temperature … and you (and the other promoters of these observations) will see the picture more clearly.
The number of days and places for a likelihood of snowfall are reduced accordingly, and thus global water bound in the form of snow goes with it.

That melting-water is bound for the oceans …

The Greenland glaciers are thickening slightly near the middle due to more water vapor leading to more snow but overall volume is decreasing. This one data point taken out of context might be seen as a cause for hope ... but it is not.

This NASA report from 2004 states that the loss of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet exceeds the slight gain in precipitation accruing from the higher moisture content of the air crossing the ice sheet.

A newer report confirms that the ice loss is continuing, and in spite of slightly increased precipitation over the interior of the continent, net ice loss had increased to 224 cubic kilometers a year in 2005.

I have no firm data for net ice growth or loss for Iceland, but given the relative sizes of Greenland and Iceland there is no question that the losses in Greenland outweigh any gains in Iceland.

When talking about Antarctica keep in mind that it is the highest, windiest, driest and coldest continent on the earth. The deep interior of Antarctica is far from open water, more than 10,000 feet above sea level and bitterly cold. As a result, precipitation is sparse.

South Pole is more than 9,000 feet above sea level and averages less than a tenth of an inch of new precipitation per year.

More than 60 percent of the continent averages less than 2 inches of precipitation per year. Twenty percent averages about 5 inches a year and another 10 percent averages about 8 inches a year.

Most of the areas of Antarctica that receive more than 8 inches of precipitation per year are within 100 miles of the coast. Those areas are the same areas that have shown the greatest increase in glacier movement and resultant increased ice loss.

As projected by most climate warming models, there has indeed been a slight increase in precipitation in Antarctica, mostly within the existing higher precipitation area. See this 2006 report for more details.

Initially, this leads to a slight thickening in the ice sheet(s), primarily along the coastal and near coastal areas. However, the coastal areas have also begun to feel the effects of climate warming. Some of the new snow and ice melts and then penetrates the older ice.

When the older ice is a glacier, the meltwater often ends up at the bottom of the glacier, helping lubricate its passage over the rock it sits on and speeding its march to the sea. A large percentage of Antarctica's glaciers are in the same area where the most precipitation falls. This seems to be why recent research shows that a recent net loss of Antarctic ice mass of 36 cubic miles a year.

Because Antarctica is such a large land mass covered with so much ice, and because it is surrounded by ocean currents that greatly slow the movement of warmer water towards the continent while prevailing winds flow from the continent and slow the movement of warmer air to the continent, the Antarctica has been slower to react to the warming trends we have been experiencing. That seems to be changing.

Greenland's annual net ice loss increase by more than 140% between 1995 and 2005, and many experts expect it to at least double again by 2010. If ice loss follows a similar pattern in Antarctica a 1 meter rise in sea levels before the end of the century will be the least we can expect.

Maybe it is utter coincidence but just yesterday I took my car in for service and discovered crystalized sea salt had sprayed up in my engine compartment from driving through puddles of salt water on A1A near Dania Beach Boulevard. This is where I Happen to live, it is close to Fort Lauderdale. When I moved to South Florida 10 years ago I never noticed high tide flooding the road in this area. Now it seems to happen with some regularity. My rational explanation for this is that the road has probably settled an inch or so in this area and not that this is due to any increase in sea level. However this serves to illustrate the point that we in South Florida are extremely vulnerable to (what some might consider) very minor changes in sea level.

Generally a distance of 1/2 mile (10 city blocks) is used when calculating transit coverage. NYC, with several dozen subway lines and close to 500 stations, still has many areas not covered by subway (even excluding Staten Island).

That map looks like it might cover 250 square miles - there's no scale and I can't seem to locate my calibrated eyeball ;) - and with, at another guess, 60 stations when it's all done, about 20 square miles would be within 1/3 mile of a station. (Blocks? What kind of unit is that? 5 blocks in Manhattan might be a mile, or it might be hardly anything.) Moving half the population into 8% of the area - or doubling the population and putting all the newcomers into 8% of the area - no matter how it's done, it seems a staggeringly expensive undertaking. But no matter, as the kind of price and tax gouging already encountered in other places like those soon-to-be-packed 20 square miles will no doubt ensure that four fifths of the population will never be able to afford to live there.

At any rate, Miamians don't use transit much now, so the whole concept seems to require an all-embracing resource (not just oil) shortage, the likes of which we've never seen and that no economist will envisage for the next few decades. Otherwise business somewhat as usual would continue, just with hybrid and/or electric cars (and maybe electric scooters and bikes) as needed.

After all, few are so overburdened with spare time as to be able to afford to waste an hour on transit (and walking and waiting and transferring and sweltering and risking a mugging) when 20 minutes in a nice comfy car would do the job. Even in Manhattan, transit often takes more than half again as long as driving; lack of parking is what actually keeps the Transit Authority in business.

Nor does transit bring home the groceries, since you can't carry much on a train or a bus. You'd have to make several special trips instead of stopping off once on the way home from work. And it will get much worse when Homeland Security or the local police create long lines and paw through everything, as already happens occasionally in Manhattan and, IIRC, in a "pilot test" in Silver Spring, Maryland. Yuck. Oh, yes, sorry, I was forgetting, people will simply walk to the neighborhood bodega, because they'll be so overburdened with spare cash that paying triple won't be an issue. Right.

90% within 3 miles, bicycle distance, of a station...that doesn't sound overly practical either. After 3 yards of biking in the sauna that is Miami, everybody will avoid you studiously for the rest of the day. And Metrorail will graciously accept limited bikes but there is (obviously) no guarantee of space. Not much use, then, for getting to anything that's at a set time, such as school or work. And with Miami an orgy of crime, I wouldn't dream of parking the bike at the station even if I could walk at the other end of the trip.

But all right, for the sake of argument, let's buy the package (or most of it) for a moment. People are under such privation that for lack of resources, they will waste time on a grandiose scale irrespective of the huge opportunity cost. OK. But with what, then, do they pay the mortgage on all the infrastructure and housing rearrangement that was required to redistribute themselves in the prescribed manner? Or is that, somehow, free?

I am sure that the 103 mile Miami Metro will be as big a failure as the 106 mile DC Metro (and those developers building those 15 mid & high rises next to stations in 2004 will have lost their shirts by now, so not one will follow in their footsteps).

You know next to nothing about transit and TOD. So many misconceptions (BTW Zara's, 2.5 blocks away, has cheaper milk than WalMart, 7 blocks away) and such solid prejudices, why bother.


IMO, the key question that Alan Drake has asked, and answered, is devastatingly simple (and therefore, IMO, quite powerful), to-wit:

How did societies manage to efficiently move goods and people around, in the past, with minimal oil input?

How did societies manage to efficiently move goods and people around, in the past, with minimal oil input?

Prior to FF society, most human beings lived and died within a 12 mile radius of their place of birth. If they moved, they moved primarily by foot. Traded goods were relatively few and expensive.

I have no wish to undercut Alan's various projects but rail was an outgrowth of industrialization and the process of industrialization was itself dependent on the development of FF.

Water transport was the way that goods and people were transported long distances. This is why major cities were situated on the coasts, where there were natural harbors and at river mouths. The Erie Canal was built to facilitate the transport of goods. Barges were pulled by mule teams walking along its banks.


Other canals were also built to act as conduits for transporting goods.

Nonsense. It's a monumentally silly question.

Answer: they didn't!

Years ago, I asked an old-timer why a certain church was built not far outside a small town when there was another one of the same denomination in town. The gist of the answer (which has since passed from living memory): remember there were no cars. With horses and carts, a family trip of just five miles took several hours one way. It was slow and it took a while to prepare. Not only was it costly (in resources), but in the agricultural season, they couldn't afford such a large amount of time. The dairy guys couldn't afford it at any season. So they built this place. And moving the heavy stuff around was really cumbersome...and a couple of guys got hurt badly, but thank God nobody was killed...two were killed building the one in town...

Moving people and stuff was an exhausting, laborious, dusty, dirty, dangerous, stinky, fly-ridden process. The railroads helped, but only where they went, and only in the direction they went. And even then they blackened everything near them with soot, ashes, and dust. There was not a smidgen of "efficiency" about any of it.

"Efficiency" only began to come about as horseless carriages became available, to cover those nasty first and last miles of long trips - and the entirety of short trips, most of which had never been along railroad lines.

So let's stop being stupidly nostalgic - and just plain stupid - about this. There's practically nothing to be desired about the good old days.

There's practically nothing to be desired about the good old days.

Yes, but unfortunately it just means that everybody underestimate the crunch due to power down.
That is, not only do we squander vast amounts of energy but the processes we use for that are nevertheless VERY EFFICIENT relative to the "good old days".
Loosing on both the primary sources of energy AND the processes efficiency will give?

And the simple answer to that question is, they didn't.

- Scott
"Try sour grapes; you might like them."

With due respect to the wonderful Alan Drake, we need to get beyond this "electrification of rail" and "light rail" paradigm. It might be a first step for a retrofitting of the US burbs, but it falls soooo far short of what has already been accomplished on this planet.

My experience is with Japan, one of the most railroad-intensive places in the world -- and also a place with seven internationally-competitive large-scale auto manufacturers.

Japanese rail is mostly a passenger system, while heavy commodity goods are transported by ship along the coasts. Rail in the US is mostly a bulk-tonnage system, driven by diesel.

First of all "electrification of rail" always looks funny to me, because Japanese trains are all electrified, and have been for decades. Today, rail=electrified rail. In fact, the word for "train" actually means "electric train." "Electric rail" is sort of like talking about a "horseless carriage." Huh?

I don't know about the extent of electrification in Europe, but I expect it is pretty high, especially in urban areas.

Second, while streetcars are nice, the most successful systems, in my personal experience, are high-capacity subways/surface rail/elevated rail on dedicated lines, not something sharing the roadway that has to avoid cars and stop at road intersections. This is combined with relatively small roadways, ie narrow streets. (I have lived in San Francisco without a car and used their light rail extensively. It worked, but it falls FAR short of the subway system in any Asian metropolis.)

I'm not sure that streetcars are really much better than a bus, and having commuted by bus in both Japan and the US, I can confirm that -- it stinks! (You can electrify buses too, as is the case in Seattle -- and yes, I've lived in Seattle and ridden that system too.)

The best example in the US is New York City, particularly the nice parts of Manhattan where the rich white people live. Big density+subways. However, this is not a very good example as the subway in NYC is very dingy and dirty, and Manhattan in general is a somewhat difficult place to live (especially for families/elderly) unless you have serious $$$. Subways in many other cities are very clean and pleasant, and they don't smell funny. Other cities in the world have managed to gain the advantages of density/trains without the failings of the NYC example.

I hope that, as we talk about what could be done, we can talk about something that is at least as good as what has already been done.

What does TOD stand for in this context? I'm getting confused because I thought it meant "The Oil Drum".

Transit Oriented Development, I believe. I've heard this defined as a city layout based around ease of using non-car transit of various types, including rail, bicycles, walking, etc.


