DrumBeat: October 5, 2007

Jeff Rubin: OPEC's Growing Call on Itself (PDF)

Lots of graphs, including this one:

Big Arctic gamble by small oil company could embolden independent exploration in Alaska fields

Drilling in a field capable of yielding as much as 90 million barrels of oil seemed just right for Pioneer Natural Resources Co. - except for one thing. The field sits about three miles offshore in the Arctic Ocean.

Undaunted, the Irving, Texas, company had a solution. Build a gravel island, equip it with a drilling rig and then ship the oil through eight miles of pipeline to a processing center onshore.

MCRS meeting will explore local rail option

"Peak oil has caused Willits to rapidly try to convert to a localized economy spurred on by the Willits Economic LocaLization movement," says the MCRS' Richard Jergenson. And sustainability "has to include an inexpensive local transportation system that would rely little, or not at all, on oil or coal."

Dallas Fed chief warns on inflation

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has cautioned against ignoring the inflation represented by rising food and energy prices, revealing a continuing debate inside the US central bank over how best to evaluate price pressures.

Richard Fisher on Thursday said the increases in food and energy prices over recent years could represent “longer-lived trends rather than transitory blips”. If this was the case “the arguments made for excluding food and energy prices” from core inflation, the Fed’s traditionally preferred measure, “would be on shaky ground”.

Climate change disaster is upon us, warns UN

A record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world this year amount to a climate change "mega disaster", the United Nation's emergency relief coordinator, Sir John Holmes, has warned.

Lawmakers to Pentagon: Plan for climate change

The Defense authorization bill approved by the Senate this week would require the Pentagon to consider the effects of climate change on military capabilities, facilities and missions.

The House version of the bill (H.R. 1585) contains similar language, which means the provision likely will become law.

Big Coal Tries to Recruit Military to Kindle a Market

The coal industry wants the U.S. military to jump-start a major new market for its product: liquid transportation fuels derived from coal.

The effort, however, faces skeptics who say the Pentagon shouldn't be subsidizing the high cost and potential environmental harm of what is known as coal-to-liquids technology.

Innovation cheaper than oil

One of the greatest failures of leadership in the modern era can be summed up with two numbers: In the United States, public funding for energy research and development came to $8 billion in 1980; in 2005, it was $3 billion.

To understand how dramatic -- and tragic -- those numbers are, they have to be read in an historical context that starts in January, 1968.

That month, British prime minister Harold Wilson, struggling to cope with another economic crisis, announced that British forces would be withdrawn from the Persian Gulf. By November, 1971, the evacuation was complete -- and the Gulf was thrown into turmoil.

The green job boom

Renewable energy supporters say the industry could create millions of new jobs, but economists are split.

Server farm goes solar

Massive data centers are vital to the economy. They are also notorious power hogs. If their numbers keep growing at the expected rate, the United States alone will need nearly a dozen new power plants by 2011 just to keep the data flowing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

That's why a small server-farm company called AISO.net (for "affordable Internet services online") has gone completely off the grid. Located 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles in the desert hamlet of Romoland, AISO.net has flanked its 2,000-square-foot building with two banks of ground-mounted solar panels, which generate 12 kilowatts of electricity. Batteries store the juice for nighttime operation.

Alarm bells ring about North Sea output

Output from the North Sea fell for the fifth month in a row in July, despite record oil prices, in a development that could increase concerns about the UK's growing reliance on imports from potentially volatile areas.

The latest Oil and Gas Index from Royal Bank of Scotland showed total production of oil and gas averaged 2,088,083 barrels oil equivalent daily. This was down 10.3% on June and 17.9% on July 2006.

Another 'must read' from Hansen

I have previously written about the crucial climate variable -- the equilibrium climate sensitivity (typically estimated at about 3°C for double CO2) -- and how it only includes fast feedbacks, such as water vapor. Now Hansen has a draft article that looks at both current climate forcings and the paleoclimate record to conclude that "long-term" sensitivity is a stunning 6°C for doubled CO2. Here is what Hansen says on the subject (though when you read it you may wonder why Hansen is more optimistic than I am, rather than less)...

Price rise causing big concern in Gulf states

The Gulf countries, though flush with huge amounts of money as a result of rising oil income, are also facing problems of imported inflation since they import most of the foodstuff and other items.

With their currencies pegged with the US dollar, a need has been felt for revaluation of currencies or for ending the peg.

Soaring oil prices could trigger a US attack on Iran

Cheney argued that lower oil prices would help dry out Iran's nuclear ambitions, cripple its economy and therefore restrict its ability to meddle in regional affairs. Recent increases in the oil market indicate that Cheney's strategy has failed. This could indeed act as a catalyst for military action against Iran.

Ecuador's president decrees government to take 99 percent of windfall oil profits

Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa decreed on Thursday that the government will take 99 percent of windfall oil profits that had previously been split with foreign oil companies.

India cuts to the chase with Myanmar

There is international pressure on India not to engage with the military junta in Myanmar that severely cracked down on pro-democracy protestors recently. But it seems New Delhi has other ideas.

Central Africa: The Curse of Oil in the Great Lakes of Africa

The oil prospects of the Great Lakes region appear at once more dangerous. Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are sitting on what prospectors believe could be oil reserves of up to one billion barrels in the Albertine Basin which they share. At the time of writing, the oil region of the eastern DRC was the theatre of clashes culminating in killing of civilians and militaries by the Ugandan and Congolese armies. This is now leading to fears that the lake Albert conflict may spread and make a renewed cross-border conflict involving other negative forces and countries.

Oil from Iraq

Carlton Meyer takes a look at the origins of the modern Iraqi state and finds geopolitics go back a long way... no surprise. Add a dash of peak oil -- complements of Mr Cheney "producing oil is obviously a self-depleting activity" -- and the pressure is on. But contrary to what many might assume, Iraq is part of a larger regional picture with a fully capable army not just on its eastern border but to the north as well. Agents provocateurs may rally Kurdish nationalism, but the Turks have long kept a eye on that issue. Mr Meyer is keeping an eye on the Turks.

US has no immediate plans to buy oil for SPR

U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said on Thursday that the Energy Department has no "immediate plans" to go into the market to purchase oil for refilling the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

MMS Proposes Modernization of Pipeline Regulations

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service is proposing to revise the regulations covering pipelines and pipeline rights-of-way on the Outer Continental Shelf in an effort to bring regulations up to date with current MMS policies and selected industry practices,

It's not easy being green

Melody Jones, senior vice president of investment banking for Pacific Growth Equities LLC, conducted an informal survey of 25 venture capitalists last year about when they expect to see returns on their cleantech investments.

She's still talking about their answers.

"Almost across the board, everybody felt like they were still looking for companies with exit-time horizons of three to five years, about what they're looking at with their tech investments," she said. "My feeling is they might not want to admit publicly that it's necessarily going to be longer than that, either because they don't think it will be, or they just don't know. We'll see what reality is, but only time will tell how it plays out."

Biofuel Bandwagon Slows as Feedstock Prices Surge

The biofuels bandwagon may be running out of gas with soaring costs for feedstocks like wheat and palm oil prompting producers to shelve planned plants and cut output at existing facilities.

Self regulate, to counter anti-palm oil lobby, says state minister

Oil palm companies in the east Asean growth area must adopt "self regulation" through sustainable development to counter the anti-palm oil lobby.

China's coal industry urged to speed up energy saving

China's coal mining industry has been urged to be more efficient in energy consumption so as to realize the goal of saving 60 million tons of standard coal set in the government's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010).

Meet the world's fastest electric car

Tesla veteran Ian Wright has built the fastest electric car on the planet.

Australia: Smart meters may increase energy use

A PROPOSED roll-out of energy smart meters may lead households to use more electricity rather than less, with economic modelling showing they can increase power use.

Jeff Rubin on CNBC: The Export/Land Model in Action

If you haven’t read up on Jeffrey Brown’s (aka Westexas on The Oil Drum) Export Land Model, please do so. This will be one of, if not the most important factors affecting the price of oil, and therefore the world economy over the next decade.

CNBC had economist Jeffrey Rubin on one of it’s live shows this week to discuss future energy prices, and it’s obvious that he both gave them an answer they didn’t care for, nor one they could easily refute. ‘

The holiness of Stuart Staniford

One of the great divides in Peak Oil discussion is between the 'doomers' and the rest (rather like the battles between 'fundamentalists' and the rest in religious spheres). In contrast to Stuart it seems to me that the doomer perspective is a clear example of wishcasting, of, in Christian terms, idolatry. The doomer perspective seems most characterised by an insistence that the future must take a particular shape, one constrained by the laws of physics and envisioning a necessary decline in human population as the inevitable corollary of the decline in available energy. The desires here might be a juvenile wish to see big explosions, or, more likely, a deeply rooted hatred for the present order and a wish to see it destroyed (I think to some extent I share both those motives - which is why I often find myself thinking within a doomer framework). Yet what is not encompassed by the doomer perspective is the sense that the future is not written; that there is much that cannot yet be known; and that human nature is not a closed system but one which is open to change - often extremely rapid change. I have no doubt that our present industrial system has only a very short shelf-life left - what I am not persuaded of is that human civilisation is about to come to an abrupt end. In other words I choose to practice the Christian virtue of hope - not as a vague sentiment; not as a denial of publicly available truths; but as the commitment to another spiritual perspective, built upon that humble attention to the truth exemplified in Stuart's work, but which remains open to where God is leading us. This is what it means to pray about Peak Oil: to cleave fast to the truth, and to abide in hope.

Can a Plucky U.S. Economy Surmount $80 Oil?

Oil prices, an economic scourge in decades past, have soared to record levels in recent years. But the fallout often seemed negligible: Americans kept spending; employment kept growing; factories, construction crews and retail stores stayed busy.

Now, however, the economy may be starting to sputter as damage from the weak housing market drags down growth. If payrolls drop significantly, will high-price crude oil begin to cause pain in a way that it hasn’t in nearly three decades?

John Michael Greer: Toward an ecotechnic society

Plenty of people aware of the peak oil issue nowadays, for example, think of it in terms of finding some new energy source so that we can maintain industrial society in something like its current form.

From an ecological standpoint, this approach nearly defines the term “counterproductive,” because it’s precisely the current form of industrial society that makes our predicament inescapable.

Rising costs, shortages curb rush to cash in on oil boom

RISING drilling and rig costs, combined with shortages of skilled staff and equipment, are affecting hydrocarbon projects throughout the Middle East, with some being delayed and other contracts being renegotiated.

Producers in the region, from Libya to Saudi Arabia, have embarked on ambitious plans to increase production and capacity to meet growing global demand and take advantage of record oil prices. But many will struggle to meet their schedules, experts say, and can expect to pay exorbitant prices if they are to ensure they have the material and personnel in a market suffering severe constraints.

"It's having an impact and that impact is going to increase over the next few years. We are seeing projects being delayed simply because they can't get the equipment delivered on the timescale they used to," says Candida Scott, an analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates (Cera).

Tidelands Oil & Gas Corporation Receives Funding Commitment for Burgos Hub Export/Import Project

Tidelands Oil & Gas Corporation today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Cheniere Energy, Inc. to fund the development of Tidelands' Burgos Hub Export/Import Project, which potentially will connect the North American pipeline grid to natural gas supplies and markets in northern Mexico.

Pemex, Shell to share productivity know-how

Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex said on Thursday it had signed a collaboration agreement with Royal Dutch Shell to pool research and know-how to help them improve production yields.

BP to Apply Alaska Skills in Arctic Deal with Rosneft

BP PLC (BP) wants to apply the skills it gained in its Alaskan work on a deal with Russian state-controlled oil company Rosneft (ROSN.RS), for exploration and production in the Russian Arctic, the head of exploration and production for BP said in a speech last week that was closed to the press but released on the company's Web site Tuesday.

How much money is Indian Oil losing on fuel sales?

Oil giant Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on Friday said the company is losing a whopping amount of Rs 90-100 crore per day thanks to the subsidized fuel sales.

Chevron: Abiding by International, Kazakh Sulfur Rules

The top official of the Chevron Corp.-led (CVX) oil consortium in Kazakhstan said Thursday the group is complying fully with international and Kazakh regulations on sulfur disposal.

...The consortium has been fighting off Kazakh government accusations that the group has been remiss in its environmental responsibilities in the Central Asian country.

Is Ethanol the 'Energy Security' Solution?

But is ethanol a truly renewable energy source, and is it more secure and dependable than oil? The answer to both of those questions, surprisingly, is no.

Agro-fooling ourselves

EU and US targets and subsidies are fuelling a growing demand for ‘agrofuels’. Far from being a sustainable energy source, the increased cultivation of crops for fuel threatens the world’s poor with starvation, damages biodiversity and even contributes to global warming.

Green fuels will save the earth - or not

The earth is too small to accommodate all the biofuels projects envisioned for the globe, and this raises doubts whether green fuels will ever play a big role in weaning the world off crude oil.

For some, Rideshare is the only way to go

At $20.50 a week for the van ride, Hiller figures she comes out way ahead on gas and vehicle maintenance. And what she loses in independence by not driving alone, she makes up for in lower stress by not fighting traffic on U.S. 12.

Forget Your Silver Bullet

US Task Force finds unconventional fuels from tar sands to shale oil will make little contribution to future energy needs.

While there are no known proponents of "peak oil" to be found among the senior task force members, nonetheless, Volume One of "America's Strategic Unconventional Fuels" reads as if it might have been produced by the Association of the Study of Peak Oil. There are references to M. King Hubbert and energy return on energy invested (EROI).

US oil refinery plans may hit Europe fuel exports

An expected wave of expansions at United States refineries could reduce demand for fuel imports from Europe, which supplies a tenth of US petrol, traders and analysts say.

Baker Hughes Reports Increase In Rig Count For September

Baker Hughes Inc. announced a sequential as well as year over year increase in international rig count for September. While US rig counts declined sequentially and increased year-over-year.

Japan Finding It Hard to Tap Africa for Oil, Gas

Japan's government has sent delegations to African countries such as Angola and Madagascar in search of opportunities for exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas as part of efforts to increase its energy stakes while diversifying its sources of energy supplies.