Especially in Alan's case, whenever he says "TOD" assume he means Transit Oriented Development unless the context clearly indicates The Oil Drum. Alan is very vocal about TOD and justifiably so. In my opinion, what is going on right now in the developed world is a recipe for unmitigated disaster and death on a scale that cannot be imagined. It is only by making the "hard choices" and then sticking to them that even some of our global civilization is going to be salvaged from this mess.

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

See the letter below from Laurence Aurbach as an example of TOD (the other one) analysis.

Millennium Institute is located in modern TOD around the Arlington Courthouse stop of the DC Metro Orange Line.

Flexcars parked outside, ground floor retail with apartments or offices above, courtyards, etc. Not perfect, but a good try !

Originally, DC Metro wanted to route the new subway along an Interstate highway and Arlington had to come up with hundreds of millions extra to take a route that encouraged TOD.

New Silver Line in DC will be elevated in Tyson's Corner despite request from area (they funded multi-million $ engineering study) for subway that would encourage more TOD. What the locals wanted did not matter in that case. The feds said "any changes and we will re-evaluate funding".

That is why I disagree that what the market wants will happen. In Urban development it is what the TPTB (see General Motors) want that will happen.


Because that is the only use of CTL or electric cars. Electrified rail implies giving up on sparse suburban life.

I disagree. We're giving it up anyway. The only question is how fast and with how much disruption.

That's not the question, the question is, how hard will we fight to keep it? Giving up on it sooner is cheaper in the long run.

I don't see it as "fighting to keep it" so much as cushioning the crash as much as possible.

Maybe it would be best to abandon suburbia today. But it's not going to happen. Politics is the art of the possible.

It may also be best to abandon New Orleans today. That's not going to happen, either.

What exactly do you mean by "abandon suburbia?" Part of it comes down to your definitions of "abandon" and "suburbia."

The U.S. Census has some information of the populations of places having at least 100,000 people (source). These places have a total of about 80 million people. If you loosely define suburbia as places of under 100,000 people, then that is about 220 million people living in suburbia. So, are you advocating and/or predicting the movement of 220 million people from where they currently live to the cities and towns of over 100,000 people? This would be a huge internal migration. Exactly how and when is this going to happen?

Ideally, it would happen relatively slowly, as people are priced out of the happy motoring lifestyle. Over decades.

But I think there's probably going to be massive migration anyway. So many of our cities are built in harm's way. And today's suburbs might be tomorrow's cities. Or small towns.

If it is going to happen over decades then maybe it does not really happen in the long run. The peak fossil fuels problem is a 5-40 years problem. Either we transition to an alternative energy base or we have some kind of collapse and die-off. It hard to imagine replacing all that housing stock. It seems more likely that people operate more locally, from their current suburban locations, than that they move into the cities. Moving to the country does not work unless the population shrinks a great deal.

Most people here at TOD seem to discount the possibility but I think it is possible to transition the energy base to nuclear, wind and solar. Many people here believe this is not possible because they think there is a looming Uranium shortage but several of us dispute that, I think on strong evidence.

If it is going to happen over decades then maybe it does not really happen in the long run. The peak fossil fuels problem is a 5-40 years problem.

Disagree. Tainter, Greer, and others have shown that collapse takes place slowly. It could be a 400 year problem, not 40.

IOW, transitioning to solar, nuclear, etc., could be part of the collapse.

Tainter, Greer, and others have shown that collapse takes place slowly. It could be a 400 year problem,

As counter evidence to a slow, long term collapse, consider the UK truckers strike of 4 or 5 years ago. Within 4 days local foodstocks were exhausted. If the strike had not ended, I am not sure what the impact would have been on day 10 but suspect it would have been ugly.

Our level of specialization and interdependence is much greater than it may have been in any prior era. Furthermore, our capacity to excercise wilful denial is much greater. Why should the media devote time to issues which might harm their advertisers and thereby undercut their own earnings? I do not believe the Romans had to face this problem.

Anything's possible. Especially in localized areas, things could get really unpleasant. Heck, they already are.

But I think as a whole, there's a certain amount of inertia that will keep the empire going for awhile. Perhaps quite awhile.

If this is really a multi-decade or multi-century process, then why did you say "Maybe it would be best to abandon suburbia today?"

Any process that takes a minimum of several decades to play out looks like business as usual for most people. This is plenty of time for economically free people to make rational decisions about where to live and how to get around. Household formation will tend to occur so as to minimize food, fuel and transportation costs, and household dissolution will tend to occur where such costs are considered too high. Under this scenario, migration will occur, but it will be incremental in the short run.

If this is really a multi-decade or multi-century process, then why did you say "Maybe it would be best to abandon suburbia today?"

Because tomorrow we'll have fewer resources and fewer choices.

Any process that takes a minimum of several decades to play out looks like business as usual for most people.

Which is why I don't expect us to actually do it.

There is a looking U-235 shortage. When it hits we'll get over this proliferation nonsense, breed a whole lot of Plutonium from the 99.3% of mined uranium that is U-238, and just keep truckin' ... or trainin', if Mr. Drake is correct in his assessment of our future transit direction.

The problem with suburbia is that it requires cheap and abundant gasoline. Which we won't have in the "future". Then what???

This is the only way I frame the problem these days, when I bother at all: "What are we going to do when we don't have gasoline?". This will be the break point. And if/when we bomb Iran gasoline shortages should materialize very quickly. And if we don't, it won't take much longer anyway.

The problem with suburbia is that it requires cheap and abundant gasoline. Which we won't have in the "future". Then what???

Bah. The economic order "we" have grown up with has that basis.

Suberbia is the least of the worries.

When I added up figures on Metropolitan areas in the US I discovered that half the US population, 150 million lives in the 40 largest metro areas. Most of this area is low density suburbia. That leaves roughly 98% of the US to the other 150 million. Like most folks we don't like being squeezed into areas of high population density. Each of us wants land, lots of land, under starry skies above. Like my wife says, "If you can hears the neighbor's guns or dogs they're too close."

People cringe in horror at the idea of "abandoning suburbia" but we've abandoned plenty of places already.

I have some land in upstate New York, a place that used to be bustling with small farms, towns and cities. It has pretty much been abandoned. My farm hasn't been farmed in at least twenty years, and I have heard that farms in New York have been closing at the rate of 1000 a year even today.

The Southern States used to be full of cotton farms packed with black slaves. All gone now, with the blacks migrating mostly up north for industrial jobs years ago.

How about Detroit? Abandoned, along with much of the Midwest farming states, as it took fewer and fewer people to farm. Buffalo, Syracuse, Akron, etc.

Certainly other urban centers have been abandoned, especially towards the late 1970s. Newark New Jersey, for example, Cleveland, Pittsburgh...places where the buildings are mostly empty.

The attention will be on the new places, the places where people are going to. We won't even think about what's abandoned. People won't care because there won't be any people there!

This decision will not be atomic at the level of society nor will it happen in an instant of time.

I packed up and moved out of a walkable suburb built in the 1950s. Others here have done similar things. As the mortgage scam continues to unwind people everywhere will make changes of all sorts to keep themselves together. We're already hearing about McMansions turned to rooming houses and the like. Some people will walk away from suburban housing, others will cling by a variety of means. Housepooling and carpooling will become the norm.

Suburbia will condense both in individual homes and individual locations that are beneficial. Think of the tendrils of housing going away from the city as stems of plants and oil as being their water. The areas that are dry (southwest) or otherwise harsh(too dense/too paved) will go first, and the areas with better conditions(space & water) will not go so quickly.

Peak suburbia will be just like peak oil, and I'd say the undulating plateau ended 9/30/2007 and Q4 2007 marks the clear beginning of the downturn. We'll have to look back in a few years to be sure, but the 'geological' forces at work are more clearly seen in this realm than they are in oil production.

I share Alan's worries about CTL, but we're forgetting the demon AGW and its handmaiden, economic collapse. Building all that stuff takes energy, money, and will, and our collective will may very well be broken in short order ...

we're forgetting the demon AGW and its handmaiden, economic collapse.

I'm not forgetting it. One thing I find worrisome about rail is that so much of it is built where it's at risk of flooding.

With 80% of the population on the coasts - is this a situation where rail was built on the flattest places and where the people are?

Yeah, I think it was built where the people are. At least here in the northeast. It runs along the coast, along rivers, etc.

And floods occasionally already.

Didn't you post a bit from Hansen a while back saying he thought the sealevel rise this century would be 20+ METERS? I read it somewhere, anyhow, because I remember translating it to about 80 feet for the non-SI people.

A friend of mine lived in a Sacramento suburb and rode light rail downtown to her office.

One of the low speed plug-ins being marketed today would have been perfect for most of her driving. One can't (legally) drive fast in the 'burbs. Super-small cars would take a lot of pressure off of parking space at the rail stops.

If some people want to live in the 'burbs they will find a way.

We'll see the 'burbs morph. More mass transit in and out. An increase in 'need it today' shops. More reliance on internet purchases for things that aren't needed right away. More grocery/drug store deliveries rather that individual pickups. More 'fuel-powered' car rentals for the occasional long trips where the slower, longer to charge vehicle won't do.

I live rather 'remote', in the moutains an hour plus from the nearest urban center. I'll most likely continue living here as long as I can carry in the wood for the stove.

I'll adapt by going to town less frequently. I could easily do my grocery shopping once a month rather than once a week.

Don't forget the possibility for the growth of "Biwa"* type transportation. Convert your Mini-van or SUV, charge 50 cents a ride and run up and down the main drag - people jump on and off as needed.

Biwa is what they called them in Indonesia, probably numerous other names elsewhere.

Also known as a jitney cab.

Just took a look at U.S. coal consumption data at EIA (AER, Table 7.3, Coal Consumption by Sector, 1949-2006). The ten-year average annual rate of increase in U.S. coal consumption is about 1.5%. I wonder how realistic it is to expand the coal supply necessary to consume appreciably faster than this. My guess is that we will continue to ramp our coal consumption by between 1 and 2 percent per year.

And when the problem is climate change, what we do with our coal really doesn't matter, if the rest of the world continues burning coal.

We are a VERY significant fraction of global carbon emissions and what we do DOES MATTER. A significant downturn in USA GHG emissions could balance Chinese growth for example.

The "we are too small to matter" argument works for Iceland (but they did sign Kyoto and are doing things) but NOT for the USA !

And the next US President will have some moral authority (none ATM) and can have an effect on China, India, etc. *IF* the USA is doing it's part (at long last) and suggest that others can take similar paths.


Right on!

Any solution to peak oil, global warming and poverty will depend on wide or universal access to contraception.

A recent private eMail from Laurence Aurbach

Cervero R, 2007, "Transit-oriented development's ridership bonus: a product of self-selection and public policies" Environment and Planning A 39(9) 2068 - 2085


Cervero derives numbers for the percent ridership increase shown by TODs, and the percent VMT decrease shown by TODs. He includes some detail about the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Here are some excerpts:


Even higher transit capture rates have been recorded among those living near rail stops in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Surveys from the late 1980s showed that the shares of work trips taken by rail ranged from 18 percent to 63 percent, with the rates among residents of Arlington County, Virginia heading to jobs in the District of Columbia. More recent surveys of those living along the highly urbanized four-mile long, half-mile wide Rosslyn-Ballston Metrorail corridor reveal that 39 percent use transit to get to work and 10 percent walk or bike, rates that are three times higher for Arlington County as a whole.

While the chief environmental benefit of TOD comes from coaxing motorist over to mass transit, a secondary benefit is the inducement of walk and bicycle access trips. Larger shares of rail trips accessed by foot and bicycle can reduce the need for parking, improve air quality (particularly by eliminating cold starts), and promote physical activity. In the case of Arlington County, Virginia, 64 percent of rail patrons who live along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor walk to stations. A study in California found that factors like sidewalk connectivity and mixed land uses significantly increased the likelihood of rail commuters accessing stations by foot or bicycle.


... research on TOD and ridership can be of value to long-range modeling whose outputs weigh heavily on how scarce transportation dollars are allocated in Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs). Recent scenario testing in Sacramento, California using an integrated land-use and transportation model, for example, showed rail investments combined with TOD and road pricing was more cost-effective and environmentally benign than a ringroad scenario.


Figure 4 summarizes the "before-and-after" findings for 226 survey respondents. TOD residency clearly enhanced accessibility while reducing motorized travel. ... And because of mode shifts from driving to transit usage, the average mode-adjusted VMT plummeted some 42 percent once people moved to TODs.


Laurence Aurbach

Careful using Ballston - I lived there in the later 1980s, and watched it change - various versions of that area over a couple of decades had a neighborhood feeling, with local businesses and local organizations, from left over good ole boy Virginian (early 1970s) to Little Saigon in the 1980s to the soulless disaster that currently exists, with what, 3 lanes of traffic each way near Courthouse/Clarendon - or is it four after the parking is cleared? ( it has been a few years since I was last there)

Personally, I consider Ballston/Rosslyn/Crystal City to be more a model of what should be avoided in American urban planning than something to hold up as a model - especially 'Freedom Park' (which is not in Ballston, admittedly). Germany has little to offer as ugly and soulless as what happened to that region, though opinions might vary.

Admittedly, Ballston is still better than what happened to Loudoun County - farmland sprouting McMansions as their last harvest remains deeply disturbing, something which makes Ballston's flaws appear trivial. After all, destroying farmland dating from colonial times for no reason but greed tears at the soul in a way that removing some old 1940s housing and 1950s shopping centers in Arlington can't.

My repost reply.

No, we cannot engage on a "crash" program on all available options. But if we pick one available option, like EOT, at this late date, under already increasingly strained global resources, then at least one of the following is guaranteed to happen:

1. Other alternative energy options do not get the resources they need for research and development. We cannot have crash programs in ethanol, nuclear, wind farms, CSP, and EOT all at the same time -- there isn't the available energy or resources to accomplish all of those and maintain energy and resource investment in everything else we're currently doing. If we wanted a crash program in nuclear and EOT, even more energy and resources are not available to the rest of the system. Nuclear, wind farms, and EOT, still more energy and resources not available to the rest of the system.

2. Way of life or lifestyle, however you want to phrase it, will decline for a large section of the population -- huge sections of the economy responsible for supplying a given lifestyle will implode and fold. Apple: sorry you can't make iPods anymore; Microsoft: sorry, but you must stick with Windows 2000 and Windows XP, no other operating systems are to be developed, sold, or supported; auto industry: sorry but all cars sold must get at least 45 MPG starting next year; homeowners: sorry but you will only be apportioned 2 kilowatt hours per day per person; consumers: sorry but you cannot spend more than $500 on any item other than transportation, housing, and necessities, and big-screen TVs don't count.

3. Quality of life will decline for large sections of the population, possibly to the point of death, as is happening in Zimbabwe and Iraq currently -- there aren't enough energy and resources to "do the job right" or "fix the problem", and people suffer and die because of it. Regardless of whether or not either of the situations in Zimbabwe or Iraq were "caused" by peak oil or energy depletion, energy and resource depletion are preventing any functional addressing of the situation which would "solve" the problem to alleviate suffering and misery or stave off death, because we are spending those energy and resources elsewhere.

At this late date, we must make hard choices to implement any solution or any basket of solutions.

We are inexperienced medics on the battlefield, unaccustomed to the idea that we only have resources to address 10 injuries, and there are 20 injuries on the field.

Committing to a given set of solutions is the first hard part, which we have not yet done.

Committing to the consequences of our solution-set is the second hard part, about which we aren't yet even thinking.

Committing to the consequences of our solution-set is the second hard part, about which we aren't yet even thinking

I would argue that I have thought seriously about the consequences of my advocated solution set. Perhaps I have it wrong, and I certainly have overlooked something, but I have thought long and hard about the consequences of the different options and have chosen the most benign set.

Best Hopes,


One of the biggest problems with undertaking radical change--which is, after all what we have to do--is the unpredictability of many of the effects of our actions. A great feature of electrified rail is that it is practiced widely in Western Europe, is known to work well, and is part of a package that is proven to allow people to live prosperously on half the per capita energy we use in the US. Someone has done the experiment for us and it's known to work. You can't do much better than that.

Mark Folsom

Very well said !



Well put – and I’d like to add the pleasant feeling and atmosphere that many of the smaller and bigger cities in Europe has,actually DUE to the surface bound tramways and light rails – in concert with the more expensive and efficient underground systems (some places)

The latter (underground/elevated) is IMO NOT an option when PO is understood due to immense costs and long construction periods – and why should it “dig underground” in the first place? I mean as the streets will be “car free” in some decades thus being ready for a NEW AND WISE utilization – not?

Committing to a given set of solutions is the first hard part, which we have not yet done.

How could the human race "commit to a given set of solutions"?

Possible answers:

A: The human race could determine that a commitment must be made, that sacrifices must be made, could evaluate the possible solutions, and, through dialog and compromise, select a set of solutions.

A: The political sphere could determine the most politically helpful set of solutions for the short-term success of the political sphere. In politics, there is very little long-term planning.

A: Time could pass or events could transpire which required more expedient choices, and the human race could quickly or randomly select a set of solutions.

History shows that the human race has never selected the first option. It is a wonderful thought, but the human race is incapable of it.

History shows that the second option is used most often when the human race - as a whole - is unwilling to make a choice. Although, choosing to not make a choice is still making a choice.

History shows that the political sphere chooses the third option when the ramifications of the second option are not clear enough or when there is not enough of a short-term gain.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Despite the consequences of PO or GW, the human race requires extraordinary proof before it will make a choice.

The proof is not extraordinary enough yet, and will only be extraordinary enough in hindsight. At which point, the only option will be the third option - a rapid, ill-considered rush to assuage global panic. We're a long way from there, and the human race will spend the intervening time attempting to continue business as usual.

1. The human race. Quite frankly, we are all mortal, and we all die. The problem lies in that, given the projections of energy, population, and resource usage leading to imminent collapse, that the majority of us will die around the same time period, and we will lose much if not all that civilization has accomplished. Even assuming that "90% of everything is crud" (Sturgeon's Revelation), civilzational accomplishments included, there is still 10% worthy of salvage for the next generation.

Our very living bodies are on loan from the planet, and we must be at least engaged in a social contract which takes at least one party into account: the next generation. Otherwise, all is for naught.

Also, while the human race entirely has never committed to a singular solution, large groups have managed to put aside their differences to meet an approaching threat. The Native Americans did it in response to the encroaching Europeans, although too late.

Is it already too late for us to even do this?

And if it is impossible for society to entirely embrace any one new or changed paradigm, then this becomes another hard choice we have to make which we aren't making: who survives, and who doesn't. What makes it, and what goes the way of the dodo.

2. The political/power sphere. Another large group rife with internal differences that could be put aside to address an approaching threat. The rich and powerful feel insulated from these mundane matters. They aren't. When their foundation crashes, a foundation made of the poor, working poor, and middle class, on the backs of which they draw capitalistic growth, a foundation which actually supplies them access to their "wealth", they will get hit perhaps the hardest of all, having such a longer distance to fall than the rest of us.

3. Evolution-based dispersed decisions. Under a metaphorical canopy of "Freewill" by Rush, we choose or don't choose, let the chips fall where they may, and we make it or we don't.

I would wager that the average IQ among the posters at TOD is at least two standard deviations above the norm, at least in the 130 to 140 range.

Are we saying that the social, psychological, people-based, mindshare-dependent challenges laying before us are beyond the intellectual and reasoning capabilities of some of the smartest people on the planet? That we cannot use these capabilities to make both the extraordinary claim and provide the extraordinary proof in ways understandable and convincing to the majority of decision-makers, button-pushers, and string-pullers involved?

Are we not capable of figuring out how to address the overall, systemic problem?

Do the results of Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" indicate the only and default solutions capable of implementation? Solutions based in ignorance, incomplete information, and fear?

Firstly, you seem to be arguing that option 1 is the best option. I agree with you. It is not that I don't think it is the best option, it is that I do not think the masses of humanity are capable of making that choice.

Secondly, yes, groups of humans have put aside differences to meet an approaching threat. However, the ramifications of PO and GW will not be solved by small groups of humans, but only by a vast and active majority.


who survives, and who doesn't. What makes it, and what goes the way of the dodo.

These decisions will not be made, except as the struggle for limited resources plays out over time. My premise is the same: the human race is incapable of determining "that a commitment must be made, that sacrifices must be made, [and will then] evaluate the possible solutions, and, through dialog and compromise, select a set of solutions." Humans are animals, and act like animals do - perceived self-interest is paramount.

Next, how will the political sphere realize that they aren't insulated from the approaching threat of PO and GW, except in hindsight?


Are we saying that the social, psychological, people-based, mindshare-dependent challenges laying before us are beyond the intellectual and reasoning capabilities of some of the smartest people on the planet?

Are we not capable of figuring out how to address the overall, systemic problem?

No and no. But analyzing the problem does not automatically entail that the solution will be implemented. How long have humans been aware that female humans are, in general, treated worse than males by human society? Has this awareness caused a solution to be implemented that has solved this problem?


That we cannot use these capabilities to make both the extraordinary claim and provide the extraordinary proof in ways understandable and convincing to the majority of decision-makers, button-pushers, and string-pullers involved?

A minority of the human race has never been able to accomplish what you write above for something as far-reaching as PO or GW.

I am reminded of a poignant scene in James Burke's "After The Warming" from the early 90's. If I recall, he's standing atop Muana Kea near the camera with a pathway heading off into the distance. He's talking about Global Warming and how the human race hasn't dealt with it (he's supposedly in the future ~2050). He begins by saying something like the following: "1970, problem discovered and a call to action". And then continues (as he appears further and further down the pathway heading off into the distance): "1975 a call for action, 1978 new evidence, 1980 a call for action, 1982 a call for action, 1985 a call for action, 1986 a call for action". This continues up to "2045 a call for...well, you get the idea".

I see nothing in the history of the human race that has prepared it to accept responsibility for addressing these challenges. When the human race is unprepared, it usually does nothing.

That is one of the virtues of conservation. Right off the bat you save the energy not wasted. Down the line the amount saved is multiplied as you no longer have to deal with the waste and problems generated by the excessive energy previously used.