But getting into the upstream businesses there seems mostly difficult due to intensifying competition with other countries, especially China, said a senior official at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Venezuelan Congress Approves New Orinoco Oil Venture Deals

Venezuela's congress on Tuesday approved brand new joint venture contracts signed between state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, PdVSA, and foreign oil companies involved in the Orinoco river belt, among other projects.

Why the end of cheap oil could spell death to suburbia

Will much of American suburbia become the “new slums” peopled by the “new and impoverished proletariat”, while others scramble to escape? Are we soon going to be talking about America’s “former middle class”? To quote Sam Goldwyn, it’s a “definite maybe.”

How come? At its root, there’s a simple unvarnished fact. And it’s not about over-stretched borrowers. It’s a crude and brutal fact that the ‘cheap oil fiesta’ is over. And what exactly is the problem? It’s this. Americans remain oblivious to the red light on the fuel gauge, and the long and short of it is that the whole suburban phenomenon was and is built around the car, and the central dogma that oil will remain abundant and cheap for ever and anon. Upon that is predicated the system that has sustained the daily lives of the vast bulk of Americans - the ‘American dream’ - since the late 1940s.

Oil produces expensive Caesar salad

And in MoneyWeek.com, I was captivated by their headline, "Why the end of cheap oil could spell death to suburbia", which is oddly reminiscent of Jim Kunstler's The Long Emergency. As the editor-in-chief around here, I find that I disagree with the use of the word "could" to describe the probabilities of the phrase "death to suburbia" when oil (and thus gasoline) get to be horrendously expensive, the economy is in the toilet and nobody makes enough money to buy the energy necessary to ride around in their cars when they can't even afford to keep their damned little houses warm in the winter!

Valero's Port Arthur Refinery to Shut Units for Maintenance

Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. refiner, said it shut unspecified units at its Port Arthur plant for "planned catalyst maintenance."

Wilmington refinery closes after outage

A Wilmington oil refinery has been shut down since Wednesday because of complications resulting from a power outage that the Department of Water and Power has been unable to explain.

...ConocoPhillips spokesman Andy Perez said he did not know when the facility would resume operation. It can take days for the complicated refining process to be restarted after such a long electrical disruption, he said.

Oil shipments to Ukrainian refineries down 6.4% in Sept

Oil shipments to oil refineries in Ukraine dropped 6.4% in September to 1.119 million tonnes, a source in the Fuel and Energy Ministry told Interfax.

Nigeria military: Kidnapped Briton freed

Nigerian troops freed a kidnapped British oil worker during a dawn raid Friday on the outskirts of the country's oil industry hub of Port Harcourt, a military spokesman said.

UK: £1-a-litre is defended

The petrol station boss who sent diesel through the £1 barrier this week insisted today: “I am not robbing anybody – I am just surviving.”

Expo's growth mirrors boom in ecofriendly building techniques

A decade after the first Green Building Expo played to about 600 people, this year's event is expected to draw up to 12,000 people, or double last year's attendance.

Thomas Homer-Dixon: A Swiftly Melting Planet

THE Arctic ice cap melted this summer at a shocking pace, disappearing at a far higher rate than predicted by even the most pessimistic experts in global warming. But we shouldn’t be shocked, because scientists have long known that major features of earth’s interlinked climate system of air and water can change abruptly.

A big reason such change happens is feedback — not the feedback that you’d like to give your boss, but the feedback that creates a vicious circle. This type of feedback in our global climate could determine humankind’s future prosperity and even survival.

Bush's good idea on global warming

Imagine this: The Republican governor of a large, trendsetting state works with leaders of his state legislature from both parties to enact groundbreaking legislation that requires private corporations and others operating in the state to meet stringent pro-green goals. Is this Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, 2007? It could be. But it could also be Gov. George W. Bush in Texas, 1999. The Renewable Portfolio Standards Act adopted by Texas that year required the state's energy retailers to produce 5,000 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2015.

Indonesia aims to plant 79 million trees

Indonesia, which is losing its forests faster than any other country, hopes to plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of a major U.N. climate change meeting this year, a forestry ministry spokesman said Friday.

Finland, Finland, Finland, it's the country for me

The Nordic countries are the world's greenest and, despite the cold winters, Finland is the best country to live in, according to a Reader's Digest study released on Friday.

Finland was followed by Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Austria.

"Finland wins high marks for air and water quality, a low incidence of infant disease and how well it protects citizens from water pollution and natural disasters," the study said.

Britain near the bottom of the table for energy efficiency

Britain came behind Ireland (7th), France (16th) and even the United States (23rd) in the study carried out by US environmental economist Matthew Kahn using the UN 2006 Human Development Index and the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index.

Official says US will regulate carbon

The United States is moving toward the regulation of carbon emissions, a U.S. energy official said Thursday, despite the Bush administration's adherence to a voluntary approach to controlling the primary gas blamed for climate change.

Democrats eye key climate summit

A team of leading US Democrats is planning to send a delegation to a key UN climate conference to rival President Bush's official team.

They are so frustrated by Mr Bush's refusal to support US emissions cuts that they will travel to Bali to set out their alternative vision.

Climate activists tipped for peace prize

Former Vice President Al Gore and other campaigners against climate change lead experts' choices for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, an award once reserved for statesmen, peacemakers and human rights activists.

A new Finance Round-Up by ilargi has been posted at TOD:Canada.

We have a 'luxury' problem today. Not only was Thursday Stoneleigh's birthday, at least 4 articles deserve our top spot. And there's much more.

Highly regarded finance writer Mike 'Mish' Shedlock has a list that looks like "Peak oil survival guide Part 1":

Drowning in Debt - How do we protect ourselves?

Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford (classic SNL video)
• Have a Years' Worth of Living Expenses in Cash
• Buy Food On Sale
• Consider Wants vs. Needs vs. Affordability
• Reduce Leverage
• Consider Retirement Plans
• Challenge Traditional Thinking

And this House testimony by Robert Kuttner is a must read:

The Alarming Parallels Between 1929 and 2007

Your predecessors on the Senate Banking Committee, in the celebrated Pecora Hearings of 1933 and 1934, laid the groundwork for the modern edifice of financial regulation. I suspect that they would be appalled at the parallels between the systemic risks of the 1920s and many of the modern practices that have been permitted to seep back in to our financial markets.

Tighter credit regulations? It's only gotten worse!:

Subprime Delinquencies Accelerating

Subprime mortgage bonds created in the first half of 2007 contain loans that are going delinquent at the fastest rate ever.

"It's shocking what you see,'' said Kyle Bass of Hayman Advisors LP. "Anything securitized in 2007 has got to have the worst collateral performance of any trust I've seen in my life.''

And the icing on the cake:

The Death Of Investment

By comparing how swiftly money passes through stocks in relation to both gross domestic product (GDP) and total stock market capitalization, we can see how the relative importance of the stock market rises and falls over the course of the last 80 years.

Quite obviously, in 1929, nothing was more important than stocks and when the corresponding mania peaked, trading was 133% of gross domestic product stock market and 228% of total stock market capitalization. In 2000, trading was 328% of gross domestic product and 203% of total stock market capitalization, a mania fully equivalent to the madness of the "Roaring Twenties."

Today, trading is 326% of gross domestic product and 237% of total stock market capitalization. For all intents and purposes, the current environment represents the greatest velocity of trading ever seen. However, by the end of the year, we expect that the current stats will be far more extreme, a bizarre circumstance that lends itself to only one description - a continuing stock market mania, the greatest mania of all time.

From July to August, in the span of just one month, the New York Stock Exchange reported that the monthly total for dollar trading volume had risen 21.7%. Share volume surged 29.7%. The number of trades soared 39.6% . The sheer speed at which our capital markets are evolving and metamorphosing is frightening.

The theme of investment is for all intents and purposes, dead.

Re Consider retirement plans.

I got this phonecall last week, some telemarketeer, informing me that I would have only 70% of my present income when retiring. I basically told him: I'm 37, what's your age? eehm 25, he replied. Me: and you think we will ever retire?
Silence. End of discussion. I'm pretty sure I ruined his day:-)

yes, every article i read on retirement planning uses some % of current income as a basis for figuring retirement funding requirements. how very simple minded. the model assumes that you will stack up chips until you reach retirement age ("invested" in mutual funds of course) and then spend all of it, and if you have done your planning correctly you will run out of money on the day you die. how morbid! as if you are not a valid human being if you dont consume 65% or 70% or 85% as much as you did while working.
myself i plan to retire from my day job at the end of this construction season but i dont plan to quit working or investing.

By the way, your "death of investment" link is dead.

Thanks, fixed it.

Mind boggeling stats on China consumption over at Foratv

China and the Competition for Energy Resources


Dr. Robert Ebel, Dr. David Finkelstein, and Ambassador Chas. Freeman will explore how China's quest for energy resources has had an impact on the developing world, and how its competition for these resources is affecting its relationship with other countries. What are the implications of China's quest for energy security? What are possible openings for international cooperation? - World Affairs Council of Washington D.C.

Who says investment is dead? I'm going to buy seed and check existing hand tools against what is needed for gardening. After that maybe more ammunition, more nonperishable food, and perhaps a few more jerrycans of gas.

If I get either of the two tech jobs open here in the region I'm going to promptly acquire a Yamaha Vino 125 for my commute.

My town will invest. If a business closes someone will put something in the space - I bet I can open a sustainable gardening shop in this town as long as I can pay the lights & heat for the space ... no rent required. Community investment at its finest ...

Someone here posted that a tractor can do an acre of planting in a few minutes but a human poking one seed in the ground at a time would take a week (estimates, for example's sake). This is just silly - the concept of intellectual property is still valid, but the nature of what is needed changes. The patent has elapsed on the little wood, metal, and leather gadget we use to stick sweet corn seeds in the ground and you can't find one unless you really hunt at estate auctions here ... this will be a needed device, easily made, and my investment for starting the seed poking widget factory will be along the lines of a pair of snips to cut leather, plus some stuff already in the wood shop. Research of history and repurposing of that which is already in place.

I'm expecting a property boom here for refugees, so I'm studying the locations and resources that are currently abandoned in my region ... it looks like a tumbledown farm, but its really a five acre parcel with a well, electric power, outbuildings suitable for animals and light manufacturing, and the local prefab building place can start making four hundred square foot cottages ...


Investment isn't dead, but the scope will change dramatically, and the measure of value purely in terms of cash flow and liquidation value is gone.

I'm going for a 225cc Yamaha dual-purpose motorcycle, myself. It's an "offroad" bike that is also street legal. I want something that can handle the roads when they start getting really bumpy. Commuter scooters don't handle potholes very well. They stopped selling the 225CC model and the 2008 is a 250CC, however. More HP, but I'm sure slightly reduced MPG.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

I can do $2,300 for a scooter, but an offroad will cost double that :-(

The Yamaha XT225 Serrow is a good motorcyle and will probably cost you less than that Vino if you can find one a little used. Especially over its lifetime as scooters tend to be a little shoddily built. You should also consider a Yamaha Virago 250, Virago 535, Honda rebel 250, Suzuki GS500, and Suzuki Savage LS650. All of those are well built and fairly light bikes, the GS500 is considered one of the best commuter motorcycles and all of them should be available for <$2,500 lightly used.

I've been thinking about a scooter or a light motorcycle for a
while and I was wondering about a sidecar attachment for carrying packages, people etc. Do they make the bike more or less stable? I rode a lot in my teenage years both on and off road but I don't relish the thought of the possibility of road
rash at my age (57)and am looking for a more stable ride. Actually I have been looking at those 3 wheel scooters on the net a lot. (the ones with the single drive wheel in back)

Yeah, baby, you want to buy one of my scootercarts!

I have been looking at two wheel rides and wondering how I'm going to use them to pull my kayak.

My kayak is a much abused Otter XT 9'6" (3m) recreational model. I like the Otter because its short, easy for one person to handle, and cheap ...

So I was envisioning a trailer with a 9' (3m) aluminum tube, a 36" (1M) crossbar, and large bicycle style wheels. There'd be one additional crossbar to stabilize the boat and it would ride low to the ground behind the scooter.

Now peak oil crazies who like to kayak is not a large demographic and this would obviously be a custom job, but I can't be the only one about to transition to two inexpensive wheels as transport.

I think there is probably a market for a shopping cart shaped contraption with two large, bicycle type wheels, the cart handle at the back having LED brake & turn signals embedded, and the hitch to the scooter in front being a fold down. Hook the cart to the scooter, off to the market, detach the cart from the scooter and use it for shopping, then reattach the cart and drive home. There'd have to be a plastic liner /w lid option for rainy/snowy weather and I could see all sorts of delivery businesses doing this.

The are legal, physics, and electrical interfacing concerns but I'm sure this already exists in other countries ... I just want to see a small shop in Iowa cranking them out ... more of that relocalization in action.

I've seen Harley's pulling trailers before, and they were not even trikes. You might have a harder time with the scooter, given the low displacement of them, but it would likely work if you're patient on the zero to fourty.

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

The Harley carts are *big* and meant for long distance pulling. I want twenty five pounds of cart and fifty pounds of payload - no more than a good sized child worth of load. I worry about the aerodynamic issues - a semi going by when you've got one of these lightly loaded in the slow lane might be a little bit dicey.

My vehicle is a 250CC Honda "Big Ruckus"

I lash a 90 Liter plastic storage box (Rubbermaid "Action Packer")

which I have modified with some eye bolts for easier tie down, to the passanger seat when I need to move lots of stuff and it works fine

The bike gets about 68 miles to the US Gallon, and is fine on the highway in the slow lane (top speed is about 120 km/hr) though I usually stick to secondary highways rather than expressways

A mountain bike with full suspension and many padlocks, chains, a security guard to protect your bike and some guns. That should sort out the travel side of things:-)
Oh and 10 sets of spare bits with lots of puncture repair kits and a large garage protected by your security guard to keep all your spare kit in. And if i know youv'e got this stuff your security guard is dead meat - my maurauding band of mad-maxian styled noephyte bandits will take over your garden and pillage your 10years supply or grain!!!