If you drive a small, high mileage car, you save energy in driving it. Energy is also saved in making the car. A lighter car causes less damage to the roads so less energy is spent repairing the roads. As less fuel is needed less fuel is refined, less fuel is shipped by truck, etc., etc.

Similar analyses can be run on high efficiency lighting, better insulated refrigerators, longer lasting computers and so on.

A twofer. We can take nuclear waste, put it in these beta batteries and generate electricity from the waste heat. Two, two, two problems solved in one.


I haven't escaped from reality. I have a daypass.

Even better, this solves al-Qaeda's problem of where to legally get materials for dirty bombs. Three! Three problems solved! Ha ha ha!

They can allready do this from any nuclear medicine department.

All the Al-qaeda bomb makers drop dead from radiation poisoning. Four problems solved.


I haven't escaped from reality. I have a daypass.

um - isn't that the point of suicide bombing?
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

OT - Housing market - subprime

Pending Home Sales Index Hits Record Low

An index that forecasts near-term home sales fell in August to a record low as would-be homebuyers had difficulty getting mortgages. Economists said the housing market's woes show no sign of improving soon.


In some areas, up to 30 percent of signed contracts fell through in August, said Lawrence Yun, senior economist at the real estate trade group.

"Some creditworthy people are trying to buy homes but can't," Yun said in a prepared statement.

The next major ripple will likely be a major price drop in housing as stock in some areas is exceeding 1 year now.

Not good = subprime/credit crisis NOT over!

The subprime stuff gets worse and worse until midsummer 2008. Perfect for simmering the already done Republican party - no more neocons, no more disloyal Christian Right ... unless, of course, we go all fascist, all the time on the back of some false flag terror event.


Perfect for simmering the already done Republican party - no more neocons, no more disloyal Christian Right ... unless...

Neither the "subprime stuff", nor Iraq, nor the War on Terror, nor Peak Oil will end the Republican party.

To think that there will be no more neocons or "disloyal Christian Right" as of 2008 is incredibly naive, in my Humble Twainian Opinion.

"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.

- Mark Twain, Autobiography

Oh, they won't go *poof*, but I don't think they'll remain in the driver's seat, either. 70% of the country is in solid agreement with me on this one ...

The democrats are better?

As an outsider(Canadian), seems there is less difference between them everyday.

Peak: Yep. You could make the argument that Hillary Clinton is left of Richard Nixon. She is way way left of Lyndon Johnson. JFK was a total commie compared to her.

Substitute RIGHT for LEFT.

Substitute RIGHT for LEFT.

That is what America does every 4 or 8 years. But both RIGHT and LEFT appear to be part of the same unchanging state of mind.

The democrats are better?

For those actually interested in thoughtful opinion, I suggest checking out John Dean's 3 latest books:

"Worse Than Watergate"
"Conservatives Without Conscience"
"Broken Government"

Yes Repubs are worse.


Dean was Nixon's lawyer and remains a political independent.

But Bush is a wimp, I am SCARED of Hillary!

*cowering in corner*

I recall in 2003 and 2004 that over 70% of the country was convinced that there was proof that Saddam was directly connected to the 9/11 attacks. I'm curious: what was the poll question with the 70% response that is in agreement that there will be "no more neocons, no more disloyal Christian Right"?

And, by "driver's seat" do you mean the White House? Majority in the House? Senate? Influencing public opinion? Control of finance and resources?

They may not be in the White House, but the Christian influence on the U.S. will continue long past 2008. As will the neocon influence and Republican influence.

Again, I think you are under the impression that the American People really care that much one way or the other. They don't, since there isn't much difference between Democrats and Republicans, despite what the American People have been trained to believe.

So, according to that poll, in 2003 and 2004, 70% of the American populace was mentally deficient. That explains so much now. :)
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

From a letter to the editor of the New York Sun:

My Dear Sir:

But you are proceeding upon the superstition that Moral Courage and a Hankering to Learn the Truth are ingredients in the human being's makeup. Your premises being wild and foolish, you naturally and properly get wild and foolish results. If you will now reform, and in future proceed upon the sane and unchallengeable hypothesis that those two ingredients are on vacation in our race, and have been from the start, you will be able to account for some things which seem to puzzle you now.

Sincerely yours,


Of course, the "logical" faculty exists only to justify those actions and decisions we have taken by means of the emotional faculty. Mark Twain wasn't the first to point that out, but he might have done it in the most entertaining style.

I concur that there's little significant difference btwn the two parties, and would add that it matters little, as the system has been (all but?) totally co-opted by corporate power. Everyone should see :
this chilling doc

The scam is developing into this - you get to choose between the nice slaveowners and the nasty slaveowners. The catch is that the nasty slaveowners whip you harder, but you want your slave hide protected from them scary Injuns in the forest and the nasty slaveowners promise to completely exterminate the Injuns. When the whippings get too hard, you vote in the nice slaveowners, until something scary happens again. Meanwhile the nice slaveowners and the nasty slaveowners get together at their exclusive dinner parties and laugh at you.

And if you don't think that hasn't worked before, consider that Thomas Jefferson really was one of the nice slaveowners.

Best hopes that no one invents a free-energy Cotton Gin

As Douglas Adams put it:

[An extraterrestrial robot and spaceship has just landed on earth. The robot steps out of the spaceship...]
"I come in peace," it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, "take me to your Lizard."

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this...

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. "

"Tell me about the lizards."

Ford shrugged again.

"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."


The thinking is that one can't defend against the slave owners and the injuns at the same time.
In the meantime the slave owners give the injuns all sorts of goodies and immunity while pointing their finger yelling bad, baaaad, baaaaaaaaaad!! at the ones hiding from the whipping in order of keeping them silent and contained.

The show goes on.


the already done Republican party

Bah. (makes dismissive handwave)

"the Party" will exist for some time, for it as seen as 'the alternative' to "the other party".

Let me predict how it will go.

They say Obama is "not black enough" so the woman is a lock. The left will realize to their horror that they voted for a more radical George 3.

She will serve one term and the democrats are going to be out of government for two generations.

The only hope is Ron Paul, but when you really get down to it this time around the winner is going to be the long term loser. Providing we get to the election.

Ron Paul is no hope at all, because he isn't electable.

Republicans and Democrats are two faces of corporatism, and that is the real issue - Corporatism vs. Progressives. The Republican party will split into religious fanaticism on one side and a motley collection of those not liberal enough to be Democrats on the other. The Democrats have their own extremists and they're quite put out by the large body of traditional minded who've switched from the Republican party.

One has to have enough votes to keep up the patina of democracy and the disloyal Christian Right (I'm going to wear that phrase out) can not deliver the feet on the street that the various progressive activists can even before we address the election rigging and differential prosecution of the last six years. The Republicans will take the blame for what is coming for a good long time ...

I don't like Hillary - more of the same, only now with a vagina. *yawn*. Obama is black enough and he voted against the war, but we're no more picking a black president in times of trouble than the Catholic Cardinals picked a South American for the next pope. Edwards? Seems best so far, trying to tap into that populist thing and perhaps he is somewhat sincere. Richardson? We should be so lucky but I don't think he'll get it done.

On the Republican side ... who cares? Lots of losers, the strongest of which polls poorly against the weakest of the three Democratic front runners.

If they gave me the president stick for a minute I'd probably swat ... Wesley Clark ... and then I'd aim for Richardson on the backswing for V.P. Of course, the beatings would continue until Alan Drake, secretary of energy, took office.

Sort of scary when two people as politically different can more or less agree. LOL.

Jon Stewart has it right, Cluster*#(k to the white house.

Edwards is the bit*( lite, owned by lawyers and insurance companies.

On the left Kucinich has as little chance as Paul on the right, and they are the only ones that fall into the "lesser evil" class.

So far the only campaign posters I have seen in people's yards around here are 'Ron Paul' ones and there are quite a few of them. This is a heavily Republican area and also very religious and conservative.....
I had expected to start seeing Thompson posters but they don't appear to be too happy with him either.

A comment about water from Whiskeyandgunpowder.com

"Most water and sewer pipes in the United States were built 60 years ago — but were meant to last 50 years," Rooney says. "Do the math."

Oh, and don't forget chloramine on the old lead pipes.

He used the analogy of the aging power grid before the big blackout in 2003. Before that, no one cared about the aging power grid. Afterward, all kinds of wheels were set in motion to correct the problem.

What planet is he from? We did squat about the aging grid. There was all kinds of talk for about week after the blackout of 2003, but it was quickly forgotten. There were cosmetic tweaks at best.

It's downright Tainterian. We can't afford to maintain, let alone upgrade, the system we built last century. Because we've gotten far too dependent on it, and no longer have the resources we once had.

Tainter isn't a prophet -- he is a historian and anthropologist. He has done the math, and assuming that people really haven't changed in the last 8000 years, a rather reasonable assumption, the summation of our activities as a society will be the same as the summation of the activities of prior societies, and our current society will "collapse."

I am also with Tainter in not thinking of this as necessarily a "catastrophe." It is by no means clear that the "Indians" of Guatamala and Mexico were better off under the Mayan regime than they were in the simpler societies that followed the "collapse." Same with the Chaco Canyon folks, probably the same with the ordinary Romans -- especially the slaves.

We can't know what is coming. We do know it will be different.

The only problem is that 80-95% population drop that comes with collapse.

Not a problem so long as the 80-90% isn't people you care about, right?

What planet are you from?

What planet is he from? We did squat about the aging grid.

Well, this is all very true. The same ole aging grid is still there. But they did take steps to fix the problem. That problem was when a trip happened in one place, that overloaded the grid in other places, causing them to trip, then another trip, and another, all like a row of dominoes falling. Soon almost the whole Northeast was in the dark.

What they did do was put in better circuit breakers and safeguards so one trip would not cause another trip and so on. But Leanan is correct, absolutely nothing has been done to upgrade the grid, only better trip protection has been installed.

Ron patterson

The funny thing is, we thought we'd fixed this problem before. And somehow only made it bigger.

I would not bet against another blackout, as large or larger, occurring in the relatively near future.

Because we've gotten far too dependent on it, and no longer have the resources we once had.

I don't think this is the case. We do have the resources to upgrade our infrastructure, but simply they are not prioritized within our current arrangement. This is how our system functions - enterprises want to maximize revenues (consumption) at the lowest cost - and infrastructure is a huge fixed cost that brings no immediate return.

Usually we have a government to correct this market failure, but we in the US have decided that government is always bad and this is the logical result.

I stand by my statement. We no longer have the resources we once had.

We may have the resources to upgrade our infrastructure if we make it our #1 priority, but it will require extreme sacrifice. Which wasn't really necessary in '50s and '60s when we built a lot of it.

Back in the '50s, something like 30% of government revenue came from corporate taxes. Now it's 7%. What changed? Globalization. As Heinberg puts it, using up other countries' resources because we're running out of our own.

It is different now than it was then, and it's not just a political change.

Rather our resources are devoted to consumption (including building more McMansions and roads, sewers, etc to reach them) and far less to infrastructure investments.

Roll back per capita consumption to 1980 levels and see what resources become available after a few years adjustment.

Give me the street & highway building and improvement budget and I could build a *LOT* of Urban Rail !