Silly. That's what landmines are for!
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Er, well, one of my recent "investments" is a Trek 8200 I think? Mountain bike I bought for $100 from a bum in downtown Prescott, I don't think it's stolen or, at least it's old enough that the original owner doesn't care. Really decent bike, with scratched/chipped paint for that battle-wise look. The word around here is the goat heads are so bad, the way to go is to get those "solid" tubes from Wal-Mart and just run those. Which I plan to. I can get around nice flat Chino Valley really well on something like that.

In the motorcycle area, the Vino 125 was one I was looking at, any Yammie 250 or so dual purpose bike will be good, and the Yam 250 Virago is a real winner. I was looking at financing one of those with insurance for $85 a month, of course the thing to do there is pay it off ASAP but that can get you out of your car and the car sold right away then put your car payments into paying off the bike.

A well cared for fairly modern bike will last a LONG time.

"A well cared for fairly modern bike will last a LONG time."

One word of caution...don't use synthetic oil (like Mobil 1, etc). Many well intentioned people seeking to keep their motorcycles running forever try to use synthetic oil in their bikes and it winds up getting into the clutch disk material (which resides in the crankcase and in the oil aka a "wet" clutch) and ruins it so that you'll have to replace the clutch pack. If you have a desire to use a synthetic, get a motorcycle specific oil from someone like Motul.

Also, if you're looking for the greatest longevity you should find a liquid-cooled bike. Air-cooled are great for their simplicity, but the tolerances have to be set much greater to compensate for the thermal swings they encounter - and then there are the thermal swings themselves. If you plan on sitting in stop and go traffic a lot...find something liquid cooled. Most air-cooled motorcycles will get pretty raggety by around 30,000 miles, and you might be able to coax 50 to 60,000 miles with exceptional care. Then you can either rebuild the engine or drop a new one in though rebuilding an air-cooled engine is fairly easy. Liquid cooled should last twice that, maybe more. Something extremely well built like a Goldwing can last 200k+ miles or more. Then there are air/oil cooled motors. There are varying types of air/oil cooling from light to full cooling by the oil, many Suzuki motors, some BMW, Ducati, and Victory use air/oil cooling. BMW's are a bit of a weirdo as it's generally accepted they can get well over 100,000 miles - crash bars recommended as the cylinders stick straight out the sides.

I should probably also note that many motorcycles are still carbureted and a bit uppity and you'll be a much happier owner if you're mechanically inclined enough to know when to put on/take off the choke ("cold start enricher"), look at the plugs to see how the mixture is, and know when something doesn't sound right.

The wet clutch thing is indeed an important detail to remember. I believe the problem is the additives that goes into most brands of auto motor oil to enhance lubrication: a good thing for the engine, but not so for the clutch, it's purpose afterall is to create friction between 2 or more discs so the power can be transferred to the gearbox.

But, but, but .... what if the marauding band of mad-maxian styled neophyte bandits all get malaria and really bad water and die before they can get going on a good run of pillaging and slaughter?

:) :) :)

What then,huh? --- Huh?

:) :) :)

I do think that all the tough-talking hard guys will melt in the face of disease, thirst, hunger, self-inflicted wounds, and of course the guns that others (also would-be hard guys) point in their general direction.

Back to the biking stuff -- it really works! If you can't do the HPV (Human Powered Vehicle) method, try some electric assist.

If that does not work, try the next step -- NEV with solar charging.

Or try a motorcyle or motorized trike. There are a variety of small motorised vehicles out there sufficient for local transportation of people and small loads of cargo.

If one truly needs to drive on the highway or haul really big loads, then it seems to me that the options are a bit more limited and the sustainable options might be a bit pricey.

Some folks do OK with biodiesel delivery vehicles "peace Coffee" here in minneapolis went from using bikes only to using a biodeisel truck when the routes just got to heavy and far-flung to make the bikes-only transport workable.

Here's a page on their van:


Here's one on pedal delivery:


It takes a village to avoid pillage, and I guess we have to move around some of the categories in our minds before we can sustainably move ourselves and some stuff around.

...and so on, and so forth ....

I'd been looking at the Vino 125 ($2,300) but after reading this I started looking at the dual purpose ones. The places I go here are already pretty messy by urban standards, so I am thinking the wide tire TW200($3,500) might be the right thing. I do cringe at the 45 mpg it gets as opposed to the 125 mpg on the Vino, but you're right about road conditions ...

truly minimum maintenance

TW200 -



Ah yes, the SUB or sport utility bike is thus born. Quite why these things have to have such wide and clumsy tires is beyond me when a traditional dirt bike of early seventies vintage could race the length of Baja in less than 24 hours on a 3.00/21 front and a 4.00/18 rear. Unless you are living near a large sand dune which cannot be gotten around, the wide tires are just silly.

A 250cc motorcycle should be capable of an average 60 mpg or more; at low speeds the motor is way too big, but at higher speeds the cubic factor of wind resistance and the severely non aerodynamic nature of the plot makes the 250ccs work pretty hard.

Europe gets around just fine on 50cc mopeds. I've toured around Spain on 50cc machines and didn't find that my life was rendered incomplete by only going thirty or forty miles in an hour. The Honda Cub is still in production after nearly SIXTY years or continuous production. Must be a record. Viva Soichiro! Mind you, his design - and a lot of his others too - borrowed heavily from Italian designs of the early 50's, but he made it happen in the global marketplace.

Let's not forget that this little masterpiece was one of the first serious products exported from Japan after the war. Now if we could just come up with a diesel version running on chicken fat......with electric start, keyless entry and cupholders...no, wouldn't sell well in the Dakotas.

Here the TW200 gets sold to farmers who want them for utility use in their fields. I spend a lot of time outdoors and the added utility of 75cc more and tires and suspension to get into grubby places would serve me well. Urban SUV sales of any type are pretty much silly, but living here I could actually use one:


minimum maintenance photostream

Having owned both the TW200 and XT225 Yamaha, I agree they're both great all-purpose, economical, low maintenance machines. The TW200 would be better if you need to deal with a lot of sand or mud. The XT225 is a better all around bike with enough power to haul a passenger and, with a milk crate on the back, you can pick up a week's worth of groceries. The roads down here in Central America are mostly pot-holed and the higher suspension of the 225 helps a lot with that, as well as handling the rough and rutted back roads. I usually get at least 100 km per gallon of regular gas. The 225 serves as a frequently used backup to my diesel Toyota pickup.

I agree with the XT225 over the fat-tired 200. I think it even gets a higher MPG due to the smaller rear tire compared to the 200.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Good thinking Tipper!

I too have altered how "investments" are thought of. My new retirement fund is a little online business selling manual gardening and farming tools that are used in other parts of the world - figuring that we may someday have a larger need of such things in the US than we do now. Fortunately even now they sell well enough to make it worthwhile.

The tools include a grub hoe, a fork hoe, a Italian grape hoe, and a Ridging hoe. A grub hoe will basically do what a rototiller does, plus do trenching. A grape hoe is for weeding large areas - like between row crops and in orchards and vineyards.

We used to use these tools in the USA back before tractors became common.

I'm always looking to expand the tool selection - if anybody has any other ideas please share. In a few months I should have some long-handled mattocks and picks which are easier for normal people to use than the common short-handled heavy-headed hardware store variety.

I'm arranging to get handles locally (Missouri has small-scale handle amnufacturers) and have been looking into small-scale forging if anybody has thoughts on that to share.

Greg in MO

I've been thinking a lot about that forging stuff - we're in an 8.0M/s wind zone and there are platoons of wind turbines everywhere. Among other things this town has there is a metal fab place - they make widgets that go on tractors for driving wooden fence posts and all sorts of other stuff. We'd only need one wind turbine to drive an electric forge and they could cast on days the wind was blowing and do finish work the rest of the time ...

Are you at the contact number right now? I'd like to chat ...

I will be at the number on my website from 12:30 to 3:30 Central Time today.

Talking about small-scale manufacturing sounds great.


How do you determine who holds title to these abandoned properties? I currently am a renter in Lamoni and may be in the market next year for a cheap place of my own down here in Decatur County.


I find that the best way to determine ownership is to pull up to the next inhabited place you find and ask. I stopped to ask about a sweet one, hill top, small marsh below, and it is on a forty acre parcel a wealthy farmer has placed entirely in set aside so he can hunt ducks there.

If you're truly ready to buy the best thing to do is find a nurse who works in a care facility. They've got the inside track on who has five cares and kids that just want it out of their hair.


the county tax assessor-collector can tell you who is paying real estate taxes on any piece of property and their mailing address.

I'm more familiar with the methods used here in Texas, but I think they are similar nationwide, but double check with the County Clerk and make sure the methods are the same in the state in which you live. A piece of property is sold to a Trustee,who actually forecloses if the property goes into default. After posting the prperty for a certain period of time if the old purcchaser can't pay for the property, its sold on the steps of the Courthouse to satisfy the lein (debt). The entity that lent the money is often the only bidder, and down here it happens on the first Tuesday of the month. The postings will be on a bulletin board at the Court House, and in many counties the County Clerk sells a list. In counties where the property is being sold to pay back real estate taxes or leins by various government agencies like a Hospital District, the Sherriff acts as the Trustee.

A couple of things to remember on foreclosures and tax sales. You need cash within 3 days to close the deal, so have your financing ready before you bid on the property. Many counnties, like mine ,Galveston County Texas won't let you bid on a property without a letter of Credit on file. Second, its well worth a morning watching the foreclosure procedure in the county. Third, never buy a piece of property unless you've seen it. Make sure you have a road or a right of way, and that its not encumbered so that it can't be used-what about sewers or septic tanks, how much will cost you to fence, to run electricity to the property. Make sure it doesn't have something environmental that will cost you more money to clean up tahn the land is wort, like drums full of unlabled toxic chemical or a mountain of old tires, both of which I've seen come with the perfect 10 acres in the country.
I spent most of last year working in Hudspeth County, Texas and there were lots of people buying small tracts from people on the internet, paying $200 dollars an acre on the idea that any land is worth at least $100 an acre. Wrong. They couldn't conceive of a peice of property thats 100 miles from a grocery, let alone a doctor or a book store and in an area where there is no flowing water in the county except the Rio Grande, Its pretty out near the National Park, but the land was salt flats and creosote bushes. No jobs, no nothing. About 1/4th of the county is owned by the state and they are happy to sell it to you Bob Ebersole

How do you determine who holds title to these abandoned properties?

You walk into the county Tax Map office. They have the parcels. Find the Deed. Everyone who works in Surveying knows the routine.

In many places, this information is now online.

Old fashioned corn planter:


Got one a number of years ago.

Ours looks a little bit different but the operating principle is the same - tell me you can't make one of those out of scrap in the garage as long as you've got a tin snips handy ...

Why was TOD down earlier today?

“Without a video the people perish”-Is. 13:24

I noticed that too. I got a screen to install Drupal?

I lost a long post on how a hypothetical suburb might decline into a wasteland in little over a decade, step by step.

Not sure if/when I will rewrite it.



Don't tease us with that sort of thing.

I've had that happen a few times over the years. It sucks.

Yes, it was down for several hours early this morning. I posted the DrumBeat as soon as it came back up.

A few glitches with our new web host, I think.

Dramatic mortgage scam related suicide on CNN today ...


Wow! That's real hard-core. It reminds me of the (somewhat) well publicized suicide of a Korean farmer at the WTO meeting held in Cancun 2 years ago, and also of the ongoing suicides of India's subsistence farmers. I sure a certain % of US suicides are for economic reasons, as in this case, but they are never covered/mentioned by corporate media as they distort the perception it wants/must convey.

Now if only George W. would take Sadaam's gun and copy Budd's example.

All joking aside, I think a jump from somewhere high is within his range. There have been articles here and there on his isolation and mental condition ... just like a drunk on a binge, except he is binging with the most powerful military in the world :-(

But suicide requires the ability to perceive that something is going wrong.

I do not have current data, but earlier the New Orleans suicide rate was 6 times the per-Katrina rate, with a smaller population.


CNN was running this story when I got up this morning:

Man kills self in front of City Council after zoning decision

He wanted his home re-zoned for business use. Why? So it would be more valuable, and he could take out a larger loan against it.

Its sad that America's so called politicians have supported free market principles to the point of no return. In the UK we only allow new housing on sites that will not be overly dependent on the car, e.g. in locations where a new railway station can be built or as a well planned extension to an existing settlement, where the developer will often pay for new bus services (only £80 - £100k/service usually). Piecemeal development is banned outside defined settlements except when it is required for identified affordable rural housing or in association with a rural business. Sadly, progressive voices on this issue do not have the clout of a statutory federal planning system framewrok to have their say and developers go on regardless. As with global warming, this issue should not be left to the state and the Federal government should provide planning legislation and policy statements that gives states legal powers and certainty if they wish to follow that route. Ideally there should be a statutory duty to carry out environmental impact assesments for major developments of a given scale to include things like transport, as is the case in Europe.

"Nobody needs to go anywhere else. We are all, if we only knew it, already there." (Aldous Huxley "Island" 1962, p38)

2.5 Mbpd from oil shale by 2035 with >50% energy efficiency?

Someone in the Dept of Energy has been smoking something strong.

Even so, all the predictions, even the most rosy with progressive 'efficiency gains' and every unconventional source expanding for all its worth - against a backdrop of shallow conventional declines - they all show massive imports and even increases in imports.

When your most optimistic forecast from your most conservative supporter shows that level of problem - shouldn't someone be panicking?

Did anyone else notice that the cryosphere website (that tracks sea ice extent) recorded a historic MAXIMUM for sothern hemisphere sea ice?

Seems to be an awful lot of bias on the reporting of global warming.


The record in the antarctic was a small increase over the previous record in both absolute area and percentage increase terms. The long term record shows no clear trend in area.

The record in the arctic shows a massive decrease in both area and percentage extent, over the previous record, and that is on top of a clear trend since year 2000 of increased summer melt.

One is a far more significant event than the other.

Is Antarctic sea ice important, too? Is it shrinking?

Scientists monitor both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, but Arctic sea ice has been more significant to understanding global climate because much more Arctic ice remains through the summer months, reflecting sunlight and cooling the planet.

However, sea ice near the Antarctic Peninsula, south of the tip of South America, has recently experienced a significant decline. The rest of Antarctica has experienced a small increase in Antarctic sea ice.