And if we cut our military spending in half, we would still spend 1/3rd of all the monies spent on "defense" in the world (down from 1/2 today).

Yeah, but it's all on credit.

Yeah, but it's all on credit.

A realization that is still slow in coming.

Whether you take the debt including future obligations, which stands at some $70 trillion, or just the "hard" one, at $10 trillion, neither number can be overlooked. And no future planning is possible without taking these numbers into account.

What is not yet included in this personal debt. Or the trillions that will evaporate when home prices drop, or those that will vanish when stocks and derivatives go down. Not to mention the fact that all of the above have been financed by highly leveraged credit, which means that losing 10% often means losing all of the assets used as collateral. The truth about US finance is way more dire than people think.

America doesn't even have the means to maintain its existing infrastructures. Where funds for new ones would have to originate is completely unclear.

Such projects would only be undertaken if large profits could be secured. But where would they come from?

Such projects would only be undertaken if large profits could be secured. But where would they come from?

I thought the game plan was to invade Iraq, set up a client government, buy their oil and recycle the petrodollars into American corporations, like Halliburton and Bechtel, via contracts to modernize infrastructure, repair war damage, etc...

Obviously... lots of profit, lots of oil.

If it had worked, we'd be in fat city. History would record a bold move, decisive leadership... and Naomi Klein's book (Shock Doctrine) would have not been published.

Are we allowed to suggest this in this day and age? - but changing our military standing/strategy/expenses would free up a few resources as well.

It would...but I fear we will need the military more than ever in the post-carbon age.

I believe WT's Export Land model has a mirror image Import Land model.

Increased reliance on military activity will result in an increasing portion of available free market imports being devoted to support of that military activity. This will reduce the amount of FF available to all other domestic uses.

Not only FFs but all other resources - all those resources we need to build mass transit, wind turbines, nuclear power stations etc.

This is one of the mechanisms big empires collapse under their own weight; military spending was one of the main causes of the collapse of the former Soviet Empire.

For the life of me I can't think of one thing that the military can provide in a post-carbon age that I would want. And that includes "law and order." Muscle for a depot, maybe.

Protection from incoming Chinese or Russian or Korean nuclear missiles?

The Chinese have no need for nuclear missiles. All they need to do is stop buying T-Bills.

And the US Military response will be . . . ?

They'll have to do more than stop buying T-bills if they want our territory and its resources.

no thank you. Exclude me out. I don't want this "protection." And even if it was real, you certainly don't need a half trillion dollar a year (or more) military for a missile shield.

I think the point is deterrence more than anything else. Like those giant stone statues the Easter Islanders built. A show of force, that hopefully means you don't actually have to use it.

I'm reminded of anthropology class, and studying the Jivaro (I think). They were headhunters, and believed that taking someone's head increased their personal power. Even if you didn't want to kill anyone, you had to, because if you didn't, everyone assumed you were weak, and you became a target.

This is why "powerdown" won't work. As Tainter said, the collapse has to be global this time.

I'm assuming that deterrence will be unimportant and or ineffective in a global collapse.

And frankly, if the Chinese, or the Russians, or the Koreans, or all of them combined, could figure a way to invade and take over the country, I doubt they could do any more damage than is being done now. And would likely have about as much control over the populous in 20 years as the U.S. government will (which is to say either despotism or anarchy).

No, I'm afraid that continuing to think in nationalistic terms isn't going to hold a whole lot of value in a post carbon world.

You are correct. All forms of
chauvinism will be even more useless
than at present.
But they are already, presently,
purely negative. And ubiquitous.
Even on this board

Leanan, there is no way that a missile shield can protect anybody from a full out missile attack; there would be too many targets, many of them false, and too little time. Plus, hitting a target moving at several thousand mphs is much harder than the sellers of such dream devicess would like the politicians to know.

Oh, I know that. I thought I made that clear with my other posts.

It's actually feasible on a small scale but that is what proves the idiocy of the Bush administration. If the Bush administration truly was worried about dangerous "rogue" missile attacks of a few missiels from middle eastern states against Europe, then the Bush administration should recognize that Russia is essential to Europe's economy (energy) and accept Putin's offer of putting the shield in southern Russia under joint NATO/Russian control. That location is the very best spot to put such a shield and it would shield all of the nations that need to be shielded from rogue state attacks. In fact, that would more closely draw Russia into the greater European economy, which would probably do far more for peace than jamming a missile shield in eastern Europe right up Putin's nose.

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

This reminds me of a story about Adolf Hitler.

Late in the war Hitler was at the Wolf's Lair with some of his top guys, and surprisingly one of them joked that one advantage of the collapsing front was that you would be able to take the Berlin subway from the Eastern Front to the Western Front. More surprisingly, Hitler laughed and did not punish the man.

I fear we will USE the military more than ever. We'll never know if it was needed.

"Massive investment opportunity" aka. "We wish someone would invest a lot over here, this is going to get ugly"...

There's so much that we managed to build once. I'm not sure building it twice is really in the cards. And if it isn't? What do we do then?

Worth a look at for those who are interested,


under products you can find all kinds of electric vehicles
ranging from bikes to small trucks.

These days I'm driving an electric scooter from and to work, charging the battery only at work :)
No fossil fuel , no emmission ( at least not directly) and much less noise.

Hope is the future, there's nothing to fear

ow, seems like olepossom has a similar comment above.
Doesn't matter, it's the message that matters.

Maybe its cognitive dissonance, but I am seeing more scooters on the road. We are also thinking of moving our offices, and commuting to downtown appointments via company owned scooters. Moving 450 pounds (250 pound scooter, 200 pound rider) is a lot easier than moving 4500 pounds, and parking is never a problem. I get "TV parking" all the time, right by the door. Errands on a scooter in a strip shopping area are a breeze-- park by the door, run in, run out and zip off, faster than you can find a parking spot and squeeze in between the Tahoe and the Explorer.

I sometimes think I'm the only one who posts on TOD that lives where it snows. Scooter this, scooter that, but the most loved scooter in this state still holds down a chunk of garage floor from November to April every year.

That's the time I break out my Harley leathers. Something fun about wearing bar and shield clothing on a scooter that won't break 35 (that's over 50 in kph, you know). It saves over $900/month in car payments, insurance and parking, so I can afford some warm gear. Still, a huge chunk of the country can scooter easily for nine months, if not twelve.

I sometimes think I'm the only one who posts on TOD that lives where it snows.

You can ride in the winter - even in a snowstorm.

What happens is this: The old man in a hat points at you and says something to his wife. They look at you and forget to mind what's happening in front of them. Then they slam into the car in front of them.

Or the scooter in front of them...

I think I need to restate :-)

I sometimes think I'm the only one who posts on TOD that lives where it snows and doesn't need a med check.

Seeing more scooters around here too. Haven't seen any electric assist bikes yet - anyone else?

Scooters have become something of a fad among 20-somethings.

Electric bikes seem to be getting more popular, too. Often, you can't tell they're electric unless you look really close.

Scooters have become something of a fad among 20-somethings.

In the KC Metro area, which has an older population in general than either coast, I have seen quite a few older (>50) men and women tooling around on nice scooters. Some of the bigger scooters hold up well with acceleration on the highways.

I ride an e-bike, but only in the warmer half of the year. Besides the cold, slipperiness and darkness are issues here in the frozen Northeast. Have only seen one or two other e-bikes in this area. Have noticed a surge in the use of regular bikes, and some gasoline-powered scooters and mopeds, in the last year or two. Also those who ride big motorcycles seem to use them during a longer season.

I was out for a drive the other day and I found a whole row of Motofino scooters in front of the cars at a little independent car dealership in Humboldt, Iowa. This is interesting because its scooters, but a little astonishing because its Humboldt - the home of the best known drag racing strip in northwest Iowa. Everything in this town is about how to make cars, bikes, boats, ATVs, and snowmobiles go faster, and this little clutch of high mileage devices right smack in the middle seems strange to me.

scooters #2

You see lots of them around here, mostly at used car dealers.

They all seem to be Chinese made garbage to suck the uninformed and immigrants in.

Good scooters like Aprilias and Vespas are at regular motorcycle dealerships.

Definitely cheap stuff - an Italian name, U.S. based, but "we build all over the world" ... riiiggghhhttttt.

I am liking the Yamaha Vino 125 - fast enough for my commute, assuming I get one of these two jobs here in the area ...

This message probably redundant. A note
re batteries. If the scooter uses lead-acid you would probably be ahead to also recharge at home as letting lead's sit partially charged can cause permanent capacity loss.
(But I suspect you already know about that :*)

Besides that I'll eventually have to recharge more often cause the cold will force me to. If it is able to start after a cold night.

Due to Alan's repost, I will repost my comment which generated his post. I'll post my reply underneath Alan's comment above. All from How Can We Outlive Our Way Of Life?. There will consequences of our decision and planning process which we don't seem to be addressing.

If we did it in 1908, why can't we do it in 2008?

Because we are already well into primary resource depletion, primary energy depletion, topsoil depletion, water shortages, overpopulation, all still being carried by infrastructure dependence on petroleum.

It is not too late to implement Alan Drake's EOT plan, but it will entail hard decisions we are not making, nor do we appear willing to make. With energy and resources strained by a population of 6.6 billion growing by 200K per day, on a highly interdependent global economy, funneling energy toward infrastructure replacement and redevelopment will take energy and resources away from everything else. Less energy and resources will be available for maintaining quality of life and lifestyle, less available for other energy initiatives, possibly less enough that the population declines.

And think about that last part for a moment. Even a controlled population decline means either the birthrate declines or the death rate increases. This means either telling people, "you can't have as many children as you want, no matter where you live," or "we cannot help these sick or starving people, and must let them die".

And also because "we" didn't "do it" in 1908. A section of the world's population accomplished this based on the motivation and infrastructure available at the time. Globally, we have neither the motivation nor infrastructure to accomplish EOT at this late date with strained resources, without making some very hard choices.

And this is why I didn't want Alan to re-post.

Not that this isn't a great post, and I'm leaving it up, because fair is fair. But come on, folks. Do we really need to re-post things that were just posted yesterday?

Point taken.

I worked around DC for quite a while and in several differnt capacitites...My observations were that our government tends to put off making 'hard' decisions untill there is no longer a need to make a decision; ie, they stall untill only one course of action is possible.

My time there was prior to the coming of the neo-cons, who broke the pattern by unilaterally attacking Iraq.

My conclusion is that I prefer the former 'stall around' government to the 'new and improved neo-cons.'

For example, the hard choice for America to no longer to spend approximately 50% of the entire world's military expenditures. A hundred billion here, a hundred billion there - at some point, it becomes real money.

Hard to imagine, in 1908, America had little in the way of a standing military. No wonder America was crushed in World War I - Americans were building things like telephones, light bulbs, streetcars - not important things like machine guns and cannons, unlike the Europeans which were in such good shape after their Great War, part I.

It's good to be the last guest to arrive at a Death Party.

It certainly is, and what is frightening is that the current American administration doesn't want to be a guest, it wants to throw the party itself.

Happy Sputnik 50th Anniversary to ya' all.
Lets' all celebrate.
We've come a long way baby.