Variations in Extent

Both arctic and antarctic sea ice extent are characterized by fairly large variations from year to year. The monthly average extent can vary by as much as 1 million square kilometers (386,102 square miles) from the year-to-year monthly average. The area covered by antarctic sea ice has shown a small (not statistically significant) increasing trend.

That doesn't appear very biased to me; but I think global warming is something to be concerned about, so I suppose that makes me biased.

Good points guys, well recieved. I look at the artic sea ice area it appears it couls be ice free in a matter of a few years! Of grave concern. it is almost certain that we are too late to make a change now - ie state change has been initiated.

I have another question. (Do not take me as a global warming sceptic as I am not! I just have lots of unexplained questions that even realclimate.org doesn't even seen to be able to answer): Should we be concerned at all that we are steppiong outside of natural climate variability at the artic. If you look at the paleo-climate records for the artic, the entire greenland ice-sheet has melted completely with a periodicity of 110,000 to 130,000 years for the last 1.8 miliion years - that is to say about 15 times! Aside the fact that this would cause a global humanitarian catastrophy because of the 7m rise in sea levels - what is so abnormal about this occurance, bearing in mind that it has happened many times before?


In geologic terms there is nothing abnormal about the ice sheet melting. It would be abnormal for it to melt now, to the extent that we are supposed to be coming to the end of the current interglacial, and we are nominally overdue for a new ice age.

Probably more significant, is the speed of melting. If the worst fears of climatologists are realised, this could be very fast, perhaps in a few decades. Apart from the human impact of this, it would be a disaster for the planetary biodiversity, because it would be yet one more insult to the biosphere on top of the harm us humans have already done, and could trigger the extinction of thousands if not millions of species, which could not adapt/migrate in time.

If the speed of melt is accelerated by AGW, then predicting the future effects on climate from studying the geologic record becomes much more problematic. We would be entering unknown terratory. We might enter another pseudo stable climate which is dramatically warmer than any the earth has experienced since advanced lifeforms evolved...

FYI here are a few titles on paleoclimatic studies:


I wanted to the see the main bodies but I presume they are paywalled!


Ah, I can answer this one and it is on RealClimate, but one would have to have been watching previously and/or digging to find it.

The Vostok ice cores show that CO2 has moved from 180ppm to 280ppm in nice, leisurely 100k year cycles for the last 650k years. We have pushed it to 383ppm in two hundred fifty years. So that would be 100k years worth of change in 1/400th the time and we've knocked it way outside normal bounds.

I stole this image showing CO2 concentrations and their relationship to glaciation periods from Wikipedia since I knew I'd need it for reference. The original article can be found in the comments for the photo.

Ice ages and CO2 concentrations

This graph would have to be 50% taller just to show the spike in CO2 we've added and a global human population crash from pandemic is the only thing that can slow the rise right now. So ... Greenland draining is inevitable no matter what foolish "50% CO2 cut by 2050" laws our spineless Congress debates, and perhaps it will drain catastrophically, in a decade or so, rather than the thousand years we'd like to think we have.

(lots of area in this image, but a quick loader. I hope this is OK)

I did notice this before, that we tipped it 100PPM outside natural variability. this is the one aspect of anthropogenic global warming that interests me. However this is tepered by the fact that id you look at C02 records going back further, the proxies record levels as high as 4000PPM. Indeed if they had not been this high temperatures may not have been high enough for the production of oil to be set in motion and we would not be reading this not.

I had previously pointed out on the oil drum this fact and somebody correctly pointed out to me that these levels of C02 were at times before we have observed known multithousand year patterns.


The 4,000ppm estimate from the Paleoecen Eocene Thermal Maximum fifty five million years ago is much less interesting than the 180ppm to 280ppm norm established over the last 650k years. I don't find that an ancient number quite different from what we have today at all tempers my views on the 100ppm anomaly we've introduced.

But, who knows might get to maximum in the northern hemi this year too.

But, the rapid melting during the sunniest part of the year affects reflectivity and solar absorption.

So, I don't think people are ignoring it.


There are many places where one can point to local, transient maxima in order to sow uncertainty regarding anthropogenic global warming. Two favorites are the thickening of the center of the ice sheet in Greenland due to increase precipitation and the fact that Mars is warming, too.

The first is neatly debunked by examining the overall ice volume on Greenland. Do this and you'll find that the increase in thickness, which is due to increased precipitation, which is due to increased water vapor in the air, which is due to increased ocean temperature, does not offset the ice volume lost due to melting and the lubrication of the undersides of glaciers due to melt water.

The Martian one is my personal favorite - "Hey, Mars is warming, too!" This one is also true and equally useless for those seeking to confuse the issue. Mars has 1% of the atmosphere earth has and no oceans. I'll type this slowly so no one misses it: low thermal intertia. Mars also has a highly eccentric orbit, wandering forty three million kilometers between perihelion and aphelion; the Earth only varies five million kilometers.

So ... I am not going to debunk the irrelevance of the alleged historic MAXIMUM in the antarctic because I've been watching the cryosphere for a good long time and I know all about the breakup of the Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelves, along with lots of other signs of warming in the region.

If you were doing anything other than clowning around here you'd have included a link to the page where you saw this maximum reported, or if the site were not amenable to giving links the instructions on how to reach the bit in question.



It was the Cryosphere today website that it is recorded as being the maximum. - you just said you have been watching it!.

I realise you can point to many local transient maxima in tepm, precipitation etc.... I am not a 'denier' as you seem to have me pigeon holed as one.

I am one of the crowd who has been reading all I can, absobing information and realising thetre are so many black holes still in our knowledge about climate change - past historic, present(a dubious use of the word in the context) and future. I am an Engineer and try to be as analytical and emotionally detatched from the debate as i can. I know more poeple of my ilk that have continued their own research on climate change studies(and have not been brandished by the MSM into submission taking what they say as gospel) and the main conclusion we all reach is that climate change is the norm, has always happened and will always happen - the earth will always be in a state of flux. The anthropogenic input I agree with in that I believe our raising of C02 can and does have an effect on a climate system - BUT bearing in mind all cycles and sub cycles of past historic climate change (often abrupt) I find it hard to stomach that we can read the human input clearly through all the noise of the aforementioned climatic changes.


Another thing. Don't insult me by throwing the 'hockey stick chart' at me.

You look up any one of the many paleoclimatic studies using multiple proxies for temperature record and you will be tripping over hockey sticks. There are enoguh 'hockey sticks' in the prehistoric climate to start an entire nation hockey teams on!!

Or do you believe that the climae records are flat and abrupt climate change has never happened before?


Sorry - I took you for an annoying troll based on your first posts. Your English is very good, but it is not your first language, correct?

I beat people with the hockey stick chart :-) There are lots of sudden climate changes in both directions - climate is metastable, but another post I've made(above this one?) with a large graphic should help with this. We've simply gone way outside any of the norms for Pleistocene earth and no one can say what will happen, but I can predict it will be Not Very Awesome(tm) for humans.

For me, the importance of the ubiquitous "hockey stick chart" is not that it is showing temperatures getting warmer, because that could be due to Milankovitch cycles as you have stated.

Instead, it is the timing of the change - temperatures begin changing around the Industrial Revolution, which is when humans began adding a lot more CO2 to the atmosphere.

It isn't airtight evidence, but it shows a significant causal relationship, in my opinion. However, it could be mere coincidence that temperatures started rising around the same time as the Industrial Revolution. Unlikely, but possible.

Perhaps Feynman's sum over histories applies here?

yes you are right the 'stick' coincides with the C02 rise but my main point in banging on about natural past historic climate change (if you really start to dig deep on the Vostoc data for example) is that is data is far too noisy and even our current 0.8DegC global rise in temperature pales into significance when compared with some of the historical transients or even state change.

I repeat I am an (aeuronautical) engineer for the purposes of the following example. I get sets of data that reveal trends. These trends however can be the reuslt of a change you incurrred OR// happen to co-incide with your input. OR// be augmented by your input. I have seen people jump to too many quick conclusions in my industry on similar faulty logic. Unfortunately for us it is too late and any action will be 'political' the currrent state change or transient that appears to be happening in the climate is not fully understood yet but appears to be well underway!


data is far too noisy and even our current 0.8DegC global rise in temperature pales into significance when compared with some of the historical transients or even state change.

Yes, this is correct. However, even the Vostoc data uses a model that attempts to extrapolate the temperature of the past cycles (i.e., we do not have direct measurements of past temperatures). And, so, the Vostoc data models could also be wrong.

I think the larger issue is that the Vostoc data does not have the granularity to show the quickness of the temperature change or CO2 change that is happening currently. So, we don't have much historical data to compare to current data.

It is possible that there have been drastic changes in temperature and CO2 in the past that have happened in short periods of time (decades as opposed to centuries). But, we don't have the data for comparison. And, you are correct that this lack of comparative data makes the current data appear more significant.

Still, it seems to me that the coincidence of CO2 increase, temperature increase, and the Industrial Revolution shows a causal relationship that is significant.

As more research is done into prehistoric climate, more benchmarks will be formed (Hopefully independently of each other!!), be it isotope levels in sediments or fossil records etc..

The changes we are seeing today are the result of CO2 levels many years ago. There's a large thermal lag due to the mass of water in the oceans, which is slowly heating up. Even if it waas possible to stop all GHG emissions immediately, the warming would continue for decades into the future. That's a large part of the situation we're in, that is, we must face the problem long before it becomes obvious to the casual observer. The Arctic is sort of the "canary in the coal mine", since the greatest changes are thought to be due to occur at high latitudes. The fact that this year produced a large decline in sea-ice should give us cause for great worry, as there may be something else going on that the models do not capture well. These are indeed scary times.

Marco: If you want more info, you might try the IPCC, if you have not already done so. The AR4 WG 1 report summarizes most of the scientific research for the past 5 years. Here's the link:


The PDF's are rather large, but the report is broken into individual sections, so one can download sections as one reads.

E. Swanson

That's a large part of the situation we're in, that is, we must face the problem long before it becomes obvious to the casual observer

Like a Marathon Runner with Water.

If you FEEL thirsty you are already dead. You are ALREADY dehydrated and drinking now won't cure the problem quick enough for the race.

You have to drink BEFORE you FEEL thirsty.

The view never changes unless your the lead dog!
Well I hope everything is fine Marco ,because here in the Yukon we have just had more rain this year than the last 17 years I have been here. The mild weather and hugh increase in rain reminds me of the coast of B,C. , not the desert like climate we are supposed to have.Plus the weather now seems to be blowing a lot more from the north, gee maybe all that melting ice is causing moisture in the air , changing the weather?The change is amazing when you are outside in it every day. I can not believe my flowers are still alive in my front lawn either, The change this year has been amazing?My dad was here in the 40s and he tells me the weather we now have is like super warm compared to then. The temperature has warmed up alot since I have lived here to. No graphs here , just a guy who is living in a part of the world that is changing fast..........Six months of -40 is not missed , but the problem is the pine beetles like it to.

Marco didn't give the site but it is Cryosphere Today. The information is down the page a ways. This site is part of the Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois website. This is a site devoted to studying climate change and if you browse the site, they are aware of and do not consider the (small) new maximum in Antarctica to be of any concern. Marco is the one trying to blow it out of proportion while at the same time Marco is ignoring a drop in Artic sea ice minima of 27%. If Marco is genuinely concerned and wants to openly study the topic, I urge him to study the work of the Cryosphere Today website as a whole and to refer to RealClimate, which has referred to the Cryosphere Today site before and in positive terms. He is, of course, free to examine other data but if he is intellectually honest, he will openly evaluate the pro-AGW arguments presented as well. If he is making his mind up by solely reading one side of the argument, then that is his loss.

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

Do you have much luck in convincing people of your argument by using third-person statements intended to belittle others and highlight your intellectual prowess?

Have you ever tried explaining or teaching a concept before resorting to dismissive or ad hominem attacks?

You seem to want to show off how "smart" you are and how "dumb" others are. Your "tone" is very similar to other juvenile posters.

If nothing else, TOD should be a place of learning - a place to help one another to understand. I have no time for you to take up bandwidth trying to boost your ego.

My reply was to SacredCowTipper, not to Marco, hence the reference to Marco in the third person. Should I have addressed Marco while I replied to SacredCowTipper? You appear to mistakenly believe that I replied to Marco, which I did not. Please follow the thread back to its origins. There are even hyperlinks on each message to show you the parent comment, which will show that the parent of my comment is SacredCowTipper's comment.

Further, Marco's entire original post focused solely on the Antarctic maximum while ignoring the Arctic minimum, which was on the same page he used as a source. So he deliberately left out of his post the 27% drop to a new Arctic minimum while raising questions about a few percent higher Antarctic maximum. This is a classic tactic of most global warming deniers, however, I did not call him a denier even though he did ignore the additional data. I don't know if he is a denier or not but he did use that same sort of tactic in that post, whether deliberately or not. I simply noted that if he wanted to study the issue truthfully, he needs to review those sources that try to explain AGW and that if he does not, it would be his loss.

Now please tell me where I made an ad hominem attack, as opposed to your response which is a direct attack on me.

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

I am a poor, uneducated country bumpkin, but I will try to respond. Are you sure you wish to read further? Ok, let's go.

First, I understood that your response was to SacredCowTipper. Yet, almost everything you wrote was directed at Marco - hence, your use of the third-person. Additionally, those who wish to sound superior will often refer to others in the third-person - especially when they are sure that the target is within earshot. It is a way of disparaging your target - of making them smaller and less important.

Proof of you addressing your post to Marco, while responding to SCT can be found in the 6th sentence of your post, in which you directly "urge him to study the work of the Cryosphere Today website as a whole and to refer to RealClimate". Interestingly enough, in a post 3 hours before your post, Marco wrote: "I just have lots of unexplained questions that even realclimate.org doesn't even seen to be able to answer".

As for "Marco's entire original post focused solely on the Antarctic maximum while ignoring the Arctic minimum", you are correct. Marco wrote two sentences, and neither one directly referenced the Arctic minimum. I take a broader view, though. Marco's second sentence implied the Arctic minimum with the use of the word "bias". If there was bias that the Antarctic maximum wasn't being discussed, didn't that imply that there was a minimum that was being discussed in the media? That doesn't really seem like he was ignoring the Arctic minimum. But, you obviously take a stricter view.