Yup. Now's the time to party.

This notion of "strained resources" is utterly bizarre.

Average 1925-1929 world production of copper, short tons: 1,761,491

2005 world production of copper, metric tons: 13,700,000

You will notice that, in the case of copper, we have 7.8x more of it per year than was the case in the 1920s, at the end of the last era of train building.

I expect people know the statistics on fossil fuels.

What is this "strained resources" stuff? We've got boodles of resources, mostly wasted.

We waste it because we have so much of it!

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending September 28, 2007


U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) rose by 1.2 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 321.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels last week, and are well below the lower end of the average range. Finished gasoline fell last week while gasoline blending components rose. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased 0.2 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 0.9 million barrels last week, but are in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

Demand 9.2 MMBPD(0.4% up from '06)

Gasoline still low at 191.3 Million barrels, 6.3 Million barrels above 180 MOL. 10.4% lower than 2006.

Or - 16.43 HOURS above MOL.

Refinery utilization was 87.5% and clearly is coming down for changeover to winter gas.

Distillates/Fuel oil is building - at 135.9 vs 148.9 in 2006 or 13 Million barrels lower still heading info the middle of October. 8.7% lower than 2006. Better start cranking that up SOON!

Propane is still low as well at 59.1 vs 70.4. or 11.2 Million barrels low. A full 16.1% lower than 2006

Could be an interesting heating season if these numbers don't catch up. We already had propane shortages last year (mild winter too boot) when one plant had trouble in Canada.

If you look at total(non-SPR) stocks it is DOWN 73.5 Million barrels over 2006!

Also, for those watching...SPR has increase 5 Million barrels over 2006...they decided to pay at these prices!

I hope that isn't another indicator of bad things ahead.

Your bolded numbers contain an egregious error-- we have 11.3 million barrels over MOL, and that equates to over 29 hours above MOL. See, not only can we make it through today, but we almost have enough to get to the weekend! Enough with the "doomering." That storm in the gulf won't hit until Saturday, at the earliest! Party time, I say.
And do I have to note that this is snark?
Meanwhile, SJT, PWE and others are trading 40% below their two year highs. The party is where you find it, after all.

Gads...you are right. But, I certainly wouldn't call it egregious...maybe horribly miscalculated....:P

I used 185 as the MOL (some say it is 185...but in the end I decided to use 180 and forgot to change my calculation).

So, Yeehaa! Your right...time to party, a day over MOL is pretty good! :B

Unless, of course, MOL is 185...doh!

Either way, my bigger message is how far numbers are down over last year, going into refinery conversion and heating season.

That's good news. My flight gets in on Friday evening, so I can fill up my car on the way home and have plenty of gas for the next 6 trips to the airport for my weekly commute to the airport. Fossil Fuels? Burn 'em if ya got 'em!
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

I've started seeing spot gasoline shortages in North Dallas, for the first time since spring. They still had regular, no premium or mid-grade (which means they were out of premium; mid-grade is a blend).

I've seen spot shortages since the mid 90's.

Spot shortages of ???



Oh damn! Things are worse than I thought!


I am having a bit of difficulty understanding the logic...if there is any...behind some of the latest EIA numbers. For example:

"Crude oil stocks rose by 1.2 million barrels" while "Crude imports fell 189,000 barrels per day"

Now, I understand that stocks are not only dependent on imports, but also on imputs from stocks into domestic refineries. So...if refinery utilization is up, albeit only slightly AND imports are down, then how can stocks rise? I mean, if we are putting less into stocks (lower imports) and taking more out (increased refinery utilization…which rose 0.6 percent) shouldn't stocks drop?

My only guess is that this must be a matter of timing, and the rates at which the imputs/outputs occur are different and/or are measured at different timepoints.

Can anyone enlighten me on this matter? Thanks much.

You are missing domestic production. It is very likely it made the difference. The report does not have week per week data, but the 4-week average is up - from 5,027 thbpd in the 4 weeks ending 09/21 to 5,064bpd. in the weeks ending 09/28.

Levin, I think you are mistaken here. The data on domestic production is not a four week average, it is the weekly average for the week ending September 28. The headline says "U.S. and PADD Weekly Estimates Most Recent 4 Weeks". And they give you four weeks of data, the most recent four weeks. The data is the average for seven days, for each of the four weeks, not a four week average.

In fact if you go here: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/twip/twip_crude.html
You will find the data for the current week as well as the four week average. You will see that the "Week Ending" data is the same as the data reportd on the "Weekly Summery". However this data is updated at noon, Central time or 1PM Eastern time. That is about one hour from now.

Domestic production was up 37 barrels per day for the week ending Sep. 28. That won't make up the difference.

Ron Patterson

You are right.

Didn't we go through this in May(spring?).

I have tried seven ways from Sunday to make their numbers balance somehow...they don't.

Last I remember the problems were in double counting(imports and exports, gasoline finished and blending components), and miss counting(imports never counted correctly due to tanker arrive times).

This week is a pretty good example of things not making sense:

Imports down
Crude stocks up
Domestic production = essentially no change

Maybe we need a new term = "STORAGE GAIN"

That storage gain would have to be of abiotic origin :)

Another number which is missing from the report - NGL production may explain some of the difference. NGL are counted towards crude oil stocks (though it is a bit dubious as they have lower energy content). No weekly numbers, just 4-weeks average unfortunately.

But you seem to be right - they seem to have problems with their methodology and/or quality of input data. I don't think it is intentional manipulation as significant deviations can be easily caught.

I would like to recommend the "we paved paradise"-article above which is superior in my eyes.

Yeah, bet the New Yorkers wish they each had eleven parking spaces...

Parking is a big pain. Remove even one parking space, and no matter how many other improvements you make, you won't sell the town on your design.

That said...the malls around here do not have enough parking at Christmas time. It's completely insane. A huge expanse of asphalt...completely full of cars. If you go to your car to unload some purchases, you're stalked by drivers hoping that you're leaving. When it gets really bad, there's total gridlock. One of my friends gave up after being stuck in a mall parking lot for 2-1/2 hours. She parked her jeep on a traffic island, hiked out to the highway, and took a cab home.

Me, I don't go anywhere near a mall from Thanksgiving to Epiphany. I don't care how good the sales are, it ain't worth it. If I have to, I buy gifts online, but I'm trying to train my friends and family to do away with the gift-giving altogether.

Me too...can't stand the crowds, parking, etc.

My wife tries to get me out on Boxing day every year...and I always say "why?"

I would rather rest after the hectic season and defintely NOT jump into shopping HELL again.

Either way, I have been telling her that it is Boxing week, then Boxing month last year...and this year...I will bet it will BOXING QUARTER!!!

Why rush! :P

At risk of annoying people of snow country, I will praise the two wheel idea again. Our nearest mall is 2.5 miles and I never go by car. Electrified bike, with cargo trailer if needed. and I always park right next to the Macy's entrance.

Roy in Santa Clara

Duly annoyed, as bikes of any kind are essentially useless in winter, and therefore can never adequately substitute for cars. But I suppose we could pile all 200-odd million Americans who live in places where it snows pile into Santa Clara. I'm sure the local zoning board would be most accommodating...? ;)

I know an electrician who lives north of Boston in Peabody and bikes 2 miles to a commuter rail station in Salem, rides it into North Station, then bikes 2 more miles to work every day, SUN, RAIN or SNOW !


Then there was Goran Kropp who biked from Sweden to Nepal, climbed Everest without aid of oxygen, then biked back to Sweden. No problem.

"bikes of any kind are essentially useless in winter"

What, snow on the ground everyday where you live? I grew up in Boise where there is snow and I rode bicycles and motorcycles in winter *most days*.

Welcome to Santa Clara if you can afford it! (I can't)

BTW, where does the 200 million in snow zones come from?
Possibly you exaggerate the severity of snow across those 200 million?

In snow country we used studded tires on our bikes and can get around through most of the worst of it.

I am in snow country. When it snows, the parking problem gets worse. Because they have to put all the snow someplace. Usually, it's the parking lot, or the parking spaces along side the road.

I live in Madison, WI and commute via bike to work 97% of the time. However, Madison has several pedestrian designated paved trails which makes this possible. If it weren't for these designated trails, I don't think I would want to contend for road space with motorized vehicles. Also, because these are designated pedestrian trails, it seems that the city of Madison plows them first so they are almost always cleared of snow.

OK. I'm going to try to link a website. Not sure how to make the link shorter.


LAS VEGAS -- Some people believe that, right now, a quiet revolution is taking place. In cities like London, San Francisco, Boston and New York, the ranks of bicycle riders are swelling with the rise of a new breed: the urban biker.

Traffic snarls, soaring gas prices and worries about global warming have prompted a big boost in cycling, affecting even places like Los Angeles -- America's freeway capital -- that have traditionally given bicycles the cold shoulder.


In the city where I live, there are signs posted all over town, updated in real time as cars enter the garages, displaying the number of available spots in all large public parking garages around town. As you enter the garage, more signage tells you which level contains how many spots and then there is a green light above any available spot so you don't waste any time circling. Repeat: no circling!! Ever!!

In the US, as far as my lifetime of experience has shown, there isn't anything like this at all and I've never encountered any type of 'intelligent' parking structures in my native country. How could we be so far behind other countries in something so integral to our happiness and lifestyle as parking?

A small symptom of a terrible, chronic disease in my estimation.

I'm lookin' California, but feeling Minnesota...

We have one in Socal - the Grove


We're Number One

That's how we get so behind other countries. The insistance that we're number one, drummed in through the education system, media and day to day life.

When I first came to the US there was a show trailered by some guy called John Stossel (yeah - but I didn't KNOW who he was at the time) and it was called "Is America Still Number One?"... i was really interested so I tuned in...

I thought, wow, all of that cliche you hear about the US being insular and incapable of self criticism is wrong. Here a major network is devoting prime time to examine what lessons the US could learn from other countries.

[bbbzzzzzzzzz wrong answer]

what it ACTUALLY was was selectively comparing the US with a country that is worse in something and then saying "see, we're number one"... like with healthcare, they didn't examine a single country in Europe, but instead said "Look King Hussain of Jordan came here for his cancer treatment" which of course means "woohoo we're number one"

the show was an embarrassment... and a reason why we don't improve things in this country...

we have a broken education system, a disgraceful sham of healthcare provision (right to life indeed!), a corrupt and inept criminal justice system and our electoral system has completely failed leaving us with government at all levels that is more disconnected from the people it is supposed to represent than any of the European governments Americans feel so superior over, and most other governments I have experienced anywhere in the world (including the third world countries I've lived in)

we're number one is one of the worst psychological manipulations to hit Americans and it is pervasive and pernicious
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

The last few years, I've bought at least 75% of all gifts either months in advance as I came upon them (seeing something XYZ person would LOVE) or I buy online. If I can't buy you a gift online, I'm giving you a gift card purchased online. I won't deal with stores any more.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Well, OK. This particular "paradise" is 503 square miles in area. The luridly titled article complains that "more than two square miles" is in parking spaces. That would be between 0.4 and 0.6 percent. So, splitting the difference, an accurate title might be "we paved 0.5% of paradise". Oh, the horror. And who knows, taking roads into account, maybe it would be as much as "we paved 1% of paradise".