I am a simple man, so perhaps I do not understand what "simply" means. You say that you "simply noted that if he wanted to study the issue truthfully, he needs to review those sources that try to explain AGW". However, the words I read in your post were "if he is intellectually honest". The term "intellectually honest" (and your implication that Marco was being "intellectually dishonest") is a very old debating term. It is used to portray your opponent in a negative light - to say "you're lying" without actually saying it. But, I think you already knew that.

And, since you seem to want this:

Ad hominiem abusive

usually and most notoriously involves insulting or belittling one's opponent, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensibly damning character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent's argument.


1 : to speak slightingly of : disparage
2 : to cause (a person or thing) to seem little or less

As evidence, I submit the following attempts to belittle and dismiss:

1. The use of the third person.

2. "Urging" Marco to read 2 websites that he had already mentioned he was reading.

3. "Marco is the one trying to blow it out of proportion while at the same time Marco is ignoring". He wrote several posts before your post, and did not seem to be blowing anything out of proportion.

4. "If Marco is genuinely concerned..." It seems that the dozen followup posts did not convince you that he was genuinely concerned. You are a tough master, Mr. G.Z.

5. "if he is intellectually honest..." This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. If you do not see this as an ad hominem attack, then there is little further for us to discuss.

My use of being uneducated and simple in this post is a sly attempt at the ad hominem abusive. My saying you are are "stricter" or "a tougher master" is the same thing. Of saying I "take a broader view" implies that you take a narrower or more restrictive view. I make a substantive argument, yet I am uneducated and simple. All of this reduces you in the dialog. My apologies for any hurt feelings these abusives may have caused. I was attempting to show how the ad hominem abusive works.

The hardest part of this is how you will respond or not respond. You will feel that any response that admits wrongdoing will diminish you. Staying quiet will hurt your ego - you will feel like you are running away. Attacks will confirm the arguments in this post.

How interesting that you "frame the debate" by predefining the terms of whether I reply or not! And you've done it so you "win" regardless of what I do, yet I am not interested in your definitions. You assume that I constantly hit the refresh button on TOD and then immediately write replies. This is not correct. At the time I was reading this thread, SacredCowTipper's reply was the end of the reply chain. Without refreshing the thread (because there were still other "new" tags remaining that I wished to read) I composed and posted a reply. I continued to read the thread off and on for probably an hour before I refreshed it yet again by which time there were numerous replies. Your assumption that I must have seen these replies is therefore in error. I have already replied to your complaints about the third person. I am now replying to you about your erroneous assumption that I must have already seen the intervening replies and thus understood Marco's intent, which is incorrect. Finally, your artificial ad hominem construction is only left with the phrase "if he is intellectually honest", a phrase that I used simply to remind all reading this thread that we need to examine both sides of an issue before we conclude that one side is correct or another side is in error.

I extend my apologies to Marco. It was never my intention to belittle him, no matter what sort of artificial construct you create out of thin air. You, however, will not get an apology. If you don't like my posts, report them to the editors.

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

Can anyone else tell who touched who first in this one? Or do they both deserve time out?

[ Condescending, belittling to both, and thusly a sly ad hominiem but you, dear reader, will appreciate that I'm much more succinct :-) Dang, worked that third party thing in there, too, didn't I?]

All grousing aside, why not put those analytical and writing skills to work on something positive? Marco may or may not be a denialist troll, I may or may not be a troll of another sort, but if I am I've still got the coolest bridge ...


For what it's worth, the Reader Guidelines say:

"4. Treat members of the community with civility and respect. If you see disrespectful behavior, report it to the staff rather than further inflaming the situation.
5. Ad hominem attacks are not acceptable. If you disagree with someone, refute their statements rather than insulting them."

I can only assume these reports are given some appropriate level of attention, as I didn't receive any feedback when I reported similar behaviour last week.

I am certainly guilty of not following item 4. In my defense, I didn't feel that Mr. G.Z.'s comments were such that they should be reported to the authorities.

I am definitely guilty of breaking item 5, as I admitted in my post. In my defense, I was the one who pointed them out and apologized to Mr. G.Z.

Yet, I am guilty of ignoring the one and breaking the other. It is a weakness of mine to occasionally break rules.

They're guidelines, not rules. And the reason they're guidelines, not rules, is because rules bring the Internet lawyer-wannabes out of the woodwork. We have neither the inclination nor the resources to go down that path.

Greyzone, if I have stated any innacuracies that have not been corrected by posters on this thread then please do correct me. I do read realclimate. That is the point. For me reading more about climate change only seeems to generate more questions than it answers! I can assure you I was not trying to assign the SH ice extent an 'importance'. All I wanted were come comments on it's significance in view i'd seen no media attention on it!! It is plain it is not that significant. Question answered. My second main point in this whole thread is the fact that past climate changes (sometimes abrubt) have occured many times before. You cannot deny me this point and the significance this fact when weighing up [the importance of the anthropogenic component wrt background noise/natural climate variability] the current global warming trend.


Indeed, climate changes constantly! You can see this in the Mediterranean where there are docks underwater from the Roman era (sea level has risen).

The problem is not that climate is changing but that it appears that we are the primary agent of change and that climate is going to change in ways that are not at all well understood. Let me give you an example - over the course of the last several ice age/warm age periods, the CO2 level has varied between 180 ppm and 280 ppm. Each rise in CO2 (and other GHGs) has usually occurred in concert with the end of a warm period. It is not clear if these are cause, effect, or a bit of both but that is what the data shows. Further, these increases from 180 ppm to 280 ppm typically occurred over  thousands of years. That's an increase of 100 ppm of CO2 over thousands of years. Now, since the beginning of the industrial revolution we have driven the CO2 concentration to around 380 ppm, a gain of another 100 ppm in a scant 200 year time frame. The two concerns from this are (a) what will such a rapid and large change do to the climate and (b) what will such a large deviation from the recent geologic past do to overall climate? Clearly, CO2 levels (and other GHGs) are now present in concentrations that we have never seen before as a species and thus we have no way to know what the fallout from this will be except by attempting to build models. So you can see that the anthropogenic component is both large and way outside the norms. The last time that CO2 levels were this high (or higher) the earth was a very different planet.

The practical problem is that our civilization grew to nearly 7 billion people during a period that was an extension of that 280 ppm climate. We have unprecedented numbers of people dependent on this climate. Look at this year's wheat harvest in Australia. Yet another year of drought and the forecasts since this spring have gone from 21 million tons, to 18 million tons, to 15.5 million tons, to 13.5 million tons, now down to 9.5 million tons (and may fall again), a number so low that Australia will now import wheat for only the second year since it was colonized. The great danger of climate change is this unknown - will it create a climate that is less hospitable to 7+ billion human beings? How much less? There is a chance that it might be better but so far none of the models give us any indication of that. Indeed most of the models indicate that overall the world will be a harsher place to live and probably much less capable of supporting 7+ billion people. And that would be a practical catastrophe for huge numbers of people.

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

I was having a laugh about your 27% drop in sea ice comment, as a few months back it was becoming apparent that this year was different so I e-mailed climateark.org to tell them they had been naughty and were not following cryosphere closely and it need to be one of their keypost. So they politely thanked me and posted a few days later!


Sometimes a bit of research clears up that supposed bias.

In this case, there exist several recent scientific studies explaining, and inded, even predicting, increased Antarctic sea ice in the face of global warming. Try this one from 2005 or this one from 2006. There is another one from this year that I recently saw but cannot immediately locate.

Further, many global climate models that use coupled ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions predict increased Antarctic sea ice, at least in the near term. One even predicts increased Antarctic winter sea ice out to 2030 or later.

Thus, the very small increase in maximum Antarctic sea ice, while enough to create a new record, is not enough to excite the scientists who actually do climate research.

BTW, with the new record maximum there now arises the chance for a new record summer season melt off of Antarctic sea ice. May I presume that if that occurs you will rush here to the TOD to post an announcement of that historic MAXIMUM ICE MELT as well?

Sorry for the snark in the last paragraph. Either not enough coffee or too much - one of those mornings where I can't tell which!

I think Marco's first language might not be English ... I took him as trollish at first, too, but in later posts he redeems himself and asks genuine questions ...

I would like to pose the following question.

Is it possible some of, or even the majority of the divergence in the amount of "melt off" between the Arctic and the Antarctic ice shields is due to the prevailing wind patterns separating the two hemisphere?

This would "trap" the majority of the pollutants and GHG's in the hemisphere where they are created.

I just read the article History is Lies. Oil From Iraq and although much of its contents is well-known to readers of this site, it did include the following intriguing snip:

This resistance has irritated western oil company executives who have quietly waited on the sidelines for their prize. Work has focused on producing more from existing wells, using mostly subcontractors to hide their presence. The corporate media does its part by suppressing news of major western oil companies operating in Iraq. However, earlier this year Reuters revealed that British Petroleum has been operating in southern Iraq around the Rumaila fields that are partially developed and have combined potential output capacity of 500,000 barrels per day. This just happens to be the same area occupied by British troops.

Here in western NY daily highs have been hitting the 80s for over a week, and we have a chance to set a historic record of 85 F this afternoon.

I checked the historic temperature range for this region, and the 80s are essentially the maximum of the historic range during this time of year.

Nope, nothing to see here folks! Get back to your digital plantations of cubicles and flat-screen TVs!

Oct 5 and you can go swimming (Lake Erie is 66 deg).

Indeed, it's a perfect, beautiful day out in Rochester NY. A bit on the hot side for me, actually. Last year, winter failed to start until January, whereas, "historically" (and I quote because I'm referring to my 70's childhood here), winter is well under way in November - cold and snowy. Nowadays, I wonder when in December the snows will start, if at all, because as an adult, I've seen plenty of snowless Decembers here.

However, La Nina is supposed to give us a harsh winter, so we'll see.

I also live in upstate NY, near Binghamton. I was feeding my chickens this morning and the woods sounded almost like summer. Many birds have not flown south yet. My spinach and kale love this heat that I planted in my cold frames.

Topps Meat Company Ends Operations After 67 Years

Topps Meat Company LLC
announced today that because of the economic impact of the second-largest
beef recall in U.S. history involving more than 21.7 million pounds of
ground beef products, it is forced to close its Elizabeth plant and go out
of business effective today.

My guess...effects of high price of goods and cost-cutting measures in business.

Nope - intellectual property concerns and financial damage did them in - they shipped 21.7 million pounds of beef /w E. coli and now their name is mud and they've taken at least a sixty million dollar direct hit on the product return.

The climate is ugly for meat & produce, but this one was a quality control issue.

Yes...you can read "cost-cutting measures in business" as a lack of good quality control. These issues are popping up all over the place...from lettuce with E. Coli to Chinese toys with lead paint.

It is certainly cost-efficient to reduce your quality-control department and will work until something bad happens.

The lettuce stuff is animal waste fertilizer contamination ... early signs of peak NPK? Or just plain ol' waste disposal? We shall see ...

"US has no immediate plans to buy oil for SPR -DOE" Top link above.

Haven't folks on this site noted SPR additions in weekly comments on the Wednesday EIA reports? Any comments on the discrepancy?

The oil being added now was contracted back in May.

Re: Soaring oil prices could trigger a US attack on Iran

I would rewrite the headline to read:

"Declining oil exports could trigger a US attack on Iran"

We (Khebab, that is) are working on the final graphs for the Net Exports Paper.

If I haven't mentioned it in the past 30 minutes, I would very, very, very strongly encourage you to consider the following recommendations:

ELP Plan (April, 2007)

Published on 22 Jul 2004 by San Francisco Chronicle. Archived on 25 Apr 2005.
Berkeley: Urban farmers produce nearly all their food with a sustainable garden in their backyard

WT...you really worry me sometimes...you know that don't you?

westexas - when do you personally expect the shit to hit the fan?

I think that we have a developing supply/demand imbalance in the fourth quarter. But the key point about the ELM is that it shows that a net export decline rate tends to accelerate with time, in contrast to a long term steady production decline rate.

For example, with a 2% production decline rate, we would lose 200,000 bpd from a production base of 10 mbpd, but only 100,000 bpd at a 5 mbpd level.

But the ELM and UK and Indonesian case histories all show that the net export decline rate accelerates with time, so the volume of declining exports is about the same or tends to increase with time, rather than decreasing.

One point that I have made several times is that events so far seem to be following the Peak Oil/Peak Exports "script." So, what are the chances that future events will deviate from the remainder of the script?

Perhaps this trend could be altered by establishing higher taxes on domestic consumption, but even that has upper limits. Many producing companies subsidize consumption. Iran had major problems when they merely reduced subsidies, I can't imagine what might have happened if they had slapped on taxes.

Also perhaps much of the internal consumption is dreadfully inefficient (ie being used for electricity generation), and might be replaced by more efficient non-oil based technologies. Of course, that would probably lead the oil to be used by some other sector of the internal market.

Population control programs like Iran's or China's could also affect consumption rates, but I'd be willing to bet that the smaller population would just consume more to make up the gap.

The states that control the majority of the oil on the planet will have to try and follow an impossible balancing act of maintaining the flow of foreign currency into their economy and keeping a lid on their restive population. Fighting against the trend of ELM requires the expenditure of a great deal of energy, and it's no surprise that most of these states are not willing to take those risks - at least at $80 oil.

Perhaps the paradigm could suddenly change if, for example, someone starts dropping neutron bombs around the oil fields. It's a question of how far states are willing to go to secure their perceived interests. I think the record of the 20th century indicates that they are willing to do anything they can until they are forced to stop.

Hello Westexas...I enjoy reviewing your work and ongoing analysis as we move thru time. You have mentioned frequently that the ELM, UK, and Indonensian case histories all show decline rates..." (you know the rest)

Have you ever taken your position and applied an contrarian analysis to it. How would it stand up if you attacked your model. Are there other case histories or analogues. Is there evidence of a plethora of new fields coming on line over the period of the next 6 months that could cause a plateau or potential reverse in the export decline.