But that's not nearly as sexed-up as the original title, is it? In fact, it's so insignificant as to be beneath notice. And without roads, they'd all be in effect under house arrest - which is why even in the horse-and-buggy days so irrationally beloved by some around here, they had roads. And those were dirt roads, with awful safety, erosion, and runoff problems.

So now, why, exactly, should I care?

Parking Spaces Outnumber Drivers 3 To 1, Drive Pollution And Warming

From suburban driveways to the sprawling lots that spring up around big retailers, Americans devote lots of space to parking spaces – a growing land-use trend that plays a role in heating up urban areas and adding to water pollution, according to a recent study.

Aerial mapping has shown that some urban areas (Phoenix as an example) have devoted over 40%, very close to 50%, of their land area to the automobile.

Best Hopes for 28' wide streets with parking on both sides and no off-street parking :-)


The article fails to mention that Tippicanoe county is home to a Big 10/11 college, Purdue University. A huge university in a relatively small town. You don't suppose that parking for football and basketball games could have something to do with this, do you?

[EDIT: Doing a re-read, I guess they did sort of mention that Purdue was there, but didn't really relate that as to WHY that might cause an exceptionally high number of parking spaces.]

Reminds me of one of my favourite Alan Partridge quotes after playing Joni Mitchell on his radio show:

That was Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell, a song in which Joni complains they 'Paved paradise to put up a parking lot', a measure which actually would have alleviated traffic congestion on the outskirts of paradise, something which Joni singularly fails to point out, perhaps because it doesn't quite fit in with her blinkered view of the world. Nevertheless, nice song."

All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Actually, RA, the refrain they paved paradise to put up a parking lot refers to a lot in Toronto between Yorkville and Cumberland streets [that's in the Yorkville area]. It was vacant in the early 60's; it was used by the hippies and other denizens of the area for loafing, smoking, trading, etc.. In the mid 60's, the city put up a four storey parking garage. In the early 60's, Joni lived in an apartment across the street.
James Gervais

i know

Alan Partridge is a satirical fake host played by the great Steve Coogan
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

RE: 'Oil War Feared Between Uganda And DR Congo'...

I feel certain that the US can solve this little misunderstanding using the latest methods that we have adopted in Iraq...Simply give all the militias and various insurgent groups all the money and arms that they request...Then, simply hide and watch...


After four painful years, the US military has stumbled upon (mostly due to the now classic Jihadi overreach -- as in Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.) the only model for fighting a mature open source insurgency: a decentralized model of security that forgoes centralized defense/police forces in favor of a plethora of independent militias. The success of this model in reducing violence (at least in the short term) in Anbar province, has led to its replication in other provinces.

This effort is essentially open source warfare in reverse (another way of looking at it is as the counter-insurgency equivalent of IBM's embrace of open source software -- a path I pointed out in the NYTimes back in 2005). In this model, the US military aligns itself with a plethora of militias (in this case hundreds) regardless of political/regilious/ethnic/tribal affiliation under the plausible promise of local autonomy. It is made fact as funds, weapons, and local control flows to these militias.

How this plays out over the next couple of years will be interesting to watch. It's fairly obvious that the US military doesn't have the skill sets for successfully managing this level of complexity (here's a minor example: it doesn't even have a relationship management system for tracking interactions with these militias -- something that could easily be constructed through a redux of commercial CRM software). It also runs counter to all of the classic goals of counter-insurgency and more importantly, the stated (and implied) goals for the US in Iraq:
A viable central government. Every time a militia is stood up, it is at the direct expense of the central government. It loses the essential requirement for any viable state: a monopoly of force.
A grand political bargain. An open-source counter-insurgency locks Iraq into a patchwork of mini-fuedal principalities with a large diversity of primary loyalties. Political settlement now becomes impossible since the sheer diversity of armed interests will overwhelm any attempt at reconciliation.
A safe place for private oil companies and a long term US military presence. This new patchwork of armed groups in Iraq ensures chaos, which will make it impossible to attain any level of modern normalcy. Vendettas between militias, betrayal (of US troops), rampant crime/theft/corruption, and more is on the dinner plate for decades to come. Finally, the open source insurgency won't go away. It will only return when it revises its methods in light of the new conditions.

Isn't this the model of the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan that led to the Taliban?

Sure, outright defeat is avoided but there are problems.

The original goal of extracting the resources is lost.
We have to pay for our open source fighters while the opposition recruits theirs on ideology, this eventually leads to the oppositions goal of bankrupting us long term.

Basically all that is achieved is the continuous milking of the taxpayer while somewhat reducing our casualties.

River, that's very interesting. But the question to be pondered is "Are any of the militias trustworthy?" In other words, couldn't they be stringing their contacts along in order to acquire more weapons and ammo? After all, this war's been ongoing now for four years, and they must be running low. If this was ever going to work, it might have in the early days, but social attitudes have probably become hardened by now because of US arrogance and callousness.

Just a thought.
James Gervais

The glass is half empty! The glass is half empty!!!

OK, news article that says after years of needing government subsidies to stay in business, solar is finally become profitable. It's able to stand on its own.

So what do we get in the daily news roundup?

"In Japan, Going Solar Costly Despite Market Surge"

Is that responsible journalism or intentional boosting of doomerism, or ...?

Solar power era dawning soon


The solar power industry could see "unlimited growth" potential when production costs drop to those of conventional energy sources in some 3-5 years time, a leading producer of solar energy equipment said on Wednesday.

Local Inventor Displays Totally Electric Car


The electro-magnetic transmission powers the van and a variable speed belt-driven transmission are both inside. Combined, the two systems make a totally electric van that runs on lead acid batteries, which can fuel the van for 150 miles before needing to be recharged.

Interesting New Scentist post on demand destruction the hard way:


A nuclear war between India and Pakistan could cause one billion people to starve to death around the world, and hundreds of millions more to die from disease and conflicts over food.

That is the horrifying scenario being presented in London today by a US medical expert, Ira Helfand. A conference at the Royal Society of Medicine will also hear new evidence of the severe damage that such a war could inflict on the ozone layer.

"A limited nuclear war taking place far away poses a threat that should concern everyone on the planet," Helfand told New Scientist. This was not scare mongering, he adds: "It is appropriate, given the data, to be frightened."

All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Hello TODers,

Brief post from a borrowed computer:

I did a quick google for Thermo/Gene dating websites and Peakoil dating websites; didn't find anything useful. Is anyone aware if such Peakoil Outreach dating websites exist?

Could be a huge business opportunity for someone with the technical skills to establish such a website first. Perhaps TOD could jumpstart this dating website to help further Peakoil Outreach and cooperative mitigation as like-minded couples meet and mutually bind for the coming paradigm shift?

As a fast-crash realist: I dread the prospective future wasted time, effort, and money of meeting women who only want to meet men that offer an expansion of their detritovore-MPP, endless shopping mindset. A dating website that features Nate Hagen's admonition to women to engage & embrace men of a ecologically aware and sustainable mindset could save both sexes much postPeak dating effort.

My cursory examination of the existing dating websites reveals that most women want FF-travel, restaurant dining on 3,000 mile salads & lobster, or to mindlessly waste time on movie-going, shopping and sporting extravaganzas, and other such nonsense.

Thus, a website to meet prospective 'Peak Everything' women could be a wonderful, time-saving tool IMO.

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

As a fast-crash realist

I love it! I think i'm going to start calling myself a transition economy, slow growth realist. :D

Fast growth, slow growth - growth is still growth and unsustainable eventually at any pace.

We've discussed this before, IIRC. Last Valentine's Day. Someone suggested that we start PeakDate.com. "You don't have to face TEOTWAWKI alone."

And Donal posted this sample personal:

Male Doomer ISO Female Doomer
for discreet relationship after TSHTF.
Must have own food, water & ammo.
Edible pets OK.
No skinnies.


Though seriously, Bob, you might want to hold off for awhile. Your 20+ year relationship just ended. Don't do anything on the rebound.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for responding with the wise advice. I haven't posted my dating profile anywhere.... just merely looking at the females. Too busy anyway, at this moment, reorganizing my living arrangements to get involved in another relationship.

EDIT: potential website titles:

You and I for Olduvai, Last Chance for Titanic Love Affairs; Calloused Hands & Warm Hearts; Dumpster-Diving Daters; Seeking Partner for the March into Oblivion; Machete' Moshpit Dancing & Dating; Wheelbarrow into the Future with Me; Bicycle Built for Two--Unless You Prefer Walking; Women Seeking Beefcake men with Beefsteak Tomatoes; Humanure Love Match; etc, etc.

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

I am reminded of a cartoon, circa 1980, titled "Boom Times."

It portrays a nerdy looking (male) geologist (is that redundant?) walking down the street with two beautiful women. A policeman is shoving a bystander out the way, with the following caption "Get out of the way you swine, a geologist is coming!"

Perhaps in the post-peak oil age, nerdy looking, thrifty food and energy producers will look very attractive to the opposite sex.

You and I for Olduvai...


Glad to see you haven't lost your sense of humor.

Hello Rude Crude,

Thxs for responding. Yep, I love to laugh at the insuing insanity of Peakoil Denial & Hans Selye's GAS--I think it helps keep me sane along with a few, frosty, 'Nectar of the Gods' for the tasty irony. I hope ASPO-Houston considers my half-glass Peakoil shoutout well worth the minimal effort.

One last postPeak Overshoot Tribal Dating website title:

"Just like Romeo & Juliet"

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

At some point, you might post your e-mail address so that it is available to people who click on your TOD name. It is surprising all of the interesting people that you can end up corresponding with. I know the TOD staff gets more e-mails than other folks, but even when I was not on the staff, I got quite a few TOD e-mails.

One month off for every year you were together, capitan ... dat is da rule. Ok, maybe that would be a bit excessive, but you get the idea. Gotta let yourself "pop out" to full and fluffy - go charging right off and you end up trying to curve fit someone new to some old contact points.

Too much information? Sorry ... but its a minefield out there :-(

The sites have been around for a long time

SWM ISO SWF with outboard motor. Send picture of motor

If someone has the URL I have a friend with a successful million-user plus online community looking for other uses for his back-end dating site software...

I like the idea... End of the world dating dot com
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I think a central place for classifieds would be good - maybe linked to TOD.... finding mates, concubines, mercenaries; posting business opportunities; finding others to buy land with, etc.

As far as matchmaking goes, I'm not sure how "peak oil" will work out. Kind of depressing to be the romantic spark. Could be easiest just to distinguish oneself in planning for it and then pick from among the groupies. That's how I met my darling wife 30 years ago, and she is PO aware.

Still, the appropriate domain names are being snatched up, seemingly...

Re: Climate Change

Springtime lamb born in October?

Friends in Paris had fruit on their banana tree this summer (it wasn't a warm summer either) and last week I saw blossoms on an apple tree. I got a cat/kitten today because we're being over-run with voles for some reason, it caught three in its first hour.

Something chaotic appears to be happening and they are by no means obvious as to their causes.

We've got spring kittens now ... two batches. That is just nuts - these are experienced moms who should know better:

 Dying kitten?)