I have to admit the data you have presented is both sobering and empericaly credible. And I mean no disrespect, but there is a certain repetition to some of your comments which is not in itself meaningful, but it causes me to explore if every angle (within reason) has been scrutinized. I say this only because I presume a great many folks are weighing the concequences of this trend and its impact on a great many of things (large and small...personal and business, etc).

Thanks in advance for your consideration

There is a point not stated here that I think most of us do all know: that is that the shit IS hitting the fan. There are now many reports on a daily basis of demand destruction in many poorer countries. The real question is when will shit work it's way onto our fans. It was the economist or some other publication recently that posed the question 'could we survive $100 oil?' The answer to that is not so simple as we have a more liberal definition of surviving than your average Sudanese. We will survive $100 dollar oil far better than 'they' will!. Sad but true.


"We will survive $100 dollar oil far better than 'they' will!. Sad but true."

Just to clarify: you believe that those who are living on 2 jelly beans and will be dropping to 1, will be worse off than those who are living on 200 jelly beans and will be dropping to 1?

i read the point more like

100 oil means really, at the moment, that those with 2 jellybeans may fall to one, while those with 10 jellybeans fall to 9 etc.

and i think this IS the world we live in right now

now, going forward ultimately it falls to one jellybean or less for all of us, but we aren't there yet... i think that was the gist of the comment no?
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

$$$$$ We need a modern version of the WWII victory garden. All the suburbanites would grow biodiesel plants in their yards and take them when harvested to the grocery store to be transported to the biodiesel refinery. They would get a biodiesel purchase ticket in return.

Hank, This is an idea I've had for several years now as a way for local communities to provide feedstock for fuel production aimed at local services/infrastructure support. I really doubt if enough feedstock can be grown to supply any locale's "normal" use of transport fuels, so adjustments in consumption attitudes would still need to change markedly. My preferred plants for feedstock in my locale--Oregon Coast interior near Alsea--are sugar beets for ethanol and castor beans for biodiesel.

We (Khebab, that is) are working on the final graphs for the Net Exports Paper.

Westexas, I'd like to propose a title for your paper.

Call it:

ELM - Export Land Model
Peak Oil on Steroids


WT, this article explains why attacking Iran would probably turn out WORSE than Iran:


Errol in Miami

Edited to correct link

While we're asking Q's of WT, here's one (or for anyone else who can answer it.) As best I recall the numbers, the US currently consumes about 21 mbd, correct? Domestic production is now about 5 mbd, correct? Graph of Us Production/Consumption So how can imports be down in the range of 10mbd, as shown in this 2005 data, or even the 12.2 mbd, as reported in Tom Whipple’s latest Don't imports have to be more on the order of 15 mbd? I ask both out of general curiosity/wanting to clarify this data discrepancy and also with respect to this scary graph of net exports. That is, what chunk of that rapidly declining pie does the US currently (and in the future hope to) lay claim to?

The gap is largely refinery gains, which accounts for a lot of US Total Liquids production.

Having said that, total petroleum imports are down, and we have met demand by drawing down product inventories by 70 mb or so if memory serves, versus late September, 2006.

The "interesting" collision that we are sailing toward is the collision between the conventional wisdom assumption of constantly increasing oil exports and the reality of declining oil exports.

The net result, IMO, will be a rapid, and accelerating decline in the use of petroleum for transportation purposes. EOT anyone?

Thanks, WT. So refinery gains are on the order of 3-4 mbd? That is 5 mbd domestic plus 12 mbd imports = 17 mbd, refinery gains making up the balance toward our 20-21 mbd consumption (less the inventory drawdown as you note)?

In any case, looking at the net export curve as extrapolated by GliderGuider and the accelerating US import curve and expectation, makes me wonder how anyone could not 'get' the message you have been trying to convey, WT.

If there is a way to ameliorate this coming catastrophe, you deserve to be held along side Paul Revere as a historic messenger.

But I fear amelioration is not in the cards.

Domestic production is now about 5 mbd, correct?

C+C yes. But the 21 mbd figure is All Liquids! You must learn not to mix apples and oranges, or C+C and All Liquids!

All liquids US production for June 07: 8.520 mb/d

US all liquids net imports for last week: 12,328 mb/d

That comes to just under 21 million barrels per day. For some periods it is as low as 20 mb/d and others it is over 22 mb/d but it averages around 21 mb/d for All Liquids. C+C would be considerably less. (I know, the production numbers is a daily average for a month and the net imports is a daily average for only one week. But they are both dailyaverages so it makes no difference.)

You cannot mis C+C and All Liquids in the same data analysis.

Ron Patterson

Besides processing gains of ~1 mbpd. you are also missing domestic production of natural gas liquids of ~2mbpd. and product imports of another ~2mbpd. Plus domestic oil production of 5mbpd and oil imports of 10 mbpd it adds up to 20mbpd and change.

Check out the latest Petroleum status report

Thanks to you both for the clarifications.

Doomers live in their own world, '...one constrained by the laws of physics....'

And I am supposed to take seriously the ramblings of some who feels that the laws of physics are just part of the constraints which most of us take too seriously?

Now if only someone could tell me how to avoid the laws of physics, I'm set. Though I have read that a good way to fly is to throw yourself at the ground - and miss.


You must be one of those living in the reality-based community. ;-)

To escape physics, move to Cornucopistan.

this constant pandering to god-botherers is a major reason why i am more doomerish for the US than other Western societies... though it's a matter of degree I guess... I am still a big-die-off fast-crash realist
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I posted a little Finance Round-Up update here, based on this morning's news. We'll see more of this heading into Christmas, numbers coming out of closets.

The major banks use the Fed rate cut for mass write-offs, but they are in such bad shape, none of it trickles down, and it'll get worse.

Home builders are in survival mode. “They're selling homes at any price they can get.” Real estate prices for 2008 will thus be set by what's bid at auctions. My take: "Don’t be surprised by a 25% overall drop within a year". Be careful out there. If you have a mortgage, check your equity.

2008: The Year of the Margin Call.

What? The jobs report this morning was great. The stock market jumped to near record highs on the news. Nothing to worry about. It's going to be a great Christmas.

Or maybe not.

"This holiday season is going to be terrible," said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of retail consulting and investment banking firm Davidowitz & Associates. He thinks holiday sales will rise a mere 2 percent over last year.

"Only" 2% growth is "terrible." The infinite growth economy at its finest.

What's more, retailers will have a harder time attracting consumers to their stores, according to ShopperTrak RCT. Data from the Chicago-based market research firm show that visits to malls nationwide have declined seven out of the past eight months.

Americans are making fewer trips to stores as gas prices have risen. They are also making more online purchases and bulk-buys at wholesale clubs like Costco and Sam's Club.

"It's the first time that we've seen traffic fall across the United States, and we're alarmed by this continuous drop," said Bill Martin, CEO of ShopperTrak, which monitors traffic and sales at 50,000 retail locations.

With 12 to 14% real inflation a 2% growth is terrible because it isn't growth at all.

If they were counting widgets instead of $ they would be losing around 10% with his numbers.

Might be worse.

Well, yeah, you'e right, jobs look good (at Burger King), so does the Dow, and I'll be the first to admit there's enough manipulation going on to get one last great shopping Christmas. But if there is one, I do think it'll be the last in a long long time.

However, in just the few things I read this morning, there are plenty indications that it will take a lot of covering up and under-the-carpet sweeping. It's the hologram meets The Truman Show.

But it would take for a lot of numbers not to be published too openly. In that update I cited an article that said Citigroup this week upgraded homebuilder stocks; hard to believe, since they're dying out there, but some people do fall for it.

Lots of others, though, will want to know what their investnents are worth, and they'll want to know before Christmas. If those calls get strong enough, beware. When pension funds' derivatives gambling sees the light of day, we may yet see hordes of gun-toting grannies under the mistletoe

All I can say is I believe my eyes more than the statistics posted on "economic" health. I see many new store fronts built, but no tenants. I see independent gas stations closing by the handful. I see my grocery bill edging up, but my paycheck holding steady. I see my daycare prices going up. I see my health care costs going up. I see Xmas trees in the front of store at Hobby Lobby a month ago. I see retailers already offering discounts to lure reluctant shoppers. I wonder which product in my refrigerator and my kids toybox will be on the next recall list. I wonder why the hell it's almost 90 degrees in Kansas City today.

When will people believe what is right in front of their noses instead of what slop comes out of the talking, digital heads?

Sorry for the late day rant.

i like the way this is worded... i just wish ONE of the political candidates for the poisoned chalice that is the 2008 US Presidential election had the courage to actually start saying things like this...

...i still think there is a "daisy" type political ad that could catapult someone to the head of the crowd if they were serious about tackling Peak Oil, along the lines of:

"This is how and why you and your children are probably going to die. Soon. And not well"

Quick 60 second set of statements pointing out:
1. 95% of all food production is based on petrochemical inputs
2. Oil production has peaked or is peaking
3. Topsoil is depleted
4. Global Warming is far worse than we've been led to believe up to now - scientists models criticzed as alarmist are turning out to have underestimated the problem
5. None of these solutions you're being proposed - wind, solar, etc. can maintain business as usual
6. This will cause economic collapse, hardship, suffering and mass starvation

Corrected and fact checked with a website with the broader deeper points on. Would get some attention - probably woudn't get you elected. Someone with nothing to lose... I just wish they'd give it a try... I've been threatening to YouTube something similar for some time now... I really should

(Yes it is alarmist and I know some people around here think that's counter productive... but we need to move the overton window on this... pussyfooting around is a failed strategy - look how well quiet rational nudges worked on global warming, when it was clearly a problem 10-20 years ago when they first started making a fuss about it)
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Hi RA,

Thanks for your list. One (very) sincere question:

re: "6. This will cause economic collapse, hardship, suffering and mass starvation"

and re: "5. None of these solutions you're being proposed - wind, solar, etc. can maintain business as usual", etc.

What is it you suggest people do?

Once they read this ad and you have their "attention"?


therein lies the big question for us all right?

what use wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise?

my personal aim for communicating to people my fears regarding Peak Oil is that - as I believe only a tiny tiny number of people will do ANYTHING even if told in stark undeniable terms what is happening - some small portion of those I alert actually do something in terms of moving to a sustainable lifestyle and making it through the bottleneck

i still hold out hope (though i doubt it'll happen) that society can mobilize enough people to make enough changes to powerdown and create a lifeboat strategy and either mitigate the worst or at least preserve something through the fall

doubt it'll happen

but i think the only chance of anything happening is people actually starting to believe they or their loved ones have a really good chance of dying if they don't do something

i know they'll still have a good chance of dying but there we go

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

In assessing the probability of mass starvation, it would be good to know how much oil and gas the US and the world use in agricultural production. Anyone? My guess would be less than 10%. Whether by rationing, or by market forces, it seems likely to me that farm tractors and equipment will be among the last machines idled for lack of fuel... long after all planes have been grounded and SUV's have turned to dust. While anything is possible, I think the probability of starvation being a problem in the US "soon", or anytime over the next 20 years is pretty low.That's not to say there won't be problems, there will be, just probably not starvation.

This is an important point that doesn't seem to get addressed here all that well - the assumption seems to be that we'll all take the same fraction of whatever fuel is remaining, but this will not be the case. We can only get 16% of our total driving needs from all of our crop land based on current consumption, but if automobiles are priced and taxed out of existence we can still fuel tractors and whatnot on biofuels ... but not that cruddy 1.3 EROI corn ethanol stuff :-)

i think that military machinery will get priority over farm machinery to feed the masses

and i believe it is doubtful that the level of organization to distribute petrol will remain in tact in a meaningful way to get it to market
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I think as food and gas become scarce and the realization that the situation will not improve, supermarkets and gas stations will close.
Food and gas outlets will be concentrated where they can be protected, most likely by the government.
Probably the concentrated outlets will diminish in number in time as the viability of suburbia wanes.
The black market will flourish for a time.
It will be survival of the fittest, quickest and smartest.
The old, feeble, weak and disabled will find it very hard to survive.
That is my bleakest outlook.....prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

It is best to dig the well before you are thirsty.

Folks, please remember that unmodified tractors ( and pickups) can run on wood gasifiers, Gasifiers take any old biomass, if it is chopped up a little. If there is anything that farmers have a lot of, it's biomass- too-old hay, corn stover, tree trash, nut hulls, pea pods, all that is food for tractors. Been done, can be done.

When will people believe what is right in front of their noses instead of what slop comes out of the talking, digital heads?

The old question.

Who you gonna believe?

The Goverment?
Or Your Lying Eyes?


I still maintain it will be "boxing quarter specials" after this upcoming season.


There is a spec condo tower on the shores of East Lake Okoboji and they've got a big sign on the side that says "special for first eight units sold". Having looked at the parking lot I'd guess occupancy to be ... zero :-( Iowa is mostly sensible but the hip (relatively) Okoboji area is definitely going to get a property value spanking along with the rest of the country.

If you don't have to live with the "in" people you can get something like this for less than $10,000 ...


From The Housing Bubble Blog. It would appear that Lennar, at least for now, is abandoning this subdivision, with dozens of homes already built.

The Desert Sun reports from California. “Uncertainty surrounds Escena, the much-touted 1,400-home project that is the first golf course development built in Palm Springs in two decades. Home-building giant Lennar Corp. has stopped pouring foundations for new homes at the upscale gated development south of Vista Chino. ‘They shut down their sales offices and are not finishing construction on the clubhouse. It is 95 percent done. They are not going to finish it,’ Councilman Chris Mills said. ‘The market drives everything.’”

“Dozens of homes from about 1,900 to 3,000 square feet along the golf course and in courtyards stand empty and ready for occupancy, but buyers have not materialized as envisioned. It’s a far cry from three or four years ago, when buyers sat on waiting lists for new homes in many valley developments.”

“Mills said city staff told him that Lennar has refunded deposits that were taken from prospective homebuyers. ‘You don’t want people out there,’ he said, because Lennar would be responsible for maintaining the project.”

my friends with a house for sale in La Quinta aren't going to like this news.

I don't understand this --

My take: "Don’t be surprised by a 25% overall drop within a year". Be careful out there. If you have a mortgage, check your equity.

If you have a mortgage, check your equity. -- What exactly does this mean?

I'm not an expert on this but

If you have $300,000 in mortages on your home and a house like yours just down the street just sold at auction for $225,000 then your house is only worth $225,000 now. Or you are now upside down $75,000 on the house.


Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

Classically, loans are issued based upon the value of the collateral for the loan. In the case of a mortgage, this amounts to the value of the house. So the loan is "secured" by the value of the house. So long as the value of the house is either static or rising, this is fine. But what happens when the house drops in value below the value of the mortgage? Now the mortgage is no longer fully secured and the lender feels that they are out on a limb. Again, classically, loans would have "call" provisions that allow the lender to "call in" the loan. At that point the borrower with the mortgage must come up with complete remaining value of the loan to pay off the "call" being made. If the borrower cannot come up with cash to pay off the loan (or optionally, sometimes just enough to reduce the lender's exposure gap) then the lenger will seize the collateral (in this case, the house). Anyone who has a mortgage should review the terms of their mortgage and see if it has a call provision. If it does and if the value of the house declines sufficiently, your lender may call in your loan. If you cannot meet that call, you will have to surrender the premises to the lender.

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

Thank you very much.

The lender won't want the house back with the market overstuffed and would prefer some income, but the market will say they're at risk, not working the money correctly, etc, so the "call" will come. As oil gets dearer and the dollar sinks this spiral will end with the middle class and their "home as a retirement asset" completely wiped out.

Maybe "classically" loans were like that but I have never seen one. If I had to bet, I'd say these call provisions are rare in the US. Even if they weren't, the bank would much rather have you sending a check every month than trying to sell the house.

If this is a true and representative picture of what US debt and consumer society has now become then all I can say is these people almost deserve whats coming......(and thats a horrid thing to say):


Saw an article this morning where a couple bought a house for 210K in 2002, then in 05 they got a home equity loan for over 440K. Now they whine because the payments are too high.

What happened to the unearned profit they burned?
Poor babies, they may have to work for a living.

They are entitlement whores and deserve to be stepped on hard by reality.

Life and debt in suburbia

Like middle-class families everywhere, the Mendells, Steins and Wrights judged their own financial health by how they thought their neighbors were doing. How wrong they were.

It's not how much money you have. It's how much more than the neighbors.

It's not how much money you have. It's how much more than the neighbors.

It's not even what you have, it's what you appear to have.

".... by how they thought their neighbors were doing. "

Life in a hologram.

I know he's hard reading sometimes, but I really do recommend people read Baudrillard and his critiques of America and Western society as a whole...

...you don't have to buy everything he says wholesale, but this is exactly what he talks about...

we're so detached from anything of substance imagined impressions of ideas of concepts of conceits about how things should be are taken as reality when they are so far from reality... no wonder the current US junta makes statements like "we create our own reality" and gets away with it
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

we're so detached from anything of substance

That's because we operate on the basis of "feelings" rather than on the basis of thinking things out.

Money is an abstraction. Yet it "feels" real because people treat us in accordance with the amount of money assigned to our account.

Energy is a real physical parameter. Yet it "feels" unreal because people do not treat us in accordance with the amount of physics type energy we bring to the party.

The only time we "feel" energy is when it is absent, as in starvation and death.

Step back,
the contrary is true also. Any thought process is based on a model of reality, but if the model is flawed, then the thought process is flawed,too. The Al Quaida suicide bombers knew thay were going directly to heaven with 72 virgins serving their every carnal desire as payment for hijacking a plane and flying it into the World Trade Center.Perfect logic based on revalation of God's will.

Or, George W. Bush et al think its the Iraqii's fault for the continuing war because they keep mistaking the 300K plus Americans in Iraq for an invading army when we are there to bring them Democracy.

Thought needs to be tempered with emotion, and feelings with reason Bob Ebersole

Thought needs to be tempered with emotion, and feelings with reason


I wish the reptilian core in my brain actually gave a care, but it doesn't. It's too busy trying to continue its existence on a moment by moment basis.

Unfortunately --thanks to evolution-- we are all reptile heads at our core and thus not much wiser than a 9/11 hijacker or a shrubs-for-brains President.

Remember: Childrens do learns.

(P.S. You forgot to mention the additional 300K of Blackwater mercenaries who are passing on the message of Democracy, Free Markets and Liberation to the Iraqi people with the aid of our tax dollars and their oil. Isn't capitalism just great?)

There is no value to comparing your insides to someone else's outsides :-)

I posted a story last week about the upper income couple that was not "rich enough" to drive a Buick, whereas Ross Perot, a billionaire, could drive whatever he wanted to drive.

Well, here in Delaware - ancestoral (and some would say, feudal) seat of the DuPont family - old man Irenée DuPont, who lived in a mansion about twice the size of my old high school, and who could easily have affored to buy at least 100 Rolls Royces, instead chose to drive a stock beat-up old VW Beetle .... sort of as the ultimate expression of reverse snobbery.

True-blue old money is very quite .... it's the newly rich who are exceedingly obnoxious, insecure, and have a compulsive need to show how rich they are.

Here's a slightly off-topic article from yesterday's Economist:

Patience, fairness and the human condition

"Apes are patient, but only people are fair. That may help explain why people came out on top"
When it comes to fairness, though, it is a different story. Economic theory has contrived a species it calls Homo economicus—a “rational maximiser” who grabs what he can for himself. But, curiously, he makes no appearance in the ultimatum game, a classic economics experiment.
Homo economicus would accept any division in which his share was not zero. But that is not what happens. Scores of studies have run the ultimatum game across cultures and ages. Universally, people reject any share lower than 20%—apparently to punish the greed of the proposer. People do not act like Homo economicus. Instead, they are the arbiters of fairness.
The result, which Dr Jensen reports in Science, is that chimps are simply rational maximisers—Pan economicus, if you like. Though proposers consistently chose the highest possible number of raisins for themselves, responders rarely rejected even the stingiest offers.
Nor, according to the third of this convenient trilogy of papers, is a sense of fairness rooted in culture. Rather, it is genetic—as it would have to be in order to evolve. Paradoxically, discovering this relies on the fact that not everyone possesses it to the same degree.

I'm sure Nate will find some very interesting results of this. The best I can come up with is that many people are soon going to find themselves with a very unfair seeming situation. Unfortunately, humans, unlike chimps, are not likely to take this unfairness sitting down. So, while economics would tell us that people will make the rational decision to take what life gives them, I expect people will instead try to take a "fair" amount from the rich guy who "stole" it from them.

Here is something interesting as well:

Genes influence people's economic choices

The researchers' findings suggest that genetic influences account for as much as 40 percent of the variation in how people respond to unfair offers. In other words, identical twins were more likely to play with the same strategy than fraternal twins.

Interesting indeed. However, I wonder just how messed-up it makes one to be a Swedish identical twin. Or any identical twin. There is an additional variable introduced: identical human twins are often treated differently by society than are "one-off" kids, making them feel 'special, novel or different', and evolve their personal strategies for life in this altered context. Thus, unless you use identical twins who were raised separately - which I didn't see noted here - it might just be a shared screwed-up sense of entitlement or learned passivity, and not necessarily genetics.

yeah, I'm being picky, but just THINK how popular swedish twins must be.

If I know The Economist, they will soon demand, very politely, from their editorial pages that the human race be exterminated and replaced with chimpanzees, in the name of economic efficiency.

Apes are patient, but only people are fair. That may help explain why people came out on top

Or not. Capuchin monkeys say "take this cucumber and shove it!"

Humans' pathological fixation on what they think other humans are 'getting' will destroy the world, most likely. Fair's fair.


if this link doesn't work, google "capuchin fairness"... or here's a shorter link


My guess is this will actually turn out to be a pretty common thing in social species and not just primates.

The "Machiavellian" theory of intelligence postulates that intelligence evolved, not to make tools or hunt mammoths, but to keep up with the politics of the tribe. Who's friends with who, who's getting more and who's getting less, who's lying and who's telling the truth, who's following the rules and who isn't, etc. It's not unique to humans, but we've certainly carried it to a higher level. It's what we do.

I suspect many of the behaviors we look down on - gossip, keeping up with the Joneses, vindictiveness - are in fact deeply, essentially human. We have to find ways to work with them, rather than against them.

Many of the behaviors we look down on - gossip, [ad hominen attacks,] keeping up with the Joneses, [outdoing a fellow TODder,] vindictiveness - are in fact deeply, essentially human. We have to find ways to work with them

We are working with them.

There are different sorts of 'intelligence'; in fact the word itself is problematic. I once created an underwater lab to enable dolphins to use light and sound to control real and artificial situations, which proved interesting and drove home the point that there are many different attributes commonly lumped together under that word.

Learning to recognize and transcend one's own Machiavellian tendencies is difficult and no fun, so I doubt it'll ever be popular. It's a pity that we'll likely take the dolphins and others with us as we go.

Indeed, I think it not unlikely that this effect in humans is largely responsible for how fkked-up we are, and the resulting fate of our environment. We expect the universe to be fair. That idiosyncracy leads to the others. It causes us to create and be motivated by "imaginary afterlives" in which all is made "fair". It causes us to impute motive to the mechanistic universe, creating gods in our sneaky and vindictive image. And since we can always imagine someone who has more than we do, we compulsively accumulate for accumulation's sake.

Indeed, even most who strive for perspective have a hard time seeing how the problem could be fixed, because there are no workable "fair" solutions to the problem.

Woe to any planet in which a species desiring 'fairness' discovers technology first. It perhaps should be a factor in the Drake equation.

And who will teach the monkeys that perfect fairness is the least fair thing of all? The laws of the universe teach it everyday; we monkeys chatter and ignore it.

We'll see how that works out for us.

I recall a study done about the content of everyday speech and a surprising finding was that some large percentage of it had little to do with conveying apparently useful information -- it mostly amounted to gossip.

Gossip is useful information. At least if it's about people you know.

It's less useful if it's about celebrities (Britney, Paris, OJ, etc.). That's sort of a quirk of our Stone Age brains. When we evolved, gossip was always about someone you knew.

Well, yeah, that's why I wrote *apparently* useful. Bad wording, sorry.

We are october 5th, 2007. At September 13th, WTI closed above 80$ for the first time, prompting OPEC to assure the market that they would take actions if this price was to stay 15 to 20 more days.

It's been more than 20 days now, and WTI closed above 81$ today. Where are the pledged actions?

Would you settle for another pledge?

As of last week average oil price (as measured by the WTI Spot market benchmark finally "caught up" and exceeded the annual average price for oil in 2006.

Unless oil suddenly flops and drops below $66/barrel for the remainder of the year, 2007 will continue the trend started in the late 1990's (with 2000 as a bit of an outlier).

Just though I'd add my two cents to the litany of an economic downturn.

My brother was an industrial architect, but was laid off several years ago. He became a commercial real estate salesman. He did alright for the last couple of years, but this year everything just dried up.

His answer was to empty the equity in his house, and buy a coffee shop. He then increased the number of employees at the shop (so he didn't have to work there all the time), and invest in equipment for the store with money he didn't have.

He is now months behind on his mortgage payments and maxed out on his credit cards.

At the same time, his wife insists they continue their life style unabated, and act like they still have money. While allowing my nephew to quit his after school job because, “he didn't like it”.

I love my brother, but he and his wife can't seem to understand they aren't making 100k a year anymore.

Meanwhile my step sister and her husband are in similar straights. They are still employed, but are working 12 hour days to try and maintain an affluence they no longer have time to enjoy.

This would be understandable if these were young families just starting out, but these people are 50. They are sending their kids through college for useless degrees like English, video game design and elementary education.

My boss's brother is in a similar situation. He owns a factory that makes specialized plastic bags. It looks like he is headed for bankruptcy.

I've tried to get them to economize and get out of debt for years (long before hearing westexas talk about ELP ), but they are addicted to “stuff” and convinced that one more big loan will bring them success.

Sleep walking to disaster doesn't even begin to describe it. They are drawn to disaster like a moth to a flame.

The last year my ex and I were together we made $170k between us. The gas was turned off that November for nonpayment ... I dunno where it was all going, but I don't see how you can gross $15k a month and not pay a $60 gas bill ...

That is some years in the past and my income has never truly recovered but my weight, heart rate, and blood pressure are at enviable levels.

A few months back she called me up grousing about some bill and I could tell she was stressed. Putting a line of credit in front of that woman was like putting a line of coke in front of a junkie - up it would go, then blame someone else for the problems caused. She'd been playing the refinance game until she had 125% of the highly inflated value of the house out and nothing to show for it - couldn't even get the gutters fixed. Her mother died and that bailed her out ... this time. I hope this whole collapse will put an end to people loaning that woman money ...

My combined debt is maybe 50% of a year's pay and most of that is my new car ... even so I wish it were zero. Perhaps if things stay together for another year it will be ...

Like "Reggie" from The Nutty Professor said "Women be shoppin'! you cannot stop a woman from shoppin'" ;)

Nah, it was drama. Make a mess, push it onto my side of the street, then figure out how to do another one while blaming me for the first. Good riddance to that one ...

i recognise lots of that believe me

did her parents divorce in her teens by any chance?
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

... then figure out how to do another one while blaming [someone else --spouse, terrorists, liberals, etc.]

Doesn't that describe the whole of our society?

Isn't there always someone else to "blame"?

Thank God none of it is due to any of my faults. :-)

I don't think denial and self delusion are unique to the USA.
Japan still is in denial about WWII
The Arabs blame all their problems on the west.
Hitler used German self delusion.

I'm sure that you could go to any society in the planet and find massive self delusion. There are no homosexuals in Iran, would be a good example.

You're right.

It's human nature.

We each picture the self as a fault free model.
Therefore, if something is awry in the bigger picture it must logically be another who is deserving of blame.

You're right.

It's human nature.

We each picture the self as a fault free model.
Therefore, if something is awry in the bigger picture it must logically be another who is deserving of blame.

If anything the opposite is true. We are taught guilt and penance from a very early age, given little control over the more meaningful things in life and expected to support "experts" who "know" the truth.