Send them over, we got plenty more voles for them to eat :)

We've also got quite a few owls now too, presumably because of all the voles. Can't get a good nights sleep for all the hooting :(

Do not even joke about excess barn cats or you'll have a quartet on your doorstep by Monday :-)


I do not see summer lambing as climate change evidence.

We've had 7 lambs born this August-early Sept, one a pair of twins. I wouldn't be surprised if some don't lamb yet later this fall. Previously we've had lambs in late October.

I think this is more a matter of the breed lines, and certainly that of the rams getting in with the ewes. Sheep have a 5 month gestation period; though it is very difficult to predict estrous.

Note to self...tighter fences.

Wierd. My parents in northern Ohio said that they have fall blossoms and small fruits on an old pear tree in their yard this year. They even took pictures because it was so unusual. It's an old tree...at least 35 yrs old...and that has never happened in the 30 years they've lived there.

As a scientist, and especially as a biologist, I'm trained to recognize that strange coincidences do happen with surprising regularity, and that the human brain is evolved to detect such patterns, but this set of observations (including many others not mentioned here) makes me VERY nervous. Even more so than the geological certainty of peak oil production.

It's going to be near 80-F highs this week here in Madison, WI. I haven't lived up here for very long, but that somehow doesn't feel right to me either.

Fall blossoming, esp on fruit, is actually quite common. It's a sign of stress-insect, precipitation, disease etc. I note it in the orchard with apple, pear, esp in an outlyer tree that receives sporadic watering. Once this is corrected, they often blossom heartily that fall. Also noted on trees that were summer root attacked by gophers. It's not good, as it takes the stressed tree extra reserves to recover. But you can't overide the reproductive side, which seems to take precedence in stress.

I think the dwarf rootstock industry is partly based on this. Flowering occurs several to many years earlier on dwarf stock due to stress imposed by the root.

Here's to looking for higher birth rates post peak.

Edit to fill in stress timing, dwarf comment

From Richard Heinburg's latest missive, on the Energy Bulletin:

Yes, the rest of the world still must fear America’s awesome weapons of mass destruction: this mighty nation can certainly create an unholy mess when it means to, as it is demonstrating in Mesopotamia. But that doesn’t mean that other nations actually have to obey it any more. The US can bomb to smithereens any country it chooses, but it can’t always count on forcing that country to hand over its resources at gunpoint.

The dollar is hitting record lows. Gold and silver are hot commodities—always a bad sign for the reigning paper currency. There are rumors of possible bank failures (following a run on one British bank). If the Federal Reserve tries to solve the liquidity crisis by lowering interest rates, that just worsens inflation and exacerbates the dollar’s problems. If the Fed raises rates to prop up the dollar, that forces the banks and hedge funds to confront their mountains of worthless paper and leads ultimately to defaults, bank runs, and bank failures. Clearly the Fed fears the latter scenario more than the former, so by lowering interest rates this month it effectively pulled the plug on the dollar. The Saudis are now preparing to de-link their economy from the US currency, while China is quietly selling off dollar-denominated assets. One way or another, Americans are going to soon see a rapid decline in their real standard of living.

Drudge Report Headline:

Crowd swipes dying man's groceries

MESA, Ariz., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The sight of an old man being hit by a truck in Arizona touched off a feeding frenzy among witnesses who allegedly stole the dying victim's groceries.

Not only were the man's groceries taken, but the only person who tried to help him also had his own bags taken.

Gee, nice neighborhood.

Here's the link to the story:

Crowd swipes dying man's groceries

And here's an update.

The man was on the sidewalk waiting for the bus, when a young man in a pickup truck swerved onto the sidewalk, killing the old man and destroying the bus shelter.

You know we will be in big trouble when muggers want your groceries, but not your money.

Hello WT,

Thxs for posting this info on my Asphalt Wonderland and our horrific social behaviors. Somehow, I doubt the Cascasdia Earthmarines will welcome 50 million of us deserters into their midst WTSHTF. Such is life.

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

Totoneila - it's good to see you're OK.

Just got back from the Welfare office myself, busy place. One guy I overheard has sent his wife/kids back to Mass., and was apparently trying to get some benefits so he could eat, I think personally so he could stash away some food while he hobo's it back to Mass. himself on the trains. When asked where he lives, he said, "Near the train tracks".

As with me, I'm sure they had him draw a map - no I'm not living by the train tracks, but there's not really an address out here.

I'm glad someone picked up on that stolen groceries story - Matt Drudge is even running it on his site. Mesa is one place I have family, (as if any American really has family) I have a sister there, who cordially invited me to NEVER see her house she'd bought since now she'd "made it" and I hadn't. It's in honor of her I really want to see a nice, fast-crash meltdown with extra misery all around for the homedebtors.

As for the Earthmarines, I may sign up for 'em all on my little own, and see how many people I can ding for the Earth's sake so they never get a chance to bother Cascadia. Nope I'd not bother Cascadia either myself, just let me take plenty of ditritovores with me to light my way to Valhalla.

i hear your aside "as if any American has family"

i have just relocated my wife and kids to California after difficult circumstances in Houston on the job front... we were staying in a house owned by my mother-in-law and my wife's stepfather and the moment we were late on rent they kicked us out... what is with these American families?

never would have happened with ANY of my family in the UK... still, my parents are in California and have dug deep to help us with the move and my skillset is a much better fit for Silicon Valley... (though i was hoping to spend this period transitioning into a Peak-safe career, but I'll have to take what I can get)
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

IMO, it's a good idea for people to start doing some "what if" planning, or more accurately, "when" planning for when the stuff hits the fan.

You might want to mentally start thinking of who has the best house for consolidating an extended family into. If you haven't seen the American TV series, "The Waltons," from a few years ago, you might want to check it out. Think of several generations living together under one roof.


Happened a couple of miles from here.

You would be surprised, while it is a heavily Hispanic neighborhood it isn't anywhere close to one of the worst parts of town.

What makes me sad about this, is I lived about 3 miles from there for over 20 years. Times are changing, thank goodness I don't have that much longer to go.

old hermit

"you can cure ignorance, but you can't educate stupitidy"

I saw this on CNN. Very, very foreshadowy type stuff.

I just discovered another terrible social "collapse" in Phoenix.

My 13 year old nephew was bicycling with his girlfriend when they took a shortcut across a golf course. An employee stopped them and told them to turn back, which they did. As they approached the parking lot, a golfer stopped, them, threw my nephew to the ground, breaking his arm in two places and then tried to run over him with his golf cart (the girl stopped him and yelled loudly).

The Police did NOT arrest the SOB (surely they would if he spoke broken English and had a dark complexion).

I am familiar with drug related violence, but this staggers me. What is wrong with those people ?


Your nephew, or his parents, could still file criminal assault charges (I would), followed up by a civil lawsuit. Given his age, I would think that this would be classified as felony assault against a child.

If this were Texas, in many cases the assailant would be a lot safer in jail.

One of my "Texans and Their Guns" stories: a man's adult daughter was beat up by her boyfriend. Said father went hunting for the assailant, found him. Shot & killed him. One problem: he shot the wrong guy. The jury acquitted him, based on the premise that a "man has a right to protect his daughter."

But my favorite story remains the guy who witnessed a murder at a local mall. The witness went to his car, pulled out his 44 magnum, walked up behind the assailant, who was in his car, about to drive away, and executed him with a single gunshot to the head. The grand jury no-billed him, no charges were filed.

These types of stories are really why I left Texas long ago...used to live in Nacogdoches. I know there is violence and insanity everywhere. In rural Texas, they are proud of it.

Do people act less stupid in Texas given that consequences like this are readily available? I would certainly hope so ... seems to me like folks would be a whole lot more likely to hold the door for old people and politely slow a bit and wave someone in when they're trying to merge. I used to work in Houston a bit and everyone was always so pleasant and good natured.

wt - this is one of the reasons I'm happy I can study the power-down scenario unfold in the old world ...

HMSCHAAF ? ( how much shit can hit an American fan )

I have been following these sorts of incidents for some time, and have concluded that the gradual coarsening of American culture that we have been gradually seeing all over is now accelerating.

The TV show, 'Cops', and the like, have, in the minds of many Americans, become the template of appropriate behavior regarding even minor incidents such as the one involving your nephew. You will note too the increasingly audacious, arrogant, and thuggish behavior of police in their interaction with citizens (or perhaps more accurately, subjects).

This attitude is particularly prevalent among police officers under the age of 35 - 40, almost all of whom have a military style shaved (dick) head. I am sure that many of them feel that having a badge is a license to kill, and these days that statement can be taken literally.

Then again, we have the attitude that if my golf game at my private golf course, one for which I have paid lots of good money for which to belong, is interrupted by some outside scum, then I have every right to teach the low-life perp a good lesson on who's the boss.

This is a perfect example of the ongoing 'Brazilianization' of America (RIP). However, incidents like this do have the potential for becoming volatile and unleashing a whole rash of pent-up rage having nothing to do with the original episode. While such things have been largely confined to the black and hispanic urban communities, I suspect that more and more we are going to see it more widespread. As the economy worsens, so too will this sort of thing.

the gradual coarsening of American culture

This is not just an American phenomenon. It can be seen in Canada as well. Agree with you that the primary source is that individuals now learn behavioural queues from the media rather than from a peer group or from the local community.

Britain too....

sometimes I bitch about the move from the UK to the US when I come across things over here I don't like - but I really don't miss the epidemic rates of accepted casual violence
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Sounds like 1st time you've met this
behavior. It's called America.
It is drug related. Try alcohol, power,

A minor was injured on premise by a patron while obeying the order of an employee of the facility? That child will get medical bills paid and his first two years of college if the parents play their cards right.

And if there were any justice in the world the arresting officer would have had just a little trouble requiring a timely poke with the nightstick during the arrest procedure.

There was some discussion a few days ago about the Falklands and oil. Well it seems the Aussie giant BHP is about to start prospecting down there (and is prepared to risk the ire of the Argentine):


Note where the piece says - 'increasingly desperate attempts to find oil' or words to that effect (given the inhospitable environment down there)

The amounts are not huge, but it’s interesting that Ron Paul and Barack Obama get the most donations from military personnel, for GOP and Democratic candidates respectively.


Obama, Paul net most military workers' campaign donations
ABC News - Sep 14, 2007
By Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY

Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Ron Paul have little in common politically, except their opposition to the Iraq war.

it would seem that oil and democracy dont mix. two examples: 1) iraq 2) burma

and today bonzo's offspring criticized the dems for "tax and spend". well, tax and spend is a lot more responsible than borrow and waste. bonzo jr vetoed schip ..... apparently if the govt borrowed the money to spend on schip there wouldnt be enough to waste on the search for wmds

Bloomberg host mentions "peak oil" while interviewing Brian Hicks of Wealth Daily. He calls "peak oil" a silent energy crisis. It won't be silent when production falls off the current peak plateau.



Brian has a new book called "Profit from the Peak, the end of oil and the greatest investment event of the century"

In the late 1990s, tech was the asset bubble, now the housing/credit bubble is bursting, the next asset bubble could be energy (including oil).