We are taught guilt and penance from a very early age, given little control

Sorry. I don't share your religious background.
From what little I understand, don't you people (I mean you people) go into a cleansing booth every week to be rid/ cleansed of your faults (for a price)? Isn't the goal of your religion to believe yourself cleansed of faults by virtue of a certain mind state (i.e. true, sincere belief and weekly payments to mother church)?

As for free will and being given control ... no creature on this Earth is. You are what you are when you are born, with all the baggage of your genetics and the culture into which you are born. Free will is a myth generated by organized religions in order to justify their existence just like "free markets" is a myth generated by organized elites to justify their existence.

Free will is a myth generated by organized religions in order to justify their existence just like "free markets" is a myth generated by organized elites to justify their existence.

You made my point for me, if you're not responsible for yourself you're responsible for nothing. For the record I wasn't talking about Catholics (who I believe you were refering to) I was talking about society in general.

If you're not responsible for your [own actions] ... you're responsible for nothing. ... I was talking about society in general.

Yes, of course. I've been noticing a great deal of responsibility-taking (guilt and penance) by those who are in leadership positions in our society in general (now and in the past).

General Powell-- lying to the UN, to the whole world and then mumbling something about pottery barns.

General Petraeus (the betray us guy)-- lying to Congress about the surge ubber alis.

General Dwight Eisenhower-- sneaking out the back door and finally making a departing, wash thy hands remark about the military-industrial complex; a complex that spawned under his watch.

The people who rise to the top in our society are those who have no remorse (take no responsibility) for the dead bodies they stepped on during their climb to the top. The people who actually take responsibility never get to the top because they are weighted down by the gravity of their responsibilities.

Do you want it both ways, do you want to blame people for their own actions yet still claim they heve no free will?

The people who actually take responsibility never get to the top because they are weighted down by the gravity of their responsibilities.

But if they have no free will and just work at the behest of their masters what are they responsible for, sounds like all they have is crushing guilt after taking "responsibility" for the actions of others.

... sounds like all they have is crushing guilt after taking "responsibility" for the actions of others.

That's probably an astute observation, with the qualifier, "crushing" having an evolutionary consequence when it comes to success in reproducing offspring.

The responsible, but crushed, probably don't reproduce as much as the irresponsible and uncrushed.

It may be that our genetics is driving us towards becoming a collection of brazen, irresponsible risk takers with little in the way of self-punishing "guilt" for our bad behaviors or their long term consequences. The here and now advantages (i.e., oil, nukes and power) that allow us to maximize our reproductive success take precedence over all other concerns. (Maybe that explains the whole Peak Oil and AGW denial thing?)

Today's NY Times has a story about baboon society (How Baboons Think). Apparently the male baboons that reproduce the most are the ones that kill off their competitor's offspring (infanticide) thus assuring a continuing line of more baby killers in their own image. While killing babies is considered abhorrent in modern human society, apparently it is quite the norm in baboon society with 50% of all babies dying that way.

In human society, the killing of "others" may take its form in genocide and nationalistic irradiation of peoples from the wrong side of the fence. George Bush may be killing off Iraqi's simply to make sure that our Western society reproduces more of "us" over here before "they" reproduce more of themselves over there. Adolf Hitler was probably also engaged in male baboon-like thinking when pursuing racial purity for "his" German people. (Sorry, I know it's un-PC to mention AH.) The same behavior is repeated in the killing fields all around the world, Darfur, Rowanda, etc.

Bottom line is that those who have "guilt" and are crushed by it don't climb high on the evolutionary, reproductive mountain while those that have no guilt and are ready to kill off the babies of "others" succeed in spreading their seed in the directions of all 4 winds.

If Your Income Don't Meet Your Out Go,
Your Up Keep Will Be Your Down Fall

This is just out of curiousity, and mainly a question for Americans -

How many of you have never had any debt, ever? This question is not an absolute, by the way - borrowing money is not quite identical to debt, odd as that sounds. To better frame it perhaps, how many people here have never had obligations to pay that exceeded their savings/assets? As a further refinemint, a 30 years fixed rate mortgage, which allows prepayment, and which is being prepaid (even only a few dollars a month - which at the beginning of a mortgage can have a dramtic effect) does not count as debt for this question.

As a guess, somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of Germans in this region (southern and conservative) would answer they have never had debt, though in part, that is because of family, and the lack of opportunities to go into debt in the past (Germany is slowly changing, culturally and legally, however - thanks Citibank, GE, etc.).

I just can't grasp how the ability to go into more debt is equated with wealth for so many Americans. It truly makes no sense, but at this point, maybe so many people are in debt, the only reasonable measure of wealth is the size of your debt. No wonder some people hate being constrained by the laws of physics.

I am unusual here in Australia. The nearest I have come is when I bought a $15000 dollar car. I paid it off in 3 years.

I would say just about everyone else, has large cars, boats, holidays, etc and of course there is always an investment house or two. I do not understand how they do it.

As a guess, somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of Germans in this region (southern and conservative) would answer they have never had debt, though in part, that is because of family, and the lack of opportunities to go into debt in the past (Germany is slowly changing, culturally and legally, however - thanks Citibank, GE, etc.).

I suspect there's also the lack of need to go into debt.

I've been in debt. Deeply in debt. The first time was to pay for my college education. I had a full Air Force ROTC scholarship, and also worked part time. My parents had saved some college money for me, and I had saved all my childhood, too. But it didn't cover everything. I had to take out loans.

Dunno about Germany, but I've been told that in parts of Europe, college is free.

Health care costs are the reason many Americans get into trouble. Even if they have insurance, it's not enough. I suspect that's not really an issue in Germany, either.

Here in Norway there is a ceiling on health care costs of around $300 per year: if you spend more than that it's for free. College is for free, you only have to be admitted based on your grades from our equivalent of high school (much like the german gymnasium) or some other credential. To be allowed to take the exams there is a nominal fee of around $80 to the student organisation. Living expenses are not covered, but the government provides loans to anyone of about $13000for up to 8 years of education. These loans are interest free for as long as you are studying.

I financed one new car in 1969 and several houses, nothing else.
I use credit cards for the rebates and convenience but always pay them off as soon as I get a statement. No fees, no interest.

I am creating artificial life, declares US gene pioneer


Mr Venter believes designer genomes have enormous positive potential if properly regulated. In the long-term, he hopes they could lead to alternative energy sources previously unthinkable. Bacteria could be created, he speculates, that could help mop up excessive carbon dioxide, thus contributing to the solution to global warming, or produce fuels such as butane or propane made entirely from sugar.

Technology anyone?

Better living through Alchemy.

This is not such a big announcement - some years ago I recall an article about how simple it was to build a polio virus from scratch - they're just not that complex.

I don't understand why they would have scrubbed the introns beyond the fact that it makes the whole construction a little simpler. There is a character in Bruce Sterling's Distraction who was a genetic engineered baby and he lacked introns ... which was attributed to lazy geneticists.

Now a bitumen to lighter liquids critter would be exciting ... but I am not holding my breath.

there are some bugs that act as catalysts downhole in oil sands, They reduce the gravity of the oil downhole i well bores by eating asphalt. This raises the gravity of the oil and make it easier to produce. Google "microbiological, tertiary oil production" and you'll see links to some sites. Its been experimented with for the last 30 years or so, but isn't one of the most common methods used Bob Ebersole

Alfred Nobel thought that dynamite would put an end to war.

"I am creating artificial life, declares US gene pioneer"

Can this guy say "hubris"? Jeeez...

1) The carbon in CO2 is fully oxidized; to do anything more with it requires exogenous energy

2) There already exist numerous organisms that reduce CO2 by utilizing exogenous energy; they are called green plants. Trees actually do "mop up excess carbon dioxide".

Errol in Miami

Jeff Rubins observation that exporting nations are becoming much higher energy users may be due to declines in net energy (more internal oil and gas needed to find and extract the new oil fields) than any 'wealth effect'. I talked to him about this in Ireland and he agreed it was plausible but hadnt analyzed it in this fashion - of course it would be difficult to do as energy data is scarce.

However, this is exactly the type of circumstances we should expect with declines in total net energy - inflation and more energy needed in oil exporting areas - the implications are 'pricing out' of non-energy consumer sectors - at first from marginal ones but eventually to more critical areas, e.g. hospitals, infrastructure, etc.

Nate: You've mentioned this before (I think you are one of the few thinking about it). You're right- the way things are going eventually a huge sector of the global economy will be focused on getting and providing energy, which will definitely be a giant obstacle to real economic growth. Every time you mention this it pushes me a little to the doomer side- we definitely do not appreciate fully this period of abundant, cheap energy.

You have to be right on this - I was talking to someone about this very issue today...

...if you go from EROEI of 100:1 to 10:1 you've effectively gone from 99% energy profit to 90%energy profit... that's almost a 10% loss in energy - like a decline of 1 in 10 barrels - 10% more barrels you need to pump
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Oh you silly doomers:

There are other areas of the peak oil debate which are quite frankly, a joke. Assumptions and easy “predictions” about the human race dieing off are pretty nauseating. As if the authors of these tracts are some kind of soothsayers with an ability to predict the future. They would be laughable if they did not generate significant profits for certain people, too lazy to bother working in or understanding the energy industry.

(quote is from here)

"They would be laughable..."

Yah sure, a lot of Anasazi, Mayans and Easter Islanders died laughing :-(

Errol in Miami

Also note the twisted self righteous logic.
This was in an "investment" site where the readers invest to make money.

It says the peak oil doom sayers are evil because all they are really out after is to make money.

How twisted into a pretzel while looking into a mirror is that?

Probably a bit of both... SA is probably spending more energy than ever to produce their oil these days, but what about SA women having six kids (avg)? and, IMO their avg age is low, so huge number of young people to have all those kids, both now and near term. Probably typical of the entire arabian peninsula. Those newly arriving arabians will want everything their parents have, and then some...
Go gpor.

but what about SA women having six kids (avg)?

It is down to about 4. Still high but dropping rapidly.

SA and Iran have a VERY large population under 25.

A team of leading US Democrats is planning to send a delegation to a key UN climate conference to rival President Bush's official team.

They are so frustrated by Mr Bush's refusal to support US emissions cuts that they will travel to Bali to set out their alternative vision.

Taking a vacation in Bali this December Flying a delegation to Bali isn't what I would call emission cuts.


The U.S will not be able to gain much from Canada's oil sands.

According a study by the Canadian National Energy Board, “Canada’s Oil Sands, Opportunities and Challenges to 2015: An Update (2006) ] [the Canadian National Energy Board is the energy department of the national government of Canada], there are significant obstacles in reaching the production goal of 3 million barrels of oil per day by 2015:

“The rate of development will depend on the balance that is reached between the opposing forces that affect the oil sands. High oil prices, international recognition, geopolitical concerns, global growth in oil demand, size of the resource base and proximity to the large U.S. market, and potentially other markets, encourage development. On the other hand, natural gas costs, the high light/heavy oil price differential, management of air emissions and water usage, insufficient labour, infrastructure and services are concerns that could potentially inhibit the development of the resource. There is now a clearer understanding that large water withdrawals from the Athabasca River for mining operations during the winter could impact the ecological sustainability of the river. As well, it is uncertain if land reclamation methods currently employed will be successful. These issues have moved to the forefront of environmental concerns. Regions associated with oil sands development enjoy several economic benefits but at costs to the social well-being of the communities, including a shortage of available housing and stress on public infrastructure and services. There is currently a limited supply of skilled workers in Alberta, and this tight labour market is expected to continue in the near future.”

Peter Tertzakian, Chief Energy Economist for ARC Financial Corporation based in Calgary, Canada examined the potential of Canadian oil sands in Canadian Oil Sands - Myth and Reality (2006):
“As investment in the Canadian oil sands ratchets up, so too do the myths and expectations. Some are speculating that this secondary and synthetic oil resource is the cure-all for the world’s growing addiction to oil, a resource that soon will be producing more than Saudi Arabia. Others are taking the argument further and viewing oil sands as the magic bullet that will pound the price of oil back down to U.S. $40/bbl or less. Don’t bet on any of it.
The big mistake is assuming that Canada’s vast oil-sands reserves can be turned into large production volumes in a time frame and a manner similar to conventional oil. On more than one occasion recently, I have heard people talk about oil-sands production reaching 10 million BOPD [barrels of oil per day] by the middle of next decade. Here is the reality: If all announced projects come on line on time, then Canadian oil-sands production may reach about 4.1 million BOPD by 2017. But the probability that everything goes according to plan, and that all projects are on time and on budget, is next to nil. The region is remote, with major stresses and strains because of a perennial shortage of labor, services, equipment, and materials. Logistical problems are acute and it is well documented that the situation is going to get worse. One doesn’t need a spread sheet or calculator to figure this out. Merely recognizing that Fort McMurray is a small, remote town that is at the end of a very long (and still narrow) highway should tell you that the technical challenges, let alone social issues, are daunting. Pushing more than U.S. $65 billion worth of steel, equipment, and labor—and that is only the direct investment that is expected over the next 10 years—up this constricted highway is akin to pushing a herd of elephants through a door.

The realistic estimate for what level of total production can be achieved by 2015 is no more than 3 million BOPD, which is only an incremental 2 million BOPD greater than volumes being produced today. So, putting things into perspective, what is likely to be achieved in the Canadian oil sands over the next 10 years is roughly equal to a little more than one year’s worth of global oil demand growth (emphasis added). Certainly, it is no panacea for the world’s growing addiction to oil or for mitigating U.S. energy dependence.”

The Canadian oil sands are another case of the quicksand effect (see Chris Shaw at http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=5964). In order to get 3 units of low quality oil energy, 2 units of high quality natural gas are expended. The net energy gain is actually less when we count all of the energy costs in oil sands production: natural gas for processing and refining; oil and natural gas used to manufacture trucks, processing equipment, pipelines, and airplanes (for transporting workers); and the energy used by trucks, processing equipment, airplanes, and pumps. In addition, the oil sands operations pollute local water resources and generate much air pollution and carbon dioxide.

Finally, natural gas (used to produce the oil sands) shortages will constrain oil production from Canada’s oil sands. This a case of what I call the "gridlock effect." See pages 30 to 37 of my paper at Peak Oil Analysis at http://www.peakoilassociates.com/POAnalysis.html